Are you planning your Budva trip and wondering about the best things to do in Budva in one day (or two)? Then this post is perfect for you.
If you visit Montenegro, then Budva makes a nice stop – whether you visit for one day or two, this town has its share of things to offer.
BUDVA TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR ITINERARY
Budva was one of the towns in the Balkans that surprised me. I liked it much better than I expected. I knew Kotor is a beautiful town and had it on my itinerary, but Budva was not on that list initially.
Budva is a small but busy town on the Adriatic Coast, and its history date back about three thousand years. It is located between the towns of Kotor and Bar on a small peninsula.
It is well known as a party and beach destination – I did not party and did not spend much time on the beach – because Budva has much more to offer.
The town has a beautiful old town, mentioned in the historical records as the “Town of Illyria” more than two-and-a-half thousand years ago, with historic buildings, city walls, and more. The area is probably the busiest place.
Make sure you wear comfy shoes – this Budva itinerary includes some walking on cobbled-stoned streets.
If you want to spend time at the beach, bring your swimming clothes with you.
I was unlucky and had two rainy days (out of the three I stayed there) – but normally, May or June is great for visiting and September.
However, if you want to spend most of your time at the beach, then the summer months are probably the best time to visit. However, it gets busy during the summer months with tons of visitors (especially but not exclusively from Russia).
If you arrive by car, I suggest booking your accommodation just outside the old town. Free parking is available about 1 km outside of the town center and walking to the old town.
By car, it is also very easy to get to Sveti Stefan. However, you can also get to Sveti Stefan by bus – it is quite easy and affordable.
If you want to spend time at the beach, you can stay here for days and days. If you do not visit Budva for a beach vacation, I suggest planning one day for the old town of Budva and then some time for Sveti Stefan.
So, one or two days in Budva should be enough. However, Budva also makes a good base to get around and visit nearby places, like Kotor, Perast, or Lake Skadar, so it is a must for any Montenegro itinerary.
THINGS TO DO IN BUDVA IN A DAY OR TWO
So, let´s get started with the best places to visit and the top things to see in Budva.
Stroll Stari Grad – Old Town
The Old Town of Budva is surrounded by medieval walls, with a fortress, towers, and gates. Over the centuries, it has been damaged several times. The most severe damage happened in an earthquake in 1667, but another bad one in 1979 destroyed parts of the old town.
The old town is a lovely representation of an old, European town – cute and charming. However, it surely is not as impressive as Dubrovnik.
There are narrow cobblestone streets, lovely houses, and many shops, restaurants, and piazzas that also house many landmarks of Budva, including the Church of Santa Maria in Punta and the Catholic Cathedral Sveti Ivan.
You can visit the churches and then take a break afterward in the open-air theater located in between them. If you are lucky, you might have musicians playing nice music while you enjoy great views of the Adriatic Sea and parts of the old town.
Visit Citadela Budva
I love great views, what about you? If you are also a fan of nice scenery (especially if you do not have to hike/climb many stairs), visiting the Citadela in Budva is one of the top things to do.
The fortress, which was used for centuries as a defense stronghold of Budva, is located in the southern part of the old town. It was mentioned for the first time in written documents in 1425, and here is where the town walls start and end.
It is believed to be where the Acropolis was located during ancient times.
The entry fee is just a few euros. For this, you can also visit the library that it houses (though there’s nothing spectacular there at first glance).
Walk Along the Old Town Walls
The city walls encompass the entire old town – in the northwest is the main tower (Gradenigo Tower), and then there is the tower known as Repeno in the northeast.
It is one of the best-preserved city walls in Montenegro – you can walk around the city walls. However, it is not like a circle, and you need to turn around at some points, which takes about 15-30 minutes. You have lovely views of the old town and also of the Adriatic Coast.
I am not sure whether I liked the views from the town walls or the Citadel more.
I suggest visiting both as it is just a 2-3€ entrance fee for each. But if you only want to visit one, I recommend the Citadel (or maybe the town walls? Oh my, I really do not know…).
Chill at the Promenade
I might not enjoy drunk party people, but I do enjoy coffee with a nice view. If you want to have a drink/lunch/dinner, then the promenade outside the old town is the place to go in Budva.
The bustling promenade is lined with restaurants and cafes that come with views of the Adriatic Sea and the city walls. Plus, you might see the super fancy and expensive yachts that are in the little harbor in front of the old town walls.
Spend Time at the Beach
If you want to do a beach vacation, then Budva is a great place to visit. Even if you do not plan to spend a week at the beach, you can still chill and rest for a while at one of the numerous beaches you will find here.
One popular sandy beach is Mogren Beach, known as one of the best beaches in the Southern Adriatic.
Visit St. Nikolas Island
If you want to explore a few places near Budva, head to Ostrov Sveti Nikola ili Skolj/St. Nicholas Island, a.k.a. Skolj, which you can find opposite the old town of Budva.
