Biogradska Gora National Park is located in the heart of Montenegro's Bjelascia mountain range and is home to one of the last primeval forests in Europe, in addition to incredible biodiversity and quiet glacial lakes.
The Biogradska Gora National Park in eastern Montenegro is the smallest national park in the country with an area of just under 60 square kilometres, but it still boasts a diverse flora and fauna and spectacular scenic highlights. Its landscape is characterised by ancient forests, rushing mountain streams, mountains up to 2,000 metres high, flowering alpine meadows and ice-cold glacial lakes.
Together with the Belaveshskaya Pushcha National Park in western Belarus and the Perućica Primeval Forest in the Sutjeska National Park in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Biogradska Gora National Park is home to the last real primeval forest in Europe. This pristine natural jewel is one of our top 10 sights in Montenegro.
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PICTURES: Hiking trail around Biogradsko Jezero
The biodiversity of this area was first protected by King Nikola I in 1878 - only 14 years after the Yellowstone Park in the USA, the first national park in the world, was founded. Biogradska Gora was then declared a national park in 1952.
On the way to Biogradska Gora National Park
Biogradska Gora National Park is located about 100km north of Podgorica, the nearest village is Kolašin, where there are also accommodation facilities. A turnoff into the national park leads a little north of Kolašin through the Tara valley to the park administration's hut on the banks of Biogradsko Jezero. There is also a restaurant and some wooden huts with guest rooms here. A small fee is charged for visiting the national park.
Tip: If you are not travelling by car, you can take the bus from Kolašin or Mojkovac, which are also connected to the railway network. It stops at the main road, from where you arrive at Biogradsko Jezero after about an hour's walk.
From the shores of Biogradsko Jezero, a forest road leads further up to the regions around Zekova Glava and Crna Glava. There, at an altitude of over 2,000 metres above sea level, there is an extensive network of hiking trails, which, however, is reserved for more fit holidaymakers.
The few tourists in Biogradska Gora National Park spread out quickly and so it can happen that you are standing all alone on a mountain peak, accompanied only by the constant buzzing of insects.
Tip: If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, you can start at the forest road near the shore of Biogradsko Jezero and make a fascinating round trip of about 30 kilometres at over 2,000 metres around the national park. You will be rewarded with unique scenic highlights. Information is best obtained from the park administration hut.
PICTURES: Four-wheel drive tour through Biogradska Gora National Park
Sights in Biogradska Gora National Park
The national park is best known for its pristine forests, which are home to fantastic flora and fauna. The park's 26 different ecosystems are home to 150 different bird species and 350 insect species, and the largest mammals include bears and red deer.
As if by chance scattered throughout the national park, the hiker also repeatedly comes across mountain huts, so-called "katuns", old houses, abandoned towers and historic water mills, all of which tell their own story.
Tip: To explore the beauty of Biogradska Gora National Park in all its facets, you need about three days.
Glacial Lake Biogradsko Jezero
The deep blue Biogradsko Jezero is the largest of the six glacial lakes in the national park. It is located in a 10 km long side valley of the Tara River. The elongated lake is only up to a maximum of 6m deep, lies at an altitude of a good 1,000 metres and welcomes visitors who pass the entrance to the park.
Biogradsko Jezero is surrounded by some of the oldest trees in Europe. The copper beech, maple and ash trees are up to 45 metres high and up to 500 years old. The primeval forests can be explored on the comfortable 3.5km-long hiking trail that leads around the lake and is usually heavily frequented by holidaymakers in high season.
From a 21m high observation tower, built by the Austrian Development Agency and opened in 2009, the picturesque scenery of the glacial lake can be overlooked.