Best Things to See and Do in Montenegro

Guide to the ultimate Montenegro experience

Montenegro is a relatively small country in south-eastern Europe, boasting a stunning coastline along the Adriatic Sea, breath-taking mountains, ancient cities, and rich cultural heritage.

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Montenegro’s history dates back centuries, and its heritage is woven into its cities, towns, and traditions. From the ancient fortifications and churches of Kotor Old Town and the royal legacy of Cetinje to the Ottoman influences in Ulcinj and the Venetian architecture of Perast, Montenegro offers a fascinating journey through time.

Its natural beauty and diverse landscape create endless opportunities for exploration and enjoyment. If you’re planning a tour or a trip to Montenegro, you’re in the right place because we uncover the major things to see and do in Montenegro that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

Explore Montenegro’s charming towns and villages

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Kotor Old Town and the Bay of Kotor

Kotor Old Town is a charming walled city located in the Bay of Kotor, which is often referred to as the southernmost fjord in Europe. The town is surrounded by stunning mountains and crystal-clear waters, making it one of the most picturesque places in Montenegro.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site showcases a blend of architectural styles influenced by various empires and city-states that once ruled the region. The 12th-century Cathedral of Saint Tryphon is a prime example of the town’s rich history and architectural achievements, featuring a mix of Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture, and several beautiful frescoes.

Another must-visit landmark in Kotor Old Town is the Maritime Museum, which is housed in a beautiful Baroque palace. The museum tells the story of Kotor’s maritime history, from the days of the Venetian Republic to the present day.

As you wander through the labyrinthine streets of Kotor Old Town, you’ll encounter charming piazzas, ancient churches, and impressive palaces. For a more challenging adventure, hike up to the upper town walls and the San Giovanni Fortress. The ascent may be steep, but the panoramic views of the town, The Bay of Kotor, and surrounding mountains are well worth the effort.

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The beautiful Bay of Kotor

The Bay of Kotor is one of the most stunning natural landscapes in all of Europe. The bay is shaped like a fjord, with steep mountains rising up on either side of the water. The bay is dotted with small towns and villages, each with their own unique charm and character.

One of the best ways to experience the beauty of the bay is to take a boat tour showing all of Kotor’s attractions such as the Blue Grotto and the man-made island of Our Lady of the Rocks. As you glide over the calm waters of the bay, enjoy in stunning views of the mountains, the sea, and the charming towns along the shoreline. If you opt for a car tour, a drive along the coastal road offers stunning views of the bay and its charming coastal towns, such as Perast and Herceg Novi.

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Perast: a baroque gem in the Bay of Kotor

Perast, a small, picturesque town is situated on the shores of the Bay of Kotor and boasts stunning Baroque architecture, with many palaces and churches, making it a popular tourist destination for those who love history and architecture.

Perast’s main attraction is its beautiful waterfront, which is lined with elegant Baroque buildings and luxurious yachts. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade and enjoy the stunning views of the bay and the surrounding mountains.

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The town’s two small islands are especially popular tourist destination; The St. George, that features a stunning church transformed into an art gallery exhibiting the works of Montenegrin artist Lovro Marinov Dobričević and his contemporaries, and Our Lady of the Rocks, a historic church, which sits on a man-made island in the bay, adorned with beautiful paintings and frescoes with a museum attached to it. Both of these small islands are a great destination to visit while in Perast.

Another must-visit place in Perast is the Church of St. Nicholas, which is a fine example of Baroque architecture. The church boasts an impressive collection of paintings and frescoes, as well as a beautiful bell tower that offers panoramic views of the town and the bay.

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Njeguši village: a taste of Montenegro’s culinary delights

Located near the Kotor Serpentine Road, Njeguši village in Montenegro is a place that should be on every food lover’s bucket list! it is renowned for its unique and traditional cuisine that has been passed down through generations so obviously it’s the perfect place to indulge in the country’s culinary heritage.

