Primorska Planinarska Transverzala (PPT) Hiking Guide

Primorska Planinarska Transverzala (PPT; translated as the Mountaineering Coastal Transversal, the Coastal Hiking Transversal or the Adriatic transversal) is an epic 10 day hike along the coastal mountains of Montenegro.

There hasn’t been a suitable known hiking guide for English speakers until now. Me and a few fellow hikers decided to create a new hiking guide about the PPT. The data comes from my hike of the PPT in autumn 2017. The foreword comes from Claire Leenen aka Reiske. The design done by Jan Kadera, and copyediting by Anna Walker. The guide contains relatively detailed maps, descriptions of each stage and stage profiles. It’s accessible as a PDF in 3 formats:

  1. High quality PDF (97 Mb)
  2. Medium quality PDF (46Mb)
  3. Low quality PDF (13 Mb)

It’s available for donation via our honesty button below. It works exactly like an honesty box in the mountains where hikers honestly pay for things if they want them. So download the guide, read it, play with it and if you decide to use it, we trust you to send us a contribution via this button:






You choose your price for what you think the guide is worth. This system is in line with our philosophies and world view.

Don’t forget to use the guide properly though: don’t rely on it blindly. We did our best to make it as accurate as possible but we’re just people (just for now though, we’re working towards our enlightenment). People make mistakes. But, above all, nature and trails change quickly so what is a pine tree and stream today, could be a pine tree and desert tomorrow!

If you want to know more about the trail, keep reading, otherwise enjoy the guide!

Trail overview

The PPT is one of 2 long distance hikes in Montenegro (the other one is Crnogorska Transverzala, or simply CT1). The PPT was opened in 2006 as a result of a lot of effort on the part of local hiking clubs. It connects three important mountain massifs of the country: Rumija, Lovćen and Orjen. It roughly stretches from the Albanian to the Croatian border. However, though the name implies there might be a lot of beach walking involved, the opposite is the true. You do see a lot of the seacoast though and it is stunning.

Yup, you’ll have a lot of views like that

It’s about 180 km long and it can be walked in either direction. Each direction has advantages and disadvantages. For example:

If you go NW bound (from Bar to Herceg Novi):

  • Disadvantage: You won’t find many signposts pointing your direction as they’re designed for SE hiking, so the signposts usually point where you’re coming from 🙁
  • Advantage: You will not have to climb up to Subra and down to its amphitheater with a big load of food for a few days as it will be at the end of your hike. I wouldn’t recommend this climb with the fully loaded pack. It’s quite a decent climb up even without a pack and the way down could be particularly difficult. 🙂

If you go SE bound (from Herceg Novi to Bar):

  • Advantage: The signs will be pointing your directions 🙂
  • Disadvantage: You’ll hike the first section over Subra amphitheater with a fully loaded backpack 🙁

Getting in & out

There are heaps of buses to both Herceg Novi and Bar. To Bar there is even a train connection from Podgorica. At Herceg Novi, the markings start directly at the bus station which is really nice. Check Balkanviator.com for bus schedules, or zcg-prevoz.me for train schedules.

Navigation

Finding markings is either very easy or very hard. In some parts the markings are as shiny as a kid’s bum, while in other parts the trail is heavily overgrown and requires constant bushwhacking. Therefore, good maps and navigation skills or GPS are essential.

You can download our GPX files here.

Food & water

There are a few restaurants and a café on the way. But, they don’t have any groceries for sale so I wouldn’t recommend relying on them. If you’re thru-hiking, you have to carry all the food you’ll need on you. Roughly in the middle of the trail there is a small village, Brajići, with a restaurant and a bus stop where you can take a bus down to the coastal town of Budva to resupply. I’d recommend that, it’ll make your life easier and lighter. At different points on the trail you’ll also cross a main road a few times where you could potentially hitch to a nearby town to get some food but it could be time consuming.

