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Packraft expedition, Tara River, Montenegro
Photo: Host/Balkan Expeditions
Brand New!

Packraft, Hike and SUP Through Montenegro

Rampage down rivers, meander up mountains and lark around on lakes on a wonderfully wild week in the Balkans

Duration

7 nights

Annual Leave

1 week off work

Group Size

Up to 12 people

Season

Jun-Sep

Location

Montenegro

Meeting Point

Podgorica Airport, Montenegro

Classic Accommodation

Chalet · Wild camping · Lodge

Customer Reviews

This trip is brand new

Difficulty

Moderate

From

From

What's it like?

Packraft expedition, Tara River, Montenegro
Photo: Host/Balkan Expeditions
Montenegro Packrafting, Tara River
Photo: Host/Balkan Expeditions
Montenegro Packrafting, Tara River
Photo: Host/Balkan Expeditions

Embark on a packrafting expedition down the Tara River Canyon, navigating whitewater rapids flanked by waterfalls

Immerse yourself in a stunning natural adventure playground, camping on beautiful and remote riverbanks as you go

Hike to the sparkling twin mountain lakes of Stabanska, and SUP across glistening Skadar Lake, the jewel of the Balkans

Short on time but pining for some packrafting? Check out our mini-expedition trip: Packraft the Tara River in Montenegro

Day 1

Straight to the river

https://www.canva.com/photos/MAEpX7tcCnc-tara-river-canyon-or-tara-river-gorge-located-between-high-mountains-canyon-is-the-largest-and-deepest-canyon-in-europe-/

Arrive at Podgorica Airport, meet your host, and kick back for a scenic drive through Montenegro, making your way to the Tara River. Once you reach the riverside camp, check in to your cosy chalet, get to know your fellow adventurers, and chat through the adventure with your guide. Take in the beautiful scenery and perhaps grab a drink at the riverside bar. Then, dig into a tasty traditional dinner at the camp's restaurant to start off your adventure in style.

Day 2

Introduction to packrafting

Packrafting, Tara River, Montenegro
Photo: Host/Balkan Expeditions

Packrafting

3-4hrs · 8km

Today your host will give you the full lowdown on packrafting to prepare you for the mini-expedition ahead. Get acquainted with the gear involved and learn from the best as your experienced packrafting guides teach you everything you'll need to know. Hit the water in the packraft and get familiar with your trusty vessel, practicing in the calm waters in front of the camp.
Once you've mastered the basics and are comfortable paddling in the calm parts, you'll head for the first proper river run in the afternoon, paddling down to the Bosnian border crossing. This section is 8km long and is mainly made up of Class I and II rapids – perfect for beginners to build confidence ahead of the adventure kickstarting proper tomorrow.

Day 3

The mini-expedition begins

Packraft expedition, Tara River, Montenegro
Photo: Host/Balkan Expeditions

Packrafting

5-6hrs · 23km

Now that you're all trained up it's time to set off down the Tara River Canyon for a proper adventure. Drive through stunning mountain scenery to the put-in spot near Žabljak, prep the packrafts with everything you'll need for the next three days, then set off. The liberating feeling of being on the river – far from civilisation carrying everything you need to be self-supported – will hit you straight away as you tackle the first few kilometres. The canyon is part of a large wilderness area and you'll have chances to spot chamois and deer, or if extremely lucky, wolves or bears.
Stop for lunch on the banks and grab a swim in the river if you like before paddling further downriver this afternoon, navigating rapids and learning how to read the river to pick lines. Your first night in the canyon is spent wild camping on a remote beach, pitching your tent a few yards from the water and settling in for dinner and a memorable sleepout in this stunning spot.

Day 4

Deeper down the canyon

Packraft expedition, Tara River, Montenegro
Photo: Host/Balkan Expeditions

Packrafting

5-6hrs · 22km

Wake up to the sound of river rumbling through the canyon, brew up some coffee and tuck into breakfast on the banks before packing down camp and cracking on with the expedition. You'll journey deeper into the canyon, with towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls flanking you as you go. You'll make regular stops during the journey on both days to stretch your legs, have a snack and enjoy some waterfalls and wild swim on calmer sections. Your second night in the canyon is spent in wild camping on one of the most beautiful beaches on the river, close to the border with Bosnia.

