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Zabljak Travel Guide: Best Things to Do in Zabljak, Montenegro

Discover the top things to do in Žabljak, Montenegro, from thrilling mountain adventures to serene lake outings in the heart of Durmitor National Park.

Žabljak is the best place to experience Montenegro's dramatic mountain scenery, culture and food, and outdoor adventures.

This modest mountain town is the gateway to Durmitor National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In Žabljak you'll find glacier lakes, see Europe's deepest canyon, go white water rafting, hiking, climbing, scenic drives, history, and more.

At around two and a half hours’ drive from the coast, you can visit this town in Durmitor National Park in a day trip, but there's so much to do here than it's worth spending one or two nights.

On this page, you'll find all the best things to do in Žabljak, places to stay, how to get here and more.

Best Things to Do in Žabljak

1. The Black Lake

Black Lake, Durmitor National ParkThe Black Lake

The Black Lake is the largest of Durmitor National Park's 18 glacial lakes. It's Žabljak most popular attraction and a great place to see this area's scenery.

If you can only see one thing here, make it the Black Lake.

You can walk the 3.5 km (2 mi) educational walking track around the lake. The path is signposted with information boards about the flora and fauna that live in Durmitor and around the lake. There are also several hiking trails that start here.

You can hire row boats and kayaks on the lake, take a picnic, and even swim in the lake. Although, with a summer high of around 18°C (64°F), the lake is still quite cold!

If you don't have a rental car to get to the Black Lake, you can visit on a day tour. This full-day tour to Durmitor and Ostrog Monastery is a great way to see the best of this region. 

Local's Tip: On the short walk to the lake, you'll pass people selling local specialties like honey, herbal teas, traditional fruit brandy, woolen clothing, and cups of wild berries they picked in the park.

These make great souvenirs and buying them helps the local residents who make them. You'll need cash to make purchases here.

You'll also need cash for the national park entrance fee which you pay at the entrance to the Black Lake. It's currently €5 per person.

2. Đjurđevića Tara Bridge

Djurdjevica Tara Bridge, Montenegro

The Tara Canyon is the second-deepest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon and is an absolutely stunning place. The Tara River which runs through the canyon is known as the 'Tear of Europe' because it's so clean.

The best way to see the canyon if you can't raft through it (more on that next) is here at the Đjurđevića Tara Bridge.

Once the highest vehicular concrete arch bridge in the world and wonder of modern engineering, the bridge connects the two sides of the Tara Canyon and gives you stunning views of the canyon and Tara River.

You can walk along the bridge to see the scenery or even zipline across it!

If you have a rental car you can drive to the bridge. Alternatively, you can take a day tour from the coast or one from Podgorica.

3. Rafting in Tara Canyon

Rafting in Tara Canyon, MontenegroRafting in Tara Canyon, Montenegro

Rafting is my favorite way of seeing the Tara Canyon. White water rafting in the Tara Canyon is the most popular adventure activity in Montenegro and you can take a tour from Zabljak

We go rafting every summer and love it every time. The scenery is incredible, it's lots of fun, and the food is fantastic.

If you have the time, I highly recommend rafting through the Tara Canyon!

Local's Tip: White water rafting is a risky sport and people do get injured doing it. Travel insurance that includes medical insurance is absolutely essential for any trip to Montenegro.

In the case of even minor injuries you'll want to get treatment at a private clinic because the public health service is unreliable.

SafetyWing has excellent insurance that covers Montenegro and has affordable add-ons for risky activities like white water rafting and many more. You can check how much travel insurance for your trip is with their easy calculator below.

4. Durmitor Ring

Giant frame framing Mt Prutas photo stop on Sedlo Pass, part of the Durmitor Ring scenic drive

The Durmitor Ring is a stunning 85km circular drive from Žabljak.

This scenic route takes you through the heart of Durmitor National Park to experience this region's best scenery.

The route starts in Žabljak and winds its way along mountainous roads to a village called Trsa and back to Žabljak via the breathtaking Sedlo Pass.

You'll need a rental car with a decent amount of power to drive the mountainous roads of the Durmitor Ring, but the roads are paved so you don't need a 4 x 4. I recommend hiring a car from Localrent because of their huge range of cars, excellent service, and prices that are 4-25% below what you'll find elsewhere.

