While Europe might not be the biggest continent, weather conditions strongly vary. So, it does make a big difference whether you visit North countries like Iceland or Norway, Central Europe like Switzerland or France or Southern Europe with places like Valencia in Spain.
If you head to Southern Spain you will not need all the super warm winter clothes – and you will be happy with some warm pullovers and jeans. In the Nordic countries you will definitely need to pack differently.
In this post, you will find one general part of what to pack in Europe for winter. Then you will find out about what to pack for warmer countries like Spain or Malta, but you will also find out what to pack if you visit countries like Switzerland, Estonia or Iceland in winter.
Winter Weather in Europe
Before talking about what to bring to Europe in winter, we should talk weather in Europe in winter. Because your packing list depends on where you visit.
Southern Europe is much milder and warmer than Eastern Europe or Northern Europe. While you could wear a light jacket in Southern Spain in the winter months, you surely have to dress very warm in countries like Norway or Iceland.
If you come to Europe in winter – come prepared.
Be advised that the average temperature can reach as low as -10° degree Celsius in countries like Iceland and Norway and while it gets up to 15° degree Celsius in other countries.
Climate change has lead to much warmer climate in many countries – I remember the years – as a little child – where we had many days with freezing temperatures in Germany. And a lot of snow – but nowadays, snow is no longer the rule for many parts in Europe. But it can be.
WHAT TO BRING TO EUROPE IN WINTER – GENERAL ITEMS
So, the first part of the post is a general packing ist. Then you will find an additional packing list for winter.
Luggage for Europe
Here is what luggage/bags you might need for your winter Europe trip.
Suitcase: Though it depends, where exactly and for how long you travel, I recommend taking a good, light, and quality suitcase with you where all your clothes and most of your toiletries fit in.
Carry-On: If you visit for longer and aren’t a minimalist, then you might need an extra carry-on luggage.
Laundry bags: They are great if you travel for longer and don’t want your dirty and clean clothes to mix up. I prefer them over plastic bags.
Packing Cubes: They are the new must-items when it comes to traveling, they are very handy and they also come in cool colors. I recommend using packing cubes because it makes packing and organizing easier.
For my handbag, I choose a cross-body handbag with a zipper (just to be safe) and several extra pockets. My tip: The size of the handbag is important: do you carry a camera with your? A water bottle? Keep that in mind when you decide on one handbag.
Passport Holder, since i have become more minimalistic, I prefer not using a passport holder but if you need a passport (and an ID is not enough) you might want to have one.
For a day at the hotel pool or for some shopping, I recommend a beach bag or a cotton bag. Plastic bags – fortunately – do costs money in many parts of Europe…and plastic you use only once, sucks anyway, so with a cotton bag you use for years, you do the environment a favour (and it looks much better than to carry your shoppings in a plastic or paper bag).
Toiletries to Pack for Europe in Winter
Lately, I have reduced the care products. Less is better if you ask me. However, in winter our skin is also subject to stress. Here you will find a detailed list – even if I do not use all products below throughout the year, you might use more products.
If I travel for 10 days or shorter I take travel sizes toiletries which I refill with my natural and organic beauty products from home. To pack light, shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, cleaning water and cleansing milk is all in small bottles.
Of course, you could buy toiletries in Europe as well, but if you do not want to waste your time in drug stores or supermarkets, use this checklist for Europe.
(TSA Approved Clear) Travel Toiletry Bag (if you fly)
Sunscreen (even in winter – depending on where you travel to. If you go for a ski trip, then take it but you most likely will not need it for most other winter trips).
Travel bottles to refill – I refill them with my own organic products that I normally use (I do not use shampoo & conditioner provided by hotels)
Electric Hair Removal Epilator (only if you stay longer than a week or if you remove your bidy hair with it) – otherwise a razor or whatever you prefer
Face cream – (which I also use as a hand cream, so I do not have to take another cream).
