Discover Biogradska Gora National Park. Everything you need to know about visiting one of Europe’s last virgin forests. What to do, where to stay, how to get there and much more!
Biogradska Gora National Park makes for a great day trip from Podgorica or a relaxing stopover as part of a round-Montenegro itinerary. Aside from the national park, there are lots of natural and cultural attractions in the area that you can add to your itinerary.
And while Durmitor National Park gets the most of tourist attraction in Montenegro’s mountainous north, because it’s a shorter drive from the coast, Biogradska Gora competes solidly on scenery and offers a less-crowded experience.
About Biogradska Gora National Park
Biogradska Gora National Park is the smallest of Montenegro’s five national parks, but it packs a lot into its 5,650 hectares.
The rainforest, which covers 1,600 hectares of the park, is one of only three remaining virgin forests left in Europe, and trees in the forest are up to 60m tall and 400 years old.
Despite its size, it’s rich in biodiversity with 2,000 plant species, 200 bird species, 80 species of butterfly, 350 insect species as well as mammals like wolves, bears, foxes, deer, squirrels and dormice.
The park’s existence is largely thanks to Montenegro’s King Nikola I, who, after liberating the area from Ottoman Turks in 1878, admired the area’s beauty. That was enough for the locals to give it to him and he, in turn, gave it protection. In 1952 Biogradska Gora officially became a national park.
NEED TO KNOW
Best time to visit: May to October
Biogradska Gora entrance fee: €3 per person. Children up to 7 years go free
Things to Do in Biogradska Gora National Park
WALK AROUND LAKE BIOGRAD
Lake Biograd’s emerald green waters surrounded by forest were the spark for King Nikola’s admiration, and not much has changed today.
When you drive into the park you’ll follow the gently winding road through the forest until you come to the parking area next to the lake. You can park here for free. This is the gateway to the rest of the park and where you should start your exploration.
Lake Biograd is the biggest and most accessible of the six glacier lakes in the park and there’s an easy 3.5km walk around the lake. Along the way you’ll find signposts with information about the park and the plants and animals that are found there.
LAKE BIOGRAD BOATS
You can also hire boats from the hut next to the lake and row out onto the lake. This is a great option for families with kids who are too small to make the 3.5km trek around the lake.
The wooden row boats cost €8 per hour come with life jackets. An hour is just enough time to take a leisurely row around the lake.
Another favourite with families is the tourist train which takes you from the park entrance at Kraljevsko Kolo to Lake Biograd. You can park at the entrance to the park and instead of driving, jump aboard the open-air train and listen to information about the park on the 3.5km journey to the lake. The train ride is free of charge and included with your park entrance fee of €3 per person (children up to 7 years are free).
BIOGRADSKA GORA VISITORS CENTRE
A little back from the lake, in a wooden building, you’ll find the visitors centre, which only takes 10 minutes to visit and is well worth seeing.
Inside you’ll find a room set up with examples of traditional furnishings from this area. In the main part of the centre you’ll find information about the park and the species that live there.
Beside the visitors centre there’s a 21m high lookout where you can get elevated views of the lake and park.
Hours: 9am – 5pm daily, May to October.
BIOGRADSKA GORA NATIONAL PARK HIKING
Biogradska Gora National Park and neighbouring Bjelasica range are fantastic places to do some hiking. There are several hiking trails in the park of varying difficulty. The trails lead to mountain peaks and or glacier lakes, which offer the most stunning scenery.
Hiking this area also gives you the opportunity to visit katuns, which are cultural highlight for visitors in this area. Traditionally, people from this region would bring their livestock to graze in these summer pastures and they’d stay in katuns, small groups of wooden shepherd’s huts.
Now, often retired from their original purpose, the katuns are an excellent way to experience the region’s tradition, culture and awesome hospitality. Staying in a katun is the logical choice if you’re hiking in the area. They’re ideally situated among the hiking trails and offer you the chance to experience the traditional, rustic food and lifestyle.
