So small that is represents an inconvenience for cartographers to map it even with the number, Montenegro easily became a favourite among the world’s travellers. Modestly carrying the title of one of the smallest European countries which was established as an independent only in 2006, Montenegro rapidly became everything that exudes new and exotic when it comes to tourist destinations.
With its captivating landscapes, grandiose mountains, stunningly blue and transparent Adriatic sea surrounded by sandy beaches and idyllic villages, Montenegro is boasting magical contrasts of culture, history, outdoor activities, luxury and top notch gastronomy. That is to say, there is not a single thing this country is lacking when compared to the world highest class destinations and, yet, the fact it is still out of the mass tourism trails, make this country a perfect getaway.
We are bringing you the 25 experiences and places to choose from for your perfect Montenegro dream holiday.
Lose yourself in maze-like cobblestone streets of the amazing Kotor old town and admire the Cathedral of St. Tryphon which is 69 years older than the world-famous Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral.
If you find yourself at the right time, you will enjoy the ear catching sounds of bells harmonising with another Kotor old town jewel, Church of St. Luke which proudly stands out with its two altars – Catholic and Orthodox.
❐ Imposing St.Tryphon church in the style of mature Western European Romanesque was erected in the middle of the 12th century on the foundations of the old church, mentioned by the Byzantine emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus, from the beginning of the ninth century.
This street is roughly 80 centimeters wide and one of the narrowest existing streets in the world. Having in mind the fact it is almost impossible for the two people to pass each other in the opposite directions, the people of Kotor named the street “Pusti me Proći” (Eng. Let me Pass)
Hidden from the hustle and bustle of tourists, crowded squares and visited souvenir shops, this narrow street in the old town of Kotor has become a major tourist attraction. Three minutes away, you will also find Kotor’s Cat Museum.
❐ One of the specifics of the Old Town in Kotor is that its streets do not have official names. These are mostly traditional names given to them by the locals to help them navigate the city center.
You will notice Montenegro is extremely in love with its furry feline population which is possible to see at each corner of Kotor and Budva Bay. Cats are integral part of the country and, if you are in Kotor, make sure to visit the Cats museum where you will be able understand the close relationship of the town and its cats through the centuries old diverse array of feline memorabilia and artefacts.
On the other hand, take a nice walk in Budva towards the Mogren beach and enjoy these furry friends whose presence has conquered the surrounding and watch them sunbathing or catching fish.
❐ When the world guide Lonely Planet published tourist recommendations, Kotor was on the list of the ten best cities for cat lovers.
The incredible views from the top of the Castle of San Giovanni looming over town of Kotor are some of the most picturesque in all of Montenegro.
Despite the partially slippery and uneven hundreds of steps and 30-40 minutes of climbing, rest assured you will be awarded with the best possible views over the Kotor bay and the Lovćen peaks. Moreover, you will get to explore an old castle in ruins dating back from 6th century. Entrance fee for the castle is 8 EUR per person.
❐ The walls, more than 4 kilometers long, were built, renovated and strengthened from the 9th to the 19th century. The best views from San Giovanni fort are usually during the sunset times at Kotor bay.
Enjoy a spectacular ride on a road enriched with 25 sharp turns with several panorama stops and amazing views over the Kotor bay from the height of over 1000 meter above sea level. Kotor Serpentines are architectural relics winding from Kotor to Njeguši village which is the most famous village in Montenegro.
Although one of the most scenic rides you will have, Kotor serpentine roads are also one of the most famous winding roads in the world so be careful if you drive, or simply hire a local.
❐ Impressive serpentines connecting via old road Kotor and Cetinje. Until the second half of the 19th century, the only connection between central Montenegro and the sea was the old horse road, which descended from Njeguš via the Krstac pass through a series of serpentines to the Škurda River, to the Kotor village of Špiljari and the Kotor ramparts.
One of the best things to experience in Montenegro is The Lovćen National Park. With an area of 6220 acres, Lovćen is a home to a peak Jezerski vrh where it proudly stands, with all of its majesty, grandiose mausoleum of Petar II Petrović Njegoš.
Petar II Petrović Njegoš was the most famous poet, bishop and ruler of Montenegro and, although it will take you some time climbing over the 461 stairs deeply carved into the sheer rocks, it will be worth it. Besides admiring the amazing structure of the mausoleum itself, views over Skadar Lake, mountains and Kotor Bay will be absolutely rewarding.
❐ At the entrance to the chapel, the central part of the building, are two monumental figures of Montenegrin women made of black granite, like caryatids. Inside, six side and central niches made of Bokelj and Brač marble. The vault is covered with a mosaic of 200,000 gilded tiles. The seated figure of Njegoš, with an open book, is also the work of Ivan Meštrović.
