Travel To Montenegro: Essential Guide For The Best Beaches, Attractions, And Hidden Gems

Travel to Montenegro if you want to discover one of the most diverse travel destinations in the Balkans. Here are the best attractions.

Before I decided to travel to Montenegro, I had little expectations. I know a bit about Kotor after reading about its cool location on some other blogger’s website, but that was about it. 

Oh wow, what a surprise was waiting for me.

Luckily, I visited Montenegro in May 2023 as part of my Balkan road trip. And honestly, a road trip in Montenegro is the best way to discover this hidden gem nestled along the Adriatic coast. 

No wonder Montenegro is rapidly becoming one of Europe’s most sought-after travel destinations. 

This small yet stunning country, often overshadowed by its neighbours Croatia and Albania, offers a unique blend of breathtaking natural landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant city life. I will not say I loved it because I absolutely adored it, and to say I was left speechless by the beauty of the place is still an understatement. 

The country’s popularity has surged, thanks in part to its diverse offerings. 

The scenic routes winding through its mountains and along its coastline have become a draw for those seeking the freedom and adventure of a Montenegro road trip.

This surge in popularity has also seen a rise in convenient travel options, including an increase in international flights to Montenegro’s airports and a variety of accommodation choices ranging from luxury resorts to cosy Airbnbs. 

Whether it’s a week-long stay, a Montenegro itinerary spanning several days, or a short but sweet Montenegro day trip, this country offers a rich tapestry of experiences. Montenegro, with its combination of natural beauty, historical depth, and modern conveniences, is more than just a vacation destination; it’s a journey into the heart of the Balkans.

I am beyond thrilled to share with you what I believe to be a perfect 7-day itinerary for anyone visiting Montenegro for the first time. I can promise you, it won’t be your last. So, use this guide as the starting point for your next preferred European destination. 

Travel To Montenegro: Essential Guide For The Best Beaches, Attractions, And Hidden Gems
I couldn’t miss the opportunity to take a picture of this gorgeous fjord. But trust me the beauty of the place can’t be synthesized in just one photo.

How to travel to Montenegro?

Flying into Montenegro Directly

Montenegro has two main international airports – Tivat and Podgorica. These airports may offer direct or connecting flights from various international destinations. Check with airlines for available routes and schedules to either of these airports.

Arriving via Dubrovnik Airport in Croatia

Many travellers find it easier to fly into Dubrovnik Airport due to its wider range of flights and airline options. Dubrovnik is relatively close to Montenegro, making it a convenient entry point. Once you arrive in Dubrovnik, you can cross the border into Montenegro by car, bus, or taxi. 

The drive from Dubrovnik to the Montenegrin border is scenic and takes about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic and the exact destination in Montenegro.

Ground Transportation from Dubrovnik to Montenegro

After arriving at Dubrovnik Airport, you have multiple options for ground transportation to Montenegro:

Car Rental: Renting a car in Montenegro provides flexibility and the opportunity to explore the region at your own pace. Remember to check with the rental agency about their policies for crossing national borders.

Bus Service: Regular bus services operate between Dubrovnik and various cities in Montenegro, such as Kotor, Budva, and Podgorica. This is an economical and convenient option.

Taxi or Private Transfer: For a more comfortable and direct journey, consider booking a taxi or a private transfer. This is especially recommended if you’re travelling with a lot of luggage or in a group.

Ensure you have all the necessary travel documents, including a valid passport and any required visas. Also, be aware of the border crossing procedures between Croatia and Montenegro.

Travel To Montenegro: Essential Guide For The Best Beaches, Attractions, And Hidden Gems
Kotor Old town

Visiting Montenegro for the first time: What not to miss

  • Kotor: A stunning old town nestled in the Bay of Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don’t miss the climb up to the Fortress of San Giovanni for breathtaking views.
  • Budva: Known for its vibrant nightlife and beautiful beaches like Jaz and Mogren. Explore the charming Old Town filled with history.
  • Perast: A picturesque coastal town in the Bay of Kotor. Take a boat to the Our Lady of the Rocks island and its church.
  • Lovćen National Park: Home to Njegoš’s Mausoleum and amazing panoramic views of Montenegro. A perfect spot for nature lovers.
  • Ulcinj: Famous for its long beaches like Velika Plaža, and the historic Ulcinj Old Town. It’s a great place to experience Montenegrin-Albanian culture.
  • Sveti Stefan: A unique islet connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus, boasting luxury accommodations and stunning views.
  • Durmitor National Park: Ideal for hiking, rafting, and appreciating Montenegro’s natural beauty. Don’t miss the Tara River Canyon.
  • Cetinje: The old royal capital offers a glimpse into Montenegro’s rich history. Visit the Blue Palace and the Cetinje Monastery.
  • Herceg Novi: Located at the entrance of the Bay of Kotor, known for its fortresses and serene beaches.
  • Podgorica: The capital city, with attractions like the Millennium Bridge and Skadar Lake nearby, offering a mix of urban and natural experiences.
Travel To Montenegro: Essential Guide For The Best Beaches, Attractions, And Hidden Gems

Where to stay in Montenegro

Probably the most popular spot to stay in Montenegro is Kotor and its surroundings. 

If you want to visit Montenegro during summer, which is the top season, you should book your hotel a few months in advance. 

