Insider Tips: Top Things to Visit in Montenegro

Montenegro is a hidden gem in the Balkans with stunning landscapes like the Bay of Kotor and historical sites like the old town of Kotor. Explore Perast, Ulcinj Old Town, and the Ostrog Monastery for more fascinating stories and breathtaking views. For nature lovers, Montenegro offers Durmitor National Park for hikers, Tara River Canyon for rafting, and Lake Skadar for birdwatching. Explore cultural gems like Cetinje and Bar Old Town, or try outdoor activities in Prokletije Mountains and Budva. Montenegro has it all.

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Foto: Shutterstock
Foto: Shutterstock

Key Highlights

  • Montenegro offers a wide range of gems and must-visit destinations
  • Bay of Kotor, Sveti Stefan, Durmitor National Park, and the Adriatic Sea are some of the best places to visit in Montenegro
  • The historical marvels of Perast, Ulcinj Old Town, and the Ostrog Monastery are worth exploring
  • Montenegro is a haven for nature lovers with its stunning national parks and glacial lakes
  • The country is also home to cultural hotspots like Cetinje and the Bar Old Town
  • Adventure and outdoor activities such as rafting in the Tara River Canyon and hiking in the Prokletije Mountains are popular in Montenegro

Insider's Top Picks for Montenegro's Must-Visit Destinations

Crna Gora
foto: Shutterstock

Montenegro is a hidden gem in the Balkans, offering a plethora of must-visit destinations. From the enchanting Bay of Kotor to the luxurious seaside escape of Sveti Stefan, there are countless places to explore. Durmitor National Park, with its stunning mountains and glacial lakes, including the sparkling clear lakes of Biogradska Gora National Park, is a haven for nature lovers. The historical marvels of Perast, Ulcinj Old Town, and the Ostrog Monastery are steeped in history and offer breathtaking views. And for adventure seekers, the Tara River Canyon and the Prokletije Mountains provide plenty of adrenaline-pumping activities. Black Lake is also a great place to bring a picnic and just relax.

1. The Enchanting Bay of Kotor

view over bay of kotor from sain trojica hill
view over bay of kotor from sain trojica hillfoto: Shutterstock

The Bay of Kotor, located in the southwestern part of Montenegro, is a true gem that should not be missed. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is often referred to as Europe's southernmost fjord, with its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. The bay is surrounded by picturesque mountains, and its deep blue waters are dotted with charming towns and villages, making it one of the most popular places to visit in the country.

Kotor old town reminds of kings landing from game of thrones
Kotor old town reminds of kings landing from game of thronesfoto: Shutterstock

The old town of Kotor, with its medieval walls and narrow stone alleyways, is a must-visit. The town museum, located in the historic Grgurina Palace, offers a glimpse into the history and culture of the region. A hike up to the fortress of St. John's is rewarded with panoramic views of the bay and the enchanting Kotor Old Town. With its breathtaking scenery and historical charm, the Bay of Kotor is a must-visit destination in Montenegro.

2. Sveti Stefan: A Luxurious Seaside Escape

sveti stefan and queens beach
sveti stefan and queens beachfoto: Vuk Lajović

Sveti Stefan, a tiny island connected to the mainland by a causeway, is a luxurious seaside escape that offers a glimpse into Montenegro's glamorous past. Once a fishing village, it has been transformed into a luxury resort that attracts celebrities and jet-setters from around the world. The island is known for its stunning views of the Adriatic coast, sandy beaches, and crystal-clear waters.

sveti stefan promenada
sveti stefan promenadafoto: Shutterstock

The seaside promenade offers a picturesque setting for a leisurely stroll, while the charming stone houses and narrow streets add to the island's unique charm. Whether you're looking to relax on the beach, indulge in spa treatments, or dine at world-class restaurants, Sveti Stefan is the perfect place for a luxurious getaway.

