10 popular things to do in Montenegro

By |2019-01-08T20:25:24+00:00November 1st, 2015|Destination, Europe, Montenegro, The Balkans, Tips, Top 10, UNESCO sites|38 Comments

10 THINGS TO DO IN MONTENEGRO

Looking for things to do in Montenegro? I recently spent a week there, based in the historical town of Kotor. Montenegro is a small country, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in beauty. It’s one of the youngest countries in the world and tourism hasn’t entirely made its way there. If you ask me, now is the best time to visit. There’s a few things you should be aware of though.

Firstly, most sites in Montenegro can be reached by bus or car, but if you choose to join a tour, I strongly advise you to find a reliable company. I cannot stress this enough, especially because I was unlucky with mine. Secondly, beware of traffic on the twisty mountain roads. There are no lights in most tunnels and local drivers can be aggressive and reckless.

Here are 10 popular things to do in Montenegro:

MORE MONTENEGRO TRAVEL TIPS: GET MAPS, ITINERARIES AND MONTENEGRIN PHRASES

1. THE HISTORICAL KOTOR

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Kotor is the most charming place I visited in Montenegro. Kotor is a medieval town with an old UNESCO protected Old Town surrounded by fortresses and a wall. As opposed to the neighboring city Budva, it’s historical, more intact and way less crowded by tourists.  If you’re in the area, make sure to visit Perast, which is easily reached by local bus or taxi.

Kotor, Montenegro-3

The beautiful bay of Kotor

2. BUDVA

Ideal for swimming and partying

Only 30 minutes from Kotor, you’ll find Budva; the center of Montenegrin tourism. The city of Budva is 2,500 years old and is known for its medieval walled city with sandy beaches and diverse nightlife. I didn’t get the best impression during the short time I spent there and I liked Kotor much better. Budva has beaches, new fancy hotels and clubs, but to me it seemed a bit ruined by tourism.

Budva, Montenegro

3. LOVCEN NATIONAL PARK

Entrance fee = 3 euro

Lovcen was beautiful. One of the main reasons to visit the national park is to see the mausoleum of Petar II Petrović Njegoš (1813-1851). He was the Prince-Bishop of Montenegro and a beloved political and cultural leader. He was buried on a mountain top in Lovcen and his mausoleum is reached by a hike up 400 steep steps.

Although the mausoleum is mostly a Montenegrin thing, the view is definitely worth the journey up the zigzagging mountain.

The beautiful bay of Kotor-7
The beautiful bay of Kotor

4. OSTROG MONASTERY

Free entrance, but it is required to cover your shoulders, arms and knees. Women must cover their heads with scarfs.

Ostrog; a Serbian Orthodox monastery, should definitely be on your list of things to do in Montenegro. Not only is it unique because it’s carved almost in its entirety in a vertically positioned mountain cliff, but it’s also the most important Orthodox site in the country. It was built in the 1600s and is incredibly impressive. I loved the serenity and relaxing monk-tunes in the background.

Ostrog monastery, Montenegro

Ostrog monastery, Montenegro-3

5. MORACA MONASTERY

Peaceful place and very quiet

Another beautiful monastery is Moraca. If you’re coming from Kotor, it’s on the way to Durmitor and well worth a visit.

The monastery still has a few monks on site and is one of the better known medieval monuments of Montenegro. The main church is painted and a monk will interpret the paintings for you in the areas that tourists can visit. Entry guidelines are not as strict as Ostrog’s, but you should still be respectful and cover your shoulders.

Montenegro

The monastery was founded in 1252

6. SKADAR LAKE

UNESCO World Heritage Site

This freshwater lake straddles the borders of Albania and Montenegro and is surrounded by dramatic karst mountains and rocky shores. The lake is home to a variety of wildlife with more than 260 species of birds, traditional fishing villages, monasteries and beaches.

Many Montenegrins regard this area as their country’s heart and soul.

Ostrog monastery, Montenegro-10

7. DURMITOR NATIONAL PARK

UNESCO World Heritage Site

The main reason I wanted to visit Montenegro was to see Black Lake. The lake is in Durmitor National Park, which is home to beautiful lakes and mirrored waters, but also hosts majestic mountains and canyons. If you’re lucky, you might see brown bears, wolves, wild cats, eagles and owls.

Montenegro

Black Lake, Durmitor National Park

8. CETINJE

Historical and cultural city. Montenegrin capital until 1946

The former capital of Montenegro is only a short bus ride from Budva (30 minutes). It’s a quiet town, full of culture and medieval architecture. Although it’s not a reason to visit Montenegro, it will be worth the brief time you spend here.

Lovcen National Park, Montenegro-3

9. TARA RIVER CANYON

The deepest canyon in Europe

Tara river canyon is the deepest in Europe and it cradles the wild Tara River with its sapphire blue and emerald-green waters. It stretches for 144 kilometers and creates the perfect place for white water rafting and other outdoor adventures.