Cetinje is known as a historical capital of the country which, nowadays, stands as an open air museum of old embassies, government buildings, academies and astounding Cetinje Monastery with an imposing collection of Early-Christian-era relics.
Only a few kilometres from Cetinje, you will find the amazing and one of the largest Montenegrin caves, Lipa Cave. It is interesting to mention the cave was accidentally discovered by a dog who fell through a hole into it.
Don’t worry, dog managed to escape safely and, today, Lipa cave is one of the most popular karst caverns and tourist attractions surrounded by amazing pomegranate and fig trees.
❐ Stalactites and stalagmites at Lipa cave. Lipa Cave is the first and only cave in Montenegro valorized and qualified for tourist visits. It offers a charming diversity of karst features and provides visitors with a unique experience of the underground world.
Back in 1940. and the era of Yugoslavia, when Đurđevića Tara bridge was built, with length of 365m and maximum height of 172m, looming over the 150m deep river Tara canyon, it was the highest bridge in the world. Tara Canyon is a home to one of Europe’s longest zip lines and is a haven for greatest lovers of extreme adventures and wilderness.
Enjoy “flying” 170 m above the forested cliffs and enjoy the spectacular views over the fast mountain river. For those who are less into the adventure, put your walking shoes on, and enjoy some amazing hikes while finding your perfect peak.
❐ Near the bridge itself you have three zip line options, graded by length and steepness. In each of them, a speed of more than 50 km / h is achieved. A special attraction is the zip line that offers an options that two persons can ride at the same time, each on its own zip line. This is undoubtedly one of the most attractive ziplines in Europe.
Tara Canyon is surely one of the most beautiful nature sites you will ever lay of your eyes on. Often called the “Tear of Europe” the canyon is so mesmerising that it was also recognised by UNESCO and became a part of “Man and Biosphere” program thanks for its diverse flora and fauna species.
Besides some amazing hiking, canyoning and zip lining options, do make sure to try yourself in Tara River rafting. The most exciting part of the Tara canyon rafting is the lower part which is known for its amazing rapids and fast stream. The rafting season starts in April and is possible all until early October.
❐ This “turquoise railway” cuts through the northern part of the Durmitor National Park and forms a 1300m deep canyon of incredible beauty. Rafting on the Tara River is one of the best adrenaline activities in this part of the Balkans.
To have some rest from the adrenaline make sure to spend some time in the most popular tourist destination of Montenegro, Budva. Being one of the oldest settlements in the Adriatic cost Budva is one of the rare places encompassing both: culture and hedonism.
Take a walk through vibrant Mediteran street which is the liveliest street of Budva and check out some amazing hand-made leather shoes and clothes, or simply enjoy the stunning fortified old town offering an abundance of interesting souvenir and antiquity stores.
Besides this, old town is known for abundance of amazing gastronomic shops offering high quality local wines and olive oils.
❐ In the marina of the old part of Budva you have an excellent selection of restaurants and cocktail bars, which can be an excellent overture for a good night out.
Budva is a place that will enrich you and mentally and experientally. When it comes to the nightlife, make sure to put this ”Montenegrin Miami” on your list and visit the TOP HILL, the largest nightclub among all Balkan countries. It is located on a hill next to the water park Budva, above the popular tourist town of Budva.
On the other hand, if you are not into nightclubs, thanks to the favourable weather conditions with hot summers and equally warm nights, the best parties are held on the beach. From trance festivals, blues and jazz cosy atmospheres, hard rock concerts, to cheerful folk and dance podiums, there is not a single thing you will not be able to find.
❐ Budva beach party time. Considered the summer party capital of the Balkans, Budva during the summer time for party lovers is great place to be.
From renting a yacht, speedboat excursions or Bay Cruises, both, Kotor and Budva Bay offer so many amazing options. Whether you are interested in pro fishing courses, speed boat discovering hidden beaches and exclusive islands or embarking a cruise, Montenegro will provide you relaxing moments in absolutely astonishingly beautiful surroundings.
It is also a fabulously luxurious way to explore and enjoy the great outdoors whilst, compared to the rest of the world, being extremely budget friendly.
❐ The northern coast and landscape of Montenegro have retained their character and are ideal for sailing, in contrast to the more secluded south where there are relatively fewer tourists. Depending on what you are looking for, the Montenegrin coast has a lot to offer. Pay special attention to the Bay of Kotor.
Ulcinj is an ancient city with average of 2800 hours of sunshine a year.
