Do not miss the opportunity to visit Biogradska Gora, one of only 5 rainforests in Europe


    Europe, unlike other continents such as South America or Asia, has very few areas that can be classified as rainforests. The term "rainforest" typically refers to regions with high annual rainfall and a dense, evergreen forest canopy. In Europe, due to its temperate climate, what we find are mostly temperate rainforests, which are quite rare and significantly different from the tropical rainforests found in other parts of the world.

    As of my last update, there are only a few notable areas in Europe that can be considered as rainforests:

    1. Norwegian Fjords, Norway: Parts of coastal Norway, especially along the Norwegian Fjords, have temperate rainforests due to the high levels of precipitation they receive and the presence of dense, old-growth forests.
    2. Atlantic Forests, British Isles and Ireland: These areas, particularly in parts of western Scotland, Ireland, and some areas in Wales and England, have fragments of temperate rainforest. These forests are characterized by a high level of humidity and rainfall, and they host a variety of mosses, lichens, and ferns.
    3. Biogradska Gora, Montenegro: As previously discussed, Biogradska Gora is one of the last remaining virgin rainforests in Europe. It's part of the broader category of temperate rainforests but is unique due to its preservation of ancient, old-growth forest characteristics.
    4. Caucasus Rainforests, Georgia and Turkey: In the Caucasus region, particularly in parts of Georgia and northeastern Turkey, there are areas of temperate rainforests. These forests are rich in biodiversity and have unique ecological characteristics.
    5. Appenine Deciduous Montane Forests, Italy: Parts of the Appenine mountains in Italy have forests that can be classified as temperate rainforests. These areas receive high amounts of rainfall and host diverse ecosystems.

    Norway rainforest. [CIFOR / Flickr

    Strategic Location Biogradska Gora's location in the heart of Montenegro makes it an accessible destination from both the capital city and the coastal towns. Its position nestled in the mountains offers a contrast to the coastal scenery of Montenegro, showcasing the country's diverse landscapes. Whether coming from the urban center of Podgorica or the Adriatic coastline, visitors can reach this natural haven within a few hours, making it a feasible day trip or a highlight in a longer Montenegrin itinerary. 

    Biogradska Gora, more commonly known as Biogradska Gora, is a forest and national park located in Montenegro, in the heart of the Bjelasica mountain range. It's one of the last three large virgin rainforests in Europe. This remarkable natural treasure is renowned for its diversity in flora and fauna, ancient trees, and stunning landscapes, making it a must-visit destination for travelers. Here's why:

    Ecological Significance

    The diverse range of flora and fauna in Biogradska Gora is not just a spectacle for visitors but also holds significant ecological importance. The interdependence of these species creates a complex and efficient ecosystem. The preservation of this biodiversity is crucial for maintaining the ecological balance and the health of the forest.

    Furthermore, the park serves as a living laboratory for scientists and researchers to study natural processes in an almost untouched environment. Studies conducted in Biogradska Gora contribute to our understanding of ecology, conservation, and the impacts of climate change.

    In conclusion, the diversity of animal and plant life in Biogradska Gora makes it a jewel of biodiversity in Europe. Visitors not only get to witness the beauty and majesty of this ancient forest but also gain an appreciation for the intricate web of life it supports. 

    photo: NTO Montenegro 

    Flora in Biogradska Gora

    1. Ancient Trees: The forest is renowned for its old-growth trees, some of which are over 500 years old. These include European beech, sycamore, elm, and ash. The diversity and age of these trees provide a unique glimpse into the natural history of the region.
    2. Endemic and Rare Species: Biogradska Gora is home to several rare and endemic plant species. This includes various types of ferns, mosses, and flowering plants that are specific to this region and play a crucial role in the ecosystem.
    3. Diverse Vegetation Zones: The park encompasses a range of vegetation zones, from lowland mixed forests to high mountainous terrain. This variation in altitude and climate within the park supports a diverse range of plant life, including lush meadows and dense forests.

    photo: Discover Montenegro 


    video: Priroda sjevera Crne Gore /Facebook 

    Fauna in Biogradska Gora

    1. Mammals: The park is home to a variety of mammals. This includes large mammals like brown bears, wolves, and chamois, and smaller species such as weasels, hedgehogs, and various species of bats. These mammals play a vital role in the park's ecosystem, maintaining the balance of the food chain.
    2. Birds: Biogradska Gora is a haven for birdwatchers, with a plethora of bird species, including some rare and endangered ones. The forest is inhabited by capercaillies, golden eagles, and hawks, among others. The diversity of birds makes the park an important site for avian biodiversity in Europe.
    3. Insects and Amphibians: The park's rich biodiversity extends to numerous species of insects and amphibians. This includes various species of butterflies, beetles, and dragonflies, as well as amphibians like salamanders and newts. These smaller creatures, though often overlooked, play critical roles in pollination, soil health, and as food sources for larger animals.
    4. Aquatic Life: Biogradsko Lake and the park's streams are teeming with freshwater life, including fish like the trout. The aquatic ecosystems provide crucial habitats for these species and contribute to the overall ecological diversity of the park.

