Earth : Europe : Balkans : Montenegro : North Montenegrin Mountains : Žabljak
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.
Podgorica, and its international airport, are some 170 km away. There are several daily flights from Belgrade. There are regular flights from Budapest, Zurich, Frankfurt, Ljubljana, Paris, Rome and Vienna.
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:
Podgorica-Niksic-Žabljak: 05:55-07:00-09:15; 13:50-15:00-17:30; 15:57-17:20-19:40
Niksic-Žabljak: 07:00-09:15; 10:00-12:15; 10:05-13:10; 15:00-17:30; 16:20-19:40; 18:00-20:15
Pljevlja-Žabljak: 06:45-08:50; 08:00-09:15; 10:00-11:25; 11:20-12:30; 14:55-16:25; 15:15-16:30
Sombor-Novi Sad-Belgrade-Žabljak: 04:45-06:30-08:00-16:00
And leaving Žabljak:
Žabljak-Niksic-Podgorica: 11:25-13:50-14:30; 12:45-15:00-15:50; 18:00-20:20-21:15
Žabljak-Niksic: 07:15-09:35; 16:10-18:20; 16:25-18:25
Žabljak-Pljevlja: 09:30-10:45; 11:00-12:20; 13:10-14:25; 14:00-16:00; 19:25-20:40
Žabljak-Belgrade-Novi Sad-Sombor: 11:00-20:00-21:20-23:10
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.
Snowboarding is increasingly popular in recent years, as many enthusiast gatherings and competitions are being held at Durmitor.
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.