Refillable Travel Size Perfume Bottle
Toothbrush and toothpaste and mouthwash plus Dental floss
Magnifying make-up mirror
Nail polish and nail polish remover + glass nail file
My favorite hairbrush (especially for longer hair) – or if you have less space take a comb
A small cosmetic bag with the following items: Mascara / Rouge / Eyebrow powder (Taming & Shaping Kit For Brows) / Tweezer / Eyeliner and Eye Shadow / Make-up brushes/ Cotton swabs
Here are a few more items which I personally do hardly use but which might be important to you, so I added them here:
hair spray, hand cream, foundation, powder, lipstick, sanitiser
Tech Stuff to Pack for Europe
I have my laptop with me whenever I fly – however, I do work online while traveling and I also watch Netflix on it.
My phone is without a doubt one of my most useful and important (travel) items.
My camera is a must – because Europe has so many great spots that need to be photographed.
I have to admit, that I still don’t have a kindle, so a “real” book is often an essential
Power Charger – how long does your phone battery last? Not long? Neither does mine, so this is an essential
Do you need an adapter? It depends on where you travel to in Europe, so please check if you need one for your destination.
Random Things to Pack for Europe
Umbrella (in many countries, like Germany, Switzerland, or England is can still rain quite a lot in the winter)
Medicine (headache pills etc.)
What to Pack for Europe in Winter
The key is dressing in layers for Europe in winter. The temperature can reach freezing levels, and yet the sun can be deceptively strong. Dressing in layers allows you to keep warm without compromising on comfort.
Also, it really depends on where exactly you travel – as I mentioned before, Southern Europe has mild weather in winter where you will not need a super warm jacket and gloves plus a hat.
Depending on where you travel, the wind might make you feel much colder than the temperature actually says.
In worst case scenario, hypothermia and frostbite will be a result if If you’re wet and not appropriately dressed.
Your items should be versatile in function. For example, pack a jacket that is both waterproof and warm. In addition, comfortable walking shoes are essential.
Everyday Attire Essentials For Europe In Winter
At the top of your packing list should be the following versatile, essential items. Using these items to dress in layers will keep you both stylish and warm.
Coat – Warm And Waterproof: A warm, waterproof jacket should be one of the very first items that you think to pack. Avoid choosing a bulky jacket that takes up a lot of space. This can make you feel uncomfortable when you have layers underneath. Instead, opt for a lightweight, trench raincoat that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable.
Hat: Science tells us that we lose up to 10% of our body heat through our heads, meaning that it’s essential to keep this area warm. A knitted beanie is a perfect solution for keeping the warmth in while you venture out. A hat will keep you toasty warm whether you’re on the slopes, sipping coffee, or exploring the sights.
Gloves: Have you ever tried to use your phone with frozen fingers? It’s a nearly impossible task. A pair of gloves can do wonders for your mobility, dexterity, and comfort. This makes it one of the most important items on your Switzerland packing list. When selecting your options, it’s worth investing in a pair that can dry quickly and are touch-screen compatible.
Scarf Or Turtleneck: A warm scarf and/or turtleneck sweater are key items for keeping your neck covered. Not only do these items keep you warm, but they also prevent you from getting ill (and thereby ruining the fun). A turtleneck sweater is perfect as a garment to wear underneath your jacket, while the scarf can be removed easily.
Leggings: There’s a reason that almost every woman owns a pair of leggings. They are both comfortable and snug. Leggings are an essential item to pack as you can dress them up or down. You can even wear them underneath your denims as an extra layer of warmth.
Socks: When it comes to packing socks for your Switzerland trip – the thicker the better. Chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors in the snow, and you’ll want your feet to be warm and cozy. If you plan on hitting the slopes at any stage, then you’ll want your socks to be extra-thick or padded for increased comfort.
