9 Best Places To Visit In Montenegro
Not only does Montenegro have friendly locals and cheap prices, but the adventures to be had in this small country are endless. In this post, you’ll find the 9 best places to visit in Montenegro.
9 Best Places To Visit In Montenegro
Before traveling to Montenegro, I didn’t know a lot about this Balkan country that seemed to fly under the radar. Upon arrival and after spending significant time in Montenegro, I’ve learned that this is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
Here are the top places to visit in Montenegro:
If you’ve heard of Montenegro at all, you’ve probably heard of the quaint little coastal town, Kotor. Kotor is one of the best places to visit in Montenegro and in the entire Balkan Peninsula.
Kotor has a rich history dating back centuries and they’ve got the most incredible Old Town to prove it. In Kotor, you’ll also be able to experience the best of both worlds: the sea and the mountains.
Kotor snuggles up next to Boka Bay, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea. On the remaining three sides, you’ll be surrounded by magical mountains dotted with the best hiking trails to explore.
Kotor has a warm and temperate climate, meaning you’ll be able to enjoy this beautiful bayside town all year. The summers come alive with tourists and November can be quite rainy, so the best time to visit this Montenegrin gem is during the months of September and October.
Best Things To Do In Kotor
Kotor is one of the best places to visit in Montenegro and for good reason.
There are so many things to do in Boka Bay and at a reasonable price. You’ll find activities for families, for elderly travelers, and for the epic adventurers. These are the best adventures in Kotor:
The Ladder of Kotor
Our favorite activity in Kotor was hiking the Ladder of Kotor during sunset. This is an 8-mile out-and-back hike that leads you to the top of Boka Bay and presents you with the most stunning views of the bay and town below.
Although a bit challenging at times (there are endless switchbacks that continue for miles), you won’t experience a better vantage point for sunset.
The path will eventually lead you nearly 3,100 feet above the bay to a mountain pass called Krstac. The panoramic views from Krstac are not to be missed; by far one of the best places to visit in Montenegro.
For more information about the Ladder of Kotor, check out our blog post The Ladder of Kotor: the Best Hike in Kotor Bay.
A trip to the Balkans would be incomplete without visiting the numerous old towns found in most cities along the Adriatic coast.
Each old town has its own vibe and unique features, but the Old Town in Kotor is by far one of the best places to visit in all of Montenegro.
Take some time to learn more about Montenegrin history, eat at the quaint cafes, and reserve time for shopping in this magical Old Town.
Climb the Fortress Walls
The most popular attraction in Kotor is the Fortress Walls, also known as San Giovanni Fortress (St. John’s Fortress). There are sections of this fortress that date back to the Byzantine Empire, some 1500+ years ago.
Climbing to the top of the Fortress Walls will surely give you an incredible overview of the bay and city of Kotor, but be prepared to climb many, MANY stairs. Be sure to pack some water for your trek to the top.
Climbing the Fortress Walls in Kotor costs 8 euro. Since this is such a popular Kotor activity, prepare to be surrounded by many other tourists, unless you climb the wall in the early morning or later in the evening.
Where To Stay In Kotor
Kotor is a relatively small town in Boka Bay. Staying anywhere near Kotor will suffice, but many tourists enjoy staying directly within the Old Town walls. An amazing boutique hotel to consider in Old Town is Guest House Forza Lux.
We chose to stay in an Airbnb 20 minutes down the road in a small town called Stoliv. We took the bus to Kotor nearly every day, which turned out to be convenient and cost-effective.
Getting around Boka Bay is easy thanks to public transportation (the BlueLine buses).
2. Tivat & Porto
A hop, skip, and a jump from Kotor is another one of the best places to visit in Montenegro, Tivat.
Tivat is a port town on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Although close in proximity to Kotor, these two small towns couldn’t be more different.
Tivat is known for its world-famous marina and elegant waterfront properties. This marina is also known as Porto and it’s an area that you must add to your Montenegro bucket list.
Note: There is also a small international airport in Tivat. If you fly directly into Montenegro, you’ll likely fly into this airport. Don’t forget to stop and look around before jetting off to your next Montenegro destination.
