Sparkling Adriatic bays, dominating mountains, Venetian architecture, and UNESCO walled cities are just a few of the things travellers can experience in Montenegro.
Diverse and striking, Montenegro’s varied terrain transforms from Alp-like mountains, glacial lakes, and dense forest to deep canyons, a serpentine coast, and cerulean seas. Interspersed throughout this breathtaking landscape are mountain villages, fortified coastal towns, and historic sites.
Though small and often overlooked, this Mediterranean nation is growing more popular with each year. In response to rising demand, new resorts and infrastructure have been built to please history lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and beachgoers alike. Due to Montenegro’s relatively small size, it is possible to climb a mountain and swim in the Adriatic on the same day. In fact, it is uniquely easy to navigate between Montenegro’s historic towns and natural wonders. Best of all, Montenegrins are warm and inviting people.
But where, exactly, should one go while vacationing at this Mediterranean gem? Here are the top 10 places to see in Montenegro.
This walled town and UNESCO World Heritage Site is perched between glistening blue waters and dramatic peaks. Not only is Kotor visually striking, but also a treasure trove of historic sites and relics. In addition to the churches, buildings, and streets themselves, visitors can explore the Maritime Museum of Montenegro, which speaks to the town’s seafaring past. Work up an appetite for local cuisine by hiking to the hilltop Fortress of San Giovanni or swimming in the cooling waters of Kotor Bay.
This 15th-century town is the former royal capital as well as the cradle of Montenegrin culture. The charming and well-preserved old town is compact and walkable, ideal for touring and sightseeing. Visitors can explore churches, museums, and monastery houses. It’s also a great place to sample local Montenegrin cuisine.
Perast & Island Churches
This picturesque stone town sits at the edge of the Bay of Montenegro. It was once amongst the wealthiest of coastal towns, evident in the captain’s mansions that remain. It lies across two Island churches, the 9th-century Benedictine Abby of St. George and the 15th-century Our Lady of the Rocks church. It is the best place to discover the legend behind the manmade Our Lady of the Rocks church and the history of the local Fasinada festival.
At the night of Lovcen National Park lies the marble mausoleum of former Montenegrin ruler Petar Petrovic-Njegos. The building rests atop 461 steps and there, the ruler’s remains are enclosed in a granite eagle 1,675 meters above sea level. This site also offers breathtaking views of the Dinara alps and Lovcen National Park.
Budva is a riviera town known for its lively beaches and nightlife. The glitzy coastal town is adjacent to a large harbour filled with glamorous yachts. By contrast, the old town Stari Grad boasts Venetian architecture, marble streets, and a charming citadel. Nearby destinations include the village of Kaprina and the island of Sveti Nikola.
This quaint fortified city stands at the gate of the Bay of Kotor and is a must-see for anyone visiting. The Old Town offers historic churches, military fortresses, modern restaurants, and bustling cafe bars. A stone’s throw from the city, a pebbly beach and clear waters await.
Durmitor National Park
With glaciated limestone valleys and rushing rivers, Durmitor National Park is a must-see for wilderness lovers. The national park spans 39,000 acres between north-western Montenegro and parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Visitors who hike to rocky summits and glacial likes, bike the mountain trails or raft the white waters of the Tara River will be absolutely thrilled by Montenegro’s natural beauty.
Carved into the sheer vertical face of a rock cliff lies this Orthodox pilgrimage site, which was built in the 1600s and remains a popular sacred destination to this day. Discover antique painted frescoes, spectacular churches, and a natural spring as well as sweeping views of the Zeta valley.
The largest freshwater lake in the Balkans, Skadar lake straddles the countries of Montenegro and Albania. Its beauty is evidenced by the fact that it was the historic summer residence of the Montenegrin royal family. With its well-preserved rolling Karst terrain and flower-strewn shores, Skadar Lake remains a pristine natural wonder and birder’s paradise.
Montenegro is not only home to the largest lake in the Balkans, but also the highest mountain on the Adriatic coast. Mount Orjen’s slopes are a haven for alpine adventurers year-round. A ski resort, mountain huts, and Coastal Mountain Traverse trail offer ample opportunities to explore this wild terrain.