Montenegro holidaysThe sample prices are per person based on two people travelling!
The official and most commonly spoken language of Montenegro is Montenegrin, which is virtually identical to Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian. Albanian, Slovenian and Macedonian are also used in some parts of the country. Tourist industry workers usually understand basic English and sometimes Italian or German, particularly along the coast. English is much less commonly understood in the north.
The euro (€) is the official currency of Montenegro, with other currencies not usually accepted.Money can be changed at banks and official currency exchange agencies. Travellers’ cheques are not readily accepted or changed. ATMs are commonly available but often do not accept international debit cards. Credit cards are widely accepted although cash is more acceptable for small purchases.
Citizens of the United Kingdom, the United States, European Union nations, Australia and New Zealand may visit for up to 90 days without a visa on presentation of a valid passport.Other foreign visitors should visit the Montenegrin government website to ascertain visa requirements.
Montenegro’s climate varies greatly across its geography. The coast enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with warm summers (June to August) with temperatures of up to 33°C and mild winters (December to February), while central Montenegro’s continental climate brings mild summers and cold winters. The mountainous northern region is colder year round and reports some of Europe’s highest rainfall. Northern winters are freezing, with regular snowfalls that last into spring.
Montenegro has two international airports. The main one is Podgorica Airport (TDG), situated 11kms from Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. Tivat Airport (TIV) is located about four kilometres from Tivat town in the Bay of Kotor. The main carrier for both airports is Montenegro Airlines. Some other carriers run seasonal charters.
Montenegro Airlines operates regular flights from Podgorica to London-Gatwick (England), Belgrade (Serbia), Copenhagen (Denmark), Frankfurt (Germany), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Moscow-Domodedovo (Russia), Paris-Charles de Gaulle (France), Rome-Fiumicino (Italy), Vienna (Austria), Zürich (Switzerland). At Tivat, Montenegro Airlines schedules regular flights to London-Gatwick (England), Belgrade (Serbia), Copenhagen (Denmark), Moscow-Domodedovo (Russia) and Paris-Charles de Gaulle (France). It takes just over 2 hours to fly from London to either Montenegrin airport.
Most tourists visit Montenegro in summer, but those willing to go outside peak times or take indirect air routes during unsociable hours can make real savings. From the Arrivals hall in either airport, visitors can take a taxi or minibus shuttle to the city centre. There is no bus service from Podgorica to the coast, so visitors can avoid an overpriced taxi fare by pre-booking transfers through their hotel. Podgorica and Tivat airports both have car hire desks in the main terminal buildings.
Montenegro is located on mainland Europe, so people on the continent can drive here. Tourists coming from the United Kingdom must cross the channel by train or ferry (both take cars) to France before driving to Montenegro, which takes two or three days. An affordable train runs the scenic route from Belgrade in Serbia to Bar on Montenegro’s coast. A ferry runs between Bar (Kotor, Montenegro) and Bari (Italy). Cross-border buses run from the main Montenegro hub at Podgorica to Belgrade (Serbia), Dubrovnik (Croatia) and Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina).
Most visitors navigate Montenegro using trains or buses, with buses being the cheaper and often faster of the two. Hire cars are available and offer a viable alternative for getting around, although Montenegro’s roads tend to be below the European standard. There are no real highways and, with a speed limit of 80kph, driving can be slow going. Traffic jams are common, particularly in summer.
Montenegro has a reasonable bus service that is cheap and tends to run on time. Prices are higher between popular tourist areas. Bus stations offer buses and minibuses, with the latter being cheaper, faster and more comfortable. Local buses do not usually have air conditioning. Route maps are not always available and fares for inter-city routes are typically paid to the driver when boarding.
Trains are a good way to get around Montenegro, with tickets bought onboard. There is a line running from north to south, with Podgorica as the hub. Trains are not as frequent as buses but are as comfortable and can be faster. There are no inner-city train services.
Car rental is popular among tourists who prefer autonomy and convenience over public transport. Drivers must be over 18 years of age. Visitors may drive their own car but should bring all the relevant paperwork, including proof of insurance. Two-lane roads, with an intermittent third overtaking lane, are normal and driving conditions, particularly in mountain areas, can be hazardous. Drivers should be alert to jaywalkers in cities and towns.