    What to see in National park Biogradska gora

    1. Virgin Rainforest: Biogradska Gora is home to one of the few remaining virgin rainforests in Europe. The forest has remained largely undisturbed by human activity, offering a rare glimpse into the natural European landscape as it existed centuries ago. This makes it an extraordinary site for nature lovers and environmental enthusiasts.
    2. Biodiversity: The park is a haven for biodiversity. It hosts over 2,000 plant species, some of which are endemic to the region. The diversity extends to its fauna, with a variety of mammals, birds, and insects, making it a fantastic spot for wildlife watching and photography.
    3. Biogradsko Lake: Nestled at the heart of the national park, Biogradsko Lake is a glacial lake known for its striking beauty. The lake is surrounded by dense forest and offers picturesque views, perfect for leisurely walks, picnics, and boat rides. It's a serene spot for relaxation and enjoying the tranquility of nature.
    4. Hiking and Outdoor Activities: For the more adventurous, Biogradska Gora offers numerous hiking trails that range from easy walks to more challenging treks. These trails lead through lush forests, beside streams, and up to mountain peaks, offering spectacular views of the park and beyond. Additionally, the park is suitable for camping, bird watching, and mountain biking.
    5. Cultural Heritage: The park is not only a natural wonder but also a place of significant cultural heritage. It encompasses traditional mountain pastures and old katuns (seasonal shepherd homes), providing insights into the traditional way of life in the region. This cultural aspect adds an enriching layer to the visit.
    6. Accessibility and Facilities: Despite its pristine and untouched nature, Biogradska Gora is relatively accessible. It's equipped with necessary facilities like walking paths, signposts, and visitor centers, making it welcoming even for those who are not seasoned hikers.
    7. Conservation and Education: Visiting Biogradska Gora contributes to the efforts of conservation and environmental protection. The park's status as a protected national park helps in the preservation of its unique ecosystem. Visitors can learn about the importance of environmental conservation and the need to protect such rare natural habitats.

    photo: NTO Montenegro  

    Activities in Biogradska Gora

    1. Hiking and Walking Trails: The park has numerous marked trails that cater to both casual walkers and serious hikers. These trails vary in difficulty and length, offering something for everyone. Shorter walks might take only an hour or two, while more challenging hikes could be day-long adventures. The trails provide an excellent opportunity to explore the ancient forest, observe wildlife, and enjoy panoramic views.
    2. Boat Ride on Biogradsko Lake: A particularly popular activity is a small boat ride on the serene Biogradsko Lake. The lake, nestled in the heart of the park, is surrounded by dense forest and offers a peaceful escape. The boat ride is relatively short, usually lasting about 30 minutes to an hour, and it's a perfect way to experience the tranquility of the lake and the beauty of the surrounding nature.
    3. Bird Watching and Wildlife Photography: For wildlife enthusiasts and photographers, the park is a treasure trove. With its rich biodiversity, it's an excellent place for bird watching and wildlife photography. Early mornings or late afternoons are typically the best times for these activities.
    4. Educational Tours: For those interested in learning more about the park's ecosystem, guided educational tours are available. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who provide insights into the park's flora, fauna, and conservation efforts.

    photo: Boris Cetkovic 


    Accessibility and Facilities

    • Walking Distances: Walking distances in the park vary greatly, from short, easy strolls around the lake to longer, more strenuous hikes. It's advisable to check the specific trail maps and information at the visitor center for accurate distances and difficulty levels.
    • Facilities: The park is equipped with basic facilities like restrooms, signage, and resting spots. However, it's always a good idea to carry essentials like water, snacks, and a first aid kit.

    Food and Dining at Biogradsko Jezero

    1. Local Cuisine: Experiencing the local cuisine is an integral part of visiting Biogradska Gora. Near Biogradsko Lake, you'll find restaurants and eateries offering a range of Montenegrin dishes. These establishments often use locally sourced ingredients, providing fresh and authentic flavors.
    2. Restaurant Biogradsko Jezero: This restaurant is known for its traditional Montenegrin dishes. Visitors can enjoy local specialties such as fresh trout from the lake, various grilled meats, and a selection of regional cheeses and bread. The restaurant's setting, often with outdoor seating, allows diners to enjoy their meal amidst the natural beauty of the park.
    3. Picnics: For those who prefer a more casual dining experience, picnicking is a popular option. There are designated picnic areas in the park where visitors can enjoy their own packed meals in the midst of nature.

    From Podgorica to Biogradska Gora

    • Distance: Biogradska Gora is approximately 85 to 90 kilometers northeast of Podgorica, the capital city of Montenegro.
    • Travel Time: The drive from Podgorica to Biogradska Gora typically takes about 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic and the exact route taken.
    • Route: The most common route involves taking the E65/E80 highway north from Podgorica, followed by a turn onto the E762. This route passes through scenic landscapes and offers a glimpse of Montenegrin countryside.

    From Montenegrin Coastal Towns to Biogradska Gora

    • Kotor: Kotor, a popular coastal town, is about 150 kilometers away from the park. The drive can take approximately 2.5 to 3 hours. The route typically involves taking the E65/E80 and then the E762, passing near Podgorica.
    • Budva: From Budva, another well-known coastal destination, the distance to Biogradska Gora is roughly 130 kilometers. Travel time is around 2 to 2.5 hours, taking the E65/E80 and then the E762.
    • Bar: The town of Bar, located further south along the coast, is approximately 140 kilometers from Biogradska Gora. The drive can take about 2 to 2.5 hours, usually via the E65/E80 and then the E762.

    Accessibility and Transportation Options

    • Driving: The most convenient way to reach Biogradska Gora from these locations is by car. This offers flexibility and the opportunity to enjoy the scenic routes.
    • Public Transportation: There are also options for public transportation, such as buses, from major cities like Podgorica, but these may be less frequent and less direct. It's advisable to check the latest schedules and routes.
    • Tours: Additionally, organized tours are available from various towns and cities in Montenegro, which can include transportation and guided visits to the park.


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    Thursday, 25 April 2024

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