Europe’s Unknown Hiking Paradise – Part One

Back in August 2015 I was travelling along the coast of Croatia when I met another Australian guy, Nate, who was also travelling solo and heading south. We hung out for the next couple of days with some other travelers doing the usual Croatian tourist musts; beach, party, admiring yachts, chilling and admiring the ladies (Nate didn’t do any of the latter because he was a spoken for man). On one of those days Nate mentioned that he was travelling down to Montenegro, specifically a small city called Kotor. His friends had traveled there not long before and only had incredible experiences to tell him about and at this point in time the only way backpackers were finding out about Kotor was by word of mouth.

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The abandoned village

Of course I wasn’t going to miss this chance and booked a bus ticket with Nate down to Kotor which would arrive sometime around midnight. For those of you who haven’t taken a bus in Eastern Europe, it’s a sometimes terrifying experience. At one point we were driving along coastal cliff a few hundred meters up while our bus driver was eating with one hand and on the phone with the other. We arrived around 1am and headed to the hostel to find a party in full swing and in the middle of all the craziness Nate and I met this English guy called Aaron. Yes, this is the famous Aaron from some of my other stories and this is when we first met. The drinks were flowing, so when the topic of hiking around Kotor the next day came up, we were totally on board with the idea.

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Most of the way up

Waking the next morning was a bit more difficult. Eventually we pulled ourselves together and started the long trek up the mountain behind Kotor which turned out to be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I’m not going to talk about the town much because the travel websites have since discovered the area and there are a million articles worth reading now, this is more about the hiking. The coast around the bay of Kotor rises from sea level to around 1800m in a matter of seconds and it’s comparable to Milford Sound in New Zealand. Even with the inlet having some of the best trails I’ve come across, the day that we did our hike up this fjord we didn’t meet another soul.

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Sunset from the fortress

Armed with a few water bottles and snacks we got as far up the mountain as we could before we needed to turn around to get back down to sea level before nightfall. There is one main track for getting up the mountain but off this there are a number of small paths branching off in all directions. Just about when we were thinking it was time to turn around and head back down we came to a Y-junction in the path with one side leading down into a ravine. We followed this path down into the ravine and came out of the forest at a sheer cliff face of one side and an old silted up concrete dam on the other side. By far it was the best view of the day.

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On the way down we stopped at a small farm house which sits next to the path. Being an enterprising family they somehow get a good supply of beer up the mountain and sell it to weary walkers. From the photo below you can see that it could be the best view from a bar you will ever get. After a few sneaky beers we were on our way to sneak in through the back entrance of the fort of Kotor to catch the main attraction of the town, sunset over the fjord. Which was incredible.

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From here Aaron had heard about an even better hiking location near Montenegro’s and Europes highest city, Zablijak. For the sake of keeping the posts short I’ll post that story shortly. But it turned out to be an even more stunning location.So stay tuned.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Elton Hiew says:

    Cool experience! I wish I could join you guys! Love hiking so much

    Like

  2. Michael says:

    Glad you enjoyed Montenegro. I’ve been there myself back in 2007, and had a good time. But the capital of Montenegro is still Podgorica, as far as I know 😀

    Like

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