A small group trekking holiday focusing on the east and south east of Montenegro and the western corner of rarely-visited Kosovo, close to the Albanian border.
Montenegro (Crna Gora in Montenegrin, and meaning "Black Mountain") is a small country in the Balkans, almost exactly the same size as Northern Ireland but with a population of around one third the size (approx 650,000). Previously part of the former Yugoslavia, it became an independent state after a referendum of the people in 2006. It is bordered by the Adriatic Sea to the west, and, in roughly clockwise order, by the counties of Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania. It's capital, Podgorica - formerly known as Titograd - is situated on a flat plain between the rivers Ribnica and Moraca at about 45m above sea level, and is surrounded by mountains rising to over 2500m.
The first half of the trip concentrated on the mountains and villages near the city of Bijelo Polje close to the Serbian border, exploring rural life, food and customs, whilst preparing us for the second half of the trip – a 4-day continuous trek from the Accursed Mountains of south east Montenegro, across the border into Kosovo and back into Montenegro near the city of Rožaje.
Our interest in the Balkans and the emerging states of the former Yugoslavia has been long-held. This trip seemed a natural follow up to our Albanian trip of 2011, motivated by the opportunity to visit the northern side of the Accursed Mountains (the Prokletije, as they are called in Montenegro, and the country’s newest National Park) along with the wild mountains of the Kosovan borderlands.
We were also inspired by the Balkan Peace Park Project (B3P), a charity whose vision is the formation of a transnational park spanning the rugged mountains around the meeting point of the three countries of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro, promoting peace and cooperation where communities can work together to provide sustainable visitor activities in the region.
These borderlands have, until recently, been considered somewhat dangerous and volatile. But in the last couple of years the wonderful, unspoilt trekking opportunities offered by the area have opened once more and become accessible again to those prepared to invest a little effort.
Kartografija Huber: Prokletije Hiking & Biking 1:50,000
Kartografija Huber: Bjelasica Hiking & Biking 1:50,000
Kartografija Huber: Peaks Of The Balkans 1:60,000
Cicerone Guides: The Mountains Of Montenegro by Rudolf Abraham
Web Pages Of Interest: