Montenegro is often called the pearl on the Adriatic coast and is considered an insider tip. Around 200 kilometers of coastline with beautiful sandy beaches and idyllic bays invite you to swim and relax. Romantic fishing and seafaring villages, as well as ancient coastal towns characterize the coast of Montenegro. In the interior, on the other hand, the country presents itself with mountains, gorges and lakes and also offers optimal conditions for winter sports enthusiasts in winter.
The deepest gorge in Europe and one of the last three primeval forests in Europe are only two reasons to choose Montenegro as a vacation destination, because the small country on the Adriatic coast offers interesting sights and also culinary ideal conditions for a dream vacation. Here is our list of the 18 best place to visit in Montenegro.
Ulcinj is located right on the Albanian border at the southern tip of Montenegro. It is an old port city, which was also infamous as the “pirate capital of the Adriatic” towards the end of the tenth century. Today, there are no real pirates left in Montenegro, but you can discover some beautiful mosques in Ulcinj and rest in one of the oriental restaurants along the beach promenade.
The area is best known for its beaches. Especially famous is Velika Plaza, which is the longest beach in Montenegro with twelve kilometers. The water here is very shallow and therefore ideal for families with small children. But this is also a hotspot for kite surfers, who take advantage of the glassy and shallow water and the prevailing winds.
17. Biogradska Gora National Park
Small but nice: there is probably hardly a description that could be more apt for the Biogradska Gora National Park. Located in the center of the Montenegrin Bjelascia mountain range, this idyll is the smallest national park in the country. Nevertheless, or precisely because of this, Biogradska Gora spreads an incomparably beautiful atmosphere. It is said that this place is one of the last primeval forests in Europe. The almost 60,000 square kilometer large natural landscape finally unites a fauna and flora that makes every biologist sit up and take notice. One landscape highlight follows the next. It is precisely this diversity that makes one forget the supposedly small size of the national park.
The natural landscape of Biogradska Gora is lined with ancient forests, gently babbling mountain streams and several 2,000-meter peaks. In ice-cold glacial lakes the sun reflects in the crystal clear water. On alpine meadows flowers bloom in all imaginable colors. But the most beautiful thing is that this national park, together with some other natural landscapes in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Belarus, hides the last true virgin forest in Europe: this feature alone is worth visiting the national park.
Žabljak is situated at an impressive altitude of 1,450 m, has about 2,000 inhabitants and is thus the highest place in Montenegro.
It is located in the middle of Durmitor National Park and is actually the classic winter sports resort of the country, although it is also worth a trip in the summer with its surrounding mountains.
Around Savin Kuk there are some attractive downhill ski slopes, and the region is considered to be snow-sure in winter. Žabljak serves as a summer resort for many Serbs and Montenegrins in high summer, as the hot summer temperatures are more pleasant here due to the altitude.
Worth seeing here is especially the Black Lake (Crno Jezero) and the peaks of Bobotov Kuk. From Žabljak you can make wonderful hikes to the Durmitor National Park. Glacial lakes, high mountain peaks, gorges and incredible biodiversity delight the heart of nature lovers.
Since 1980, the Durmitor National Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 55 km away from Žabljak is the Piva Monastery with the fresco of Pasha Mehmed Sokolovic who converted to Islam.
15. Sveti Stefan
One of the most iconic images you can associate with Montenegro is probably the tiny islet of Sveti Stefan. Perched on a rocky outcrop, this picturesque island is connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus that curves into two perfectly shaped sandy beaches.
Sveti Stefan has a fascinating history behind it. Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to visit the island. Namely, it is privately owned and managed by Aman Resorts. Only the guests of one of the luxury resorts are allowed to move freely on the island.
The history of this small island dates back to the 15th century, when the Turks were out to conquer the Adriatic. During one of their campaigns, they landed on a beach near Budva and were on their way to take Kotor. When the locals heard about it, they gathered their weapons and took a shortcut to Kotor to help their neighbors. And they won!
After successfully defeating the Turks, they not only chased them back to Jaz, but raided their ships and kept their booty. With the gold they built a fortress city on a small island with a house for each of the 12 local tribes. And, of course, a church consecrated by Saint Stephen.
By 1954, only 20 people lived on the island. After a renovation in the 1950s, the island was then reopened as a hotel in 1960. Since then, mainly internationally known stars and aristocrats have stayed here.
After the collapse of Yugoslavia, the island was open to everyone again for a long time, but since 2007 Sveti Stefan has been leased to the luxury hotel chain Aman Resorts from Singapore.
