Montenegro is also known as the "Pearl of the Adria" known. The country is characterized by its nature, coastal cities, historical sites and national parks. As a road traveler, you have the freedom to discover all of this at your own pace. Explore the country off the beaten track. It is worth it! We did a Montenegro road trip that took us from the Serbian border past Lake Skadar (Lake Skadar) to the sea at Sveti Stefan and from there on towards Dubrovnik.
The fascination of a road trip through Montenegro lies in the variety that is offered to you. The winding coastal roads offer great views of the Adriatic Sea and connect you with bustling seaside towns like Kotor, Budva and the exclusive Sveti Stefan. If you don't like the hustle and bustle of the coast, then you should definitely consider a trip inland.
Montenegro has much more to offer than just the coast. You can look at the national parks, such as the Durmitor National Park, which inspires with its mountains and lakes. Or visit Biogradska Gora National Park with its dense forest and Lake Biogradsko. We also enjoyed Lake Skadar (Skadar Lake), the largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula, known for its birdlife and scenery.
A road trip through Montenegro also allows you to get to know the history of the country better. Visit the Old Town of Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Or explore the historic capital of Cetinje. Another highlight is the Lovćen National Park, where you can discover the imposing mausoleum of Petar Petrović Njegoš.
Preparing for the Montenegro road trip
Before planning a Montenegro road trip, there are a few things to consider to ensure your road trip through this Balkan country is a great one.
travel time and climate
Check the weather and climate in Montenegro in advance to choose the best time to travel. The summer months offer mostly sunny weather and pleasant temperatures along the coast. If you want to explore the mountain regions, you should also consider the weather conditions at higher altitudes.
Choosing the route for a Montenegro road trip
Think in advance which places and sights you want to visit on your road trip. Are you planning a coastal route to explore the lively cities, or do you also want to discover the national parks inland? Good route planning saves time and helps you make the most of your trip.
Rental car or own vehicle for a Montenegro road trip?
Consider whether you want to rent a car or whether you will come with your own vehicle. Rental cars offer flexibility and often come with insurance. If you are traveling with your own vehicle, make sure it is in good condition and check the insurance conditions for international travel. If you travel with your own car, you need more time. You also have to pay tolls in several countries to get there. Because the journey takes you either through the whole of Serbia or through Croatia, Slovenia and Austria. We entered Serbia with our own car and then went along the coastal route Croatia drove back to Germany.
documents and insurance
Make sure you have all the required documents, including a valid driver's license, passport and, if applicable, an international driver's license. Also, check your insurance policies, both auto and travel, to be covered in the event of an accident, theft, or medical emergencies.
Sights and highlights along the coast for a Montenegro road trip
Larger towns that you pass on a Montenegro road trip are these three:
This city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stroll through the winding streets of the medieval old town, climb the steps to San Giovanni Fortress and enjoy the panoramic view of the Bay of Kotor. The churches and squares of the city are also worth a visit.
This city might not be for everyone as a stop on a Montenegro road trip. With its high-rise hotels and party atmosphere, it attracts bathers and the party crowd. Budva therefore offers a combination of historical heritage and lively atmosphere. Explore the fortified old town with its cobblestone streets and visit the many restaurants, cafes and shops. Relax on the beaches or explore the nearby islands.
Sveti Stefan is one of the most beautifully situated places in Montenegro. However, the island itself is only accessible to paying guests. Nevertheless, a stop is worthwhile. You can photograph the peninsula well from above. Do as we do and enjoy a good meal in one of the restaurants from which you have a good view of the peninsula. Although the resort is not open to the public, you can enjoy the view from above or relax on the surrounding beaches.
These national parks are must-sees on a Montenegro road trip
Durmitor National Park
The mountain landscapes in Durmitor National Park are magnificent. The imposing Tara Canyon, one of the deepest gorges in Europe, is famous. There you can, for example, go rafting on the Tara River. You can also go hiking and climbing in the mountains.
Biogradska Gora National Park
This national park has one of the last rainforests in Europe. Explore the network of hiking trails in this national park that take you through dense forests, along clear lakes and past wild rivers. Biogradsko Lake surrounded by lush vegetation is a perfect place to enjoy nature and relax. On our Montenegro road trip we were able to get a taste of this natural paradise.
