Route 3: Sea and Heights

Total distance: 591.46 km
Max elevation: 1578 m
Min elevation: -2 m
Total climbing: 16872 m

GPS

A labyrinth of sun, rocks and shadows. The little towns that ask: what kind of traveller are you? A lofty mausoleum and a sprinkling of low boats among the water lilies.The largest lake in the Balkans.The largest bird reserve in Europe.The oldest olive tree in the Balkans.

This road begins from the old walls of Herceg-Novi, and then down the coastline eastwards, all the way to the islands of Perast – St. George and Our Lady of the Rock. And then, you will make a turn towards the heights… to see things from above.

Risan

Risan seeks our time, to tell us with its irresistible stone buildings and streets the story of itself and the Boka Bay. At the entrance, there is a short but beautiful avenue of palms.

Kotor – the Host of Boka Bay

The Boka Bay is a maze of sea and land, intricately knit light and shadows dripping down the hill, a spiral of human nature – such as it has always been. To the east of the bay the road turns south from the north and takes us into the farthest corner, where the sea caresses the walls of Kotor. The host and keeper of keys to the Boka Bay, a submarine diving through the deep waters of history, perpetual mower of sea waves and stooped carrier of Mount Lovćen – all of this is the city that manages to cope with at all times, all people, and all earthquakes. And yet every old city in the Bay has a different story. From Kotor we continue to the south side of the Boka Bay, following a road with less traffic that will take us apprehensively under the giant Vrmac, opposite of ancient Perast, and to the other side of Verige strait.

Do not miss Rose

A fishing village in Luštica, a popular artists’ retreat, where there are wonderful old stone houses with balconies that spend the whole day talking to the sea. The access from the intersection is steep and goes downhill for 4 km, the road being 3.5 m wide and up to 10% steep, and at the end of the road there is little place for parking and turning, so that this undertaking is only for small and medium-sized campers, experienced drivers. At the entrance to the village the road stops and you can only continue by foot. In summer it can easily happen that the small parking lot on the site is full, so it is wise to arrive early in the morning (when Rose, after all, at its most beautiful).

The Climb to the Saddle Krstac

An iconic experience in Montenegro – drivers and passengers love to boast that they have passed it. It is because the asphalt road, scratched into the immense wall of Lovćen, serpentine by serpentine, is a small miracle, the result of the perseverance and courage of its builders. Almost every metre of its length is a viewpoint. And yet it is a narrow road, with a slope of up to 11%, and very dense traffic, so it is only suitable for “S” campers.

Lovćen

Both the mountain and the mausoleum of Petar II PetrovićNjegoš (19th century), the spiritual and secular ruler, are symbols of Montenegro. This simply arranged stone building, approached via a path running along the blade of this final ridge, represents an obsession with the sky as the only limit that bravery can accept, celebrated in the songs of rulers and the local gusle players with the words of freedom. From Mt. Lovćen through this great area it is easy to reach IvanovaKorita, the spring of water celebrated in song. In addition to the cold water here there is a hotel, a few restaurants, and even an “adventure park”.

The most beautiful viewpoint

At the saddle Krstac itself you will leave the road that continues to Njeguši and turn right onto a good new asphalt road 3.3 metres wide, where the rise goes up to as much as 8% (again, this is not for L-type campervans). This beautiful road takes us to the heart of Lovćen National Park, and offers us (5 km from the saddle) a very important place: probably the most beautiful viewpoint in all the area.

Cetinje

Founded in the 15th century, the former royal capital and present-day honorary old capital, presents a knot of exceptional historical and cultural heritage of great value. It offers rich beautiful streets with old façades and elegant balconies, a monastery, the royal palace, the Museum of Njegoš and the National Museum, etc. However, what is most interesting and valuable in Cetinje is its inhabitants, particularly talented orators.

