BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN MONTENEGRO IN 1-10 DAYS

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 visit in Montenegro, 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 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. After the dissolution 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

BY BOAT

  • 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.

BY PLANE

  • 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.

BY BUS

  • There are buses from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Kotor. So you can visit Montenegro easily from any of these countries.

BY CAR

  • 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.

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.  

Driving around Piva Lake in Montenegro_
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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).

Mountain street in Montenegro
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  • 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.

KOTOR

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 view from above, one of the most beautiful places in Kotor
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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.

Kotor hike is one of the top things to do_
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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 Montenegro is a good day trip from Kotor
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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, Our Lady of the Rocks
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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 Church of Our Lady of the Rocks, which you 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.

WHERE TO STAY IN KOTOR / PERAST

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!

Kotor Montenegro drive
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 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.

Ostrog Monastery

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.

Ostrag Monastery in Montenegro is one of the travel highlights
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 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.

Piva Lake in Montenegro is the answer to the question where to go
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 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.
Window views when road tripping Montenegro Driving around Piva Lake in Montenegro_
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 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.

Tunnels when road tripping Montenegro Piva Lake in Montenegro_
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 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.

Durmitor National Park, P14
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 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.

Black Lake National Park one of the parks in Montenegro
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 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 Tara River Gorge in Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is extremely popular as it offers quite a lot for adventure seekers.

Tara Trift Bridge in Montenegro is one of the best things to do
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@PIxabay

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.

Lake Skadar in Montenegro is one fof the best places to see in Montenegro
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 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.

Rijeka Crnojevića, beautiful villages in Montenegro_
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SEE THE BEST OF MONTENEGRO IN 9 DAYS

So, here is two other places to visit in 9 days – Lipa Cave and Cetinje.

LIPA CAVE

So, due to the location, it is great to visit Lipa Cave then.

Lipa Cava in Montenegro is one of the bets places to visit in the summer
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 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.

Cetinje

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.

Building in Cetinje in Montenegro, best cities to visit
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 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!

City walls in Kotor, Montenegro
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 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).

Sveti Stefan

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.

Sveti Stefan is one of the main places for tourists in Montenegro
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 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.

Safe Travels, Arzo
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