Skadar Lake (also Skadar Lake)
The largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula, Lake Skadar, impresses with its biodiversity and scenic beauty. Take a boat trip and explore the picturesque bays, islands and rich birdlife. The lake also offers opportunities for fishing and swimming. You can also visit the village of Virpazar, which serves as a starting point for many activities around the lake.
Historical highlights on a Montenegro road trip
Old town of Kotor
Enjoy the medieval ambience in the old town of Kotor, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stroll through the narrow, cobbled streets. On top of that, check out the well-preserved city walls that surround the city. Discover historical churches, palaces and charming squares. You can also visit St. Tryphon's Cathedral, a masterpiece of Romanesque-Gothic architecture.
Visit the former capital of Montenegro and the historical and cultural center of the country. Cetinje was once the seat of the Montenegrin rulers and is therefore rich in historical buildings. Visit the Royal Castle, Cetinje Monastery Complex and Historical Museum of Montenegro to learn more about the country's history and culture.
Lovćen National Park and Mausoleum Petar Petrović Njegoš
Lovćen National Park is known not only for its spectacular scenery, but also for the mausoleum of Petar Petrović Njegoš. This was an important poet and prince bishop from Montenegro. Climb the 461 steps to the summit platform and enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view. In the mausoleum you can also admire the impressive monument dedicated to the poet.
Practical tips for route planning for a road trip through Montenegro
Daily stages and accommodation options
Plan your daily stages so that you have enough time to explore the highlights along your route. Montenegro is a small country, so distances are manageable. Look in good time for suitable accommodation along the route, be it in hotels, guesthouses or campsites. Or even better: reserve your accommodation before you travel:
- Budva and surroundings*
- Kotor and surroundings*
- Sveti Stefan and surroundings*
- Durmitor National Park*
- Lake Skadar or Skadar*
- Biogradska Gora National Park*
- Lovćen National Park*
road conditions and traffic rules
Roads in Montenegro can be winding and mountainous. Be prepared for tight switchbacks as well as rough sections. Respect the traffic rules and also pay attention to speed limits. Remember that you are driving on the right side of the road.
gas stations and tolls
Plan ahead where you want to fill up, as not all locations have gas stations. Find out about the current gas prices and make sure you have cash or a credit card with you for payments at the gas stations. Also note that tolls are charged on some motorways in Montenegro.
Food and restaurants along the way
Montenegro offers a variety of options for catering. Along your route you will find restaurants, cafes and food stalls where you can enjoy the local cuisine. Be sure to try specialties from Montenegro like cevapcici, fresh fish or cheesecake.
Get to know culture and local characteristics on a Montenegro road trip
A road trip through Montenegro is definitely a good way for Slow Travelers to experience the culture of the country more intensively. This includes:
cuisine and specialities
The country's cuisine is characterized by fresh ingredients and a Mediterranean influence. Be sure to try local specialties such as cevapcici (grilled minced meat rolls), njeguški pršut (smoked ham), cheesecake (kačamak) and fresh fish from the Adriatic Sea. It's worth trying this.
traditions and customs
Montenegro has a rich tradition and maintains many customs to this day. Visit traditional festivals where music, dances and costumes play a major role. Explore the country's crafts, such as making carpets or pottery. Respect the local culture and take part in the traditions. So you can easily get in touch with the locals.
Encounters with locals
The Montenegrins are known for their hospitality. A great way to connect with the locals is to visit markets or local events. Also, learn some words like “Hvala” (thank you) or “Dobar dan” (good day). This will help break the spell.
Practical tips for a road trip through Montenegro
The official language is Montenegrin, but many people also speak English, especially in areas where tourism plays a role. It is best to take a dictionary or a translation app with you to understand basic phrases and make yourself understood. With respect and openness towards the local culture and people, your trip will be an even better experience.
Search for parking spaces and traffic jams
In the busy cities and tourist areas, finding parking can be a challenge. Look for public parking or use parking garages if they are available. Avoid rush hour to avoid traffic jams or use less busy roads.
safety and emergency preparedness
As with any trip, it's also important to take care of your safety and emergency preparedness. So find out about local laws and customs. Keep important contact numbers handy, including the police, fire brigade and your country's embassy. Watch your luggage and avoid remote or unsafe areas. Get travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and other events.
