Why visit Montenegro: best of the country

Located in Southeastern Europe along the Adriatic Sea, Montenegro is probably the most scenic country in Europe. It also relatively unknown, though it’s becoming popular vacation destination fast.

There are so many reasons to visit this small and beautiful country. With its unspoiled stunning nature, historical buildings and lively culture, you will have the best vacation experience there you will remember for a long time.

Here you will find information on why visit Montenegro, where to go for the best experience,  what local food to try and transportation details. 

Alonga Travel the author smiles behind her laptop in her mobile rooftop office in Portugal over
Alonga Travel the author smiles behind her laptop in her mobile rooftop office in Portugal over
Picturesque resort with tall ⛰ behind & beach in front of it & a custom sign: 'Why visit Montenegro'
Picturesque resort with tall ⛰ behind & beach in front of it & a custom sign: 'Why visit Montenegro'

Hello, I am Tatiana—historical architecture addict fascinated with beautiful old buildings and discovering best places in Europe to go. Check out my travel tips on Alonga Travel and reviews of the best European destinations and city breaks. They are the result of my slow travelling explorations. Let's connect on social media!

Highlights of best of Montenegro

Montenegro has so much to offer!

Comfortable gentle climate

Montenegro has over 300 days of sunshine per year, making the country the best vacation destination.

Diverse nature and a choice of pretty towns

There is so much to see in Montenegro! The country has both Adriatic coastline with the best beaches in the world and imposing mountain ranges, well-preserved natural areas for hiking, climbing, rafting, and wildlife viewing.

You can enjoy beaches and relaxing seaside towns as well as wild highland scenery and outdoor activities. It’s an ideal destination for both city breaks, beach vacations and outdoor activities alike.

Many historic sites in Montenegro

Historic sites in the country are plenty, with influences from Byzantium, Venice, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire leaving traces across Montenegro.

You’ll have medieval old towns and fortress remnants to explore. If you are into historical buildings, Montenegro will be the paradise for you.

Delicious Montenegrin cousin and food stores

Montenegrin cuisine blends Mediterranean and Balkan influences, with fresh seafood, grilled meats, and local cheeses. Regional wines like Vranac and Krstač are also worth sampling. Foodie? This is your place to visit!

Montenegro became more accommodating to tourist

Montenegro is becoming a great vacation destination as it's becoming  more accommodating to tourist. Options for places to stay have grown recently to include affordable guest houses and apartments as well as higher-end boutique resorts.

No need to exchange currency for the Europeans

Montenegro uses the Euro currency (this comes as a surprise to many!) and English is widely spoken in tourism centers, making the country accessible for international visitors.

Refreshing authenticity

Do you enjoy authenticity? Both the local culture and nature haven’t been spoiled much yet and remain authentic, as Montenegro only gained independence recently in 2006 and hasn't been overrun by mass tourism. This is the most attractive quality for many, this mixture of authenticity and convenience provided for the tourists.

Montenegro is easy to fly in

Major airports in Podgorica and Tivat airport provide easy access from key European cities like London, Frankfurt, and Zurich. You can take the bus from Podgorica to every major city and town in Montenegro. 

Stunning Marina in Kotor with boats is one of the must visit places in Montenegro
Stunning Marina in Kotor with boats is one of the must visit places in Montenegro

where to visit Montenegro

There are lots of great places to visit in Montenegro that will give you an amazing vacation or a quick but memorable city break.

Let’s look at the most noteworthy parts of the country.

Kotor, Montenegro

Make sure to put the city of Kotor at the top of your list. Kotor is nestled in the Bay of Kotor with tall mountains surrounding it, giving it a fjord-like feel. It's like a smaller version of Dubrovnik, but without the large crowds.

Kotor, Montenegro is a wonderful for a city break.

You can spend your days exploring the narrow cobblestone streets in the old town Kotor and admiring the Gothic architecture and numerous Orthodox churches. You will find many tasty and affordable food in picturesque restaurants when you need a break.

Check out my other post for more details on what to do in Kotor.

View of Kotor Marina

Two stunning islands off Perast coast are must-visit
Two stunning islands off Perast coast are must-visit

Perast, Montenegro

Nearby is Perast, a scenic town known for its exquisite, pretty 17th century churches built on artificial islands. You can get there taking a bus or a boat tour to Perast.