Best Things To Do In Tivat & Porto
With more of a beachy vibe, many of the activities in Tivat revolve around the water. Here are our four favorite things to do in Tivat:
Eat Moritz Eis Ice Cream
Situated right along the pier is one of the best ice cream shops in all of Montenegro. If you’re looking for the best places to visit in Montenegro, look no further! How can you go wrong with delicious ice cream?
My personal favorite was the dark chocolate, but they have lots of varieties to satisfy any craving.
Walk along the pier and look at the yachts
Once you’ve got your scoop of ice cream, take a walk along the marina and look at the incredible superyachts that dock in Porto. These boats (if you can call them boats) are INSANE.
There are so many yachts to see; it’s fun to imagine where each of these boats has sailed and where they could possibly go next. Each with their unique style, it’s exciting to pick out a favorite.
Watch the sunset at Waikiki
A popular time of day in Tivat is sunset. This is one of the best places in the world to watch the sun dip below the horizon, creating the most magnificent and colorful mural in the sky.
If you get the chance to visit this magical Montenegrin town, grab a cocktail and head to Waikiki Beach for quite the sunset spectacle.
4. Hike Donja Lastva
Since Tivat is just a stone’s throw away from Kotor, you can expect to find amazing hiking trails on this side of the ridge as well. The best hike to experience in Tivat is called Donja Lastva.
Donja Lastva is a seven-mile intermediate loop hike that takes you to the top of Vrmac Ridge and back again. From the top of Vrmac Ridge, you’ll be able to see both sides of the bay: Kotor on one side and Tivat on the other.
For more information about this hike, check out our blog post: Hike Kotor, Montenegro: 7 Incredible Hikes.
Where To Stay In Tivat & Porto
There are loads of beautiful places to stay in Tivat and Porto. When we visited, we wanted to stay as close to the entrance of Porto as possible without actually staying IN Porto.
Although extremely lovely, staying in Porto comes with a hefty price tag. Instead, we opted to stay in town, just a 7 minute walk away from Porto.
The Airbnb we stayed in can be found at this link: Fully Equipped Luxury Apartment in Tivat. If you haven’t signed up for Airbnb yet, use this link to sign-up for a free account and receive $40 off your first booking.
After mentioning the incredible Vrmac Ridge in the description above, I must add this to the list of best places to visit in Montenegro.
Vrmac is the ridge that lies between Tivat and Kotor. When we first arrived in Kotor, I wanted to climb to the top of this ridge more than anything. Unfortunately, it took me several weeks to realize that there are hiking trails that lead to the top.
To my surprise, not only are there hiking trails that lead to the top, but there is an entire EMPIRE at the top of Vrmac.
Best Things To Do On Vrmac Ridge
Here are a few things you should do while hiking the Vrmac Ridge.
Check out the Old Austro-Hungarian Empire, Fort Vrmac
You’re probably wondering about this “empire” found at the top of Vrmac Ridge. We were just as curious as you were. Dating back centuries, an old Austro-Hungarian empire, also known as Fort Vrmac, sits in ruins on top of Vrmac Ridge.
Spend time exploring these abandoned buildings, reading the informational plaques, and learning about this empire.
Sit at the top of Sveti Ilija
The summit of Vrmac is known as Sveti Ilija, one of the best places in the bay for astonishing views and one of the best places to visit in all of Montenegro.
There are several hiking paths that lead to the summit of Vrmac. Personally, we chose to access Sveti Ilija via the thru-hike from Kotor to Tivat. This took us approximately five hours to complete but it was one of the best activities we did in the Bay of Kotor.
For more on the hiking routes to Sveti Ilija, check out this blog post: Exploring Vrmac: Kotor to Tivat Hike.
Drive to the top for sunset
Not keen on hiking? At least not a six-hour hike, right? No problem!
There’s an easier way to explore Vrmac Ridge and that’s by car. While we were hiking back down from Sveti Ilija, we noticed that several 4×4 vehicles were driving to the top.
Since it was so close to sunset, I realized that they were going to the top to enjoy this incredible event from the top of Vrmac.
