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6 BEST Places to Visit in Montenegro

UPDATE MAY 2020: Montenegro is the best country to travel in the Balkans. Sure, Croatia gets all the plaudits, but tourism is like that. Crowds draw more crowds. There are so many amazing places to visit in Montenegro, just next door, which is equally as beautiful as anything Croatia has to offer, but for half the price and a fraction of the tour buses! So, even if you read my damning report on Budva yesterday you could be forgiven for thinking that I don’t rate Montenegro as a great travel spot, but you’d be wrong. It’s one of the most gorgeous countries I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting and I’m already itching to go back. Check out the 6 best places to visit in Montenegro during your trip:

best places to visit in montenegro
The best places to visit in Montenegro; Parast

Getting Around Montenegro

Don’t reach touristic Budva by cruise ship, and suddenly think that’s a fair reflection on beautiful Montenegro, and don’t believe the hype about Croatia next door, and their huge marketing budget for tourism. Montenegro has so much to offer, and a week travelling around here will leave you with some of the most amazing pictures you’ve ever seen. Public transport, however, isn’t ideal in Montenegro, so I’d advise renting a car. Once you have the freedom of your car rental, you’ll have no problem visiting the best places in Montenegro.

Below, I’ve listed the best way to visit the 6 most beautiful places in Montenegro. You can see from the map, total driving time is only about 5 hours or so. You could see all 6 places in 2 or 3 days, depending how much you want to relax on your trip. I’m a fast traveler, and I’m not good at sitting on beaches, so we took 2 days to see all 6 spots. But many holiday makers choose to see just 1 attraction per day and spend the rest of the day chilling. 

Finally, because Montenegro is a small country, it means you can have one base to see all the best places to visit in Montenegro. You don’t need to chop and change hotels, which is another reason why I love this country so much!

Ok, enough chatting, here are the 6 best places to visit in Montenegro, factor them all into your trip when you visit:

 

1) Kotor

If you believe in symmetry, which I do, this is the cheese to Budva’s chalk. Where Budva has become a cliche for overhyped cruise ship tourism, Kotor is peaceful, beautiful and grateful for your visit. Kotor is a beautiful UNESCO town, with a charming old town and a bustling harbour. You can climb almost 1500 steps to the fortress overlooking the town too, for the most breathtaking views. Kotor has got so much character, use this as your base as you explore the country, you won’t regret it.  

PRO TIP 1: Skip the queue and take a boat ride on Kotor Bay HERE

PRO TIP 2: For $10 or so, you can take a guided walking tour of Kotor HERE

Best Places to Visit in Montenegro
Best Places to Visit in Montenegro; Kotor
Best Places to Visit in Montenegro
Best Places to Visit in Montenegro; Kotor

2) Perast

For me, this is everything I had hoped Montenegro would be. Another UNESCO town, the population is probably less than 500 people and the town is closed to cars. It’s only maybe 10km from Kotor but it’s a different world, slow, sleepy and beautiful.  Out in the water, you can see two tiny islands St George and Our Lady of the Rock, where you can take boat trips out to. This is a Balkan paradise. There is one area to swim, complete with a low-key beach bar, and perhaps a couple of dozen other swimmers. My favourite place in Montenegro, hands down.

PRO-TIP: If you don’t want to drive, visit Perast as a half-day trip from Kotor HERE

Perast montenegro
Perast Montenegro
Perast montenegro
Perast Montenegro

 

3) Cetinje

This is where you earn your travel bragging badges. It’s just over the mountain range that lurks behind Kotor and Perast, Cetinje was the former capital of Montenegro. Head to the main square and check out King Nikola’s former place, now a museum – the square is full of museums and churches actually, it’s nice to walk around.

Cetinje, Montenegro
Cetinje, Montenegro

 

4) Lovcen National Park and Njegos Mausoleum

This is an ABSOLUTE must-see when you’re in Montenegro. The national park is about a 40-minute drive from Cetinje and is dominated by Mt Lovcen, all 1750m of it. The real reason to come here, aside from nature, is Njegos Mausoleum which was built on the national parks second highest peak, Jezierski. You can drive up to the top but you’re still required to climb the final 461 steps yourself, once at the top you’re rewarded with views of up to 80% of the entire country on a clear day, it’s spectacular. The tomb is intriguing too, built within the mountain in cold marble.

njegos mausoleum, lovcen
njegos mausoleum, lovcen

 

Lovcen National Park Mausoleum
Njegos mausoleum, Lovcen

5) The Ostrog Monastery

The Ostrog Monastery is in central Montenegro, about a 3-hour drive from Kotor, Budva etc. I rented a car to get here and it was much faster (and cheaper) although the final road up to the monastery is rife with sheer drops and bumpy roads! The monastery is like a Balkan Petra, really it’s almost that impressive. Built into the cliff, almost 1 kilometre up from the valley, I have no idea how it was built, but it’s fascinating. If you don’t want to drive you can take a tour from the tourist towns for around 30 Euro ($36).