The old town of Ulcinj is built on cliffs above the open sea. It is known for numerous legends and traces left by the ancient civilisations of Illyrians, Greeks, Romans and Mongols.
Legend says that, back in 1900. when the Port of Valdanos was a favourite pirate sanctuary, there were about a hundred people of African descent who lived in Ulcinj, .
Among the locals you will often hear the story that Miguel de Servantes was one of the slaves from Ulcinj who had been living there for five years. It is believed that this exact period of his life actually inspired him to write his famous book Don Quixote.
❐ Ulcinj is an ancient city with picturesque medieval, narrow and winding streets, densely packed two-storey and three-storey stone houses and with decorative elements of Renaissance and Baroque style. Ulcinj has a great number of very valuable buildings from the Ottoman period as well. It was built during the period of 2.5 millennia.
The large beach of Ulcinj is only five kilometers away from the city center and it is 14 kilometers long. The sand is grayish-white in color and so fine that it looks like flour. It is known for having not the slightest admixture of soil, sludge and is slightly radioactive, which makes it famous for its healing properties.
Having in mind it is forbidden to build any structure along the coast, long beach of Ulcinj is favourite for meditating, sunbathing, festivals and numerous water sports activities such as kitesurfing. Perfect wind conditions guarantee optimal kitesurfing conditions from May till September. If you are beginner you can join a kitesurfing school.
❐ Are you ready to do some kitesurfing at Ada Bojana?
The island of Ada Bojana is celebrated all around the world as one of the most beautiful centers of nudism and naturism. Situated on the border between Montenegro and Albania, Ada Bojana is carved out on two sides by the river Bojana which flows in the two opposite directions.
The beach is located on the border with Albania and has the shape of a triangle embraced by the river from two sides and sea on the third. Clothes and problems off at the place where the river and ocean meet together and enjoy perfect sun, calm wind, silence and freedom all at once.
❐ Ada Bojana hosted the first tourists in 1973, when the German travel agency “Miramare” of the Halgat brothers, which dealt exclusively with naturist tourism, invested about half a million marks for the construction of the so-called black villas with about 100 beds.
Perast has a reputation of one of the best kept secrets of the Adriatic and it is included in the list of UNESCO world cultural heritage. The architecture of the city strongly resembles Venice and, although having only one main street, it has an impressive number of 16 churches and almost 20 palaces.
From Perast, you can hire a local and take a short ride to the island of St. George and visit the eponymous Benedictine monastery from the 12th century. In its vicinity, you will find “Our Lady of Rocks” (Gospa od Skrpjela), an artificial island with a church built by the sailors in 1632.
❐ Beautiful town of Perast overlooking the picturesque islets of St.George and Our Lady of the Rocks. Perast’s plan is quite simple. One long street leads through the city along the coast, and further stairs lead to higher parts of the city. In the city center there is a square dominated by the church of St. Nicholas with its impressive 55-meter-high bell tower.
Skadar Lake National Park is the largest lake in Balkans. Straddleing Montenegro and Albania, with an area of 475 km² it is a lake which is known for its unique flora and fauna including the Dalmatian Pelican, the only surviving pelican species in all of Europe. Skadar Lake is a heaven for ornithology lovers, but also those who just like to enjoy the serene boat rides and intact nature.
Take a shared or private boat ride in Virpazar, or jump in a kayak and putter through canals and vast space of jaw-dropping natural beauty.
❐ Visit the largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula, widely known for its rich flora and fauna (with over 100 very rare or endangered species), and also a place of cultural and historical heritage of Montenegro.
Due to the climate modified under the influence of the Skadar Lake and the Adriatic Sea, soil and weather have created unique synergy providing Montenegro with perfect conditions for viticulture and wine producing. As a result, there is an amazing number of family wineries and vineyards that are easy to visit.
These are the places where you will have a chance to feel the true local atmosphere while, at the same time, learning more about the life outside the tourist hotspots.
❐ If you are close to Podgorica, make sure to check out Plantaže’s and the largest single vineyard in Europe. Vineyard Ćemovsko polje covers an area of 2,300 ha, of which 60% is planted with indigenous grapes Vranac and Krstac.
Take a full day jeep safari and enjoy exploring the 85 km long circular, panoramic and completely off the beaten path “Durmitor Ring ”, a trail around the Durmitor mountain.
Explore the deepest canyon in Europe and 2nd deepest in the World, the famous Tara canyon. Visit local Durmitor villages of Little Montenegro, Nedajno & Trsa, and learn about the customs of life before and today.
