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Black Lake Montenegro: Durmitor Park

The Origin of the Black Lake

The Black Lake, or Crno Jezero in Montenegrin, is a stunning glacial lake located in the heart of Durmitor National Park in Montenegro. The lake was formed around 10,000 years ago during the last Ice Age, as glaciers receded and left behind a depression that filled with water. In 1952, the lake was declared a national park and has been a popular tourist destination ever since.

Black lake Montenegro
The Black Lake, Credit Juan Alberto Garcia Rivera

To pronounce it, you would say “Tser-noh Yeh-ze-roh” with the emphasis on the first syllable of each word. The “c” in “Crno” is pronounced like a “ts” sound, while the “j” in “Jezero” is pronounced like a “y” sound.

The Location and Accessibility of the Black Lake

The lake is easily accessible by car or bus from the nearby town of Zabljak, which is about 3 kilometers away. Once you arrive, you’ll be surrounded by natural beauty, with crystal-clear water reflecting the stunning surrounding mountains. The lake is surrounded by dense forests, making it a popular destination for hiking and nature walks.

Legends of the Black Lake

The Black Lake in Montenegro is surrounded by a fascinating folklore about the Black Lady of Durmitor. This folklore recalls the account of a woman who became overwhelmed with grief after losing her beloved in the mountains. Overcome with grief, she transformed into a spectral figure who now wanders the lake’s shores.

legends of the black lady of durmitor
Legend of the Black Lake

On evenings when the moon shines brightly over the lake, her soul is supposed to be seen gliding across the water’s surface, a haunting reminder of the depths of love. This mythology adds a sense of mystery and fascination to the Black Lake, making it an even more intriguing location for tourists.

The Natural Beauty and Activities at the Black Lake

Visitors to the Black Lake can enjoy a leisurely stroll around the lake on the well-maintained path that circles it, or take a more challenging hike up to the nearby Bobotov Kuk peak, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of the entire park. The lake is also a popular destination for swimming, fishing, and kayaking. In the summer months, the water is warm enough for swimming, and visitors can rent kayaks or boats to explore the lake at their leisure.

There are two trails that you can take around the lake, each offering different perspectives and experiences.

The first path is the lower trail, which is around 3.5 kilometers long and takes around an hour to finish. This track is quite straightforward and flat, making it an excellent choice for families with children or anybody looking for a relaxing stroll around the lake. The lower trail leads through the lush forest that surrounds the lake, with stunning views of the crystal-clear water and craggy mountain peaks in the distance.

Read Also: The best hiking trails in Montenegro

The second trail is the upper trail, which is approximately 6 kilometers long and takes about 2-3 hours to complete. This trail is more challenging than the lower trail and involves some steep climbs and descents. However, the views from the upper trail are simply breathtaking. The trail takes you up to the highest point overlooking the lake, offering panoramic views of the entire area.

Whether you choose the lower trail or the upper trail, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience at the Black Lake in Montenegro. The natural beauty of this area is truly awe-inspiring, and the trails offer a great way to immerse yourself in the stunning landscape.

Fishing and Wildlife at the Black Lake

The Black Lake is known for its excellent trout fishing. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout, which can be caught using a variety of techniques, including fly fishing, spinning, and bait fishing. Fishing permits are required, and daily licenses are easily available at the park entrance or from local fishing guides.

Black lake Montenegro
Black Lake, Credit David Jones

The best time to fish in Black Lake is during the early morning or late evening when the fish are most active. The lake and Durmitor National Park are also home to a diverse array of wildlife, including bears, wolves, lynxes, chamois, and various species of birds.

Kayaking & Canoeing

Kayaking and canoeing are popular activities around Black Lake in Montenegro. The calm and crystal-clear waters of the lake offer the perfect environment for these water sports, allowing visitors to explore the beautiful surroundings at their own pace.

Renting equipment is easy with several rental shops located near the lake. Visitors can choose from single or double kayaks, or canoes, and set out on their adventure. The lake offers various areas to paddle, from exploring the shoreline and discovering hidden coves to heading toward the lake’s center for stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Kayaking and canoeing on the Black Lake is an excellent way to experience the peaceful and serene beauty of the area.

It is not difficult to understand how the Black Lake gained its moniker. The name derives from the color of the lake’s waters. While the shore is bright turquoise, a view from high in the mountains reveals that the lake has changed color to a dark blue, nearly black. This is owing to the reservoir’s black algae, which give it the appearance of a “black” lake.

The Black Lake is actually comprised of two reservoirs: Large and Small, separated by a narrow strip of shallows. In the summer, when the water level drops, visitors can observe the separation between the two reservoirs. However, for the rest of the year, the lake appears as one solid body of water. Interestingly, the depth of the Small Black Lake is twice that of the Large Black Lake.

How long can I spend at the Black Lake?

When it comes to how long to spend on the Black Lake in Montenegro, the ideal period can really depend on what you’re hoping to get out of your visit. If you’re simply looking to enjoy the serene beauty of the lake and its surroundings, a few hours might be plenty of time. However, if you’re interested in exploring the many hiking trails and natural attractions nearby, you might want to consider setting aside a full day or even multiple days.

The trails around the lake offer a range of difficulty levels, so you can choose the route that best suits your interests and fitness level. Additionally, the nearby Durmitor National Park is full of exciting outdoor activities, such as skiing, rafting, and mountain biking. Ultimately, the amount of time you decide to spend at the Black Lake is up to you and what you hope to experience while there.

Accommodations and Facilities

The Black Lake is surrounded by several hotels and lodges, making it easy for visitors to stay overnight and enjoy all that Durmitor National Park has to offer. There are also several restaurants and cafes located around the lake, serving traditional Montenegrin cuisine.

Durmitor Chalet is an excellent choice and is only 2km from Black Lake. With stunning views, cozy rooms, and access to a range of outdoor activities, it’s the perfect place to unwind and explore the beauty of the park.

There are other accommodation options available around Black Lake in Montenegro. These include Hotel Soa, a four-star hotel with modern rooms and an on-site restaurant; Hostel Hruba Rijeka, a budget-friendly hostel with dormitory-style and private rooms; Etno Selo Vrelo, a traditional Montenegrin village with restored stone houses and a restaurant serving local cuisine; and Mountain Hut Javorovaca, a rustic cabin accommodation located near the lake, ideal for guests who want to immerse themselves in nature. These options offer a range of experiences and price points, ensuring that visitors can find the perfect place to stay while enjoying the natural beauty of the area. if you want to read more, we have a great article on more places to stay in Durmitor National Park.


Black lake Montenegro
Misty morning, Alexander Shchukin

Crno Jezero is a natural wonder and a true gem of Durmitor National Park. With its unique origin story, natural beauty, and diverse range of activities, it’s no wonder that it has become such a popular tourist destination in Montenegro. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, the Black Lake offers an unforgettable experience that you won’t want to miss. So, grab your hiking boots, fishing gear, or kayak paddle and come explore the wonder and beauty of the Black Lake!

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