Adventure Holidays in Montenegro

September 10, 2011   | Bota

Keen backpackers on a budget are always looking for the ‘next big thing’, and in this case the next big thing may very well be little Montenegro. Serbia’s lesser-known neighbour offers a variety of beautiful mountain backdrops and seaside scenes. For the more adventurous holidaymaker, it also offers some of the most intense adrenaline thrills to be found anywhere in Europe.

Montenegro (meaning literally ‘Black Mountain’) has a unique geography spanning both the azure blue of the Adriatic Sea and the dizzying heights of the Durmitor Mountains. This is some of the most rugged terrain in Europe, and huge swathes of the country remain carpeted by pristine evergreen forests. It should therefore come as little surprise that Montenegro has the highest number of species per area unit recorded in any European country, making it a paradise for wildlife aficionados and photographers.

No visit to Montenegro could be complete without a trip to the Tara Canyon, nestled amidst the Durmitor Mountains. After the Grand Canyon this is the largest in the world, and hosts a variety of activities including some excellent whitewater rafting. Although Montenegro has a beautiful and warm summer (perfect for beginners), experienced rafters and adrenaline junkies will want to go a bit later in the year when heavy rains ensure a greater flow and some challenging grade III to grade IV rapids.

If you’re looking for a decent adventure but perhaps not extreme white knuckle thrills, kayaking around the stunning Bay of Kotor is an excellent option. This is one of the best ways to get a feel for the rich history of the area, and in particular to see the charming coastal towns and beautiful old churches. One of the most impressive coastal landscapes in the world will ensure no-one gets bored whether you choose to go for a half-day jaunt or a several-day slog. Provided you go out in convoy with an experienced guide, you need not worry about being a first-timer. Many local tour agencies offer tailored trips.

Of all the experiences Montenegro can offer, the greatest challenge is crossing the Nevidio Canyon. Canyoning is the descent of a steep water course, and it should not be undertaken lightly anywhere in the world. Attempting to cross the Nevidio Canyon without the help of a well-practiced professional would be tantamount to suicide, as it is widely regarded as amongst the least hospitable anywhere. Thankfully, as elsewhere in Montenegro, there are plenty of reputable agencies to guide you through.

Nevidio was the last canyon in Europe to be successfully traversed, and this did not happen until 1965. Some parts of the canyon can only safely be crossed with mountaineering equipment. Although crossing the canyon does not require a special level of physical fitness, it does demand a considerable amount of gall. Attempting to cross the Nevidio Canyon is a serious commitment – once the descent begins there is no way to turn back, and the only choice is to continue or be airlifted to safety.

YouTube Preview Image