Montenegro is a tiny country that is home to soaring mountains and magnificent attractions.
With jaw-dropping landscapes and stunning beaches, it’s a paradise for nature lovers. But there are also plenty of underground destinations and ancient remnants of a bygone kingdom for the history buffs.
We love that each season in Montenegro offers a unique charm and experience, so it doesn’t matter when you make the time to visit.
So, if you’re planning to explore this wonderful Balkan country, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ll be diving into the best places in Montenegro and some unique things to do there.
Want more inspiration on travel destinations? Check out our list!
One of the best places to visit in Montenegro has to be Herceg Novi, an old coastal town nestled at the entrance of the UNESCO Bay of Kotor.
It’s a cultural melting point as it was once occupied by the Roman Empire, Serbians, Bosnians, Turks, Venetians, and even the French! The result is a diverse, one-of-a-kind architectural style.
There are many picturesque churches and ancient fortresses to explore, as well as vibrant cafes and bars.
For the outdoor enthusiasts out there, Herceg Novi is the perfect place to spend a fun-filled day.
From kayaking through the beautiful marina, trekking up the Savina Monastery or swimming in the crystal-clear waters at the pebble bay.
We’d also recommend dropping by the nearby Rose village hamlet to enjoy a scenic meal in a summer al fresco venue.
The Kotor Old Town lies in the fortified town of Kotor, a protected UNESCO World Heritage site that’s more than 2,000 years old.
The 10-meter-thick medieval walls enclose a labyrinthine complex of old-world monuments, churches, and castles.
Popular things to see in Kotor Old Town include:
In terms of local eats, the region is known for various seafood and monkfish dishes, as well as the infamous Vranac Montenegrin wine.
Another great wine region is in Portugal!
Want a boat tour in Kotor? Then check this one out!
You can also trek up to the town walls to get a lovely view of the entire city and bay. Kotor Fort, otherwise known as St John’s Fortress, is found on St John’s Mountain and overlooks the gorgeous bay of Kotor.
It’s a great hiking trail where you can get away from the buzzing tourist spots while enjoying picturesque views.
The fortress itself dates back to the 6th century, and on the way up you can stop by the Church of Our Lady of Remedy.
There are two ways to reach St John’s Fortress: hiking the walls of Kotor, which is easier but more touristy, and hiking up the slightly more challenging Kotor Ladder.
St John’s Fortress opens from May to September between 8am and 8pm, while the entrance fee is EUR 3 per person.
Located near the famous Lovcen National Park in southwestern Montenegro, Horizon restaurant is hands-down one of the most scenic places you can dine in the country.
Sit on a cliffside table and enjoy a nice glass of wine, a cup of coffee, or feast on delicious Mediterranean dishes.
The restaurant also offers homemade prosciutto and cheese from a nearby village.
Of course, the highlight of this restaurant is its unrivaled views of the Bay of Kotor, with the stunning waters underneath, mountainscapes in the distance, and the clouds that look like they’re within reach.
If you love road trips and scenic drives, the Serpentine Road runs from Cetinje to Kotor is an unmissable experience.
This winding road has some of the world’s most famous hairpin bends and are super tight in places, so we do recommend the drive only for the most experienced and careful of drivers.
There’s a bunch of memorable things along the way, from breathtaking viewpoints overlooking forests and abandoned villages, to charming little cafes.
If you’re walking or biking the route, you can stop by small rentable cabins or inns where you can rest and enjoy local delicacies.
The road takes 2 to 3 hours, but is definitely worth it!
The Njegusi Village lies around midway along the Kotor Serpentine and makes well-known Negushski prosciutto, homemade cheeses and natural mountain honey.
While wild camping is actually prohibited around the country, the locals here are super welcoming and often allow you to camp despite the legal prohibition.
The national park is quite a beautiful place to camp, although we advise checking with the authorities beforehand, just to be sure.
Home to 1,300 plant species and 200 bird species, the Lovcen National Park is a cool sanctuary where you can bike, hike, picnic, or just relax.
And did you know you can go mushroom hunting here? You just need to pay 5 EUR for a permit that lets you forage in the park, and summer through autumn is an especially good period for mushrooms.
To enter the park itself, you have to pay 2 EUR for adults, while kids under 7 are free to enter.
Not got a vehicle? Then grab a tour to the park from Kotor right here.
Sitting atop the craggy Dinara Alps in the Lovcen mountains is the Njegos Mausoleum, the final resting place of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš.
He was a prince-bishop and acclaimed poet who has produced some of the most important pieces of Serbian and Montenegrin literature.
The marble chapel itself houses a granite tomb with 200,000 tiles making up a dazzling gold ceiling, and lies on top of 461 steps.
Not only that, but the view from Montenegro’s second-highest peak is also spectacular. That alone should be worth the climb.
Ps. The nearby Njeguši village is also a great place to explore local homemade cheese and prosciuttos!
