14 Best Places to Visit in Montenegro

Montenegro is easily one of the most wonderful countries in the world, similar to Switzerland, scenic, mountainous, and clean. Filled with majestic mountains, stunning beaches and welcoming and friendly people, Montenegro is irrefutable proof that it can be small and important at the same time.

We can’t tell you how many times we’ve come across places that had been hyped by travel guides as unsullied paradise that we quickly found out to be no less common than your neighborhood community park. On the other hand, we’ve found places that most guidebooks wouldn’t list simply because they weren’t popular.

Yet, even for a family that regularly crisscrosses the globe, we’ve been mesmerized by the light reflecting from that rare unadvertised gem, however coarse it might be around the edges. Montenegro, a smallish country nested on the shores of the Adriatic Sea and with a checkered past that most travelers wouldn’t bother to spend time on, is one such shining example.

Our trip to the country took us on a road trip beginning in the north as we drove in from Bosnia and Herzegovina and ended when we drove out from the south on our way to Croatia.

best places to visit in Montenegro

All in all, we were there for three short days, and by the time we left we were convinced that it would have made little difference had we stayed for thirty, given Montenegro has so many secrets it hides away from its visitors.

1. Kotor

A few changes had to be made in our early travel plans when it was apparent that we’ll be driving through a worsening snow blizzard. The first stop on our way was at the milky white Ostrog Monastery, an Orthodox Serbian Church standing tall against the rising vertical mountainside rock structure of Ostroška Greda.

The road that led up to the monastery was twisty and winding, and it’s not a bad idea to make several pit stops on the way to get different vantage points of its stunning architecture through the deeply wooded forest that surrounds it. Once you reach the wide-open compound of the monastery, make sure to look out for a superb view of the Bjelopavlići plain below.

No photo shows how wonderful the Ostrog Monastery is. The beautiful white complex attached to a rock wall will be just a speck in every frame that shows the height of the rock.

Kotor, our next stop, is perhaps the most breathtaking attraction in Montenegro. This is a tranquil seaside town along the trendy coast, narrow streets lining up its expanse, where every corner seems to hold some magic. The cobblestone streets and the maze of alleyways take you past stone churches, restaurants, and boutiques, and if you stand for a while, the feeling of time standing still is quite unavoidable.

The town dates back to the Middle Ages and has deservedly been listed as a UNESCO World Natural and Historical Site. The formidable Mount Lovćen emerges from behind it, towering above the town. If you’re not the one to shy away from climbing stairs, then make the effort to get to the top of the fortified city. You’ll need to scale some 1,400 steps, but who cares about that when the view you get from the top is one to die for?

The old town of Kotor may not be as impressive as Dubrovnik where the Game of Thrones was shot but is a trip back in time to the Europe of walled cities with dark alleys and churches in each square.

2. Perast

Perast occupies an ideal position, at the apex of the bay. This romantic seaside town, full of elegant baroque palaces and churches, is the main attraction of the entire Bay of Kotor.

Hugging the ebullient Kotor is its sister town Perast, where the ante gets raised significantly, as evidenced by the town’s history of kings and monarchs fighting in earnest to get a piece of its picturesque landmass. If you’re taken there blindfolded, you might even mistake it for the famous village of Hallstatt up in the Austrian Alps.

3. Skadar Lake National Park

There is an extraordinary display of birds on the largest lake in the Balkans, shared by Montenegro and Albania. On the Montenegrin side Skadar Lake National Park encompasses monasteries on islands.

4. Sveti Stefan

It is a glory to see this postcard fortified island town of Sveti Stefan, a piece of Mediterranean island with oleanders, pines and olive trees peeking out from among the red roofs of its pink stone houses.

5. Žabljak

Not many venture to the north in Montenegro. Žabljak is a great place to start your zipline adventure across the Tara bridge, white water rafting in the Tara river, or hiking in the numerous national parks. In Žabljak, it’s not just the small town, woolen socks, fire and the peace that you will love. It will take days to go around and see everything.

You will be lost in the beauty and magnificence of the lakes. The magic of the air and snow, or spring flowers all over the mountain will get to your blood stream and you will be hooked. The cheese, the meat, all the food and warm people will make you want to come every year, to explore all the legends, see all the hidden gems.

Montenegro was known since Roman Empire to have great cheese and milk products thanks to geography. You should try some variations including kajmak. Otherwise most of Montenegro cuisine is mix of Mediterranean, continental and middle eastern dishes. The imposing gray peaks of the Durmitor massif are reflected in glacial lakes, called gorske oči (eyes of the mountain). The biggest and most beautiful is the Black Lake.

6. Budva

Visit the popular seaside town of Budva, with its gorgeous scenery. It’s got a nice old town, and plenty of small shops. The walled Old Town of Budva emerges in the Adriatic as a miniature, less frenetic Dubrovnik. With a romantic air, it shows in every corner that Mediterranean character. It’s also one of the main vacation towns on the coast.

7. Durmitor

It is not easy to get a good view of the beautiful Tara canyon, as it is hindered by its vertical walls up to 1300 m high and lined with trees. The effect is even more impressive.

8. Ulcinj

The most southern town of Montenegro, Ulcinj has a special vivacity, an indefinable animation that becomes evident especially on summer nights.

9. Prokletije National Park

The so-called Accursed Mountains are rather divine for hikers and climbers. This steep Prokletije mountain range is the highest part of the Dinaric Alps.

10. Stari Bar

The new Bar is an industrial city without much interest, but inland there is a real jewel. The suggestive ruins of the ancient city of Stari Bar stand on top of a cliff.

11. Biogradska Gora

Biogradska Gora National Park nestled between the folds of the Bjelasica mountains has such a peaceful, solitary and intact air that makes you want to stay forever.

12. Cetinje

Cetinje is steeped in history and culture. It was the epicentre of Montenegrin culture, politics, and economy during the 19th-20th centuries. Cetinje is lined with flavourfully coloured buildings, reminding me of Tkalciceva street in Zagreb. Although Podgorica has taken the capital from Cetinje, the old royal city of Montenegro still has the most important museums in the country.

13. Herceg Novi

The true essence of Herceg Novi is in its modest old town, between the lively promenade and the busy road.

14. Lovćen

Lovćen National Park is a stones throw away from Kotor, but because of Montenegro’s geographic features, it takes about 20–30 minutes to get there. However, it is worth it. In Lovćen, you can find the tomb of the old King of Montenegro, perched high on a mountain. The road up to the tomb is full of twisting bends and big drops, and once you arrive you’ve got a good few stairs to climb to get to the top.

From Lovćen, its said you can see right to the end of Montenegro, and you can see Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia and Albania.

The Recipe that can Blow your Mind

It’s hard to describe how much a country with a size less than that of the US state of Connecticut can impact your outlook towards underrated travel destinations. We strongly believe that the remotest of places carry the greatest of charms, but to find them, one must look beyond what has been explored and catalogued.
Kalyan Panja