When I’m driving down a coastline, I’m not used to finding a national park with high altitudes closeby. But in Montenegro, where it seemed hard to find a flat surface, this was one of the highlights of our coastal drive.
Nested between Budva and Kotor, the Lovcen National Park offers a nature escape from all the beach tourism in the coastal villages. Exactly my cup of tea.
When I’m hearing National Park, my thoughts immediately wander to hiking. So I spent a good amount of time looking up hiking routes before departure. But not with a lot of success. There didn’t seem to be much information on trails available online. Eventually I ended up reading something about Babina Glava. A trail of about 10 kilometers that had about 200 altimeters and started at Hotel Ivanov Konak. So that’s exactly where we drove to early in the morning.
We parked our car in front of the hotel – which seemed closed for the season – and found a few hiking signs closeby. None mentioned Babina Glava however. We did find a sign that indicated an 11km hike. Figuring that with the beautiful autumn leaves all around us, the destination didn’t really matter, we followed that sign and hiked up the road next to the hotel.
The first few kilometers, it was all forest. There was no one else, just us and the falling leaves. And a woodpecker! Such a lovely encounter. The trail went up the entire time and suddenly the trees opened up to a gorgeous view on the surrounding mountains.
From there, it only got better. The higher we went, the further we could look. And then suddenly the sea came into view. And then the beautiful Bay of Kotor. Mission accomplished. Apparently we’d reached Babina Glava anyway. The view was absolutely breathtaking, as you can see in the picture above. Two happy hikers; check!
The descent went a lot quicker, even though at first we felt like we had spend ages in the forest. Back at the car, we drove towards one of the main sights in the Lovcen National Park: the Mausoleum of Njegoš. This mausoleum of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš is situated on top of the mountain and is thereby the highest mausoleum in the world. It all sounded very promising.
At the beginning of the road up, we had to pay an entrance fee of two euros each. We then could continue driving up and were lucky to find a parking spot relatively close to the entrance of the mausoleum. It was pretty busy there, with a couple of buses along the road as well. From the foot of the stairs to the mausoleum, you also get a beautiful view over the coastline, but not prettier than what we’d seen earlier.
And then we noticed the entrance fee to the Mausoleum. Another fee. Ten euros each. Considering we didn’t really know much about what we would find inside or knew anything about who was inside, we decided to skip going in. Hopefully we won’t come to regret this.
Back on the road, we set course for the town of Njeguši, a place famous for its smoked ham. From far we could already see the smoke rising from the rooftops. But once we made it inside the town limits, there didn’t seem to be much going on. There were a couple of stalls lined up, but we had passed them quicker than we could see them. A bit further down the road, we saw another sign for cheese and ham, but not a lot of info. While Njeguši may be the place where it is produced, it didn’t seem very touristic at the time we were visiting.
We did buy a few slices of ham of different stalls and they were really delicious. So detour very much worth it. The cheese however wasn’t exactly to our taste. But to each their own.
And then it was time to head to Kotor. We had already seen the beautiful bay from the top of Babina Glava, but you also get a-ma-zing views coming from the national park.
I was a bit sad to leave the nature behind us, but with the villages nested between the mountains, I knew the next couple of days probably weren’t going to disapoint either. We were only two days into our trip, and I was already falling deeply in love with Montenegro.