Montenegro can be divided roughly into five regions, with Central Montenegro home to Podgorica, the capital, which is a pleasant blend of old buildings and modern architecture. About an hour’s drive from the city is historic Cetinje, the former capital, now home to many interesting museums, churches and buildings. About 30kms from Podgorica, the village of Virpazar sits on the shores of beautiful Lake Skadar and is popular with hikers, birdwatchers, kayakers and anglers.
The Bay of Kotor is a stunning coastal region which is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe.The pleasant main town of Herceg Novi was established in 1382 at the entrance of the bay. Visitors can explore the narrow streets, old forts and churches or swim and sunbathe on the pebble beaches.
The fortified medieval town of Kotor is a World Heritage-listed site for history, culture and natural beauty. The smaller village of Perast is known for its well-preserved Baroque architecture. Both towns are popular departure points for boat cruises around the gorgeous caves and islands of the bay.
The centrally located Budva Riviera is a popular destination for beach-goers. Budva is the main town, where holidaymakers can explore the walled old town, bask on the sandy beaches or party the night away on the waterfront promenade. BeÄići is a resort town near Budva where visitors can relax on the beach, enjoy water sports or unwind over a coffee at one of the many seaside Café. The family-friendly village of Petrovac has pink pebbled beaches and is popular with snorkellers.
The Montenegrin South Coast is home to a melting pot of ethnicities, with a rich cultural heritage. The main town of Bar is a major tourist destination, with pebbled beaches, stone fortifications and the world’s oldest olive tree. It is also home to some of Montenegro’s oldest churches and earliest written works.
The nearby towns ofÄŒanj and Dobra Voda have long sandy beaches that attract visitors in summer. Ulcinj, near the Albanian border, has a hilltop castle style old town and nearby Sutomore has a 12km long sandy beach, the longest in Montenegro.
The North Montenegrin Mountainsregion in the north attracts hikers, nature lovers and adventurers. Kolasin is a mountain town that is popular with active travellers who are keen to access the pristine forests, lakes and rivers of the nearby Biogradska Gora National Park. The village of Žabljak makes a good base from which to explore the glacial lakes of Durmitor National Park or go rafting through the World Heritage-listed Tara Gorge. Both towns offer skiing in winter.
Known as the ’Pearl of the Adriatic’, Montenegro has a number of unique and interesting landmarks. Ostrog Monastry in Central Montenegro is perhaps one of the most famous, set against the vertical backdrop of Ostroška Greda Rock. In Podgorica, visitors can enjoy the mix of old and new, from the 1667 Ottoman clock tower Sahat Kula, to the ultra modern Millennium Bridge and the beautiful new Orthodox Byzantine Cathedral of Hristovog Vaskrsenja.
Nearby Cetinje is the historic capital and cultural heart of Montenegro, and is known for the rare antique texts in the internationally recognised 15th century Cetinje Monastery Library and the 1492 Printing House of Crnojevici. It is also home to the fascinating National Museum of Montenegro.
Skadar Lake in Central Montenegro is a well-known beauty spot dotted with islands and unique wildlife. The island of Starcevo is home to the nation’s oldest monastery, dedicated to the Assumption of the Mother of God, constructed from 1376 to 1378.
The World Heritage-listed Bay of Kotor is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful bays in Europe. Visitors can stroll around the historic streets of Herceg Novi with its old towers and 14th century castle, Forte Mare. Visitors can rejuvenate at nearby Igalo, known for the healing Igalo Springs and sea mud. Within the stone walls of the World Heritage-listed medieval town of Kotor, visitors can step back in time through 12th century buildings such as the Cathedral of St Tryphon.
In the Budva Riviera, Budva Old Town is famous for its Venetian walls, within which visitors can marvel at St Ivan’s and St Mary’s of Punta churches, established in the 8th and 9th centuries, respectively, or simply relax on the sands of Mogren Beach.
Another, perhaps more famous spot for sunbathing is the 12km long sandy Sutomore Beach on the south coast. The nearby town of Bar has historic monuments such as the remains of the 6th century Bar Triconch Church and the picturesque buildings and gardens of King Nikola’s Palace, constructed in 1885.
There are a number of castles and forts in the area, including the partially preserved Nehaj Fortress near Sutomore and the Ulcinj castle style old town. Mirovica has the Old Olive, a tree which is believed to be over 2,000 years old.
The mountainous north is an atmospheric region known for forests and glacial lakes. World Heritage-listed Durmitor National Park boasts 15 significant peaks and 18 glacial lakes, and is popular with hikers and campers alike. Neighbouring Tara River Canyon, also World Heritage-listed, is 1,300 metres deep and famous for rafting.