Meet the locals and find out why Durmitor is a shrine for the highlanders of this area.
❐ Many local agencies offer arrangements for a tour of the Durmitor Ring, but an experience that offers a home hosted lunch while getting to know the locals and their traditions should be your first choice.
Enjoy some of the best hiking trails while in Montenegro and conquer the largest peak of the Durmitor massif, the famous Bobotov Kuk. Hike to Bobotov Kuk will provide some absolutely amazing panoramas of countless mountain peaks and glacial lakes.
While you can generally do it on your own, if you are more into advanced hiking, we do recommend a guided tour as, rest assured, Durmitor National Park offers more challenges than you would ever expect.
❐ Once at the top, the views of the beautiful Durmitor peaks such as Prutaš, Savin Kuk, Stožina, Đevojka, Maglić, Volujak and many many others are simply stunning. The views of the beautiful glacial Škrčka Jezera specially stand out.
Žabljak is considered to be the town at the highest altitude in the whole region of Balkans. Moreover, it is an extremely vibrant place and a very popular tourist destination throughout the year.
When in Žabljak, you should definitely explore further Durmitor National Park. One of the best places you will definitely want to be at is the the largest and most famous of all 18 lakes on Durmitor, the beautiful Black Lake.
It is located only 3km from Žabljak, it consists of two water surfaces, the so-called Small and Large Lake, separated by a narrow surface of land, called “struga”.
Located at the altitude of 1418m, with the Small lake much deeper (49 vs 24m), both lakes during the hot summer months reach temperatures of 22°C, creating a real paradise for swimmers.
❐ When the snow melts, there is a greater influx of water into the Small Lake, which overflows into the Great Lake and thus “feeds” it – this process is called “bifurcation” – the flow of water in two opposite directions. An easy walk around Black Lake or to Zminje Lake is a wonderful activity.
While in Montenegro, make sure you have some time to visit Njeguši village. Aside from being the cultural and historical core of Montenegro and, at the same time, proud with its incredible nature settings which would satisfy every nature lover and adrenaline junkie, Njeguši village are also a birthplace of Montenegrin national cuisine.
This idyllic village, with just several tens of inhabitants, is a birthplace of the globally popular Njeguši prosciutto and Njeguši cheese. This meat product also known as Njeguši ham is a protected food specialty of Montenegro cuisine that is considered to be the best of dried meat you can find in the region.
❐ The Njeguši Prosciutto is more than just a food product here, it expresses rich history and represents a cultural legacy which Montenegro people are extremely proud of.
Although not the most popular Montenegrin tourist destination, having in mind Bar’s lack of mass tourism and vicinity to Skadar Lake, Ulcinj and Budva, it is a perfect place to choose if you are travelling on budget and still want to explore more of the country.
As the entire country, Bar is known for its beautiful beaches, but also for its Old Bar fortified ruins offering spectacular views, and incredibly affordable canyoning options at Rikavac and Medjurečje canyons.
Moreover, just a short ride from the centre, will take you to the home of one of the oldest olive trees in the world. Standing there for over two millennia this tree represents a substantial piece of rich Balkan history.
❐ Experts have determined that Mirovica olive tree is 2,240 years old. According to some, it is perhaps the oldest olive tree in the world, and it is under the protection of the state of Montenegro.
If you are in Bar or vicinity, and having plans in visiting Montenegrin neighbour Serbia, or you are simply into amazing train rides and heading towards Podgorica, than Bar-Belgrade is just a perfect adventure you will want to do.
The train route from Bar to Belgrade lines 476 kilometres and is usually 11 hours long. It is known for winding through spectacular mountains and crossing over 400 bridges over deep gorges.
Add this to over 200 old Yugoslav tunnels, amazing nature exploding from both sides of the tracks, and you will get one of the most picturesque train rides of Europe.
❐ The construction of the Belgrade-Bar railway was the largest and one of the most expensive railway infrastructure project in socialist Yugoslavia. The railway was built between 1952 and 1976.
For those who are into HRC, and would like to have a cheat day and have some good old burger, Hard Rock Cafe in Podgorica is simply a must. You will find it inside the distinctive Capital Plaza building at the junction of the main city streets and avenues of Podgorica serving the best of delectable American cuisine intertwined with local favourites and handcrafted drinks.
In a cosy and music-infused atmosphere, enjoy your burger at the first and only of its kind in the Adriatic Region, HRC in Podgorica.
❐ Podgorica has been developing rapidly since 1946, when it took over the status of the Capital from Cetinje under the name “Titograd”. It had about 6,500 inhabitants then, and today, that number exceeds 187,000.