PRO-TIP: Combine the monastery PLUS the UNESCO Tara River Canyon in 1 amazing day trip for about $55 here

Ostrog Monastery
Ostrog Monastery

6) Sveti Stefan

Only 15 mins from Budva, Sveti Stefan is often the postcard pic for Montenegro. The old town is built on an island 30m from the shore but since 2008 the island was ‘bought’ by an upmarket hotel (rooms start at $1000 per night, beach is $65 for usage!). So it’s now closed to the public, unbelievable actually. Still, you can snap away for free and I can’t deny how impressive it is. The ‘free’ beach beside the hotel beach is pretty nice too, especially if you’re there before 9am.

Sveti Stefan
Sveti Stefan
Best Places to Visit in Montenegro
Best Places to Visit in Montenegro; Sveti Stefan
Sveti Stefan Beach
Best Places to Visit in Montenegro

Thoughts on the best places to visit in Montenegro,& 2 Bonus Places to Visit

For me, my next stop was Dubrovnik and it’s was with a heavy heart that I said goodbye to Montenegro. I could have happily lounged around the old towns of Kotor and Perast for days on end but alas, that’s the life of a blogger. 

2 other places absolutely worth visiting if you have even more time in Montenegro are Lake Skadar and the Tara River Canyon.

A) Tara River Canyon

In the far north of the city, near the border with Bosnia, is the Tara River Canyon. It’s in the Durmitor National Park, and it’s actually the second longest canyon in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s just about possible as a day-trip, but it’s a long day!

PRO-TIP; You can see Tara River Canyon AND the monastery in a brilliant day trip from anywhere in Montenegro HERE for about $55

Tara River Canyon
Tara River Canyon

 

B) Lake Skarda

Not too far from Kotor, in the east of Montenegro, and shared with neighbouring Albania, is Lake Skarda. Lake Skarda offers Montenegro’s best hiking opportunities, so if you’re keen for that, considering basing yourself in nearby Virpazar for a night or 2.  

You can take a guided tour to the Lake from Virpazar HERE

Lake Skarda
Lake Skarda

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26 thoughts on “6 BEST Places to Visit in Montenegro, the Most Beautiful Country in The Balkans

  1. Pingback: 7 Best Things to do in Split in Croatia; How To Plan Your Time in Split!
  2. Well, this is a great article for those who want to travel the world. I just love this post and going to share this with my friends. Yes, a single pack with huge info.

  3. So, it’s almost seven and a half years since you trashed poor Budva, but I would recommend a visit here in February. Beautiful weather, beautiful old town and the people are lovely. We’ve been here for ten days and have another two weeks here. Loving our time here!

  4. Nice! But you should take also a look at the southern part, from Bar to Ulcinj. No mass-tourism and a really nice area.

  5. I wish there would be more flights to Montenegro from Poland :/ by car its more than 15 hours… Best connections is from Berlin… eh..

  6. Cheers for the great post. A few extra spots off than the typical tourist destination sites are providing. Heading to Montenegro in a week or so as we make our way from Dubrovnik to Athens and this has been very helpful in deciding on an itinerary.

  7. Great post, just wondering how much and how long it took to go from Kotor to Dubrovnik? Currently planning to go along the coast in August 🙂 thanks

  8. Hi Johny. I am so glad you liked my country. Couldn agree more about Perast, such a lovely place. And Lovćen – man I am amazed every time I go there… Too bad you didnt have much time to explore the northern part of Montenegro. The canyon of Tara river is the second deepest canyon in the world, the depest is Grand canyon in USA. Tara rafting tour is amazing in summer. Real men do it in winter lol :).. Navidio canyon (it is named like this cuz you barely can see the sun most of the time) iz amazing. Number one atraction in MOntenegro if you ask me. The canyon is so narrow, the water is cold and you can drink it. You have to jump, swim dive, climp..

    Anyway, thanks for writing this beautiful article about my coutry and promoting it. WIsh you all the best,

    Vlado

  9. I’m going to Croatia this summer, I’m also planning a trip in Montenegro so thanks for this list. I just heard of bay of Kotor so now I want to see more of Montenegro.

  10. hi! your photos are amazing and have inspired me to make a trip to the balkans this summer. how did you get around these places in montenegro? do you start from Kotor on day 1 and travel day by day until Sveti Stefan or is picking a base and making day trips from there better?
    Do u also have a copy of your itinerary e.g. with accommodation and transportation links (bus or trains?). Thanks in advance!

    1. Thank you so much for the tips on your site, it made our family trip much more enjoyable and less time wasting. The trip to Lovecn National Park and Mausoleum was the highlight of our whole trip. We wanted to go rafting .. But that meant a very early start of the day to a very short stay in Montenegro … We rented a car and just drove there from Budva. Breathtaking and thank you again for the recommendation. I will surely check your site again for more tips on our next visit wherever it could be. Hoping it would be Spain next summer

  11. Generally speaking, the Balkans are a great tourist destination and, in some cases , quite underestimated. I really hope I’ll get a chance to go to Montenegro some day!

  12. Also…what was your budget while you were there? Just wondering if it’s a budget backpacker friendly destination or not! Cheers.

  13. Wow! What a great post. Those photos you got are awesome. It really makes me want to go to that part of the world. For now, it’s Asia but in a year or so, who knows!
    Cheers, safe travels.

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