Thanks for taking the time to read our travel article on the best things to do in Montenegro – a truly fascinating and beautiful Balkan country that is an underrated gem. We are Tina and Stev from @life.is.a.worldtrip. We are a travel couple from Germany with a massive passion to travel the world, search for the most beautiful places and seek out new adventures.
From the moment we met four years ago, we began traveling together and our first destination was Milan for a weekend followed by a backpacking adventure in South Korea. Two years ago we decided to document all our adventures around the globe and show other people the beauty of our planet earth to inspire them to see the world through their own eyes.
We named this project Life is a World Trip. The world is simply too big and too diverse to explore all of it on a 6-12 month world trip. It takes our whole life to fully discover every little corner of it, which is our mission. Ever since this decision we take every chance we get to travel the world, all while staying true to our mission statement: “…never stop exploring”.
11-Day Adventure in Montenegro
Eastern Europe is fascinating because it’s not touristy or crowded and the landscape there is super beautiful and diverse. Montenegro is only a small country but it really has everything you could want in a destination – from amazing beaches, impressive mountains, lakes and national parks to charming cities, delicious food and friendly local people.
Tourism in Montenegro has been slowly growing during the past couple of years, yet it’s still not a big tourist destination (especially in the mountains). Nevertheless, we decided to spend 11 days here which is the perfect duration to take a road trip through all of the different parts of the country.
We started in Kotor where we stayed for 3 nights and explored Kotor Old Town, Kotor Fortress and the Kotor Bay area including Perast and Herceg Novi. From Kotor we headed to the backcountry of Montenegro. Our next destination was Durmitor National Park which is the biggest and most popular national park in the country. On the way to Durmitor we decided to take a little detour and explore the Ostrog Monastery.
It’s uniquely built in a big rock. We also stayed in Durmitor National Park for 3 nights and rented a cozy cottage close to Zabljak. From here we explored the national park, went for a walk around Black Lake, went rafting in the Tara River and had a zip-lining adventure over the Tara Canyon.
From the mountains we started our trip back to the coast. But first we spent a day at Lake Skadar National Park – a unique lake with fascinating wildlife found in the impressive mountains. We stayed in Bar for the next 3 nights which is a vivid town located in the middle of the coastline.
Bar is the perfect starting point to explore the beaches along the coast all the way up to the Albanian border. A highlight of this area is definitely Sveti Stefan, a little peninsula in front of the coast. The sunsets here are magical! Before heading back home, we decided to spend our last night in Tivat. This was awesome because it’s a beautiful city and it’s close to the airport.
On our way to Tivat we took another detour and explored Lovcen National Park. The views up there are breathtaking and absolutely worth a detour. On our last night we went to explore Porto Montenegro, a luxury area of Montenegro. It’s nice for an evening stroll and a fancy dinner at the port.
10 Best Things To Do in Montenegro
Montenegro is a small country but very diverse, so there is something to do for everyone and you can mix adventure, sightseeing and relaxing beach days all in one trip – as we did. Montenegro is also a fantastic year-round destination. You can go on a skiing trip in winter, go hiking and sightseeing in spring and fall as it’s already warm and dry, and take a beach holiday in summer which you can of course combine with sightseeing and hiking too.
The nature of Montenegro will leave you speechless. You will get stunning mountain views, epic canyons and mezmerizing lakes, which are embedded in mountain ranges. From the second you arrive you feelwelcomed by the friendliness of the locals, who are always happy to share their tips about hidden gems and delicious restaurants with you.
There are so many amazing things to do in Montenegro. So let’s sum up our highlights, but always keep in mind that the following experiences are only 10 options in a country that offers endless possibilities. You can use these experiences as a guideline to create a travel itinerary, however sometimes the best travel experiences are when you just go with the flow.
1. Get Lost in the Cute Streets of Kotor Old Town
Kotor Old Town is certainly one of the highlights of the country. Like many Eastern European towns, this destination goes back centuries and boasts architecture in the Roman, Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance styles. You can simply walk through the narrow lanes on your own and get lost between amazing sites like the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon and Church of St. Luke, or you can organize a guide who can lead you through the streets.
2. Hike to Kotor Fortress for Breathtaking Views
Kotor Fortress is perched on top of Kotor Old Town and it makes for a great hike to watch the sunrise or sunset over Kotor and Kotor Bay. You will walk up over 1,300 steps – so it’s definitely not a walk in the park but if you are looking to do some exercise on your travels then this is the perfect activity. Just make sure you wear comfortable shoes and bring water!