Day 5

Big rapids to the Bosnian border

Packrafting, Montenegro, Tara River

Packrafting

4-5hrs · 14km

The final day of the expedition is full of adrenaline all the way to the finish line. Hit the water and get ready for the biggest rapids of the trip as you tackle the fastest section of the river, a 6km long run with a number of class III rapids to tackle. By now you'll be at home on the river and in the packraft and had plenty of practice at controlling the raft down rapids. Your expert guides are on hand to help and if anyone feels uncomfortable on any rapids there are ways to skirt around them on foot on the banks of the river.
Finish the final stretch of the packrafting route down to the Bosnian border crossing where you'll be picked up and be driven back to Camp Grab for a well-deserved drink to toast an epic achievement navigating the Tara River canyon. Enjoy a real bed tonight after the past three days in the wild.

Day 6

Hike and wild swim at Strabanska Lakes

GettyImages-900569764

Hiking

4-5hrs · 12km · 450m up · 450m down

Continue the adventure on dry land today as you bid farewell to the river and head into the mountains of the Piva National Park, close to the border with Bosnia. Set off on a hike through forested slopes to reach two beautiful mountain lakes. First up you'll arrive at Little Stabanska Lake before continuing on to its larger twin, Big Stabanska, a glistening emerald pool nestled beneath the towering mountain peaks of Bioč (2396m) and Volujak (2337m). The bigger of the lakes makes for a lovely picnic spot and the summer temperature of the water is an inviting 16-20°C – perfect for the wild swimmers in the group to soak up this little-visited swim spot. Descend back down the mountain and drive on to the final stop of the trip, settling into a lodge on the shores of Lake Skadar, the largest lake in the Balkan Peninsula separating Montenegro from its neighbour, Albania, across the lake.

Day 7

SUP Skadar Lake

https://www.canva.com/photos/MAEJJVli15I-skadar-lake/

Stand Up Paddleboarding

3-4hrs

Time to get back on the water today, swapping packrafts for paddleboards to explore Lake Skadar and the Morača River which flows into the lake. The paddling today is a much more relaxing affair, taking in the majestic scenery and serenely gliding through the calm waters after your adrenaline rush on the raging Tara River. You'll set off from Vranjina village on the banks of the lake – your guide will adjust the start time depending on the time of year, to avoid the hottest part of the day. The paddle is a 12km loop, skirting along the lake to enter the Morača River. Paddle up the river until it forks off, taking the secondary channel to meander back downriver into the lake and along the shores back to Vranjina village. There'll be chances to stop for swims, stretch the legs on the banks and take in the scenery. Back at your lakeside lodge tonight you'll head out for a final dinner to toast an epic week of adventuring through Montenegro.

Day 8

Bye bye Montenegro

https://www.canva.com/photos/MAEECCwR-tQ-standup-paddle-board-on-empty-lake-in-sunset/

Enjoy one last breakfast overlooking the lake before your host drives you back to Podgorica, dropping you off at the airport in time for your onward flight home. Alternatively, you can be dropped in town if you are staying on longer in Montenegro.

Included

Guides

Local, English-speaking guides

Accommodation

2 nights wild camping, 3 nights at a riverside chalet, 2 nights in a guesthouse

Meals

All meals throughout the trip

Transfers

To and from the airport and everything in between

Equipment

All packrafting & SUPing gear, safety equipment and camping gear

Permits

National park permits and river taxes

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

Visas where required

Day 1

Chalet · Triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Chalet · Triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3 – Day 4

Wild camping · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Chalet · Multi share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6 – Day 7

Lodge · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Food on the Tara River expedition, Montenegro
Photo: Host/Balkan Expedition