Thermals: A quality set of thermals is your key to enjoying the winter weather in Switzerland. They provide the extra layer of heat that will allow you to spend an extra hour on the slopes, or to pack fewer items on your road trip instead of excess clothing.
Comfortable Walking Shoes: If you can only pack one pair of shoes, then make sure that they are a trusty pair of waterproof snowshoes. You’ll want your shoes to be as versatile as possible. Snowshoes allow you to enjoy a variety of activities while keeping your feet warm and dry.
One of the best top reasons to visit Switzerland during the winter months is winter sports opportunities. While most ski resorts will offer rental equipment, there are a few essentials to pack for yourself.
Ski Jacket: When choosing the perfect ski jacket, you need to consider warmth, level of waterproofing, and freedom of movement. A jacket that is adjustable in fit, seals effectively, and dries quickly is the perfect apparel for snowboarding, skiing, and other winter outdoor sports.
Ski Pants: A trusty pair of insulated ski pants are the next essential item for all winter sports fans. Make sure that your choice of pants is breathable, warm, and waterproof. These details will keep you dry, warm, and comfortable on the slopes.
Winter Protection: There are a few items that will make your winter vacation all the more comfortable. The last thing that you want is to be soaked on your first day, or get a migraine from snow blindness.
Umbrella: Regardless of what time of year you visit Switzerland, it’s always a smart move to pack a foldable umbrella. The nifty item doesn’t take up too much space. It can be the difference between a leisurely stroll in the city streets and getting caught in a flu-inspired downpour.
Chapstick: Visiting Switzerland in winter will most likely find you spending hours of fun on the snow-covered slopes. This can quickly dry out your lips and burn your skin. In this instance, you’re going to be grateful that you’ve packed your moisturizing stick of Chapstick.
Sunglasses: The best days on the slopes are the ones accompanied by clear, sunny skies and good conditions. These circumstances also increase the glare of the sun on the white snow, making it close to unbearable on your eyes. A pair of polarized sunglasses or ski goggles can protect your eyes from the wind and bright light.
CONCLUSION: WHAT TO PACK FOR EUROPE IN WINTER
Europe in winter is a fantastic travel destination. Whether you come for a ski trip in Switzerland, explore the Christmas markets in London or want to have a weekend trip to a warmer place like Valencia – Europe is so diverse and has something for every taste.
Just be aware of what to pack for Europe in winter and you can enjoy some fantastic time in Europe.
Planning your Budva itinerary and wondering about the best things to do in Budva in one day (or two?). Then this post is perfect for you.
If you plan to visit Montenegro, then Budva would make a nice stop – whether you visit for one day or two, this town has its share of things to offer.
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 at the beginning.
So, now you might be wondering about what to do and see in Budva, where to go, and about the best attractions – and those are very legitimate questions as I had no idea about Budva until a few days before my arrival.
So, here are the best things to do in Budva, plus some more travel tips (including where to stay).
Budva is a small, but busy, town on the Adriatic Coast and its history dates back about three thousand years. It is located in between Kotor and Bar, on a small peninsula, and is well known as a party and beach destination.
While this sounds appealing to many, I avoid party hotspots most of the time (especially when traveling with my little dog), and so I was even more surprised I liked Budva.
To be fair though, 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.
BUDVA TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR ITINERARY
Budva is small and while I have never been to Monaco, it reminds me a bit of it. The old town is probably the busiest place – so make sure you wear comfy shoes. If you want to spend time at the beach, bring your swimming clothes with you.
The weather is mild – I was unlucky and had two rainy days (out of the three I stayed there) – but normally, May or June is great for visiting, as well as September.
It is busy, but not as busy as in July and August when the tourists flock to Budva to enjoy some beach time.
However, if you want to spend most of your time at the beach, then the summer months are probably the best time to visit.
If you arrive by car, I would 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 in 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 from which to get around and visit nearby places, like Kotor, Perast, or Lake Skadar and so it is a must for any Montenegro itinerary.