Water could be an issue. There are a lot of water cisterns (wells) on the way but their water quality varies greatly. It’s not uncommon to find a dead wild pig or a deer floating inside. Some of the water cisterns are very nice with a solid cover, but you’ll need a bucket with a rope or similar system to fetch the water. Good, fresh water sources are scarce. I managed to drink from fresh water sources or nice water cisterns all the time, but I had to plan carefully every day and ask locals for water twice. I carried 1,5 to 4 litres of water on me and it was enough. If you hike in summer, I’d recommend carrying even more in some sections because in 30 degree temperatures, dehydration occurs quickly.

My fetching system: cycling water bottle I found in a trench which I filled with stones and tide with a spare leash

When to hike

I hiked the trail at the end of September and I’d say it was the best time of the year. The heat during summer can be unbearable and I’d rather get a bit wet during early autumn or late spring than puff up the steep hills in 30 degree temperatures. October could be tricky because the mountainous parts can be snowy already. Actually, two weeks after I finished the hike, there was a snowstorm over the tops bringing 30 cm of white icing to the mountain tops. It rarely happens earlier but you should be prepared for any kind of weather.

Me & the fort Sveti Andrija

Gear

Since some parts are overgrown, good pants and long sleeve shirts come in handy to protect your skin. You can get by without it as I did, but be ready for some blood and dirt. Thanks to the bora, wind could be an issue too so a wind jacket is a good idea. The Adriatic Alps can get very, very hot in the summer months so I’ve found proper sun protection to be essential.

My impression & more photos

It’s an awesome trail. Seriously, one of the best trails I’ve done. The Adriatic Alps are amazingly beautiful, the Adriatic sea is stunning at any time of year and the trail itself is challenging but enjoyable. Yes, there are some parts where you’ll be swearing over innocent nettles, spiky junipers and house ruins blocking the trail. But these experiences will be more than made up for by magnificent views over the coast, sunrises over the white mountains and incredibly well made mountain highways looking like they were made for hiking. You get to walk through abandoned villages made out of the drywall technique, you’ll see lots of goats and shepherds resting under oak trees and you’ll walk many miles over mountain roads and forts built by the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Throughout the whole trail I met only 4 hikers during 8 days of hiking, all of them in the Lovćen National Park. Finally, it is also the most challenging trail I’ve done, mostly because of the lack of water and big elevation changes. I wouldn’t recommend it to a beginner hiker but if you know a bit about mountains, this is the hike for you! By the way, you can find more of my pictures from the trail here.

See you out there!

About the Author

Michal Klajban
I lived pretty common life for a while. I did my studies, my second studies, my third studies, my first job, my second job and my third job. I wasn’t really sure what’s going on so in 2014, I left my home country to learn about the world. I’m still not sure what’s going on but I enjoy it much more.

12 Comments on "Primorska Planinarska Transverzala (PPT) Hiking Guide"

  1. Aleksandar | 25.9.2018 at 14:50 | Reply

    Hi Michal! I had a gpx track that my friend gave to me and it was reliable enough. I also used a handbook for PPT which contaialns a lot of useful information. I haven’t met any hikers on the route except several tourists at Lovcen and few people in the villages. There is a very nice report written with pictures from start till the end of this adventure, published on my facebook page “Ultimate Hike”. However, the report is written in my native language- Serbian, and i am considering to translate to English as well. I am also planning to complete CT, maybe this autumn or spring next year. Also, PPT in May again :). Please let me know through my page when you come to Balkans, we can do some hikes together. Best from Alex

    • Michal Klajban | 25.9.2018 at 14:56 | Reply

      Very good! I’d like to hike the CT next year in the spring but we’ll see – too many hikes in the world you know! Thank you for stopping by again, it’s great to hear from someone who hiked it too 🙂

  2. Aleksandar | 15.9.2018 at 18:45 | Reply

    Hi Michael, i completed the trail yesterday and it was very hard since i did it in less than 6 days. You were right, it was bone dry and very hot. However, there is a lot berries on the way in September which can reduce the need for water. Also mushrooms which i eat raw. My plan was to be as light as possible and to be fast. At the end, i am very satisfied and the words cannot explain the beauty of trail and amazing views. This is one of the long distance trails i enjoyed the most. Looking forward to winter time and visiting again the Subra peak and Orjen region. Best from Alex

