Why should you visit Montenegro? It’s not a big country but diverse and rich in stunning landscapes. This makes it perfect for a road trip which is why we chose it as our holiday destination. From wild beauty in the North to maritime vibes in the South there is something for everyone.
We arrived to Montenegro by airplane to the Podgorica airport where we picked up our rental car. I recommend getting a rental car. That way you can best explore the most beautiful corners of this country. But keep in mind that roads are not in the best conditions in some regions and local people are driving like crazy.
Here I want to show you my highlights of our roadtrip through Montenegro. Actually we visited more places during our trip. But if you can make all these stops in one week, then you’re good and you will have a full itinerary.
1. Ostrog Monastery
Our first stop after picking up our rental car was at the Ostrog Monastery. It is the most popular pilgrimage place in Montenegro. You can already see the monastery from far away as it sits high up in the mountain. This amazed me, it’s a mystery to me how they could build it up there in former times.
It is not allowed to take pictures inside so put your camera away and enjoy the moment.
2. Black Lake (Crno Jezero)
The Black Lake – or Crno Jezero in local language – might be one the most visited sights at Durmitor National Park. The funny thing is that a few weeks before coming here, we visited the Green Lake in Austria and I had a little dejavu. Both lakes get their water during snowmelt in spring from the sourrounding mountains.
There are a lot of hiking paths around this area of Crno Jezero. I would have loved to hike up to one of the mountain tops but unfortunately we did not have enough time for that. Next time then :)
Good news is that you do not need to be sporty to get to the Black Lake. It is an easy and paved 30 minute walk from the parking area.
Are you planning to stay overnight in this area? Then choose a typical Montenegrin mountain cabin for an authentic and cozy experience. We found ours at Airbnb, there are dozens in this area.
If you are visiting during spring time, it might not be possible to walk around the lake.
Due to the snowmelt the lake carried more water which set part of the path underwater. Halfway through several waterfalls blocked our way. We were able to cross most of them after climbing up the slopes except for the last two waterfalls. There was no other way than putting our shoes off and walking through the cold water. That was a refreshing experience, but I would rather do this on sunnier days.
I am actually glad we did not catch a cold after this refreshing little adventure.
3. Tara Canyon
Did you know that the Tara Canyon is the second deepest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon?
Along the canyon you will find various viewpoints. The most famous one is at the Djurdjevic Tara Bridge. After completion in 1940 it broke the world record for the largest wooden scaffold. We could even see the bridge from our airplane window while approaching Podgorica.
The second viewpoint we visited was at Curevac. If you like scenic views as much as I do, then you have to visit this one. From the parking spot it’s a 30 – 45 minutes hike rewarding you with amazing views.
4. Alpine Road P14
Referred to as one of the most scenic roads of Montenegro, it lived up to our expectations.
After a few kilometers we had to turn around because snow blocked the road.
Check at a local tourist office before you go there. It was still worth driving there, but it was a rush of adrenaline to turn around on the edge of this narrow road. If you are afraid of heights, I would not recommend driving there.
Lovcen is a national park and mountain in the southwest of Montenegro. The main attraction of this area the Njegoš-Mausoleum sits at the second highest peak at 1657m.
If you want to access the famous 360° platform, you will have to walk up the 461 steps to the entry of the Mausoleum first. There you’ll have to buy a ticket to visit and walk through the Mausoleum.
On a clear day the views are stretching as far as Albania and Croatia.
6. Rijeka Crnojevica
This charming little village looks like straight out of an impressionist painting. Prince Danilo built the old pictureous stone bridge called Danilo’s Bridge in 1853.
Do a little stopover here if you’re heading to Skadar Lake.
7. Skadar Lake
Skadar Lake is a must see for nature lovers. There’s a legend that tears of a fairy created this lake. Judging by the beautiful landscapes, one could believe in this magical tale.
As I want to be honest with you, I have to tell you about our bad experience there to warn you. We got ripped off by the boat tour operator at Hotel Pelican. Check the reviews on Google and Tripadvisor before booking a tour.
Apart from the bad experience at the start, it was a nice cruise along the lake and we even saw two pelicans and drove through a channel of water lilies.
Best viewpoints over Lake Skadar
If you have a rental car, I would recommend you to drive on the mountain roads to enjoy these beautiful views. We took the following pictures on the roads from Virpazar to Budva and from Rijeka Crnojevica to Karuc.
When we arrived at the city limits of Budva, at first I was not quite sure if we were at the right place. All we could see were lots of modern apartment complexes and skyscrapers. But don’t let this first impression fool you. Budva’s beauty is waiting for you in its old town. You will fall in love with the pretty stone houses along the narrow cobbled streets.
The promenade along the harbor invites you for a stroll. Or you get your dinner or a drink here and watch the people walking by and the ships and yachts out on the sea.
Best viewpoints in and around Budva:
- Visit the citadel for a nice view of the old town from above.
- Mogren beach which was unfortunately closed due to stormy weather during our stay
- Driving up the road to Kotor there is a little parking lot where you can pull up for a little photo stop
Before we came to Kotor, I thought that two days would be enough here. But I would recommend to stay at least three days in this beautiful city because there is so much to do and see in the area of the Kotor Bay.
The first thing we did after arriving to Kotor was going up the city walls. It was very windy and chilly that day. But after climbing the 1350 stairs we definitely feeled warmed up. Plus we got rewarded with a wonderful view of the Bay of Kotor.
If you visit during hot summer time, try to avoid the heat of the day and bring water. Going up the stairs will replace a workout at the gym.
Kotor impressed us with its well preserved medieval architecture.
With various monuments of cultural heritage, it is on UNESCO’s World Natural and Historical Heritage Site list. No wonder that Kotor is a popular spot for cruise ships. During the day the narrow streets will get flooded by tourists. So stay in a hotel in Kotor so that you can visit early in the day or later in the afternoon when the ships leave again to avoid the masses.
Welcome to Cats’ Paradise
Do you love cats? Then Kotor is your place. It’s heaven for cat lovers and for all the cats living here too. The locals take good care of their Kotor cats. No matter where you look, you will always find at least one cat walking around or being lazy and soaking up the sun. There are many cat themed souvenir shop and there is even a cat museum.
As I already said earlier, we did not have enough time in Kotor but I am glad that we made it to Perast. If you are staying in Kotor you can reach Perast or other villages along the Bay of Kotor for a day trip by car or boat.
Without any doubt the picturesque village of Perast has a special charm even in bad weather.
Take a boat ride
A short boat ride away in front of Perast lies a small artificial island with the Our Lady of Rocks church.
Even though we did not went inside because it was very crowded when we arrived, it was a nice photo spot with a view of the Bay and Perast.