Finding information about visiting Lovcen with a rental car or tour is easy. But it is quite a challenge to get details on how to do it if you don’t want to drive or join a big tour group.
So, is it actually possible to visit Lovcen National Park in Montenegro without a car? Yes, it is. In this article, I will show you how we did it and what options you have.
Given the proximity to three of the most popular cities in Montenegro, it is quite surprising that I couldn’t find much information on a self-guided visit of Lovcen. I would assume that I am not the only one who doesn’t want to drive all the time, especially when it comes to these narrow windy roads in the mountains. So, I hope this will avoid the research struggle for all my readers.
How to visit Lovcen National Park without a car
You actually have many ways to do this. First of all, you can, of course, book a tour in a smaller group (check out my page on Viator to get some ideas). However, this article focuses more on an individual or a private trip.
Starting or endpoints
There aren’t any public buses going into Lovcen National Park. Cetinje and Kotor are the closest cities to reach Lovcen easily. This doesn’t mean that you have to stay in either one of them. Buses run quite frequently from Budva, Tivat, or Herceg Novi.
For example, from Budva, the earliest bus to Cetinje leaves at 5:25 AM and the last one from Cetinje at 11:25 PM. This will give you plenty of time to see a lot at the national park, even if you choose to spend only one day.
Day trip vs. 2-day(+) trips
I know you may have your reasons why you can only spare one day for this beautiful place. I want to point out though, that Lovcen is worth a longer stay. Especially, if you come here for nature and relaxation. There are plenty of hiking trails at the national park that will keep you busy. It is also a great place to recharge. I felt extremely motivated, energized and inspired after only 2 days. I know it may sound crazy but I always feel like this with mountains.
Before I will give you more details, I want to tell you how we did our Lovcen National Park visit without a car. This way you can see prices and you might get an idea of what your total cost will be like.
How we visited Lovcen National Park without renting a car
We are living in Budva, so we took an early bus to Cetinje for 4 Euro. The bus was scheduled for 5:55 AM and arrived in Cetinje at 6:45 AM.
From there we took a taxi for 15 Euro, which was a bit more than the regular 12 Euro fare. We didn’t organize it before, so we didn’t know better.
The taxi brought us to Hotel Monte Rosa within 30-40 min, where we had a room reservation for one night. We just left our bag and started hiking the Wolf Trail and Babina Glava. With a little detour of 1.75 miles (thanks to the hotel receptionist), we finished the hike at 11:30 AM. Then we checked into our room and relaxed for the afternoon. If you are fit enough, you may want to plan activities for the rest of the day. We also wanted to use this trip to recharge, so we kept it relaxed.
The next day, we took a taxi to the mausoleum. It waited for us while we were visiting the national monument and then drove us all the way down to the bus station in Kotor (2 hours). Total cost was 40 Euro with a waiting time of 30 min at the mausoleum. The taxis charge 5 Euro per 30 min of waiting.
Our taxis came from Cetinje, which can make a difference if you start in Kotor. Prices are a bit higher in Kotor.
In the end, I was super happy that I didn’t have to drive the road down to Kotor. There were situations when I would have panicked. So, I am extremely glad we took it off our road trip itinerary and visited it separately.
Visiting Lovcen without a car in one day
If you want to see Lovcen within one day, you have only two options: Join a tour group or hire a taxi/private driver. You can arrange this either from your original city, Cetinje, or Kotor if you stay somewhere else.
Hiring a private driver will cost more for a whole day but you’ll be able to customize the trip in order to see or do whatever you want. Most people want to see the mausoleum and they want to drive from Kotor to Lovcen because it is a very scenic route.
Here are my suggested routes:
- Kotor – Mausoleum of Petar II Petrovic Njegos – Kotor: This is a typical route many people do. Keep in mind, though, that the road between Kotor and Lovcen takes around 2 hours (depending on traffic and season). If the driver waits longer than 30 min at the mausoleum, he might charge you more. I don’t think this will occupy a whole day. Add a sunset hike to Kotor’s fortress for a perfect day. Estimated cost: 50 Euro at a minimum. Estimated length: 4-6 hours.