The island is about 2km long, and it is not inhabited. It is a small, green island totally overgrown with typical Mediterranean vegetation and a perfect place to escape the crowds in Budva.
Enjoy the view of Sveti Stefan
Sveti Stefan is one of the most famous places in the country and a popular place to visit near Budva. However, to be really honest, I do not get the fascination.
Sveti Stefan was an island but is now connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. It is known as one of the most luxurious resorts in the Balkans these days, and you will find the Villa Milcer there, which has 50 rooms, cottages, and suites on the island, and 8 grand suites.
To visit Sveti Stefan, you have to be an overnight guest or have a reservation for the restaurant on Sveti Stefan. However, you can enjoy the views from above or walk down and spend time at the beach in front of Sveti Stefan, even if you are not a guest.
CONCLUSION: BEST THINGS TO DO IN BUDVA, MONTENEGRO
As you can see, Budva has more to offer than beaches and wild party life. If you are a party person or enjoy more time at the beach, you can definitely stay longer without getting bored. Since my party days are over and I am not so much of a beach fan, one full day in Budva was surely enough for me.
It is a lovely city, and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did, and this quick guide has helped you plan your Budva trip!
So, do you plan your Kotor trip and thus want to find out about the best things to do in Kotor in one day? Or do you plan on staying longer? Read on and find out how to spend one day in Kotor or even two days.
Situated in the southeastern part of the Bay of Kotor beneath Mount Lovcen, Kotor looks amazing!
Surrounded by limestone cliffs, it reminds me a bit of Norway – reason enough to fall in love. Then there are the impressive stone walls of this medieval fortress town that stretch high into the mountain itself, which you can hike and offer incredible views of the town and the surroundings.
It is no surprise that it is probably the most famous tourist destination in Montenegro. And since the town itself is small in size (with a population of only about 13,000 in total), it can get crowded in the busy months, especially from May to September.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR KOTOR ITINERARY
Before talking about the best things to do in Kotor, here are some quick travel tips for Kotor.
How to Get to Kotor
BY CAR: Kotor can easily be reached from within Montenegro, Dubrovnik, or Bosnia-Herzegovina by car. The scenic drive makes it actually fun to get to Kotor by car, and while streets in Montenegro are small and windy (the mountains are calling), the streets are still in good condition.
Some streets might be challenging for inexperienced mountain drivers, but you are okay to drive here in general.
The old town is car-free, but you can either park your car by the paid parking space in front of the city walls (where the cruise ships arrive/depart) for about 1€ an hour, or you can park farther away (about a 10-minute walk from the old town) for free.
BY PLANE: But you can also arrive by plane at Tivat, which is just a few kilometers away from Kotor. From there, you can take a bus to Kotor.
BY SHIP: Also, many people arrive at Kotor via cruise ship – the port is about 100m from the old town’s entrance gates. The visitors normally stay a few hours, and while it is enough for the main two of the best things to do in Kotor, I suggest staying a bit longer.
How to Get Around Kotor For One Day +
FOOT: The old town is car-free – and even if it were not, the old town is so small that you can easily walk from one end to the other within 10 minutes.So, within the old town, you will only walk. Also, getting up the city walls is only possible on foot (no cable car).
Tip: Even if it gets hot, wear comfortable shoes, especially if you hike up. But even in the old town, high heels are probably not a good choice.
CAR: Driving is actually the best way to get around outside the old town. But in Kotor itself, you will not need any car/taxi etc.
BY BOAT/PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION/TOURS: If you visit beautiful Perast, you can either take a bus, a boat, or drive to get there. More on that, later.
1 Day in Kotor – Where to Stay
While you can see the best of Kotor in one day, I actually suggest staying there for a night. I stayed in Kotor for three nights (because I wanted to make sure I had sunny weather so that I could enjoy it to the fullest).
For two nights, I stayed outside the city center and had a nice view of Kotor and the Adriatic Sea. One night, I stayed in the old town.
Both had advantages, but if you are in Kotor for only one night, pick a hotel in the old town. This way, you can explore the area when the day visitors have left (the cruise ships arrive around 7:15 am, so from 8 am on, it gets busy in the town). At night the fortress is lit up – so you can see the path in the dark, which makes Kotor at night looks very unique.
Hike Up St. John´s Fortress / Castle of San Giovanni
Hiking up St. John´s Fortress is by far the best thing to do in Kotor. Whether you have a few hours, stay one day in Kotor, or longer, you should seriously consider hiking up to St. John´s Fortress. Like other city walls, Kotor’s fortifications were built to protect the town from invaders, and in Kotor, the construction of the walls started in the 9th century. By the 14th century, a protective loop was completed.
Despite all the wars and natural disasters, the walls are well preserved, and it’s no surprise that they are one of Kotor’s highlights now.
There are two ways to get up – none of them include a cable car or any convenient method, though, and both include uphill hiking.
TRAIL 1: So, there is an official hiking trail that the tourism office recommends taking and promotes. Take the 1,300+ stairs to enjoy amazing views.