Another way to see the Sedlo Pass part of the Durmitor Ring is on this e-bike tour of Durmitor National Park.

Find Car Hire Deals in Montenegro

5. Via Ferrata Durmitor

Via Ferrata in Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

The via ferrata near Žabljak is one of only two in Montenegro. I absolutely loved this experience and would recommend to anyone who is looking for something fun to do in Žabljak.

Here is a video of my via ferrata in Durmitor.

Via ferrate in Durmitor is a fantastic way to have some fun, challenge yourself, and enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in Montenegro. You don't need any special training or strength. Even kids as young as 6 can do it!

If this sounds like you, click here to find out more.

6. Canyoning

Canyoning in Montenegro

Not far from Žabljak, Nevidio Canyon, is home to one of the most popular canyoning tours in Montenegro. You start at one entry to the canyon and slide, climb, jump and swim your way to the exit. 

The canyon takes anywhere from 3-5 hours to navigate and it gets rave reviews. This is a must-do if you're a thrill-seeker! I've done several canyoning tours in Montenegro and this one is the most challenging.

You can only go canyoning in Nevidio on a guided tour where you'll have guides and the right equipment. To get to the start point you'll need a rental car

If you don't have a car, you can also book a tour with transport, but it's much more expensive.

7. Stećci

Stecci in Zabljak, Montenegro

Stećci are an interesting phenomenon that you’ll only be able to see in certain areas of the Balkans and two of the best sites to see stećci in Montenegro are near Žabljak.

Stećci are medieval tombstones that are only found in certain parts of Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia. 

They date back to the 12th to 16th centuries and even though they’re being studied, there are still a lot of mysteries surrounding them.

The tombstones above lie in a field overlooking Riblje Lake and are signposted. It's a beautiful natural area. In summer you'll see local people swimming here and in nearby Vražje Lake. It's a great place to bring a picnic!

There's no public transport or tours to the stećci, so you'll need a rental car to get here. Alternatively, you can take an e-bike tour that includes the two lakes, stećci, and the most scenic part of the Durmitor Ring.

8. Hiking

Montenegro Hiking Break

Durmitor National Park is a hiker's dream. There are trails all over the park and there are 18 glacier lakes in the park.

You can do several hikes from Žabljak. There are 11 trails starting from the Black Lake, which is also walking distance from the town center.

The most popular hike in Montenegro, Bobotov Kuk, starts on the Sedlo Pass near Žabljak. Bobotov Kuk is Durmitor's highest peak and Montenegro's second-highest peak at 2,523 m.

You can do this on your own if you're an experienced hiker or take a guide, which is recommended due to the dangerous terrain and changeable weather here.

If you'd like a book a guided hike, I recommend booking with my friends at Montagna, who also run the via ferrata experiences in Durmitor and Kotor. They are the most experienced mountain guides you'll find here and when you book with them through this website you're getting this tour at the local price (currently just €105 per person + tax).

This tour includes:

  • Guided tour (5-7 hours)
  • Pick up and drop off from Žabljak
  • Lunch and drinks
  • National park entrance fee
  • Insurance

You can send an obligation-free enquiry about this tour using the form below.

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

Local's Tip: If you're interested in hiking any trails in Montenegro, I highly recommend The Mountains of Montenegro which is a must have for hiking here.

9. Skiing and Snowboarding

Žabljak is one of the most popular ski resorts in Montenegro. Savin Kuk is a small ski resort with one black, one red and three blue runs as well as a baby run.

You can also go Nordic skiing and snowshoeing here.

If you're interested in skiing or snowboarding in the Balkans, our favorite place is Kopaonik in Serbia. We go every year and love it! 

