Montenegro, like Slovenia, is one of those countries that have it all: amazing seaside, breathtaking mountains, stunning nature, and historical towns. The good thing is the country is rather small so visiting them all shouldn’t be too difficult.
While most people focus only on the seaside there are so many more great places to visit in Montenegro and today I will tell you more about them. I bet this list will make you want to visit Montenegro right away!
Table of contents
- 1 Best places to visit in Montenegro
- 1.1 Kotor
- 1.2 Perast
- 1.3 Risan
- 1.4 Herceg Novi
- 1.5 Tivat
- 1.6 Budva
- 1.7 Sveti Stefan
- 1.8 Stari Bar
- 1.9 Ulcinj
- 1.10 Cetinje
- 1.11 Podgorica
- 1.12 Skadar Lake
- 1.13 Lovcen National Park
- 1.14 Žabljak
- 1.15 Durmitor National Park
- 1.16 Tara River Canyon
- 1.17 Piva Canyon
- 1.18 Biogradska Gora National Park
- 1.19 Kolasin
- 1.20 Prokletije National Park
- 1.21 Niksic
- 1.22 Ostrog Monastery
- 2 Final thoughts on visiting Montenegro
- 3 Further reading
- 4 Travel Resources
Best places to visit in Montenegro
I can’t count how many times I’ve been to this stunning Balkan country but despite my numerous visits there, I’m always ready for another trip to Montenegro. The country is just the prettiest and so full of attractions, it keeps impressing me every single time.
And every time I discover new amazing pots there, so far there are around 20 on my list of best places to visit in Montenegro and I just keep adding new ones.
So, to help you plan your trip to Montenegro here is an overview of the places you should consider visiting there.
A true gem and the most popular destination in Montenegro – Kotor – is famous for a reason. The town, dating back to the 3rd century BC, is full of monuments and you will be busy seeing them all.
The old town is rather small but so picturesque with narrow, winding lanes, charming corners, and beautiful old palaces.
Be sure to climb to the St. John Fortress, towering above the town. It is a bit challenging (you need to walk over 1300 stairs to the very top) but you will be rewarded with stunning views, some of the most beautiful you will ever see. The location of Kotor is just amazing and will take your breath away for sure (not only because of the climbing to the fortress).
I recommend staying in Kotor overnight – the old town can get very packed with passengers of the cruise ships that arrive here daily in the summer season but once they are gone in the late afternoon the town gets blissfully empty and it’s so easy to fall in love with it. And during the day you can go for a long walk along the Kotor Bay where you barely meet other people and still can enjoy the area.
I visited Kotor at least five times (or maybe more?) and my favorite time was in March and December – the days might have been shorter but I had the old town almost to myself.
Kotor is one of my favorite places ever and it’s on the very top of my personal list of the most beautiful places in the world. I’m sure you will love it as much as I did, it’s impossible not to fall in love with this town!
You can read more about Kotor in those articles I wrote:
- Kotor Old Town and beyond – why you should spend at least 2 days there
- Kotor, Montenegro in pictures – is it the most beautiful place in the world?
- Alternative Kotor: abandoned Hotel Fjord and more!
This small but very picturesque town is located in Bay of Kotor and is a perfect day trip from Kotor which is only 15 km away.
Everyone knows Perast for the two islands located directly in front of the town, one of them with the church that you can visit. But Perast itself is worth your time too. The town full of old and beautiful palaces and churches, the oldest ones are from the 15th century.
Perast is a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of Kotor, the town is quiet and with the laid-back vibe and wandering around the backstreets or the seaside promenade is such a pleasure. I always try to visit Perast when I’m in Kotor, it’s too charming to miss!
You can read more about Perast here.
Another one of the towns in the Bay of Kotor, known mostly for its Roman mosaics from the 2nd century. You can visit here the archeological station and admire them yourself – they surely are impressive!
The town itself is not that interesting, especially if you compare it with nearby Kotor or Perast but it’s still worth stopping in Risan for the mosaics, and beautiful views of the Kotor Bay.
The northernmost seaside town in Montenegro, near the border with Croatia, is often called “the city of flowers” thanks to its Mediterranean vibe and more diverse flora (you can find here cypress, palm or citrus trees).
Herceg Novi was founded at the end of the 14th century and over the years has been an important port in the area. Today you can find here the architectural remnants of these times with buildings in Roman, Byzantine, Baroque, or Oriental styles. The nearby Igalo is a well-known spa destination, famous for its healing mud.
