Montenegro Road Trip: The Perfect Itinerary & All Travel Tips

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Hello Montenegro – you dreamlike country for a successful road trip! The little jewel in the heart of the Balkans offers an incredible variety in a small area: Spectacular mountain ranges, rough plateaus and a breathtakingly beautiful coastal landscape (with drawbacks – but we’ll get to that still).

In this blog article we present you the perfect itinerary for your road trip through Montenegro. She takes you in eight to 01 days on the highlights of the country. Our route is ideal for those who are visiting Montenegro for the first time and are looking for a successful combination of nature, culture and coast.

In this article you will also find countless personal travel tips for Montenegro, so that you can prepare and plan your trip perfectly. Here we go!

1. Route through Montenegro for 8 to 01 Days Perast (Bay of Kotor) Starting point of our itinerary is Perast in the famous Bay of Kotor – the bay that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and magically attracts travelers. The almost car-free old town of Perast has nevertheless retained a tranquil flair. In our eyes, Perast is the most beautiful place in the Bay of Kotor.

Perast is quite manageable, so that you can easily visit the most important sights in half a day. We stayed two nights and were very grateful to be able to spend a few relaxed hours by the pool in our wonderful hotel and to get in the mood for the upcoming Montenegro road trip.

Our accommodation: Casa VitaNova

Detailed blog article: Perast TipsRecommended stay: 2 nights

Arrival to Perast We traveled ourselves with your own car via Bosnia and Herzegovina to Montenegro. If you fly, then simply rent a car from the airport (usually the one in the capital Podgorica). We will tell you more about this further down in this blog article.

Durmitor National Park (Žabljak) The next destination on our route is the gigantic beautiful Durmitor National Park. Here Montenegro almost looks a bit like Kyrgyzstan – isolated, wild, untouched. The spectacular Durmitor mountains rise from a plateau.

Most of them Travelers (including us) choose the small mountain village of Žabljak as their home base. A corresponding tourist infrastructure with many accommodations and restaurants awaits you here.

In the Durmitor National Park, nature comes first: you can go on great hikes and excursions. One of the highlights is driving on the Durmitor ring road, the mountain road that meanders in a circle through the mountain massif.

Our accommodation: Casa di Pino Eco Lodge
Detailed blog article: Durmitor National Park Travel Tips
Recommended stay: 2-3 nights (we stayed 2 nights )

Arrival from Perast to the Durmitor National Park & ​​stopover Ostrog Monastery From Perast our itinerary goes along the streets P10 and M6 (= panoramic road 3A) to the north of Montenegro. Our tip: Make sure to stop briefly at Slano Lake (“Slansko Jezero”) and enjoy the fantastic panorama.

One of the most famous sights and most important pilgrimage sites Montenegro, the Ostrog Monastery, is not directly on the route, but it makes sense to take the detour of about an hour.

The location of the Serbian-Orthodox monastery alone is impressive: Carved into a rock, it is enthroned up here at the end of a narrow mountain road. From the upper parking lot you are separated by an approx. 11-minute forest path (uphill ) from the entrance to the monastery.

The pure driving time for this section of the route from Perast to the national park (including a detour to the monastery) is approx. 3 .5 hours. It takes about 2.5 hours without going to the monastery.

Durmitor National Park Black Lake in Durmitor National Park Sedlo Pass in Durmitor National Park Slano Lake

Ostrog Monastery Lake Skadar (Virpazar) Lake Skadar (also known as Skadar) is another natural jewel in Montenegro that you absolutely must visit should be on your itinerary. The lake is considered the largest lake in the Balkans and one of the largest in southern Europe. The starting point for explorations is usually the small town of Virpazar.

Lake Skadar is famous for its gigantic bird population. For example, migratory birds from Northern Europe rest and breed at Lake Skadar. Also some of the last pelicans in Europe live here.

The absolute highlight on Lake Skadar is a boat tour at sunrise. At dawn, when the When the birds are active and there are hardly any other boats around, you can really feel the magic of Lake Skadar.

Our accommodation: Lake Valley

Detailed blog article: Skadar Lake TipsRecommended stay: 2 nights

Arrival from Durmitor National Park to Lake Skadar Since we still wanted to explore the famous bridge at the Tara Gorge, we took a detour. In total, our travel time for this section of the itinerary was a good 3 hours. The route mostly runs along Panoramastraße 1 and mostly takes you through a very mountainous, partly sparsely populated and very green landscape.