When you can go up to the St. John´s Fortress, the official hours are from 8 am to 8 pm. If you start hiking between that time, you have to pay an entrance fee of 8€.
If you start hiking up before 8 am, you do not have to pay the entrance fee.
The entrance is in the old town (there are entry points near the River Gate and behind Trg od Salate).
Hiking to the very top should take about 45 minutes – make sure to wear comfortable and solid footwear (no flip flops for this part of the day).
As this activity is the most popular, it can get busy after 10 am, so I really recommend getting up earlier to beat the crowds.
The route is very easy to follow and you will not get lost – even with bad orientation.
TRAIL 2: There is another way to get up – known as the hiking trail of the Ladder of Kotor. You will have a different hiking path at the beginning but can later get to the main path. This path will take longer, but it includes fewer stairs – and there is no entrance fee at all. It is not illegal to use this way – but it isn’t the official hiking trail either.
This is the path I chose – traveling with a little dog did not leave me any other option (as dogs are not supposed to climb many stairs, which means I would have to carry him most of the time, so I figured the alternative route was the better option).
The second path starts outside of the old town and offers different views of the Bay of Kotor.
It is less busy, but solid footwear might be even more important here.
After 30-40 minutes of uphill hiking, you will see a big window (hole) that you have to climb through.
I was a bit scared, and I saw a middle-aged couple decide not to climb through the window, but it looked scarier than it was (however, I would feel uncomfortable doing it with little kids).
Once you climb through that window, you are on the official hiking path with all the other people.
There were comments that the window might be closed at times, but it was open at the time of my visit, so check before deciding on one route.
If you want to do more hiking, you could hike farther up and get back to the window later in the day.
From there, you have amazing views of the Bay of Kotor (much better than those from the unofficial hiking trail). For the best view, however, keep climbing up for another 10-20 minutes until you reach the St. John´s Fortress.
Once you are at the official trail, just keep going up for the best views. It just looks incredible on a clear day. The fortress itself is not well-maintained, but at least you can walk around freely there.
Some people sell drinks; however, I suggest bringing your own snacks and drinks and taking enough breaks to soak in the views and beauty!
So, when it is time to head back down, stop at theChurch of Our Lady of Remedy, which you can also visit.
This hike will probably take around 2-4 hours to climb the walls and get up to the fortress with breaks.
P.S. If that sounds too strenuous: you do not have to climb up all the way for nice views. Even if you get up only halfway, you will have some amazing views!
Walk the City Walls
The city walls surround Kotor’s old town, and you can walk some of the walls for free. You hardly have to climb any stairs for those views. So, if after coming back from St. John´s Fortress, look out for the rest of the city walk and go up there to have a closer look from above at many of the sights.
Then it is time to explore the old town.
Wander the streets of the Old Town
Kotor has a lovely old town, which is also one of the best-preserved medieval old towns in the Balkans. However, I am a bit spoiled when it comes to well-preserved old towns, and I was not blown away. I just liked Dubrovnik,Piran, or Mostar a bit better.
However, the town is small and cute, and strolling the streets is something you should not miss out on – even if you have only one day in Kotor.
For small towns, I do not have a strict itinerary but take the words “get lost” literally and wander around – sitting down here and there to have a coffee or lunch (and there are many restaurants and cafes in the old town of Kotor) and photographing the pretty houses and cute corners.There are some churches and other buildings that are worth a visit in the old town of Kotor:
Places to visit within the old town of Kotor
Saint Tryphon’s Cathedral (Kotor Cathedral)
Saint Nicholas’ Church
Saint Luke’s Church
the Maritime Museum
and the Cat Museum
Do a Kotor Old Town Free City Tour
I did not do a (free) city tour in Kotor, which I kind of regret, as I love walking tours. And in Kotor, you have (almost free), daily walking tours (tip-based) offered by the Montenegro Hostel.
Local guides will tell you more about the history of Kotor and give you insights that you probably would not get via guidebooks (well, you might, but honestly, which of us is reading everything in our textbooks? I admit, I mostly get overviews and then learn about a place once I am there). The tours take about an hour, but you need a make a reservation a few hours before. Check out dates here – in the shoulder season one tour is offered, in the busy months around 2 or 3 tours a day.
Being spoiled by the pretty shops in Mostar and Sarajevo, the shopping opportunities in Kotor seemed few. But some shops sell souvenirs and more things that might be interesting to many visitors. I tend to have a more minimalist lifestyle now and hardly shop – but I love to stroll around.
So, whether you window-shop or actually shop – Kotor is a good place for buying gifts and bits and bobs.
Perast is a beautiful little coastal town and makes a wonderful (half) day trip from Kotor. You can get there via boat, bus (tickets are about 1.20€ one-way), or drive there yourself.
I must say, I liked Perast much more than Kotor itself. While you cannot really compare the two places because they are completely different, I still compare them.
