BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN MONTENEGRO IN 1-10 DAYS
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 in Montenegro – I am happy to share my experiences and recommendations.
Find out about the best places in Montenegro, what to do, how to get around, and more travel tips.
Is Montenegro Worth Visiting?
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. But Montenegro is also home to charming villages and towns. 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 different prices), so a trip to Montenegro is even more fun!
TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR MONTENEGRO ITINERARY
Montenegro (Black Mountain) is a small country in the Balkans bordering 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.
Road Tripping 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. I suggest not staying in one place. Unless you are in Montenegro for two or three days only, I suggest changing hotels every or second night, so you do not have to drive so much.
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. The roads in Montenegro are usually in excellent condition – some of them tend to be very narrow, though. I should mention that some mountain roads 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. Also, the drivers in Montenegro are more reckless than in Croatia.
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. However, I am not a fan of this, to be honest, 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), 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.
PLACES TO VISIT IN 1 DAY IN MONTENEGRO
Okay, here are some of the best places to visit. 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 + Perast = 1 Day
If you have only one day in Montenegro, then I highly suggest visiting Kotor and the Kotor Bay area. It 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. It 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.
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 probably be one of your Montenegro highlights.
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.
- Head to my Kotor post for more detailed tips.
Perast / Our Lady of the Rocks
With one day in Montenegro, you can also add Perast to your itinerary – my favorite village/town in the country! Perast is also located at the Bay of Kotor and is a few kilometers northwest of Kotor. You can easily drive there, 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. As a coastal town with cute buildings, lots of flowers, and restaurants lined up along the promenade, this is my kind of place! Perast also has a little (pebble) beach, 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 that you can also visit. To get there, you can hop on a boat in Perast (a roundtrip ticket is about 5€).
Perast is a wonderful last stop if you head to Croatia afterward or fly out from Tivat airport.
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 focus on the area of Kotor so you avoid too much time in the car.
Lovcen National Park (1 Day)
Montenegro has five national parks: one of them is Lovćen. This national park is conveniently located quite close to Kotor which is why I would visit it on day 2 in Montenegro.
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 to reach it. Okay, it is a bit more than a few stairs, as there are actually 461 steps!
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. It 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!
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. It is situated against an almost vertical background, high up in the large rock of Ostroška Greda – impressive! 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 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. The signs did not specifically say whether you have to wear long sleeves, but they did say that you should not wear tank tops.
According to tradition, pilgrims are supposed to walk 3 km 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.
HOW TO GET THERE:
- 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!
Lake Piva / P14
Okay, it is time to talk about the most beautiful place in Montenegro. I was blown away. I was speechless. I was unprepared. This real hidden gem made me believe that Montenegro MUST be one of the prettiest 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 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.BUT to get the best, the most stunning, the most impressive views, you need a car! Hiking could be an option but I have not seen anyone walking these roads. 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. 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 around 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!
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. They are actually 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.
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.
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.
Plan half a day for hiking around Black Lake and a short time for Zabljak town. You can visit many areas of the national park for free, but if you want to hike around Black Lake, you have to pay a small entrance fee (plus a parking fee if you park your car near the lake).
Zabljak (1450 meters above sea level) is the center of the park – a popular place to visit in the summer and winter months (winter sports are big here). 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.
You could also rent bikes and explore the park by bike!
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 add this stunning place to your itinerary.
Tara River Canyon
The Tara River runs through Tara River Canyon – and is 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.
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 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 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, explore a place that is quite under the radar. For this, it is time to head back south.
Lake Skadar / Rijeka Crnojevića (1 Day)
Another beautiful place is Lake Skadar. Getting there is an experience in itself – this is what you call “narrow mountain roads.” 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. 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 are two other places to visit in 9 days – Lipa Cave and Cetinje.
So, due to the location, it is great to visit Lipa Cave after visiting Skadar Lake. The Lipa Cave is one of the country’s largest caves and is 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. It is indeed stunning!
- 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 located a bit remote, and you have to drive down some narrow roads to get there, but if you did Ostrag Monastery, this will be easy for you!
TIP: This is also the perfect activity for hot 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 Lipa Cave to Cetinje, the former royal capital, it is just a few minute’s drive. 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 somebody bumped into my car and I had to drive to the insurance company in Podgorica. 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 and makes a nice place for a few hours.
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
Budva is a coastal town on the “Budva Riviera,” on the Adriatic Coast. Budva’s Old Town lies on a small peninsula and is home to many beautiful and historic buildings. It also has some nice beaches and a fun promenade lined with restaurants and cafes!
I read mixed reviews on Budva (especially because it is known as a wild party town). I really liked it – but I did not come across any wild party people. The coastal town center is stunning! 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. The resort is not open to the public. 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.
With 10 days or less in Montenegro, I would not spend too much time here (unless you stay overnight, of course) and just plan for a short break.
If you do not road trip, 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.
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) 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 will help you discover the country of the most beautiful place.
Montenegro is – without a doubt – one of the most stunning 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.