Kotor (Bay of Kotor) The itinerary ends where the road trip began: in the Bay of Kotor. This time, however, we stay overnight in Kotor, the most famous and eponymous place in the bay.

Kotor is really very touristy, the old town is also simply fantastically beautiful. A must-see includes a climb to the fortress San Giovanni, which towers high above the old town. The sweaty undertaking is rewarded with a panoramic view of the very finest.

Kotor is also an ideal starting point for a trip to the Lovćen National Park. Here in the Dinaric Mountains sits the mausoleum of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš. The associated viewing platform is now one of the most popular photo opportunities in Montenegro.

Our accommodation: Palazzo Sbutega

Detailed blog article: Kotor travel tipsRecommended stay: 2-3 nights (we stayed 2 nights)

Arrival from Lake Skadar to Kotor The last section of the itinerary is the shortest of the entire road trip: from Lake Skadar you are ideally only about 1 hour and 15 minutes on the way before you reach Kotor. “Ideally” because you have to drive the very busy coastal road here, which unfortunately also runs through the tourist hotspot Budva. Here you always have to expect traffic jams during the day during the high season.

Another tip for the itinerary: better avoid these places As breathtakingly beautiful and partly untouched as Montenegro is in many parts of the country, unfortunately there are also regions that are the exact opposite of it. Hotel bunkers, built-up coast, mass and party tourism – this is also a sad reality in Montenegro.

We didn’t drive all the way south to Ulcinj ourselves, but what we saw was enough for us. The bathing resort of Budva , highly praised by many, was our personal place of horror. Coming from the idyllic Lake Skadar, we could hardly believe our eyes: everything is concreted over with gigantic hotel complexes, thousands of people, loud party roaring – no thanks! Unfortunately, not even the very pretty old town of Budva could change our opinion.

It doesn’t get any better further south towards Bar. The longer we drove along the coast road, the more relieved we were not to have planned an overnight stop here on our route.

Yes, Montenegro is gorgeous – but definitely not everywhere ! And: If the term “insider tip” is mentioned in the context of Montenegro, then this is to be understood at most for the German-speaking area. Guests from Serbia, Russia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have been vacationing in Montenegro for decades.

View of the beach in front of the old town of Budva – actually nice here if it wasn’t for the loud party music. 2. Map: Our Montenegro itinerary at a glance So that you can see the you can better imagine the course of the route, we have drawn all the stops of our road trip on this map . We entered Montenegro via Bosnia and Herzegovina (coming from Trebinje, to be precise). Of course, you can also follow the itinerary at anyone start their stop – the distances in small Montenegro are fortunately manageable.

3. Practical travel tips for your road trip: rental car, costs, travel time & Co Arrival and entry into Montenegro With your own car Anyone from southern Germany or Austria, you can consider going to Montenegro in your own car. Keep in mind that the entire route can hardly be covered in one day (for safety reasons alone!). From Vienna you are about 10 Hours to Kotor on the way, from Munich it’s good 13 hours.

The route runs through several exciting countries anyway (Slovenia, Croatia, possibly Bosnia and Herzegovina), so that a Stopover (or more) even ideally offers. We ourselves stop in Bosnia and Herzegovina on both the outward and return journey – a destination that we can only warmly recommend!

You should also take into account that you will encounter a have to pay quite a lot tolls. In Slovenia there is a digital vignette (you can buy it directly at the border), in Croatia and Bosnia you pay when you exit the motorway. (The motorways in Bosnia are still under construction – here you often drive on country roads.)

By plane It’s quicker to travel by plane. Montenegro has two international airports: One in the capital Podgorica and one in Tivat (Kotor Bay). There are direct connections to Podgorica from Vienna, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Berlin, among others.

You can search for cheap flights here: Skyscanner

Documents for entry Montenegro does not belong to the EU, but with an Austrian or German passport you can enter the country for three months without a visa. For current regulations, we prefer to refer to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Austria) or the Federal Foreign Office (Germany).

Important for entering the country with your own car: In addition to the registration certificate and driver’s license, you also need the so-called “Green Insurance Card” for your car. The country code “MNE” on this proves that there is valid insurance for Montenegro. You usually receive the card with your policy, but you can request it at any time (allow for the processing time!).

The insurance card can (but does not have to) be checked at the border. If you do not have it with you, you must take out insurance directly at the border.

