Walking vacation in Montenegro

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2017: 2 Apr, 9 Apr, 16 Apr, 23 Apr, 30 Apr, 7 May, 14 May, 21 May, 28 May, 4 Jun, 11 Jun, 18 Jun, 25 Jun, 2 Jul, 3 Sep, 10 Sep, 17 Sep, 24 Sep, 1 Oct, 8 Oct, 15 Oct, 22 Oct
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Walking vacation in Montenegro

Environment

We want our vacations to be high impact in experience but low impact on the environment! Once you’re at the villa, transport will be mostly on foot, kayak or bike, with car transfers provided to starting points for excursions or restaurants if needed.

Lake Skadar is a National Park and a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance and your visit and National Park fees will help sustain sensitive tourism and protection for this area. As such, our tour guides will encourage you to behave in an eco-friendly manner at all times by supporting the Leave No Trace principles –traveling where possible along marked water channels, disposing of waste properly, leaving what you find (unless it’s other people’s rubbish!), respecting wildlife and being considerate of other visitors and the local community.

All our tours involve visits to USAid-financed tourist information centres dotted about the lake – a project which is locally managed, locally staffed and aims to educate visitors about the lake’s special ecology and cultural traditions. We are also working with German eco-tourism NGO GIZ and the World Bank funded 'Albania and Montenegro Lake Skadar Joint Eco-systems Project' to identify formal ways for our customers to volunteer and directly benefit the environment during their stay.

The accommodation for this vacation, Villa Miela, has been sensitively restored by its British owners, drawing praise from the local community and visitors for conserving historic architectural features such as the solid stone archway in the "konoba" (ground floor), once used for storing wine and smoking hams and carp, or the tiny original windows which help maintain a naturally cool interior. As the first such renovation in the area, it is hoped that the villa will encourage more regeneration along these lines and deter less scrupulous investors from knocking down such buildings and replacing them with cheaper concrete structures.

With metre-thick stone walls, air-conditioning is neither needed, nor provided, and guests are encouraged to use fans only when necessary and to turn off all electric fans/lights on leaving the room. Guests are also asked to keep water use to a minimum, especially important during the dry summer months. The village has no mains water connection and while Villa Miela's water reservoir is fed by mountain-spring during winter, this source dries up in the summer.

Community

We have built strong links with local communities at Lake Skadar and support their maintenance of threatened traditions – from bee-keeping, fishing and carp-smoking to the making of wine, cheese, olive-oil and flavoured brandies. By visiting home-producers and buying their wares, you will build pride, contribute to the local economy and encourage the development of eco-tourism in an area where tourism needs examples of how to develop sustainably. You’ll meet local people like Hassan Muratovic and his wife Nada at remote Murici beach and learn about their ethnic Albanian culture and traditional way of fishing.

English isn’t widely spoken round the lake, but your guides will be able to translate to make each interaction create a valuable cultural exchange between you and your host community. Your visit really counts in a remote, beautiful and unknown Balkan destination which is still suffering from decades of impoverishment caused by urban migration and the 1990s Yugoslavian war.

Reviews of Walking vacation in Montenegro

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 05 Aug 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Activity Vacation: Two days walking, one day wine tasting and one day kayaking (1 week) plus add on (3 nights) of two days walking and one day white water
rafting. Walnut Valley walk was our favourite in the first week and white water rafting was our favourite in the add on

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Not a vacation for the couch potato. The vacation is reasonably active. We are in our mid and late 50's and fit in the sense that we walk quite a bit. The age group
on the vacation varied from 15 to 59.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. If there are any costs for additional elements to the vacation, all of the money goes to the person/people providing them.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Not quite reborn!!!! but up there with the best vacation we have ever been on...

