Road tripping through Montenegro is one of the best ways to see this beautiful and unique country. Recently, Montenegro has been on the rise of popular travel destinations but luckily it is not overrun with tourists quite yet. Places like Kotor, and Budva have captured the attention of the travel world, and visiting these places before they hit their tourism peak is a must.
The best thing about planning a road trip through Montenegro is that it is a small country so you will not be stuck in a car for dreadful hours on end. The driving will consist of short distances to simply get around with ease to all the beautiful hidden spots within the country. There is so much to discover in Montenegro and this road trip itinerary will ensure you hit all the best places, attractions, and hidden gems of the country.
Best time to visit Montenegro
The best time to visit Montenegro is typically in the summer months of June – August. During these months the beaches are ready for visitors, the sun is always out, and all the tours and shops are in full swing. However, this time of year also welcomes significantly more tourists.
If you are looking to travel to Montenegro when there are fewer people, then the shoulder seasons are a great time to go.
Getting to Montenegro
- By plane: The easiest way to get to Montenegro is by plane. There are two airports in Montenegro, one in Tivat and one in Podgorica and you can easily start a road trip from either place. However, you can also fly into Dubrovnik, Croatia, and drive down from there to Montenegro. This airport is very near to the border and offers more flight options.
- By bus: Taking a bus is a very cost-effective option if you are in a nearby Balkan city. There are buses from Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, and more that run often.
- By car: Rent a car from anywhere around Montenegro and drive across the borders to enter the country.
Tips for renting a car in Montenegro
When renting a car for a Montenegro road trip be sure to keep these tips in mind.
- Car rental is quite inexpensive in Montenegro, you can expect to pay 30€ / day.
- Fuel will cost around 100€ for this 10-day trip outlined below
- Rent a smaller vehicle as the roads in Montenegro are quite narrow
- If you are not a comfortable driver be careful. The roads are very windy, people drive fast, and it can be quite intense.
- If you are leaving from a different airport than the one you arrive at you can bring the car, but you have to pay an additional fee. Plus, if you arrive in a different country’s airport then you have to pay an extra €5 per day.
Montenegro Travel Information
- Language: Croatian/Serbian
- Currency: Euro
- Religion: Orthodox Christian
- Price for food per day: 20-40€ depending on whether you eat out or buy groceries
- Price for accommodation per day: 20€ + per night
Montenegro Road Trip Itinerary
Bay of Kotor
Time needed: 3-4 days
The beautiful Bay of Kotor is the perfect first stop for your Montenegro road trip if you are arriving from the North. Whether you fly into Dubrovnik airport in Croatia or take a bus from a different beautiful Balkan country, the quaint and beautiful city of Herceg Novi is a great place to start.
Herceg Novi is located at the top of the Bay of Kotor and very near to the Croatian border. It is a small town that is relatively untouched by tourism and has a very authentic local charm. This is the perfect place to begin your journey to get a feel for Montenegrin life. Herceg Novi is best known for its old fortresses, a plethora of beaches, and medieval old town. Spend some time at the beach and prepare for the adventures ahead.
Catovica Mlini & Perast
A short 30-minute drive from Herceg Novi along the coastal highway is a famous and unique restaurant called Catovica Mlini. This restaurant is on the route towards the next stop Perast and it is the perfect place to stop at for a nice lunch. It is often visited by famous Serbians and Montenegrins like Tennis player Novak Djokovic.
After stopping here, you can continue your journey to Perast which is a small town along the Bay of Kotor that offers peaceful coastal vibes. From Perast you can go on a boat ride to Our Lady of the Rocks which is a famous island in the middle of the Bay of Kotor which holds one church. What’s interesting about this island is that it is man-made from people throwing rocks and sinking ships!
