Travel guide to Tara River Canyon in Montenegro
Tara river canyon or Tara River Gorge is a spectacular canyon that represents a world-protected heritage (proclaimed by UNESCO) and stretches through the territory of Durmitor National Park. It is the deepest canyon in Europe and the second deepest in the world – the first one is the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. The canyon is seventy-eight km long, and the height of its rocks reaches as much as one thousand three hundred meters!
In this Travel Guide to Tara River Canyon, we will explain why you should not miss its research during your stay in Montenegro.
Canyoning Tara River and canyoning tours:
This article is about the Tara Canyon and the types of activities available on the Tara River. This isn’t an article about canyoning tours, tara canyoning.
Canyoning, often known as gorge-walking, is an exhilarating outdoor activity that combines elements of mountaineering and water sports. Participants traverse through canyons or gorges using a variety of techniques such as swimming, climbing, rappelling, sliding, and jumping. These undulating natural playgrounds offer a unique setting to engage with nature, pushing the boundaries of adventure and exploration, making canyoning an unforgettable experience for thrill-seekers and nature enthusiasts alike.
Canyoning in Montenegro usually takes place in the Nevidio canyon, Rikavac canyon and several others, due to their smaller size and natural pools that make them suitable for this adventure sport. Tara River Canyon is very large and wide with a fast-flowing river, making it much more suitable for Tara Canyon raft tours, or white water rafting!
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The fascinating ecosystem of Montenegro’s Tara River
Two smaller rivers, Opasanica and Varuša, that spring at the foot of Mount Komovi, form the Tara River. It flows for 150 km through Montenegro until Šćepan Polje, on the border with Bosnia, where it meets river Piva forming the Drina river. The Basin of river Tara is a space between mountains Komovi, Bjelasica, and Ljubišnja from one, and Durmitor and Sinjajevina mountains from the other side. In the wilderness surrounding the Tara River Canyon,
numerous species had found their home.
Ash and oak form forests around the canyon and drinking water is a habitat for fish such as wild trout, graylings, and huchens. In addition to many deciduous species, in the Tara basin, we find black pine. The most exciting specimens are rooted in the rocks of the canyon directly and lean over the abyss. This area is no less important for large animals such as bears, boars, wolves, foxes, eagles, and vultures.
Adventure and outdoor activities
With its 14 tributaries and 70 rapids, Tara River is a popular rafting destination in Montenegro. The most exciting and challenging rapids are Celije, Varda, Borovi, and Vjernovica Buk. The rafting experience’s most extraordinary charm is the river’s variability depending on the season and weather conditions. Each tour is a unique experience due to the changes in the surrounding nature and the water itself. This great whitewater adventure is suitable for adrenaline junkies or a family, or a group of friends looking for the best way to spend their holiday. In the spring, the Tara River usually has class 4 rapids, while in the summer and fall months, it is usually class 3+ rapids.
The more trained adventurists for this activity they prefer the beginning of spring. Unlike other tourist offers in Montenegro, the rafting season is quite long – from April to the end of October. All the way, you are provided with drinking water, and the environment provides you with fantastic video and photography opportunities. If you are here at the right time of the year, look for the swimming holes and jumping off spots along the way.
Perhaps an even more exciting activity you can practice on Tara is whitewater kayaking. With adequate equipment and guidance, more experienced kayakers can experience this beauty among the rivers in the best way. Those who have never tried it can take a course and discover their hidden talent in quieter areas of the river. Every September, the Kayak fest is organized in the “Grab” camp on the Tara coast, and it welcomes nature lovers worldwide. Skilled kayakers participate in competitions, and beginners can try out with the help of experienced instructors.
The legendary bridge over the Tara River , Montenegro
At an altitude of 172 m above the river, this bridge simultaneously awakens a sense of excitement, fear, and fascination. It is 350 m long and wide enough for a bus and a car to barely pass. Its sidewalks are about half a meter wide.
Only a few years before the start of WW2, Montenegrins built a bridge on Đurđevića Tara. This engineering pride is impressive not only for its dimensions but also for its unusual story. At the time of construction, this bridge broke two world records – the first for the span of one of its five arches (116m) and the second for the scaffolding’s value, whose price was 40% of the total cost of the bridge itself. People have invented many legends about the bridge’s origin, such as about the fairies that made the bridge’s construction possible. However, the real truth is more interesting than any legend.
Construction of the bridge began on the eve of ww2 when the authorities developed Yugoslavia’s kingdom’s low traffic network. Until then, the Tara River’s two banks were connected at this point by a wooden bridge. The combined forces of engineering minds and brave constructors bore fruit and completed the new bridge in 1940. Due to the impending evil of war, it was never officially opened.
During 1942, Italian forces penetrated the partisan-controlled zone. The then leader of the Yugoslav partisans, and the future president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Tito, used his favorite war tactics – tearing down bridges and disrupting enemy incursions. But in such a way that it can be quickly restored later. Lazar Jauković, who participated in the bridge’s construction (chief architect Mijat Trojanovic was already in the concentration camp), was given this particular task. At dawn on May 6, 1942, he demolished the bridge’s smallest arch by blasting, thus interrupting this important road communication. Because of his act, the Italian soldiers shot Jauković near the bridge, and there is a bust of him as a memorial to Lazar’s heroism. The bridge was later rebuilt but not in an authentic way. Today, the rear arch does not exist, and this part of the bridge is significantly different from the rest – which is perhaps a good reminder of this war story.
The Tara River, the so-called “tear of Europe,” was nicknamed for its purity. Today, however, that meaning is literalized because of the many dangers that threaten this natural treasure. The irresponsible and insensitive behaviour of profiteering associations and similar individuals disrupts the river’s purity and natural perfection, not thinking of future generations. Builders of current transport infrastructures and representatives of energy lobbies do not give up on destroying entire ecosystems that depend on this river for personal interests. To love something, we have to explore and get to know it as well. Only then will we realize its importance and preserve it. We’ve created the short Travel Guide to Tara River Canyon to inspire you to indulge in nature and fall in love with this river.
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