Sitting down and having lunch in one of the restaurants at the bay – including some amazing views – was another highlight.
Perast is much smaller than Kotor, and you cannot do much – but it is so quaint and calm, yet still full of beauty, that you should come here – and not just to beat the crowds. Since there are no cruise ships, it is much quieter (and cheaper), even though quite a few people come from Kotor for a few hours.
To be honest, I would try to fit in Perast even with only 1 day in Kotor. However, if you do a cruise and have only a few hours in Kotor, it might be difficult to visit. Even with the visitors around, it had a different vibe than Kotor, and so I say that one of the best things to do in Kotor (in one day or so) is a trip to Perast.
Go on a Boat Trip to Our Lady of the Rocks
You can do this trip either from Kotor directly or from Perast. Our Lady of the Rocks s a cute, man-made little island in the BayofKotor. It is situated just in front of the village of Perast.
There is another island next to Our Lady of the Rocks – which is a natural island and the site of the SaintGeorgeBenedictineMonastery. The best way to visit the island is by boat from Perast, which costs around 5€ round trip. The boats are just at the harbor of Perast and you can just book the ticket on the spot.
MORE THINGS TO DO IN KOTOR (2 DAYS)
If you stay in 2 days in Kotor, you should add the following beautiful places to your Kotor itinerary.
Drive Around the Bay of Kotor
If you have some more time and have your own car, I highly recommend driving around the Bay of Kotor. Sometimes, I hate nothing more than driving. Sometimes, I love nothing more than driving.
And driving around the Bay of Kotor is an amazing experience and actually one of the best things to do in Kotor.
Since I road-tripped Montenegro, I got around quite a lot. One of the most impressive drives was from Kotor (take P22 and then head to P1 towards Njegusi, and then to Cetinje – you can combine it with a trip to either Cetinje or the Lovcen National Park).
The streets are narrow, but overall, in excellent condition. Just drive slowly and plan in enough time for breaks (no tolls included here).
Stroll the Port
Back in Kotor, the port is quite cute. The Port of Kotor is tiny, and if you look at Kotor from above, you will notice it if you see the huge cruise ships that – so it seems – block the entire port because it is so small. From May onwards, there is often at least one cruise ship stopping here – sometimes, it is even more than one ship. The port itself is cute for a nice walk. In the evening, when the Kotor walls are lit up, it is extremely charming to walk along the port and look at it from a distance.
CONCLUSION: BEST THINGS TO DO IN KOTOR IN ONE DAY
Kotor is a beautiful small town – it has not been my favorite place in Montenegro. However, it is still amazing after all, and with Kotor in one day should be planned in on every Montenegro itinerary.
I hope the pictures have convinced you to visit for more than just a few hours. While you could stay for much longer – and do many day trips – one day in Kotor will allow you to see the main sights and enjoy the stunning scenery.
With only one day in Kotor. I would make sure to visit Perast and hike up St. John´s Fortress and if then you have more time, then do a few of the other activities mentioned here.
Heading to Budva in Montenegro? Then check out my quick Budva guide, and if you plan to visit more places in Montenegro, you can check out my Montenegro guide.
ROAD TRIP IN MONTENEGRO – PLACES TO ADD TO YOUR ITINERARY
Are you planning your Montenegro itinerary and wondering about the best places to visit in Montenegro?
Then you might feel overwhelmed. At least, I felt overwhelmed when I planned my trip. Whether you stay one day, three days, five days, one week, or ten days or even two weeks in Montenegro – I am happy to share my experiences and recommendations.
Often referred to as one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, Montenegro is a must-see place. Especially if you are a nature lover who wants to experience outdoor activities, like hiking, biking, zip-lining, and more. And if you are looking for a more off-the-beaten-path type of place, Montenegro is the country to visit.
Don’t get me wrong – Montenegro is surely no hidden gem. Within the last few years, it has become very popular. People from all over the world flock to Montenegro – but compared to other European destinations, it is still not that well known.
Montenegro is stunning (as a regular Switzerland visitor, I have pretty high standards). It is also relatively affordable (again, as a regular Switzerland visitor, I am used to high prices), so a trip to Montenegro is even more fun!
Find out about the best places to add to your Montenegro itinerary, what to do, how to get around, and more travel tips.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR MONTENEGRO ITINERARY
Montenegro (Black Mountain) is a small country in the Balkans (Eastern Europe) that borders Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, and Albania.
It became an independent state only in 2006. Before that, it was part of the SocialistFederalRepublicofYugoslavia. Afterthedissolution of Yugoslavia in 1992, Montenegro remained part of a smaller Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, along with Serbia.
With a bit more than 620,000 inhabitants, Montenegro is a comparatively small country in Europe.
How to Get to Montenegro
Many people arrive via boat cruises to Kotor. It is a convenient way to arrive if you have only one day in Montenegro, but if you stay longer, then getting here by car, bus, or plane would be the best way to get to Montenegro.
