Itinerary Insight: White Water Rafting Experience
It’s absolutely no surprise that the little country of Montenegro has us all head over heels. We love everything about it – from the sparkling Kotor Bay to the rapids of Tara River. And when you pack everything Montenegro has to offer into a 4-night adrenaline-filled adventure, the result can only be one to remember.
Without further ado, here’s the White Water Rafting Experience. Starting off in the lovely town of Kotor, you will have time to stroll along the walls of this venetian, fortified town. Get your history fix, and then marvel at the breathtaking views over Kotor Bay. Then, you’ll travel further inland through Montenegro’s national parks. Inhale the fresh air, treat yourself to the scenic landscapes and taste the hearty food. Lastly, Tara River awaits to take you on the adventure of your lifetime. Ready? Set… Go!
Day 1: Kotor
Once you land in Montenegro’s capital, Podgorica, you will be transferred straight to Kotor. Journeying along the Adriatic Coast with its crystal-clear azure waters will just get you in the mood for what’s to come. Before you reach your final stop for the day, you will drive by the “pearl of the Montenegrin coast”, or Sveti Stefan. This chic, red-roofed town sits on a little islet and is a luxury coastal resort that used to be a celebrity hotspot back in the ’60s. You will have a photo opportunity here to take home as a first souvenir from Montenegro.
Lunch – Galion
Reaching Kotor by lunchtime, there’s no better choice than Galion. Sat on the water’s edge just outside the Old Town, Galion is classy, chic, and a beautifully understated restaurant. Whether you choose to stay on the dark-wooden terrace or the bright, airy interior, the atmosphere and setting are second-to-none. The food is good (we recommend the fresh fish!) and the service tends to be excellent. The prices are slightly higher than the rest of the town but you get what you pay for here.
Afternoon – Kotor City Walls and Perast
Once you’ve fuelled up, it’s time to go out exploring. Wandering around the maze of cobblestone streets will open your appetite for the town’s historic sights. And whatever you do, you must not miss a walk up the City Walls. Right at the top, the San Giovanni Fortress awaits, along with a spectacular view over the Kotor Bay. From here, watch the coastline stretch, peppered with clusters of seaside towns. On the horizon, the mountains stand tall.
Right before sundown, make your way over to the neighbouring town of Perast. Soak up the serene atmosphere with the calm waters, stony gothic facades lined up by the waterfront, and ornate churches. Hop on a water taxi to the island of the Lady of the Rocks – the grand domed church. Lastly, enjoy a stroll down the waterfront promenade, watching the sunset, or sit down at one of the cafes facing the Bay.
The Perast half-day trip usually costs 25 Euros per person, including the guide, return transfers and the boat to and from Lady of the Rocks, as well as the entry to the church. Your UTP guide can organise this for you.
Dinner – Stari Mlini
On your way back to Kotor, stop at the fabulous Stari Mlini for dinner. Surrounded by greenery, the restaurant offers some great views over the bay which, accompanied by the tranquil sound of water gushing through the mill, creates for a magical experience. The restaurant is the best pick for fish in the area. We recommend going for a mix of dishes to share so that you don’t miss out!
Evening – Kotor Old Town
In the evening, stroll around the cobbled streets of Kotor and go for a night cap at the Old Winery in the Old Town. You can indulge in some local Montenegrin wine, paired with a delicious smoked ham and cheese platter.
Day 2: Katun Vranjak
Today you will trade the coastal vibe for a more rural setting. By the end of the day, you would have experienced more of what Montenegro has to offer and end the day having a hearty lunch in the rural abode at Katun Vranjak.
Morning – Lovcen National Park
Leaving Kotor Bay behind, follow the twisting road up to the top of Mount Lovcen. Keep your eyes peeled as the views you will encounter are to die for. The first stop as you reach the Lovcen National Park (besides the photo stops, of course!) will be the Njegos Mausoleum. The Mausoleum lies at the end of 461 steps and offers 360 degrees panoramic views over the mountains and the coast. Totally worth it!
The scenic drive continues through the Moraca Valley, following the flow of the Moraca River through the deep limestone gorge. Here, you will visit the Moraca Monastery consisting of two medieval churches. With their 13th century frescoes and icons, and tranquil grounds you will feel like you’ve stepped into the pages of a fairytale.
Lunch – Vodenica
Perched on the banks of a gushing white-water creek, Vodenica is an old watermill, traditional restaurant, and our favourite place to tuck into some authentic Montenegrin cuisine in Kolasin. The interior is set across two levels decorated in typical mountain style with wooden chairs and tables, chequered green and white curtains framing little windows, and authentic country-house ceramics lining the walls.
Afternoon – Honeyfarm Visit
After a delicious lunch, hope you will have room for dessert! The next stop will be at a local family honey farm. You’ll learn the ins and outs of beekeeping while visiting the hives. Of course, you won’t leave without tasting the sweet treats, including mountain, linden, and meadow honey, a honey liquor or honey wine.