Kotor is only 20 minutes from Perast and a visit here warrants a full day of your itinerary. This is the most popular city in Montenegro and the most touristy by far. There are so many exciting things to do in Kotor that make it so lust-worthy, the main thing being hiking the Kotor Fortress. The hike up the Fortress is a grueling 1300 steps but from the top you can see the most awe-inducing views of the entire city of Kotor and the Bay of Kotor. The views are spectacular and something you do not want to miss in Montenegro. Just be warned, in the summer months cruise ships arrive in Kotor everyday which makes it very busy.
Ostrog Monastery & Podgorica
Time needed: 1 day
Beyond the Bay of Kotor in the middle of Montenegro lies the capital city Podgorica and a significant religious place called Ostrog Monastery. Both destinations are full of history and the drive to the destinations is stunning. Podgorica is not the most popular city in Montenegro but a nice place to set a base for exploring the surrounding areas.
This part of the road trip itinerary is for visiting an interesting and significant religious place in Montenegro called Ostrog Monastery. This is a Serbian Orthodox church built almost vertically into the mountain and can be reached in two hours from Kotor. This is not only a religious place but also a historical and cultural one that attracts thousands of visitors a year. A visit here is well worth it to see the stunning architecture and experience an important part of Montenegrin history.
Just 30 minutes from the Monastery is Podgorica which you can stay the night and explore with what time you have left in the day.
Skadar National Park
Time needed: 1 day
Just 20 minutes from Podgorica is Skadar National Park, which is a lush green national park you cannot miss. This park is where you can find the green horseshoe bend views and green covered mountains. It is the perfect place to take a hike, or a boat ride and enjoy the natural beauty that is Montenegro.
Time needed: 4 days
Ulcinj is the most southern place on this itinerary and is located just a short distance from the Albanian border. The drive from Podgorica to Ulcinj is around an hour and a half and will bring you on a route down the coast. Ulcinj is an off the beaten track stop on this road trip itinerary and is one of the least touristy places you can go to. The undiscovered nature of it makes it even more enjoyable to visit to get a very authentic Montenegrin experience. Ulcinj is a great place to enjoy quiet Adriatic beaches and relax in your own secret paradise.
A short 30-minute drive from Ulcinj is the town of Bar which is another coastal town with its own unique offerings. The main attractions of Bar are its old town, the stone arc bridge, and the old olive tree. The old town in Bar has settlements dating back to 800BC and is a historic area to say the least. While the stone arch bridge is a huge bridge that crosses a valley and is wonderful to photograph and admire. More so, Bar is home to a 2,200-year-old tree which is the oldest tree in Europe!
Heading North, and before the next destination, Petrovac deserves a stop too.
Sveti Stefan & Budva
Sveti Stefan is a unique postcard-perfect place to visit in Montenegro. It is a small island connected to the mainland by a small strip of land and it is only 40 minutes from Bar. Sveti Stefan is a great place to stop and visit for a few hours before heading to Budva, 15 minutes away. Take some time at Sveti Stefan to capture some photos, walk the old streets, and swim in the water.
A visit to Budva requires at least two days to fully see and appreciate the city. It is probably the best city to visit in Montenegro because it has everything, sun, sea, city, and adventure. Budva is perfect because it is a coastal town with tons of beaches, it has a stunning medieval old town, and it is also the best city for a lively nightlife in Montenegro. There are also a ton of things to do in Budva, especially in the summer months and a nice place to explore in a few days.
Related read: Best Montenegro Summer Festivals
The last place along the Adriatic coast and back into the Bay of Kotor is the city of Tivat. Tivat is a short 35-minute drive from Budva and is an interesting and unique city in Montenegro. Unlike the other cities that boast their old towns and authentic architecture, Tivat is a more modern city, with new buildings, piers, and exclusive beach clubs. Tivat is the main yacht port of Montenegro and the marina is always full of magnificent superyachts to be admired. This is a great place to enjoy a new side to Montenegro and go to the Porto Montenegro beach club for a luxurious pool day experience.
This entire road trip should take around 10 days to complete. However, you can adjust it to your preferences to make it work for your travel styles.