WHAT TO DO IN BUDVA IN 1 DAY
So, let´s get started with the best places to visit and the top things to experience in Budva.
Stroll Stari Grad – Old Town
The Old Town 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 there was another bad one in 1979 that destroyed parts of the old town.
The old town is a lovely representation of an old, European town – cute and charming, but surely not as impressive as Dubrovnik.
However, this is a place you must see in Budva.
There are narrow cobblestone streets, lovely houses, and many shops, restaurants, piazzas, and small squares 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 that is 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), then 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, and 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 and for a small entrance fee, 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 from 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, then 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, which is 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, then head to Ostrvo 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 that is totally overgrown with typical Mediterranean vegetation and a perfect place to escape the crowds in Budva.
Enjoy the View of Sveti Stefan
For some reason, which is honestly not very clear to me, Sveti Stefan is one of the most famous places in the country and an extremely popular place to visit near Budva.
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.
You cannot visit Sveti Stefan if you are not an overnight guest or do not have a reservation for the restaurant on Sveti Stefan, but you can enjoy the views from above or walk down and spend time at the beach in front of Sveti Stefan.
CONCLUSION: BEST THINGS TO DO IN BUDVA, MONTENEGRO
As you can see, Budva has more to offer than beaches and a wild party life – hopefully, you now know about the best things to do in Budva and have created your itinerary. 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 as much as I did and this quick guide has helped you plan your Budva trip!
If you visit more places in Montenegro, check out my Montenegro itinerary with more beautiful places to visit!
Are you planning your Montenegro itinerary and wondering about the most beautiful places in Montenegro to see?
Then you might feel overwhelmed – at least, I did when I planned my trip. I hope, this post will help you plan your trip. Whether you stay 1 day, 3 days, 5 days, one week or 10 days in Montenegro – I am happy to share my experiences and recommendations with you.
Often referred to as one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, Montenegro is a must-see – 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, then 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.
And not only is Montenegro stunning (as a regular Switzerland visitor, I have pretty high standards), it is also quite cheap (again, as a regular Switzerland visitor, I am used to high prices), which made a trip to Montenegro 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.
MONTENEGRO TRAVEL TIPS
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 ways 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
I drove. 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), but to actually change hotels every night or second night, so you do not have to drive so much.
The streets in Montenegro are usually in very good condition – many new streets 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 and it was only a fender bender (my car is still perfectly fine to drive), I am still waiting for the insurance of the person who caused the damage to pay the compensation. So, once I have more on that, I will update you here with tips on what to do if you have a car accident in Montenegro.
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.
There are some streets that 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 there are buses running 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
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
My first impressions of the people in Montenegro were not great. I came from Bosnia, where I had only extremely positive experiences, and 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 due to the fact that 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 be able to communicate with more people in Montenegro.
HOW TO CREATE A 1-10 DAY MONTENEGRO ITINERARY
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.
Kotor (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.
This area is absolutely stunning (though it is NOT my favorite place in Montenegro – you´ll find out about the most beautiful place in Montenegro later in this post), so it is no surprise that visitors from all over the world flock to pretty Kotor.
So, if you had to create a 1-day Montenegro itinerary, Kotor is the place to visit.
So, the best thing (THE absolute best thing) to do in Montenegro is to hike up St. John´s Fortress. It is a tedious 45-minute hike up (as it includes a lot of stairs), but the views are one of a kind.
Looking down at the town of Kotor and the Bay of Kotor will be one of your Montenegro highlights – and it is worth the entrance fee of 8€ that you have to pay if you start your hike between 8 am and 8 pm. (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.
If you road trip Montenegro or if you have some more time on your hands, then drive to Lovcen National Park. The park is interesting, but the drive there is the actual spectacular thing to do.
LovcenNationalPark (1 Day)
Montenegro has five national parks: one of them is Lovćen.
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! If you are in Montenegro for 2 days or longer, add it to your itinerary.
