Thinking about visiting Lovcen National Park in Montenegro on a day trip from Kotor? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know in this short travel guide.
A true gem of the Balkans, Lovcen National Park attracts visitors with its rugged mountains, lush forests, and panoramic vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. Located in the heart of the Dinaric Alps this small national park isn’t far from Kotor Bay. It’s famous for Mount Lovcen, its highest peak, and at its summit the mausoleum of beloved Montenegrin hero Petar II Petrović Njegoš.
Within easy reach from Kotor, Budva, and many other popular towns on the Montenegro coast, Lovcen National Park makes a perfect day trip. Whether you’re after some spectacular hiking and killer views or just to slow down, rent a local cabin and spend time in nature, a trip up here doesn’t disappoint.
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Where is Lovćen National Park?
Lovcen National Park is one of Montenegro’s 5 national parks. You’ll find Lovcen National Park in the south of Montenegro near the popular Adriatic Coast. Situated just a stone’s throw away from the picturesque town of Kotor, Lovćen National Park is a mere 20 kilometers inland, making it a popular day trip.
Nestled in the Dinaric Alps, the park spans an area of around 62 square kilometers, encompassing both the rugged Lovćen mountain range and the surrounding verdant landscapes. The park also has a few villages that sit on its perimeter such as Njeguši and Dubovik as well as the larger town, Cetinje.
When is the Best Time to Visit Lovcen National Park?
The best time to visit Lovcen National Park is in the should season. This includes the spring months of May and June and the autumn months of September and October.
You want to avoid the summer crowds and the heat in July and August, especially if you want to do some of the amazing hikes in the park. Having said that, due to its elevation, the park is much cooler than coastal temperatures in Montenegro during the summer months.
During the winter, Lovcen National Park generally sees significant amounts of snow and many of the roads will close due to ice and snow. Winter months also see freezing temperatures, shorter daylight hours, and shorter park opening hours.
Lovcen National Park Tickets
Entrance to Lovcen National Park costs €2 per person and is charged soon after your drive into the park. This fee only includes entrance into the park.
For the Mausoleum of Petar II Petrovic-Njegos, one of the unmissable highlights of the park, you’ll need to pay another €3 per person at the entrance to the mausoleum.
Tickets can’t be bought online in advance and there is little need to. You can buy all the entrance tickets as you enter the park and the mausoleum.
Lovcen National Park Map
Here’s an overview map of Lovcen National Park with the most iconic spots pinned.
How to Get to Lovćen National Park?
The most convenient way to reach Lovćen National Park is by road by rental car, bus, or organized tour. For a more flexible and personalized experience, renting a car is the best way to go. It allows you to set your own pace and make impromptu stops at charming villages along the way. The road leading to the park is well-maintained, making the drive a pleasant one. As you ascend higher, be prepared for awe-inspiring vistas unfolding before your eyes.
Do note, however, that the serpentine road up to the national park is full of hairpin bends so you’ll need to take things slow.
For the best rental car deals, especially in summer, I always compare rates on Rental Cars and Discover Cars. They always tend to have the best rates and policies online. Check rates with Rental Cars here. Discover Cars here.
Lovcen National Park from Kotor
From Kotor, it takes just one hour to reach the summit of Mount Lovcen. Ok, it will take longer if you include all the photo spots, but you get the point.
The easiest way to visit is via rental car from Kotor and this will give you the most freedom to explore the park at your own pace.
Bus– There is no direct Kotor to Lovcen National Park bus. There’s a public bus that goes from Kotor’s bus station to Cetinje which lies in the valley at the base of Mount Lovcen. Buses cost about €5 and run about 5 times per day in the summer season.
From here you’ll need to hike or continue your trip by taxi into the park. Taxi drivers wait around the bus station in Cetinje and are willing to take you to Njegos Mausoleum for about €20 return.
By Tour– If you don’t want to rent a car, one of the other ways to see Lovcen National Park is on a day tour from Kotor. There are many tours available but I’d advise taking a private or small group tour as you’ll have more flexibility and control over the itinerary.
I highly recommend this Lovcen Tour which includes the highlights of the National Park and a local lunch.
Some other excellent tours include:
The Great Montenegro Tour from Kotor – a private and semi-private tour
Lovcen National Park from Budva
By Car – If you’re traveling from Budva, another popular destination on the Montenegrin Coast, it will also just over an hour to get to the town of Mount Lovcen. The drive is a scenic one so make sure to have your camera ready. You’ll have the choice to go towards Kotor via the hairpin-bend Serpentine Road or around the back of the park through Cetinje.
By Bus– Buses run from Budva to Cetinje a few times per day. The fare costs about €3 each way and you’ll need to continue into the park by taxi.
Tour– Tours are also available from Budva but are more frequent from Kotor. If you’re planning to also visit Kotor, it might be better to organize your tour to Lovcen from there. Pick-up from Budva is available on this all-inclusive Lovcen Tour.
Top Things to Do in Lovcen National Park
Visit the Njegos Mausoleum
In the heart of Mount Lovcen you’ll find the final resting place of Montenegro’s beloved poet and ruler, Petar II Petrović-Njegoš. Hailing from Cetinje, Njegos requested to be buried in the center of Lovcen National Park.
Perched atop Mount Lovćen, this mausoleum offers not only a cultural experience but also breathtaking views from its location. Take the 461 steps to reach the mausoleum and be rewarded with a glimpse into Montenegro’s history, stunning marble sculptures, and an unparalleled vista that stretches for miles.
The best time to visit is during the late afternoon, right before closing time when the golden light hits the mountaintops for miles to see.