There are two international airports in Montenegro – Tivat (near the border to Dubrovnik/Croatia and the famous Kotor) and Podgorica, which is also the capital.
There are buses from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Kotor, but I suggest (though it is not very environmentally friendly) getting to Montenegro by car. You will need to have an insurance card – a green card/paper – if you get here in your own car or in a rental car, which you will most likely have to present when crossing borders.
How to Get Around Montenegro
I only drove in Montenegro and did not use public transportation. I am always in a quandary as I try to be environmentally friendly, but this is my pet peeve. And to be honest, driving in Montenegro is pretty amazing. Given its small size, it is very easy to get around – although driving in the mountains is time-consuming.
Given this, I suggest not staying in one place. Unless you are in Montenegro for two or three days only, I suggest changing hotels every night or second night, so you do not have to drive so much.
The streets in Montenegro are usually in excellent condition. Many new roads make driving fun. Some older streets tend to be very narrow, though, and the drivers in Montenegro are more reckless than in Croatia.
My car also got hit by another car while I was there. Though no one was injured, it was only a fender bender (my car is still perfectly fine to drive).
But despite the incident, I enjoyed the amazing scenery and would definitely road trip Montenegro again. Apart from the drivers, I should mention that some mountain streets are a bit dangerous. Unlike in places like Italy, southern Germany, and Switzerland, not all mountains are protected by a net, so I saw smaller and bigger rocks lying on the streets – and swerving around them meant having to be 100% alert. Some streets are closed due to weather conditions for most of the year – like the P14 from Pluzine to Zabljak (only partially open, more on that later).
Public transportation in Montenegro: I did not get to use any public transportation in this country, but it is supposed to be okay/good. You can use buses to get from one main place to another, and buses run within the cities.
Taxis are quite cheap in Montenegro, so they are a good option if there is no bus available.
Hitchhiking is very common in Montenegro – whether you’re young or old. I have never seen so many people hitchhiking (I am not a fan of this, to be honest, but especially not for solo female travelers).
Money / Currency / Costs in Montenegro
Even though Montenegro is not part of the European Union, the currency is the euro. Many places do not accept credit or debit cards (including apartments that are not very professional), so I highly suggest having enough cash on you.
Montenegro is quite affordable – not as cheap as Bosnia-Herzegovina, but cheaper than Croatia, and definitely cheaper than western European countries.
Kotor is probably the most expensive area to stay in and eat, but you can get a vegetarian dish, including a non-alcoholic drink, for around 10€ in a restaurant in the old town.
People / Language in Montenegro
My first impressions of the people in Montenegro were not great. I came from Bosnia, where I had only extremely positive experiences. In Montenegro, people smiled less and were way more reserved (plus, I had a few people trying to rip me off, which did not really happen in Bosnia or Croatia).
Ironically, the day I had a little car accident, I met the friendliest people. After that, my perception of the people in Montenegro totally changed. Maybe it was also because these were the more touristy areas, and people actually spoke English and were more open.
When I left Montenegro, I headed to Dubrovnik via car. I met some very fun and nice border police on the Montenegrin side who were like (after looking at my ID), “See you again next year, Arzo.” After meeting such friendly border police, I was all good!
While I had read that many people speak (basic) English in Montenegro, I had a different experience. Even in many touristy areas, most people did not speak English and catered more to the Russian and Serbian tourists – since people in Montenegro basically speak Serbian. They probably learned Russian as a second language.
So, my tip: Download the Google translator app to communicate with more people in Montenegro.
MAP OF MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES TO VISIT
PLACES TO VISIT IN 1 DAY IN MONTENEGRO
Okay, here are some of the best places to visit in Montenegro. So, of course, tweak the itinerary, so it is the best for you, but these activities give you enough ideas to spend up to two weeks in Montenegro. See Kotor + Perast in 1 Day.
If you have only one day in Montenegro, then I highly suggest visiting Kotor and the Kotor Bay area, which is located near the Croatian border and is also a popular day trip from Dubrovnik.
Kotor is situated in the southeastern part of the Bay of Kotor, beneath the limestone cliffs of Mt. Lovćen, and is a small town with only around 13,000 inhabitants. However, it might be small population-wise, but it impresses with its stunning scenery and general cuteness.
Kotor is the place to visit even though it can be quite busy in the summer times.
So, the best thing to do is to hike up St. John´s Fortress. It is a tedious 45-minute hike up (as it includes many stairs), but the views are one of a kind.
Looking down at Kotor’s town and the Bay of Kotor will be one of your Montenegro highlights. Want tips on how to avoid the fees and where to find a less tedious hike? Then head to my Kotor post.
Hiking up should take about 2-4 hours (including breaks and some rest). Then, you have more time to explore the small town center with several Romanesque churches, walk the city walls, and stroll the port.
Perast / Our Lady of the Rocks
With one day in Montenegro, you can also add Perast to your itinerary. Perast was probably my favorite village/town in Montenegro. Perast is also located at the Bay of Kotor and is a few kilometers northwest of Kotor. You can easily drive there (beautiful views), get there by bus, or do a boat tour from Kotor.
