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Žabljak

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Earth : Europe : Balkans : Montenegro : North Montenegrin Mountains : Žabljak
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Žabljak[1] is small town in northern Montenegro, and is center of Montenegro's winter tourism.

Understand[edit]

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.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

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.

By bus[edit]

From Kotor, head to the bus station just outside the old town for direct vehicles to Zabljak. The drive is about 4 hours because both the bus and the roads can be rough at times. Buses in the summer of 2019 went about 3x per day.

Another possibility to reach Zabljak is to first take a vehicle to Niksic. This is a central point between Zabljak, Kotor, and Podgorica. Buses from here also go directly to Mostar and other cities in the region.

As of the 31st of August 2013, the Žabljak bus station displayed the following timetable:

Zabljak-vozni-red.jpeg

Note that certain services may be seasonal.

From Kosovo, take the bus from Pristina through Peja, across the border and on to Berana (1-3 per day, all in the morning). From there, take another bus to Mojkovac (approximately one per hour). Then a Pljevlja-bound bus to Tara Most (Djerdevica Tara; approximately 6 per day), and a Pljevlja-originating bus to Zabljak (frequent service, though only 3 per day list this as an official stop, so you may need to work hard to get the bus to stop for you). This represents a full day's travel, so be prepared to sleep at any one of the stops, or to hitchhike for a segment, if you miss a connection.

By car[edit]

There is a new and high quality road from Risan on the Kotor Bay via Nikšić to Žabljak. At the time of writing (September 2013) work is ongoing around Nikšić itself, where the route joins the Podgorica to Sarajevo road for a short distance.

Alternatively one can get to Žabljak either by departing the road from the Montenegrin coast to Serbia at Mojkovac (this passes the famous Tara bridge) or by taking the old Podgorica to Šavnik road, where the new route can be joined for the final stretch. All three routes are curvy, mountainous roads that don't permit high speeds and require additional caution. During the winter, when whole area is blanketed with snow, those unfamiliar with the roads should let someone more experienced and informed get them to Žabljak, as roads might get covered with snow and ice.

Get around[edit]

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.

See[edit][add listing]

  • 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. You can walk to the Black Lake from the town, it's about 25-30 minutes from the centre of the town.
  • Tara canyon - one of the deepest canyons in Europe. It's listed with UNESCO World Heritage List.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • "Durmitor ring" - The Durmitor National Park is full of hidden gems, rural villages and small tucked away pockets of natural beauty. This unique tour also known by the name of “the Durmitor Ring” will take you on an 85km round trip drive around the Durmitor mountains taking in the beautiful nature and diverse landscapes of Northern Montenegro. This tour will visit many diverse lookouts, villages, mountains passes including but not limited to Stozina (“The big haystack“) mountain peak, Sedlo (“Horse seat“) mountain pass, Prustas mountain peak, Sareni pasovi (“Colorful lines“) mountain peak, the Piva mountain plateau, the Susica river canyon, Susica lake (“Lake that dries up“), Mala Crna Gora (“Little Montenegro“) village – the highest populated place in Europe, Stuoc mountain peak with the Tara river canyon – the highest point of Tara canyon (1st in Europe and 2nd in the world by its depth). With ample opportunity to stop for exploration, take breathtaking photos and a stop along the way to Studenac (“Very cold water“) spring for refreshing break – this tour caters for everyone.
  • Nevidio Canyoning - Nevidio Canyoning is one of the best adventures that you can try in Montenegro. Canyon Nevidio is located only 25km from Zabljak and daily tours are organized during the summer months.
  • 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 preferring 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.

  • Savin Kuk Chair Lift in the Summer - If you'd like amazing views of the mountains and the whole park, you can enter from the entrance of the lback lake and walk 30 minutes through a well maintained path in the park to the chairlift which takes you to the top of Savin Kuk. The chairlift is very steep - this is not for the faint of heart! Bring lunch and have a picnic at the top, it is an amazing place for it!
  • Rafting - 1,3km deep Tara river canyon offers unforgettable rafting experience. 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), from the lake to Žabljak and numerous 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!

Buy[edit][add listing]

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.

Eat[edit][add listing]

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 region are 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.

Drink[edit][add listing]

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.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

There are four major hotels in Žabljak: Planinka, Jezera, Žabljak and Durmitor (nowadays only hotel Žabljak is still working). Besides these, there are a couple of small motels (MB, Bjeloor...) in and around town.

Also, there is a quite well settled hostel named Guesthouse Volume up the Love which is pretty new and it is near the city centre, but still in a quiet neighborhood.

We could say that almost every local resident is willing to rent a room, so accommodation in Žabljak is quite abundant, except in the summertime and around New year's eve, when the place is really overcrowded.

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

There are daily services direct to Kotor, or you could change at Niksic.

There are daily services direct to Podgorica, or you could change at Niksic.

There is a daily route possible with a stop in Niksic, a few hours wait and then another bus to Mostar. The whole journey takes the entire day.

This town allows for an easy day trip into Dubrovnik. You will have to change at Niksic.

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