The top attraction of the country that delights every traveler is the Prokletije mountains and their most beautiful part on the Montenegrin side – the Grebaje valley. From the article you will learn what this place is and why tourists from all over the world come here. A great review and many interesting locations await you.

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Peaks of the Karanfil mountains in Montenegro in the Prokletije National Park
These are the views that open on the routes in the Prokletije mountains in Montenegro

Prokletije Mountains (or Cursed Mountains): general information

Let’s start with the fact that this is Prokletije National Park, which is located on the territory of two countries: Montenegro and Albania. And this is a cool attraction not only in Montenegro, but also in Albania.

Interesting to know:

There is a legend that the Prokletije Mountains are so named because of their inaccessibility. People could not get here for centuries and there were legends about mythical beasts that attacked everyone who came here. And another version is that the peaks of the mountains resembled the teeth of wild animals. And to emphasize the danger of these places, they were called the Cursed Mountains or Prokletije mountains.
  • Montenegro has 5 national parks
  • Prokletije National Park is the youngest of all: it was established in 2009
  • This is the only national park in the country, which is absolutely free to visit.
  • Coordinates of Prokletije National park: 42.53182433539116, 19.913917996310218
  • It is impossible to get here in winter, everything is covered with 2 meters of snow. The first snow may fall at the end of October.
Prokletije mountains in Montenegro
There are houses like this in the valley, almost every one is rented out for tourists

It is important to understand:

In the Prokletije Mountains, the only leisure activity is hiking to the peaks. There are over 40 of them here. And also visits to glacial lakes, waterfalls. There are no man-made attractions. Only nature and only the mountains.

How to get to Prokletije National Park

Of course, it is best to go here by private or rented car. Roads are excellent everywhere. Even a small regular car can pass. Only the last 5 kilometers in the valley can be a gravel road, but even here any car will pass.

  • There are two roads from Podgorica to the town of Plav, which is located at the foot of the Cursed Mountains
    • 110 km – you can cut off via the local road M9
    • And 170 km – an excellent flat road through Kolasin, Mojkovac and Zaton
    • In both cases, the journey is 3 hours. I recommend a longer road, it is also beautiful and you will not get tired.
from podgorica to cursed mountains
This is the best route from Podgorica – 170 km. It is longer, but safer and quieter for the driver. And in time the same as the short route.

There is also a regular bus on the same route.

And now the information is for those who want to go to the mountains, but they do not have the opportunity to rent a car. This region is not as populous as the coast. There are no major cities here. And public transport is not well developed.

You can get to the Prokletie Mountains by regular bus only to the towns of Plav and Gusinje.

  • Plav is a beautiful town on the shores of Plavsko Lake. Only 13 thousand people live here. There is all the infrastructure, shops, gas station, a wide choice of accommodation. This is where the locals come to fish in the summer. Read more about fishing in Montenegro here.
    • From Plav to the start of trekking routes in the mountains – about 15 km more. If you don’t have a car, the only way to get there is by taxi or hitchhiking.
  • Gusinje. Quite a tiny town for 3,000 people. You can walk around the entire city center in 12 minutes. There is a shop and a tavern that are open all year round.
    • From Gusinje to the start of trekking – about 7 km.

Daily, depending on the month of the year, from 4 to 6 buses run from the main bus station in Podgorica. The route is Podgorica-Plav-Gusinje. Travel time is about 4 hours. The ticket costs 12-13 euros.

Plav and Gusinje bus timetable
Timetable and ticket prices from Podgorica to Gusinje

Accommodation in Plav, Gusinje and the Grebaje valley

Types of accommodation depend on the purpose of your visit to this region of the country. If you don’t need hiking and trekking in the mountains, you want to live near the lake, enjoy the mountain views and drink coffee in a tavern, then go to Plav.

Gusinje is an intermediate option – and I don’t know what a tourist should do here, but there is also an option for accommodation here.

Anyone who travels to the Prokletije mountains for hiking and trekking needs to stop only in the valley. Throughout the park there are numerous chalet houses that are rented out to tourists. They are right at the foot of the mountains. What to know about this:

  • There are no shops here: take all food and drinks with you.
  • Here are the highest prices for accommodation in Montenegro. Accommodation in a very modest house costs from 40€ per night
  • However, a good breakfast is included in the price almost everywhere.
  • There are also taverns where you can dine or have homemade wine.
  • It is very convenient to wake up in the morning, have breakfast, take trekking sticks – and you are already on the route. And from Gusinje and Plav you will still need to go to the start of the route and then return back in the evening.
Grebaje Valley in Montenegro
On our last visit, we stayed in these chalets with a great view. Although the views here at any house are stunning. The end of October, at night it was already minus 2 degrees. In a week or two everything will be covered with snow and the access to the valley will be closed.

It’s important to know:

Both Gusinje and Plav are very small towns. There are no special attractions here. Wooden mosque, fortified house and museum. You can watch all of this in 30 minutes. The only interesting place is Ali Pasha’s springs on the outskirts of Gusinje, but I will write about them below. Therefore, I recommend booking accommodation and going to the Prokletije National Park, and you can visit the springs for half an hour.

