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Žabljak is small town in northern Montenegro, and is center of Montenegro's winter tourism.
Žabljak is largest town on mountain Durmitor, high mountain in northern Montenegro (2,522 m). Žabljak itself is town at highest altitude in the Balkans, at 1,450 m above sea level. Although being a center of municipality of the same name, it is a small town of some 2,000 inhabitants. The town of Žabljak and the whole municipality with Durmitor, Sinjavina and Tara canyon, make up a very interesting tourist destination.
Maybe the best way to get to Žabljak, especially for those unfamiliar with roads in northern Montenegro, which are not up to European standard. As of early April 2011, the Žabljak bus station posted the following schedule:
You can get to Žabljak either by departing the road from coast to Serbia at Mojkovac or take the route Podgorica - Šavnik - Žabljak, the first route being the higher quality road. Either way, those are curvy, mountanious roads that don't permit high speeds and require additional caution. During the winter, when whole area is covered with snow, those unfamiliar with roads should let someone more expirienced and informed get them to Žabljak, as roads might get covered with snow and ice. Driving in this conditions might be a nightmare for someone used to autobahn - standard, but is a piece of cake for local bus, minibus or taxi drivers.
Žabljak is very small town, so everything is within walking distance. You can get to some of the lakes around the town only by foot - it's untouched nature! However, some chairlifts, skiing pistes etc. are reachable only by car.
Eyes of the mountain - any of the 18 glacier lakes on the Durmitor mountain, the biggest, most beautiful and closest to Žabljak being "Crno jezero" - Black lake.
Tara canyon - deepest canyon in Europe, second deepest in the world, right after Colorado's Grand canyon. It's listed with UNESCO World Heritage List.
Skiing - Durmitor's snow cover lasts 120 days per year and its best slopes are Savin kuk, Štuoc and Javorovača. Savin kuk has two chairlifts, a ski lift, nursery lift and a ski service. Savin kuk slope is 3,500m long. Štuoc is somewhat shorter (2,600m) but very exciting, and Javorovača's 800m are perfect for those prefering short runs. The langlauf runs are 3 to 12km long.
Snowboarding is increasingly popular in recent years, as many enthusiast gatherings and competitions are being held at Durmitor.
Rafting - 1,3km deep Tara river canyon offers unforgettable rafting expirience. You can go rafting by boat or a wooden raft down the 100km of the most beautiful and exciting part of tara. The usual route is from Splavište down to Šćepan polje, and in between you can see Ljutice falls, 165m high magnificent Tara bridge, old Roman road and Lever tara. The scenery at Tepački bukovi, Sušica canyon, Bailove sige, and Brstanovića bukovi is breathtaking! During the river trip, either dinner or launch is served in natural scenery on the river banks. Rafting tour can also start at Radovan luka or Brstanovica. There is a couple of travel agencies offering rafting tours. Half-day tour costs 40-50 euro, you must book the tour one day ahead. Full day is 100 euro and you must have a group of at least 4 people.
Mountaineering - Durmitor has perfect conditions for this sport, as cliffs and slopes are abundant. There are many well marked routes taking you high in to the mountains.
Cycling - Paths around the Crno jezero (Black lake), form the lake to Žabljak and noumerous other paths are great for this type of recreation.
Hiking anywhere around the town, exploring the wilderness, as the Europe's best kept secret unravels before you!
Žabljak is not really a shopping resort, leave that for coastal towns or Podgorica. It is, however, the right place to buy a genuine Montenegrin healthy food from the locals.
Žabljak has some excellent national cuisine restaurants. Notably, there is "Katun" restaurant on the very shore of Crno jezero, "MB" motel-restaurant, "Momčilov grad" on the Štuoc...
Cold hors d'ouevres include the famous njeguški pršut (smoked ham) and njeguški cheese, pljevaljski chesse, mushrooms, donuts and dried bleak. The main courses specific for the northern mountaineous regionare boiled lamb, lamb cooked in milk, cicvara in fresh milk cream (buttered corn porridge), boiled potatoes with cheese and fresh cream (kajmak).
It might be a good idea to make an order and reserve seats a few hours in advance, as restaurants are small and may be crowded and it might take some time to prepare the courses in traditional way.
Usually the portions of meat are quite large, 300-450g, so if you are not very hungry you can easily share one portion.
Montenegrin quality wine is a must-try. The best known Montenegrin wines are the premium "Vranac", "Pro Corde", "Krstač", "Cabernet", "Chardonnay" and the famous home made Crmničko red wine.
Grape brandy (rakija) "Montenegrin loza", "Prvijenac", "Kruna" or home made grape brandy (lozova rakija, lozovaca) is also great.
There are four major hotels in Žabljak: Planinka, Jezera, Žabljak and Durmitor. Besides these, there are many small motels (MB, Bjeloor...) in and around town, not to mention that almost every local resident is willing to rent a room at affordable price - accommodation in Žabljak is abundant, except around New year's eve, when the place is overcrowded.