It is so small and tiny that you will not even need an itinerary. But as a coastal town with cute buildings, lots of flowers, and restaurants lined up along the promenade, this was my kind of place! Perast also has a little (pebble) beach, and so you can also have your beach vacation here. However, Perast is probably most famous for the islets that lie in front of it: St. George and Our Lady of the Rocks.
Our Lady of the Rocks is an artificial island created by a bulwark of rocks and sinking old and seized ships loaded with rocks. It houses the Roman Catholic ChurchofOurLadyoftheRocks, whichyou can visit.
There is also the natural island of St. George, which houses the St. George Monastery and can also be visited. To get there, you can hop on a boat in Perast (a roundtrip ticket is about 5€).
Perast would be a wonderful last stop if you head to Croatia afterward or fly out from Tivat airport (p.s. Tivat is also a cute town you could explore in a few hours), but I am well aware that there is, even more, to see in Montenegro – if you have a full day in Montenegro and come from Croatia, then make Kotor and Perast your priority.
2 DAYS IN MONTENEGRO
With 2 days in Montenegro, I would not spend too much time driving (those views are breathtaking) and visit a place close to Kotor/Perast.
Lovcen National Park (1 Day)
Montenegro has five national parks: one of them is Lovćen. With 2 days in Montenegro, you can do any other day trip from Kotor or Perast, but this national park is conveniently located quite close. So it makes sense to visit this area on day 2.
If you are in Kotor, you can get to Lovcen National Park via a scenic and stunning drive. The views are gorgeous, and it is amazing to see how the scenery changes. It looks totally different from Kotor Bay! The Loven National Park highlight is probably climbing up to the mausoleum of Petar Petrović Njegoš (1813 -1851), who is known as the greatest Montenegrin poet and ruler. You can drive close to the mausoleum and then climb some stairs (okay, it is a bit more than a few stairs, as there are actually 461 steps) to reach it.
I had my car crash that day, so I spent a lot of time with other things and was short on time. After paying the National Park entrance fee (3€), I parked my car at the parking area, ready to climb the stairs. But my time was limited, and the mausoleum was about to close.
However, the chapel is supposed to be the most impressive part of Njegoš Mausoleum, nine meters high with an arch covered in a mosaic with 200,000 gold-plated tiles. Oh, yes, the views from there are supposed to be spectacular, too!
WHAT TO DO IN MONTENEGRO IN 3 DAYS
So, if you have 3 days in Montenegro, I would get in a car and explore some of the most stunning landscapes in the north of Montenegro.
A must-see is surely the Ostrog Monastery. The Serbian Orthodox Church is one of those impressive buildings – situated against an almost vertical background, high up in the large rock of Ostroška Greda, which makes it one of the most famous landmarks. It is dedicated to Saint Basil of Ostrog, buried here. It is a very religious place for the Orthodox –many of the visitors I have come across (according to car plates) were actually Serbs who are also Serbs predominantly Orthodox.
There is the upper monastery (built in the 17th century) and the lower monastery (19th century), and you can visit both for free (dress appropriately though – the signs did not specifically say whether you have to wear long sleeves, but it did say that you should not wear tank tops).
According to tradition, pilgrims are supposed to walk 3km from the lower monastery to the upper monastery barefoot. I did not see pilgrims doing this, but you might experience this in busier times, so don’t be surprised.
From there, you also have fantastic views, and Montenegro´s scenery will – once again – amaze you.
From Rijeka Crnojevića to Ostrog Monastery, it takes about 90 minutes by car. Even though it is only about 60 km, the narrow streets make the drive quite time-consuming.
Actually, driving the last 8 km to the Ostrog Monastery is one of the craziest drives I have done so far, and it shows exactly what mountain driving actually means.
Warning: It is not for inexperienced drivers, and after that drive, I actually had a headache because I was concentrating so hard while taking the hairpin turns (I did not count them, but there were quite a few).
I would try to visit this place if you have 3 days in Montenegro or more time. I loved it, though getting there was a bit nerve-wracking. It will probably not take the full day – so, you can have a nice dinner in this area or slowly head back.
HOW TO SPEND 4 DAYS IN MONTENEGRO
So, with 4 days in Montenegro, it is time to get even more north. And the best is yet to come in my eyes.
Lake Piva / P14
Okay, it is time to talk about the most beautiful place in Montenegro – actually, I would go so far as to say one of the most beautiful places in the world! I was blown away. I was speechless. I was unprepared. This real hidden gem made me believe that Montenegro MUST be one of the most beautiful countries in the world!
Let me introduce you to Lake Piva/P14. I still cannot understand that this place was so unbelievably beautiful that I came here twice. I arrived in Montenegro from Bosnia-Herzegovina, taking the M18 there and then taking the E762 to pass the Mratinje Dam. It is not on every Montenegro itinerary – I guess because of its location, but it was my favorite place. It was a bit gray and rained, but I knew that this was my kind of place! So, I came back a few days later when the weather was better – and was not disappointed. This is a must! And luckily, it is not a very famous place, so you don’t have to share it with too many.