Where To Stay Near Vrmac
Since Vrmac splits Boka Bay in half, you can choose to stay in either Kotor or Tivat. Both towns have easy access to this ridge.
Our favorite mountain town and one of the best places to visit in Montenegro is a town called Zabljak. To our disappointment, this town is NOT pronounced like “Apple Jacks”, but we will continue to call it that for the simple fact that it’s awesome!
If you’re looking for mountains, national parks, and extreme adventures in Montenegro, this is the town for you.
When we arrived in Zabljak, Montenegro, we fell in love immediately. The town is small and the locals are friendly.
The views of Durmitor National Park and the majestic Dinaric Alps can be seen from anywhere in town. The perfect backdrop to an already amazing town.
Best Things To Do In Zabljak
Zabljak is best known as a ski town during the winter months, but since we didn’t visit when there was snow on the ground, we’re going to focus on the best things to do during spring, summer, and fall.
Durmitor National Park
The main attraction in Zabljak is Durmitor National Park, one of the five national parks found in Montenegro.
In Durmitor National Park, you’ll be greeted with endless amounts of hiking trails ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous. Two of our favorite hikes in Durmitor National Park were Bobotov Kuk and Black Lake.
Bobotov Kuk is officially the highest mountain in Montenegro, Bobotov Kuk’s summit sits at 8,877 feet.
Hiking this monster of a mountain and looking out from the peak is one of the best places to visit in Montenegro. You’ll be able to see into four separate countries from the top: Albania, Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo.
Be prepared for an all-day hike, but one with great rewards.
Note: If you’re afraid of heights, I would NOT recommend doing this hike. There are several places on the trail that requires the use of ropes. Pulling yourself up and over boulders with a 1500 foot drop below is not exactly ideal.
For more on hiking Bobotov Kuk, check out our blog post: Bobotov Kuk: How to Hike to the Top of Montenegro.
In addition to believing that Black Lake is one of the best places to visit in Montenegro, I also think it’s one of the most scenic places.
Before I arrived in Montenegro, my goal was to find mountains. I love the vibe that mountains give off and exploring new mountain ranges has always been exciting for me.
When I found out about Durmitor National Park, I was floored. Mountains, glacial lakes, and fall colors? What more could someone ask for?
Visiting Black Lake in Durmitor National Park encompassed everything that I thought Zabljak would be.
The hike around Black Lake is short and easy; this is the perfect family-friendly hike for a day in Durmitor National Park.
Where To Stay In Zabljak
There are several hotels and guest houses in Zabljak, but we opted to stay in a cozy and cute Airbnb. You can find the same Airbnb we stayed in here: Apartments “Vila Vjerra”.
5. Tara River Canyon
We had the opportunity to visit Tara River Canyon during our extended stay in Montenegro and I’m happy we did. Tara River Canyon is the deepest canyon in Europe and it definitely fits the bill for one of the best places to visit in Montenegro.
Best Things To Do In Tara River Canyon
Tara River Canyon offers so many adventures for thrill-seekers and families alike. It’s an outdoorsmen’s paradise. Below, you’ll find the best things to do in Tara River Canyon.
White Water Rafting
One of the top things to do in Tara River Canyon is to go white water rafting. There are many rafting companies that service the canyon and offer exceptional packages for travelers.
Personally, Mike and I wanted to test out the Tara River Canyon’s extreme zipline. This zipline runs above the canyon, so you’ll get epic views while riding on one of the fastest ziplines in the world.
To follow suit, it wouldn’t be one of the best places to visit in Montenegro if there weren’t any hiking trails.
Tara River Canyon is full of incredible hiking trails for visitors of all physical conditions. The views on the trails are unmatched. You’ll be able to gawk at the glorious Đurđevića Tara Bridge that spans across the entire canyon and the mountains in the background.
Where To Stay Near Tara River Canyon
When we visited Tara River Canyon, we made it a day trip from Zabljak. Since the Tara River Canyon is only a 25-minute drive from where we were staying in Zabljak, it was easy to visit by car.
An underrated destination in Montenegro is the small town of Perast, just ten minutes down the road from Kotor. A day trip from Kotor to Perast will quickly make you realize why this town is on the list of best places to visit in Montenegro.
