Adriatic Adventures: An Active Road Trip through Montenegro & Croatia
Enjoy sailing, hiking, rafting and climbing on this 11-day road trip through Montenegro and Croatia that's ideal for anybody that loves to be active. Make your way around the country and experience the best of the Montenegrin and Croatian countryside as well as the highlights of the region's historic cities.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Sail around Lake Skadar and stop for a swim surrounded by majestic mountains
- Enjoy traditional Montenegrin cuisine in the company of local families
- Enjoy sumptuous views from mountain summits
- Experience the thrill of climbing along the via ferrata routes near Kotor, followed by a speedboat tour of Boka Bay
- Explore UNESCO-listed Dubrovnik on foot with an expert guide
- Hike through the staggeringly beautiful Durmitor National Park with a guide
- Sail or kayak the Eliphiti Islands near Dubrovni
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Days 1-2: To Tivat
Your active holiday to Montenegro and Croatia starts today with an overnight flight to Tivat in Montenegro. Flying through time-zones, you'll land in Tivat the following evening.
On arrival, pick up your hire car, and the first stop on this Montenegro & Croatia road trip is a beautiful and remote villa just over an hour's drive from the airport. Once you have settled into your hotel, relax and enjoy supper and drinks with sensational sea views.
Day 3: Boating and Lunch on Lake Skadar
After breakfast at your hotel, hop in your car for a 30-minute drive to Lake Skadar, a vast lake that straddles the border between Montenegro and Albania.
Spend your morning on a boat sailing around the lake, passing by villages that sit on the water's edge and then around Grmozur island, stopping at the deepest part of the lake to enjoy a swim with the backdrop of dramatic landscapes and to a chorus of birdsong.
After working up an appetite, you'll have lunch with a local family who will prepare a typical seafood meal for you.
After lunch, continue to drive north for two hours in your rental car to the small town of Kolasin, where you'll stay at an idyllic spa hotel for the next two nights.
Day 4: Off-roading in the Mountains
Day three of your active holiday to Croatia and Montenegro is all about mountains, so after an early breakfast, meet your guide at your hotel and set off towards Bjelasica. You will pass the ski resort of Kolasin 1450 and continue climbing off-road towards the summits of Troglava and Zekova Glava. During the drive you will be able to stop for photos of the beautiful panoramic views, the national park, Lake Pesica and the summit Crna Glava which soars to almost 7,000ft.
Your drive will end at a katun (which roughly translates to commune or village, where they practice the ancient traditions of Montenegrin highlanders) which is home to eco-huts and vast expanses of pristine natural beauty. Here you'll meet a family who spend their summers at the katun, and they will prepare a typical regional lunch for you and give you the opportunity to taste homemade cheese.
After a delicious lunch, head back towards your hotel where you'll have the afternoon and evening to relax.
Day 5: Rafting on the Tara River
After a hearty breakfast, pack up and check out of your hotel for the short 25-minute drive to the next stop on your active holiday to Croatia and Montenegro, the Tara River.
Get kitted out in your gear, receive a safety briefing and then get ready for a white water rafting adventure. Your guide can tell you about the local area and you'll have the chance to stop at various points between the rapids to take photos of the waterfalls and numerous caves of the canyon. At the end of your trip, you will be able to dry off, change clothes and have a traditional lunch at a local restaurant.
After lunch, make the hour-long drive north-west towards your next hotel where you'll stay for the next two nights.
Day 6: Hiking in Durmitor National Park
Today you will go on a guided hike in nearby Durmitor National Park with your guide. You can discuss the route you would like to try ahead of time, depending on how adventurous you're feeling and what you'd like to see. You might want to walk around the park's lakes; head up towards the mountain summit; or make your way to an ice cave.
Whatever you choose, the views are stunning and you will be provided with water and some delicious local snacks to keep you going.
