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Welcome to Montenegro, one of the smallest countries in Europe. Known as the Mediterranean Pearl, it is located on the coast of the Adriatic Sea between Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and Albania.
If you can’t decide whether you love the sea or the mountains more, then Montenegro may be the perfect place for you. The small country of Montenegro is rich in natural beauty and has both spectacular beaches and gorgeous mountains.
You will love the wonderful coastal towns such as Perast, Herceg Novi, and Bar. Their narrow streets filled with restaurants, wineries and old palaces are certain to charm you.
Then there are places such as Lustica Bay and Porto Montenegro. Here you can feel the glow of luxury, featuring yachts, a private marina and modern hotels.
And don’t forget the Budva riviera, the epicenter of Montenegrian nightlife, and the private Sveti Stefan peninsula, one of Europe’s most glamorous destinations now owned by Aman Resorts.
The magical beauty of the Bay of Kotor will delight you. It is known as the southernmost fjord in Europe. You can see sandy and pebble beaches, a small islet of Our Lady of the Rocks and mountains that rise high above the sea.
Montenegro’s mountains will leave you breathless. Countless fantastic lookouts, green pastures and mountain peaks will make your stay here unforgettable.
In the national parks in the north, you can discover hiking trails, caves and glacial lakes. Plus, mountain rivers offer canyoning and white-water rafting adventures. There are also many medieval monasteries, churches and fortresses where you can learn more about the rich history of the Montenegrin people.
If you love sailing, you can go on a day trip to the nearby Croatian towns of Dubrovnik and Split.
If this gets your attention, buckle up and keep reading this travel guide.
Top 10 Things to Do in Montenegro.
1. Explore the Stunning Durmitor National Park
National Park Durmitor is a truly adventurous heaven, located in the northern part of the country. During the NP Durmitor tour, your base can be in Zabljak, a small town with hostels, shops, an ambulance and a bus station. From Zabljak, you can go hiking, mountain biking, rafting and on canyoning tours.
On Durmitor, you can find more than 200 kilometers of hiking trails with incredible viewpoints. We recommend a hike leading to the Bobotov Kuk, the highest peak on Durmitor mountain. You can also visit an ice cave and see several amazing glacial lakes, such as Black Lake.
This impressive national park is also home to the Tara River and its spectacular canyon, which is the deepest in Europe. The zip-line tour across the Tara River canyon is an unforgettable adventure. Another great Durmitor National Park venture is a canyoning expedition in Nevidio, with its narrow channels and steep passages.
Durmitor National Park offers many mounting bike trails, which will take you to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Montenegro, such as Cijevna, Kravice and Grlja.
During the winter months, the Savin Kuk ski resort is very popular among locals and tourists, thanks to 12 kilometers of ski and snowboard trails.
2. Visit the Ostrog Monastery
Ostrog monastery is the most visited Orthodox pilgrimage destination in the Balkans. It was founded in the 17th century by St Basil. The monastery is carved into the mountain cliffs between the two biggest Montenegrin cities, Podgorica and Niksic.
The complex includes lower and upper monasteries. You can leave the car at the parking lot near the lower monastery and walk almost three kilometers to the upper monastery.
There you can visit the Church of the Presentation and see Saint Basil’s relics. You will also have a magnificent view of the Zeta Valley from the hill.
3. Go to the Impressive Njegos Mausoleum at the Lovcen National Park
Petar II Petrovic Njegos was a Montenegrin ruler, bishop, poet, and philosopher in the 19th century. He is known as the author of the epic masterpiece “The Mountain Wreath” and as a fighter for the independence of Montenegro from the Ottoman Empire.
He died at age 38 from tuberculosis and was buried at the chapel on top of the 1,660-meter-high Lovcen mountain. Today, the highest mausoleum in the world is located there. It is considered an engineering marvel, with a 28-ton sculpture by Njegos and a white marble sarcophagus.
From the parking lot to the mausoleum, you must climb up more than 400 steps. But it is worth it because, on the hilltop, you can enjoy the breathtaking view of Lovcen mountain, Boka Bay and the Adriatic Sea.
4. Discover the Kotor Old Town
The town of Kotor, situated in the beautiful Bay of Kotor, will undoubtedly charm you. It is the most popular tourist attraction in Montenegro. The heart of Kotor is the Old Town, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The historic center of the Kotor is part of the Kotor Fortress from the 9th century. You can stroll through the narrow streets and enjoy the charming ambiance of medieval architecture with many squares, churches, palaces, restaurants, galleries and shops.
You can visit some of the best-preserved cultural monuments like the cathedral of Saint Tripun from the 12th century. Also, the Maritime Museum, the Clock Tower and Napoleon’s Theater. Additionally, you can enjoy numerous other palaces this town has to offer.