Driving & Traffic Book a rental car in Montenegro If you are not traveling with your own car, we strongly recommend that you hire a rental car directly at the airport so that you can flexibly head for the most beautiful travel destinations along the route.

We mostly book our rental cars through Sunny Cars. Sunny Cars is a comparison platform that compares the offers of various rental car companies. You book via Sunny Cars, but then collect your car from the local rental car company (e.g. Hertz).

In any case, it is important to have comprehensive insurance, either without a deductible or with reimbursement of the deductible by the landlord. Such insurance is automatically included with Sunny Cars.

Our tip: We recommend the middle class as a rental car class for Montenegro. For many narrow roads along the itinerary (e.g. in Durmitor National Park or on the scenic road on the shore of Lake Skadar) a small car is definitely more practical than a huge SUV. However, too small is not ideal with regard to the luggage, which ideally can be stowed invisibly in the trunk.

Traffic on the roads & road conditions Driving on the roads of Montenegro we have as relatively relaxed experienced. Usually you drive very comfortably on country roads (two lanes, i.e. one lane in each direction). Motorways are currently under construction in Montenegro, so there are hardly any tolls.

The traffic volume varies greatly. For example, while inland you drive through no man’s land almost alone through the landscape, in the high season you often expect kilometers of traffic jams along the coastal road (e.g. around Budva or Kotor).

The roads are general in very good condition. You should definitely always expect potholes, so we avoided driving at night as much as possible.

You can find a good overview of applicable rules (maximum speeds, alcohol limit, carrying obligations) on the ÖAMTC website: Montenegro travel tips.

Internet in Montenegro Roaming is not (!) free in Montenegro, so you should definitely adapt the corresponding setting on your smartphone – otherwise it will be expensive!

Um To stay mobile on site and to navigate in the car, we simply bought a local SIM card . This is very cheap: For 15 days and 500 GB we just got 10 Euro paid (as of summer 2022). You can buy SIM cards in many small shops/supermarkets. Ours was from the provider “one”.

Important tip: This only works if your smartphone is activated for all networks. And: As soon as the Montenegrin SIM card is inserted, you can no longer be reached on your regular number (if you only have one card slot). (Pro tip from experience: Think of a sensible, safe place to store your own SIM card during the trip.)

Alternatively, you could also ask your mobile phone provider for a Buy a roaming package for Montenegro. However, this is usually very expensive. And last but not least, there is of course free Wi-Fi in almost all accommodation and also in many restaurants in Montenegro .

Travel Expenses Montenegro Good news: Although Montenegro is not part of the EU, it is convenient to pay in euros. Bad news: Montenegro is not a very cheap travel destination, As you might hope, but of course still cheaper overall than Central or Northern Europe.

You can definitely save the most money in your choice of accommodation. The price range in Montenegro generally extends from very cheap apartments to expensive luxury hotels. There are regional differences – for example, overnight stays in the interior are cheaper than on the coast (e.g. Bay of Kotor).

What is the cost in Montenegro…? Overnight stay in a pretty boutique hotel with pool (high season): approx. 200 euros per night (for the double room ie 100 Euro per person) Overnight stay in an apartment: approx. 80 until 100 Euro per night ( ie 40 until 50 Euro per person) Rental car (middle class) for one week (high season) excl. tank: approx. 561 Euro Dinner for two in a nice restaurant in Kotor (main course and drink): approx. 50 Euro Entrance fee for Kotor Fortress: 8 Euro Private sunrise tour for two on Lake Skadar: 80 Euro The best travel time for one Montenegro-Roadtrip We ourselves chose the absolute high season, namely July as the travel period. At the travel destinations we visited (especially Kotor) there was of course a lot going on, as expected, but fortunately the rush was fairly limited, especially inland.

The feeling of mass tourism overtook us only when we saw the coastal towns like Budva & Co. We would avoid these anyway (as described above) – but especially in midsummer! Another disadvantage of the high season are the accommodation prices, which skyrocket quickly in July and August.

If you can, then it is a trip in late spring (June) or early autumn (September) is more ideal. Then there is less going on and the temperatures are not quite as oppressive as in midsummer.

You should consider that the Durmitor National Park, which is also along our itinerary, has a different climate than other regions. It is also much cooler and more unstable here in July and August, so you should definitely take a jacket with you.

Transparency: Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!

Have you ever done a road trip through Montenegro? How was your itinerary? Which stops can you recommend and which travel tips would you like to share with us? We look forward to your comment!