Best things to do in Montenegro

updated 2/14/2023
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From the towering peaks of Durmitor National Park to the historic old towns of Kotor and Budva, there is no shortage of things to do in Montenegro. Whether you're a nature lover, a history buff, or just looking for a relaxing getaway, this country has something to offer everyone. Here is our pick of the best things to do in Montenegro.

The information in this article is inspired by the The Rough Guides guidebooks — your essential guides for visiting the world.

1. Budva

The most appealing of Montenegro’s many beach towns. The focal point is the Budva Old Town – more of a place to stroll and sip coffee than sightsee – though most travellers are here for the beaches, and there are plenty to choose from.

One of the best things to do in Montenegro is to try to hunt down the entrances to the Old City wall, which boasts the best views. There are only two of these, meaning that almost no tourists ever get up there – one is just to the left when you enter through the Terra Ferita gate, and the other is an alley off Hong Kong restaurant.

Do you want to experience the joy, both of simple mountain life as well as the modern, luxurious spirit of the coast, then this tailor-made trip to Montenegro is just right for you! Enjoy rafting, canyons, national parks and old towns and make your trip unforgettable.

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Staying in Budva and enjoying its beaches is one of the best things to do in Montengro © Shutterstock

2. Sveti Stefan

A few kilometres south of Budva (most easily accessed by taxi), and visible from the road if you’re heading to or from Bar, is the incredibly picturesque island of Sveti Stefan, an old fishing village fish scaled with orange roofs. It’s now cordoned off as luxury accommodation, but never mind – all the tourist brochure shots are taken from the road anyway, and you can do the same for free.

Sveti Stefan island in Budva in a beautiful summer day, Montenegro © Shutterstock

3. Exploring Durmitor National Park - one of the most exciting things to do in Montenegro

Kayak through Europe’s grandest canyon. A land of jagged, pine-cloaked mountains and alpine pastureland, Durmitor is the most scenic place in inland Montenegro, and a hive of outdoor activity throughout the year. Dozens of 2000m-plus peaks drop down to the spectacular Tara Canyon, a 1000m-deep rip in the Earth bisected by a crashing river. Durmitor is a prime spot for skiing, hiking, camping, rafting and far more.

Durmitor National Park © Shutterstock

4. Kotor Old Town & Bay of Kotor

Beguiling historic centre on a bay circled by gargantuan cliffs. Perched on the edge of a majestic bay, the medieval Old Town of Kotor is the undisputed jewel in Montenegro’s crown. Though no longer Europe’s best-kept secret, Kotor’s sudden elevation to the tour-bus league has failed to dim the timeless delights of its maze of cobbled alleyways and secluded piazzas.

Enclosing cafés and churches galore, the town walls are peered down upon by a series of hulking peaks. Down below, a harbour now bustling with sleek yachts marks the end of the Bay of Kotor, made fjord-like by the thousand-metre cliffs that rise almost vertically from the serene waters.

Going to visit Montenegro for the first time? Explore our in-depth first timer's guide to Montenegro.

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Kotor Bay, Montenegro © eFesenko/Shutterstock

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5. Stari bar

Centuries-old ruins set in tranquil countryside, the pleasant town of Bar is literally the first port of call for many visitors to Montenegro, thanks to regular ferry connections with Italy. While the beach is rocky and there are no real attractions in the centre, it’s worth at least an afternoon thanks to the magnificent ruins of Stari Bar – stari means old – which sit 5km up the hill.

The beauty of its setting is quite staggering – sheer cliffs surround this old town on all sides, and tiny farming communities dot the valleys below. Fragments of pottery found in the area date as far back as 800 BC, though it wasn’t until the sixth century that the Byzantine Empire created what you see today.

Exploring the Stari bar ruins is one of the many exciting things to do in Montenegro © Pecold/Shutterstock

6. Cetinje monastery

Former royal capital, now a delightfully sleepy town. The monastery of Cetinje is in the very heart of the ancient capital of Montenegro, Cetinje, at the foothill of the Eagle's Cross Mountain. The Cetinje monastery is, without a doubt, the heart and soul of Orthodox Montenegro, which has at all times been an emblem of liberty, national identity and the powerful spirit of the Montenegrin nation.

Today it is the country's political and cultural core. The Cetinje monastery has witnessed many events that have proved to be more or less significant and pivotal in the destiny of Montenegro. If you are interested in history, visiting the monastery should be on your list of things to do in Montenegro.

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Cetinje monastery in Montenegro © Nicola Pulham/Shutterstock

7. Lovcen National Park

Lovcen National Park sits on the border between two climatic zones, the Mediterranean and the continental, which has led to the development of rich wildlife with numerous endemic plant and animal species. 1/3 of the existing Montenegrin flora species can be found here.

The two highest peaks in the Lovcen Mountains are Štirovnik at 749 metres above sea level, which you can climb with special equipment, and Jezerskivrh at 1,657 metres above sea level, where the Negoš Mausoleum is placed.

Lovcen National Park panorama, seen from mount Lovcen, Njegos mausoleum observation deck, Montenegro © Shutterstock

8. Lake Skadar

Oozing over the Albanian border, beautiful Skadar is the largest lake in the Balkans, and also one of its most untouched. However, since it lies on the train line, it’s easily accessible and can make a good stop off on your way to or from the coast. The main jump-off point is Virpazar, a cute little fishing village at the northern end of the lake, a kilometre back down the line to Podgorica from the station.