14. Skadar Lake
Lake Skadar stretches across the southern landscape of Montenegro to the north of Albania. With a maximum area of about 550 square kilometers, the lake forms the largest freshwater body in the Balkan Peninsula. Since 1983, the Montenegrin part of Lake Skadar has been under special protection as Skadarsko Jezero National Park. Skadar Lake National Park is the most visited of five national parks in Montenegro.
Although Skadar Lake (or Skutari Lake) grows to a size comparable to Lake Garda after the winter melt, the freshwater reservoir is completely unknown to most foreign tourists.
Yet this unnoticed natural jewel offers breathtaking scenery and plenty of things for vacationers to do: visitors can explore pristine beaches all year round, cycle to old fishing villages, search for hidden caves while hiking, kayak to the unique island monasteries of Beska, Gorica and Moracnik in the southern part of Lake Skadar, or taste wine from local winemakers.
13. Herceg Novi
Herceg Novi is located directly at the entrance to the Bay of Kotor and, together with Budva, is considered the most typical seaside resort of Montenegro.
The city was founded in 1382 under the name of Sveti Stjepan by the Bosnian king Tvrtko I.. Thus, unlike the other towns in Montenegro, it does not have its roots in antiquity. The center of the terraced town is the Pet Danica promenade.
The city is very green and the surroundings are extremely charming. Herceg Novi has oriental and baroque buildings. Worth seeing are Kanli Kula, the once Turkish fortress with open-air stage, the Tvrtava Španjola (Spanish Fortress) with a beautiful view of Prevlaka, the Old Town (Stari Grad) with Durkovic Square and the towers (such as the Clock Tower, Tower Zapadna and the Kanli Kula).
Locals like to meet at Trg Herceg Stefana square, where you can also find the Orthodox church Sveti Arhangela Mihaila, as well as some cafes and restaurants.
Interesting museums in Herceg Novi are Galerija Jop-Bepo Benkovic with modern art and the Regional Museum (Zavicajni Muzej). Beautiful beaches are also available in this section of the bay (e.g. Blatna Plaza at the west end of the promenade), and nudism is also possible in Njivice. There are also beaches on the east side of the town at Bijela, Meljine and Zelenika.
12. Lovcen National Park
Lovcen, the main mountain range of the beautiful Republic of Montenegro, impresses not only with its breathtakingly beautiful mountain scenery, but also with its history. Because here, on the top of the 1657 meters high Jezerski Vrh of Lovcen, the highest tomb in the world was built.
In the period before the First World War, the Lovcen massif was developed into a real fortification in cooperation with the French. From there they controlled with artillery the then Hungarian-Austrian war port of Kotor.
The highest peak of the park is Stirovnik. The “black mountain” reaches a stately height of 1749 meters. From this impressive black rock the republic also got its name – Montenegro.
The direct proximity of Lovcen National Park to the sea created ideal conditions for more than 2,000 rare plant species.
However, the greatest sight is the last resting place of the poet prince Petar II. He gave himself the nickname “Njego”, which is why the resting place is called the Njego Mausoleum. High up, on the 1657 meter high Jezerski Vrh it stands, the highest tomb in the world.
There are not many cities in Montenegro that arouse the wanderlust of globetrotters as much as Cetinje. It would be a disgrace to travel to this lovely country on the Adriatic Sea without stopping by Cetinje. This regal-looking tourist magnet rightly bears its title as the cultural capital of Montenegro. The city attracts visitors not only with sights such as magnificent Renaissance palaces and internationally important museums. The cultural center located at the foot of Lovćen also enchants with its impressive history. But it was not only in the past that Cetinje made a name for itself. For a long time, Cetinje was considered the capital of Montenegro. In addition, the official seat of the country’s president is located in the middle of the city.
One of the most impressive architectural highlights is the mausoleum dedicated to the founder of the Petrović dynasty. Another major attraction is Plavi Dvorac – better known as the “blue palace”. It magically attracts the eyes with a facade in the sky-blue hue.
10. Ostrog Monastery
Deep in the heart of the mountain world of Montenegro is home to the monastery Ostrog. Sublime, the monastery rises from the rock in a snow-white hue.
Today, Ostrog Monastery is one of the most significant monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church, to which pilgrims from all over the world flock. Travelers, tourists and fans of impressive architecture appreciate the unusual construction of the church in the middle of a rock. After all, you don’t see a monastery like this every day, built in the middle of a cave in a rock face.
The founding year of the Montenegrin sacred building dates back to 1656. At that time the church was founded by Vasilije Jovanovic. The Serbian saint found a new home in the village of Ostrog after Turkish occupiers destroyed a monastery in Tvrdor. This danger was to be avoided by the special construction of the Ostrog monastery. In order to make it more difficult for the Turks to attack, the sacral building was not only built at an altitude of 900 meters. By building the church directly into the rock face, access to the magnificent building was much more difficult.
