Have you heard the term “Pearl of the Adriatic Sea” before? If so, you probably heard it in combination with Dubrovnik. But there’s another place in the Balkans that deserves this title even more: Montenegro.
The immense beauty and the variety of the country left me truly speechless and that’s why I decided to write this blog post and show you the best places to visit in Montenegro!
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Montenegro is a small, inconspicuous country in the Balkans located to the south of Croatia. Due to the popularity of Croatia, the country often stands in the shadow of its well-known neighbor to the west.
However, with its majestically shaped mountains in the north, medieval fishing villages and breathtaking beaches in the south, and locals as warm-hearted and hospitable as nowhere else to find, this small country has a lot to offer and is in no way inferior to Croatia.
If you are considering a trip there, check out the 7 best places to visit in Montenegro as they will show you the true beauty of it!
1. Rijeka Crnojevica & Lake Skadar
Believe me, you won’t find a place like this anywhere else in the world. Rijeka Crnojevica is a small town located near Lake Skadar.
With its charming and medieval vibes, the cute town is the perfect place to let go of all your worries and just enjoy the peaceful and tranquil atmosphere. It may even make you feel taken back to earlier centuries.
The river running through this place carries the same name as the lovely town. If you follow the bumpy mountain road that leads from Lake Skadar to Podgorica, you’ll find tons of amazing viewpoints on your way.
Of course, it is not the fastest way to head north, yet it is definitely the most scenic route.
2. Stari Bar
Stari Bar – also called Old Bar – is another enchanting small town situated at the foot of Mount Rumija and one of the best places to visit in Montenegro.
It can be easily mistaken for Bar, a bigger city not far from Old Bar which is one of the party hot spots in Montenegro.
Probably the most famous place in this town is the old fortress. Due to its amazing location, it offers a stunning panoramic view of Stari Bar with the mountains in the background.
Moreover, the way to the fortress is a cobblestoned path surrounded by small shops and lovely restaurants.
Be careful with the choice of your footwear, otherwise, the street can be very slippery! (I speak from experience :D)
Tours you might find interesting:
If you’re looking for a more vibrant and lively place with great nightlife, then Budva is your city!
It actually consists of two parts: The old part which is surrounded by an old city wall, and the newer place where you can find chic boutiques, hip bars, and great restaurants.
Even though it’s one of Montenegro’s rather modern cities, Budva is (apparently) one of the oldest places on the Adriatic Sea.
Its foundation dates back 2,500 years and after the city was destroyed by an earthquake in 1979, people completely rebuilt it in the manner of the original.
Whether you want to experience party life in Montenegro or merely discover the history of the country, Budva is definitely the perfect place as it offers both.
That’s the reason why it’s on the list of the best places to visit in Montenegro!
Kotor – or “Norway of the South” (as I would call it) – is probably THE absolute must-see in Montenegro which needs to be on every Balkans itinerary. Due to its popularity and convenient location at the Bay of Kotor, it is a perfect destination for cruise ships.
Unfortunately, this makes it also one of the most touristy and packed places. Therefore I would highly recommend you to head there early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
In my opinion, it is enough to spend only half a day there.
One of the best things to do in Kotor is to discover all its hidden corners and gems by casually walking around.
This can be a real adventure tho as the place
Another activity you shouldn’t miss doing is to climb the city walls to St John’s Fortress which is located 260 meters above the city. The view up there is truly out of this world!
However, this hike is not for everyone as it’s an endless journey of climbing 1,350 steep stairs and you should be mentally and physically prepared for it. Therefore I have the following tips for you:
- Bring enough water and maybe some snacks
- Plan at least 3 hours for the entire hike
- Wear the right shoes! (Speaking from experience again lol)
- Avoid midday heat (Early in the morning is the best time)
- Take some breaks every now and then
Even though it is a really tough way up there, the view is definitely worth the exhausting climb!
Tours you might find interesting:
Located only 20 minutes away from Kotor, the charming fishing village of Perast is another stop you should consider on your journey through Montenegro.
Although it’s very close to Kotor, Perast is still not as packed with tourists, if not to say almost “empty”. Because of its small size, there’s not much you can do but stroll along the promenade or have a coffee at the bay.
Thus it’s the complete opposite of Kotor which makes it the perfect place to relax after an adventurous time in Kotor.
6. Lovcen National Park
Besides all these lovely towns and cities, the small country at the Adriatic Sea captivates with its uniquely formed landscape.
A perfect place to see the true beauty of the entire landscape is Lovcen National Park, one of the best national parks in Europe. Or more precisely, the mausoleum, which sits on top of a mountain.
It offers a fascinating 360-degree view and on clear days it’s even possible to spot Kotor in the distance. Moreover, even the street leading you to the high vantage point is already an adventurous journey in itself!
7. Durmitor National Park & Black Lake
Last but definitely not least on my list of the best places to visit in Montenegro: Durmitor National Park & Black Lake.
First of all, visiting Black Lake and driving through Durmitor were my absolute highlights of the entire trip! During our visit there, I felt like I was in the movie “The Land Before Time”.
Hordes of sheep; cows and horses, rough mountain peaks, and untouched nature as far as the eye can see: Welcome to Durmitor National Park! With its endless hiking paths and incredible viewpoints, it’s a real paradise for every wanderer.
If you’re lucky enough then you may even find some new friends crossing your way in this breathtaking area. (See picture below)
In my opinion, Black Lake is one of the most beautiful natural landmarks in Europe. It’s closely situated in Zabljak and the perfect starting point for trips to the national park.
It is probably the most popular spot in the park and therefore very well-visited.
We went there early in the morning during sunrise and found the lake empty. Solely a lonely fisherman stood there, trying to catch some fish.
The scene was just indescribably beautiful!
Tours you might find interesting:
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Do you want to travel like me?
Here are some of my favorite travel tips and resources:
Flights: I prefer using CheapOair or Skyscanner to book flights. The destination everywhere feature is perfect for finding some cheap deals!
Accommodation: Booking.com is my favorite site to find some great hotel deals. I do love staying at a local place as well, thus I book an Airbnb every now and then.
Travel Insurance: There are many reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having one. I use the simple and flexible one from World Nomads to be protected against unforeseen events.
Tours: I love taking tours to explore destinations like a local. My favorite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.
Camera Gear: I use a Nikon D5300 camera with an 18-105 mm and a 10-20 mm wide-angle lens to take my photos.