Montenegro is one of the most beautiful places in the Balkans. It boasts some killer views, impressive landscapes and some of the cleanest beaches.
You can find whatever you want here, from nature walks to quaint old towns, and the country is so picturesque you'll leave with some stunning photos.
We've been to Montenegro three times and each time it's been done slightly differently. The first time we hired a scooter to ride to some of the top tourist attractions. That was super fun but the scooter absolutely didn’t have the required power to tackle some of Montenegro’s inclines. The other two times we hired a car, which made the trip unbelievable.
I know that getting a rental isn’t always great for a backpacker's budget, but sometimes an exception is required! Having a car allows you to see the country without wasting time on a bus, and you don't have to rely on your tour group's schedule. Even short distances take a long time in Montenegro because the roads are so windy, going up and down the mountains. Being in a car makes the drive so much quicker and easier.
** FYI - We booked early and got a car for 20 days for 20€ per day picking up in Dubrovnik and dropping off in Zagreb where we flew out. **
Here at 7 breathtaking things to do when you visit:
1. Go to ‘Hawaii'
The island is actually called Sveti (Saint) Nikola but you’ll see signs for a ‘Boat Trip to Hawaii’ from the main strip in Budva. It's a 3-5€ round trip by boat (depending on the season and demand) and is the perfect day trip to get away from the dirty beachfront of Budva (← Budva is probably the only beach in Montenegro I don't recommend you swim).
This island was far less crowded than the mainland and is definitley worth the trip to experience another beach in Mongenegro.
2. Walk along Kotor’s Old City Walls
I must admit, I wasn’t overly excited about doing the walk because it didn’t seem that interesting and it looked like it would be far more effort that it was worth. If you feel the same as I did, do it anyway!!
It is SO beautiful up there, far more beautiful than I had expected. No picture could even capture it.
1500 steps up (though, it’s not overly difficult) you’ll look down on the signature red roofs of Old Town Kotor with the incredible view of the mountains in the background. Entrance is 3€ per person, unless you’re from Former Yugoslavia in which case it's free (yesss, more coffee money for me…).
3. Walk through the village of Perast
Perast is a beautiful, little fishing village. It’s quiet, it’s charming, minimal cars are allowed in (I think only the locals can enter) and it feels like you’re so far from everything. Walk along the esplanade, have a coffee, maybe even lunch, and if you’re really keen you can get a boat ride to the small islands nearby.
We had lunch in one of the seaside restaurants and it was a great price for a tourist hotspot. I think we paid around 15€ for two sandwiches, two coffees and a pizza. You can park your car at the parking bays on either side near the entrance.
4. Visit the peak of Lovćen National Park
It's a bit of a drive into the mountains but the views are so spectacular you shouldn't miss it. They even claim you can see 80% of the country from here on a clear day!
You'll drive up a very, very windy road where it seems like the locals have a death wish as they speed around blind corners, then after parking you walk up 461 steps to the peak. It’s 2€ entry per person into the park. Then to get the really good views (pictured) make sure to pay the extra 3€ to go through the Njegoš Mausoleum.
5. Take a drive to Ostrog Monastery
Built into the cliff of a mountain, this monastery belongs to the Serbian Orthodox Church. There is a belief that if you walk all the way up, sleep under the stars for one night and walk back down, all of your ailments will be healed.
There were plenty of people staying overnight when we visited and I hear it’s constantly like that. Over 100,000 pilgrims and travellers visit this beautiful place every year.
Since it's a holy place, be sure to bring something to cover your knees and shoulders if you want to enter.
If you choose to drive up yourself, start from Budva via the country road route (left pic below). There will be signs so you'll see where to turn. I recommend this route as it's an easy, slow drive up. We exited the other way thinking that getting onto the highway ASAP would be quicker, but there are a few really tight bits where you get pretty close to the cliff edge while trying to manoeuvre around another car. If you're a confident driver this won't be a problem as it doesn't go for that long! But if you prefer to take the easy drive, follow the route on the left.
Above you can see people who have come to be healed.
7 Breathtaking Things To Do in Montenegro (with lots of pictures!) #travel #Montenegro #roadtrip
6. Ride from Kotor to Herceg Novi
This is a really, really pretty drive and takes about 1 1/2 hours. It’s not a long distance but, like all roads in Montenegro, it’s small and windy.
If you can hire a motorbike or scooter for the day it'll be even more beautiful! With the sun on your back and wind in your hair you really get the feel of being on a laid-back, Balkan holiday. There are some cute little cafes and swimming spots you can stop at along the way, so take your time and enjoy the ride for what it is.
On your way back, if you want to speed it up, you can take the ferry from Kamenari to Lepetane which will cut out a decent chunk of time. A ferry ticket for a scooter costs 2€ and a car is 4.50€.
7. Walk along the esplanade at Herceg Novi
Herceg Novi boasts some fascinating history and has a really quaint, little old town. But if you just want to chill out then head all the way down to the bottom and walk along the beautiful esplanade. It feels so much different to all the other areas in Montenegro, still being touristy but somehow different.
Take your swimsuit because you can easily spend the day going between the cafés, beaches and ice cream stalls 😀
Montenegro is such a fascinating place to visit because it’s so different to the other countries in The Balkans.
It's not in the European Union, however, they use the euro as their currency. Even so, the food and beer at supermarkets is still down at Balkan prices.
Accommodation can get quite expensive in peak season so we found a great place on Airbnb which was perfect for what we needed. It was a 15 min walk out of Budva and having the car meant we could base ourselves there and drive wherever we needed each day.
So, what do you think? Are you wanting to make a trip to Montenegro now?