If you are in good shape, you can climb the 1,350 steps to the top of the Kotor Fort, otherwise known as St. John Fortress (or San Giovanni). Be advised it’s not an easy hike, especially during the summer, and it can take you well over an hour to reach the top. However, when you do, you will be rewarded with a stunning panoramic view of the whole of Kotor Bay.
5. Take a Boat Trip to the Blue Cave
The Blue Cave, or the Blue Grotto, is one of the most famous places on the Adriatic coast of Montenegro. It is located on the Lustica peninsula and is accessible only by the sea.
You can book the Blue Cave boat tour in the charming town of Herceg Novi or Tivat and go there with an experienced guide. The cave entrance is small, but when you go inside, there is more room, so you can swim or snorkel in crystal clear waters.
Depending on your starting point, some boat tours include a stop at the small islands of Gospa od Skrpjela or Our Lady of the Rocks. You can learn about the heartbreaking legends of Perast, the Island of St. George, and Our Lady of the Rocks. Plus, get to know the charming town of Perast.
6. Relax on the Most Beautiful Beaches
Did you hear about “Sea Dance,” one of the most popular music festivals in Europe? That festival is held every summer on a pebble beach, Jaz, near the town of Budva. Jaz beach is also known as a great spot for waterskiing and kayaking.
A three-kilometer-long Ada Bojana beach is another beautiful place on the Montenegrian coastline. It is located near the city of Ulcinj and the Albanian border. Ada Bojana beach is ideal for various water sports activities, especially kite surfing. You can also find many restaurants with local cuisine and fresh seafood specialties.
The beach, Plavi Horizonti (Blue Horizons), is in near the luxury settlement of Lustica Bay. This sandy beach is surrounded by greenery and its calm waters are ideal for families with children.
We also recommend visiting Queens Beach near the Sveti Stefan peninsula, Petrovac Beach and Mogren Beach. Plus there is Long Beach, which is located between Ulcinj town and Ada Bojana Beach.
7. Visit the Magical Skadar Lake
Just 7 kilometers inland from the Adriatic Sea, you can enjoy a peaceful atmosphere in the Skadar Lake National Park. The largest lake in Montenegro is home to many bird and fish species. It has 60 small islands, incredible flora and fauna and unique viewpoints, such as Pavlova Strana.
On the shores of Lake Skadar, you can see a dozen churches and medieval monasteries. There are also charming fishing villages and beautiful beaches like Murici Beach. Plus you can take a cruise tour from the Virpazar and enjoy bird watching from the water.
Skadar Lake is half an hour away from Podgorica, Montenegro’s capital, so you can easily reach it by car or public transport.
8. Relax at the Porto Montenegro
Porto Montenegro is the main port for super yachts on the Adriatic Sea. It is located in the city of Tivat, the only city on the Montenegro coastline with an international airport.
This is a new tourist destination in Boka Bay, with hundreds of spots for yachts, luxury waterfront apartments, restaurants, cafes and shops. Although this complex was created primarily for wealthier guests, prices in restaurants are not too expensive, so you can afford a lunch with a view of the port and luxury yachts.
Stroll the promenade along the coast in the evening and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the most beautiful marina on the Adriatic.
9. Uncover the Phenomenal Hiking Routes
The northern-eastern part of Montenegro is a paradise for hikers. There are several mountains not so far apart, offering wonderful treks. These include Bjelasica, over beautiful Komovi to frightening Prokletije mountains, whose name translates as “The Accursed Mountains.” The tops of these mountains reach 2,000-2,500 meters above sea level.
In addition to hiking trails, you will also find hundreds of kilometers of mountain bike trails. Furthermore, extraordinary lookouts will be all around you.
Biograd Lake and Hrid Lake are two must-see locations in the Biogradska Gora National Park. Both glacial lakes are tucked in gorgeous woods, with mountain peaks above them. We also recommend visiting Ali Pasa’s springs and Oko skakavice, the deep whirlpool of turquoise color.
10. Experience Underground Adventure in Lipa Cave
Lipa Cave has a 2.5 km long system of canals, with unique speleothems, stunning halls, and galleries. It is located just 5 km from Cetinje, a small town known as the old royal capital of Montenegro.
During a one-hour organized tour, guides will tell you interesting stories about the cave. You will enter the cave by a small tourist train, then continue the tour on foot. The temperature in the cave is around 10 degrees Celsius all year round, so don’t forget to bring a jacket.
Local wineries often organize wine promotions in the interior of this cave. So, that can also be an excellent opportunity to taste the top Montenegrin wines.
Author Bio: Based in Serbia in Europe, Marija Stojanovic Petkovski worked as a journalist but realized writing about the most beautiful places in the world is something that inspires her. She is sure that a pint of good craft beer perfectly accompanies a tasty home-made lasagne. In her spare time, she enjoys playing with her children and spending time outdoors with her family.