Book a stay in a katun:
- Etno Selo Kolibe Damjanovic
- Kamp Janketic
- Holiday Home Komovi Katun
- Eco Village Goleš
- Katun Durutovac
To get great views of Biogradska Gora head to these lookouts:
- Crna Glava, 2,139m: views of Pešića Lake and Usurlovačko Lake
- Zekova Glava, 2,117m: views of Pešića Lake and the peaks of Crna Glava, Borova Glava and Cmiljeva Glava
- Bendovac, 1,774: views of Lake Biograd and the katun Dolovi Lalovića
Here are the recommended trails:
LAKE BIOGRAD TO DOLOVI
- Lake Biograd
Time required: 2 hours
BJELOJEVIĆA RIJEKA TO JELOVICA
- Bjelojevića River
- Jarčeve Strane
- Katuni Biogradsko Jezero
- Svatovsko Groblje
- Jusin Brijeg
- Crna Glava
- Pešića Jezero
Length: 35 km
Time required: 8 hours
ŠIŠKA TO KATUN VRANJAK
- Katun Šiška
- Crna Glava
- Zekova Glava
- Katun Vranjak
Length: 18 km
Time required: 4 hours
KOLAŠIN TO KRALJEVO KOLO
- Bakovica Klisura
- Ravni Jeljak
- Biogradska Gora
- Biogradsko Jezero
- Kraljevo Kolo
Length: 7 km
Time required: 3 hours
KOLAŠIN TO CRNA GLAVA
- Basanje Brdo
- Jagnjačarska Bara
- Savina Bara
- Crna Glava
Length: 12 km
Time required: 3 hours
Biogradska Gora National Park Accommodation
The best place to stay near to Biogradska Gora National Park is Kolašin, a town around 20km from the park. Kolašin is the gateway not only to Biogradska Gora, but to Kolašin 1450 ski field so you’ll find lots of accommodation and restaurants there.
The town is busiest during ski season, but is pleasantly busy during the warmer months.
TOP HOTELS NEAR BIOGRADSKA GORA
- Bianca Resort and Spa – a large, four star resort hotel near the centre of Kolašin
- Four Points by Sheraton – a good quality, modern, four start hotel in the centre of Kolašin
- Hotel and Resort Gacka – a rural hotel with lots of activities like horse riding, swimming pool and tennis
SELF-CATERING ACCOMMODATION NEAR BIOGRADSKA GORA
Blue Village Holiday Park
You’ll also find lots of good-quality self-catering accommodation around Kolašin and the national park:
- Stone Lodge – modern stone and wood lodge 1.5km (1mi) from Kolašin
- MM Lodge – comfortable 3-bedroom lodge that sleeps seven people
- Faro di Montagna – a cute nest of wooden chalets on the banks of the river in Kolašin
- Amazing Chalet in Kolašin Montenegro (that’s seriously it’s name) – the perfect chalet for a family
If you like rustic and rural try one of the ethno villages or bungalows where you can stay in a log cabin surrounded by the green, rolling hills this area is known for.
Here are some recommendations:
- Blue Village – holiday park with outdoor pools and rural views
- Art Apartments Minic – unique, mushroom-shaped bungalows
- Biogradska Gora National Park bungalows – if you want to stay inside the national park there are 12 bungalows available for rent around Lake Biograd. You can choose between bungalows that sleep two or three and they cost €10 per person per night. You can rent them at the entrance to the park or at the park ranger hut by the lake
BIOGRADSKA GORA NATIONAL PARK CAMPING
There is a campsite at Kraljevo Kolo, which is the entrance to the park. There’s space there for both tents and mobile homes and the price to camp here is €10 per day.
You can also camp elsewhere in the park. It costs €3 per day to get a permit to camp in a tent in the park and if you want you can hire a tent for €8 per day from the hut next to the lake. A permit to stay in a mobile home in the park costs €10 per day.
It also costs €5 per day for a permit to light a fire and the price includes fire wood.
