The Mountains of Montenegro riding holiday in Montenegro - Far and Ride
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The Mountains of Montenegro, Montenegro




Programmes


• Legends of the Wolf

 

Horses



Type of horses:

Local horses of mixed breeding, including Montenegrin Mountain horses, Shagya Arabs and Polish/Russian Arabs

Nature of horses:

Montenegrin Mountain horses are small but extremely strong and sure-footed as well as being willing and friendly.

Height of horses:

13.2hh - 15.3hh

Weight limit:

90kg

Tack type:

English style trail or trekking saddles and snaffle bridles.

 

Travel Advice



Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.
 

Ride Description

Montenegro (meaning Black Mountain) was once part of Yugoslavia but gained independence in 2006. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea and is bordered by Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania. Its capital and largest city is Podgorica while Cetinje is designated as the Old Royal Capital.

Montenegro is stunningly beautiful and remarkably diverse. The frenzy of the beach culture on the coastline abruptly gives way to an untamed interior where wolves and bears still roam the dark mountain forests which gave Montenegro its name. Only 625,000 people live in this up-and-coming adventure destination which holds some of the most rugged terrain in Europe. High mountains with limestone peaks, canyons, glacial lakes, plateaus and vast forests are packed into an area approximately the size of The Bahamas! But the wild, and at times harsh beauty of the landscape are in direct contrast to the warm hospitality of its inhabitants.

Our rides in Montenegro explore both the north and south mountains. The north is characterised by hidden mountain lakes and rugged landscapes with striking stone formations; high plateau summer pastures with seemingly endless rolling hills; ancient forests and valleys with roaring rivers where sheepdogs stand watch over their vulnerable charges - the north is still a rugged and wild land which is yet to submit to man.

The south contains Old Royal Montenegro which with its millennium-old trading routes and strategic military location between warring empires holds a fascinating and complex history. The fiercely independent population of this nearly impregnable mountainous territory was divided into factious clans led by military chieftains and united under a Vladika (Prince-Bishop). The Petrovic clan of the Njegos region held the post for many years and their mark remains in almost every village and hamlet you ride through. Until the 1960's many villages were only reachable by horse or on foot and even today horses still play an important role. Many local families still produce their own wine, honey, cheese, ham and brandy and this is a region where time has stood still and visitors are still rare.

Our partners in Montenegro are licenced riding instructors as well as tour guides and speak both English and at least two other languages. They know the mountains well and will impart their knowledge as you ride.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Accommodation varies from rustic mountain-huts with bunkbeds and solar showers, through simple bungalows which sleep 2-3 people and have private bathrooms, to comfortable hotels with spa and pool. It also depends which itinerary you choose.

When you are in remote and rural locations you stay in the best accommodation that is available, but closer to civilisation the accommodation improves. Often you will be riding in places where few foreign tourists venture, consequently there are no markets or shops, no bars, cafes or souvenir vendors.

You should be willing to share as single rooms cannot be guaranteed, however, single rooms may be possible on some nights. If you wish to have a single room then the single supplement is payable locally dependent on availability.

When in the remote north most of the meat, vegetables, fruits and dairy products you encounter will have been raised, grown and/or produced by your hosts.

A typical breakfast would include fresh bread, cheese and cured meats, omelettes and fruit.

On the riding days you will likely have a packed lunch which would include a sandwich (perhaps prosciutto and local cheese on a pitta-type bread) and fruit together with juice/water and perhaps some sweets.

Dinners are hearty and varied. Starters would include cured meats and cheeses or a hot soup. Mains would be grilled or slow-cooked meats with vegetables and salads and fresh bread.

Vegetarians can be accommodated but only if notified in advance.

 

Activities

You visit a number of interesting sites along the route, including the Ostrog monastery and the Bay of Kotor. You also get to visit Cetinje - the historical centre of Montenegro.

After riding each day there may be time to take a short walk if you wish to stretch your legs.

It is not possible to accept non-riders on this trail.

 

Further Details

Languages: English, German

Health requirements: Good general health and physical fitness is required as you are riding in remote mountainous locations.

Age limit: Riders must be 16 years or older except by special arrangement. Riders under 18 require written parental permission in accordance with Montenegro law.

