Montenegro and Croatia | Highlights of the Adriatic Coast
Trek through sweeping mountain ranges, untamed forests, and cobalt blue waters.
"The countryside is spectacular, unspoiled, and uncrowded. Like Switzerland before it was tamed. Rugged mountains arising out of the Adriatic. Fiords and ancient coastal villages. The Tara River, with its steep canyon walls. An unforgettable night at the Eco Katun, sitting outside by the fire and seeing billions of stars. Plus it was fun to hike again with Kenny, and to hike for the first time with Terese."- Don Ware
Secluded beaches, rocky coves, and limestone outcroppings
Excursions to unique islands
Visit Dubrovnik, famous location for King's Landing in Game of Thrones
Climb both islands highest summits
Ryder-Walker’s journey along the Dalmatian Coast is an incredible experience visiting the best of the two countries. Starting in the mountains of Montenegro, you will get to explore Montenegro’s world famous national park before continuing towards the coast. While traveling along the coast you will get to experience both the liveliest coastal villages of Montenegro and Croatia while taking excursions out to unique islands.
Our hiking adventure begins in Montenegro’s National Park Lovćen, where we ascend to a high plateau to enjoy a view of the deeper Montenegro wilderness. From here, we descend to the coast visiting medieval villages along the way. Overnight in Kotor, one of Montenegro’s historic ports, overlooking the open waters of the Adriatic. Kotor itself also has a delightful medieval charm and an abundance of historic architecture. The next day, we travel to the Vrmac peninsula to ascend towards one of the most iconic views of the Adriatic and Dalmatian Coast. We return by boat to Kotor itself, before preparing to explore Croatia!
On route to Croatia by vehicle, we will stop in Dubrovnik, famously the shooting location for King’s Landing in Game of Thrones. To this day, an afternoon in Dubrovnik feels like a journey into the past. From Dubrovnik, a ferry takes us to our highlights of Croatia, which include overnights on the Isle of Korčula and the Isle of Hvar, where we have the unique opportunity to climb to both islands highest summits. This next section will remind you of Odysseys’s journey across the Adriatic as we move from forgotten island to forgotten island.
Hiking in Montenegro is quite adventurous, although our highlights itinerary has a more moderate take on seeing the country. All the same, many parts of Montenegro and to a lesser extent Croatia can feel quite wild and remote and involve hiking on singletrack trails, rocky forests, and mountainous terrain. In Croatia, the hiking becomes more island focused, where (weather permitting) we climb to the high summits of the islands — which fortunately when compared to the mainland aren’t laboriously high.
Travel to Podgorica, Montenegro’s beautiful capital. Transfer to Budva by shuttle or taxi. Meet the group and guide(s) for welcome drinks and dinner at our hotel in the old town section of Budva.
Today we drive through Cetinje, a former capital of Montenegro, to Lovćen National Park. For the locals, Mount Lovćen is a holy mountain nestled within the Dinaric Alps. Our hike makes a loop with truly captivating views as we climb through the park. The trail leads up through beautiful limestone and into a cool pine forest before cresting out on a high plateau. We descend on a well-built, old Austrian road to the Bay of Kotor. Next we stop in Njeguši, a historical village. Overnight in Kotor.
Distance: 7 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 1300 ft.
Today we hike in the Vrmac peninsula up to the local summit for truly stunning views of the bay. The steep, limestone cliffs of Mt. Lovćen cover more than 4000 vertical feet before plunging into the narrow inlet of the glimmering Adriatic Sea. Here the 1000-foot-wide Strait of Verige connects the narrow coastal inlet of Kotor to an outer bay of Tivat, creating a perfect natural shelter. We take a boat ride back into Kotor. Distance: 6-8 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2100 ft
After a leisurely morning we leave Montenegro and venture into Croatia. It’s an easy, beautiful two-hour drive along the Adriatic coast with several border crossings. The two countries, once part of former Yugoslavia, are culturally very similar. There is time to visit the famous walled city of Dubrovnik before we embark of on a two-hour ferry to Korčula.
This medieval walled port town could not be more charismatic or filled with history. Many places claim Marco Polo as one of their own, but when you arrive in Korčula, there is no doubt that this is his birthplace. A short ferry to the Pelješac peninsula, famous for its vineyards. The village of Orebić sets us up for one of the best coastal hikes in Dalmatia. The hike takes in the summit of Sveti Ilija and its grand panorama before descending back to the village on ancient paths past churches, vineyards, and villas.
Distance: 8 miles. Elevation gain: up to 3000 ft.
More Island hopping today as we embark on a one-hour transfer by ferry to Hvar, Croatia’s island paradise. Today we explore Hvar’s interior, which hides abandoned hamlets, vineyards, and the lavender fields that the island is famous for. In the afternoon, explore the 16th century Spanjola Fortress, overlooking the old Hvar Town.
Distance: 5 miles. Elevation gain: up to 1500 ft.
A quick water-taxi brings us to the island’s southern part. Starting from a beautiful seaside village, we aim for Hvar’s highest summit, Sveti Nikola, which is roughly 2000 feet high. It is a scenic hike with views of the nearby islands. Following our hike, we enjoy a 50-minute ferry ride to Split.
Distance: 6 miles. Elevation gain: up to 2100 ft.