Cost and budget for a road trip through Montenegro
It is advisable to set a realistic budget and be flexible. A buffer for expenses that were not planned is very practical. It also helps to be willing to adjust priorities if you feel your budget isn't enough. Also, try local restaurants where you can find cheaper options to reduce your meal expenses.
Accommodation and camping on a Montenegro road trip
Accommodation costs vary depending on the type of accommodation and location. Hotels and guesthouses in areas with a lot of tourism can be more expensive than accommodation outside of the main attractions. An alternative is camping, as Montenegro has many beautiful campsites, which are often inexpensive.
Gasoline and transportation prices
Fuel prices in Montenegro can fluctuate. Find out about the current prices and take your vehicle's fuel consumption into account when planning your budget. If you are looking for cheaper options, you can also use public transport like buses to get around the country.
Entrance fees and activities
Some attractions and national parks charge entrance fees. Find out about the costs in advance and plan them into your budget. Also consider the cost of activities such as rafting, boat tours or guided hikes if you want to do such activities. You can also reserve many of them before you travel. This gives you a better overview of your expenses before you leave.
Excursions and activities in Montenegro
Our impressions and experiences on our Montenegro road trip
The beauty of Montenegro amazed us. Above all, the warmth of the people and their hospitality made our stay a great experience. You need time to experience this. It is therefore worth planning a few days for places off the usual routes.
Places off the tourist track
In addition to the well-known highlights, there are also lesser-known places that are worth a visit. There is the village of Njeguši, known for its ham and cheesecake, or explore the Skadar region with its villages and boat trips on the largest lake in the Balkans.
Tips for experiences
To make your road trip truly unforgettable, we have a few tips for you. Explore the national parks on foot or by bike to experience the beauty of nature up close. Take a boat tour along the coast to discover hidden coves and cliffs. Also, don't miss the chance to taste the local cuisine and eat in traditional restaurants. Also, be open to meeting local people and getting to know their culture.
Conclusion of our Montenegro road trip
In Montenegro we experienced a mixture of grandiose landscapes, a lot of history, warm people and delicious cuisine. From the coastal towns like Kotor and Sveti Stefan to the mountains inland, the country made a deep impression on us. This variety ensures a trip with a lot of variety.
The highlights of our road trip were undoubtedly the gorges inland. The Biogradska Gora National Park also wowed us with its forests and opportunities for hiking and exploring.
But it was the hospitality of the people of Montenegro that made our stay so special. Their pride in their country touched us deeply. We also learned a lot about the culture and traditions of Montenegro and were welcomed with open arms.
Therefore, we look forward to discovering other regions of Montenegro. There is still so much to explore off the beaten tourist track. We want to delve deeper into the local cuisine, learn more about the history of the country and explore the lesser-known places.
Questions and answers before a Montenegro road trip
How is the road network in Montenegro for a road trip?
The road network in Montenegro is well developed, but be prepared for winding and hilly roads.
Do I need special insurance for my rental car in Montenegro?
Yes, comprehensive insurance with theft protection is recommended to cover possible damage.
Are there tolls on the roads in Montenegro?
Yes, tolls are charged on some motorways in Montenegro. Therefore, find out about the current fees in advance.
Where can I find accommodation along my route in Montenegro?
Montenegro offers a variety of accommodation options, including hotels, guesthouses, as well as campsites. Plan ahead and use online booking platforms for more choice.
What documents do I need for my road trip to Montenegro?
You need your valid passport or identity card and your driver's license. Make sure you also carry an International Driving Permit if your driver's license is not in English.
Parking at the airport
How to get there
Arrival by plane, bus or train*. Dubrovnik has an airport, as does Kotor and Podgorica. Eurowings, Croatia Airlines, Lufthansa, Alitalia, Austrian and other airlines fly to Dubrovnik.
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Source Montenegro Roadtrip: own research. We financed the trip ourselves. In any case, our opinion remains our own.
Text Montenegro Roadtrip: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs as well as TravelWorldOnline and Pixabay