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation; full board from lunch or dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day; riding; English speaking guide for riding and non-riding tours; luggage transportation; airport transfers ('Mountains of Montenegro' programme only).

Not included: Flights; airport transfers (depends on programme); drinks; tipping; single supplement (where applicable); airport transfers ('Legends of the Wolf' programme only).

 

Travel Information

Direct flights are available to Podgorica with RyanAir from London Stansted and also TUI Airways from Gatwick, but availability depends on times and days of the week. It is now also possible to fly from Gatwick or Manchester into Tivat with easyJet. Please enquire for details on flying into/out of other regional airports (Dubrovnik or Tirana).

TRANSFER COSTS:

'Mountains of Montenegro': Podgorica airport transfers are included in the programme price. Tivat airport transfers €70 EUR per vehicle (1-3 pax), per direction.

'Legends of the Wolf': Podgorica airport transfers €10 EUR per vehicle (1-3 pax) on arrival, €20 EUR per vehicle (1-3 pax) on departure. Tivat airport transfers €80 EUR per vehicle (1-3 pax).

If you plan to extend your time in Montenegro, please ask us as our partner travel agency on the ground there can help with additional transfers/activities.

Airport: Podgorica

Alternative Airport: Tivat

 

Programmes


Legends of the Wolf



Planned Itinerary -this is an adventure ride and whilst the below is 'Plan A', you should be prepared for the unexpected! 

Day One - Arrival and Orientation:

Depending on your arrival time, after the short transfer from the airport you can spend some time exploring Montenegro’s capital city of Podgorica. The highlights of this small city can easily be seen in a few hours on foot. If you feel like a snack, try one of the many cafes and restaurants in the city centre or pick up a “burek” or “pita” (both are filo pastry filled with cheese, meat, or spinach) from one of the “Buregdžinica” dotted around the city. Prices are very reasonable compared to most European cities.

Late afternoon, at a central point, you will be transferred to the small Mountain Riders’ ranch, where the horses are based between tours. After settling into your rooms at the newly renovated guest house, you will meet for a ride briefing, get to know the horses, and organise your equipment. In the evening your hosts will prepare a bbq or traditional Montenegrin stew accompanied by, for example, roasted vegetables, salads and fresh bread.

Overnight: Mountain Riders guesthouse - twin rooms with private bathrooms.

Day Two - Exploring the Konjsko (“Horse”) Region:

After breakfast you will transfer to the start of your adventure at Vucje Tourist Complex (rather than a resort, it is more like a “Hotel Garni”, or “Bed & Breakfast” in the northern mountains over Niksic. Saddle the horses and ride out through the dark forest and into the wide-open high plateaus. Grassy paths crisscross the high summer pastures bordered by the majestic Lukovo mountains.

You trek up and over the Durkovo Brdo mountain range. Experience the Montenegrin farming culture that has remained unchanged for centuries in the plains known as Konjsko (“of the horse”). Climbing up through the forest, you take a lunch break in a glade. The afternoon’s ride brings a mix of forest paths winding their way between mountains, and grassy paths on gently rolling hills.

After a total of 4 or 5 hours’ ride, you return to the Vucje complex.

After the ride: Relax, take a walk, catch up on reading, enjoy the afternoon sun with a drink on the terrace or enjoy the warm fireplace if more appropriate for the weather. Family style dinner in the Vucje restaurant. 

Overnight in twin rooms with private bathrooms. The horses sleep in the nearby fields of the hotel.

Ride length: 4-5 hours, circa 25 km – mostly fixed route, some small alterations possible.

Accommodation: Vucje

Terrain: primarily grass roads, macadam roads. Some forest and steep paths may require leading the horses (dependent on footing conditions). Some asphalt if your guide extends the ride.

Day Three - Krnovo and the Bijela River Valley:

This is a day to marvel at the diversity of the Montenegrin landscape. Within a few kilometers your path takes you from long canter paths on deserted high plateaus, down through a dark forest and into a fertile protected valley with fairytale waterfalls and traditional farmsteads.