3. Durmitor National Park: A Haven for Nature Lovers

durmitor massif is stunning to explore
durmitor massif is stunning to explorefoto: Shutterstock

Durmitor National Park, located in the northwestern part of Montenegro, is a haven for nature lovers. With its rugged mountains, glacial lakes, and breathtaking views, it offers a range of activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Here are some highlights of Durmitor National Park:

  • The Black Lake: This stunning glacial lake is one of the most beautiful in the Balkans, with its crystal-clear waters and surrounding pine forests.
  • Tara River Canyon: Europe's deepest gorge, the Tara River Canyon, offers thrilling whitewater rafting adventures and breathtaking views.
  • Hiking trails: Durmitor National Park boasts a network of hiking trails that lead to scenic viewpoints, mountain peaks, and remote villages.
  • Wildlife spotting: The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including brown bears, wolves, and various bird species.
black lake - the 'eyes' of durmitor
black lake - the 'eyes' of durmitorfoto: Shutterstock

Whether you're hiking to the summit of Bobotov Kuk, exploring the underground wonders of Lipa Cave, or simply taking in the stunning natural beauty, Durmitor National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers.

4. The Historical Marvel of Perast

Perastfoto: Shutterstock

Perast, a hidden gem nestled on the Bay of Kotor, is an enchanting town that encapsulates Montenegro's storied past. Its allure lies in its meticulously preserved architecture and captivating coastal panoramas, making it a haven for aficionados of history and nature enthusiasts alike. The town is renowned for its opulent 15th-century palaces, ornate Baroque churches, and meandering cobblestone streets that exude old-world charm.

Old lady of the rock - island that was handmade
Old lady of the rock - island that was handmadefoto:

A prominent attraction in Perast is the iconic Our Lady of the Rocks, an artificial island adorned with a church housing a trove of religious artworks and relics. Embarking on a boat excursion to this island offers visitors a chance to delve into its intriguing past and marvel at its cultural significance. Perast's rich tapestry of history intertwined with its awe-inspiring vistas renders it an unmissable destination in Montenegro.

perast square
perast squarefoto:

Exploring Perast unveils a captivating narrative of bygone eras while immersing visitors in the serenity of its coastal beauty. Whether wandering through its historic sites or basking in the tranquility of the bay, Perast promises an unforgettable journey through time and nature's splendor.

5. Ulcinj Old Town: A Blend of History and Beaches

Old Town Ulcinj
Old Town Ulcinjfoto: Shutterstock

Ulcinj Old Town, situated on the picturesque southern coast of Montenegro, is a captivating fusion of history and coastal beauty that promises a one-of-a-kind cultural immersion. This charming town is renowned for its well-preserved Ottoman-era architecture, meandering cobblestone streets, and lively ambiance. A prominent landmark within the old town is the majestic Ulcinj Castle, which provides breathtaking panoramic vistas of the azure Adriatic Sea and its stunning surroundings.

Ulcinj old town was major fortress to defend against sea treats
Ulcinj old town was major fortress to defend against sea treatsfoto: Shutterstock

The town's coastline boasts an array of pristine beaches, with Velika Plaza standing out as a favorite among visitors seeking tranquility amidst its expansive golden sands and crystalline waters. Whether you're exploring its rich historical sites or unwinding on its sun-kissed shores, Ulcinj Old Town offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers.

In addition to its architectural splendor and natural beauty, Ulcinj Old Town exudes a vibrant cultural charm that beckons exploration. From traditional local cuisine to bustling markets brimming with handmade crafts, this destination captures the essence of Montenegrin heritage. Whether you're strolling through its enchanting streets or basking in the sun on its idyllic beaches, Ulcinj Old Town promises an unforgettable journey through time and culture in the heart of Montenegro.

6. Lovcen National Park: Breathtaking Views and Rich Heritage

lovcen with breathtaking view
lovcen with breathtaking viewfoto: Timothy Yip-Flickr

Lovcen National Park, located in southern Montenegro, offers breathtaking views and a rich heritage. The park is home to the Njegos Mausoleum, a grand monument dedicated to Montenegro's most famous ruler and poet, Petar II Petrovic Njegos. Visitors can climb to the top of the mausoleum for panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the Adriatic Sea. Lovcen National Park is also known for its hiking trails, which lead to stunning viewpoints and the highest peak in the area, Mount Lovcen. The park is rich in flora and fauna, with diverse landscapes that range from dense forests to rocky cliffs. Whether you're admiring the views from the mausoleum or exploring the park's hiking trails, Lovcen National Park is a must-visit destination in Montenegro.