The highlight of the Loven National Park 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 as there are 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.
I paid the entrance fee for the National Park (3€) and 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, which is 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!
If you have one week in Montenegro make sure to add it to your itinerary.
CetinjeandLipaCave (1 Day)
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, then 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, so if you have more than one week in Montenegro, I would surely plan in half a day or a full day for this city.
So, due to the location, it is also a good idea to combine it with a visit to Lipa Cave.
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 includes 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.
Budva and Sveti Stefan (1 Day)
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, and 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 really beautiful and I would recommend it to anyone who is into pretty towns with narrow, cobblestone streets, lovely buildings, and beautiful views.
And while I have not been there yet, it reminded me in some ways of Monaco.
So, this is a beautiful place to stay – and while I stayed there for two nights, I think that one night would be totally enough. I walked the city walls for a small entrance fee, strolled the old and narrow streets and sat at the open-air theater and just watched people.
However, if you want to have a beach vacation, then 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 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.
You can, if you really want to see it up close, 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, then I would not spend too much time here (unless, you stay overnight, of course) and just plan in a short break.
If you are not road tripping, then take the bus from Budva – there is a bus stop near the Hotel Adrovic for great view from the top. You can then walk down or take the next bus to get to Sveti Stefan.
If your are 7 days in Montenegro then add it to your Montenegro bucket list.
LakeSkadar / RijekaCrnojevića (1 Day)
Another beautiful place to visit in Montenegro 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 at all.
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 very small, but overly cute, and popular village that I also stopped at. Visit the old bridge and enjoy the tranquility before continuing your journey.
If you have only a weekend in Montenegro, I would skip this, but if you have more time, then v
OstrogMonastery (0,5 Day)
A must-see in Montenegro 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 in Montenegro.
It is dedicated to Saint Basil of Ostrog, who was buried here, and 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 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 the 3km from the lower monastery to the upper monastery, barefoot. I have not seen pilgrims doing this, but in busier times, you might experience this, 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 you have to do, 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 of nerve-wracking.
TaraRiverCanyon (0,5 – 1 Day)
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 the 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 – 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 and, after the Grand Canyon, it is actually the second longest canyon in the world – 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!
If you have create a 3-day Montenegro and are into adventure activities, than this is the place to go.
Another national park is the Durmitor Park – which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
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 by 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 a 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, it offers more than 3 kilometers of long walking paths around the lake. But you can also rent bikes and do more sporty activities there.
It is impressive, but if I only had 4 or 5 days in Montenegro, I would skip the lake.
BobotovKuk atDurmitorNationalPark (1 Day)
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 – so a day hiking Bobotov Kuk is probably a good idea for those who like to be a bit more active.
LakePiva / P14 (0,5 – 1 Day)
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.
Stunning. Gorgeous. Amazing! I still cannot get over the fact 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 so that I also passed the Mratinje Dam.
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 to 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.
I cannot wait for the day when boats will cruise the lake. I would be happy to be one of the first to take a cruise there.
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 (May 2019), 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. But if you stayed 7 days in Montenegro and did not plan to visit then you would miss out…
Perast / Our Lady of the Rocks (0.5 – 1 DAy)
If Kotor is your starting and end point (if you head to Dubrovnik afterwards, for example), this could be your last stop in Montenegro: Perast, which 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 that are 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 that was created by a bulwark of rocks and by sinking old and seized ships loaded with rocks. It houses the Roman Catholic ChurchofOurLadyoftheRocks, whichcanbevisited.
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 afterwards 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 Monenegro and come from Croatia, then make Kotor and Perast your priority.
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 visit for 1, 3, 5, 7 or 10 days – will help you discover the most beautiful places in Montenegro.
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 the nature as much as I did and have a great Montenegro trip.
So, do you plan your one day in Kotor trip and thus want to find out about the best things to do in Kotor in one day or or even longer? Then read on and find your answers here.