Cool accommodation in the Kotor area:

Cool hotels near Sveti Stefan:

Hotels in Budva:

Hotels in Podgorica:

Montenegro 7-day road trip itinerary 

Day 1-2: Discovering the Capital and Beyond

  • Exploring Podgorica: Visit landmarks like the Millennium Bridge, the old town of Stara Varoš, and the Podgorica City Museum. Enjoy local dining at Njegos Park or along the Ribnica River. Stay in boutique hotels or modern apartments.
  • Day Trip Options: Explore the Biogradska Gora or Lovćen National Parks for hiking and nature. Visit Cetinje, the old royal capital, to see the Blue Palace and the Cetinje Monastery.

Day 3-4: The Charm of Budva and Coastal Towns

  • Explore Budva: Wander through the charming Old Town, visit the Citadel, and enjoy the vibrant nightlife.
  • Discover the best Beaches near Budva: Spend time at Jaz Beach, known for music festivals, or Mogren Beach, nestled between cliffs.
  • Accommodation: Choose from luxury seafront resorts, cosy guesthouses, or Airbnb options for a comfortable stay.

Day 5: Arrival in Kotor

  • Begin your day with a leisurely drive towards Kotor. This scenic route allows for multiple stops to admire the stunning landscapes of Montenegro.
  • Arrive in Kotor in the late afternoon. Check into your accommodation and spend some time exploring the charming streets of Kotor’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Enjoy a relaxing dinner at one of Kotor’s local restaurants, experiencing Montenegrin cuisine and the town’s vibrant evening atmosphere.

Day 6: Exploring Kotor and Mountain Drive

  • Spend the first half of the day further exploring Kotor. Visit the Maritime Museum, the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, and other notable landmarks.
  • Dedicate the afternoon to driving up the serpentine road to Lovćen National Park. This drive offers spectacular views of the Bay of Kotor and takes several hours, including stops for photos and exploration.
  • Return to Kotor for the night. You may opt for a leisurely evening stroll along the bay, enjoying the peaceful ambience.

Day 7: Day Trip to Perast and Risan

  • If you have time, before you leave, take a short drive to Perast, a picturesque coastal town. Visit the iconic Our Lady of the Rocks and enjoy a leisurely lunch with views of the bay. In the afternoon, head to Risan, known for its Roman mosaics and quaint charm.
  • In the evening head back to the airport. If you have more time, return to Kotor. Spend your last evening in Montenegro enjoying a farewell dinner, perhaps in one of the bayfront restaurants, as you reminisce about your journey.

Practical Information

  • Travel logistics: Airports, public transportation, and border crossings.
  • Tips for car rentals and accommodation.
  • Best time to visit and weather considerations.

Montenegro in Different Itineraries

  • Suggestions for different lengths of stay (3 days, 5 days, 10 days).
  • Itinerary variations for different interests: history buffs, nature lovers, beachgoers.
Travel To Montenegro: Essential Guide For The Best Beaches, Attractions, And Hidden Gems
Fortress of San Giovanni, near Kotor. In May 2023, they were building a cable car to take you up there. as the other option is by car.

Tips for travelling in Montenegro

  • Car Rental Tips: Rent a car in Tivat or Podgorica, opting for a vehicle with good mileage for the mountainous terrain.
  • Popular Routes: Drive around the Bay of Kotor for stunning sea views. Visit Lovćen National Park for panoramic views and historical sites like Njegoš’s Mausoleum.
  • Scenic Drives: Don’t miss Canyon Nevidio for adventurous hiking and stunning nature photography.
  • Bosnia and Montenegro: Discover the shared history and cultural landmarks in border towns. Visit Mostar in Bosnia for its iconic bridge.
  • Day Trips to Albania: Explore the Albanian Alps or the coastal city of Shkodër, just a short drive from Montenegro.
  • Montenegro’s Culinary Scene: Try traditional dishes like Njeguški pršut (smoked ham) and seafood. Visit cafes in Podgorica or along the Budva Riviera.
  • Souvenir Shopping: Look for unique Montenegrin crafts, wines, and olive oil.
  • Leisure Activities: Relax at a spa, enjoy a boat tour, or simply stroll along the marina to conclude your journey.
Fortress of San Giovanni
Podgorica

Don’t miss the opportunity to travel to Montenegro

Montenegro has breathtaking mountains, beaches, old cities and even a fjord that rivals the fjords in Norway. 

I strongly recommend that you put Montenegro on your travel bucket list as soon as possible. 

For the best experience, you should probably travel to Montenegro during the shoulder season. If you still decide to visit during summer, when all tourist spots get super crowded, then make sure you have a plan. 

Many seem to believe that Montenegro is all about beaches, given its proximity to the Adriatic Sea. The beaches here are not just numerous but are renowned for their beauty and variety. Whether it’s the sandy shores of Ulcinj or the pebble-strewn beaches near Kotor, each beach tells its own story, offering a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. 

The coastal town of Budva, known for its medieval walls and lively nightlife, has become synonymous with Montenegro’s beach culture, drawing sun-seekers and party-goers alike.

But Montenegro’s appeal extends beyond its coast. The nation’s cultural sites, such as the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Bay of Kotor and the historic monasteries scattered throughout the country, offer a glimpse into its rich history and religious diversity. The scenic beauty of its landscapes, from the rugged mountains to the serene Lake Skadar, appeals to nature enthusiasts and photographers.

Whatever kind of trip you want to plan for visiting Montenegro, I’m sure you will enjoy its charm. But I hope you decide to go on a road trip around the country. 

Iulia Vasile

Iulia is a travel expert, blogger, engineer, freelance copywriter, and a curiosity-driven personality. She sees travel as the ultimate tool for self-improvement and personal growth, and that's the main topic of her blog, Juliasomething.com.

View stories