Reviewed on 10 Jun 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The view from the top of Mt Rumija.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Other members of the group may not be very fit. Whilst Emma and Ben will do their best to accommodate the range of abilities the walking can be very frustrating and definitions of a 5/6 hour hike seem to vary. In general not for the super fit! Having said that there are some lovely walks, a chance to see and sample the local culture and the incredibly diverse flora and fauna. Plus abundant opportunities to swim! Definitely a great hol if you want some relaxed walking, leisurely lunches, to nature spot and to experience the traditional Montenegran way of life. Worth a trip to the more commercial coast for the contrast.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Definitely benefited the locals. Emma and Ben made a real effort to make sure they worked closely with the community, providing employment and ensuring local produce was purchased wherever possible. Supported conservation by showing the locals how tourists value the nature and landscape.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Fantastic vacation. Amazing place and lovely people!

Reviewed on 09 Sep 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


every single day had really memorable moments. Top 5 (but it could have been a top 20)
-standing under a waterfall in a stunning rocky glade on the first day's walk
-amazing lunch of totally home grown and home cooked delicacies at Tanya's
-paddling our kayaks over serene Lake Skadar to a nunnery and a monastery
-hilarious games in the evenings with our new mates over several bottles of local
rose and the odd pivo!
-helping to get a singalong going in the restaurant with a local guy's guitar

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


relax and enjoy it all and leave everything to Ben and Emma who lay on brilliantly
planned days out. My wife and I had planned a walking vacation with some
biking, probably spending quite a lot of time on our own In reality, the walks we did, whilst constantly interesting and full of surprises, were not hugely challenging and (in very hot weather) that suited us perfectly as we invariably ended up somewhere very nice for lunch!
and so much for being on our own- we shared the villa with two families with children from 8 to 12.great kids who were happy to try anything and in many ways that lively group made the vacation even better not sure its worth bothering going to the coast. Lake Skadar region has all you need for a week, especially with knowledgeable and well connected guides like Ben and Emma

The food might not have been so enjoyable if we didn't like fish!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Absolutely! Everything seemed to be locally caught, grown and cooked.Mio's one man restaurant being an example,he gets up at dawn to catch the carp, despite having badly sprained his ankle,fries them up for you and serves them with a delicious home made soup and salad and a large glass of his really excellent home produced wine. we indeed felt that we were welcome regular customers at one restaurant in Virpazar village, not least when the waiters offer to drive you home to the villa at the end of the evening!Thanks for that also to Ben and Emma, because the locals seem to welcome everyone who vacations with them and of course the business they bring to the community

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


gotta be five stars for all the above reasons, still glowing from it ten days later!

Reviewed on 11 Jul 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


There were many memorable events; easing ourselves into crystal clear, fresh water, freezing rock pools! The 2 excellent meals prepared for us by Tania at her home...everything home produced; breads, cheese, cured ham, wine, hare casserole etc. The kayak trip and the visit to the monasteries where we met a wonderfully enthusiastic nun and the enthusiasm and helpfulness of our hosts : Ben and Emma. They could not have done more for us....a lovely couple.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Make sure your footwear is quick drying...we often got our shoes wet!!!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Definitely benefited local people. We visited homes of local wine growers and brought from them and ate at a private home and shopped locally and used a local boatman. At the Villa we collected fresh drinking water from a source in the garden and were made aware of keeping water consumption low. Also there was no air-conditioning at the villa, although we did have fans in the bedrooms.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


We really loved it. We were off the beaten track, away from the coastal resorts and Ben and Emma made us very welcome and the trips were varied, interesting and fun. We also were very fortunate to share our accommodation with some extremely nice people.

Reviewed on 28 Jun 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The trip to Kayak on lake Skada was the best day of the vacation for me. Beautiful surroundings and the trip to the island to meet the nuns was the icing on the cake.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


It can be tailored to different levels of fitness so don't worry about thinking you will be the least fit person going on the vacation.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Vists to local families were a great part of the vacation giving us the opportunity to see how they live and grow their own produce and also helps to raise awareness of keeping food miles down.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Had a really good time.

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