Montenegro is a Mediterranean nation with a well-developed café culture, particularly in the capital, Podgorica, where cafés are open from early morning until late at night. The pedestrianised squares and streets of Nova Varos (New Town) offer the greatest concentration of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Podgorica is also home to the Montenegrin National Theatre, which hosts seasonal programmes of drama, music and film.
After Podgorica, the seaside tourist towns offer the liveliest evening entertainment. In the Bay of Kotor, Herceg Novi has lots of clubs and cafés, with most of the action centred around the main square. Nightclubs are often only open in summer, while bars and cafés are open year round and often host live music at weekends.
In the Budva Riviera, the main town of Budva has a variety of entertainment on offer, ranging from pubs and restaurants to go-go bars. Most evening venues are clustered along the main promenade beside Slovenska Beach. During summer, there are a host of music concerts and theatre performances to enjoy. The five-star island resort of Sveti Stefan, some six kilometres away, is where the rich and famous go to party.
On the south coast, the modern port town of Bar is not a major party town but is noted for its festivals and cultural events during summer. By contrast, the seaside strip at Ulcinj is particularly well known for entertainment, with lots of nightclubs, beach bars and restaurants to choose from.
The mountains of the north are not particularly lively during summer, but in winter the area comes alive for the ski season. The main towns of Kolasin and Zabljak have a number of cosy, old-style bars and taverns where visitors can relax over a drink after a hard day’s skiing or hiking.
Montenegrin cuisine varies from the sea to the sky, with Mediterranean style seafood dishes being more common near the coast compared with the heartier, more dairy focused meals in the mountains. Montenegro also produces wine, with the dry white krstac and ruby red vranac being popular specialities. Two typical non-alcoholic beverages are kisjelo mlijeko (buttermilk) and crna kafa, a strong black Turkish style coffee.
In the capital, Podgorica, HercegovaÄka Street and Slobode Street in the city centre are the main restaurant promenades. Visitors may like to try kuvani brav, a lamb stew, or uklejeva, which is smoked and dried bleak fish, followed by baklava (pastry with minced walnuts) or malisorske priganice (a kind of doughnut served with honey, cheese and jam) for dessert.
Italian food is both common and popular, with lots of pizzerias and Italian restaurants across Montenegro. There are also some Mexican restaurants for those who fancy something less European.
Along the coast, the food focuses more naturally on seafood. One of the more famous dishes is riblja corba, Kotor fish stew, which is made from sprat, celery, onion, capsicum and white wine. The region is also known for olives, olive oil and the exceptional Ulcinj salt. Other popular dishes include black risotto with cuttlefish or mussels cooked in white wine.
In the mountains, the focus of the cuisine moves more towards meat and cheese. Local specialities include psuta, a smoked ham, and mladi sir, a cottage style cheese often served with psuta. Durmitor skorup is another famous soft cheese from the region. Visitors may like to try sausages served with kacamak, a mushy dish made from potatoes, corn, cream and cheese.
The settlements of ÄŒanj, Dobra Voda and Ulcinj near Bar on the south coast of Montenegro have the nation’s best beaches. Sutomore, in the same region, has the longest beach with a 12km stretch of coastal sand that dips into the sea. The coastal towns attract many summer beach-lovers and are well set up to cater for tourists.
Kotor is a lovely destination for couples as it is set on the deepest natural fjord in the Mediterranean, with deep blue waters surrounded by rocky mountains. Kotor has a charming World Heritage-listed walled old town and visitors can rent a holiday cottage with a private pontoon reaching out into the waters of the bay. Kotor is also a good place from which to take a boat cruise around the bay or make daytrips to pretty Baroque Perast and historic Hercej Novi.
The Budva Riviera makes a good family holiday destination as the beaches and calm waters of the Mediterranean are ideal for swimming, snorkelling and kayaking. Besides water activities, towns such as Budva and BeÄići Petrovac have lots of historic buildings and old forts to explore, ensuring there will be plenty to occupy and entertain young visitors.
Montenegro’s mountainous north is ideal for adventurers. Zabljak village is a convenient base for an active holiday, offering white water rafting at Tara Gorge in summer and skiing and other snow sports in winter. Nearby Durmitor National Park is popular with hikers, campers and anglers.