And the center of the Cursed Mountains and the most beautiful valley is the Grebaje valley. By the way, there is a wide choice of accommodation for tourists and more cafes and restaurants.

Grebaje Valley and attractions

As I wrote above, the most convenient option is to live in the Grebaje Valley and start your daily hiking routes from here. You can also go by car to the neighboring valleys and see the natural attractions there. Prokletije National Park is very large, and a week is not enough for you to explore everything.

So, the main locations for tourists:

Prokletije National Park Lake Oko Skakavice
Oko Skakavice is a very deep and crystal clear lake
  • Grla waterfall and canyon: 42.52293115581223, 19.84137712670001
  • Ali Pasha springs and abandoned watermill: 42.54998055714473, 19.8246791473819. The place is very cool: the river that starts from nowhere. Dozens of sources every 15 meters beat out of the ground at the base of the mountain and form a river. The spectacle, if not impressive, is quite fascinating.
Ali Pasha Izvori
The springs of Ali Pasha, they are not visible in the photo, but there are dozens, maybe hundreds, and this is the very beginning of the river.

Now a little about the mountain routes. There are many of them, about 40 in the entire Prokletije park. There are more than 10 in the Grebaje Valley. The difficulty varies everywhere, but the standard climb of each route is from 500m to 1000m. All routes are well marked, but you still need a navigator. Any route can be covered in one light day.

trekking routes in the mountains of Prokletije Montenegro
Marked pillars indicating the peaks, the distance in time to them and the height above sea level are located throughout the Prokletije park

Useful:

Download the maps.me or organic maps application in advance and install the Montenegro map. It has a detailed map with all mountain tracks and locations. Both applications are free, both are available for android and iphone. All the peaks from this article and the routes to them are on these maps.

The most popular routes are below:

  • Mount Volušnica: climb 750 meters. Here you can see the whole valley. It took us 5 hours to get up from the Grebaje valley and back down.
  • Panorama of the Grebaje Valley: 42.513947, 19.766214
  • Another observation deck, from here it is literally 200 meters to the neighboring peak and the border with Albania: 42.521355, 19.762448. These are all points with a climb up to 800 meters if you start from the Grebaje valley. Takes about 5-6 hours.
  • Here is another observation deck: the length of the route is only 3.5 km in length and 1050 meters of climb. Here you will learn everything about pain and suffering.
View from the Cursed Mountains in Montenegro
Such a view of the mountains – on almost any route in the Prokletiye mountains

Travel Tips

Here are some tips I can give tourists:

  • Sticks and trekking boots are required. In sneakers, you can easily stumble and hurt your foot.
  • Water, snacks, nuts, chocolate should be taken with you for the whole day. On the routes there are springs with water, but not everywhere.
  • Flashlight and power bank for phone. If it gets dark, you don’t come back and you don’t have a flashlight – that’s too bad.
  • Here in the mountains, the stars and the starry sky are simply insanely beautiful here. There is a chance to practice astrophotography. Below is my personal photo on the iPhone on Mount Volušnica.
  • Do not forget about the local SIM card and the Internet. 4G Internet works in the mountains. It will not only allow you to post photos on Instagram online, but the navigator will work better, and in an emergency you can be contacted.
Prokletije Mountains at night
You can take a photo like this too.
  • There are many more beautiful locations in the mountains in the north of Montenegro. This is not only the Prokletije National Park, there are two more cool national parks, a gorgeous bridge, zipline, rafting, the Sedlo mountain pass, the highest peak in Montenegro Bobotov Kuk and one of the deepest canyons in the world on the Tara River. If you have a car, you should definitely visit these places:
  • Do not forget that in the mountains the temperature is always 10-15 degrees lower than on the coast. Choose clothes according to the weather, a jacket is needed even in summer.

How long does it take to visit the Prokletije Mountains:

I strongly recommend a minimum of 2 nights. I understand that you have come on vacation at sea, but this place is worth it. In the morning you left the coast or Podgorica by car, after lunch you checked in to the Grebaje valley. You had dinner, walked around the valley and went to bed early. And the next morning you go to the mountains for the whole day, dinner and sleep in the evening. The next day, after breakfast, you can go further, visit the Oko Skakavice, Ali Pasha springs and further to new places. This is the minimum comfortable timing for visiting the Prokletije National Park.
Mountains Prokletije or Albanian Alps in Montenegro
The road by car from Gusinje to the Grebaje valley looks like this. And the further the more beautiful.

In conclusion: Cursed Mountains or Prokletije Mountains in Montenegro is a very picturesque attraction. I give this place 10 points out of 10. The views and landscapes here are simply mesmerizing. One of the advantages of this place is that it is not crowded, package tourists almost never get here from the coast, the sea and the beach are more important to them. Those who do not have a car also do not come here, as it takes a long time to get there. But there are many campers with tents, on equipped SUVs and motor homes.


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