Montenegro-2

10. DURDEVICA TARA BRIDGE

Great for zip lining and river rafting

On my way to Durmitor, I passed Durdevica bridge. It’s in the North corner of Montenegro and a bit far off if you’re not combining a trip there with another site. The bridge itself doesn’t take more than 15-20 minutes to visit, but there’s rafting and zip lining right next to. I heard the price for river rafting is $40 per person, but I didn’t try it myself so I can’t say for sure.

Montenegro

BEST HOTELS IN MONTENEGRO

The best place to base yourself while exploring Montenegro is Kotor. Not only is it a stunningly beautiful bay surrounded by mountains and a scenic view, it’s also easy to get from to and to. Here is a few of the best hotels in Kotor.

Muo Apartments – The view from this hotel would be reason enough to book a night here – it’s so breathtaking. The rooms here are stylish, lovely bed and there’s a pool. It’s just 100m from the beach and 1km from the city center – perfect location.  Click here to see the latest prices.

Palazzo Radomiri – A romantic boutique hotel in an 18th-century Baroque stone building, overlooking Kotor Bay. There’s a beautiful courtyard restaurant and a stone quay for bathing, an outdoor pool and a small spa. I loved the free yoga in the morning! Click here to see the latest prices.

Have you been to Montenegro? Would you go?

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Looking for things to do in Montenegro? It's a small country, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in beauty. Montenegro is one of the youngest countries in the world and tourism hasn’t entirely made its way there, so now is the best time to visit. Here are 10 fun and adventurous things to do in Montenegro.

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38 Comments

  1. Jon Dunn November 2, 2015 at 11:07 am - Reply

    Good piece, but tricky to isolate just 10 highlights from such a beautiful little country.
    I went this time last year and personally loved #Kotor, #Perast, the ruined city of #StariBar and #SkadarLake the best. I even saw Dalmatian pelicans on the lake boat trip, which was a lifetime first! 🙂
    With more time I’d have headed further north to #Durmitor and #BiogradskaGora national parks, but only so much one can fit into a week long break.

    • Miriam November 2, 2015 at 4:48 pm - Reply

      That’s true, picking out highlights from a trip is always a challenge 🙂 I absolutely recommend visiting Durmitor if you ever find yourself back in Montenegro. The lakes and forests up there are amazing!

  2. Katie @worldwidevegetarian.com November 2, 2015 at 11:30 am - Reply

    We took a road trip through Montenegro a few years back and I absolutely loved it. I still recommend Montenegro to people over more popular destinations like Croatia because it is still so untouched. I missed the black lake that you posted, I’d love to see that if I ever make it back. Thanks for sharing, and bringing back lovely memories 🙂
    Katie

    • Miriam November 2, 2015 at 4:53 pm - Reply

      You’re most welcome, Katie 🙂 It’s always great to find a country with undeniable beauty that is still unexplored. I feel that way about Slovenia.

  3. Jones November 6, 2015 at 11:59 am - Reply

    Wow these pictures are amazing! Montenegro was never really too high up on my radar, but it definitely will not be missed when I plan my Balkans trip (whenever that is). Enjoy!

    • Miriam November 6, 2015 at 11:30 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Jones! You’ve been to Slovenia which in my opinion is similar, but more beautiful than Montenegro. You’ve already seen the jewel of the Balkans 😉

  4. Daniela @ Grumpy Camel November 30, 2015 at 10:23 am - Reply

    Hi Miriam,

    I’ve recently come across your blog and I must say I really like your layout and style. I’m heading to Serbia for two weeks in June and I’m hoping I’ll have time to spend a weekend in Montenegro, After reading this I think my first stop would be Kotor!

    • Miriam November 30, 2015 at 6:38 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Daniela! Kotor is really beautiful – be sure to visit Perast while you’re there.

  5. Gemma May 2, 2016 at 10:40 am - Reply

    We have a very short period of time to play with but I think Durmitor National Park will be a priority. Do you stay there overnight or is it a trip from a town? Many thanks for posting.

    • Miriam May 2, 2016 at 10:54 am - Reply

      Hi Gemma,
      It’s easy to visit Durmitor as a day trip from Kotor or Budva. It was one of the highlights of Montenegro for me and it’s the prettiest national park in the country! If you find a good tour company, see if they will pass Tara river and canyon on the way to Durmitor. It’s a fun place for zip lining.

  6. Anonymous June 30, 2016 at 11:36 pm - Reply

    Can you say something about the weather in august? I saw many clouds on some of your pictures

    • Miriam July 2, 2016 at 12:18 am - Reply

      The weather should be fine in August. It’s still in high-season.

  7. Deepak January 5, 2017 at 6:06 am - Reply

    Great overview. Would love to visit it soon. Have been to Croatia for festival & clubbed it with visiting places.
    Montenegro really looks beautiful & looks like your blog has added charm to it.!! Thanks Miriam.