BUT to get the best, the most stunning, the most impressive views, you need a car! Hiking here might be difficult as the streets are just wide enough for two cars and not an additional pedestrian.
So, to see the artificial lake from the most beautiful angle, drive all the way to the Bosnian border. If you cannot make it that far, take the P14 near Pluzine and head towards Zabljak. The street might be closed most of the time, BUT some parts are open – and the first few kilometers, in particular, offer spectacular views of the lake.
Be prepared to drive in the mountains with their narrow streets and pass many tunnels – and make sure your lights work, as many tunnels do not have any lightning. It was one of the best experiences I have had in Montenegro, and it reminded me of driving Lake Thun in Switzerland.
Here is another tip for your Montenegro itinerary: If you have a car and want to see a different side of the country, I suggest driving the P14. Driving in this part of the country was fun! Seriously, I really enjoyed the scenery, which was different from the rest of the country. The weather was not so good, so I did not manage to take good pictures, but this park/street is different from any other I have seen.
I actually was about to drive from Pluzine to Zabljak and could not find any information about whether the mountain pass was closed or not, so I just drove – and I felt like I was in Iceland or somewhere completely out of this world.
Parts of the streets were closed due to snow (be prepared because they are closed most of the year and most likely open in June for only a few months). Luckily, I still drove the P14, and even though I had to turn around at some point, it was a unique and gorgeous drive.
Yes, the streets are very narrow in parts, but it was worth it for sure! Make sure you plan in enough time for this drive, but I think that one day for Lake Piva and driving (parts) of the P14 is fine.
Personally, I would even add this place to my 1-day Montenegro itinerary – BUT only on a clear day and if you have a car. I am aware that getting there can be tedious, and I have an unnatural thing with lakes, so this might not be the very best place to see for everyone.
AN AMAZING 5 DAYS IN MONTENEGRO
With 5 days in Montenegro, you can head to another national park.
Zabljak & Black Lake at Durmitor National Park (1-2 Days)
Durmitor Park is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it should be on your 5-day Montenegro itinerary. The Durmitor is a massif and is part of the Dinaric Alps. Its highest peak, Bobotov Kuk, reaches a height of 2,523 meters. The massif is limited by the Tara River Canyon to the north, the Piva River Canyon to the west, and the Komarnica River Canyon to the south.
If you are a hiker, you can plan in at least two days for the national park – half a day for hiking around Black Lake and a short time for the Zabljak. You can visit many areas of the national park for free, but if you want to hike around Black Lake, you have to pay around 3€ for the entrance fee (plus a parking fee if you park your car near the lake).
Zabljak is the center of the park – a popular place to visit in the summer and winter months (winter sports are big here) – and is located at the height of about 1450 meters. The town center is not that special, BUT what really stood out were the houses with the pointed roofs that came in various colors.
Black Lake is located at the foot of the Medjed mountain and consists of two smaller lakes: Big and Little Lake, which are connected by a little strait (in summer, it dries up, and then it is actually two separate lakes). The largest of 18 glacial lakes in Durmitor National Park offers more than 3 kilometers of long walking paths around the lake. But you can also rent bikes and do more sporty activities there.
THINGS TO DO IN 6 DAYS IN MONTENEGRO
With 6 days in Montenegro, I would stay another day at the national park.
Bobotov Kuk at Durmitor National Park
If the weather had been better, I surely would have hiked the Bobotov Kuk – the highest mountain peak in Montenegro.
You can choose between the longer and shorter hikes, but I would probably plan in one day for either one. The images looked amazing. A day hiking Bobotov Kuk is probably a good idea for those who like to be a bit more active.
WHAT TO VISIT IN MONTENEGRO IN 7 DAYS
With one week in Montenegro, you should this stunning place to your itinerary.
Tara River Canyon
The Tara River runs through Tara River Canyon – also known as the TaraRiverGorgein Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is extremely popular as it offers quite a lot for adventure seekers.
Whitewater rafting is big here, and so is ziplining. While I personally did not do any of these activities, I saw prices as low as 10€ for ziplining – it seems like a pretty good deal, and you get a lot for your money in this part of the world.
The canyon stretch within Montenegro, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is protected as a part of Durmitor National Park. After the Grand Canyon, it is actually the second-longest canyon globally – and the longest in Europe.
The Đurđevića Tara Bridge, with a length of 365 meters, is one of the most famous landmarks in the region – or probably even in the whole country – and is located at the crossroads between Mojkovac, Žabljak, and Pljevlja.
If you are an adventure seeker or hiker, then you could spend some of your days here. If you are not, then a few hours, or just driving through this part of the country, is surely enough!
