When we say “journey”, we usually first think of booking a plane ticket, planning a tour of an exotic and attractive destination, discovering other cultures and customs abroad far from where we live.
The connection with every corner of the world has made travel to foreign countries more accessible, so in recent years, we have often spent weekends in Milan or Budapest and vacations in the Maldives or Zanzibar. Some traveled, some just fantasized and planned … until the appearance of the Covid19 virus, which taught us in just a few days that going to the store or office is also a journey, an adventure, and even an endeavor.
Either way, the vacation and the role of tourists we all can’t wait for. The answers to questions about when the borders will be opened and what travel will look like in the time of the pandemic still remain unknown. What we know for sure is that the possibility of intercity traffic will be opened soon, and we also know that nature has given our small country everything that the human eye and soul wants. It is an ideal time to replace your vacation in any foreign country with an unforgettable tour of the wonderful corners that are only a few hours drive away.
Did you know that light hiking through a Montenegrin forest in just an hour can lead you to a lake created by the gods and given to forest fairies to enjoy? The same lake fulfills desires and swimming in its water brings happiness and well-being. If you are not in the mood for a long walk, you can drive to the valleys that provide the most experiences of gentle and harsh landscapes in one place. And at the end of the day, with binoculars, coffee and sunset, you can observe birds in the vicinity of the largest glacial lake in Montenegro. If you don’t already understand that it’s about the Curses, it’s a sign that you need to add this National Park to your post-Corona bucket list.
The first impression is unrepeatable and difficult to change. Therefore, for a start, with the desire for Prokletije to conquer you forever, we present the lake of the mentioned forest villas, “mountain eye” which bears the epithet of the most beautiful – Hrid Lake. It is located 18 km from Plav, at 1970m between Veliki and Mali Hrid. lakes, you will come across several katuns, so you have the opportunity to get to know the rural way of life and enjoy the tastes of traditional cuisine. You can reach the lake in the first minutes of the walk, you will be enchanted by the forest of beech, spruce and fir, and if you go high enough you will be greeted by relict forests of molika and munika.
The lake itself is extremely rich in biodiversity, so it is home to as many as 245 species of algae, of which as many as 78 were registered in this lake for the first time in Montenegro. More interesting inhabitants of the lake come from the class of amphibians, among which the mountain murmur stands out. Relatively close, on the mountain Bogićevica is the only place in Montenegro where you can see a black salamander. Almost 2000 plant species have been recorded on the entire territory of NP Prokletije, which is one fifth of the total flora of Montenegro, so that the encounter with endemic, relict and rare protected species is guaranteed.
The valleys of gentle and harsh landscapes – Grebaje and Ropojane, are ideal destinations for easy walks, but also a starting point for hikers, hikers and mountaineering expeditions. The view of the wide pastures, the forest belt and the high peaks of the Carnation will make it as difficult and accessible as it was for you to get to Grebaje, so difficult it will be for you to leave. In the winter, the valleys are not available, but in the spring, when there is a vegetation period, lush vegetation and flowering in a million colors awaits you. There is no lack of attractive locations on the way to the Ropojana valley, so a tour of Oka Skakavica and the Grlja waterfall is a must.
At the end of the day, the lake, which is located at the foot of the Prokletije massif and does not belong to the borders of the National Park, but certainly stands out for its beauty, importance and natural wealth. Lake Plav, the largest glacial lake in Montenegro, is a particularly important destination for all bird watching enthusiasts. The river Ljuča brings a large amount of sediment from Prokletije and in the place of its confluence with the lake it forms a wide belt of wetland vegetation, with periodically flooded meadows. Thanks to the indigenous populations of fish, as well as the rich diversity of plant species, this lake attracts waterfowl, of which the regular nesting birds are the mallard duck, the crested float, the bald eagle, the little grebe and the woodpecker. Also, you can see some endangered and protected species such as the sympathetic pond hen, whose largest population in Montenegro nests right on the lake.
Economic underdevelopment and low population due to which this area was spared industrialization and intensive urbanization, today is actually the greatest potential of the area of Prokletije. The preserved natural environment and the increasingly pronounced human need to return and escape to nature from day to day increase their tourist value. This value was recognized mainly by foreign tourists, nature lovers and mountaineers who got to know this mountain much better than those for whom this natural wealth is in the immediate vicinity. In an era of pandemic when borders are closed, you have the privilege of having a destination like this at your fingertips. Take advantage of it!
The blog was written within the project “Eco and Outdoor Tourism Actions of the Balkan Alps”, which is funded by the European Union through the IPA CBC Montenegro – Kosovo Program and the Ministry of Public Administration.