7. The Hidden Gem of Piva Canyon

piva canyon
piva canyonfoto: Svetlana Mandić

Piva Canyon, located in the northwestern part of Montenegro, is a hidden gem that offers stunning natural beauty. The canyon is carved by the Piva River and is surrounded by rugged mountains and dense forests. One of the highlights of the Piva Canyon is the picturesque Piva River, known for its crystal-clear waters and scenic beauty. Visitors can enjoy boat trips or kayaking on the river, taking in the breathtaking views of the canyon walls and the surrounding nature.

The canyon is also home to the impressive Piva Monastery, a 16th-century Orthodox monastery that offers a glimpse into Montenegro's religious heritage. With its stunning landscapes and cultural significance, the Piva Canyon is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and history enthusiasts.

8. Budva Riviera: Sun, Sea, and Nightlife

Budva old town
Budva old townfoto: Shutterstock

Budva Riviera, located on the central coast of Montenegro, is a popular destination known for its sun, sea, and vibrant nightlife. The region offers a mix of beautiful sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a bustling city center with a lively atmosphere. Budva's old town is a labyrinth of narrow streets and ancient stone buildings, with Venetian walls dating back to the 15th century. The town is known for its vibrant nightlife, with numerous clubs and bars that come alive after dark. During the summer months, Budva hosts various music festivals and cultural events, attracting visitors from all over the world.

summer nightlife hub
summer nightlife hubfoto: Turistička organizacija Budve

Whether you're looking to soak up the sun on the beach, explore the historical sites, or dance the night away, Budva Riviera offers a vibrant and diverse experience for visitors.

9. The Serene Shores of Lake Skadar

Skadar lake
Skadar lake foto: Shutterstock

Lake Skadar, located on the border of Montenegro and Albania, is the largest lake in the Balkan Peninsula and a haven for nature lovers. The lake is surrounded by picturesque mountains and is known for its diverse flora and fauna. Lake Skadar is a paradise for birdwatchers, with over 280 bird species, including the rare Dalmatian pelican.

one of unique birds of the lake
one of unique birds of the lakefoto: Shutterstock

Visitors can explore the lake by boat, taking in the stunning landscapes and spotting various bird species along the way. The lake is also home to small fishing villages, where visitors can experience the local way of life and sample delicious seafood dishes. With its serene shores and abundant wildlife, Lake Skadar is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts.

pavlova strana viewpoint
pavlova strana viewpointfoto: Shutterstock

For a panoramic view of the marshes and the horseshoe bend of the Crnojevica River, make sure to stop at the Pavlova Strana Viewpoint near the charming town of Rijeka Crnojevića. This viewpoint, located on the northeastern side of the lake, is easily accessible from the highway and offers a stunning perspective of the steep road leading to Lake Skadar.

10. The Mystical Ostrog Monastery

One of the most spiritual monasteries in the region
One of the most spiritual monasteries in the regionfoto: Svetlana Mandić

Ostrog Monastery, located in central Montenegro, is a mystical place that attracts pilgrims from all over the world. Carved into the side of a vertical cliff, the monastery is a sight to behold. The upper monastery, dedicated to Saint Basil of Ostrog, is the most important part of the complex and houses his relics. The lower monastery, dedicated to the Holy Cross, is equally impressive and offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The monastery is a place of deep spiritual significance and is known for its healing powers. Visitors can explore the complex, attend religious services, or simply enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the inner cave churches adorned with frescoes on the rock walls. With its unique location and spiritual significance, Ostrog Monastery is a must-visit destination for those seeking a mystical experience.

