In our opinion, Montenegro is the best place for a road trip in eastern Europe. Not only is everything relatively close in proximity, but the diverse landscapes, national parks, and cities will leave you inspired.
Use our guide to plan your road trip through the best country in the Balkans: Montenegro.
Kotor – 2 days Tivat – 1 day Budva – 1 day Zabljak – 3 days
2 Days In Kotor
An absolute must-visit town for your Montenegro road trip is Kotor. If you’ve researched Montenegro, I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about this charming town nestled in Boka Bay (also known as the Bay of Kotor).
Although I recommend spending as much time as possible in Kotor, there are many other places to see during your Montenegro road trip. So, if you’re planning a 7-day itinerary, I suggest spending two days exploring Kotor.
What To Do In Kotor
Kotor is a magical little town that has so much to offer travelers. We spent over a month finding the best activities in this area and these were our favorite things to do:
1. The Ladder of Kotor
By far our favorite thing to do in Kotor was hiking the Ladder of Kotor. Many confuse this hike with hiking the Fortress Walls, but I can assure you that this hike is much more rewarding.
We hiked the Ladder of Kotor for sunset and I still gawk at the pictures. Was that REAL LIFE?
Although the entire hike is a bit strenuous for some people, you can venture up the mountain as far as your feet will take you. You’ll get astonishing views of Kotor and the entire bay within 10 minutes of hiking. Turn back whenever you feel ready; there is no need to complete the entire hike.
Travel back in time to the 17th century while you stroll the streets of Kotor’s Old Town. The churches, buildings, and alleyways will blow your mind.
For me, it was like visiting Rome, but with a slightly different flair. Spend time shopping, eating, and learning more about the history of Kotor’s Old Town.
3. The Fortress Walls
The most popular attraction to visit in Kotor is the San Giovanni Fortress, also known as the Fortress Walls.
Hiking the Fortress Walls was unlike anything I’ve ever done. It truly felt like I was in the 15th century; the history, architecture, and views of the Old Town from atop the Fortress Walls were surreal.
Although I’m partial to hiking the Ladder of Kotor as opposed to the Fortress Walls, this is an excellent activity to add to your 7-day Montenegro itinerary. Be sure to have 8 Euro in cash readily available in order to enter the Fortress Walls.
Where To Stay In Kotor
Boutique hotels are all the rage in Kotor. Our favorite boutique hotel was Guest House Forza Lux. This hotel is in the very heart of Kotor. During your stay at Forza Lux, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the beautiful architecture of the building, clean rooms, and friendly staff.
1 Day In Tivat
We were surprised by Tivat. After quickly falling in love with Kotor, we didn’t expect any other town to compete. Tivat had everything we craved that Kotor didn’t already have.
During your Montenegro road trip, spend at least one-day exploring Tivat, just a short 20-minute drive from Kotor.
What To Do In Tivat
Although close in proximity, Tivat is a completely different experience than Kotor. We enjoyed Tivat for the change of pace. Since the cruise ships dock in Kotor, Tivat is far less crowded. Here are our favorite things to do in Tivat:
1. Visit Porto
Our favorite area of Tivat was the beautiful marina, Porto. Here, we strolled along the waterfront and admired all of the pristine super-yachts. There are plenty of excellent restaurants and bars in the area for you to sit and enjoy lunch, too.
Porto is a must-see destination during your Montenegro road trip.
2. Eat Moritz Ice Cream
We really scrounged to find delicious ice cream in Montenegro. We tried many gelato stands in Kotor. We tried the ice cream from the grocery store. But nothing seemed to meet my expectations.
Until we had Moritz Ice Cream.
If you’re looking for quality ice cream during your Montenegro road trip, there is really only one place to go. I highly recommend the dark chocolate ice cream and definitely splurge for two scoops rather than one.
3. Hike Vrmac
Our favorite adventure in Tivat was hiking to Vrmac. Vrmac is an old Austro-Hungarian fort sitting atop of the Vrmac Ridge. This ridge splits the Bay of Kotor in two with Tivat on one side and Kotor on the other.
Although I only recommend this hike for agile hikers, this is an unbelievable place to spend an afternoon. You’ll be on-trail for approximately 5-6 hours. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks to fuel your body.
To read more about the Vrmac hike from Tivat, check out our post: Exploring Vrmac.
4. Watch the sunset and have drinks on the promenade
I previously mentioned how epic the sunset is at the top of the Ladder of Kotor. Well, watching the sunset in Tivat gives the Ladder of Kotor a run for its money.
After you’ve spent the day walking around Porto or hiking up to Vrmac, grab a drink at one of the many restaurants along the promenade and watch the magnificent colors of the sun setting into the bay.
Where To Stay In Tivat
We loved our Airbnb rental in Tivat. Not only was it close to grocery stores, restaurants, and beaches, but it was just a short walk from Porto. This Airbnb rental had everything we needed at a reasonable price.
Just down the coast from Tivat, you’ll find the quaint coastal town, Budva. Again, we didn’t expect much from Budva, but boy were we surprised!
Plan to spend at least one day in Budva, Montenegro during your 7-day itinerary.
What To Do In Budva
Here are our favorite adventures in Budva:
1. Visit Old Town
Budva puts a unique spin on their Old Town. Similar to Kotor in architecture but different in style, Budva’s Old Town shouldn’t be missed.
Our favorite part about visiting Budva’s Old Town was that it seemed much more authentic and less-touristy than Kotor’s Old Town. Not to mention the ocean waves slapping up against the town walls.
Spend a day shopping, eating, and exploring Budva’s Old Town. For an even better experience, take a guided tour of this area to learn about its rich history.
