Montenegro is a perfect mix in between historic towns, dramatic mountains, clean beaches, many lakes, canyons and also vineyards! It sounds and has the looks of an upcoming popular destination such as the likes of Monaco but with the added extras of incredible nature and adventure activities. Whilst still developing, luxury hotels and yachts are filling up slowly Porto Montenegro, the beautiful port situated in Tivat. While it is still affordable, we would recommend you to go there soon so you can still to see where Montenegro has come from and where it is going with its new investment plans.
If you are interested in investing in property, you can visit Porto Montenegro offices anytime to visit apartments and get informed on the costs etc. It is quite surprising how affordable it is at the moment to invest or buy a nice flat looking over the Marina!
Safety in Montenegro
Many people have a strange perception of unknown countries to be unsafe. The Balkans are also perceived to be a bit not as safe as Western Europe, which is certainly not the case. Montenegrins are warm people and appreciate travellers passing by their country. We never felt unsafe at all during the whole trip.
How to Get to Montenegro
There are many ways! If you insert Montenegro in your Balkan trip, it is quite accessible by road, crossing from either Bosnia & Herzegovina, Albania or Croatia. Going from Dubrovnik to Montenegro is quite a popular route and the one I did 5 years ago.
By aerial way, you have an airport in Podgorica and Tivat. We flew in from Dubai via a connection in Istanbul to Podgorica with Turkish Airlines. Good news for UAE residents, FlyDubai are now doing direct flights to Tivat, conveniently in the heart of everything and a great starting point to visit the whole country in a week.
Cruises and day trips are also quite popular, but we do recommend you to take a minimum of a week to enjoy the beautiful gems of Montenegro. If you are coming from Italy you can get a ferry going to the coast of Bar.
If you don’t plan to rent a car for road trips, there are day tours available to to places such as Durmitor Park, which is a must!
Public transport is available to get along the coast and to the main sights. I was surprised how Montenegro is a lot more developed than I thought at first. Not to mention it is still quite cheap to get around the country and taxis also aren’t overly expensive (we had 1 euro taxis in Podgorica!).
Budget for Montenegro
Montenegro uses the Euro, even though it is still not officially part of the EU (working hard to be in it though!)
Your budget for Montenegro, like all countries will have to vary depending of your taste of travel and how you plan to approach your itinerary. Will you do a road trip? Will you stay in posh hotels? Will you eat in local eateries or expensive restaurants? All is to take in consideration in Montenegro. Many cheap accommodation and eateries are available, you could do well with less than 50 euros a day if going very low budget.
Communication & Culture
The official language is Montenegrin, a similar language to Croatian and Serbian. There won’t be any problems to communicate in English. We haven’t encountered any “Lost in Translation” moments, but again we might just be lucky!
Where to Stay in Montenegro
To efficiently visit the country, we recommend to not be based in one city, but to move along the way you plan to go and book accommodation accordingly. We stayed at the CentreVille Hotel in Podgorica and at the Regent Porto Montenegro when we were in Tivat.
From our research, Rafting lodge in Piva right on the river and really caught our attention as well.
For Adventure & Nature Lovers
If you love nature and active travel like us, you will love Montenegro. With over 300km of coastline along the Adriatic Sea, you can imagine the existing possible water sports and upcoming ones. You can go rafting in the Tara River Canyon, which is the 2nd deepest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon in the States. On a calmer note, you can also go for a fishing trip in the big Lake Skadar on the Albanian Border. We wish we had more photos, but unfortunately during this trip we didn’t get the chance to discover the adventurous side of Montenegro. We will go back soon, no worries about that!
A Luxury Destination
After Kosovo and South Sudan, Montenegro is one of the world’s youngest countries. From being part of Serbia and Montenegro after the Yugoslavia break up, it got its independence in 2006. It has been investing a lot of effort to join the European Union. You can still see the charm and leftovers of the communist era with some deserted concrete former state-run hotels and the fact that travellers still have to register with the police. (You can see this a lot in China, Viet Nam, etc) That being said, the government and investors are working hard to build an infrastructure for tourism, not to mention the rise of Luxury right in Tivat with its new project Porto Montenegro.
Porto Montenegro is a fabulous Luxury Marina with many posh shops, and restaurants. It has a few boutique hotels, but the most luxurious there at the moment being the Regent Porto Montenegro with its beautiful infinity pool overlooking the yacht bay. The hotel is currently expanding and will have a bigger pool, something that we really look forward.
Unfortunately when we visited, the construction of the new Yacht Club just finalized and we couldn’t enjoy the beautiful pool facilities, which is a perfect reflection of luxury. There will be many parties and socialite events happening there we are sure of that!
The reason why it is luxurious isn’t only for Porto Montenegro, but for the accessibility of the luxurious activities. You can live the yacht life by getting a yacht to stroll the beautiful waters of Montenegro, stop over nice restaurants and do some paddle boarding. Helicopter rides are available to see the country from above, an experience we definitely recommend if you have a spare penny.
One Week in Montenegro Itinerary
Start with this quick film before getting into the details! If you feel like a quick guide, you can also jump to Things to do in Montenegro (Coming soon)
Best way to travel in Montenegro
You can take tours and some public transport but to see Montenegro properly, we recommend you to do a Road Trip and have full control of where you want to stop and for how long. Montenegro is quite mountainous so driving yourself with a smaller car can make things easier. It is recommended you pick up a car once in Montenegro instead of crossing borders with your car rental as insurance and one-way fees will be quite high.
How long should I spend in Montenegro?
Ideally a minimum of 10 days to see the country properly and be able to experience things other than just walking/driving around to take pictures.