Tivat, a coastal town located in the Bay of Kotor, might not be the most interesting of the Montenegro cities but it is worth visiting for Porto Montenegro – the luxury yachts marina. It can be a great sneak peek into the life of the rich and famous as some of the ships there are really spectacular!
The most popular seaside resort in Montenegro attracts tourists from all over the world with numerous hotels, beaches, marinas, and the party scene.
There is also a small old-town, surrounded by the walls from the 15th century. Inside it, you can find most of the Budva monuments, such as churches, piazzas, and the citadel.
You should choose Budva as your holiday destination if you like not only relaxing at the beach but also a crazy nightlife. Otherwise, I would recommend staying somewhere else but still visiting Budva for a day to enjoy its charming old town and a beautiful location.
A bit outside of Budva you can find Sveti Stefan – the picturesque island connected with the mainland by the narrow tombolo. This is one of the most famous views of the country that you probably have seen before your trip to Montenegro.
The fortified fishermen village was founded here already in the 15th century but in the 1950s the local inhabitants had to move out and the luxurious resort was created here. Today a fine 5* hotel is located on the island, some of the most famous celebrities spend their holidays here.
The best view of Sveti Stefan is from the small terrace off the main road above the town.
Above the town of Bar, the important harbor of the Adriatic Sea, you will find Stari Bar.
Over the centuries the fortified town was under the Byzantine, Serbian and Ottoman rule and eventually, it was besieged and destroyed in 1877 during the Montenegrin – Ottoman war. Later on, after the 1979 earthquake, Stari Bar was left in ruins that we can visit today.
Even if the remnants of the town are in a rather poor condition, this is a wonderful place to visit. You can wander around the ruins of the old houses, churches, and buildings of the public use and feel the spirit of the old times. The view from the fortress is pretty amazing too, especially toward mountains.
In Stari Bar you can also see the allegedly oldest olive tree in the world, apparently it’s over 2000 years old.
The southernmost coastal town, located near the border with Albania, has a different vibe than more popular destinations in Montenegro.
The town is not as fancy as Budva and not as packed with tourists as Kotor can be. The majority of the inhabitants are Albanians and that might be a reason why Ulcinj feels so laid-back.
Ulcinj is among the oldest ones on the Adriatic coast, the first settlement was founded here in the 5th century BC. Today you can explore the old town with the well-preserved castle, enjoy sandy beaches or visit Ada Bojana island, famous especially among nudist tourists.
Probably the most important city in Montenegro, the cradle of the national identity and the Montenegrin culture as well as the center of the Orthodox religion.
Cetinje was founded at the end of the 15th century when Ivan Crnojevic moved his capital here. The real development of the town happened in the 19th century, under the rule of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš and afterward, when Cetinje became the capital of the independent Kingdom of Montenegro (until 1918). Numerous embassies and public institutions were opened here and Cetinje flourished like never before.
Today Cetinje is a sleepy town with many historical monuments worth visiting. Due to its importance, Cetinje has the title of the honorary capital of Montenegro, also the president of the country has his residence here.
The capital of the country isn’t the most beautiful and exciting city ever (especially when you look at all the other amazing places to visit in Montenegro). In my personal ranking, this is actually the most boring capital in Europe.
But if you happen to be here you can check the center, the 17th-century clock tower, or the bridges (especially modern Millennium Bridge). Fans of brutalist architecture will fin some interesting buildings here too, including Church of the Holy Heart of Jesus.
Skadar Lake is the largest lake in the Balkans, divided between Albania (1/3) and Montenegro (2/3). The Montenegrin part was declared a national park.
Skadar Lake is a heaven for all the birds’ lovers, around 280 kinds of birds live here (which is around 50% of bird species in Europe). Some of the birds you can see here include pelicans (very rare in Europe), herons or cormorants.
But even if you are not into ornithology you would still enjoy Skadar Lake. The most popular activity here is a boat ride and I can definitely recommend it. You can see the lake from a completely different perspective and then you will be able to appreciate it to the fullest. The most popular places to go for a boat ride are Virpazar and Rijeka Crnojevica.
Lovcen National Park
Located between Kotor and Cetinje, Lovcen National Park offers some spectacular views over Lovcen mountains. The highest peak is Štirovnik (1749 meters above the sea level) but the most important is Jezerski vrh (1657 meters).
On top of it you can find the mausoleum of Petar Petrović Njegoš. Even if it was constructed only in 1971 the location of the burial place was chosen by Njegoš himself (he died in 1851). To get to the mausoleum you need to walk up 461 stairs but you will be rewarded with the breathtaking view of Lovcen mountains and beyond.