From their charming restaurants with fresh seafood to their cherished man-made islands, this town is brimming with culture, history, and friendly locals.
If you decide to make a trip out to Perast, be sure to take a tour of the island, Our Lady of the Rocks. Boat tours leave the mainland several times a day and bring tourists to this island for a reasonable price. This is one of the best things you can do in Boka Bay.
We spent several days exploring the beaches and coast of Budva, Montenegro. Upon arrival in Budva, you’ll see a slight resemblance to Tivat and Kotor combined. In this town, you’ve got pristine beaches and a historic old town.
If you’re planning a trip to Montenegro, be sure to add Budva to your itinerary as it is one of the best places to visit in the whole country.
Best Things To Do In Budva
In Budva, you’ll get the best of both worlds: beaches and history. Here are three things that you can’t miss when visiting this beautiful coastal town:
Visit Old Town
Just like Kotor, Budva has its own Old Town. This Old Town is small and quaint and features some of the best bars and restaurants in all of Montenegro. Perched on the ocean, you’ll get stunning views of the sea while sipping a delicious cocktail or enjoying a bite to eat.
Lounge on the beach
Budva is known for the summer crowds that rush here to get the best spots in the sand. At these beaches, you’ll find lively beach bars and an excellent place to dive in when the weather gets too hot.
Jaz Beach is one of the more popular spots with a central location in the city. Be sure to add this beach to your Budva itinerary.
Find a pool and watch the sunset
Cool off in a Budva pool to escape the heat of the summer sun. While we were visiting Budva, we noticed that there was a large number of pools (including beautiful infinity pools) in this town.
Book a room at a hotel or Airbnb that offers a pool. You’ll thank me while you watch the sunset into the ocean.
Where To Stay In Budva
During our visit to Budva, we stayed in a luxury apartment that we found on Airbnb. The price was unbeatable and the amenities were fantastic.
The only issue was that we were quite far from the city center. A walk into the city center took an hour and a half and we couldn’t necessarily drive due to a lack of public parking.
My advice is to stay close to Old Town.
Fontana Hotel & Gastronomy is an excellent choice and has a perfect location within the city center.
While planning your trip through Montenegro, consider adding Bar to your itinerary. Bar flies under the radar compared to Kotor, but with its own unique style, you’ll quickly see why Bar is a great place to visit.
A few things to do while visiting Bar include visiting the Old Fortress of Stari Bar and relaxing on the beach.
The Old Fortress has been around for centuries, dating back to the Byzantine Empire. And thanks to Bar’s location on the Adriatic, you’ll have perfect beach days throughout the summer.
Where To Stay In Bar
What better place to stay than directly on the beach? Book your stay with Kuce Lekovica and get dramatic ocean views from your balcony.
9. Lake Skadar National Park
National parks happen to be my favorite thing in the world. A large plot of land dedicated to protecting it? A place where we can go and bask in natural beauty? Hell yeah!
One of the best places in Montenegro to visit is Lake Skadar National Park. Lake Skadar is the biggest lake in the Balkans and in all of Southern Europe, too.
A visit to Skadar National Park would be incomplete without seeing the arched horseshoe bend at Skadar viewpoint. Later, stop at Rijeka Crnojevića, the perfect little Montenegrin town with the most ideal setting.
Where To Stay Near Lake Skadar National Park
Finding the best location to stay in Lake Skadar National Park might be difficult, but we found that staying in Eco Villas Merak was perfect for us. We were able to explore the area and come back to a comfy villa at the end of the day.
The Wrap-Up: Best Places To Visit In Montenegro
Montenegro is a hidden gem in the Balkan Peninsula. If you’re deciding on the best places to visit in Montenegro, use this guide to help plan your trip. Be sure to spend ample time in this incredible country and explore it far and wide. You won’t be disappointed.
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Great post, appreciate the Ladder of Kotor tip. Been there before and did the hike to the fortress – but will be back in January and will do the Ladder.
Thanks so much for the positive feedback. Yes, absolutely do the Ladder of Kotor; MUCH better than the Fortress in my opinion. You won’t regret it!