Weather in Zabljak

  • January: -6.5 – 0.6°C / 20.3 – 30.9°F
  • February: -5.6 – 1.3°C / 21.9 – 34.3°F
  • March: -3 – 4.9°C / 26.6 – 40.8°F
  • April: 0.2 – 8.3°C / 31.6 – 46.9°F
  • May: 4.1 – 13.5°C / 39.4 – 56.3°F
  • June: 7.3 – 16.9°C / 45.1 – 62.4°F
  • July: 9.3 – 19.7°C / 48.7 – 67.5°F
  • August: 9 – 19.7°C / 48.2 – 67.5°F
  • September: 6.5 – 16.5°C / 43.7 – 61.7°F
  • October: 3.2 – 11.6°C / 37.8 – 52.9°F
  • November: -1.1 – 5°C / 30 – 41°F
  • December: -4.4 – 0.9°C / 24.1 – 33.6°F

Zabljak Accommodation

As Zabljak is one of two main ski resorts in Montenegro, you’ll find some great hotel options if you want to stay overnight.

You'll also find  good quality, but not luxury, self-catering accommodation where you'll be able to stretch out and feel at home. Most of these are log cabins.

Because it's traditionally a winter resort, the prices here are cheaper than on the coast in summer and most expensive in winter. 

Zabljak Hotels

Hotel Soa - Best Hotel for Couples

ZabljakHotel Soa's decadent souffle is perfect after a walk around Black Lake

Hotel Soa is the nicest hotel in Zabljak. It's a modern boutique hotel with 18 rooms, just a few minutes' walk from Black Lake. 

It's a lovely quiet area and it's also a 10 minute walk into the town centre.

They have single rooms, suites and family apartments. And they also have free WiFi, free onsite parking and a wellness centre.

The hotel has a very nice restaurant which has indoor seating and an outdoor terrace.

The view over the abandoned hotel opposite isn't the best in Zabljak, but we still go there every time we visit to reward ourselves with one of their chocolate souffles.

Starting at €70 per night

Hotel Polar star - Best Family Hotel

Polar Star is a comfortable and homely hotel, five minutes' drive from Zabljak town centre. 

They have rooms, suites and apartments in the main building. They also have stand alone log cabins which are perfect for families. 

The restaurant serves homestyle Montenegrin mountain food which goes perfectly with the surrounds. There's also a kids' playground and plenty of space for them to run around.

All stays include breakfast, WiFi and onsite parking. You can also upgrade to half or full board and use the wellness centre for a fee.

Starting at €35 per night

Ski Hotel

Ski Hotel is a cosy and friendly hotel close to the town centre and opposite a church and park.

Breakfast is included with all bookings and their restaurant has full size windows which make the most of the mountain scenery that surrounds the hotel. 

You also have free WiFi, free parking and can make use of the wellness centre. This is a well-priced, comfortable hotel in the centre of town.

Starting at €35 per night

Zlatni Bor

This cute and authentic hotel is around 3km from the town centre on the outskirts of town. 

The rooms are modest but clean and comfortable and the restaurants serves excellent Montenegrin mountain meals like spit-roast.

There's free WiFi, free parking and a ski school if you're staying in winter.

And if you're staying outside of summer, you can't beat the restaurant's roaring fire for mountain atmosphere!

Starting at €35 per night

Motel Tara MB

This motel has the best view in Durmitor. Overlooking the Djurdjevica Tara bridge and the surrounding mountains, this is a stunning getaway. 

It's 23km to Zabljak town from here and I can't imagine a more perfect place to recharge your batteries. 

There are just four rooms here and all come with free WiFi and parking. There's also an onsite restaurant with views to die for. There's no air-conditioning, but it doesn't get hot enough here to need it.

Starting at €45 per night

Zabljak Apartments and Self-Catering Accommodation

The self-catering accommodation in Zabljak is more basic than what you'll find on the coast, but at around €15 per person per night, the prices are very reasonable. It's mostly geared towards skiiers and there are a lot of log cabins for rent. 

My favourite apartment accommodation here is Polar Star. The apartments and wooden bungalows are spacious and comfortable and you have an onsite restaurant and playground. Here are some more good self-catering options:

Durmitor Bungalows

What could be more mountain-like than a log cabin? 

Durmitor Bungalows is a group of Montenegrin log cabins that you can rent out. 

The complex has free WiFi and a barbecue area. It's only 1km from town but is set in a classic, rural setting.

Choose from one or three bedroom cottages.

Starting at €35 per night

Sun Village Zabljak

Sun Village has large bungalows that sleep up to 6 people - great for groups.

They're set just 1km from the town centre and although there's no WiFi, there's a basic gym, sauna and games room with table tennis and pool. 