Breakfasts on the trip will vary from omelettes, oats with fresh fruit, breads with meats, cheeses and jams, plus tea, coffee and juices. Lunches will be picnic style with breads, cheeses, olives, prosciutto, fresh fruits, snacks and chocolates. Dinners will be hearty pasta dishes to fuel your escapades, roasted vegetables, meat dishes with rice and potatoes. Cooking together on remote beaches on the riverbank after epic days on the water is a real highlight of the trip.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for – please just request this on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Camp Grab

Your launchpad for the expedition is Camp Grab – you'll spend the night here before and after your time on the river, preparing for the expedition and celebrating at the end. The camp has a network of bungalows and chalets right next to a private beach on the Tara River, surrounded by nature. You'll stay in a wooden chalet in same-sex, triple-share rooms with a private bathroom.

Montenegro Packrafting, Tara River
Photo: Host/Balkan Expeditions
Wild camping

You'll spend two consecutive nights during the expedition section of the trip wild camping on the banks of the Tara River, along the border between Montenegro and Bosnia. This is a memorable part of the adventure: after epic days on the water, you'll pitch up on rarely-visited, remote, sandy river banks for a true wilderness experience. You'll stay in twin-share expedition tents with inflatable sleeping mats provided. You'll need to bring your own sleeping bag or hire one from your host – see the Kit List and Optional Extras for further details.

Lake Skadar

You'll spend the final two nights of the trip at Lakeview Apartments Anđela, a stone's throw from Lake Skadar in picturesque surroundings. You'll stay in twin-share rooms with private bathroom facilities. There are balconies with lovely views – overlooking the valley down to the lake – and very friendly hosts making home-made meals, cakes and even producing their own wine for you to taste on your final evening of the trip.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private tent for the two nights of wild camping on the Tara River can be requested for no additional charge. Private rooms are not available at Camp Grab and Lake Skadar for the 2024 season of this trip – however, these will become available for 2025 dates at some point in the near future.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Podgorica Airport

16:00

Ends

Podgorica Airport or City Centre

Anytime on Day 8

Transfers

Your host will meet you on arrival at Podgorica Airport and transfer you through the country to the banks of the Tara River, a 3 hour drive away. On the last day of your trip, your host will transfer you from your accommodation in to the airport in Podgorica in time for your flight home.

Airport transfers are included in the main price if you arrive on Day 1 and depart on Day 8. If you wish to arrive before the trip start date your host can arrange private airport transfers from the airport to Camp Grab. See Optional Extras for prices.

Travel options

There are numerous direct flight options to Podgorica with various carriers from London and Manchester in the UK, and various other hubs across Europe. Travellers from the west coast of North America will generally transit through major hubs such as London, Paris and Frankfurt.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Packrafts, paddleboards, paddles and all safety gear
  • Tents & sleeping mats
  • All expedition cooking equipment for your time camping on the river

What do I need to bring?

BAGS

  • Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
  • Daypack (20-30 litres for the hike on Day 6)
  • Drybags/waterproof backpacks

CLOTHES

  • Lightweight down jacket
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Lightweight waterproof trousers
  • Breathable wicking layers
  • Fleece jacket or similar for evenings at camp
  • Thermals (merino best)
  • Buff or neckscarf
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear and socks
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses with strap (for while on the river)
  • Sunhat
  • Sleepwear
  • Hiking boots (worn-in)
  • Sandals for camp

SLEEPING

  • Sleeping bag (3 season)
  • Travel pillow

OTHER

  • Small dry bags for valuables/phone/camera etc.
  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Toilet kit (toilet paper, biodegradable bags to carry paper out to dispose of)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Headtorch or torch
  • Reusable water bottles and/or a bladder to carry minimum 2 litres
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks
  • Water purification tablets/treatment system (optional - if you wish to fill up from streams and waterfalls on the expedition part)
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Sleeping bag hire

Payable Before Departure

Sleeping bag hire

Private airport transfer - Podgorica to Camp Grab

Payable Before Departure

Private airport transfer - Podgorica to Camp Grab

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 32kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

You don't need any packrafting or paddleboarding experience. Full instruction is provided, with an introduction to packrafting and a practice run on the river on Day 2, before you start the mini-expedition on Day 3. Packrafting here can be done by anyone with average fitness levels; it's more important that you have a sense of adventure and feel comfortable being in a remote environment for three days and two nights. You'll be on the water for a lot of the time, and while there are plenty of stops to stretch your legs and have a break from the rafts, you'll need to keep pushing on to the packrafting finish line on Day 5.