After breakfast, an hours’ ride through the forest brings you to the rolling hills of the high plateau, dominated by the Krnovo mountain range. Enjoy a brisk morning canter along the grassy roads of the Krnovo Polje until reaching the mountain pass down into the Bijela valley. After a challenging, steep and rocky descent into the valley, you pass through a forest and emerge in Gornja Bijela, where you enjoy a picnic lunch at the beautiful Crnjak waterfall with its picturesque old stone mill. Continuing along the breathtaking valley, your varied path takes you through traditional farming country, orchards, forests, and small settlements. You lead the horses down a final steep descent to “Vojnik,” a small complex built in a traditional style. This “etno village” is comprised of stone and wood bungalows and a main restaurant serving dairy-based specialties of the region such as skorup, cicvaru, and kačamak; slow-roasted vegetables, and often fresh trout from the small local fishery.

Ride length: 6 hours, circa 30-35 km – mostly fixed route, some extensions and small alterations possible within the loop.

Terrain: primarily grass roads, macadam roads. Several stream crossings. Some forest paths may require leading the horses (dependent on footing conditions). Limited stretches of asphalt through the villages.

Accommodation: Etno Village Vojnik (Twin accommodation in comfortable bungalows. Most bungalows have a bed downstairs and several beds upstairs. All bungalows have a private bathroom.)

Day Four - Vojnik in Krusevice to the Kravica - A Ride on top of the World:

You begin the day's journey with a steep descent through a forest to the Bijela river. Fording the river by the fishery, you then make your way up the opposite side of the valley, where you travel along a quiet country road skirting the side of the mountain. You then follow a macadam road further up to the almost deserted hilltop region. This unique area of high meadows is bordered by three rivers, each flowing 500 meters below. The elevated location provides stunning views over the neighbouring Durmitor, Sinjavina and Drobnjaci mountain ranges.  Your trail is grassy and forested in turn, with some macadam roads and steep climbs. You enjoy a picnic lunch in a grassy field on the edge of the forest. In the afternoon, you explore the hills. As the day winds down, you descend towards the region of Malinsko and towards the village of Strug (population in the winter: 6), where the few fiercely proud residents make their living in a traditional northern Montenegrin way: tending cattle and sheep, curing meat and making cheese. You leave the horses in the care of a local family in their summer "katun" (summer shepherds' village), and transfer to your overnight accommodation in the village of Poscenje or Bijela. Traditional Montenegrin dinner. If you stay in Poscenje, it is possible to stop at a small market to get snacks and necessities en route.

Ride Length: 5 hours, circa 30km - mostly fixed route, some small alterations possible within the loop.

Terrain: primarily grass roads, macadam roads. One 3km quiet stretch of asphalt as you skirt a mountain range.

Accommodation: Poscenje: twin accommodation in bungalows with private bathrooms. Most bungalow have beds upstairs and one bed or sofa bed downstairs. In Bijela newly constructed rooms in a private home with twim accommodation and private bathrooms.

Day Five - Malinnsko, Strug and the Javorje, "where in winter, the wolves dance":

After breakfast you transfer back up to high pastures of the Kravica. There you saddle the horses and continue your visit to this region of unspoiled nature: beautiful mountains, clean air and lush meadows. Only the enormous mountain dogs snoozing in the shade hint at the long, dangerous winters where wolves and foxes roam freely. Your trail follows grassy or macadam roads and is open, with some steep climbs. You enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the peaks of the Sinjajevina mountains before entering the Javorje region. This is an area largely unexplored and unpublished on tourist maps, with numerous mountain ridges, river valleys and pronounced vertical sloped. Your landscape is dominated by mountain of the same name, as well as the Lol Kapa Moracka and Djavo Lukavice mountains. Patches of snow can linger until July. You continue the day's ride on long canter paths crisscrossing the largely uninhabited Krnovo region until you again cross through the dark forest, returning to the Vucje tourist complex for dinner and overnight.

After the ride: Enjoy comfortable Vucje. Family style dinner in the restaurant with lovely fireplace.

Ride length: 5-6 hours circa 30-38km mostly fixed route, some extensions and small alterations possible.

Accommodation: Overnight in twin rooms with private bathrooms.

Terrain: Macadam roads, canter stretches on grass roads.

