One of the most spectacular drives hidden in Montenegro

Head to Mount Lovcen now…

A route so spectacular, it will extract involuntary Confucianist soundbites, celebrating undying love for roads. Because its paradise found, sprawled before your eyes for miles and miles, as you ascend 1000 meters above sea level up Mount Lovcen from Montenegro’s bay-facing capital Kotor. Yeah, you’re probably juggling reflexive philosophical mutterings with overwhelming emotions of gratitude. But concentrate on keeping those blinkers glued to the window pane. Panorama after panorama unfolds.

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The uphill journey with unbelievably divine views is just less than two hours, but its memory will outlive its short duration by far. The azure Adriatic far below will sparkle like a turquoise topaz nestled between dark craggy cliffs that stretch into the distance till they fade into nothingness. Little red roofs speckling the bed of velveteen emerald green will sunbathe in the glow of the sun. Spirits will lift, poetic rhymes will form, hands will be held and hearts will soar with each curve on the heavenly road over Montenegro and the Kotor Bay.

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Hearts will soar, yes. And hearts will also sink. Miraculously, at the same time! Because of 25 dizzying, hair-raising, gut-wrenching hairpin bends. You may encounter a vehicle from the opposite direction, and the road being so narrow, your bus will back up. While you side up precariously close to the edge of the cliff, you may hear heartbeats (let alone pins drop) in the bus! Like our guide, maybe yours will attempt to lighten the solemn mood in the bus by narrating the joke of a driver and a priest, who reached the gates of heaven to find that admittance for just one. She will go on to reveal why the driver was finally chosen over the priest…because drivers have more power to influence prayers than priests! (Out with it, aren’t you praying earnestly right now?)

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Gaze far into the distance below and notice the“M” shaped road. There is a legend to it. Apparently, the engineer assigned to build the road was in love with the Montenegrin king’s wife Milena. Possibly the most humungous initial anyone scrawled anywhere on earth! This unrequited love story may shift the theme of the ride from spine-chilling to romance. Finally, with the last of the hairpins behind you, breathing will stabilise and you will silently bless the driver for his finesse. Deep valleys will transform into a wide plateau surrounded by the protected wilderness of Lovćen National Park. New landscapes.

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The inevitable stop will be Njegusi, an old mountain village famous for prosciutto ham and home to just 50 stone houses. No prizes for guessing the recommended lunch. A simple delicious ham-and-cheese sandwich in the unpretentious ambience of a rustic log-hut eatery with a blazing fireplace. Perch on the sturdy benches outside sipping a drink or a coffee, trying to detect the balance of fresh mountain and sea air, responsible for the characteristic taste of the smoked specialties of the region.  Then browse in the stalls around for local produce of the region…pick from cheese, prosciutto, honey, rakija, hand-woven mats and souvenirs. Stroll around the charming stone houses. Chase cats. Race with hens. This is life up here. Sense it.

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Visit the modest home of Montenegro’s most important ruler, celebrated hero and statesman, Petar Petrovic Njegoš’. Then take a slight detour to the top of the second highest peak, Jezerski to reach the Njegos Mausoleum, designed by famed sculptor, Ivan Mestrovic.  461 steps lead to an uninterrupted view of the entire country. A marble tomb. A nine-meter high chapel covered with 2,00,000 gold-plated mosaic tiles. No drama. Only tranquility.

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njegos mausoleum lovcen
Courtesy: Wikipedia

Later, as you ride away through Lovcen National Park, let your eyes work overtime again. Become a bird. Spread your mind’s wings. Absorb the raw wilderness of the rocky Dinara Alps. Drink in the red and gold vibrance of the autumn. Drown in the overflowing abundance of flora and fauna. Sink into the valleys and the meadows. Fly over the snow-capped peaks in the distance. Feel the ceaseless spectacles of nature numb your brain. Scan the cars parked outside roadside restaurants that announce hearty mountain food. People brave that treacherous road for food? Or treat themselves for having risked their lives? Either way, its worth it!