9. Lake Piva
Idyllically situated on a hillside and on the shores of Lake Piva, the town of Pluzine lies just under 20 kilometers south of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is home to 1,500 inhabitants and can rather be compared to a sleepy village. Here, pure tranquility merges with the beauty of nature.
Although tourism is slowly but surely taking hold, it will still take a few years until the place mutates into a tourist stronghold. But it will happen, I am sure. The surroundings around the Piva reservoir are simply too beautiful.
Pluzine would hardly be such an up-and-coming small town if the Piva reservoir did not stretch along steep rock faces through the mighty Piva Gorge. A magnificent panorama, even if the limestone cliffs, densely overgrown with trees, convey a certain narrowness. However, this does not detract from the beauty of nature, in which the Piva reservoir (Pivsko jezero) plays a major role. It is considered the largest reservoir of drinking water in the Balkans.
With a length of more than 30 kilometers and a depth of up to 188 meters, the turquoise waters are also home to numerous trout. On the surface, on the other hand, anglers are at home or tourists are sailed across the lake, whereby the dimensions of the Piva Gorge probably have an even more impressive effect.
Another highlight is the 220-meter-high Mratinje Dam, that is, the dam located a few kilometers from Pluzine.
8. Stari Bar
Bar is a small port city on the Adriatic Sea in Montenegro. The current town is known as Novi Bar (New Bar). The ruins of Stari Bar (Old Bar) are located further inland at the foot of Mount Rumija. Stari Bar was first mentioned in the 9th century, when it came under the control of the Byzantine Empire.
Since Bar has quite a long and rich history, there is much to discover here: the abandoned old town and the fortress, one of the oldest trees in Europe, which itself could tell the eventful past of the city. The small palace of the only king of Montenegro and a brand new orthodox church are also remarkable sights.
The old town of Bar in Montenegro is now in ruins. The ruins of the former Stari Bar tell you a troubled story. Over the centuries it was taken over by the Venetians, the Ottoman Empire, Serbs and Hungarians. Finally an earthquake made the old buildings uninhabitable.
A new town of Bar was built on the sea and has become an important port city for Montenegro. The old town, about an hour’s walk up a hill in the mountains, was never rebuilt.
Stari Bar was once an impressive cultural center, full of deities, grand buildings for the nobility, and a residential and commercial center for the common people. For visitors, the most important part of the old town is the Stari Bar Fortress. You can see its great imposing stone wall and sturdy round towers at the corners from a distance.
Perast nestles on the foothills of the St. Elijah Mountains on the shore of the Bay of Kotor in northwestern Montenegro, about twelve kilometers from Kotor.
Perhaps it is the picturesque location between the hilly landscape and the inviting waters of the Verige Strait or the accompanying mild climate that has always made Perast so attractive. The former seafaring center was already contested in the times of the Eastern Roman Empire. It was followed by local princes and the Venetians. Perast reached its heyday in the 18th century – with shipping. Four shipping companies maintained up to 100 merchant ships here.
The captains, who became wealthy, moved into the large and small villas left by the Venetians. To this day they line the waterfront, almost all restored, and a total of 16 churches can be found in the narrow streets. The two offshore islands of St. George and St. Mary house a cemetery and a church. They are, like the entire Bay of Kotor, under the World Heritage protection of UNESCO.
6. Tara Gorge
Tara Gorge is not just any attraction that graces Durmitor National Park. On a trip to this gigantic natural spectacle in northern Montenegro, you will discover the largest gorge in Europe. The gorge owes its name to the Tara River. The longest river in Montenegro winds its way through the imposing mountains on a 78-kilometer-long aisle. The gorge is an impressive 1,600 meters deep.
The Tara Gorge is a wow-factor excursion destination that makes history as one of the largest canyons in the world. The interplay of waterfalls, cascades for rafting and rapids takes your breath away. But that’s not all. The longest, deepest and most pristine canyon in Europe invites you to an adventurous discovery tour that reveals all facets of the natural landscape. Whether on foot or in a boat, whether on dry ground or in the midst of the foaming, bubbling spray – variety is guaranteed on this excursion.
Those who do not want to admire the Tara Gorge from the water will have to make do with a perspective from a distance. Since the walls of the canyon are mostly particularly steep, the canyon can only be viewed from a bird’s eye view in a few places. One of the most beautiful viewpoints is the Tara Bridge. This bridge promises its visitors a breathtaking view of the canyon. From this place you can only guess that the walls rise up to 1,600 meters. With these views, unforgettable memories for the photo album are guaranteed.