The village is famous for its smoked ham – prosciutto, known as Njeguški pršut, which is made using a special recipe and techniques. Ham is cured in the fresh mountain air and smoked over beech wood, which gives it a distinct flavour. Visitors can also try other local specialties such as Kačamak, a hearty cornmeal porridge served with cheese and cream, and Cicvara, a creamy polenta-like dish that is usually prepared with Kajmak cheese and coarse corn flour.

What makes Njeguši village even more special is its warm and welcoming community. The locals are proud of their heritage and are always happy to share their knowledge of traditional cooking techniques and ingredients. The village also hosts food festivities throughout the year, where visitors can sample a variety of local dishes and drinks while enjoying live music and entertainment.

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Budva Old Town and its riviera

This charming coastal town, located along Montenegro’s central coastline, is a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.

The Old Town of Budva, with its narrow streets, ancient fortifications, and charming squares, is a must-visit for anyone touring Montenegro. Be sure to explore the Citadel, a medieval fortress that boasts stunning views of the Adriatic Sea and Budva’s red-roofed buildings.

However, Budva’s attractions don’t end with its rich history. The Budva Riviera boasts miles of beautiful beaches that cater to all types of travellers. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family vacation, there’s a beach for everyone. Mogren Beaches 1&2, located close to the Town, are a popular choice for their soft sand and pebbles, and crystal-clear waters. Sveti Stefan Beach, located near the iconic island resort of the same name, is another favourite among visitors.

But it’s not just the beaches that draw tourists to Budva. The town’s vibrant nightlife is another major attraction for visitors. From beach parties to nightclubs, there’s always something going on in Budva.

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Town of Herceg Novi

Sitting at the gateway to the Bay of Kotor is Herceg Novi, a charming coastal gem boasting rich history and architecture, tracing back to the Roman Empire. Over the centuries, Herceg Novi has been influenced by various rulers, including the Venetians, Turks, and French, leaving behind a diverse cultural heritage that is simply fascinating to explore.

As you wander through the town, you’ll encounter ancient fortresses like the Kanli Kula Fortress, offering stunning views of the bay and surrounding mountains. For the adventurous at heart, Herceg Novi offers a number of outdoor activities such as kayaking, trekking, swimming, and various water sports.

While you’re there, be sure to visit the nearby Village of Rose, a quaint small town that offers al fresco dining with mesmerizing views of the bay. Whether you’re a history lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, Herceg Novi should be on your Montenegro bucket list.

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Sveti Stefan: luxurious island resort

Sveti Stefan, a stunning place on the Budva Riviera, has a rich history dating back to the 15th century when it was just a humble fishing village. In the 1950s, the town turned into a luxurious resort area that attracted famous guests like Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren. However, after facing a downfall in the 20th century due to the collapse of the Yugoslav federation, Sveti Stefan is now back to being a vacation paradise. The narrow path connecting it to the mainland boasts two exquisite pebble beaches. Although the beaches are open to the public, the island is only accessible to those staying at the Aman Resort.

Podgorica: Montenegro’s capital city

As Montenegro’s capital and largest city, Podgorica offers a mix of ancient history, modern amenities, and a vibrant atmosphere. Located at the confluence of two rivers, the city is surrounded by stunning mountains, so it’s obviously a perfect destination for nature lovers. What makes Podgorica even more fascinating is its rich cultural heritage that dates back to the Roman era. The city’s landmarks and monuments reflect its history, and it has many museums, art galleries, and historic sites that are worth exploring.

Podgorica city is also a contemporary hub with great shopping centres, restaurants, cafes, and bars that cater to all tastes and budgets. You can indulge in some retail therapy at the city’s shopping malls, try some of the local delicacies at the street vendors or enjoy a cup of coffee while soaking up the city’s atmospheree. Podgorica’s vibrant nightlife is also something to look forward to, with numerous clubs and bars that promise to keep you entertained until the early hours.