3. Take a Boat Trip to “Our Lady of the Rocks”
Our Lady of the Rocks is a beautiful small island in front of Perast. In fact, there are actually two islands you can visit here. These man-made islands started off as a series of rocks in the 15th century and then an Orthodox chapel was built there after fishermen discovered an image of Virgin Mary.
4. Visit Black Lake in Durmitor National Park
Locals say the highlight of Durmitor National Park is Black Lake and we agree! Here you can rent a paddle boat and enjoy the scenery on the water. The color of the lake is this incredible deep blue which contrasts beautifully with the pine forest surrounding the body of water. If you get a sunny day the water changes from deep blue to turquoise.
5. Drive the Durmitor Ring Route of Montenegro
If you plan on exploring Montenegro on a road trip then the Durmitor Ring Route is an absolute must-do! This panoramic road is one of the most stunning drives in all of the Balkans where the northern national parks of Durmitor and Piva surprise and delight you around every corner. You can take this route on a day trip from Zabljak or combine it with various hiking trails in the surrounding area. Either way, you are going to love it!
6. Experience the Tara River and Tara Canyon
Rafting in the Tara River and zip-lining over the Tara Canyon are two super fun adventures to add to your Montenegro travel itinerary. There are several companies to book the rafting adventure with, some of whom offer one or two day adventures and awesome cabin accommodations along the way.
7. Enjoy a Private Sunset Boat Trip in Lake Skadar
Lake Skadar spans over Montenegro and Albania, and on the Montenegrin side much of the lake is protected under national park status. Visitors from the Balkans flock here to check out the bird habitats but if that is not your cup of tea you can always enjoy a private boat trip for sunset.
8. Picnic at Church of St. Sava and See Sveti Stefan
Head to the viewpoint at the Church of Saint Sava at golden hour to witness a magical sunset with views of Sveti Stefan and the Budva Riviera. Bring some wine, snacks and your camera because you will be snapping up a storm! You may also see newlyweds here taking their wedding photos, which is always a lovely thing to see and be part of in a small way.
9. Explore the Beautiful Lovcen National Park
Lovcen National Park offers adventurers an array of activities to keep the adrenaline pumping for days. The biggest highlight of the park is the museum which perches high above the clouds when you get clouds rolling in. The views from up there are epic! Then you have various hiking trails, biking trails, campgrounds and one of the coolest roads in the world: Serpentine Road. If you get a chance to drive it or drone it, definitely do so!
10. Spend a Relaxing Day at the Beaches of Ulcinj
Long Beach, which stretches from Bojana to Port Milena in Ulcinj, is one of the best beaches in Montenegro. If you are a keen kite surfer then this beach is ideal as there are winds everyday. But if you would prefer to find an empty patch of sand and relax for the day, you can always do that too.
Welcoming People of Montenegro
We experienced the Montenegrin people as friendly, helpful and social. As mentioned, we felt very welcomed from the second we arrived at the airport. Montenegrins are always happy to share their tips about what to do and see with you and they may even share their picnics with you.
A group of friends watched us shoot some photos in Durmitor National Park while they had a picnic. After we were done and on the way back to our car, they started talking to us and offered us to join their picnic and have Sljivovica (Montenegrin liquor). That was a pretty cool moment!
Delicious Food of Montenegro
Montenegrin food is delicious and typical Eastern European. Be prepared for hearty and healthy food all day long. The typical local food consists of a lot of grilled meat, such as Cevapcici and fresh fish, especially on the coast. For fresh and delicious calamari we recommend the restaurant Tri Lipe in Herceg Novi. The prices are fair and the food is heavenly good.
Best Places to Stay in Montenegro
As mentioned, we suggest staying a few nights in Kotor. In our opinion it’s the most beautiful town in Montenegro and also a perfect starting point to explore the Kotor Bay area. For a special experience in Durmitor National Park we highly recommend staying in one of those cute and cozy mountain cottages. We stayed at Cottage Danilo (Zabljak) and loved it.
Need to Know Before you Go
Until now Montenegro isn’t a mass tourism destination, but tourism is growing. If you plan to visit Montenegro we can only recommend visiting sooner rather than later. Currently you still have the chance to explore the original Montenegro, especially when you travel through the backcountry.
When you are traveling through Montenegro make sure you have cash with you. Credit Cards are not accepted everywhere. Although Montenegro is not part of the EU, the currency is Euro. The temperature varies between the coast and the mountains. Whereas it can get super hot along the coastline, it can get quite chilly in the mountains especially at night. So it’s best to bring a cozy sweater and maybe a pair of long pants with you.