Budva is the oldest town on the coast of Montenegro. According to legend, it was founded by the Greek-Phoenician king’s scion Kadmos. It is one of the most popular seaside resorts in Montenegro (among other things because of the mild climate and numerous sandy beaches).
Budva used to be located on an island, but today it is connected to the mainland by the sandbank. Also Budva was largely like other cities of the region unfortunately destroyed in the earthquake of 1979, but rebuilt true to the original.
Worth seeing is the Venetian-influenced old town (protected monument) with its historic buildings, the bell tower from 1867 (Sahat Kula), some pretty churches (such as Sveti Ivan, Sveti Sava and Sveti Trojstvo) and the city wall. The citadel (Citadela) is an old fort and is used in summer, as so often in Montenegro, as an open-air theater.
The town museum is considered one of the most beautiful in Montenegro with, among other things, relics of the Romans and Illyrians. The most famous beach is Slovenska Plaža, which is well visited with its restaurants and beach bars. The almost 2 km long beach (fine gravel, partly sand) starts right at the beautiful old town of Budva and stretches to the promontory at Cape RT Zavala.
The beaches Mogren I and Mogren II are a bit quieter, Jaz is 3 km away and offers a long bay.
In front of the city lies the small island of Sveti Nikola with three small beaches that can be visited. Also worth seeing is the Podmaine monastery, located on the outskirts of the city.
Dominated by the 12th century Cathedral of St. Tryphon, the Old Town of Kotor is one of the best preserved fortified medieval towns on the Adriatic coast. The Venetian style of the city is unmistakable, and indeed Venice was one of many empires that dominated this area over many centuries.
Kotor is located on the edge of the brilliant blue Bay of Kotor. The city is surrounded by numerous rising mountains that you can see from all corners of the city. And in the city itself there is a beautiful old town, through whose alleys you can stroll and rest in between in one of the traditional restaurants or cafes.
Unmistakably Venetian in style, Kotor is surrounded by dramatic, soaring mountains. And if you want a breathtaking view of the city and the bay, we can especially recommend a hike up the upper city walls.
In the mountains of Montenegro lies the capital Podgorica, the economic and cultural center of the country. Illyrian and Roman history are at home in the city, which has all the important institutions and organizations of Montenegro. The university town was called Titograd in Tito’s time and offers many cultural attractions such as the National Theater or the renowned Puppet Theater.
Numerous museums are also part of Podgorica’s cultural program, which can be seen in various city architectures. Both Ottoman monuments and modern sights enrich the cityscape. Since the new millennium, many modern buildings have been built in the capital, which also has much to offer as a shopping city. One of the landmarks of the metropolis is the Millennium Bridge, which was opened in 2005 and crosses the Morača River. The bridge is considered a landmark of the booming Podgorica, which today is very modern and Western European. The landmarks also include the imposing Cathedral of the Resurrection, which was built until the end of the 1990s and significantly shapes the cityscape with its domes.
In Montenegro, on the Bay of Kotor, lies the town of Tivat, which today is very popular with wealthy holidaymakers. This was already the case in the Middle Ages, when noblemen and poets alike chose the place as their summer residence.
If an Austrian admiral had not approached the mayor of Tivat at the end of the 19th century and presented him with his plan, the Sleeping Beauty sleep of the place would have continued for quite some time.
This admiral had the wish to establish a station on the shores of Tivat and use it for the Austro-Hungarian navy. The old shipyard has since been converted into a new marina called Porto Montenegro. Since the city also got an airport, vacationers can arrive even more conveniently.
Today, rich and wealthy tourists and vacationers are again in Tivat. They have built their summer residence here and park their yachts in the new marina on the Mediterranean Sea. The hotels in the town have affordable prices and those who do not want to stay in a hotel can also find a list of private accommodation. For bathing there is no beach in the town area, but nearby or on the Luštice peninsula. Worth seeing is the town garden, the waterfront and the small streets in the town.
The small town of Risan is located on the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. It is surrounded by up to 1000 meters high limestone walls of the Orjen Mountains directly on the shore of the here fjord-like bay of the Adriatic Sea. Risan is a part of the municipality of Kotor and has about 3500 inhabitants.
The small town has its origin from a Greek colony, the port is the oldest settlement in the region. In the past, trade was conducted here with the Illyrians, but it was also under the rule of the Illyrians several times.
For vacationers traveling to Risan today there are a variety of recreational opportunities. Since Risan is located directly on a bay, water sports can of course be practiced here. But also hiking and cycling are possible here, of course. Not only the day on the shore of the bay, but also the town itself and the surrounding area offer variety. The mosaics of the Roman villas are today a popular photo motif and a visit to the church is worthwhile because of the old interior design. For the vacation there are hotels, apartments and guesthouses to choose from.