Lady of the Rocks Church with blue cupola on one of the islands off Perast coast.

Cute old houses in Budva, the must-see destination in Montenegro
Cute old houses in Budva, the must-see destination in Montenegro

Budva, Montenegro

Another top coastal destination is the resort town of Budva. You will have a hard time deciding with one you will like more, Kotor or Budva.

Located along a gorgeous sandy beach, Budva has well-preserved medieval walls, and cool fortifications enclosing its old town center. This is a must-see destination in Montenegro.

Budva old town

Within the walls, you'll find tiny alleys, squares filled with cafes and restaurants and gorgeous Adriatic Sea views. Budva’s old town is not as large as Kotor, but it’s very charming. There are many cute historical old buildings. There is also the city walls tour.

After exploring the old town,  you should explore Budva Marina with its Yachts. Then wander along the promenade and people watch as the summer nightlife heats up: nightlife is rather grand there. 

white sun lounges on the beach in Budva Riviera, the must see destination in 🇲🇪
white sun lounges on the beach in Budva Riviera, the must see destination in 🇲🇪

Budva Riviera

Just outside Budva's old town walls begins the Budva riviera, a stretch of sandy beaches, bars and hotels lining the coast. There are many fun places to chose from and beaches and beachfront bars to enjoy. 

Budva is the perfect coastal getaway during your Montenegro visit.

Other Adriatic beach towns in Montenegro

Herceg Novi, Montenegro

On the southern coast, the historic coastal towns of Herceg Novi and Petrovac are worth exploring. Herceg Novi has a scenic mountain-top fortress and a charming Old Town along the shoreline.

Petrovac, Montenegro

Petrovac is a gorgeous little spot with pebble beaches lined with cafes and boutique shops. Both towns are great bases for visiting nearby national parks exploring islands offshore.

Cozy old street lined up with flowering trees in Ulcinj
Cozy old street lined up with flowering trees in Ulcinj

Ulcinj

On the northern coast, visit the historic walled city of Ulcinj with its cute medieval architecture. Many of Ulcinj attractions are connected to the city's past.

This town will surprise you: and I know this because it surprised me last summer! You will find many exciting streets to walk on and beachfront bars to enjoy. There are plenty of restaurants  there as well, with the best views and the most beautiful beaches stretching for miles.

Bar, Montenegro

I hour bus ride from Ulcinj toward Budva, there is a cute town Bar. You can enjoy a day there on its beautiful coastal beaches. Don't forget to check out old town Bar. 

Medieval villages of Montenegro

However, Ulcinj is not the only medieval place in Montenegro, there are many villages as well.

Here is a list of main medieval villages worth visiting in Montenegro:

- Njeguši - Located in central Montenegro, this is the ancestral village of the Petrović-Njegoš dynasty, the birthplace of pršut ham.

- Rijeka Crnojevića - Situated in a fertile valley, this village has preserved many old stone houses and the ruins of a 15th century fortress.

- Grahovo - Nestled in the Prokletije Mountains along the Drim River, Grahovo has changed little over the centuries and offers amazing views.

- Virpazar - On the shore of Skadar Lake (on the southern border with Albania), this village has fortress walls, towers, and churches dating back to the 15th century.

- Gornja Lastva - A cluster of stone cottages in Kotor Municipality, it can only be accessed via mountain footpaths.

- Ćipura - Perched high in the mountains near Žabljak, Ćipura overlooks a beautiful valley and offers tastes of traditional life.

- Dobri Do - Near Cetinje, this village has whitewashed houses with tiled roofs and a historic church from the 17th century.

- Zavala - Located on the Bay of Kotor, Zavala is surrounded by mountains and vineyards with homes untouched by modernization.

- Karuč - Situated along the Morača River canyon, Karuč has stone buildings under centuries-old plane trees.

- Škaljari - On a peninsula near Bar, Škaljari has preserved its architectural heritage and coastal fishing lifestyle.

Beautiful mountains of Montenegro

Do you know what  the name Montenegro means? It means – Black Mountain.

Montenegro is known for its beautiful mountains. Some notable mountains in Montenegro include Lovćen, Lebršnik, Mokra planina, Njegoš, Ostroška Greda, Accursed Mountains, Rumija, Sinjavina, Volujak, Vučje, Vrmac, and Žljeb.


