Hiking in Montenegro: this trail comes top for remote wilderness
A hiker stands on a massive karst rock plateau on Maganik mountain in Montenegro

Our new tour leader Nenad loves getting off the beaten track whenever he’s hiking in Montenegro, the stunning country from where he hails. The more remote the location, the more likely he is to be exploring it! We asked him about some possible new additions to our Montenegro walking holiday. He’s come up with something pretty amazing – the mountain of Maganik in central Montenegro; a place seldom visited by Montenegrins, let alone tourists!

Nenad writes:

“Undiscovered Balkans is about travelling where only a select few people have ever been. If it is accessible only by foot, so much the better! If I had to make a list of the most spectacular locations for hiking in Montenegro, though, at the very top I would put a place with the highest level of wilderness; somewhere special that you would never find without local knowledge – like Maganik.

An unreal landscape | Tresteni Vrh, Mt Maganik

I’d always been curious about Tresteni Vrh. It’s a legendary rock massif on Mount Maganik, better known to foreign speleologists than local hikers, but notorious in our country as the site of a tragic plane crash in 1973. To reach it, you have to travel to the heart of the stunning Moraca canyon in Montenegro’s mid-line of mountains.

The day I went there to explore, we left our motorbike at a shepherd’s “katun” hut with two goals – ascend the highest peak, then descend to the plateau I’d heard was filled with hundreds of spectacular natural rock sculptures.

An Empire of Karst

Tresteni Vrh is not one of those classic sharp mountain peaks. Its landscape is totally unreal – more like the backdrop to a video game where a huge plateau of karst rock opens up to gigantic, deep cracks and fissures, some of which lead to caves to explore.

Looking into the abyss | Tresteni Vrh, Mt Maganik

On this day, I’m climbing with my friend Željko, who’s spent ten years exploring this region. He’s an experienced alpinist, guide and mountain rescuer, so I know I’m in good hands.

Taking careful footsteps

First, we climb Medjedji Vrh, the highest peak of the massif which looms around 200m above Tresteni Vrh. After a fortifying breakfast, we start the steep decent into the the rocky valley below, going slowly and carefully, until we’re swallowed by the cracks as we explore. It’s the kind of landscape that makes kids of every adult. Of course you have to take care playing in such an environment – after all, some cracks are hundreds of metres deep – so hiking on Maganik is only recommended to experienced hikers who are used to more challenging terrain and careful footsteps.

Head for heights required | Tresteni Vrh, Mt Maganik

At this time of year (autumn), we have to be careful of the weather, too, when hiking in Montenegro. After a couple of hours, we see that the clouds which have followed us all day have darkened, so it’s time to head back before heavy rain hands us one challenge too many.

Despite being a location so remote that in the last few decades, Maganik has had more visitors from foreign speleology clubs than hikers from Montenegro, it only takes an hour and a half to drive here from our capital, Podgorica. This is the advantage of living in a small country that is full of wonders!

Traditional shepherd’s katun | Mt Maganik

A small country full of wonders

And if your ears perked up at the mention of speleology, I have tell you that caving is something pretty special here too – Montenegro is, after all, one of only 18 countries in the world that has registered caves deeper than 1000m. Nearby Tresteni Vrh is one such monster, Željezna Jama, which bottoms out at a scarily deep 1162m, the deepest one in Montenegro. Maybe we will cover these amazing places in a future blog!

Maganik isn’t part of our Montenegro walking holiday itinerary – yet. But if the group are experienced hikers, I might just take you!”

Discover the magic of our Montenegro Walking Holiday here – and have a look at our other offers hiking in Montenegro here. 


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