The hike to the lakes at Stabanska requires a decent effort to get through the 450m of elevation gain and loss, but most people of average fitness can manage this just fine.

Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. Your guide will help with advice, however we suggest the below as a guideline, shared between the group:

€5-10 euros per day

Of course, you are free to tip more or less, and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality – a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

You will need to bring reusable water bottles and/or a water bladder to carry water with you on the expedition and other activities on this trip. There are two taps with safe drinking water on the expedition section (from Day 3 to 5) – you can fill up in the morning at Camp Grab and then again at the two taps on the expedition. Your host will bring along a support raft for groups of six or more which will carry additional water for the group. Generally speaking, the water from the streams and waterfalls that flow into the Tara River is drinkable; however, it cannot be guaranteed that there is no bacteria in the water, so if you wish to fill up from these sources on the expedition for some added wild factor, we advise that you bring your own water filter. Have a read of our guide to the best water filters for adventurers.

Average temperatures from June to September are generally in the mid 20s(°C) but can reach into the 30s(°C) in July and August. Note that temperatures do drop in the evenings by several degrees. High up in the summits you may also encounter cooler conditions and stormy weather cannot be ruled out at any time of year. Although your host will do their very best to run the itinerary as scheduled, this will be always subject to safe weather conditions.

You can leave excess luggage at Camp Grab ahead of the mini expedition part of the trip (see 'Do I have to carry all my stuff for the trip?' below). Otherwise, you'll need to bring your luggage along for the rest of the trip to Lake Skadar and then back to Pogorica. Your host does not have storage options in Podgorica at the start of the trip.

We recommend checking out the country specific information and also talking to a travel nurse.

Your host knows Montenegro incredibly well having guided rafting, packrafting, kayaking and SUPing trips on rivers throughout the Balkans for many years. They will monitor the conditions and make alternative plans if required, but this is a rare occurrence. The hike is the most likely activity to be affected by weather, depending on the conditions at altitude.

For the expedition part of the trip, you will leave your excess luggage and anything you don't need at Camp Grab which will be locked securely away. You will be given dry bags to pack your clothes, sleeping bag and personal items for the 3 days and two nights of the mini expedition.

There are different size packrafts available which have a passenger weight range of from 50kg to 130kg, not including luggage.

Depending on the size of the group there will be 2-4 guides on the trip. This equates to 1 guide per 3-4 people depending on the water levels throughout the season.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

Our team of Adventure Hunters create exclusive adventures with highly vetted, specialist hosts. We only work with independent, local in-destination experts who know the very best places to explore and how to stay safe. See here for more info about the local teams we partner with.

TRIP DEPARTURE DATES

September 2024

Saturday • 21st September 2024

to Saturday • 28th September 2024
Guaranteed to run
Only 2 spots left at 10% off

Saturday • 7th June 2025

to Saturday • 14th June 2025
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 21st June 2025

to Saturday • 28th June 2025
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 5th July 2025

to Saturday • 12th July 2025
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 19th July 2025

to Saturday • 26th July 2025
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 9th August 2025

to Saturday • 16th August 2025
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 23rd August 2025

to Saturday • 30th August 2025
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 6th September 2025

to Saturday • 13th September 2025
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 20th September 2025

to Saturday • 27th September 2025
Guaranteed to run
Private trip

Go private and split the bill with ease.

Forget complex logistics, we've taken care of all the details to ensure a hassle-free get together. All of the adventure, none of the faff.

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