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Ostrog Monastery: a pilgrimage site built into a cliff

Built in the 17th century as a refuge against Ottoman invaders, Ostrog Monastery of the Serbian Ortodox Church is now a major pilgrimage site. Set atop a large granite outcropping, the entire monastery was carved from a cave on a nearly vertical cliff. Today, visitors can explore the monastery’s two inner cave churches, adorned with frescoes painted directly onto the rock walls. The monastery also houses the remains of its founder, St. Blaise of Ostrog known as Sveti Vasilije, who was proclaimed a saint after his death in 1671. Monastery is located around 50 kilmetres from Podgorica and is easily reached from the city.

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Ulcinj: a coastal town with a rich history

Ulcinj is a unique coastal town near the Albanian border, known for its beautiful beaches, ancient seaport, and rich history as the former pirate capital of the Adriatic Sea. The town’s predominantly Muslim population and stunning mosques add to its distinct atmosphere. Ulcinj is also home to Montenegro’s longest beach, Velika Plaža, which is perfect for families and kite-surfers.

Cetinje: a glimpse into Montenegro’s royal past

Cetinje, once the capital of Montenegro, is a historic town that offers a glimpse into the country’s royal past. Explore the Cetinje Monastery, which houses a collection of early-Christian relics, or visit the Vlah Church, a 15th-century structure with impressive architecture. The town is also a gateway to the beautiful Lovćen National Park, making it a perfect base for exploring Montenegro’s natural beauty.

Explore Montenegro’s national parks and natural beauty

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Montenegro is home to five national parks, each showcasing a unique aspect of the country’s stunning natural beauty. From the breath-taking peaks of Durmitor National Park and the serene waters of Skadar Lake, to the ancient forests of Biogradska Gora and the dramatic landscapes of Lovćen National Park, Montenegro’s natural wonders are sure to captivate and inspire you.

Lovćen National Park: Montenegro’s heart

Located in Montenegro’s mountainous heart, Lovćen National Park is a true paradise for hikers, trekkers, and nature enthusiasts. The park is spread over an area of 62.2 square kilometres and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The park is known for its rugged terrain, steep cliffs, and breath-taking panoramic views that will leave you spellbound.

Lovćen National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers who want to experience the beauty of Montenegro’s untouched wilderness. The park is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the country, including the magnificent Lovćen Mountain, which stands tall at an altitude of 1,749 meters. The mountain dominates the park’s skyline and offers visitors a chance to trek through its dense forests and rocky terrain.

For those who love exploring cultural heritage sites, Lovćen National Park has plenty to offer as well. The park is home to the Mausoleum of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš, a famous Montenegrin poet and philosopher. The mausoleum is located at the top of Mount Lovćen and offers visitors panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

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Durmitor National Park: a mountainous wonderland

Located near the little town of Žabljak, Durmitor National Park is a spectacular natural attraction that features towering peaks, glacial lakes, and the famous Tara Canyon. This mountainous wonderland is a must-see destination for anyone who loves the great outdoors. The park covers an area of over 390 square kilometres and is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in Europe, including the highest peak in the country, Bobotov Kuk, which stands at an impressive 2,523 meters.

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Durmitor NTLP boasts a diverse range of landscapes, from deep canyons and glistening lakes to snow-capped mountains and dense forests. There are over 20 glacial lakes in the park, each with its own unique charm. One of the most popular lakes is the stunning Crno Jezero (Black Lake), which is surrounded by towering peaks and is a popular spot for swimming, fishing, and boating.

If you’re an avid hiker or climber, then this is the perfect place for you. The park has over 50 peaks that are over 2,000 meters high, and there are dozens of marked hiking trails that will take you through some of the most stunning scenery in Europe.

