Montenegro’s stunning natural beauty and diverse history make it a fascinating place to explore. Jaw-dropping scenery around every corner, remnants of vanquished kingdoms and trendy underground destinations mean this tiny country packs a mighty punch for its size. Here are the top 20 must-see attractions in Montenegro.
Sveti Stefan’s 15th century village, pink pebble beaches and azure waters have made this area a favourite with both royalty and tourists since the 1930s. It’s the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon swim followed by a dinner of fresh seafood, while watching the sun set over the Adriatic Sea.
Budva’s 2,500-year-old town is a lively, walled town full of restaurants, bars and boutiques. The town museum and citadel show-off Budva’s ancient artifacts, while a five-minute walk along a seaside path leads to idyllic Mogren Beach. When the sun goes down, Budva’s bars are the place to party until the early hours.
Kotor’s Venetian old town lies on the shore of the Bay of Kotor and is backed by sheer mountains. The labyrinthine alleyways lead past museums, old barracks, traditional restaurants and churches. Locals love to pick up a cone of wild strawberry ice cream and lounge over coffee in one of the town’s piazzas.
One thousand three hundred fifty-five steps. That’s all that separates you from the best view in Kotor. San Giovanni Fortress dates from the 9th century, and no visit to Kotor is complete without a hike to the top. The views from the top take in the Bay of Kotor, Mt Vrmac and Kotor old town. Simply breathtaking!
Tara Canyon is the second deepest canyon in the world, after the Grand Canyon. The best way to see it is on a thrilling whitewater rafting tour. Between rapids there are spots for swimming and cliff jumping, but at just 10°C (50°F) the water is very fresh!
Djurdjevica Tara Bridge is the other best way to see Tara Canyon. Once the biggest vehicular concrete arch bridge in Europe, it was blown up in 1942, effectively stopping the Italian advance. The rebuilt bridge towers 172 meters above the riverbed below, while the zipline across the canyon is the preferred choice for thrill-seekers.
The peaks of Durmitor National Park make a stunning backdrop for the Black Lake. An easy 4-kilometer track around the lake meanders past historic caves and grazing cattle. There are boats for hire and it’s an idyllic spot to spread a picnic blanket and enjoy the scenery.
Ulcinj’s Velika Plaza, on the south coast of Montenegro, is a 12 kilometer stretch of sandy beach that’s popular with intrepid travellers. With kite surfing, beach parties and a music festival, this is one of the trendiest summer hot spots in Montenegro.
As the largest lake in the Balkans and an important area for migratory birds, Skadar Lake is a mecca for wildlife. An ideal day here includes a sightseeing boat trip followed by a visit to a local winery to try traditional food and wine.
One of the most glorious photo stops in a country teeming with jaw-dropping scenery, Pavlova Strana overlooks a natural horseshoe bend in Rijeka Crnojevica (Crnojevic River). Blue sky, lush greenery and the winding river make this a must-see in Montenegro.
As Montenegro’s old royal capital, Cetinje is packed with history. The Blue Palace, Cetinje Monastery and the national museum showcase Montenegrin history and culture, while King Nikola’s Court offers a fascinating look into Montenegro’s royal past.
Set into a sheer cliff, Ostrog Monastery is one of the most important religious sites in the Balkans. Over 100,000 visitors of all faiths visit the 17th-century monastery each year, and it’s not unusual to see pilgrims making the climb to the upper monastery in bare feet or on their knees.
Bar’s old town is the perfect place to get a feel for the cultural mix in Montenegro. The colourful street and restaurants have a distinctive eastern flair, showing the Turkish influence here. The stone old town is a mix of ruins, museum and art gallery.
Out on Lustica Peninsula’s wild coast and accessible only by boat, the Blue Cave got its name for the iridescent blue light inside the cave. Take a boat tour to the cave from either Herceg Novi or Kotor and explore the cave’s depths.
Our Lady of the Rocks is a 15th-century island church that’s been protecting the seafarers of the Bay of Kotor for over 500 years. A short boat ride from Perast or Kotor takes you to the island where for €1 you can take a guided tour through the church and attached museum. Not only is the island idyllic, but you’ll get beautiful views of Perast.
Petar Petrovic Njegos was a poet, bishop and philosopher who ruled Montenegro from 1830 to 1851. He was buried on Mount Lovcen. A hike of 461 steps brings you to his mausoleum and to yet another glorious viewpoint. The lookout offers 360 degree views of the Montenegrin coast, Lake Skadar, Albania and Croatia.
Lipa Cave is a great attraction for families. A miniature train takes visitors through countryside full of wild fig and pomegranate trees to the cave entrance. From there, there’s a guided tour through the cave’s enormous caverns.
Nevidio Canyon is a must-do for adrenaline junkies. Tours go through the canyon from May to October. Once you’re in the canyon, the only way out is to hike, swim, slide and jump your way to the exit. This one is not for the faint of heart!
Risan is the oldest settlement in the Bay of Kotor, and the Roman mosaics discovered here are the remains of a villa dating from the 2nd century. The mosaics depict important parts of Roman life – food, wine and weapons, as well an exquisite mosaic of the Greek god of sleep, Hypnos.
Transformed from a navy shipyard into a world-class superyacht marina, Porto Montenegro is the place to stroll, brunch and eye up the world’s most luxurious superyachts. The village includes a Regent Hotel, restaurants, boutiques and night clubs.