The Lovćen National Park is located in the southwest of Montenegro between Kotor, Cetinje and Budva. It not only impresses with its spectacular mountain landscape, but also has a cultural-historical monument with a breathtaking panoramic view to offer.
The 64-square-kilometre Lovćen National Park, named after Mount Lovćen in southwestern Montenegro, was established in 1952. Located in the mountainous triangle between the famous UNESCO World Heritage town of Kotor, the pretty coastal town of Budva and the former capital Cetinje, it is one of our top 10 sights in Montenegro.
At first glance, it is hardly worth seeing, but it is home to something like the national pride of the Montenegrins. Be it because you are in the historical core of Montenegro, be it because you can see all the way to the Durmitor Mountains in the north, or because the privileged poet prince Njegoš is buried here.
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PICTURES: Lovćen National Park
On the road in Lovćen National Park
The highest peak in the national park, Štirovnik, reaches an altitude of 1,749 metres. Montenegro got its name from this "black mountain". The proximity of the mountains and the sea has created unique conditions in Lovćen National Park for some 2,000 different plant species.
The infrastructure in the area around Mount Lovćen is not (yet) equipped for longer stays, but it is ideal for day trips. The first destination before exploring the Lovćen National Park is the visitor centre on the Ivanova Korita mountain pasture at 1230 metres above sea level. Here you will find a few overnight accommodations and will be provided with a hiking or cycling map including route descriptions.
Tip: If you are travelling in Montenegro without your own car, you can also reach Lovćen National Park by bus from Bar, Podgorica, Cetinje or Budva.
The most visited destination in Lovćen National Park is the self-selected final resting place of the famous poet prince Petar II, who gave himself the nickname "Njegoš". The prince-bishop modernised Montenegro with quasi-royal power; the country's first senate, school and tax system were all on his account.
After he died in Cetinje at the age of only 40 from the consequences of pneumonia, he had himself buried on Jezerski Vrh, the second highest peak in the Lovćen National Park at 1,655m.
His mausoleum can be reached from the town of Cetinje via a well-maintained road - buses also run here. Coming from Kotor, there is also a road, this is single-lane and winds upwards in narrow serpentines, from where there are always fantastic views of the Bay of Kotor.
Highest burial temple in the world
461 steps lead from the car park to the highest burial temple in the world. Today's mausoleum with its spectacular sculptures was completed by the Croatian artist Ivan Mestrovic in 1974 after four years of construction. Previously, Njegoš's mortal remains rested in a chapel, but it was destroyed during the First World War.
The entrance to the mausoleum is flanked by two female figures in Montenegrin costume. In a burial chamber lined with light marble, a 28-ton granite sculpture of the prince watches over the actual tomb under a golden mosaic sky.
Actually, you don't take the long way because of the admittedly spacious tomb. Once you are on the viewing platform of the mausoleum, Montenegro is literally at your feet.
On a clear day, the view sweeps over the Bay of Kotor to the mighty Durmitor Mountains in the north, over Cetinje and the capital Podgorica to the mountains of Prokletije in the east and over Budva to Lake Skadar towards Albania. A truly unforgettable panorama!
The village of Njeguši
The cute farming village of Njeguši is the place you pass after numerous serpentines in the mountainous hinterland of Kotor in the direction of Lovcen. The settlement, which is otherwise hardly worth seeing, is haunted by visitors for two reasons.
Firstly, excellent ham is smoked and dried here directly on site, and secondly, the aforementioned Prince Petar II was born here. His rather inconspicuous two-storey birthplace at the back of the village now houses a museum with objects from his youth and other memorabilia.
Tip: If you have time and can do without comfort, you should spend the night in one of the rustic wooden huts at the end of the village on an alpine meadow. The associated restaurant serves regional dishes. You can also go on many hikes from here.
Hike to the Njegoš Mausoleum
From Njegusi, the Njegos Mausoleum can be reached via a relatively easy hike of just under three hours. The path, which is sometimes difficult to discern, leads through forests and across meadows, over fallen trees and a stretch of asphalt road, and is mostly deserted. The almost 8km and 800 metres in altitude should not be tackled without a supply of drinking water and sun protection.
By the way: sometimes the ticket sellers waive the entrance fee for eager hikers....