Day Six - Vucje to Lukovica, Exploring the High Plateaus:

After a hearty breakfast you saddle the horses, riding out on grass and macadam paths as you make your way across the rolling high plains towards the imposing Babji Zub (Grandmother's teeth - 2277m). Your path then takes you up through karst formations until you reach your lunch spot and eventual day's destination of Mala Lukovica, a "katun" nestled between majestic mountain ranges. After an extended lunch break, you re-saddle the horses and ride up to the glacial Kapitanovo jezero ("Captin's Lake"). The horses drink and graze while you watch the daily routine of the shepherds who make their summer home around the lake. Descending from the lake, you return to the round chalet in Mala Lukovica.

After the ride: Take a walk around the settlement; try to distinguish between sheepdog and sheep; climb a tricky rock path to the "hidden" village of your hosts' ancestors (for centuries, Montenegrins hid from an endless wave of invading soldiers in the rocky hills, building stone refuges for themselves and their animals). Enjoy a home-cooked northern Montenegrin dinner and overnight at a round wooden house perched on a mountain, "My Dream." Your host has spent years collecting local legends from this and neighbouring settlements and loves to spend his evenings sharing his stories with his guests.

Ride Length: 4-6 hours, circa 30km - flexible route

Terrain: primarily grass roads, macadam roads, some forest paths

Accommodation: "My Dream" chalet in Lukovica (5 twin, 1 double room, all with small private bathroom). Solar power for light and water - no heat in the rooms, mobile phone reception available on a nearby hill only. If it is cold, you usually all end up in the kitchen around the wood-burning oven until it is time for bed!

Day Seven - Katun Mala Lukovica to Vucje:

After breakfast you will be descending from the high Katun and you will pass through a protected valley and into a region of seemingly endless rolling grassy hills. Through the day, you will pass small katuns where farmers carry on the traditions of their ancestors. You will break for a relaxing lunch at the local farm/eco-campgroup in a small glade in the Katun of Lucica. All ingredients (potatoes, sausage, grilled vegetables, salads) are grown or raised on the premises, without chemicals. The owner's wife collects wild berries and fruits to make pomegranate, quince and rosehip juice - she mixes these with organically grown apple, carrot and beet juice for sweeteners. After lunch you have a few exhilarating canters and your final descent through the dark forest brings you back to Vucje.  

After loading the horses for the trip home you then transfer back to the Mountain Riders ranch near Podgorica. En route, visit the Ostrog monastery, arguably the most culturally important religious site in the former Yugoslav area. The 17th century monastery is dedicated to Saint Basil, whose body is visited by Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics and Muslims alike. You may well pass pilgrims making their way up the mountain path barefoot or on their knees. Respectful clothing (no shorts, covered shoulders) is required. Back at the Mountain Riders ranch, you will enjoy a farewell dinner and party (drinks included) and you stay at the guest house.

Ride Length: 4-6 hours, circa 25km - flexible route

Terrain: Primarily grass roads, macadam roads and some forest paths

Accommodation: Mountain Riders guest house (twin rooms with private bathrooms)

Day Eight - Farewell:

After breakfast you transfer to the Aria hotel near the Podgorica airport were you can relax around the pool and outdoor bar/restaurant until your flight (if you are departing from Tivat, your transfer will be arranged at a suitable time). Guests with a later departure can choose an optional excursion (at your own expense) to the lakeside village of Virpazar, in Lake Skadar National Park, and engage in a variety of lake-based activities such as a boat ride or kayaking. You can also add extra days at the coast. If you would like either of these additional activities to be arranged please talk to us at your time of booking.



Accommodation: Full board accommodation, starting with dinner on arrival day and ending with breakfast on departure day. Packed lunch for all rides, one planned cooked lunch at Eco Campground.
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: You need to be at least an intermediate/advanced rider who is secure in the saddle at all paces. At times you will also have to dismount and lead your horse on some steep, rocky or slippery sections of the trail, including river fords with potentially slippery footing. Some days are faster than others and the pace is largely determined by the terrain.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 8 days/7 nights/6 days of riding
Departure dates: Dates for 2020:

24th May to 31st May, 7th June to 14th June, 21st June to 28th June, 5th July to 12th July, 19th July to 26th July, 2nd August to 9th August, 16th August to 23rd August, 30th August to 6th September, 13th September to 20th September, 27th September to 4th October.
 
Pricing: 2020:

£1196 per person sharing

Single rooms are generally not available. If a single room is possible and wished for then a single supplement of €20 EUR per night is to be paid in cash on-site. You may still need to share a bathroom.


Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.