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 (for updates, check the comments below!). 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 It’s accessible as a PDF in 3 formats (2021 edit: the guide is getting out of date, please check the comments below for some very useful updates):
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.