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Zabljak, Montenegro: The Perfect Mountain Getaway

  • Post last modified:May 10, 2024
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One of the most underrated countries that we've been to is Montenegro. While those that do travel there stick to the coast, we explored a bit more deeply into a region called Zabljak, Montenegro.

This tiny town is tucked into a stunning mountain range in the north east of the country. With its raw nature and and untouched beauty, it makes for the perfect quiet getaway.

In this article we're going to share the best things to do in Zabljak, the best ways to explore, and other things to know while visiting Zabljak, Montenegro.

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Where is Zabljak Located?

Zabljak is located in the north of Montenegro in the region of the Durmitor Mountain Range. It is the highest town in all of the Balkans.

Montenegro is a small country that is tucked between Croatia to its north, Albania to its south, and Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia around its east.

where is Zabljak Montenegro

Zabljak is all the way in the north east of Montenegro.

How to Reach Zabljak, Montenegro

The first time I visited Zabljak I went by public transportation. I took a local bus from the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica.

What is the Closest Airport to Zabljak?

Podgorica is home to the main airport of the country of Montenegro, and has flights from Athens, Belgrade, Budapest, Dortmund. Istanbul, Krakow, Ljubljana, London, Luxembourg, Lyon, Manchester, Memmingen, Milan, Paris, Pescara, Rome, Vienna, and Warsaw.

Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates to Podgorica.

Search for a flight to Podgorica:

Traveling from Podgorica to Zabljak

While it is possible to reach by public transportation, we truly recommend renting a car, as the drives in the area, and some of the best things to see, can only be done by car.

Rent a car in Podgorica:

However, if you don't feel like renting a car, you can always take the bus, and then do excursions in the area. Just ask your host wherever you are staying and they'll easily be able to get you one (Zabljak is really a small town- so everyone knows everyone).

Zabljak Montenegro wild horses
road to Zabljak Montenegro
Zabljak Montenegro
forest at the black lake

Zabljak is a small town, and can be discovered by car, excursion, or some things on foot.

Entry Requirements for Montenegro

In each article we like to cover a bit of everything. It's important to know entry requirements, especially since there are some very odd rules regarding traveling within the Balkan countries.

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Visa Requirements for Montenegro

Luckily there are little requirements for entering the country of Montenegro. Tourists can visit up to 90 days visa free. Montenegro is not part of the EU, although they are looking to apply.

Covid Entry Requirements for Montenegro

Montenegro no longer has any additional requirements for entry regarding Covid-19. The country is open for all travelers, whether you are vaccinated or not. You will also notice that there are no mask mandates, and it is extremely rare to come by anyone wearing a mask.

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Local Adjustments for Zabljak, Montenegro

Whenever you travel there are things that you might not think of, that may be different from where you are coming from. Here are a few of the local adjustments to keep in mind while traveling to Montenegro.

What Language is Spoken in Zabljak?

The official language in Montenegro is Montenegrin. It is actually pretty much the same as all slavic countries in the area, even though they call it Montenegrin. Countries like Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Croatia all speak almost exactly the same. They might just have a few different words.

What Currency Do They Use in Montenegro?

The currency used in Montenegro is the euro. This is particularly confusing, as they are not part of the European Union. 

While credit card is accepted widely along the coastal towns of Montenegro, Zabljak is a bit different. Being that it is a small mountain town, almost everything is cash based. There are also few ATMs, so it is wise to take out some cash before traveling to Zabljak, Montenegro.

Outlets in Zabljak

Montenegro uses the same plug types as the rest of Europe, which are types C & F. The standard voltage in Montenegro is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.

If you are visiting from the US, make sure to get an energy converter (which is a bit different than just an electrical adapter). This is because the voltage is different.

Is it Ok to Drink Tap Water in Montenegro?

The water in Montenegro is perfectly safe to drink, especially in the mountain town of Zabljak. We suggest bringing a refillable water bottle for hikes and activities around the area.

Tipping Culture in Montenegro

The tipping culture in Montenegro is about 10% of the bill in nice restaurants. If you are going for something small like coffee or a drink, you can simply leave some extra change as a tip.

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Things to Do in Zabljak, Montenegro

While Zabljak may be small, it has plenty of activities to keep you occupied and exploring! Here are the highlights of the best things to do in Zabljak, Montenegro.

Walk Around Black Lake

One of the main highlights of visiting Zabljak is the black lake. From above it looks like two round lakes connected by a small passage, making it kind of like an 8-shape. it is located just outside the main town, about 5-10 minutes depending on where you are staying.