Day 7: To the Coast and Kotor
Take it easy this morning and enjoy a leisurely breakfast before you jump in the car and make the two-hour-45-minute journey towards the coast and your next hotel, where you'll stay for the next two nights. Only about 10 minutes' drive from the historic city of Kotor, this luxurious accommodation provides the perfect, relaxing complement to the more active activities on your holiday to Montenegro and Croatia.
After checking in, make the short drive to the city and meet your guide for a private tour of Kotor that takes in all of its highlights and watch as the city transitions from afternoon to evening.
You can spend the evening as you wish, whether you want to head back to the hotel to rest up before an action-packed day tomorrow, or by indulging in a delicious dinner in a city centre restaurant followed by a few drinks overlooking the water.
Day 8: Kotor Via Ferrata
Hopefully you got a good night's sleep last night because today sees you test yourself on the Kotor Via Ferrata. For the uninitiated, via ferrata - literally 'iron paths' in Italian - are protected climbing routes that have cables, walkways and anchors that make it easier for you to climb. The one you are tackling today is actually the first via ferrata in Montenegro and begins at an altitude of 230ft, ending at 690ft. Whether you're an avid climber or just looking for your next athletic adventure, your guide will accompany you along the way to help you safely complete the route. Along the way, enjoy amazing views of the Bay of Kotor and the San Giovani Fortress.
One adrenaline-fuelled activity follows another on your active holiday to Croatia and Montenegro as you swap climbing for speedboating this afternoon. With towering cliffs, deep blue waters and picturesque coastal towns, Boka Bay is a must for anybody visiting this part of the world, and you'll get a truly wonderful perspective from your speedboat, starting from Kotor and stopping at various points along the way including the Blue Grotto, the island church of the Lady of the Rocks and secret swimming spots.
Day 9: Croatia Calling
After a wonderful few days in Montenegro, it's time to cross the border into Croatia. You'll head towards the infinitely interesting city of Dubrovnik in the far south of the country. Although just two hours by car from Kotor to Dubrovnik, you should leave additional time for the border crossing which can sometimes cause delays.
Check in to your waterside hotel just outside of Dubrovnik Old Town, where you'll stay for the next three nights.
Day 10: Relaxation and Exploration in Dubrovnik
Enjoy a leisurely start to your day today as you have the morning to relax at your hotel or the nearby rocky beaches.
Come afternoon, catch your shuttle bus to Pile Gate, one of the two entrances into Dubrovnik Old Town. From here, your expert guide will lead you through the narrow streets of this UNESCO-protected area, focussing on the must-see parts of the Old Town. Your guide will provide fascinating and entertaining details about the city and everyday life in Dubrovnik and you'll have plenty of opportunities to ask lots of questions.
Once you've finished your tour it's time for supper in Dubrovnik - we can recommend somewhere wonderful depending on what you fancy for the evening. Once you're done indulging, take the shuttle bus back to your hotel and enjoy a restful night ahead of tomorrow's sailing escapade.
Day 11: Sailing the Elaphiti Islands
Enjoy a light breakfast this morning before you start your day at sea, sailing around Dubrovnik's city walls and the nearby Elaphiti Islands. Climb aboard a private boat from Dubrovnik port and sail to the most beautiful islands in the Dubrovnik archipelago. Enjoy a panoramic view of the walled city, swim from sandy beaches and gorge on local cuisine. You'll return back to Dubrovnik in the late afternoon and in time for pre-dinner drinks and a bite to eat, or you can head back to your hotel to relax.
- Kayaking instead of boating around the Elaphiti Islands. Kayaking is easy to pick up and a lovely way to explore the coves and caves on these pretty islands
Day 12: Head for Home
Sadly your active holiday to Croatia and Montenegro is over and it's time to head home. Jump in your car for the 35-minute drive to the airport where you'll drop off your rental car before catching your flight home. Despite the long flight, you'll be landing the same day, as you pass through timezones on your way home.
Arran and Charlotte H are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.