Cultural Hotspots in Montenegro

Montenegro is not only known for its natural beauty but also for its rich history and cultural heritage. Here are some cultural hotspots that are worth exploring:

Cetinje: A Walk Through Montenegro's Royal History

King Nikola's Palace
King Nikola's Palacefoto: manastir2014 / flickr

Cetinje, nestled in central Montenegro, stands as a testament to the country's regal past. It served as the capital of Montenegro under the rule of the Petrović-Njegoš dynasty and is renowned for its architectural marvels and cultural sites, including its strategic location at the edge of the Ottoman Empire. The Cetinje Monastery holds a prominent position as one of Montenegro's key Orthodox monasteries, preserving religious relics and ancient manuscripts within its walls. Another notable attraction is the King Nikola Museum, dedicated to portraying the life and governance of Montenegro's final monarch. Travelers can meander through the town's picturesque avenues, delve into its museums, and immerse themselves in Montenegro's diverse cultural legacy.

Cetinje Monastery
Cetinje Monasteryfoto: ForceMajeureMontenegro / Flickr

Cetinje also boasts stunning natural surroundings, offering visitors a chance to explore nearby national parks such as Lovćen National Park with its breathtaking landscapes and hiking trails. Additionally, the town hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year that showcase Montenegrin traditions, music, and arts. Whether strolling through historical sites or enjoying outdoor adventures in nature, Cetinje presents a multifaceted experience that captures the essence of Montenegro's rich heritage and scenic beauty.

The Bar Old Town: Relics of the Past

old bar is where history and culture meet
old bar is where history and culture meet foto: Milan Vujović

The Bar Old Town, also known as Stari Bar, located on the southern coast of Montenegro, is a treasure trove of historical relics and cultural heritage. The town is known for its well-preserved medieval walls and towers, which offer panoramic views of the surrounding area. The old town is home to several important cultural and historical sites, including the ruins of the Old Fortress and the Church of St. George.

Old bar ruins
Old bar ruinsfoto: Shutterstock

Visitors can wander through the town's narrow streets, visit its museums, and admire its ancient architecture. With its rich history and cultural significance, the Bar Old Town is a must-visit destination for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts.

Niksic: Brewing Traditions and Festivals

monument to ljubo cupic in niksic
monument to ljubo cupic in niksicfoto: Svetlana Mandić

Niksic, located in northern Montenegro, is a vibrant city known for its brewing traditions and lively festivals. The city is home to the Trebjesa Brewery, one of the oldest and largest breweries in the Balkans. Visitors can take a tour of the brewery, learn about the beer-making process, and sample local brews. Niksic is also known for its vibrant cultural scene, with festivals and events taking place throughout the year. The Lake Fest, held in August, is one of the largest music festivals in the region and attracts both local and international artists. With its brewing traditions and lively festivals, Niksic offers a unique cultural experience for visitors.

Adventure and Outdoor Activities in Montenegro

Montenegro's stunning landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for a wide range of adventure and outdoor activities. Here are some highlights:

Tara River Canyon: Europe's Deepest Gorge

Tara rafting
Tara raftingfoto: Shutterstock

The Tara River Canyon, located in northern Montenegro, is Europe's deepest gorge and a paradise for adventure seekers. The canyon offers thrilling whitewater rafting experiences, with rapids ranging from Class II to Class V. The crystal-clear waters of the Tara River and the stunning beauty of the canyon walls, reminiscent of the Grand Canyon, make for an unforgettable rafting adventure.

tara river - biggest canyon in europe
tara river - biggest canyon in europefoto: Shutterstock

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced rafter, rafting on the Tara River is considered one of the best things to do in Montenegro and is a must-visit destination for adrenaline junkies.

Hiking in the Prokletije Mountains

Prokletije mountains have highest peak in Montenegro
Prokletije mountains have highest peak in Montenegrofoto: Darko Šarčević

The Prokletije Mountains, also known as the Dinaric Alps, offer some of the best hiking opportunities in Montenegro. With their rugged peaks, alpine meadows, and glacial lakes, the Prokletije Mountains are a paradise for nature lovers. Located near the Albanian border, the Prokletije Mountains are a must-visit for any hiker in Montenegro. There are numerous hiking trails to choose from, ranging from easy walks to challenging multi-day treks. Whether you're exploring the Accursed Mountains or hiking to the summit of Hajla, the Prokletije Mountains offer breathtaking views and a chance to immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty of Montenegro.

