While many white water meccas are a long-haul flight from the UK, one of the world’s best destinations flows right past Europe’s doorstep in Montenegro. Currently the world’s youngest country, Montenegro deserves recognition from adventure travellers; stunning alpine and fjord scenery and peaks reaching over 2000m are the setting. Couple geography with a rich Slavic culture and a warm summer climate and its no surprise this destination needs to be on the top of the checklist.
The Tara river stretches for almost 150km and has formed the Tara River Gorge, which is the second longest in the world after the Grand Canyon and is 1,300m at its deepest point. After successful World Rafting Championships held on the Tara in 2005 and 2009, more and more enthusiasts are traveling to Montenegro to discover one of the regions best kept secrets. The wild turquoise water ranges in difficulty from Class 3 up to Class 5, providing a challenging and thrilling experience for a trip anywhere between 18-100km in length.
Day trips can be organised from the capital, Podgorica, from a variety of travel agencies. However for a more authentic experience, overnight stays by the river in lodges can be arranged. This includes fantastic national meals as well as cultural evening entertainment and countless ‘toasts of good health’ of shots of Rakija or pints of the local beer: Nikšićko.
English is very well understood and we found that many of the younger Montenegrins are always eager to practice. Montenegro abolished the Cyrillic script previously used during the Yugoslav era and now solely uses a latin script, easing the difficulties of tourists reading and pronouncing places and areas however most restaurants will always provide a menu with an English translation.
When to go
The warm tourist season is from May to September but if you want to raft the Tara when the water is higher and the rapids are a Class 5, then you need to go from April to June. In July temperatures can reach the mid 30s or more. At night the temperatures around the Tara can be between 10 and 20 degrees.
Getting there responsibly
Follow the greentraveller.co.uk journey plan to Bari in on the east coast of the boot of Italy. From Bari take the ferry to Dubrovnik . Tourist infrastructure from from Dubrovnik is underdeveloped and infrequent so factor in a day or two to explore the city and plan your onward transfer to Podgorica.
No VISA: EU, USA, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Australia
VISA required: South Africa
Experience Required: None
Rafting Costs: Depending on a day (3 hour, 18km) trip or a longer (4-5 day, 100km) trip, costs can range from €40 to €250. Inclusive of safety equipment, safety talk (in English), food, shelter and transport. Varies with operator and group size.
Rafting Plus tour operator