Podgorica is the capital of Montenegro. We spent a night there and walked around the city to discover it. We found it a bit empty and hard to understand where we were supposed to walk towards to around town to see the “landmarks”. We would recommend you to not stay a night there unless you are tired flying in through the city.
Did you know the city was was destroyed multiple times (over 70 times) during WWII, hence why there are not many monuments left in the city. One of the few attractions in the city is the Old Bridge. It was built during the Roman times and reconstructed during the period of Ottoman rule. If you are looking for bars, check out Njegoševa street.
We spent the night there at the Centre Ville Hotel before hitting the road.
Lake Skadar National Park
30 minutes away from Podgorica is the beautiful Skadar Lake, an UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can also see the border of Albania. We didn’t spend enough time there but we recommend you to do so. Boat rides (the most recommended), hikes, little villages and all that jazz will make you appreciate that you left Podgorica that early! Also, if you love bird watching, the Skadar lakes has an incredible wild life variety with around 260 species of birds.
Tivat and Porto Montenegro
When in Tivat, get to Porto Montenegro where you can catch amazing sunsets of the luxurious marina. If you like luxury, spend a night there at the Regent and stroll the marina at night for good eateries and coffee shops.
If you don’t like posh destinations too much, make sure at least to have a visit for a two hours to grab a good ice cream at Moritz Eis for a walk before hitting up the road.
Take a Yacht: There are many places you can’t access by car, like the many floating monasteries. Montenegro is amazing by water as you pass by all these villages at the bottom of the mountains. Porto Montenegro is the place from where you can arrange these trips.
With many small villages, little beaches, the port of Kotor is a must! You don’t want to miss visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site and get your Lonely Planet picture shot!
The Kotor Old Town is the most popular destination in this country, surrounded by fortresses and a wall. Out of all the things to do in Kotor, climbing up to the hilltop fortress must be number one. Around 1350 steps and you are at the Castle of San Giovanni. Castle view over the bay is beautiful, consider it for your Instagram photos!
Day tours from other countries to Montenegro are usually to bring the tourists to. We skipped the museums as we were on a schedule, but recommend you the views when you hike up the hill!
We only spent few hours in Kotor to see the Old Town, but if you want a comprehensive list, it can be found here.
Driving the coast, you will hit up the 2,500 years old town of Budva with beaches and TONS of bars. It doesn’t take much to feel that the place is crowded as the streets are super narrow. Budva is the city of Montenegro known for its parties and the backpacker heaven. If that is not your cup of tea, then 2 hours visit of the Old town with a little beer on a terrace will suffice! Little tip, we may said Kotor was crowded, Budva can actually be more crowded!
A 30 minute bus ride away is the former capital of Montenegro. It is a very quiet town, where you will find Montenegrin culture and medieval architecture. This is not a place people usually stop at or plan in their Montenegrin itinerary as it is not a reason to visit Montenegro, but worth the brief stop if you are in a Road Trip or have time to kill.
Bar also has its little old town. We stopped there for a short hour. This is where you can find the ferry connection to Italy. We do not recommend to necessarily stay in Bar as activities there are quite limited. If you are into this, you can go check out the world’s oldest olive tree!
Driving along the Montenegrin coast, you will see Sveti Stefan, a teardrop-shaped island with terracotta-tiled buildings on the turquoise bay. Sveti Stefan dates back to the 15th century and used to be a fortified fishing village. In the 1950s, it was turned into a luxury hotel where celebrities of the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were among guests. In the 1980s, it was abandoned because of the Balkan conflict, but was refurbished and reopened a few years back as a beautiful Aman resorts, a hotel group that AdventureFaktory sure is very fond of since we visited its Vietnam property. You won’t be able to visit the hotel unless you are a guest. If you really feel like being close, you can pay €50 for sun loungers on their private beach.
Piva River & Tara Canyon
Our recommendation is to definitely spend more time in the north of Montenegro, where you can enjoy the natural beauty of the country.
You will notice that when you leave the coast, the mountains will be higher and the roads will climb higher as well. This is the reason why it is great to do it by car as you can stop a lot when you feel like it to capture the beautiful water and villages climbing the mountains.
If you love active travel, Piva River and Tara River Canyon will serve you well with the opportunities to go kayaking and rafting. A helicopter ride around the north is also something to consider as the aerial view would be nuts! Did you know Tara Canyon is the deepest canyon in Europe and 2nd in the world after the Grand Canyon? The waters are sapphire blue and emerald-green, your photos are going to be nuts!
Durmitor National Park
On your way to Durmitor, stop by the Durdevica Tara Bridge for a 15-20 minute visit. If you have time, there’s rafting and zip lining right next to it with river rafting average prices at $40 per pax.
An UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Durmitor National Park is the highlight for most travellers that have been to Montenegro. The views are incredible with its beautiful lakes and mirrored waters. It is not crowded, hence an amazing place for you to connect with nature. If you are lucky you can see brown bears, wolves, wild cats, etc. You will be able to do amazing treks and enjoy beautiful views of the lakes and mountains. Little local restaurants around will make you feel super local and this is usually the best part of travelling! (Don’t skip the Black Lake, nice pictures guaranteed!)
If you love adventure, don’t miss Canyon Nevidio that is tucked away and relatively unknown and unexplored for a long time. Book a canyoning trip and cascades and waterfalls that make Nevidio one of the most precious gems of Montenegro.
Hope this guide helped you to know a little bit more about Montenegro and that based on your interest, time available and budget, you will be able to go visit and encourage the efforts the country has been investing for the tourism industry!
Do not hesitate to contact us or Discover Montenegro for any questions about the itinerary we have done along side of their assistance!