Paragliding Over Budva's Coastline

foto: Shutterstock

For those seeking a thrilling aerial adventure, paragliding over Budva's coastline is a must. The town's stunning cliffs and crystal-clear waters provide the perfect backdrop for an adrenaline-pumping paragliding experience. Whether you're a seasoned paraglider or a beginner, there are opportunities to take to the sky and enjoy breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea and the Budva Riviera. Soar through the air and feel the rush of adrenaline as you take in the stunning coastal landscapes and the sparkling waters below. Paragliding over Budva's coastline is an unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Culinary Journey Through Montenegro

Montenegro is a paradise for food lovers, with its rich culinary traditions and delicious local cuisine. Here are some highlights:

Traditional Montenegrin Cuisine

from meat to fish - whatever you try you wont regret it
from meat to fish - whatever you try you wont regret itfoto: Shutterstock

Traditional Montenegrin cuisine is a blend of Balkan flavors and influences from neighboring countries. It is characterized by hearty dishes, grilled meats, and an abundance of fresh, local ingredients. Some must-try dishes include cevapi (grilled meat sausages), kacamak (a cornmeal dish), and priganice (deep-fried dough balls).

kacamak - delicacy on its own
kacamak - delicacy on its ownfoto: Shutterstock

Montenegro is also known for its delicious cheeses, such as kajmak and Njegusi cheese. A culinary journey through Montenegro is a feast for the senses, with its diverse flavors and rich culinary heritage.

Best Seafood Spots Along the Adriatic Coast

seafood is a delicacy
seafood is a delicacy foto: Shutterstock

Montenegro's Adriatic coast is known for its delicious seafood, and there are plenty of spots along the coast where you can indulge in fresh, local catches. The towns of Budva, Kotor, and Herceg Novi are particularly renowned for their seafood restaurants, where you can enjoy dishes like grilled fish, calamari, and octopus. Whether you're dining in a beachfront restaurant or a cozy seafood tavern, you're sure to have a memorable culinary experience. Don't forget to pair your seafood feast with a glass of local wine or rakija, a traditional Montenegrin brandy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Time of Year to Visit Montenegro?

The best time to visit Montenegro is during the spring and summer months, from April to September, when the weather is warm and the days are longer. This period offers the perfect conditions for outdoor activities and exploring the country's natural beauty.

How Do I Get Around in Montenegro?

Getting around in Montenegro is relatively easy, with several transportation options available. Renting a car is a popular choice, as it allows for flexibility and the ability to explore remote areas. Public transport, including buses and trains, is also available and connects major cities and towns.

Can I Visit Montenegro on a Budget?

Traveling to Montenegro on a budget is indeed achievable with strategic planning. The country offers a range of budget-friendly accommodation options such as guesthouses and inexpensive hotels. Many of Montenegro's attractions and natural sites either have free entry or low admission fees, allowing visitors to explore without breaking the bank. Embracing the local culinary scene by dining at affordable restaurants and immersing oneself in the country's stunning landscapes through activities like hiking and walking trails can be enjoyed at minimal cost. By making savvy choices and prioritizing experiences that align with your budget, you can have a memorable and economical trip to Montenegro.

What Are the Must-See Natural Attractions in Montenegro?

Montenegro is home to several must-see natural attractions, including the Bay of Kotor, Durmitor National Park, Lake Skadar, and the Tara River Canyon. These destinations showcase the country's stunning landscapes, from mountains and glacial lakes to beautiful coastline and gorges.

Tips for First-Time Visitors to Montenegro

For first-time visitors to Montenegro, it is recommended to learn a few common phrases in the local language, respect local customs and traditions, and be aware of the country's currency and tipping customs. It is also important to be mindful of the environment and practice responsible tourism.

Are English Speakers Common in Montenegro?

English speakers are common in tourist areas and larger cities in Montenegro. However, in more remote areas and smaller towns, there may be a language barrier. It is always helpful to learn a few basic phrases in the local language to communicate with locals.

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