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Tara Canyon: Europe’s deepest gorge

Tara Canyon is a part of Durmitor National Park and is protected as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This magnificent gorge is the deepest in all of Europe, carved by the Tara river through the towering mountains for thousands of years. The canyon is over 80 kilometres long and reaches depths of up to 1,300 metres.

Exploring Tara Canyon is an adventure like no other. There are hiking trails that wind through the rugged terrain, offering stunning views of the canyon and surrounding landscape. Visitors can also take part in thrilling activities such as white-water rafting, kayaking, and zip-lining. The crystal-clear waters of the Tara River are perfect for swimming, fishing, and relaxing on the riverbanks.

The natural beauty of Tara Canyon is simply awe-inspiring. Beautiful cliffs rise up on either side, covered in lush greenery and dotted with wildflowers. The river winds its way through the canyon floor, rushing over rocks and creating sparkling waterfalls. For nature lovers and adventure seekers, Tara Canyon is an absolute must-see.

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Black Lake: a glacial gem

One of the most picturesque lakes in Durmitor National Park is the Black Lake, a glacial lake surrounded by dense forests and towering mountains. Rent a kayak or a wooden boat to explore the lake’s crystal-clear waters or follow the four-kilometre trail that circles the lake for an easy hike with stunning views.

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Skadar Lake National Park: a birdwatcher’s paradise

Skadar Lake, the largest lake in the Balkans, is a true haven for bird watchers. This park is a paradise for those who love to observe the wondrous beauty of birds in their natural habitat. Skadar Lake National Park has an incredible ecosystem consisting of wetlands, forests, and mountains, providing the perfect environment for diverse bird species to thrive. From Pelicans, Eagles, Herons to Dalmatian pelicans and Pygmy Cormorants, bird lovers can witness an impressive variety of both common and endangered bird species. The park also has many observation points and walking trails that allow visitors to get up close and personal with these beautiful creatures.

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The stunning scenery of Skadar Lake National Park is not just limited to birds but also boasts spectacular views of the lake and surrounding mountains. The park is a great place to relax and unwind amidst nature’s beauty while listening to the soothing sounds of the birds.  Explore the lake either by boat, or by visit the charming villages that dot its shores.

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Pavlova Strana viewpoint

For panoramic views of Skadar Lake and its surrounding landscape, head to the Pavlova Strana Viewpoint. This scenic spot is accessible via a narrow, winding road, and offers stunning views of the lake’s horseshoe bend, lush greenery, and shimmering waters.

Lipa Cave: Montenegro’s underground wonderland

One of Montenegro’s largest caves, Lipa Cave, is located in a small village Lipa Dobrska, just a few kilometres from the town of Cetinje. The cave was accidentally discovered when a dog fell through a hole and managed to escape through another opening. Today, visitors can embark on a guided tour through the cave’s 3.5 kilometres of passages and chambers, marvelling at the intricate formations created by centuries of dripping water and an underground river.

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Biogradska Gora National Park: a primeval forest sanctuary

Biogradska Gora National Park, part of Kolašin municipal situated in the heart of Montenegro, is one of the last remaining primeval forests in Europe, making it a must-see destination for anyone who loves the great outdoors. The park covers an area of over 54 square miles and is home to an incredible 220 species of birds, including the rare golden eagle. The park is also a home to a diverse range of wildlife including brown bears, wolves, wild boars, deer, and lynx.

The park’s centrepiece is Biogradska Lake, which is surrounded by dense forests and majestic mountains. The lake is incredibly clear, giving you a glimpse into the underwater world that lies beneath. You can take a leisurely stroll around the lake or go for a more challenging hike up to one of the nearby peaks for panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

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Montenegro’s beaches

Montenegro beaches are a true gem waiting to be explored! With over 300 kilometres of coastline, this stunning country boasts some of the most breath-taking beaches in the world. Whether you’re looking for a secluded cove or a lively beach party scene, Montenegro has something for everyone. The crystal-clear waters, white sandy shores, and picturesque landscapes make it a perfect destination for beach lovers.