Drive the Kotor- Lovcen Serpentine Road
While this might be one of the fastest ways to get to Lovcen National Park from Kotor, the Serpentine Road really is an attraction in itself. With 25 bends, this 8 km road is one of the best ways to get to know the area. The road gets pretty narrow and nail-biting in some sections but it is super fun to drive.
Not only does the road offer some pretty adventurous driving, but the views are also absolutely stunning along the way. You’ll no doubt be stopping every five minutes for photos as there are some epic viewpoints and photo spots along the road.
You won’t find too many views of the Bay of Kotor from Mount Lovcen but driving this road, is a must- it really has some of the best views on Montenegro’s coast.
Hike to the Top of Mount Lovcen
While you can drive to the top to see the mausoleum, a much healthier approach is to hike it. For those up for a challenge, hiking to the top of Mount Lovcen (Jezerski Vrh) is one of the best things to do in Lovcen National Park.
You can hike a loop trail that’ll lead straight up to the summit of Mount Lovcen passing through beautiful meadows, streams, and jagged rocky outcrops. The trail starts and finishes just outside the Ivanova Konak Hotel and is about 9km long.
Visit Njeguši Village
While not quite in the park itself, Njeguši is a gorgeous local, Montenegrin village which sits right on the park’s border. The village is famous for its cured meats and cheese which are shipped all over the country.
The village is also known for its traditional stone houses and warm hospitality and you’ll be able to walk its quaint little streets and get familiar with the local culture and its delicacies.
Visit Cetinje Monastery
While technically not within the park boundaries, a visit to Lovćen National Park is a great opportunity to also visit the nearby Cetinje Monastery. This iconic Serbian Orthodox monastery showcases stunning architecture, religious artifacts, and captivating murals.
Take a moment for culture in the midst of your outdoor experience to absorb the serene ambiance and delve into the religious and historical significance of this sacred site.
Lovcen National Park Hiking
Hiking is one of the best things to do in Lovcen National Park and the park is full of hiking trails for all abilities. Due to the park’s small size, most hikes can be completed in a day or even just a couple of hours leaving you with more time for other activities.
When hiking be sure to set off with plenty of water and food and make sure to wear appropriate hiking boots.
Loop Trail to Jezerski Vrh (Mount Lovcen)
One of the most popular hikes is to the top of Mount Lovcen or Jezerski Vrh. The hike starts at Ivanova Konak Hotel and loops up and back around again to the Njegos Mausoleum. The total hike is about 9km with an elevation gain of 400+ meters making it a moderate to difficult hike.
There are over 2000 different plant species in Lovcen National Park and you’ll be able to see many of them as you hike. The trail is well-signposted and it’s difficult to get lost.
Loop Trail to Kuk
Another popular hike this one starts here, at Ivanova Korita, and will take you to Katun Kuk, one of the best viewpoints in the entire park. If it’s hiking views you’re after then this is the trail for you.
The hike is 14 km and takes about 4-5 hours to complete. Make sure to start out very early when hiking in the summer as the trail has little shade.
Kotor to Jezerski Vrh
For those that really want to make a full day of it, you can actually hike from Kotor to Lovcen Montenegro. Start the hike from the Ladder of Kotor and keep ascending all the way to Jezerski Vrh and the site of Njegos Mausoleum. The trail does have quite a steep and constant ascent so you’ll need a bit of stamina for this one.
Where to Stay
Most travelers stay in Kotor or Budva and visit Lovcen for the day but there are some good accommodation options both in the Lovcen National Park as well as in the town of Cetinje. Here are some of our top picks.
Hotel Ivanov Konak- A 4-star hotel full of Montenegrin mountain charm, expect good service, traditional, spacious rooms, and a brilliant location right in the middle of the park. This is probably the best hotel option in the park. Check rates and availability here.
Breeze Home Cottage– Perfect for those wanting to escape, this A-frame wooden cabin in the middle of the National Park is surrounded by meadows and forests. It’s the ideal rental to get you off the beaten path for a couple of nights to purely enjoy nature. With traditional Montenegrin cabin design it’ll make you feel right at home. Check rates and availability here.
Hotel Monte Rosa– another great hotel option right on the park’s perimeter. Make sure to grab a room with stunning mountain views. Check rates and availability here.
Where to Eat
There aren’t too many places to eat in Lovcen National Park. Many hotels have their own restaurants and you’ll find more options outside the park in Cetinje and Njeguši. If you’re looking for more food quality and experience over just somewhere average to eat make sure to head into Cetinje or Njeguši rather than eating in the park itself.
If you are hiking make sure to bring all the food and water you need with you for the duration of the hike. This is especially important outside the high summer season when many restaurants will have already closed for the season.
Vladika restoran – A popular restaurant at the summit of Mount Lovcen near the Njegos Mausoleum. They serve many different local foods like soups, kebabs, and desserts and the views from the terrace are gorgeous.
Hotel Ivanov Konak – The restaurant inside this hotel is another option when it comes to eating. Food is traditional, local, and good.
Restaurant Bastadur– Located in Njeguši village, this restaurant is one of the best in the area. Ideal for trying some traditional Montenegrin food that’s tasty, affordable, and good quality.
Kole Restaurant– A brilliant local restaurant in the heart of Cetinje. It serves traditional Montenegrin cuisine in a warm atmosphere. There are many meat and fish options that showcase the flavors of the region. Make sure not to miss it if you find yourself in Cetinje.
Ready to visit Lovcen National Park? Let me know your questions and comments below, I’d love to hear from you.
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