Rijeka Crnojevića

A postcard picture, recognizable by the famous Danilo’s Bridge. In order to reach it, you will need to make the right turn seven kilometres from Cetinje, in the village of Ulići, down a road 4.5 m wide. Once during the 19th and early 20th century Rijeka Crnojevića was the largest port, a leading commercial centre of the country and the royal summer residence. Danilov Most was named after Prince DaniloPetrović, who built it in 1853 in memory of his father, Stanko. There is also a single-storey house called “Mostina”, built as an integral part of the bridge and preserved up to the present day. In Rijeka Crnojevića, in Obod, the first book printed in Cyrillic was produced in 1494. In the centre the promenade has been refurbished and now has a few pleasant restaurants and cafés and on the way out there is an intersection to the right, across another bridge, towards Virpazar.

Lake Skadar

From the village of Prevlaka you can enjoy the unique landscape of the large bay of Lake Skadar. The peninsula is your bridge to a wonderful, wild world where you can watch birds for hours, carpets of marsh plants and the stripes of reeds, little islands, land formations… Again one of the top sights in Montenegro, and the best one you can afford of Lake Skadar that is not from a boat. The lake, 44 km long and 14 km wide is the largest lake in the Balkans. The wetland parts belong to the last freshwater marshes, the largest bird reserves in Europe, and the last habitat of Dalmatian Pelicans on our continent. The area of the lake has been a national park since 1983.

Fishermen’s villages

Karuč is a tiny, enchanting fishermen’s village situated in a fantastic position, right in the middle of the backwaters that end there. Karuč is the back of beyond, so you will first need to get back onto the road from Rvaši and then continue along the same on the side of Bobija Hill towards the village of Dodoši. This is a beautiful section, with a lot of great viewpoints over the wide expanse of water, the island of Andrijska Gora and the small adjacent island of Kom, protected by the monastery of the same name. The detour to Karuč and Dodoši is only for small campers, experienced drivers.

Mills

After the turn towards the village of Čukovići, 9.5 km from the bridge you will come to a place from which, on the left and downhill a footpath starts to a place called Mlinovi (Mills) and Poseljani. Mlinovi is the secret treasure of this area. Once in a steep-sided, hidden, narrow valley which quietly goes down to the lake, there were stone mills of which today only the walls and rubble remain (one mill has still been recently reconstructed and used as a holiday home). There is also a remarkable arched stone bridge, numerous terraces and pools and tubs filled and enjoyed by a small river that flows through here. Each terrace and each pool are an invitation have a swim, and the smooth rocks invite to have a rest and to daydream.

The Circuit around the Lake

Down the road from Rijeka Crnojevića you will descend to the charming town of Virpazar, a tourist hub for boat trips and roads around the lake, and a place to find accommodation. The drive along the rim of Mt. Rumija from Virpazar to Ostros and then further on to the ridge on the Albanian border is one of the most remarkable experiences of Montenegro’s nature, only for small campers, experienced drivers. Each kilometre of the road brings us something new: one minute we are near the water, the next on heights that offer us wide horizons. The road is 3.5 m wide, with narrowest points about 3 m wide, and meandering. The slopes are up to 8%. The risky places are usually secured with a fence. Traffic is very sparse.

Lakeside Picnic Site

At 18.7 km from the centre of Virpazar, to the left and downhill there is a turn to the village of DonjiMurići, 3 km away, located on the shore of the lake. The road there is freshly paved but steep in the first half (up to 11%). There is a beautiful sandy beach here surrounded by beautiful trees. On the opposite side there is a little isle called Beška with a monastery of the same name and a church. You only need to arrange for transport by boat with some of the local fishermen. There is a nice restaurant and a chalet. Here groceries and bread are supplied by waiting for mobile food stalls – a van that runs along the coast every morning…

Kostanjica

At the 30-km mark from Virpazar, the road winds through a forest of huge old chestnuts. Collecting and selling chestnuts is normally a traditional branch of the domestic economy in this area. The next village, Kostanjica, was actually named after chestnuts.