The Crnojevica River flows into Lake Skadar. In summer the river dries up a little and becomes green because of the water lilies, and in winter the water swells up a few metres and changes to amazing emerald colours.

Explore an abundance of beautiful lakes around the world with our guide to 20 breathtaking lakes.

Karuc Bay in Lake Skadar National Park, Montenegro © Shutterstock

9. Blue Grotto

The Blue Cave or Blue Grotto is a natural landmark of Montenegro, which is a large grotto with a total area of approximately 300 square metres. The vault is 25 metres high and about 3-4 metres deep. The grotto is so called because on sunny days, the sun's rays refract and illuminate the water from below, making it appear blue. The water reflecting off the cave walls also creates extraordinary shades on them.

The best time to visit the Blue Cave is before noon. Visitors also have a chance to take a swim. The depth in some places exceeds 45 metres and people sometimes go scuba diving. There is also a drawback - sometimes there are a lot of tourists here, and you might not have enough time to swim.

Dreaming of exploring the Blue Grotto? Our tailor-made trip service allows you to go on the trip of your dreams without the planning or hassle. Our tailor-made Montenegro Adventure that will take you across the small, yet magical country of Montenegro and allow you to explore its beauty from the stunning coast on the south, to the mountains and lakes on the north. Our trips are completely customisable and are crafted by local craft experts.

Blue Cave, the most beautiful grotto of Montenegro © Shutterstock

10. Dinaric Alps

The mountain range in the western Balkans extends from Italy in the northwest, through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Albania to northwest Greece, known as the Dinaric Alps.

Montenegro's Dinaric Alps include the Durmitor, Bjelasica and Prokletije mountain ranges. These mountains are famous for their rugged relief, deep canyons and diverse nature and wildlife. If you are looking for outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing and skiing a visit to this natural attraction is one of the best things to do in Montenegro for you.

Dinaric alps on the border between Montenegro, Kosovo and Albania © Shutterstock

11. The Ostrog Monastery

Manastir Ostrog (Ostrog Monastery) is a functioning Orthodox church which houses the relics of Basil of Ostrog's. It is located near Podgorica in the village of Bogetići. The monastery dates from the 17th century and was named after a mountain cliff. The complex consists of two parts: the Lower and Upper Monastery, with the Church of the Presentation and the Church of the Holy Cross carved into the rock.

Despite numerous wars and catastrophes, in the 18th century the monastery was restored thanks to the faith and efforts of the monks and parishioners. Today the Ostrog monastery still remains one of the most amazing places in Montenegro.

Ostrog monastery - Montenegro © Shutterstock

12. Prokletije National Park

Prokletije National Park is named after the mountains of the same name in north-eastern Montenegro. The park is famous for its varied natural scenery, including deep canyons, high peaks and glacial lakes. You'll also find plenty of local wildlife, including endemic species such as the Balkan lynx, brown bear and chamois.

In addition to the scenery and wildlife, the park offers a wide range of activities such as hiking, climbing, skiing and horseback riding. There are also several marked hiking trails and mountain cabins that visitors can access.

Panorama of the Ropojana valley in the Prokletije National Park © Shutterstock

13. Local Cuisine

Montenegro’s restaurant scene is a little disappointing. In tourist areas, traditional meals have largely been pushed out by pizza and pasta, and prices have risen beyond those of neighbouring countries. Traditional restaurants are known as konoba, and can help those willing and able to escape said Italian staples.

Menu items to look out for include grilled kebabs (čevapčići), cabbage leaves stuffed with mincemeat (sarma), bean soup with flecks of meat (pasulj), goulash (gulaš), and the artery-clogging karađorđe vasnicla, a breaded veal cutlet roll stuffed with cheese. Also ubiquitous are the Turkish snack staples of burek, pastry filled with meat, cheese, spinach and occasionally mushroom, and syrupy baklava sweets.

Balkan čevapčići © Shutterstock

14. Porto Montenegro

Porto Montenegro is a complex project with a very well-developed infrastructure located in the city of Tivat on the Bay of Kotor. This project is designed as a miniature city with everything you need for yacht owners and yachtsports enthusiasts. At the moment there is no equivalent project in the entire Adriatic, and there are only a couple more across Europe.

The port's infrastructure is highly varied and includes a wide range of facilities: luxury hotels, a sports complex, an art gallery and much more.

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Palm trees on a sunny day in the marina Porto Montenegro in Montenegro © Shutterstock

15. Lipa Cave

Lipa Cave is one of the largest cave sites in Montenegro. Exploring the cave with its beautiful and wild system of 2.5 km of passages and halls is one of the most exciting things to do in Montenegro.

Today, many local guides offer a variety of tours of the cave. These tours are quite easily accessible as the cave is quite close to Budva and Kotor. Trails and lighting in the cave make it an enjoyable and completely safe place to visit.

Lipa Cave ( Lipska pecina) in Cetinje, Montenegro, Kotor © Shutterstock

There's an abundance of beautiful places in Europe which don't require much of a budget to see and Montenegro is definitely one of them. To find out more budget travel destinations explore our guide to the 20 best places to visit in Europe on a budget.

If you prefer to plan and book your trip to the Montenegro without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.

Visiting Montenegro is a truly unforgettable experience. For more inspirational travel tips check our Rough Guide books. If you travel further in Montenegro, read more about the best time to go and the best places to visit in Montenegro.

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Travel advice for Montenegro

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updated 2/14/2023
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