Nestled between Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania lies the gem of the Adriatic Sea – Montenegro. This tiny country is one of the youngest in Europe having only gained independence from Yugoslavia in 2006. Montenegro may be small but it packs a mighty tourism punch. From mountains and canyons to fjord-like bays to stunning beaches, whatever your heart desires, Montenegro has. Let us show you all the stunning places to visit in Montenegro.
In our month in Montenegro, we drove through the second longest canyon in the world, the Tara River Canyon. We ziplined across the canyon, white water rafted down the Tara River, we explored the Ostrog monastery, we lazed on the beaches, we hiked up the Kotor city walls, we saw incredible birdlife at Lake Skadar, but most of the time we were spellbound by the incredible beauty of this charming country.
Montenegro is not yet on many tourists map, but with its breathtaking beauty, sparkling clear blue waters, friendly people and cheap prices, Montenegro is set to become one of Europe’s hotspots very soon.
We traveled around Montenegro in our campervan, which allowed us to stop wherever we wanted and explore some off the beaten track places. I would highly recommend that you hire a car so that you too can find some amazing places to visit in Montenegro. Find the best car rental deals here.
The list of the best places to visit in Montenegro below have been separated into the following areas for your ease: Bay of Kotor, South Coast, Central Region and Northern Region
Best Places to Visit in the Bay of Kotor
The Kotor Old Town is the most popular destination in Montenegro and is fast becoming the hotspot of the Adriatic Sea. It is known as the City of Cats due to the numerous furry bundles roaming the streets. Stop and give them a tickle while wandering the cobbled streets or pop into the Cat Museum for something completely different.
This is still a living city with laundry hanging from the upper stories and locals hanging out in the cafes. The Old Town is the perfect place to wander aimlessly down the alleyways, as its so small its impossible to get lost. If you want to know all about the amazing history contained within these walls, we recommend this tour.
The most popular activity in Kotor is to hike the City Walls which affords you breathtaking views over the Bay of Kotor. Across the bay is the Vrmac Peninsula with an easier hike and just as stunning views. Stay on this side of the bay until dusk to see the lights on the Kotor City Walls creating a halo effect around the town. Read our article on hiking the Kotor City Walls.
Check out accommodation options in Kotor here.
A mere 15 minutes along the bay from Kotor is the picturesque town of Perast. Away from the cruiseliners crowds of Kotor, this peaceful little town is the perfect place to relax. Situated on the water there is a pedestrian promenade with restaurants looking out over the water. You can take a boat trip to Our Lady of the Rocks, wander the little alleyways of the town or visit some of the churches in the town. Read our article on Picturesque Perast.
Check out accommodation options in Perast here.
Best Places to Visit on the South Coast
Budva in Summer is party central with incredible laser shows and music till all hours. The streets are filled with bikini clad bodies and good luck finding a parking place! While the new town is full of young revelers, the Old Town of Budva is worth a stop. The Budva Riviera is known for its fabulous beaches, so make sure to head North along the coast to find the beach that suits you best.
Check out accommodation options in Budva here.
Sveti Stefan is an old fishing village, perched on a tiny island and separated from the mainland by a narrow walkway. Accessible only to the rich and famous, so, for now, us lesser beings will need to just gaze longingly at this private kingdom. It’s also probably why it is said to be the most photographed place in all of Montenegro. The beach to the left is privately owned but for €85 you can hire a sun lounger for the day! The beach to the right is open to the public and it goes without saying, the sun loungers are cheaper this side.
If you’re on a budget you can easily do Sveti Stefan as a day trip. The Great Montenegro Full Day Tour includes a stop at Sveti Stefan. Check out the tour price here.
Stari Bar, the old town of Bar, sits perched high up in the hills with some dramatic views out over the countryside and the Adriatic Sea. Decades of wars, explosions and earthquakes have left the town in ruins, but with recent restoration works, life is slowly creeping back into this beautiful old town. Read our article on Stari Bar.
Don’t forget to stop in at the oldest olive tree in the world, Stara Maslina. At an estimated 2243 years old, it sure has stood the test of time.
A paragliders slice of heaven! The extremely long beach to the South of the old town gets the perfect winds for paragliding and the air was filled with hundreds of these colourful parachutes while we were there. The main beach in Ulcinj can get really busy, but if you walk to the left or right, you’ll find lovely other bays in which to swim. Ulcinj also has a historical old town bursting with history. If you’re heading to Albania, then Ulcinj will be on your way.