I had named Montenegro the most beautiful country long before I visited. And from what I saw, it seems to be a beautiful country full of stunning scenery and cute towns that do not have the price tag of countries like Switzerland or Norway.
One of the places that contributed to my assumption of Montenegro being the most beautiful place in the world was the little coastal town of Kotor. Situated in the southeastern part of the Bay of Kotor beneath Mount Lovcen, this place 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 that offer incredible views of the town and the surroundings.
There are even more reasons and so it is no surprise that nowadays, 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, from May to September.
KOTOR TRAVEL TIPS
Before talking about the best things to do in Kotor, here are some quick travel tips for Kotor.
How to Get to Kotor
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 in general, you are okay to drive here.
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 0.90€ an hour, or you can park farther away (about a 10-minute walk from the old town) for free.
But you can also arrive by plane to Tivat, which is just a few kilometers away from Kotor.
Also, many people arrive to Kotor via cruise ship – the port is about 100m from the entrance gates of the old town. The visitors normally just 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
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.
Outside the old town, you could drive, but the port is small as well, so you can take a nice stroll there.
To get to other towns, like Perast, you can either take a bus, a boat, or drive.
Where to Stay in Kotor
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
This is by far the best thing to do in Kotor. Whether you have a few hours in Kotor or longer, the must-do is to head up to St. John´s Fortress.
There are two ways to get up – none of them include a cable car or any convenient method though, and both include a lot of hiking. But it will be worth it because the views of Kotor Bay are incredible!
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. So, there is an official hiking trail that the tourism office recommends taking and promotes. Take the 1,300+ stairs to enjoy amazing views.
The official hours for when you can go up to the St. John´s Fortress are from 8 am to 8 pm. If you start hiking between that time, you have to pay an entrance fee of 8€ (last year, it was just 3€). 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. Also, if you start hiking up before 8 am, you do not have to pay the entrance fee.
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.
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, 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 have climbed 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.
It just looks incredible on a clear day. The fortress itself is not well-maintained, but at least you can walk around freely there.
There are some people selling 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.
With breaks, it will probably take around 2-4 hours to climb the walls and get up to the fortress.
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 the old town of Kotor and you can walk some of the walls for free – and hardly have to climb any stairs.
So, if you have finished the climb to St. John´s Fortress, look out for the rest of the city walk and just go up there to have a closer look from above at many of the sights.
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.
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 just wander aimlessly 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:
Saint Tryphon’s Cathedral (Kotor Cathedral), Saint Nicholas’ Church, Saint Luke’s Church, the Maritime Museum, and also the Cat Museum.
Do a Kotor Old Town Free City Tour
I did not do this in Kotor, which I kind of regret, as I love walking tours – and in Kotor, you have 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 just 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.
I tend to have a more minimalist lifestyle now and hardly shop – but I love to stroll around.
Being spoiled by the pretty shops in Mostar and Sarajevo, the shopping opportunities in Kotor seemed few – but there were shops that sell souvenirs and more things that might be interesting to many visitors.
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 there are quite a few people coming from Kotor for a few hours.
If you have two days in Kotor, Perast is a must. But to be honest, I would try to fit in Perast even with only 1 day in Kotor. However, if you do a cruise and just have a few hours in Kotor it might be difficult to visit but Perast is just one of my favorite places in Montenegro because it was so quiet and tranquil. 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 (ind 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 visit Our Lady of the Rocks. It is a cute, man-made little island in the BayofKotor – from Perast, as it is situated just in front of the town of Perast. The other island is a 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.
More Things to Do in Kotor (in Two Days)
If you stay in 2 days in Kotor, you should add following beautiful places also to your 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 very good condition. Just drive slowly and plan in enough time for breaks (no tolls included here).
Stroll the Port
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 ships 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 but it is still amazing after all.
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.
Have you already figured out your itinerary and which of my tips on “things to do in Kotor” you will actually see/do?
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.