When you mention Lovćen National Park, many people just think of the Njegoš Mausoleum. Foreigners also like to visit the village of Njeguši and to drive the famous panorama road with 25 serpentines down to Kotor. But Lovćen National Park has much more to offer. In spring, when the pastures are covered with colorful flowers; or in summer, when the forests are full of people who want to escape the high temperatures; but also in autumn, when the beautiful yellow and dark-red colors of the beech forests illuminate the narrow road and the bright autumn days enable spectacular views from the old road to the Krstač pass, high above the coast.
I would like to recommend you 5 things you should not miss when visiting Lovćen National Park. Take your time, the Park offers so many natural and cultural attractions!
1. Recreation: Visit Ivanova Korita, the heart of the National Park. Interesting natural and cultural exhibits can be found in the exhibition area of the Visitor Center. Take your children to the Adventure Park with seven acrobatic trails. Have lunch in one of the restaurants, eat “priganice” (a kind of donuts) or just enjoy your picnic at one of the wooden tables and benches in the forest. Do you want to stay longer? Spend the night in “Ivanov Konak” or in the new hotel “Monte Rosa”!
2. Hiking: Make one of the signposted and marked hiking tours in the surroundings. Most of them start in Ivanova Korita. We made a short tour to the village of Dolovi, where old stone houses, ruins and green land plots divided by stone walls form a harmonious entity. But there is also a 6.8 km long educational trail, the Wolf Trail, which is intended for outdoor education.
3. Culture: A visit of the Njegoš Mausoleum is a must! This monumental complex on the top of Jezerski Vrh was built in honor of the Montenegrin prince-bishop and poet Petar II Petrović Njegoš. Park your car and climb the 461 chunky concrete steps lining the tunnel that runs through the mountain. Visit the atrium and the crypt, and continue to the rotunda behind the Mausoleum; you will be awarded with a spectacular view. If you are lucky and the day is bright, you can even see Boka Kotorska with the tiny islands in front of Perast, and, at the same time, the village of Njeguši, situated on a green plateau surrounded by pine trees. On the opposite side appears Skadar Lake and far away you can even see the mountains in the northern part of Montenegro: Durmitor, Komovi and Prokletije.
4. Nature/adventure: If you want to travel “off the beaten path”, keep right at the first junction when you return from the Mausoleum: there is a narrow road (signpost: Kotor/Njeguši) leading along the coast to the Krstač pass above Kotor. This is a rather unknown asphalt trail that offers magnificent views of Boka Kotorska. Along this road, which is, in my opinion, a first-class tourist attraction, somebody has built a stone terrace in the form of a “guvno” (threshing floor) at a panorama point from where you can see the whole Bay, including the Bay of Tivat. There are no signposts at this place, you can park your car on the gravel besides the road near the signpost “Panorama – 150 m” – which was obviously put there by the nearby cafe owner. But take care: the road is narrow and full of potholes – and the abyss is deep …. You leave the National Park at the Krstač Pass where you can follow the road to Kotor (left) or return to Njeguši (right).
5. Gastronomy: The village of Njeguši with its old stone houses is well-known for its prosciutto and cheese. Other specialties of the area are kastradina (smoked mutton) and sausages. The specific taste and aroma of the smoked specialties is conditioned by the mixture of the mountain and sea air in this area. Medovina (mead) is a special traditional drink, made of honey, that was already produced by the early Slavs in this area. There are several houses and restaurants where you can buy (or eat) these delicious specialties.
It is also interesting to visit one of the places where ham is smoked by a special technique. By the way, Njeguši is the birth place of the famous ruler and poet Njegoš. His birth house is a museum and can be visited.
Lovćen National Park is not far from Podgorica (37 km) and certainly not far from the coast. It is a wonderful place to visit in all seasons!