With the altitude of almost 1500 meters, this is the highest located town in the Balkans and the best base of the Durmitor National Park and all its activities (such as skiing, mountaineering, or rafting).
But even if you are not interested in hiking you should still visit Žabljak, even if only to walk around the Black Lake (the largest one in Durmitor) and to admire the stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Durmitor National Park
The national park, established in 1952, is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Durmitor mountains, with its highest peak Bobotov Kuk (2,522 m) is one of the most beautiful places in Montenegro and a paradise for all hiking fans.
There are 48 peaks above 2,000 meters and 18 glacial lakes. If you like nature you surely won’t be bored here.
Tara River Canyon
This is the second deepest canyon in the world (1300 meters) and the deepest gorge in Europe, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The river is 146 km long, most of it is in Montenegro or on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina (only the last few kilometers are in that second country).
Tara is perfect for rafting and it attracts many fans of this water activity who consider is one of the best things to do in Montenegro. You can go for rafting on Tara from Žabljak or even as a day trip from Kotor.
If you like some adrenaline you can also do zip-lining above Tara River Canyon, next to Đurđevića Tara Bridge – it’s one of the longest zip-lines in the world, over 1 km long.
Piva river is another perfect place for rafting in Montenegro. This picturesque mountain river with over 1000 meters deep canyons can be found in the northern part of the country, near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina (where it meets Tara river and together they create Drina).
Near Pluzine you can see the artificial Piva Lake, made here when building the nearby Mratinje Dam on Piva river.
Biogradska Gora National Park
The national park, established in 1952, located in the central part of the country covers the area of one of the few remaining virgin forests in Europe. You can also find here mountain ranges (with peaks over 2000 meters high) and glacial lakes.
The most popular spot is Biogradsko Lake, picturesquely located with surrounding lush mountains. Once you are there it’s worth going for a 4 km loop around the lake.
Kolasin might not be as popular as Žabljak but the town is a great location for fans of winter activities.
Located in the central part of the country, in the footsteps of Bjelasica and Sinjajevina mountains, Kolasin area is perfect for skiing. The town is also known for its fresh, mountainous air. From here you can easily get to Biogradska Gora National Park that is only a short drive away.
The best way to get to Kolasin is by train – the town is on the famous Belgrade to Bar route and the views along the way (especially if you travel here from the direction of Podgorica) are simply breathtaking.
Prokletije National Park
This is probably the least known national park in Montenegro as well as the newest one. It is located in a rather remote place in the south-east part of the country, near the borders with Kosovo and Albania (after all Prokletije mountains spread through all three countries).
You can find here some breathtaking scenery with high mountains, deep valleys, and glacier lakes. The highest peak of Montenegro – Zla Kolata (2534 meters) – is located in Prokletije National Park.
The second-largest city in Montenegro might be worth visiting only to those who are interested in urban planning.
Even if the area of Niksic was inhabited already in the antiquity what we can see today is a planned city, designed in 1883. The streets outgoing from the main square (today a roundabout) create a spider-web alike layout and are an overview of the different architectural styles.
If you like urbex you should put Niksic on your bucket list – the local House of Revolution is a playground for those who like exploring abandoned places (however it is not recommended to go inside on your own).
Just outside the city, you can find the impressive Slano Lake. Niksic is also home to the most famous beer in Montenegro – Niksicko.
Even if you are not a religious person you should still visit Ostrog Monastery for its location – it is literally glued to the rock high above the plateau.
This most popular pilgrimage site in Montenegro is part of the Serbian Orthodox Church and is dedicated to the Saint Basil of Ostrog who was buried here in 1671.
Each year on the 12th of May, the day Saint Basil died, hundreds of pilgrims arrive here to pay their respect to the saint and to pray. I accidentally happened to be there on that very day, the monastery was packed with people but the atmosphere was amazing and one of a kind.
Final thoughts on visiting Montenegro
As you can see there are plenty of amazing places to visit in Montenegro, suitable for each taste. No matter if you like a seaside, spectacular mountains, beautiful nature or historical towns you will still find something for yourself in Montenegro. I would recommend visiting Montenegro outside the summer season to avoid crowds, especially in Kotor. But no matter when you go I’m sure you will fall for the country and will want to visit Montenegro over and over again!
You probably have guessed that I’m a frequent visitor in Montenegro and the Balkans – this is actually one of my very favorite regions in the world. I covered it extensively on this blog and so you might be interested in reading other articles about traveling in the Balkans that I wrote:
- Your ultimate Balkan travel guide
- Balkan highlights – your ultimate list of what to see in the Balkans
- Solo female travel in the Balkans
- and many more!
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