Exploring Biogradska Gora National Park in Montenegro
Biogradska Gora National Park in Northern Montenegro provides epic nature views and adventure options. One of three remaining rainforests in Europe, it has diverse flora and fauna. The signature site of the park is Biogradska Gora Lake. This glacial lake reflects the forests, mountains, and skies providing excellent views for nature lovers and photographers. Capture it on a clear day. But also note this is the most visited site in the park as buses and cars pull into this point. Start hiking and the number of people will drop quickly.
Glacial Lakes in Biogradska Gora
This national park boasts several glacial lakes. The most famous of these is the namesake of the park. When entering the park through the main entrance, this glacial lake provides a dramatic scenic view. This is a highlight for photographers especially when the trees adopt their fall colors in October.
There are other glacial lakes definitely worth checking out. Other glacial lakes include Šiško, Mali Šiško, Ursulovačko, Pešica, and Ševarina Lakes.
These lakes range in size and features. The lakes that we recommend observing if pressed for time include Biogradska Gora Jezero, Šiško Jezero, and Ursulovačko Jezero. And for sure Pesica Jezero as some would call it the prettiest lake in the park.
Biodiversity in Biogradska Gora National Park
Biogradska Gora National Park is one of three remaining large primeval (virgin) forests in Europe. Primeval forests are forests that have remained mostly untouched by human modernization, and researchers have reported that Biogradska Gora National Park specifically possesses a high degree of preservation. In the space of 54 square kilometers, Biogradska Gora contains 26 distinct plant habitats with 220 species of plant, including 86 types of trees. The forest area is made up mostly of beech, fir, and spruce trees with other species intermixed between them.
Besides plants, Biogradksa Gora National Park also shows significant diversity among the animals that dwell within its borders. A report for mammalian life in 2014 reported the park contains about 37 different species of mammals, with most observed mammals being wild boar, otter, deer, different species of rodents, and bats. Biogradska Gora also contains 150 species of birds and 350 species of insects, including 80 species of butterfly.
Navigating to Biogradska Gora National Park in Montenegro
Located in the northern region of Montenegro, Biogradska Gora sits on the east side of the E65 highway. Situated between Mojkovac and Kolasin, the park is easily accessible by car and bus. Buses from Podgorica or Bijelo Polje will stop at Biogradska Gora National Park if you notify them of your intent. (Ask other passengers help communicate if needed.)
Be on the lookout for the signage as you near the area. You will see a green bridge with a billboard sign that says the name of the park and the bridge beside it. You should be driving up or hiking up here. A short distance up the road is a pay booth. The entrance fee is 3 euros per person.
Hiking and Biking in Biogradska Gora National Park
The Biogradska Park has the best-marked trails of all the national parks. Please note that there is still a lot to do for improving markings, but there are assists along the way on some trails. The terrain and the enclosed nature of the land provide a great option for a day full of hiking, biking and breath-taking views. Multi-day hut-to-hut hiking or MTB adventures are also being developed by Meanderbug. One day hikes can start at any part of the park, but the main gate is the usual start point as info is limited for others. Additional starting points and village farm stays as well as katun mountain hut info is available at the above link.
Starting from the the Info Center at Biogradska Gora, six marked trails launch with an average distance of 12 km. Each leads to different peaks and lakes in the region. There is an easy, educational trail that is 3.3 km around the lake. Along the way, signage provides information about flora and fauna of this region. The Mojkovac trail offers an approximate 1.5 to 2-hour hike both ways. This trail gives you a nice view of some beautiful peaks and a nice lake view if you have a guide that shows you where to veer off-trail just a bit. The Bendovac Trail gives a nice view high above Biogradska Gora Jezero or Lake.
We do encourage people to stay on trail especially in forrested areas as people have been lost here on more than one occasion. Either travel with a guide, have GPS coordinates with field support, or just stay on the main trails for your safety.
Separate trails for hiking and biking exist. Some of these trails provide single track mountain biking. Dated but serviceable Polar 29″ mountain bikes are available for rent through the visitor center. These v-brake bikes rent are 3 euros per hour or 10 euros for the day.
The park also offers swimming, fishing, and kayaking! Boats are rentable on the lake for those looking to explore Biogradska Gora Jezero (Lake).
Food and Lodging at Biogradska Gora Park
A visitor center sits at the base of the mountains, next to the largest glacial lake. Travelers can find information here about the local animal life such as otters, bears, eagles, and many others. Also, a restaurant next to the visitor center serves a range of national food options including cevapi.
There are camping and lodge rental options inside the park for those that want to base their stay here. These include village farm stays below around the park or mountain or shepherd huts called katuns. These katuns are the only distinctly Montenegrin architectural design according to local architects. Here’s our list of best places to stay near Biogradska Gora.
UPDATE: Starting in August of 2019, fees are now starting to be charged in other places of entry into the park. You may encounter a booth or uniformed officer that will charge 3 euros per person per day for your time in the park. Keep your ticket if you are hiking and it can be verified by bar code if you have another checkpoint. And tell the guard the Meanderbug team says, “Hi!” They may just be one of our friends and partners and appreciate that you are a friend of the Meanderbug.
(Some content and pics provided by student adventurers Andrew Arthur and Michael Gray)
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