Starting at €65 per night

Apartments Durmitorska Vila

These are modern and comfortable apartments walking distance from the town centre.

Each apartments has two bedrooms and sleeps up to 6. There's free WiFi and free parking onsite too.

This is good basic accommodation close to town. 

Starting at €50 per night

Chalet Dorma Rooms

Chalet Dorma is in the centre of Zabljak, so everything is right on your doorstep. 

The modest, comfortable rooms have kitchenettes and there are plenty of good restaurant options serving traditional Montenegrin mountain cuisine within walking distance. 

The property has ski and bike equipment for hire and can arrange rafting tours.

Starting at €36 per night

Hostel Hiker's Den

Next to Chalet Dorma, Hostel Hiker's Den is run by the same couple. 

The hostel has both dorm and private rooms, and a barbecue and outdoor seating make it a fantastic place to enjoy Zabljak's beautiful mountain atmosphere.

Starting at €9 per night

Search for Accommodation in Zabljak

Booking.com

Zabljak Accommodation Deals

If you're looking for last minute accommodation here, make sure you check Booking.com's deals page.

The closer it is to the date you're booking for, the more deals there'll be but I wouldn't recommend this approach if you've got your heart set on a place - it might just get fully booked! 

Still, this is great tool if you're flexible and looking for a bargain!

Booking.com

Camping

If you want to camp inside the national park you have to buy a camping permit from the visitor's centre for €3. If you'd like to use their campsite it costs €10. 

Zabljak Restaurants

Restoran Koliba

For Montenegrin mountain food and specialties from the Durmitor region, you can't go past Restoran Koliba. This restaurant at the base of Savin Kuk ski lift is the best place for authentic Montenegrin fare - think pies, slow roasted meat, sausages, cheese, hearty soups and more. Their prices are also very reasonable at €2 for soup and meat mains from €6.

Put this place on your list!

See reviews from other customers

Address: Savin Kuk bb, Durmitor National Park
Phone: +382 52 366 599
Hours: 9am - midnight
Prices: €€

Dvoriste

At the other end of the spectrum, there's Dvoriste. I like to call this Montenegrin fusion. A modern take on classic Montenegrin food. People call Dvoriste a hidden gem and you can tell every meal and detail has been crafted with love.

The prices here are a little higher than elsewhere in town, but restaurants are not expensive here anyway and I think it's worth paying a few extra Euros for. 

See reviews from other customers

Address: Jakova Ostoji, Durmitor National Park
Phone: +382 (0)69 978 437
Prices: €€€

Hotel Soa

You saw my chocolate souffle at Hotel Soa above. They also have a contemporary menu of soups, salads, pizzas and meat mains. This restaurant is more modern, where as the majority of restaurants in town are very traditional Montenegrin restaurants. So if you feel like something global, this is your place. 

They also have a lounge bar which is a relaxing place to grab a drink with your significant other, sit by the fire and relax after a day's exploring.

See reviews from other customers

Address: Zabljak bb, Durmitor National Park
Phone: +382 52 360 110
Hours: 7am - 11pm
Prices: €€€

Getting to Zabljak

Airports

There are three airports you can fly into to get to Zabljak:

Podgorica: 133km or a 2 1/2 hour drive
Tivat: 170km or a 3 hour drive
Dubrovnik: 190km or a 3 1/2 hour drive (plus border crossing)

Read More: Flights to Montenegro

Rental Cars and Transfers

If you want to visit Zabljak I recommend hiring a car and driving yourself. It's a lovely drive up there and you'll be able to explore the area under your own steam while you're there. 

One way transfers start from €125.

Read More: Hire a car in Montenegro

Read More: Transfers to Zabljak

Trains

There aren't any train links to Zabljak. The only options for getting there by train would be:

  1. Catch the Belgrade-Bar train and get out at Mojkovac. Catch a local bus, hire a car or take a taxi from Mojkovac to Zabljak.
  2. Catch the train from Podgorica to Niksic and get a bus, hire a car or get a taxi from there to Zabljak.

Bus

There are regular bus links to Zabljak from around Montenegro. The best place to check timetables and plan your route is on Busticket4.me.

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