One of the most popular Montenegro beaches is the famous Jaz Beach near the town of Budva. This long stretch of sand is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. Another must-visit beach is the Plavi Horizonti Beach near the Radovići village, with its turquoise waters and lush green surroundings, it’s like stepping into paradise!

If you’re looking for something a little more secluded, head to the hidden gem of Drobni Pijesak Beach near te town of Budva. This tranquil spot is tucked away in a small bay surrounded by cliffs and trees – it’s the perfect place to unwind and soak up the sun.

And for those seeking adventure, don’t miss out on the surfing hotspot of Velika Plaža Beach  close to the town of Ulcinj. With its strong winds and high waves, it’s perfect for thrill-seekers looking to catch some waves.

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Montenegrin gastronomy

The Montenegrin Eno Gastronomy is a delightful fusion of Balkan, Mediterranean, and Ottoman influences and a true reflection of the country’s rich cultural heritage and diverse geography. The cuisine of Montenegro is influenced by the neighbouring countries like Italy, Turkey, and Greece, and has a unique blend of flavours that can satisfy any palate. Similar to Dalmatian cuisine, Montenegro gastronomy is characterized by the use of local ingredients like seafood, cheese, and olive oil, which are used in abundance in almost every dish.

When it comes to Montenegro wines, the country has a long and rich tradition of winemaking. The vineyards are situated on the rocky slopes of the mountains, which gives the grapes a unique flavour and character. The most popular grape varieties used in Montenegro wines are Vranac and Krstač. Vranac is a red grape variety that produces full-bodied and robust wines, while Krstač is a white grape variety that produces refreshing and crisp wines.

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Enjoy outdoor sports and adventures in Montenegro

With its diverse terrain and abundant natural beauty, Montenegro is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking, mountain biking, white-water rafting, and even skiing are just a few of the activities available to visitors seeking adventure. Montenegro’s rivers, lakes, and coastline also provide many opportunities for water sports, such as kayaking, snorkelling, and scuba diving.

One of the most popular Montenegro activities is hiking. Montenegro offers some of the best hiking trails in Europe. From easy walks to challenging treks, there’s something for hikers of all levels.

If you prefer cycling over hiking, don’t worry – Montenegro has plenty of mountain bike trails that will take you through stunning scenery and picturesque villages.

For those who love water sports, canoeing and rafting on the Tara River is an unforgettable experience.

Summer activities in Montenegro are:

Hiking, Cycling, Rafting, Canyoning, Horseback riding, Jeep Safari, Quad Safari, Camping, Cave exploring, Fishing, Kayaking, Canoeing, Boating, Kayaking, Snorkelling, Scuba-diving, and free-climbing.

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Winter activities in Montenegro are:

Skiing, Snowmobile rides, Ice-skating, Snowboarding, Snowshoe hiking and Nordic skiing

Getting to Montenegro

Montenegro is easily accessible by air, with international airports in Podgorica and Tivat, and Dubrovnik airport fairly close. The country is also well-connected by road, with bus services linking major cities and towns to Dubrovnik. There are also numerous travel agencies in Dubrovnik offering full day tours to Montenegro, whether private or group ones, so you’ll surely find the one that caters to your needs the best.

If you wish to explore Montenegro at your own pace but feel like it’s too much of a hassle, Check out the Montenegro Private Tour by Plura Agency that is entirely customizable and can adjust to your liking. Alternatively, you can rent a car to explore Montenegro but keep in mind that some roads may be narrow and winding, so exercise caution when driving.

Important information for your Montenegro visit

When planning your Montenegro adventure, be sure to have a valid passport or national ID card (depending on your nationality) for entry into the country. Non-European Union citizens may require a visa, so check the requirements before your trip. It’s also worth noting that Montenegro uses the Euro as its currency, making transactions convenient for travellers from Eurozone countries.

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