Evening – Katun Vranjak
Your evening abode is the remote Eco Katun Vranjak, one bumpy ride away. Spend the late afternoon strolling through the rolling pastures, breathing in the fresh air, or simply relaxing watching the animals go by. Life at Eco Katun Vranjak takes you back to the roots. With no electricity, modern bathroom facilities, or running water, you will experience a simpler time, the perfect opportunity to take it slow and reflect.
Evening comes with a hearty dinner in true Montenegrin mountain style. Your local hosts will prepare an absolutely mouthwatering authentic meal so tuck in!
Day 3: Izlazak Ethno Village
Few things compare to waking up to the serene sceneries of Katun Vranjak. You might not want to ever leave, but the promise of yet another day full of adventure, culture and natural beauty should be enough to convince you.
Morning – Durmitor National Park
Leaving the picturesque Katun Vranjak behind, you will enter the Durmitor National Park. The scenery here is quite different but just as stunning. The crystal-clear mountain lakes and pine forests are dominated by snowy peaks. This is the home of the impressive Tara River Canyon, Europe’s deepest gorge.
First stop of the day will be at the lovely Dobrilovina Monastery. Set on the bank of the Tara River and encircled by lush valleys and soaring mountains, the setting of the 17th century Dobrilovina Monastery couldn’t be more idyllic. Take a peek inside the barrel-vaulted interior and admire the original painted frescoes.
Next, travel along the turquoise waters of Tara River as it slices through the steep walls of its canyon. Once you reach the Tara Bridge, you will be treated to the dramatic views over the canyon, taking a first-hand glance at the rapids that will provide your adrenaline the next day. And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous today as well, there is zip-lining available. 865 meters long and 152 meters high, the zipline here is the biggest in Europe, so it can’t get better than this. The experience lasts for approximately 30 minutes and is priced at 20 Euros per person.
After getting your heart racing, travel further into the Durmitor National Park to the Black Lake. Stroll around the glacial lake and enjoy the setting.
Afternoon + Lunch – Jablan Lake Hike
Venture deeper into the wilderness with a hike. From the Black Lake, travel upwards through pine forests and out towards a sharp mountain ridge. You will be treated to unparalleled views over the wild meadows and the emerald Black Lake.
Eventually, you’ll spot the green waters of Lake Jablan hidden behind expanses of dense foliage and framed perfectly by the limestone cliffs of Crvena Greda. Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the natural surroundings and sit beside the crystal-clear waters of the lake while you tuck into a well-deserved picnic lunch. Afterwards, you’ll retrace your steps back along the same trail to the Black Lake.
The hike and subsequent picnic lunch last for roughly 4-5 hours and cost 30 Euros. As with all activities, this can be organized by your local UTP guide.
Evening – Izlazak Ethno Village
Prepare for what is the most dramatic part of your journey yet. On your way to Izlazak, you will pass by rocky mountains, glacial lakes, and wooden shepherding cabins. It’s all topped when you will reach the small Trsa village, home to only 20 inhabitants. Back on the road, it’s time for some more twists and turns, each one of them offering striking vistas over the Piva Canyon.
In the evening, you will reach the Izlazak Ethno Village which will be your home for the next two nights. Take in the peaceful surroundings, wander down to the lake, or simply bask in the serenity.
For dinner, head over to the Konoba Izlazak. The traditional restaurant is perched on the edge of the mountain peak, an absolute delight to the eyes. The food is homemade, authentic and mouthwateringly tasty, served in a homely rural cabin complete with traditional wooden furnishings. The lamb is particularly delicious.
Day 4: Izlazak Ethno Village
Today is the big day. Pack your swimsuit, grab a hearty breakfast for energy, and muster up your courage. You’re going rafting!
Morning + Lunch – White Water Rafting
The Raft Camp is only 45 minutes away. As soon as you arrive, you will receive a training session, so make sure to pay attention! Get all suited up with the rafting equipment and head over to the launch site.
And then off you go! For the next few hours, you will conquer Tara River‘s rapids (class III and IV) over a stretch of 18 kilometers. Halfway through, you will stop to catch your breath near a cascading waterfall. You can casually swim around, breathe, and take some photos. The duration of the experience, as well as the speed and intensity, will depend on the season. What is guaranteed is the sheer exhilaration and the spectacular alpine scenery throughout.
Back at the camp, you will tuck into a well-deserved lunch and celebratory drinks. You’ve done it!
Afternoon – Piva Lake Boat Trip
After quite an eventful morning, it’s time to take it slow. The Piva Lake Boat Trip is the perfect breather. Hop on the boat as you glide across the serene waters of the Piva Lake. The views of the steep walls of the canyon tumbling into the emerald waters as you navigate your way along the lake are absolutely spectacular. The Boat Trip is priced at 35 Euros per person and lasts for approximately 2 hours.
Evening – Izlazak Ethno Village
Take the time to relax for the final night. The peace and quiet surrounding the Ethno village create the perfect setting to contemplate what has been a great adventure. Treat yourself to a delicious dinner before heading in for the evening. It’s an early start tomorrow for the transfer back to the airport.
The White Water Rafting Experience runs from June to September, which is the prime season for rafting. For a whole lot of adrenaline, peppered with natural beauty all around and a pinch of culture, don’t miss it!
Written by Oana Moldovan & Marion Poerio, Untravelled Paths