- Cetinje/Kotor – Mausoleum of Petar II Petrovic Njegos – Kotor/Cetinje: This route will bring you through the whole national park with a stop at the mausoleum. You can start in either Kotor or Cetinje, but Kotor may be pricier. Another budget option is to skip Kotor. This way you would start and end in Cetinje. This is probably just a 2-2.5h trip for around 30-35 Euro. This route, whatever option you choose, will not cover the whole day. You could either add a hike to the Kotor fortress or a stroll through Cetinje. Estimated cost: 40-45 Euro. Estimated time: 2.5-4 hours.
- Kotor/Cetinje – Short Hike – Mausoleum of Petar II Petrovic Njegos – Kotor/Cetinje: This would be the perfect day for me personally. I would do the hike in the morning when the sun isn’t as high. There are plenty of hiking trails, we did the Wolf Trail with Babina Glava in 3 hours and 20 min. Keep in mind, every 30 min of waiting costs 5 Euro. Depending on this and whether you will start and end in Kotor, will define the price. If you want to save money, you may even set up 2 individual drivers. One for going up to Lovcen and one for the pick-up, mausoleum, and return/drive down. You can use a restaurant like the Kraljicin VRT as a pick-up location. Estimated costs: 80-100 Euro (around 55 Euro with 2 taxis). Estimated time: 7 hours (with 3.5h hike).
- Kotor/Cetinje – (Short Hike) – Mausoleum of Petar II Petrovic Njegos – Stop in Njegusi- Kotor: I just wanted to add this in here because it’s literally the Grand Lovcen National Park Tour. Njegusi is the birth place of Petar II Petrovic Njegos (the dude from the mausoleum). Estimated costs: 100+ Euro. Estimated time: 7-8 hours (with 3.5h hike).
Visiting Lovcen National Park without a car in 2+ days
There are actually 3 ways you can do this: By taxi, hiking, or a mix of both. It all just depends on your fitness level and time.
Where to stay in Lovcen
We stayed at Hotel Monte Rosa and I can highly recommend it! The rooms are gorgeous and so is the view from the balcony. The bed was extremely comfy – perfect after an early start and a couple of hours of hiking. We had an apartment with a little living room and a kitchenette. They provided towels, bathrobes, toiletries, and kitchen utensils. It is really a wonderful place to stay!
Across the street, there was a spring for fresh water (safe to drink). You can rent ATVs or bicycles.
Hotel Monte Rosa is located in Ivanova Korita. It is close to the visitor’s center, adventure park, and many trailheads. So, if you are there for hiking, this is a great starting point.
Hiking trails in and out Lovcen National Park
Of course, this highly depends on where you start and end. I will just assume that you start in Cetinje and end in Kotor. That’s what I would have done at least.
Cetinje – Ivanova Korita
- Distance: 5.6 mi / 9 km
- Time: 3h
- Highest Point: 4150 ft | 1266 m
- Altitude Gain: 2090 ft | 638 m
- Difficulty: Easy to moderate
This trail starts in the center of Cetinje and ends at Hotel Monte Rosa. It will bring you through Gornic following street and hiking trail. More info here.
Option 1 (via Velji Bostur, center NP): Ivanova Korita – Mausoleum of Petar II Petrovic Njegos – Ladder of Kotor
- Distance: 11.2 mi | 18.1 km
- Time: 6.5 h
- Highest Point: 5330 ft / 1625 m
- Altitude: 1627 ft | 496 m
- Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
- Note: Start very early in summer!!!
The start of the trail is not far from Hotel Monte Rosa (just towards Cetinje on the left side). It is an old road that starts flat and then ascends rapidly to Mount Mali Bostur (4216 ft | 1285 m). From here it is a steep climb to Jezerski Vrh (5436 ft | 1657 m), where the mausoleum is situated. It is about 2.8 mi (4.5 km) to the top.
From the mausoleum, you are on the descend to Kotor. Once you reach the valley and Velji Bostur (2.2 mi | 3.5 km) you can enjoy the shade of the forest path. You will pass Krstac after approx. 3 mi (5 km), where the steeper downhill part of the Ladder of Kotor starts. If you don’t want to hike all the way you could take a break here and sleep at the Etno Selo. You can also do the zipline (10 Euro) for the extra thrill.
Then you can do the last 5 mi (8 km) down to Kotor the next day.
Option 2 (via Njegusi): Ivanova Korita – Mausoleum of Petar II Petrovic Njegos – Ladder of Kotor
- Length: 13.5 mi / 21.8 km
- Time: 8 h
- Highest Point: 5330 ft / 1625 m
- Altitude Gain: 1887 ft / 575 m
- Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
- Note: Start very early in summer!!!
The trail until the mausoleum is the same as above. You will, however, descend North-East on the opposite side. This path will bring you through Njegusi (6.2 mi | 10 km), where Petar II Petrovic Njegos was born. You can either stop here and rest until the next day (find accommodation here) or continue another 1.6 mi (2.5 km) to Krstac. Sleep at the Etno Selo and do the zipline (10 Euro). Then finish the last 5 mi (8 km) of steep downhill switchbacks the next day.
If you are confident that you can hike it all in one day, go for it!
Do you want to go hiking? Then read about ALL hiking trails in Lovcen National Park here!
If you plan on coming to Lovcen by taxi, I can recommend you to start from Cetinje. First of all, it is cheaper and second of all way faster. It only takes 30-40 min to get to Ivanova Korita. From Kotor, it is more like 2 hours because of the curvy narrow road. A taxi ride from Cetinje to Ivanova Korita should cost you 12 Euro.
If you want to use a taxi inside the national park, keep in mind they come from Cetinje. So, the base fare is 12 Euro right away. Waiting times are 5 Euro per 30 min. So, a ride to the mausoleum is about 20 Euro.
A mix of taxi rides and hiking
With the details to hiking trails and taxi fares, you can decide for yourself what distances you will hike and where you’ll take a taxi.
Maybe you’ll decide to take a taxi to Lovcen, do a different hike like the Wolf Trail, or only hike the Ladder of Kotor down instead of the whole thing from Ivanova Korita.
It is really up to you.
Interesting things to know
- Despite what you find online, it is not that difficult to get a taxi. Receptionists can call and organize it for you. You will also find taxis at central bus stations.
- The taxi company we used for Lovcen to Kotor was called “In Taxi”. When I googled for taxi companies before our visit, I had a hard time finding something for in Cetinje.
- In the summer, the mausoleum closes before sunset and opens long after sunrise (9AM-7PM). You cannot enter when it is closed because they have like a checkpoint at the bottom of the hill. So it is basically impossible to see the sunrise or sunset from there. Sad, right?! I kinda planned on it and they destroyed my plans… You probably could hike there. That also means a night hike down or up though…
- Taxis will not drive to Stirovnik (even when offered extra money). Apparently “only work cars are allowed there” but we have seen like 4 cars driving up within 10 min. I doubt it’s work cars. Very sad because this is the alternative for watching the sunset or sunrise.
- When you drive to the mausoleum, you pay 2 Euro per person at the bottom and 5 Euro for the mausoleum. You don’t have to pay the extra 5 if you don’t want to see the inside or the platform. You can still walk up the stairs because the guy at the mausoleum itself is controlling the ticket you bought downstairs.
- Bring cash. I haven’t seen ATMs. Maybe I wasn’t looking properly but better safe than sorry.
- You can also camp there or rent a bungalow from the national park services.
- Download the national park app. It’s quite useful. It’s called “National Parks of Montenegro”.