Montenegro: Destination Guide
Just south of Croatia along the Adriatic coast is the small country of Montenegro which packs a punch for visitors. With a similarly stunning coastline, you will be shocked to see how much natural variety exists within such a short distance, and we love the accessibility due to everything being fairly close by. Additionally, the huge variety of attractions ready for you to experience makes this country a fulfilling visit on its own or a phenomenal addition to time spent in neighboring countries like Serbia, Albania, or Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Montenegro’s territory lies on the border of East and West and its history has kept it a bit off the beaten track until recently. With the recognition of the country’s name growing in recent years, luxurious investments have given travelers the opportunity to experience 5-star service while exploring the coast and countryside. It is easy to find yourself hiking in the dramatic mountain ranges followed by swimming in the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic – all in a single day.
Adventures Croatia is constantly exploring the region and our team continues to return from Montenegro with nothing but raving reviews. This country entrances you with its dichotomy of natural beauty, ready to be explored by the intrepid traveler paired with quaint towns and hotels ready to please.
To help you understand all that there is to offer, we are including a list of popular and less well-known locations around the country that we just can’t rave about enough.
Bay of Kotor
Montenegro’s most well-known destination is almost certainly the Bay of Kotor, and upon arrival, it becomes very clear why. This large bay surrounded by steep mountains is a sight to behold, and every turn while driving around its perimeter will have you in awe. You can also take a quick ferry to cut across the bay, but will most certainly want to see the many branches of the Adriatic’s largest inlet from every angle instead.
Cruise ships often use the city of Kotor in the bay’s southern tip as a port, and we recommend either taking a ship into the bay or spending a day out on the bay if you are staying on land. There are many small villages lining the coastline to explore and being on the water surrounded by the stunning mountains is a spectacular feeling. One of the most popular boat trips takes you to visit the bay’s two islands, Our Lady of the Rocks and Otok Sveti Dorde, respectively housing a Monastery and a Church.
Two very popular towns along the bay are awaiting your exploration – Old Town Kotor and Perast. First, Old Town Kotor is a very popular walled medieval city with plenty of museums and local shopping available. The famous cats of Kotor even have their own museum dedicated to them. Rising above the city is the impressively designed St. John Fortress, a must-do hike for those in search of the best city views.
Just a bit further down the bay from Kotor is the quaint town of Perast. A bit smaller and quieter than Kotor, you will be able to stroll peacefully along the winding streets and enjoy the waterfront cafes and restaurants. Many people come to Perast for the boat trip to visit Our Lady of the Rocks, but this town has much more to offer and is worthwhile of your time. Also inside the bay is our favorite up-and-coming destination along Montenegro’s coast, the glitzy port town of Porto Montenegro – a worthwhile location to spend your relaxing vacation time.
The Montenegro Coast
In total, Montenegro boasts 295 km of coastline lined with unique beaches and bays to explore the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea. While most of the beaches are rocky, the small pebbles make much less mess than sand, and there are plenty of sun loungers available for affordable prices. A favorite Adventures Croatia coastal day-trip is to the Blue Cave of Herceg-Novi, a stunning entrance you have to see to believe.
Of the many towns to stay in Montenegro, Budva continues to be a favorite thanks to its high-caliber luxury accommodations and its central location which makes the rest of the country very accessible. This coastal town is well known for having many activities available, especially for those looking to enjoy water sports or the nightlife. During the summer months, there will always be activities taking place in Budva – evening fairs, film screenings, and live music will keep you entertained.
Our team has also been lucky enough to explore the exclusive Sveti Stefan resort, and while it may not be everyone’s ideal stay, we do believe this unique island is a must-see for everybody. Connected to the mainland by a thin path lined by beaches, the view of this island is a postcard-worthy and extremely picturesque sight to see.
Saving what may be the best for last, beyond Montenegro’s coast is where the country’s natural diversity showcases itself best. Mountainous terrain and powerful rivers provide some of the region’s best adventure sports and outdoor activities. Many of these sights are feasible to visit on day-trips from the coast, and smaller hotels have been developed for you to stay close to the locals and the natural environment. There is an option for everyone.
Now, if you can only do one activity beyond the coast in Montenegro, visit the Durmitor ring. The jewel of northern Montenegro is this National Park worthy of as much time as you want to give it. As you take the single road winding through the mountainous landscape you’ll constantly be stopping for yet another scenic overlook. At the same level as the clouds, you’ll pass by small villages and constantly see sightings of wild horses, sheep, and the untouched landscapes of this well-kept park. This area has plenty of opportunities for all kinds of adventurous activities and has many popular hiking trails.
Driving further south you will pass by many lakes, some remote, and other very large and accessible. Well-known is the vast Lake Skadar, which straddles the border between Montenegro and Albania. This lake is popular for bird watchers and those wanting to see its unique wildlife via boat.
Ostrog Monastery is the only man-made suggestion we are offering in this region of Montenegro, but this engineering feat must be seen to be believed. The monastery was built right into the side of a massive rock, and climbing the hill to see the view will make you wonder how this construction was even feasible.
We will finish our Montenegro guide with the Tara river canyon. Only because it is an opportunity not worth forgetting. The Tara River Canyon is actually recognized as the deepest canyon in Europe and, like the Grand Canyon, is one of those sights you must see with your own eyes to truly understand. This canyon offers some of the Balkans most popular white-water rafting and opportunities to kayak or even zip-line over the canyon. If nothing else, you will want to stop off and take photos of the arched Tara Bridge wedged between the canyon’s jagged mountains.
Montenegro is also a great addition for visitors already planning on seeing one of Croatia’s neighbors. Due to Montenegro’s small size, you can easily make your way over from Croatia, Serbia, or Albania in a single itinerary. Feel free to get inspiration from our Discover Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina & Montenegro Tour itinerary or reach out to our educated regional specialists instead.
Adventures Croatia prides itself on providing an ideal custom itinerary to fulfill any travel need. If you are curious about the Balkans, Adventures Croatia will always be here for you!