The Tara river gorge is arguably one of the most mesmerizing sites in Europe, if not in the entire world.
This turquoise blue stripe of crystal clear waters is slicing through the northern edge of Durmitor National park, and forms a 1300 m deep gorge – a breathtaking natural wonder that keeps serving as a self-sufficient invite to all nature and adventure lovers out there.
Also known as “The Tear of Europe”, Tara river gorge is the longest canyon in Europe, coming second in the world only after the Grand Canyon. It represents one of the rare natural sites that can truly leave you breathless – so, here is the story of Tara river gorge
and why we believe it is worth exploring it while staying in our beautiful country.
Tara river Montenegro – introduction and topography
The crystal clear Tara river gorge extends between the green and snow-white mountain peaks, emerging in all its’ unprecedented glory.
Tara river is created by two separate rivers that spring in Komovi mountains – Opasanica and Varuša. As we already mentioned, the Tara river gorge walls are around 1300 m deep, making it the second largest canyon in the world, but also – the first one when it comes to its’ beauty.
The Tara river is 158 km long and has a whopping 14 rivers flowing into it, with 69 rapids, so it is no wonder why it is so popular rafting destination in Montenegro. Another feature that adds to its’ wild portrayal are the cascades – there are more than 40 of them, with the most prominent of them being Crna Vrela, Bijela Vrela, Djavolje Lazi, Sokolovina and Bijeli Kamen.
The UNESCO heritage protected area
Aside from being one of the most beautiful sites you’ll ever lay your eyes in Montenegro, the beauty of Tara river gorge was also recognized by UNESCO.
In 1977. it has become a part of “Man and Biosphere” program for its’ diverse flora and fauna species.
Fish like trouts, huchens and graylings, and animals such as eagles, vultures, bears, wolves and foxes, all find refuge in the wilderness surrounding the gorge. Forests are filled with oaks, black pine trees and ashes, and the water from the river is clean and drinkable throughout the entire stream, which is yet another proof of its’ intactness.
The last 40 km of Tara river acts as natural border between Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and this lower part of the river is also the one that is most packed with rapids, thereby the most popular for organizing Tara canyon rafting and kayaking activities, as the rapids speed up the river flow and make the rides faster and the entire experience more adventurous.
Tara river gorge and its’ famous Djurdjevica bridge
One of the unique sites extending just above the Tara river gorge is the Djurdjevica bridge – standing proudly 172 m above it.
It was built between 1938. and 1940., designed by profesor Mijat Trojanović, with the goal to connect to opposite sides of the gorge – villages Budeševica and Trešnica. The bridge is 365 m long, and is not very wide, which didn’t stop it to become one of the most beautiful bridges in the Balkans – so beautiful in fact, that in some parts of Montenegro there is a legend that fairies have helped build it.
Unfortunately, as with everything on the tumultuous Balkans, this bridge too wasn’t spared on the brink of WWII. In fact, it was blown up just two years after it was finished, in the beginning of the 1942. The order came from commander Tito – the bridge was to be blown up in a way that will allow it to be restored later, therefore, only one of the smaller arches was blown up in order to disable the bridge.
Once the war was over, the bridge was restored in the period from 1945. to 1946., and returned in its’ previous state, thus becoming one of the most popular tourist attractions in Montenegro.
Tara river gorge outdoor activities and adventures
We’ve already written about the countless adventures that wait all adrenaline junkies and nature lovers once they start exploring Montenegro.
Engaging in such trips is not only healthy, but also fun, and helps you more profound memories, filled with pumped up adrenaline, laughter, as well as eye-pleasing natural and historical sites everywhere you turn.
Here in the Tara river gorge you can choose among the activities such as horseback riding, hiking, jeep safari, ziplining on the Djurdjevica bridge, canyoning – you name it, the possibilities are endless! But, there are always some activities that are more popular than others, and one of them is definitely Tara canyon rafting.
Tara rafting Montenegro – the most exciting part of your Montenegro tour
When it comes to rafting Tara Montenegro is as good as it gets in our country.
Rafting is an adrenaline activity exclusively done on fast rivers with lots of rapids. When it comes to Tara canyon rafting, you can raft from the upper or the lower part of the river, with each raft carrying 9 people max.
The most exciting part of the Tara canyon rafting is the lower part of the river, filled with more rapids and faster stream. The rafting season starts in April, but since the water is still cold from the winter, this is something we recommend to die-hard, already experience adventurers, while the peak of the summer is perfect for families with young children.
Depending on the water level, the Tara canyon rafting can take up to 5 hours, while earlier in the season it is much faster to cross the same distance – the higher the water level, the less time it takes to cross from the start to the end point.
Zip lining across Djurdjevica bridge
If you aren’t that familiar with zip lining, it used to be used in remote areas as a mean of transportation, and way to overcome some natural obstacles.
Today, however, it has become one of the most popular adrenaline activities, and this one over the Tara bridge was built in 2013. The speed that a person hits when doing this zipline is 50 km/h, and the best feature of this particular zipline is that it can be shared by two people at a time.
The length of the double cord is 700 m, providing a truly thrilling experience, when you will certainly remember vividly!
Tara canyon hiking – hunting for the best view
You might have already realized the pattern, but the harsh truth is that the most magical routes are the toughest to overcome. Most of the time, these routes lead to the most striking viewpoints – ones that will certainly imprint into your memories if you decide to persevere.
Being that mountaineering is reserved for everyone, from the youngest to the most experienced, from the ones that see it as an enjoyable walk, to the ones who see it as a challenge – all you need to do is pick the pace that suits you best, and bring your hiking shoes.
If you happen to be staying at Porto Montenegro residences and planning taking a road trip and discovering our country, or you just happen to be passing by on a cruise with our marina as one of your stops – make sure that your desire for adventure stays intact by exploring our beautiful country with Tara river gorge, along with its’ magnificent natural world.