Day 1 - Arrival and Orientation
Riding: No riding.
Depending on your arrival time, you may have time to explore some of 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 “Buregdzinica” dotted around the city. Prices are very reasonable compared to most European cities.
Late afternoon, at a central point, you will be met and transferred to the Vucke ski centre in the mountains near Niksic. After settling into your rooms you will meet for a ride briefing and 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: Vucje ski centre - twin rooms with private bathrooms.
Day 2 - Exploring the Konjsko (“Horse”) Region
Riding: 4 - 5 hours
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 c. 4-5 hours riding, you return to the Vucje complex, where you can 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: circa 25 km - mostly fixed route, some small alterations possible.
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 3 - Krnovo and the Bijela River Valley:
Riding: 5 - 6 hours
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 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 farmers live and work in the same manner as they have for centuries. 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 their own dairy and meat-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: circa 30km - mostly fixed route, some extensions and small alterations possible within the loop.
Terrain: primarily grass roads, macadam roads. 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 4 - Vojnik in Krusevice to the Kravica - A Ride on top of the World
Riding: 5 hours
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 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: circa 25km - 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 twin accommodation and private bathrooms.
Day 5 - Malinnsko, Strug and the Javorje, "where in winter, the wolves dance"
Riding: 6 - 7 hours
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 slopes. Your landscape is dominated by mountain of the same name, as well as the Lola, 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 you can enjoy comfortable Vucje before a family style dinner in the restaurant with lovely fireplace.
Ride length: c. 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 6 - Vucje to Lukovica, Exploring the High Plateaus
Riding: 4 - 6 hours
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" (summer shepherds village) nestled between majestic mountain ranges.
After a picnic lunch break and weather permitting, you re-saddle the horses and ride up to the glacial Kapitanovo jezero ("Captain'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 you can 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: circa 25km - flexible route
Terrain: primarily grass roads, macadam roads, some forest paths
Accommodation: "My Dream" chalet in Mala 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 7 - Katun Mala Lukovica to Vucje
Riding: 4 - 5 hours
After breakfast you will be descending from Mala Lukovica. 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-campground 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 sweetness. 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: 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 8 - Farewell
Riding: No riding.
After breakfast you transfer to the Aria hotel near the Podgorica airport where 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.
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.