At Undiscovered Balkans, responsible tourism has been the backbone of our business since we started up in Montenegro in 2008. As the first tour operator in the region dedicated 100% to ‘sustainable travel’, our focus has always been creating small group adventures over longer stays, offering activities which are low impact on the environment – like hiking and kayaking – but high impact in experience and cultural connection!

The Balkans’ stunning national parks are fragile and endangered treasures in countries that are developing faster than they can legislate to protect their natural assets. Together with you, our guests, we are able to pioneer a better way of doing tourism, boosting rural economies through ‘slow travel’, spending days not hours in a single destination, and encouraging local people towards more sustainable tourism practices which are low or no carbon, support nature and tradition and celebrate locally-made food and products such as wine and honey. As such, we are proud to be the founder member of the Responsible Travel movement in Montenegro, as well as members of Adventure Travel Trade Association and on our way to becoming Travelife certified for sustainability best practice.

Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency: In January 2020, we joined leaders in our industry in signing a declaration of a climate emergency and committing to five actions to work towards carbon neutral tourism. Scroll down to read more about Tourism Declares and our climate actions.

Our Responsible Business Pledge: Undiscovered Balkans is committed to operating high quality adventures in which our guests have a positive impact on the places and communities they visit. We proactively support local conservation, tradition, culture and people. It is up to us to lead by example, demonstrating that a responsible travel model makes good business sense, creates better experiences for tourists and locals and offers a sustainable future for tourism in national parks across the Balkans.

Book to Give Back – every booking sparks a donation to our chosen local environmental and community causes!


Supporting pelican & bird conservation
The rare Dalmatian Pelican is the emblem of Lake Skadar National Park, where we began our business, but it is a bird in peril. We donate a proportion of our company profits each year to the NGOs helping its vulnerable colony flourish, which means every tour booked with us helps the pelicans. Our funds helped the Skadar Lake Dalmatian Pelican Conservation Project to conduct essential repairs to artificial nesting rafts ahead of the 2018 and 2019 breeding seasons and complete a project to replace old solar units for video monitoring. In 2023, our donation will support CZIP, the Montenegrin NGO leading pelican conservation as well as the fight for many other critical species. Read more here.



Save Skadar Lake campaign
As part of the Save Skadar Lake campaign, we helped publicise and promote a petition and social media campaign to fight the construction of two large luxury resorts in an untouched area of Skadar Lake National Park. As a result of this campaign, in December 2019, the Bern Convention, Europe’s nature watchdog opened a case file to ensure that instead of building, the site concerned is conserved as a top level nature protection zone. The file remains open, but for now, the diggers are halted and Lake Skadar, a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance and candidate ‘Emerald’ site for Europe, is protected for its wildlife and future generations. Read more here.



Climate emergency
In January 2020 we signed an industry-wide declaration of a climate emergency, TourismDeclares, and committed to five positive actions: (1) Develop a ‘Climate Emergency Plan’, (2) Share commitment and progress publicly, (3) Cut carbon emissions, (4) Work together with our industry, and (5) Advocate for change. We have always kept a close eye on our carbon emissions and have already been doing a good job, focusing on tours with low or no carbon activities like hiking and kayaking, longer stays, locally-sourced food and reducing carbon emissions at our accommodation with LED lights, fans instead of AC, harvested rainwater and providing a zero-mile breakfast basket. We now proactively recommend train travel and include information on our website and in our trip notes to make it easier. Recognising that most will still fly, we encourage our guests to make an offset with ClimateCare, global experts in this field.


Local area clean-ups
Each year we arrange & support regular clean-ups in our local area, Virpazar – we even campaigned for and succeeded in getting the first ever waste bins and collection services for some of our local villages back in 2016! In 2019, together with friends, we decided to spread our desire for a clean Montenegro nationwide, co-founding OcistiME! (CleanME!), a movement to inspire citizen and government action. Through social media like Facebook, we report on and celebrate the citizen heroes arranging clean-ups and we’ve also launched a petition to ban single use plastic bags in Montenegro and do more – please sign it!

Our petition –


Filtered water bottles
We have always been committed to minimising the negative environmental impact of our guests, who often ask about bottled water as a safe drinking source. We and all our Tour Leaders have been using filter bottles for years, so now we’ve upped the ante and entered into an amazing partnership with Water-to-Go to provide branded water bottles to all our guests at seriously advantageous prices! Using code UB15, you can get 15% off the price of an Undiscovered Balkans “Active” bottle – just click on this link!

Each bottle is made with 100% recyclable, earth friendly materials and the filters themselves are biodegradable as well as removing 99.99% of waterborne bacteria and parasites. Better for you, better for the environment, and given how long the filters last, also better for your wallet!


Supporting the community
When tourism involves the community, everyone benefits. Unlike many tour operators who are focused on profit for themselves, we are committed to boosting local economies where we run tours. ‘Going local’ is how we achieve this: employing and training local guides, choosing local partners for accommodation and tours who are small and often family-run, encouraging ‘slow travel’ so guests stay days, not hours, in a single destination and by taking our guests to local homes to dine, taste and buy locally-made honey, wine and other domestic produce. The benefits are not just economic but cultural too, fostering pride and value in maintaining local traditions – from bee-keeping and carp or ham-smoking, to wine-making, fishing and cottage farming. We also provide guests with a Travellers’ Code of Conduct.



Tara Kayak Fest
For years now we have provided sponsorship for Kayak Fest Tara, a fun, nature-based event which aims to raise environmental awareness & protect wild rivers in Montenegro. The festival has helped bring together activists from across the region for the Montenegrin leg of the Balkan River Defence. This inspiring gathering of music, culture and paddling is organised by our amazing guide, Gigo, who when he is less busy also runs our kayaking holidays across Lake Skadar and into Albania!




Zero Waste Montenegro
Developing countries are doing their best but still have some way to go when it comes to waste management and awareness levels on recycling and reducing disposable plastics. As such, we are proud to be sponsors of a new and much-needed campaign called Zero Waste Montenegro. Current projects include campaigning for a ban on plastic bags, raising awareness of recycling centres and bringing to market the first reusable bags made of recycled materials for Montenegrin consumers. Read more here.


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