Why Montenegro Should be Your Next Travel Destination
Are you looking for a unique, historic and memorable location for your next holiday? With expansive views, crystal clear water, historic towns and endless opportunities for adventure, Montenegro could be the perfect destination for your next travel experience.
Montenegro is located on the stunning Balkan Peninsula in Southwestern Europe, off the coast of the Adriatic Sea. It is one of Europe’s smallest countries, with less than 650,000 people calling the seaside oasis home. Montenegro’s coastal towns host some of the most popular tourist attractions in the country – known for their beauty, beaches, hospitality and culture.
Let’s dive more into what Montenegro offers in this comprehensive travel guide.
Montenegro’s Top Destinations for Your Next Expedition
Montenegro is home to a rich culture, breathtaking landscapes and exciting tourist attractions. From ocean views to mountain hikes, there are endless places to visit. But when working within a holiday timeline, we must be selective about where we stay and which activities to try. We’ve narrowed down the top five destinations for your next trip to Montenegro below.
Kotor is one of Montenegro’s most popular coastal towns. The Bay of Kotor is a bustling tourist location with crystal clear water, limestone cliffs and a medieval town to explore.
The secluded town is a UNESCO World Natural and Historical Heritage Site whose cobbled streets and medieval architecture have been well preserved. Built between the 12th and 14th centuries, Kotor is worth a trip to wander the narrow streets and experience a slice of history.
Kotor Fortress, also known as San Giovanni, is the city’s highest point at 3937ft tall and is only accessible by foot. Once you climb the 1350 steps to the top, the view of Kotor Bay is breathtaking.
Another highlight of Kotor is the beautiful beaches – the most popular being the Milocer beach. The pink sand, vibrant water and mountain views make it one of the more popular beaches in Montenegro.
The coastal town of Budva is characterized by its Venetian-style buildings, similar to Kotor. The best way to explore this city is to allow yourself to get lost in the winding streets and embrace your inner explorer.
For those interested in historical tourism, the Citadel Fortress in the center of Budva is a must-see attraction. The fortress was built to protect Budva from naval attacks and now acts as an ocean-viewing spot. The Citadel Fortress is now home to a museum that showcases medieval exhibits, hospitality and observation decks for visitors to enjoy.
Durmitor National Park
Moving away from the beachy coastal areas, you’ll also find countless mountain climbs available across Montenegro. Durmitor National Park is a stunning destination you should certainly add to your itinerary. The National Park is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, with limestone mountains, lakes and cemeteries for tourists to marvel.
The landscape was shaped by glacial movement and is home to the Tara River Canyon – the deepest river canyon in Europe. The 4365ft-deep river canyon cuts through the limestone mountains, opening up a gorgeous view of the National Park. Some of the best views of Durmitor National Park are found when rafting down Tara River Canyon, which is why it is a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike.
Another noteworthy feature of the park includes the Black Lake. There are 18 glacial lakes found within Durmitor National Park, but Black Lake is by far the most popular, as it is the largest lake. A towering mountainscape behind the lake casts an ‘inky’ shadow across the water, hence the name. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely two-mile walk that circles the lake.
The other major attraction is the Stećci Sites, a cemetery found in two spots across Durmitor National Park. There are nearly 400 stone tombs carved in intricate designs and most are protected under the UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites.
Perast is one of the most well-preserved towns on the Adriatic coast, but unlike its Kotor and Budva neighbors, no walls are blocking the ocean across the town. As it is so open to the sea, it has a rich ocean-faring history of fishermen, mariners and traders dating back hundreds of years.
This tiny town offers a selection of romantic hospitality venues within the Bay of Kotor. Only a 20-minute drive from Kotor, you can’t miss the sloping town of Perast on your trip to Montenegro. Despite its small population of 250, the city hosts 17 Baroque palaces and 19 churches, two of which have the illusion of floating on the water.
An artificial island in the Bay of Kotor holds the ‘Our Lady of the Rocks’ church. The story behind this island is that the sailors of Perast would lay a rock where the church now is after every successful trip they had to sea. This tradition led to the slow placement of stones over 200 years, creating the base of the church we now know as Our Lady of the Rocks.
Bordering Albania and Montenegro, Lake Skadar is the largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula. The rocky shores, wetlands and serene waters are home to an ecosystem of wildlife, villages and beaches. This is another UNESCO World Heritage-listed site that also hosts Montenegro’s wine country.
Outdoor tourist activities such as hiking, swimming, cruises and kayaking are some of the attractions of the National Park, as well as the local culture and wine interests.
The water found in Lake Skadar is some of the clearest water found in Montenegro, maintaining its iciness year-round. Whether you’re looking for a guided tour with boat cruises, or solo adventure on the kayaks and hikes of ruined fortresses, Lake Skadar has something for every type of adventurer.
Experience the Best Montenegro has to Offer
Montenegro is a country full of culture and cuisine that is foreign to most tourists. When visiting a new country, you want to be immersed in another culture and experience a different side of life. Because of the vast differences in the coastal and mountain terrains, local food varies from city to city.
Restaurants like Koliba Bogetici in Niksic create an experience for those who want to eat ‘as our ancestors ate.’ Or, if you’re looking to eat with a view, then Restaurant Galion in Kotor is the place for you.
August is a busy month for Montenegro, hosting a variety of festivals and carnivals for locals and tourists alike to enjoy. The 400-year-old Kanli Kula Fortress transforms into the central hub of the Montenegro Film Festival. Other popular summer events include the Polo in the Port and the International Summer Carnival.
For the adventurous tourist, there are countless opportunities for fun in Montenegro. Bungee jumping, rafting and scuba diving are some of the high-adrenaline activities available, which are ideal for families, couples and solo travelers alike.
Travel Safety: How Safe is Montenegro for Tourists?
When visiting a new destination, it’s essential to consider how safe it is for tourists. The overall safety risk when visiting Montenegro is relatively low. The people of Montenegro are warm and friendly towards visitors, making it a popular tourist destination.
The crime rate is low and the only safety concerns are those surrounding pickpocketing, which is common in all tourist destinations. Cities such as Budva, Kotor and Herceg Novi are the most common for pickpocketing as they have the largest populations and can become crowded with tourists in the summer months.
Use common anti-theft tactics when traveling: don’t bring all of your money with you when walking around, keep valuables locked up, keep your purse close to your body, etc.
Traveling During COVID-19: Montenegro Restrictions (as of July 1, 2022)
The current COVID guidelines for traveling to Montenegro are as follows:
- Montenegro has no current COVID-19 entry requirements.
- Continue to wear face masks in medical centers, homes for the elderly and on public transport.
- There are no vaccination requirements for travelers.
While Montenegro may not be experiencing an outbreak when you book your trip, it is crucial to consider the restricted and strained healthcare system they have.
Book Your Trip to Montenegro Today!
Montenegro hosts beautiful sea views, glacial lakes, breathtaking mountainscapes and a rich cultural history. Hike ruined fortresses, kayak down the river canyons and enjoy your meals with a view of the crystal blue waters.
At Nature Expeditions International, we have almost 50 years of experience creating tailor-made journeys for our clients. Our team is here to help you design your ideal custom itinerary, organizing every detail to ensure a seamless experience. Many of our travelers combine their Montenegro expedition with a visit to Croatia or other nearby destinations.
If you’re ready to create your bespoke expedition to Montenegro, or to another destination of your choosing, contact our team today!