An interview with Linda: Walking in Montenegro
In May this year our Operations Assistant, Linda Denniff, joined one of our groups heading to the Adriatic coast on our Montenegro Lakes & Mountains walking holiday. A seasoned traveller, Linda has taken many a holiday in Europe, but this was her first to the Balkans region. As soon as she got back to the office we asked her all about her experience and here’s what she told us.
Give us an overview of your trip
This is a 9 day walking holiday based in the scenic, coastal and mountain region to the south west of Montenegro. Along with a programme of energetic day walks, there are visits to local historic towns, such as Kotor and Cetinje, and to scenic Tara Canyon. We also extended our holiday with a couple of nights in nearby Dubrovnik.
What made Montenegro so special for you?
The mountains, towns and coast were all so pristine and picturesque, and there were sublime views to enjoy around virtually every turn of the walks. The wonderfully colourful spring flowers were also a joy to behold.
What was the food like?
Simply delicious, especially the seafood which was incredibly fresh and well-cooked. The local wines were also a very pleasant surprise and really good value.
Did you spend time with the locals?
We were led by our guide, Milan, who was from the area and was a real expert on the flora, fauna and history of the region. His English was very good and he kept us all entertained, informed and motivated as we walked along the trails.
Whenever we met and talked with the locals they were friendly and hospitable. They are a proud and indomitable people and have a fascinating history which we learned a lot about on this trip.
What were the walks like?
Very varied. We trekked through ancient forests to reach gorgeous glacial lakes, walked over high mountain paths with panoramic coastal views and strolled through idyllic alpine-like meadows carpeted with wildflowers. The holiday is graded moderate which means several hours of walking each day with plenty of ascent and descent; just perfect for a keen hill walker like me.
Describe a typical day
There were no early starts so we always enjoyed a relaxed and plentiful breakfast before driving to the start of the walk – generally less than an hour away. We’d walk for between 4 and 6 hours, with a long break to enjoy a picnic lunch, and arrive at our overnight accommodation in the late afternoon. There was time for a rest before getting together again with fellow group members in the evening for drinks and a lovely meal in a local restaurant.
What was the accommodation like?
Most nights were spent in comfortable, tourist hotels with good facilities but we also had a night in a traditional shepherd’s hut in the mountains. Although the huts were basic we had solar power, a hot shower and a delicious meal served in a large, communal dining ‘hut’. It was a really unusual and special place to spend a night.
Did you spend any time in the towns?
I extended my holiday with a couple of nights in Dubrovnik which is just over the border in Croatia. The compact old town is a maze of enticing little streets where we found lots of cafes, bars, shops and restaurants to while away the hours. Probably the best way to appreciate the medieval splendour of Dubrovnik’s old town though is to take a walk round the impressive city walls or ride the cable car to the summit of Mount Srd where you get splendid aerial views.
We also visited Kotor, rightly considered one of the pearls of the Adriatic. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and incredibly beautiful with a sweeping bay and mountain backdrop. The first walk of the holiday is to the summit of Mount Vrmac – high above the town – from where there were glorious panoramic views. As we walked along the trail we could see down to the sun-kissed bay and coast and across to the surrounding snow-capped mountains.
A visit to the old capital of Cetinje is also included in the itinerary. It’s a small mountain town and, not surprisingly, it’s very historic. It has many interesting buildings to discover and a real mix of architectural styles. A very pleasant place for a wander.
What was your holiday highlight?
It’s very hard to pick just one – but probably the spectacular mountain scenery we enjoyed in Durmitor National Park near the end of the trip. The walk we did there was the most challenging of all but it was so worth the effort. It had everything you could want on a good walk - in abundance: soaring mountains, turquoise lakes, verdant meadows, primeval forests, a profusion of wildflowers and endless stunning views. A truly memorable end to an unforgettable holiday!