Best Places to Visit in the Central Region
Lake Skadar is the largest lake in Southern Europe, straddling the border with Albania. The lake is teeming with wildlife, birds, monasteries and beaches. The town of Virpazar is the main departure point for the boat trips on Lake Skadar. It is a small and bustling little village with lots of accommodation options and restaurants. You can climb up to the Besac Fortress, do a boat trip or hire bicycles and take a leisurely ride alongside the lake. There is even a beach nearby. Read about our boat trip on Lake Skadar.
On the opposite side of the lake from Virpazar is the famous Horseshoe Bend. This is best accessed from the road between Podgorica and Cetinje. It may be a little tricky getting there, but the view is something that should not be missed. Read how to get to Horseshoe Bend.
Check out accommodation options in Virpazar here.
Intricately carved into a sheer rock face, high up on a mountain, sits the Ostrog Monastery. A sermon was in progress when we arrived and the priest’s melodious incantations were floating through the loudspeakers. We sat in reverential silence looking out over the panoramic view of the valley below. It was peaceful and perfect!
The road from Niksic to Ostrog Monastery is very narrow becoming single lane in various places and lots of tight bends. The road from Danilovgrad to Ostrog has just been built and is wider and much better, so I’d highly recommend this route, especially if you’re in a campervan. Read more in our article – Road Trip from Bosnian Border to Ostrog Monastery
The capital city of Montenegro is the start or end point for many tourists due to the main airport being here. I didn’t hear about anything remarkable in the city and on our drive, it just appeared as another big, uninspiring city, so we didn’t stop. It would be a good base for a day trip to the Ostrog Monastery or to the Pavlova Strana Viewpoint to see Horseshoe Bend.
NIKSIC / LAKE SLANO
The city of Niksic lies almost in the centre of the country and if you are traveling up to the North, you will inevitably pass through it. I’m not sure it’s worth an overnight stop, but the centre has been pedestrianised with lots of shops and restaurants, so perhaps worth a stop to have a stroll. Lake Slano lies just a few kilometers, outside the city of Niksic and on a hot day it is a great place to have a dip. We encountered lots of locals swimming in its clear waters.
Best Places to Visit in the Northern Region
There is not much to do in this sleepy town, but the colour of the Piva River will take your breath away! You can take a boat trip on the Piva Lake or do the scenic albeit somewhat hairy drive through the 70 odd tunnels to Scepan Polje. There are numerous hikes around Pluzine and this is the starting point for the most scenic road trip imaginable – Pluzine to Zabljak – through the Durmitor National Park. Read our full post on this epic road trip.
Check out accommodation options in Pluzine here.
If you’re an adrenalin junkie, then Scepan Polje is the place for you! This is white water rafting central with numerous rafting companies to choose from. The trip down the river will be gentle and relaxing in some parts, becoming a wild, thrashing washing machine in other parts. If you don’t have time to stay overnight there are daily white water rafting tours leaving from Kotor. Click here for more info.
The Tara River here forms the border with Bosnia & Herzegovina so if you are needing to cross the border, this is the place to do it.
Zabljak is an adventurers paradise. Located within the Durmitor National Park, there are a plethora of activities available from hikes, mountain bike trails and skiing in winter. A few minutes from the centre of town is the beautiful glacial Black Lake with the Medjed mountain peak dramatically rising above it. Read about our hike around the Black Lake.
One of the most popular hikes is up to the highest peak in Montenegro, Bobotuv Kuk. If that sounds a bit strenuous, there are numerous hikes you can choose to do in the area.
Zabljak can also be a starting point for what I consider the most scenic drive ever through the Durmitor National Park. The route takes you from Zabljak to Trsa via the Sedlo Pass Route. From Trsa the road descends through some crazy tunneled serpentine bends down to Pluzine and the stunning Piva Lake. Read about our drive on the Sedlo Pass.
Zabljak is also a good base from which to explore the Tara River Canyon. It is the second longest canyon in the world and is truly spectacular. If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, don’t miss zip lining at the famous Tara River Bridge. Read our article on the Tara River Canyon.
Check out accommodation options in Zabljak here.
You May Also Like These Montenegro Travel Blog Posts
- The Ultimate Montenegro Travel Guide: Everything You Need To Know
- Lake Skadar National Park: Boat Trips and Bird Watching
- Things to Do in Kotor in Montenegro: The Ultimate Travel Guide
- White Water Rafting on the Tara River
- Durmitor National Park: The Best Road Trip I’ve Ever Done!
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