Black Lake, Zabljak Montenegro
Black Lake, Zabljak Montenegro
Black Lake, Zabljak Montenegro

The Black Lake is one of the most popular spots in Zabljak, Montenegro.

You can grab a taxi to visit here, or park in a lot that is just a 10 minute walk from the lake. Entry is 3 euros, and it takes about an hour and 20 minutes to complete. You can also rent a small row boat, or you can chill at the cute restaurant on the lake that has live music.

Whatever you do, this lake is a must for when you visit Zabljak, Montenegro. We didn't see anyone swimming, so bringing a bathing suit shouldn't be necessary. Make sure to bring sneakers though, as the trail can get pretty rocky at times.

Black Lake, Zabljak Montenegro

There are several benches along the path to relax and enjoy the views.

Relax at Snake Lake

This lake is much smaller than Black Lake, and is also right outside the center of Zabljak, about 10-15 minutes away. There is a trail that goes to the other side of this peaceful round lake, and we saw many people relaxing here with beers and music.

Surrounded by giant pine trees, this place feels like a true hidden gem. It is free of charge to enter, and you can park right next to the trail, which takes just a few minutes to walk (despite the sign saying 25 minutes).

There are also a few other trails in the area. We didn't get a chance to do them, but we saw plenty of other people hiking the area, so imagine it to be pretty scenic.

Snake Lake, Zabljak Montenegro

This lesser visited lake is a great place to hang out with friends.

Stop at the Mountain Viewpoints

One of our favorite parts about Zabljak, Montenegro was the beautiful mountains surrounding the area. We loved driving along the roads, our personal favorite being "Prevoj Selo", which winds through a series of mountains. 

Mountain View of Zabljak Montenegro
Mountain views of Zabljak Montenegro
Mountain views, Zabljak Montenegro

There are so many beautiful places to stop and enjoy the views.

Along the side of the road you'll find a few great viewpoints, a couple of them actually having big wooden frames to the photos in.

Sedlo frame, Zabljak Montenegro
frame Zabljak Montenegro

There are a couple of different frames, located right on the side of the road.

Climb Bobotov Kuk

Bobotov Kuk is the the most beautiful mountain in the Zabljak Mountain region, and is definitely one of the best things to do in the area.

This can be a half day to full day trek, depending on which path you'd like to take. If you start in Zabljak, the hike is about 10 hours round trip. However, if you'd like a bit of a shorter hike, you can start in Sedlo instead, which is about 4-5 hours.

Finally, if you'd like a happy medium, and aren't going with a car, you can start in Sedlo, and finish in Zabljak, which is about 7 hours of hiking. Whatever you choose, you'll get to see some seriously stunning views along the way.

Want to sign up for a tour? You can take one from both Zabljak and Podgorica:

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Explore Piva Canyon

The Piva River is bright blue in color, and is surrounded by canyon walls. We didn't see any spots where you could actually swim, but driving around it was simply breath taking. The drive winding around the canyon offered stunning views from whichever side you visit.

There are several viewpoints in the area, and you can simply just look on Google Maps for the small photo icons to find them.

Piva Canyon
Piva Canyon
Piva Canyon, Zabljak Montenegro

Piva Canyon as a ton of beautiful viewpoints.

Try Rafting

Want try some more adventurous activities? Well one of the top things to do in Zabljak is to take a rafting trip. Actually, many excursions include a combo of taking you to some lakes, as well as rafting.

This is the perfect option for someone who wants to have a lot of fun, but doesn't have a car to do so. It runs at 50 euros a person, and is a half day trip.

Want to secure a tour in advance that is more complete? Here are a few other options:

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Go Paragliding 

Another exciting way to experience Zabljak, Montenegro is to see it from above! Paragliding is an exhilarating activity, and Zabljak is definitely a great place to do it. Surrounded by a series of gorgeous mountains, this will definitely be a memory you'll hold with you after visiting Zabljak, Montenegro.

Zipline Over Tara Canyon

Another great thing to do while you're in Zabljak is to check out the beautiful views of Tara Canyon. With a  bridge of arches towering over blue waters, it really is quite the sight.

There is a strip of small kiosks here, a restaurant, hotels, and the best part- a zip line! Fly across the canyon and get the most stunning vistas along the way.

Tara Canyon
bridge Tara Canyon, Montenegro

Tara Canyon has a beautiful bridge going across it.