Return to the Coastline

From Virpazar, at the crossroads for Sozina Tunnel, you will turn onto the old quiet road to Petrovac that used to be the main road to the sea. The uphill slope is 7% to 9% and downhill slope up to 9%, the road is slippery on rainy days and requires careful driving. From Petrovac you will see a number of tourist landmarks of Montenegro, the Sveti Stefan peninsula, Budva, Jaz Beach, where concerts of big stars are held, Grbalj, Lješevići and at last the fishing village of Bigova. Due to the road width, the section Trsteno – Lješevići – Bigova is not for campers. They can visit the bay of Trsteno and the beach of Ploče (a lot of people, all-day party) and go back to Budva to discover the secret of its popularity.

Ada Bojana

In Ulcinj there is a crossroads where you will turn left towards Ada Bojana. On the wide sandy mouth of the River Bojana you will find a hippie atmosphere, makeshift wooden chalets scattered among the unripe vegetation at the back of the beach, the sprawled bodies of philosophers and artists of various lifestyles that have taken root here, even a smattering of real tourists, and the wind blowing sand on everything. Yet there are serious restaurants here too. There is an excellent opportunity for windsurfing and kite-surfing (including several schools for both activities).

The ancient cities of Bar and Ulcinj

Coming back from Ada, spend at least half of the day on the city walls of Ulcinj and Old Bar, a combination of the Orient and the Mediterranean, fortresses with a rich history. At the entrance to Bar, after the “Kalamper petrol” gas station you will turn into the first street on the right and then, from a local star – a 2000-year-old olive tree, you will go left onto the street Stari put zaUlcinj, and will quickly get to the parking lot below Bar Fortress. In addition to visiting the fort, you will be enchanted by the narrow cobbled streets below it, with souvenir shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs.

The View of the Open Sea

The road from Bar across Rumija towards Virpazar is another nice climb to the heights from which you can see Bar and the open sea towards Italy, as clear as on the palm of your hand. The steepest gradient is 10% and the road is of normal width. Near Virpazar you will have a great view of the beautiful CrmničkoPolje (Crmnica Field), the home of fine wine and dried bleak (a type of fish) that goes best with the wine.

In all towns in Montenegro there are local tourist organisation info centres where you can get additional information and explanations.

Food, Drinks and Souvenirs

Montenegro is rich with sources of fresh, healthy water. To the taste of spring water add the superior taste of the local cuisine. On the roads you will notice signs for paths of wine, cheese and honey, but besides these also do not miss the opportunity to buy food from the hosts. Also try their brandy, mead and of course – great wines. Authentic souvenirs made from wool and wood will be not only memories, but also very useful items.

Types of vehicles

Montenegrin attractive roads are oftenvery narrow, winding and withsignificant slopes. In order to specifythe road conditions for different vehicles,we have defined the following categories:

1. Motorcycles (m)
2. Cars (c)
3. Small camping vehicles (S)
Length up to 5.60 m
Width up to 2.30 m
Height up to 2.70 m
4. Medium-sized camping vehicles (M)
Length up to 7.00 m
Width up to 2.30 m
Height up to 3.50 m
5. Large camping vehicles (L)
Length 7.00 m and more
Width 2.30 m and more
Height 3.50 m and more

Note:

At this point the routes are not recommended forlarge camping vehicles (L) and drivers with noexperience.Different seasons entail a variety of challenges.

Cultural Resources:

1. St Nicholas’ Church, Grahovo
2. Savina Monastery
3. Kotor’s Old Town with ramparts
4. Our Lady of Angels Church
5. Mausoleum of Petar II PetrovićNjegoš
6. Historical Centre of Cetinje
7. ŽabljakCrnojevića
8. Budva’s Old Town
9. Bar’s Old Town
10. Ulcinj’s Old Town

Natural Resources:

1. Biogradska Gora National Park
2. Prokletije National Park
3. Durmitor National Park
4. Lovćen National Park
5. Lake Skadar National Park
6. Bay of Kotor
7. Tivat Salt Marsh
8. Spas Hill
9. Ratac Peninsula
10. Old Ulcinj Island
11. Ada Bojana

Just one part of the natural and culturalheritage of Montenegro along the panoramic roads.

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