The Budva Riviera, a scenic stretch of landscape featuring stunning beaches, can get crowded in the summer months, where the Sea Dance Festival has attracted tens of thousands of visitors each year.
It’s a hub for a buzzing nightlife and impressive line-ups of super yachts, while the waterfront old town also carries rich, ancient history.
You can amble through the town and explore various museums, and hop into any one of the many local restaurants for a little breather.
With charming outdoor seating set against the marble streets and crystalline waters, the Budva Riviera is a really nice place to relax and just enjoy the view.
For a slightly more hidden gem, you can head to the nearby Krapina village, which houses authentic eateries offering traditional and regional cuisine.
It’s no secret that hitting the beach and swimming in the sea is one of the most quintessential things to do in Montenegro.
Home to 295 kilometers of dramatic coastline, it has no shortage of enchanting beaches with turquoise waters and amazing serenity.
Jaz Beach is no doubt the most loved by tourists. Close to the popular Bay of Kotor is the country’s longest beach that’s also ensconced by lush flora and flaunts a thriving nightlife scene.
Mogren Beach lies near Budva town and is split into 2 areas by rugged mountains, which is in turn connected by a charming tunnel.
In addition to countless sheltered coves, there are many towering cliffs that adrenaline junkies can jump off.
Meanwhile, Kamenovo beach is a quiet coastal paradise nestled between Becic and Przno.
Surrounded by prolific vegetation and a long list of water sports, this is the place to go for a day of rest and fun.
Some more beaches to check out in Montenegro include Lucice Beach, Drobni Pijesak, and Murici.
Sveti Stefan is a small islet that harbors a renowned five-star hotel resort frequented by global stars and celebrities.
It was once a 15-century fishing village with walls to protect against Turks and pirates.
Today, the red-roofed labyrinth of medieval houses and winding streets provide an enchanting foreground to the sparkling seas.
Famous guests like Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren have actually retreated at this peaceful isthmus, which has no doubt put this tiny paradise on the map.
You can still visit the Sveti Stefan beach as it’s open to the public, but only guests of the exclusive Aman Resort are allowed to see the original village.
So we actually did this on the Bosnia & Herzegovina side, but the Tara River Canyon runs through the two countries. Which means you can experience this thrilling ride on the Montenegro side too!
There are various levels and durations, so you can customize it to your perfect adventure.
Rafting Montenegro is a family-owned raft company that also offers other types of activities in the Tara Canyon.
Other than white river rafting, you can try jeep safaris, ziplining, or even canyoning.
The canyon itself measures 82 kilometers in length, making it one of the deepest and largest in the entire world. With lush pine forests on the side, the view is almost otherworldly.
There is also a bridge 172 meters above the river that you can walk through.
Formed by glaciers and interwoven by underground rivers, the Durmitor National Park sits on the Dinaric Alps and has over 18 glacial lakes.
This is also where the Tara Canyon runs through.
There are fifty peaks over 2,000m above sea level, alpine forests, and spectacular canyons making up the majestic landscape of this national park.
It’s a 39,000 acre-wide limestone massif with endless trails for hiking, climbing, mountaineering, and even canoeing.
Not to mention the diverse wildlife and flora you can encounter, from wild boars and 163 bird species to some 1,600 vascular plants.
In wintertime, you can stop by the nearby Zabljak town, which houses Montenegro’s most famous ski resort.
Podgorica is the largest city in Montenegro and holds a turbulent, stormy history. It was known as Titograd even until 1992, and not named as the capital until the independence referendum in 2006.
This ancient city is a tangle of architecture and mismatched buildings, ranging from modern shopping complexes to Ottoman remnants.
Visit the Montenegrin National Theatre and other museums and galleries, or stroll along the Ottoman neighborhood of Stara Varos. Here, you can find striking cathedrals with large domes and impressive crosses.
Lake Skadar is the largest lake in the entire Balkans region, and crosses the border between Montenegro and Albania. It’s a long, serpentine lake that winds along green valleys, majestic mountains, and countless islands.
The best way to enjoy the beauty that the Skadar Lake National Park offers is by taking a sunset boat ride.
Skadar is also a haven for bird lovers as it’s one of Europe’s most prominent bird habitats. The 280 bird species living here include the Dalmatian pelican and the glossy ibis.
If you want to spot birds soaring across the skies over the lake, come between late spring and autumn.
When talking about wine, Montenegro might not be the first country that you think of.
But the fertile lands and specific microclimate actually makes it a prime location for producing wine.
Their wineries are known to produce intense, deep red wine made of Vrana grapes.
From the most famous Montenegrin Vranac to Krstač, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay, there’s really a lot on offer!
You will find plenty of Montenegrin vineyards spread throughout the southern coastal areas.
The winery we stayed at was called Winery Masanovic, which is located near Skadar Lake.
They make really good wine and have been run by a local family for more than ten generations.
