Montenegro might be one of the smallest countries in Europe, but this southeastern nation packs a serious punch. It is a land of glimmering seas and imposing forests, where one can lounge on the beach in the morning and indulge in night skiing when the sun goes down. Montenegro encapsulates everything magical about this part of the world, a region where storytelling is at the heart of everything. Well, that and delicious grilled meat, of course.
Don't Miss These Things To Do in Montenegro
The days of Montenegro flying under the tourist radar won’t last forever. Now is the time to explore this land before the crowds filing into Kotor and Budva go elsewhere. With a thrillingly varied history allied to some of Europe’s most jaw-dropping scenery, Montenegro is ready to steal your heart; don’t expect it ever to let go.
1. Go Church Hopping in Kotor
Discussions about places to visit in Montenegro tend to begin with Kotor, and it is easy to see why. Kotor packs plenty into its relatively small borders, with a proud maritime history allied to modern cafes, restaurants, and bars, plus some of the most alluring churches in this part of the world. Stop for a romantic courtyard lunch at Pržun before taking the arduous walk up to the fortress walls, where the ultimate view of the Bay of Kotor awaits.
2. Fall in Love in Perast
If Kotor is the main event in Montenegro, Perast is the cherry on top. Just 12 kilometers north of Kotor, Perast is one of the most magnificent villages in Europe, a small place with a proud history of ship-building that now does a fine line in romance. Its two winsome islets sit proudly in the water, and a day trip out to Our Lady of the Rocks is one of Montenegro’s true bucket list experiences. If you can’t fall in love in Perast, you can’t fall in love anywhere.
3. Explore Montenegrin History in Cetinje
Most tourist attention in Montenegro focuses on the coast, but plenty of treasures await inland. Cetinje is arguably the country’s finest town, as much for its architectural range as its significance as the royal capital. For centuries, Cetinje was Montenegro, a place where leaders rallied against threats from outside, and it was also the nation’s first diplomatic center. Today, it is a charming town where every building tells a story, and Gradska Cetinje might just be the best hotel in the country.
4. Marvel at The Magic of Ostrog Monastery
Perched in the cliffs halfway between Nikšić and Podgorica, Ostrog Monastery is a place for thinking. For many, the first thought is about how the site was built, such is the otherworldly nature of a chalk-white monastery built into the face of a cliff high in the hills. Ostrog is a living, breathing, working monastery, and its modern relevance only adds to its sense of grandeur and mysticism. The views of the valley are predictably stunning and worth every moment of terror provided by the winding road towards it.
5. Bounce From Century to Century in Podgorica
Few European capitals are as overlooked as Podgorica, but this feisty city likes it that way. The Montenegrin capital has developed rapidly over the last century, but its streets hint at stories that go way back. The nooks and crannies of Stara Varoš are its soul, while the jarring combination of Austro-Hungarian and 20th-century architecture in its new center provides modern thrills and spills. The parks are delightful, especially during those scorching summer months.
6. Embrace Something Different in Ulcinj
Ulcinj offers something a little different to the rest of Montenegro’s coastline. The dramatic setting of its old town is arguably the best found by the sea, and the views from the ground are as sweeping as those found from its walls. Elsewhere, the beachfront cafes are embellished by one of the country’s most pleasant mosques, and the curious design of Ulcinj’s World War II memorial stands proudly above it all. Throw in some excellent beaches, cultural variety (the town’s population is predominantly Albanian), and one of Montenegro’s best bars (looking at you, Kino Cafe), and you have a seaside city with a difference.
7. Get Sweaty in Herceg Novi
From the southernmost part to the north, from one dramatic coastal city to another. Herceg Novi represents another string to Montenegro’s cultural bow, with monasteries, churches, and monuments around every corner or down every staircase, to be more accurate, as Herceg Novi is famous for its many steps. The town’s beauty makes the exercise worth it, as does all the delicious ice cream. Bosnia and Herzegovina is just down the road.
8. Walk on Another World at Lovćen
It has been described as walking on the moon’s surface, but that doesn’t do complete justice to the otherworldly nature of Mount Lovćen. It isn’t your ordinary mountain, after all. Lovćen is the heart and soul of the nation, so it is only fitting that Montenegro’s most famous son is buried here. A trip to the Prince Petar II Petrović-Njegoš Mausoleum is arguably the most important experience in Montenegro.
9. Stand on Top of Montenegro at Durmitor National Park
Sticking with sweeping mountains and otherworldly landscapes, does it get more majestic than Durmitor National Park? Montenegro is a country of spellbinding nature, but Durmitor is a step above all of it with its 39,000 hectares of thrilling rivers, dense forests, and glacial lakes. Adventure fans will be in their element in Durmitor, with hiking, mountaineering, climbing, and canoeing available in abundance.
10. Enjoy a Spot of Night Skiing in Kolašin
Montenegro’s coastline is elite, and its inland cities are cultural charmers, but life moves to a different beat in the north. The country is one of Europe’s most underrated skiing destinations, and its resorts serve up the unicorn combination of quality and affordability. Kolašin sits at the top of the table, with plenty to offer everyone from beginners to game veterans. The resort also provides non-piste adventures like horse riding, rafting, and more expansive excursions.
11. Investigate The Primeval Rainforests of Biogradska Gora
Also located within the wider Kolašin area, Biogradska Gora is one of Europe’s most unique forests. It is one of only three remaining primeval rainforests in Europe and, as such, is home to a stunning range of flora and fauna. Walking through Biogradska Gora is an exercise in tranquility, although it hasn’t always been that way. Biogradska Gora was the sight of numerous battles that have shaped history as we know it.
12. Relax and Unwind at Lake Skadar
Lake Skadar isn’t your ordinary lake. For one, it is the largest lake in southeastern Europe, and it also happens to be the largest bird reserve in the continent, home to everything from herons to pelicans. Of course, you don’t need to be an amateur ornithologist to fall in love with this gorgeous stretch of nature on the border with Albania. Lake Skadar is a vast body of water that takes the breath away, although be sure to catch that breath before enjoying the wines and traditional cuisine prepared here.