Take a Trip to Nevidio Canyon

Another hidden gem, and one of the best things to do in Montenegro, is to visit Nevidio canyon. Just an hour outside of Zabljak, it is actually the perfect spot to visit on a day trip, or as a stop if you're visiting the coast of Montenegro before or after Zabljak.

We weren't actually able to visit unfortunately, as we were short on time, but have a friend that lives nearby and recommended it to us.

We hear it can be difficult to navigate, and only should be done with a guide. So speak with a local and add Nevidio Canyon to your Zabljak bucket list!

Here are a few tours that you can take from Zabljak, Niksik, or Kotor:

Local Food & Drink in Zabljak, Montenegro

Zabljak has a different type of cuisine than other areas of Montenegro. While cities like Kotor or Budva specialize in seafood and fresh pastas, Zabljak has a bit of heavier cuisine with a lot of meat, stews, and soups. We went for one of our best meals right in the center of town to a place called Oro, which we definitely recommend.

food in Zabljak, Montenegro
restaurant in Zabljak, Montenegro

Moving Around Zabljak, Montengro

The town of Zabljak itself is very small, and there really isn't a need for any kind of transportation other than walking.

However, the majority of the things to do in Zabljak are actually natural places that surround the town. in which you will need to drive or have someone drive you.

In our opinion, the best way to get around is to rent a car. If you want to see nearby places you can also grab a taxi (we suggest asking a local for a phone number). If you want to spend a full day exploring and don't have a car though, then an excursion will be your best bet.

driving in Zabljak Montenegro
roads Zabljak Montenegro
driving in Zabljak Montenegro

By driving you'll get to have amazing views, and stop whenever you'd like.

We didn't find any car rental agencies inside of Zabljak, so if you are coming from another part of Montenegro, you can check the list of cities in the box below:

road to Zabljak Montenegro

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Where to Stay in Zabljak

Zabljak is a super small town, and there aren't many big hotels to stay in. Most places that you'll find are family run, and everything is pretty close to each other. Most places can only be paid with cash, so don't forget to take out enough euros before getting there. Take a look at the map below to see the different options for places to stay in Zabljak.

Is Zabljak, Montenegro Safe?

Many people have this misconception that all of Eastern Europe is unsafe. Montenegro is a very safe country in general, and Zabljak even more so.

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The town is very small, and the locals are extremely friendly. You can easily walk around at night or solo without having to worry about anything bad happening.

The only thing you should be careful of is driving. The roads are very windy, and sometimes pretty narrow. Also, you may have livestock crossing the road like we encountered.

safety in Zabljak Montenegro

The only thing you might have to be careful of is hitting a cow!

Other Things to Know About Visiting Zabljak, Montenegro

Now that you know the best things to do in Zabljak, Montenegro, and how to get around, here are some other things to keep in mind.

The Best Time to Visit Zabljak, Montenegro

There is something for every season in Zabljak, Montenegro. The first time that I visited was in October, and it was so beautiful, full of color, but it was super rainy. The second time was in summer, when it was warm and sunny.

If you want to see the mountains with a blanket of snow or to go skiing, then winter is a great time to visit. If you'd like to experience the beautiful nature and hiking trails, we suggest summer for the best weather.

Oddly enough, the first time I went in fall the Black Lake appeared much bluer, despite the cloudy weather. Check below to see the difference!

Black Lake autumn
Black lake summer

Zabljak, Montenegro is beautiful in its own way for each season.

Weather & Packing for a Trip to Zabljak, Montenegro

The weather in Zabljak is particularly cooler than the rest of Montenegro, making it very pleasant in the summer, and extremely cold from late fall to early spring.

It is also a very rainy area, so we definitely suggest bringing a small umbrella for your travels. Sneakers are a must, as there is a lot of hiking, and we suggest bringing a swimsuit in case you'd like to go rafting, or swimming in one of the lakes.

rainy Zabljak

Zabljak Montenegro can be very rainy and cold. Make sure to be prepared just in case!

Packing List for Zabljak

Is Zabljak Worth a Visit?

We definitely think Zabljak is worth a visit! While many people stick to the coast of Montenegro, Zabljak has some of the best nature that the country has to offer.

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Zabljak, Montenegro is a true hidden gem. Full of gorgeous mountains and lakes, it really feels like a super underrated area of the Balkans. We went for a weekend, and found it was the perfect amount of time for a little getaway from the more popular beach towns of Montenegro.

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