    • Michal Klajban | 18.9.2018 at 11:40 | Reply

      Hi Aleksandar! Great to see you came back here to let us know about your experience. If you’re willing to share the story of your hike or some pictures, please, let me know and I’ll be happy to publish it here. Water is surely an issue. When I hiked the PPT in 2017, I had GPS coordinates from Reiske who did the hike in 2016. The coordinates included water resources but I found out that only about 70 % of them were actually there. Very tricky, you never know up there. I agree that it’s very hard to express the beauty of the trail. Did you meet any other hikers? I met only a few in Lovcen National Park but that was it. I feel like the PPT is a European hidden hiking diamond 🙂 I’m hoping to get back there next spring to hike CT1

  3. Next year I plan to go this route at the end of April (21.IV-2.V). Will there still be snow in the higher parts of the mountains at this time? And which map of the region do you recommend to buy?

    • Michal Klajban | 7.9.2018 at 12:24 | Reply

      Hi! It’s hard to say if there’ll be any snow. I was there in the end of September / beginning of October and there was a snowstorm just a few days after I finished. It brought about 20 cm of snow. If there will be snow, I think it’ll be mostly in the highest parts which are Mt Rumija, Mt Lovcen & Mt Orjen. The good news is that you don’t have to climb these tops to continue on the trail, all of them are side trails. If I was you, I wouldn’t expect snow but I’d be ready for it, just in case. April should be beautiful there – probably a bit wet but beautiful!

  4. Aleksandar | 15.8.2018 at 7:28 | Reply

    Hi guys, i am planning to do the PPT at the beginning of Sept. So if anyone is willing to join me, please let me know. It would be nice to have a company. Alex

    • Michal Klajban | 15.8.2018 at 7:44 | Reply

      Hi Aleksandar, that’s great to hear you’re gonna hike it. I’d love to join you, but I’m planning on doing other hike in September (possibly in Montenegro too though!). It’s been very dry year so make sure you’ll carry enough water, I reckon that the mountains will be bone dry this year. I’m sure you’ll love it! Let me know here how was it when you finish 🙂

  5. Hey Michal, I love your lines, magic and very inspiring !

    As being a professional hiking guide in Montenegro, quite a lot focused on the Coastal mountains, 5 years ago started a volunteering project together with my good friend Dare. The aim is to protect trails from overgrowth as well as to promote the hiking opportunities in Montenegro. Promoting the outdoors lifestyle to our local folks is an important focus too.
    One of results from our Proljećni Kamp (the Spring Camp) is a nice short film about this happening and the Coastal Transversal. Anyone interested to feel it’s atmosphere can check at:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sx44n3cQjWc
    The Spring camp volunteering program can be found at (usualy updated from March each year, hopefully in 2019 we make it earlier)
    http://www.springcamp.me

    Dare and myself would be happy to see you or any of your friends joining the Spring Camp! And believe me, May is the most magic period to wake up and walk the highlands and summits above the Adriatic!
    Welcome & Sunny Regards
    from Montenegro

    • Michal | 9.6.2018 at 1:15 | Reply

      Hi Vlatko!

      Thanks for the comment. I’ve checked the video and it looks lovely. I’d actually be keen to come next year. I live in Canada now but in autumn I should move back to Europe. I actually think I’ll be in Montenegro in autumn again. Seeing the country in the spring sounds fantastic though, I’d love that!

      I’ll keep an eye on the camp website for the next year camp 🙂

      Greetings from rainy Canada,
      Michal

  6. Molineux | 29.5.2018 at 19:29 | Reply

    Great piece of work. Just come back from a short trip to the coast of Montenegro and loved it. Climbed up Rumija and Velji Kosmac to get a taster and was very impressed. The views are amazing. Will definitely be coming back to do more.

    • Hi Molineux! I’m really glad you liked our guide and the hike too! Yes, the views are really amazing. At some point you can see all the coast from Albania to Croatia which is fantastic. If you’re into a bit of adventure, try the hike over Subra (stage 10 in our guide). Stay safe!

      PS: I think we’ll be back this autumn again, I can’t wait!

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