If you want to secure the best spot to watch over Lake Skadar from a bird’s eye view, there is no better place than the Pavlova Strana Viewpoint.
It’s the most famous place to view the sprawling lake and is a 30-minute drive from Cetinje.
The narrow, winding road is just large enough for one car to pass, but the arduous drive is certainly worth the view at the top.
There’s an old hotel nearby where you can park.
It goes without saying that the best way to get to know a country’s culture is by tasting the local cuisine.
Montenegro’s traditional dishes are surprisingly eclectic for such a small country.
Njegusi Prosciutto is undoubtedly its most famous delicacy yet, which is a super flavorful thin cut of meat originating from Njegusi village.
Another example is Buzara, a seafood dish containing shellfish, prawns, and shrimps with a fragrant sauce made from red or white wine and herbs.
We’d also recommend Ispod saca, which is the Montenegrin equivalent of an English Sunday roast. It’s a hearty plate of veal or lamb and slow-roasted vegetables cooked using coal.
Finally, Ćevapi is a famous dish that many west Balkan countries have. It’s a skinless meat sausage usually served with bread and a side of onion and kaymak.
Lipa Cave is among the largest caves in this country and can be found very close to Cetinje.
The story goes that a dog had accidentally discovered this cave when it fell through a hole and escaped from a different opening.
When you visit Lipa Cave, your journey starts with a miniature train ride passing wild pomegranate trees.
There is then a guided tour to take you through 3.5km of passageway and old caverns, pillars and spikes.
The Blue Grotto is a stunning cove near Zanjice beach that you can only reach by boat. There are regular trips from Herceg Novi.
This is an especially beautiful spot for snorkeling or diving, but also a hidden slice of paradise for photographers and nature enthusiasts.
It’s a series of caves and the water measures only 3 meters deep, so you can safely jump off the boat and swim around the grotto.
You can even kayak around the area, although we recommend coming during the off-season to avoid other tourists and massive crowds.
Boats leave Herceg Novi every 10 minutes, and typically cost 8 EUR for a round trip.
Before leaving to the cove, you can enjoy the beach first and perhaps a cooling cone of ice cream.
This small, idyllic village is set against the famous Bay of Kotor and has a tiny population of 247.
But it is still home to beautiful ancient architecture, superb views, rich history, and charming waterfront restaurant venues.
The village itself is super photogenic with a labyrinthine of palazzos and old stone walls.
Offshore, there are two breathtaking island churches that you can reach: Our Lady of the Rocks and St. George.
And while there are no beaches in the town itself, there are stretches of stone jetties where locals and tourists like to sunbathe.
Finally, if you have time to spare when visiting Kotor town, don’t miss the towering Castle of San Giovannie.
It’s a fortress that is part of the town walls and an iconic landmark of the region.
The hike up can be quite challenging as it follows the series of inclines and winding stone steps of the Kotor Ladder.
There are 1,300 steps in total, but the view from up here is truly magnificent and rewarding.
The ruins of the castle are interesting enough, but the picturesque panorama of the Lovcen mountains and Bay of Kotor are mesmerizing.
Despite being a small country, there are so many places and towns that it can be confusing to choose the best place to stay.
Kotor and Budva are definitely the most popular places to base yourself for visiting Montenegro.
To get prime access to the Bay of Kotor and other world-famous destinations, staying at Kotor is the way to go. It’s home to many traditional eateries and charming promenades.
We love Hotel Splendido, a beachfront hotel in Kotor that is just a stone’s throw away from quintessential tourist attractions.
On the other hand, Budva is a fancy resort city with a vibrant nightlife. With scenic pebble beaches and endless streets of bars and casinos, you can get the best of both worlds here. Of course, prices can be a bit more expensive.
Dukley Hotel & Resort is a cozy hotel with its own beach lounge and golf carts for transport, as well as a private boat that can take you to the old town.
When it comes to getting around Montenegro, you’ve got a lot of options.
Overall, Montenegro’s weather is generally warm and sunny.
The coastal region enjoys a hot summer and mild winter, whereas the inner regions of the country have a sub-alpine climate. This means they get warm summers and freezing winters.
We visited in the summer, which was very warm and nice, but also very busy. So if you’re looking to enjoy Montenegro in good weather but with fewer crowds, perhaps spring would be the best time.
Specifically, June and September can be the optimum months for a trip to Montenegro.
If you want to explore every single thing on our list, you might want to spend 10 days in Montenegro.
This will give you plenty of time to relax and take it slow.
With that said, 7 days should be enough to see all the highlights.
From exploring the charming old towns to hiking up ancient ruins.
All in all, Montenegro is an extremely charming country to visit, with lots of natural attractions and adrenaline-inducing activities.
Small as it is geographically, it encapsulates the diverse culture and traditions of the Balkan region.
We hope we’ve covered enough things to do in Montenegro, especially in Kotor, Budva, and Podgorica.
Hopefully you've got enough information to help you start planning your trip.