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Spectacular drive to Mount Lovcen, Montenegro


84 thoughts on “One of the most spectacular drives hidden in Montenegro

  1. This drive sounds like pure magic. The landscapes are indeed breathtaking and pack enough beauty to make a poet of an illiterate person. The fact that there are several hair pin bends infuse an element of thrill and adventure into the romance of things.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This reminds me of rides in the Himalayas. Love the way you described every hair raising scene on the hair pin bends. Love that yellowish tinge in the air. So bright and colorful. Ham and cheese and a drink sounds perfect after this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I do love a good road trip! Your beautiful descriptions make me want to jump on a plane to Montenegro SO FAST! I think that the letter “M” inscribed in street/asphalt is super romantic and would be a beast to drive!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Road Trips are a really great thing to visit a country. And Discovering the delicious local treat is always a part of our vacation too. I really love your writing, is is very poetic and lovely to read.


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  5. I would have a hard time keeping my eyes on the road for sure. In fact, sometimes my wife has to drive because I get distracted by beautiful scenery like this. I would have to take a lot of stops for photos and to take it all in. Stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I havent been to Montenegro yet but I want to do a road trip. It looks like a beautiful country to explore. I so want to check out the rugged coastline. Loving the photos on this post, beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This looks like the kind of place we’d love to self-drive, as the views do indeed look spectacular, as you have said. And it looks like a charming place to visit, I know I’d like to learn more of the culture and cuisine.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Picturesque road trip but whoa! Montenegro sure has a lot of bendy roads and would have been exhausting to drive around. Last time I had rakija provided a very unpleasant hangover! The local produce in Njegusi town sounds well worth the visit to enjoy cheese, prosciutto and honey.

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  9. I remember that drive very well, the views were great, spectacular. I spent all the drive watching backwards to the sea and I ended throwing up almost everything I had in my body behind a tree. I missed the ham at Njegusi but in my condition probably I would not have appreciated it, lol

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  10. Woooow — Montenegro has not really been on my radar, but this is gorgeous! I’ve got to check in out in person. My favorite detail is the “M” shape because the engineer was supposedly in love with the king’s wife, Milena! Now that’s a grand romantic gesture.

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  11. That is one spectacular drive indeed. I love the green landscapes and the zig zag roads. Plus, the structures and houses look like it’s taken out of a movie set!

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  12. We did this drive up from Kotor last fall and it was amazing. The views of the Bay of Kotor were great, though fair warning to anyone who gets motion sickness: those hairpin corners can take a toll!

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  13. Amazing! I’ve never been to a lookout point from which I could see a whole country before – it’s a mind-blowing concept to someone like me from a massive country like Australia!!! Your description of the physical reactions during the hairpin-bend-hell made me laugh – even more when I thought how much more heart-stoppingly scary the downhill trek would be 😀

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  14. Love your writing style, it really makes the reader feel as though we are right there with you! And your driver sounds like a bit of a joker – I might steal the joke about the driver and the priest! I hope to make it to Montenegro to witness all this beauty with my own eyes.

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  15. Loved reading this post and the photos has given me ideas about doing a trip to Montenegro very soon. The rugged coastline has always appealed to me but you went inland and the landscape looks stunning 🙂

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  16. I’ve been hearing a lot lately about the beauty of Montenegro – and the route to Mount Lovcen looks stunning – the country truly is a hidden European gem in terms of natural beauty. The hairpin bends look quite exhilarating – definitely a way to get your heart racing – adventure in itself! A ham-and-cheese sandwich in a local village at the end of the drive sounds perfect. Another road trip to add to my list!

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  17. I loved this article. I would love to visit Montenegro and yes, it has been on my list for quite a while, even before it got so popular in the last couple years. The description of your trip has made me want to visit it even more. The story about the ‘M” road is funny, but I would love to experience that drive as well.

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  18. Your words and pictures are incredible. We always look for a beautiful way to explore a location, this will be added to our trip to Montenegro. Thank you for feeding my imagination with your story! The M in the road is quite a masterpiece for a unrequited lover!

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  19. I haven’t driven myself, but was driven by a taxi driver/tour guide who was from there and just wanted to show off his amazing country. It was well worth the drive. Montenegro is a really stunning place. I’d say more people should check it out, but then I don’t want more people to check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. This is a very interesting drive, I’ve read very little about Montenegro and nothing of the mountains drives. It must be nerve racking coming up against those trucks on narrow lanes. It looks very picturesque, I’d take so many photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Well driving through these roads would absolutely make me feel like James Bond, should I have a car to match the stature :).
    I never knew Montenegro had mountain roads, but now that I know, seems like its time to start the European adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

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