The Accursed Mountains, also called the Albanian Alps extend into Montenegro. It should be noted that these mountains are separate from the European Alps and form their own distinct range in the Balkans.

The highest peak in Montenegro is Zla Kolata, located in the Prokletije range, which is also known as the Accursed Mountains.

Hike through Lovćen National Park and up to the Njegoš Mausoleum for incredible Adriatic views. Or visit other famous national parks like Lovćen National Park, an Biogradska Gora National Park, and Durmitor National Park, home to deep gorges, glacial lakes, and the impressive peaks of the Durmitor mountain range.

Montenegro's stunning natural scenery continues in the north.

Near Žabljak, visit Tara Canyon, one of Europe's deepest and longest river gorges. Walk along its cliffs overlooking emerald waters below or go cycling and rafting through the canyon.

Stunning turquoise water in Piva Canyon, one of the best areas to visit in Montenegro
Stunning turquoise water in Piva Canyon, one of the best areas to visit in Montenegro

Further north lies Piva Canyon, another dramatic gorge carved through limestone. Enjoy waterfalls, hiking trails and picturesque mountain villages. Read my other post to see more detailed account for the Piva River views on a bus from Sarajevo to Podgorica.

The Zeta and Morača Rivers also wind dramatically through sheer cliffs and forests, perfect for river rafting adventures.

There are some very picturesque places to stay along the rivers, that could be fun!

Cevapi on a grill & a custom sign: 'Montenegrin food to try"
Cevapi on a grill & a custom sign: 'Montenegrin food to try"

Montenegrin cuisine

Montenegrin cuisine will give you a delicious taste of Balkan flavors and will spoil you forever.

A must-try is pršut, the local smoke-cured ham that is air-dried for months and has an intensely savory taste

Also popular is kačamak, a dish of cornmeal served with sour cream or cheese.

Seafood dominates coastal menus, so enjoy the freshly-caught fish or shellfish stewed in wine sauces.

Inland in Montenegro, look for čevapi, minced meat skewers that are the local equivalent of a hamburger. Grilled meats like lamb şiš kebap are local favorites.

No meal is complete without a side of ajvar, a roasted red pepper spread, or kajmak, a creamy cheese.

There is a great variety of Montenegrin cheeses, try it with wine. Vranac or Krstač, Montenegro's distinctive full-bodied reds, delicious and inexpensive.

History

Montenegro has a  fascinating history. It was a strategic location along the coast of the Adriatic for a long time, which was coveted by many empires. It was part of several states throughout medieval times (some voluntary – to avoid being captured, some after a long fight). Montenegro gained independence in 1878, then joined Yugoslavia after World War II before gaining independence again in 2006.

And if you think that’s a lot of history already, there were many other changes of the state in between. Read my other post on history of Montenegro to learn many interesting historic details of the country’s origin.

FAQ

How many days in Montenegro

If you are wondering how many days do you need in Montenegro, consider spending as many days as you can spare to see the entire country of Montenegro (there is so much to see). Otherwise, spend 2 days in Kotor or Ulcinj or 3 days in Budva, enough for a nice city break in Montenegro.

Is it safe to travel to Montenegro

It is safe to travel to Montenegro, it is not dangerous to tourists at all there. In fact, it’s safer than in many other countries in Europe. I guess this question is being asked because people still don’t know much about Montenegro, it is just starting to become popular.

When to visit Montenegro

Anytime from March to the end of October is a great time to visit Montenegro.

The hot red season is June-September. It is the best season to visit, but everything is more expensive then, including accommodations. Food prices don’t fluctuate that much.

Keep this in mind if you are on a budget.

Montenegro, can you visit it with Schengen visa?

Montenegro is not in the Schengen area (yet, as of 2024), so you can’t use the Schengen visa to enter.

Check if your country has a bilateral agreement with Montenegro, most do. Here is an official website of Montenegrin government to check visa requirements (or the absence of) by counties.

You will have no problem finding what to do when visiting Montenegro. All these activities, charming coastal towns, dramatic mountain scenery, delicious food, plenty of comfortable resorts and its blend of old-word authentic charm, make it an amazing country worth visiting.

And just in case you want to visit other best places to go in Europe, check out my other post. 

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