Life Fitness

Friday 29 August 2014

Ever wanted to... hike the Durmitor national park?

Published 13/05/2014 | 02:30

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Durmitor National Park presents a challenging hike, but rewards with stunning views of any one of the 17 ‘Mountain Eyes’ or glacial lakes.
Durmitor National Park presents a challenging hike.

The name Durmitor is said to derive from the Balkan for 'romance' or 'sleeping', with it inscribed as a national park on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1980.

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The name Durmitor is said to derive from the Balkan for 'romance' or 'sleeping', with it inscribed as a national park on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1980. Located in northwestern Montenegro, the Durmitor is a massif and the centre of Montenegro's mountain-tourism industry.

It contains an array of impressive high peaks, glacial lakes and borders the Tara River Canyon, boasting magnificent scenery that has been etched and carved into the limestone by ice and water over thousands of years, making it a particularly attractive destination for those who enjoy trekking and hiking holidays.

There are many standout features to Durmitor National Park, with the Tara River Canyon among its most striking points. At 82km long and 1300m deep, it is at once the deepest canyon in Europe and one of the major canyons of the world.

The dense pine forests are interspersed with clear lakes and harbour a wide range of endemic flora. Boasting 17 'Mountain Eyes' or glacial lakes, there really are a plethora of breathtaking views on show at every turn.

Forty-eight peaks soar to over 2,000 metres, with its highest, Bobotov Kuk, reaching an imposing 2,523 metres. Zabljak is a small but bustling town located to the eastern edge of the range with a population of under 2,000, and is the park's principal gateway. It is the highest sitting town in the Balkans and is a common location for people to begin their hiking expeditions from.

The Durmitor National Park is a year-round holiday destination. The hikes and trails the park has to offer are said to be suitable for all levels, from beginners to experienced campaigners. Hiking to Bobotov from the Zabljak side is probably the most strenuous of routes, with a host of steep ascents and portions demanding scrambling over uneven paths and jagged rock.

The last part of the route involves step boulder climbing with the routes well-marked. It is important to leave plenty of time to complete the trails and to ensure plenty of water is brought as there are no water sources close to the top of the routes.

Another attractive thing about Durmitor as a destination, is that there is no need to pay for a permit to hike the routes, while there are plenty of friendly locals more than willing to help out and give instructions as to which routes to take and how to approach them.

When

Peak hiking season runs from May to September.

How to get there/Where to stay?

Return flights from Dublin to Belgrade currently sit around the €260 mark for a two-week stay in July.

There are a range of accommodation options available to interested visitors. There are several campsites in the vicinity of Zabljak, there are mountain huts and shelters available to tourists, while there are also two large hotels in the town of Zabljak.

Highs

The tremendous scenery encountered at every turn.

Lows

 Poor infrastructure of the region, with underdeveloped roads and transportation systems.

Contact

For more information: www.visit-montenegro.com.

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