Lovćen may be one of Montenegro's smaller National Parks, but it still has a lot to offer with some good walking and amazing views.
Located near the coast in the triangle formed by the towns of Cetinje, Kotor and Budva, Lovćen comprises two peaks, the lower of which – Jezerski (1657m) – is accessible on foot. Jezerski is the site of the mausoleum of Petar II Petrović Njegoš, and as a road leads almost all the way from Cetinje to the summit, most arrive after just a short walk from the car park.
But there are plenty of other paths for walkers to enjoy, both in the National Park and along the coast – especially for those who like a variety of walking, as coastal paths and beaches, tougher mountain hikes or gentle explorations of historic towns like Budva (one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic) or the medieval maze of fortified Kotor are all pretty easily reached. And, if that is not enough, the nearby Orjen massif offers further mountain-walking opportunities.
The summits surrounding the Bay of Kotor rise to around 1600m, and their proximity to the sea gives rise to some superb scenery. With steep cliffs and mountains rising almost sheer out of the water, there is plenty of drama on offer and stunning views of what is considered Europe’s most southerly fjord.
A short way inland is the old capital of Cetinje (670m) nestling beneath Lovćen mountain. Summer conditions are warm and dry, and the cooler air of altitude is a pleasant relief from the sizzling coastal temperatures. But that spectacular coastal geography means winter is notoriously wet, with intense, heavy rains, and Cetinje is reputedly one of the wettest towns in Europe. Rumour has it that it once rained for 27 consecutive days.
Our only visit was on a wet November day. We arrived by coach, looking for lunch. Faced with the prospect of either a mid-day meal or a deluge of biblical proportions, many stayed on board. I can’t now recall the meal, but I clearly remember sloshing through streets running kerb-deep in rainwater, head bowed against the downpour.
Don’t let this deter you, though. On our first visit to Montenegro around a decade ago, we walked for a week in the area, both along the coast and up into the nearby hills and mountains, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Besides Lovćen and Cetinje, we visited the towns of Budva and Kotor, walked along the coast near Sveti Stephan and hiked up into the hills overlooking Kotor and Budva. The area is good for a mixed walking break, offering both tough and relaxing options, the views were varied but always spectacular, and considering we visited in mid-November we experienced pleasant weather conditions.
History buffs, city-breakers and beach-goers are all well catered for, besides walkers. So, if you want a break with a bit of variety, a few days on the Budva Riviera could be just the ticket.