2. Hit the beach
Your Montenegro road trip would be incomplete without a beach day. Luckily, Budva is the perfect spot to stop and enjoy some sun.
When we visited Budva, it was mid-November and far too cold to don our swimsuits. But that didn’t stop us from walking the shoreline. We heard about how lively these beaches become during the summer months, so we are itching to return.
3. Sveti Stefan
One of the most unique places in all of Montenegro is Sveti Stefan. Formerly a small village in the early 19th century, Sveti Stefan is now a resort island.
Unfortunately, you can only venture out to the island if you are staying in the resort. Regardless, this is a must-see destination, even from afar.
Where To Stay In Budva
During our time in Budva, we stayed in the most luxurious Airbnb and for mere pennies. Okay, maybe not PENNIES but this apartment was extremely affordable for what they offer. You can find the same Airbnb listing here: Luxurious Apartment Montelux.
Finally, you’ve reached our favorite place in Montenegro: Zabljak. Zabljak is a small mountain town in the northern region of Montenegro.
Although small, Zabljak has a lot to offer in terms of activities. If you’re into the outdoors, this is a must-add destination to your Montenegro road trip.
We recommend spending 3 days in Zabljak because there are so many different things to do and see. If you aren’t fond of hiking and outdoor activities, I recommend spending more time along the coast of Montenegro.
What To Do In Zabljak
Lace-up those hiking boots and start exploring the beautiful mountain peaks of northern Montenegro. Here are our favorite things to do in Zabljak:
1. Black Lake
Zabljak is known for its iconic national park, Durmitor. Durmitor National Park is visited by tourists from all over the globe. The most popular destination in the national park for these tourists is Black Lake.
The hike around Black Lake is easy and rewarding. You’ll get incredible views of the peaks of Durmitor National Park in the background and an aquamarine lake in the foreground. Spend an afternoon exploring Black Lake by boat or foot.
Conquer the tallest peak in Montenegro by summiting Bobotov Kuk. This was our favorite thing to do while visiting Zabljak and if you’re a hiker, this is a must-add activity to your Montenegro road trip.
The entire hike will take approximately 6-7 hours. If you are wary of heights, I recommend choosing a different hike in Durmitor National Park. There are areas of the trail where you must use ropes to pull yourself up and over boulders and cliffs.
An exhilarating activity to do in Zabljak is ziplining across the deepest canyon in Europe. The Tara River Canyon is 4,300 feet deep; ziplining over it is not for the faint of heart.
Thrillseekers, this is one of the best things to add to your Montenegro road trip itinerary. The ride through the canyon will not leave you disappointed.
4. White Water Rafting
Another epic adventure in Zabljak is white water rafting down the Tara River. Unfortunately, Mike and I visited Zabljak in November and therefore couldn’t take a raft down the Tara River. We were pretty disappointed because we heard how amazing it was.
If you’re driving through Zabljak during your Montenegro road trip, be sure to white water raft down the Tara River.
Where To Stay In Zabljak
During our stay in Zabljak, we stayed at the cutest mountain villa. It was centrally located and reasonably priced. You can check out the same villa here: Villa Vjerra.
If you haven’t signed up for Airbnb yet, get $40 off your first booking by using our Airbnb referral link.
Montenegro Road Trip Car Rental
We were pleasantly surprised to find that car rentals in Montenegro are ridiculously cheap. None of that $100+ per day to rent a car like in the USA; renting a car in Montenegro will cost approximately $100 total for your 7-day itinerary.
The easiest place to rent a car during your Montenegro road trip is Tivat. Since Tivat is home to a small international airport, finding rental cars is simple.
We used a couple of different car rental companies during our Montenegro road trips and found that each company was honest and reliable. We recommend booking your rental car through Skyscanner. This is where we find the best deals for rental cars.
The two rental car companies in Tivat that we used and had success with were Hertz and Avis.
How To Budget For Your Montenegro Road Trip
The currency used in Montenegro is the Euro. Most places in Montenegro accept credit cards, so there is no need to carry around hundreds of dollars.
During our Montenegro road trip, our budget hovered around $75 per day for food, gas, and accommodation. Keep in mind, there were three of us traveling; it would be pretty easy to cut this budget in half if you are traveling alone.
Is Montenegro Safe?
Montenegro is one of the safest countries in Europe. I felt safe throughout the entirety of our trip. Not only did we visit many different towns and areas of Montenegro, but I regularly went out and explored by myself (a young female).
The only thing I would slightly warn travelers about when visiting Montenegro is driving on city streets. Driving from Kotor to Tivat can be a bit hectic, so be sure to drive with caution. However, be aware that driving outside of cities is easy and manageable.
The Best Time To Visit Montenegro
Montenegro has decently nice weather year-round. Winters in Montenegro are mild and summers in Montenegro are hot.
Visiting Montenegro in the summer will result in high temperatures and masses of vacationers. The best time to visit Montenegro is in early spring or fall.
Our favorite time of year to visit Montenegro is in October. You’ll still get warm weather to hit the beaches and swim in the ocean, but you’ll avoid the flocks of tourists.
What Language Do They Speak In Montenegro?
Upon arrival in Montenegro, we were quite confused about the language spoken in this region of eastern Europe. It took a bit of research to realize that the people of Montenegro speak a form of Serbian.
If you use Google translate while visiting Montenegro, use Serbian as the default language.
To our surprise, fewer people spoke English than we thought, yet it was still easy to communicate with the friendly locals. We also learned a couple of basic phrases in Serbian to help us out during our Montenegro road trip.
The Wrap-Up: Montenegro Road Trip
Montenegro is a country that needs to be explored far and wide. Rent a car and start planning your epic Montenegro road trip using this 7-day itinerary.
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