PLACES TO SEE IN 8 DAYS
With 8 days in Montenegro, you can add this place to your itinerary that is quite under the radar, and for this, it is time to head back south.
Lake Skadar / Rijeka Crnojevića (1 Day)
Another beautiful place to visit is Lake Skadar. Getting there is an experience in itself – the definition of “narrow mountain streets.” However, it is not very busy, so it is a nice, smooth drive. And let´s not forget the views! The scenery is epic. Skadar Lake is the biggest lake in the Balkans – even spilling over into Albania. The most famous place to visit here is probably the horseshoe viewpoint – and though there is a hotel, it really was not busy.
To get here, do not take the E80. Instead, drive towards Rijeka Crnojevića, and you’ll find the viewing area a few kilometers after/before the village.
Rijeka Crnojevića is a tiny but overly cute and popular village that I also stopped at. Visit the old bridge and enjoy the tranquility before continuing your journey.
SEE THE BEST OF MONTENEGRO IN 9 DAYS
So, here is two other places to visit in 9 days – Lipa Cave and Cetinje.
So, due to the location, it is great to visit Lipa Cave then. The Lipa Cave is one of the country’s largest caves and more than a million years old. You can do a guided tour and walk the 3km of illuminated passages and halls filled with stalactites, stalagmites, and freaky natural pillars.
The guided tours take about 1 hour – and include a short ride on the mini train (included in the price of about 11€).
Adventure seekers who are fit enough can also do an extreme tour that will lead you through the more hidden passages. The cave is a bit remote, and you have to drive down some narrow streets to get there, but if you did Ostrag Monastery (more on this later), this will be easy for you!
Tip: This is also the perfect activity for warmer days, as it is always chilly in the caves. However, if you are in only 5 days in Montenegro (or less), I would probably not make it a priority to visit.
From the Lovcen National Park to Cetinje, the former royal capital, it is just a few minutes, so if you are ready to explore more towns, this is the city to add to your Montenegro itinerary.
I did not get to see much of Cetinje. I was able to take a few pictures before I had to bring the car to the insurance company in Podgorica, but I had to stop my sightseeing after half an hour. However, according to my fellow travel bloggers, Cetinje is more beautiful and nicer than the new capital of Podgorica. It is home to churches, museums, and a monastery.
10 DAYS IN MONTENEGRO ITINERARY
So, it seems you are a lucky person and can stay 10 days in Montenegro. If that is the case, I would visit these two places on day 10.
Budva and Sveti Stefan
I read mixed reviews on Budva – but I, personally, really liked it. Budva is a coastal town on the “Budva Riviera,” on the Adriatic Coast. Budva’s Old Town lies on a small peninsula and houses many beautiful and historic buildings. It also has some nice beaches and a fun promenade lined with restaurants and cafes! But since it is also known as a party place for Serbs and Russians (who enjoy drinking a lot), I was very hesitant to go there. If you know my blog, drunk people are something I really cannot stand.
However, the coastal town center was stunning, and I would recommend it to anyone who is into pretty towns with narrow, cobblestone streets, lovely buildings, and beautiful views.
I walked the city walls for a small entrance fee, strolled the old and narrow streets, sat at the open-air theater, and just watched people.
However, if you want to have a beach vacation, this is your place, and you might want to add another day or two here (check out my quick Budva guide for more information).
The island of Sveti Stefan is one of the most famous places in Montenegro and is now known as a fashionable summer resort.
Sveti Stefan is just a few minutes drive (or bus ride) from Budva. But to be 100% honest, I did not understand the hype. I did not book a night in one of the “most luxurious resorts in the world,” and I honestly wasn’t even tempted. However, the resort is not open to the public and you either have to be an overnight guest or have booked a reservation for the restaurant to have access to the island. If you really want to see it up close, you can walk down and go to the beach section in front of the island for a closer look.
But if you are in Montenegro for less than 10 days and have more places to visit, I would not spend too much time here (unless you stay overnight, of course) and just plan for a short break.
If you are not road tripping, take the bus from Budva – there is a bus stop near the Hotel Adrovic for a great view from the top. You can then walk down or take the next bus to get to Sveti Stefan.
MORE PLACES TO VISIT IN MONTENEGRO IN 2 WEEKS
If you have more time, I would stay 1 day longer in Kotor and add another day around Lake Piva/Tara Gorge.
I would add another day at the beach in Budva or head to Bar for two days, which is in the very south/east in Montenegro and which is also a good place for a beach vacation.
CONCLUSION: PLACES TO ADD TO YOUR MONTENEGRO ITINERARY
There are places I have not been able to visit myself (especially in the south of Montenegro) and that I would like to visit one day. However, I still believe that this Montenegro itinerary – whether you are 1, 3, 5, 7, or 10 days in Montenegro (or even 14 days) will help you discover the country of the most beautiful place.
The country is – without a doubt – one of the most naturally beautiful countries I have been to, and I was amazed quite often by its scenery. So, I hope you will enjoy nature as much as I did and have a great trip.