    • Miriam January 5, 2017 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Deepak! If you’re revisiting Croatia anytime soon you should definitely go to Montenegro. It’s so close and super beautiful.

  8. Brit January 9, 2017 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    Good list Miriam! These are 9 of the better known places and Moraca Monastery is a solid addition. For the best pics of the monastery, I recommend people go about 1 km north on the road. On a clear day you can take a gorgeous picture of the monastery with a waterfall gushing out below it and mountains sitting high overhead. It really is an amazing image. (Not easy to do in July & August as foliage makes it an almost impossible shot.)

    Next time you are planning to be in Montenegro, give me a shout. We are developing a sustainable venture here to help advance opportunities for villagers. Would love to introduce you to the farm stay network we are developing with the locals to create sustainable travel options with income for the locals and amazing adventure for travelers.

    • Miriam January 12, 2017 at 12:01 pm - Reply

      Thanks Brit, I will. It sounds like a super exciting initiative!

    • Audrey Gauci August 18, 2018 at 7:44 am - Reply

      Can you give me more info about this?

  9. Allie March 14, 2017 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    Hi Miriam! I am visiting for the first time in May. Do you have advice as to what the weather might be like?

    • Miriam March 15, 2017 at 2:09 pm - Reply

      Hi Allie,
      I haven’t visited in May, but if it’s anything like Croatia, it’s a great time to visit. It’s not super hot, but still sunny and not too crowded with tourists. I’m guessing the temperatures vary from 20-26 degrees C.

      Have a great trip!

    • Brit April 15, 2017 at 7:48 pm - Reply

      Hey Allie – May in Monte is usually great. The shoulder seasons in the country are my favorite especially in the usual tourist areas because the weather is nice (cooler) and the number of people is a lot fewer. You may have some showers, but usually lots of sun. The part of the country where you will be will also determine the weather a good bit. On the coast it should be mostly sunny but still pretty early for a swim while up in the higher mountains things are usually thawing enough to make all the roads passable. Both have their charm. 😉

      • Miriam April 16, 2017 at 11:35 pm - Reply

        Thanks for pitching in, Brit 🙂

  10. Ezra April 18, 2017 at 12:05 am - Reply

    Hi miriam,
    September month is good for travel there ?

    • Miriam April 19, 2017 at 11:06 am - Reply

      It’s the shoulder season so temps are ideal and prices not as high. I’d say September is a good month to visit.

      • Ezra April 19, 2017 at 3:47 pm - Reply

        Tnx a lot

  11. Brittany Rouille May 11, 2017 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    Thank you for putting together such a wonderful post!! Your photos are BEAUTIFUL.

  12. Stephanie June 2, 2017 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    Hi Miriam,
    Is the easiest to rent a car to get around Montenegro? That was my plan.
    And is it feasible to just turn up in villages and find a place to stay the same day? I’ll be travelling mid June.
    Thanks.

    • Miriam June 7, 2017 at 8:57 pm - Reply

      Yes, for sure. Montenegro is not as far ahead as say Croatia and Slovenia when it comes to public transportation so renting a car would definitely be the easiest way for you to get around.

      Since you’re traveling in June, I’d probably book accommodation ahead (since it’s the high season), but you can always go with the flow if that’s more your style. I wouldn’t expect to find accommodation in smaller villages, though. Most hotels/hostels and the like are found in bigger towns like Kotor, Budva, Herceg Novi, Podgorica, etc.

  13. Jena October 12, 2017 at 11:18 am - Reply

    Wow, the Black Lake is stunning! I wish my husband and I had more time to see Montenegro. We were only able to visit there for a day, as we were on a day trip from Dubrovnik, but we had a blast climbing San Giovanni trail. It was off peak towards the end of November so there were very few people around.

    • Miriam October 16, 2017 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      That sounds lovely! I love visiting places off-season; there’s often a completely different atmosphere because it’s less crowded.

  14. Jessica February 21, 2018 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    Hi Miriam! Which tour company did you use for your day trip?

    Thank you! We’re thinking of a trip in July or September.

    • Miriam February 26, 2018 at 10:26 pm - Reply

      Hi Jessica,
      I really cannot recommend the tour operator I went with as they were unreliable. I prefer not to publicly shame them (although they kind of deserve it), but I’m happy to share their info in a private message if you want to know which one to avoid. Here’s my email: miriam@adventurousmiriam.com

      September would be the best time to visit since the weather is less hot and it will be less crowded. Have a great trip!

  15. Vojkan June 18, 2018 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    Miriam, the photos are beautiful …

  16. Anonymous December 13, 2018 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    Plan in visiting July 2019, just booked flights through Dubrovnik, thanks for ideas, will post my feedback post trip

    • Miriam January 1, 2019 at 3:13 pm - Reply

      Oh, great! Have an amazing trip to Montenegro!

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