You need to buy your permits at the park entrance and the park ranger hut by the lake.
Where to Eat
One of the highlights of heading into the mountains and national parks of Montenegro is the food. It’s hearty and unique comfort food that’s just what you need after a day in the wilderness.
There’s a restaurant overlooking the lake a few minutes’ walk from the dock on Lake Biograd. But, comparing to the prices in Kolašin, and even the rest of Montenegro, the prices in the restaurant are expensive: €2.30 for an espresso, €2.40 for a cappuccino and €2.80 for a Coke or juice. If you’ve been used to paying 50 cents for coffee in Kolašin you’ll get sticker shock here.
However, comparing to elsewhere in Europe €2.80-4 for a beer, cider or even whiskey or gin is still pretty cheap and it does come with a great view.
RESTAURANTS IN KOLAŠIN
You’ll find more good restaurants in Kolašin. And since the town isn’t too touristy yet, the prices are very cheap. At a local café in town espresso coffee costs 50 cents and a plate of fries is €1.50.
But, it’s worth spending a little more and visiting two traditional restaurants to try some traditional meals. Local specialties to try here include:
- Layered cheese
- Kajmak – similar to clotted cream
- Buckwheat, barley and cornbread – cornbread (proja) is my favourite
- Lamb sač – slow-roasted under an iron dome results in succulent, falling-off-the-bone meat
- Kačamak – maize porridge
- Cicvara – cornmeal mixed with kajmak
- Pies – thin layers of pastry filled with regional cheese, meat or vegetables
Amanet is a hidden gem about 3km from town. First you’ll be greeted by the resident, snow-white Samoyed who’s only too happy to pose for photos.
The restaurant is a wooden log house decorated with traditional Montenegrin wooden furniture. There’s a range of traditional tools and household items decorating the walls and ceiling beams. In summer you can sit in the huts overlooking the river. The food here is fantastic and very affordable.
Address: Kolasin, Montenegro
Phone: +382 68 140 140
Hours: 8am – 11pm daily
Restoran Vodenica is the old town mill on the banks of the river. People used to gather here to mill their grain.
You head up a flight of creaking stairs to what feels like a baba’s (grandma’s) dining room. And you’ll get food just as comforting as your grandma’s!
The ‘meat in peasant mode’ (that’s literally what it says on the menu) is to die for, as is the homemade bread. You get huge plates of fresh salad and roast potatoes.
If you want to try some traditional specialties go for veal soup, prebranac (beans), kačamak or cicvara (maize or cornmeal porridges), popara (bread cooked with kajmak cheese, butter and milk), roast meat, sausages and kajmak cheese.
Address: Kolasin, Montenegro
Phone: +382 69 241 507
Hours: 7am – 11pm daily
Savardak is about as authentic as it gets. It serves traditional meals in a traditional savardak hut by the Kolašin river. The setting is lovely and it’s great if you’re keen to try some traditional kačamak or cicvara.
This restaurant is generally highly rated but there are some common complaints. The dark, smoky interior, poor service, lack of English and no child-friendly dishes. The kačamak is very good, but beware that it, along with the cicvara and popara, is only available in portions for two at €16 each, so if you’re a couple you can’t take two different dishes to share.
Address: Kolasin, Montenegro
Phone: +382 69 051 264
Hours: 9am – 9pm daily
Getting to Biogradska Gora National Park
The best way to get here is with your own car or a rental car. To get to Biogradska Gora take the E65 along the Tara River and turn off at the blue bridge that’s sign-posted with Biogradska Gora National Park.
Get the local bus from Kolašin or Mojkovac and ask to be let off at the turn off for Biogradska Gora National Park. It’s around an hour’s walk (5km) from the main road to the lake. It’s a 20-30 minute walk to the entrance to the park where you’ll need to pay your €3 entrance fee. This is where the open-air train starts so this will shorten your walk by 3km.
The Bar-Belgrade train stops in Kolašin. You can get out there and either take tour, bus or taxi to the park.