Looking to do a Montenegro road trip? You’re in luck! After her road trip around Montenegro this spring, Laura is bringing you everything you need to plan your own.
On my own Instagram page, I have spoken a fair few times about our Montenegro road trip, and if you didn’t know any better, you would probably think that I was getting some kind of commission for trips there. Unfortunately, I’m not. I really do just love it and want others to experience it too.
The word ‘Montenegro’ translates to ‘black mountain’ so suffice to say, there are lots of mountains! But is it a good destination to visit?
The answer is yes, 100 percent!
Montenegro really does have something for everyone – beautiful coastlines, quaint old towns, virgin rainforests and my personal favourite – beautiful national parks.
On our Montenegro road trip, we wanted to see everything that Montenegro had to offer so we hired a car and did a road trip around the country. Although Montenegro is a relatively small country, there are not many options for public transport in the mountains so we knew that we would need to hire a car to see everything that we wanted to see. In this blog, I will outline our trip and our thoughts on each place so that you can decide where to go, what to see and if it’s worth a visit.
There are two airports in Montenegro – Podgorica (the capital) and Kotor. For the purpose of our trip, we planned our flights from Podgorica. If you plan to stay in Kotor, it would make more sense for you to fly to Kotor or depending on where you plan to visit, you may want to plan your flights so that your arrival flight is different from your departure.
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Hiring a Car in Montenegro
Hiring a car was easy – it was all arranged online and we picked our rental car up from the airport at no extra cost. If you plan to fly to Kotor and spend your first few days there then you could potentially save some money as many things are within walking distance and you could arrange to pick up a hire car when you plan on leaving Kotor.
Communication was really simple and there were no issues other than a speeding ticket on our last day – be careful as apparently they target tourists and make you pay on the spot (they even have a card machine and will not give you your driving licence back until you pay).
Skadar National Park
After picking up our rental car from Podgorica Airport, our first stop was Skadar National Park which was a relatively short drive from the airport. The views were spectacular and from the road, you get a wonderful view of the lake from above.
If you want to drop down by the lake, you can hire a boat or do watersports.
Although we didn’t stay here for long and just checked out the views, there are camp spots dotted around the lake so if you are in a van or motorhome, there are plenty of places to stay or you could take a tent if you would like to pitch up for the night.
From here, we headed down to the South Coast and took a scenic drive towards Budva, checking out some of the picturesque coastal towns and viewpoints on the way.
After spending the night in Budva, we headed to Kotor to enjoy a few days of swimming, relaxing and sightseeing.
Close to Kotor is the beautiful town of Perast. This is a popular spot for visiting the Lady of the Rocks – an artificial island with a museum. You can visit the island by boat or you may wish to hire a kayak.
Read more from my column… Why You Should Go Travelling
Lovcen National Park
Potentially my favourite part of the trip! Lovcen National Park is one of the most biodiverse areas of Montenegro with around 2,000 different species of plants.
We hiked up to Njegos Mausoleum which is the highest burial temple in the world. The hike is around three hours or you can park and take a relatively short walk up the steps (although there are a lot of steps!). From here, the views are spectacular and you can even see the mountains in the north.
After a few nights in Kotor, we woke up early for a long drive up north. We decided to take a slight detour and head to Piva Canyon as we heard that the drive was pretty special and the views were not too bad either.
Durmitor National Park
Next stop – Durmitor National Park. Being outdoor lovers, this was the bit that we were most excited for and we were not disappointed. Luckily, we chose to go at the right time. When we first arrived, one of the roads had just been cleared of snow, so recently in fact that after we drove through, we were approached by a couple who asked us if the road was clear because it was blocked that morning.
Read more from my column… How to Be Outdoorsy
We did our Montenegro road trip in May, so I would say this was a good time to visit. There was still snow on the mountain tops but the roads were accessible and it was the ideal temperature for walking and hiking at around 20° Celsius.
Driving around Durmitor National Park really did feel like driving on Mars. The landscape was like nothing we had seen before. What made it even more special is that we only occasionally saw another car. There were many lakes scattered around with no people and it felt like a bear could pop out at any moment (luckily for us they didn’t – thanks to my bear bell, I’m sure).
We had originally considered hiking Bobotov Kuk (the tallest mountain in Montenegro) but we quickly realised that with a short window of time, we wanted to do shorter hikes so that we could see and do as much in the few days that we had as possible.
If you do have time to add this to your Montenegro road trip, this would be a great challenge and I’m sure the views would be nothing short of amazing!
One of our favourites hikes and viewpoints was Mt Curevac. Sitting at an impressive 1626m, the views over Tara Canyon were spectacular and there was a car park only a 30 minute walk from the peak of the mountain so we were able to carry our camping equipment up for a night in the mountains.
The Black Lake
The Black Lake is outlined as a popular spot in Durmitor National Park and when you arrive, you can see why. The views are incredible. I’m sure in the height of summer, this spot can be pretty busy but on the day that we visited, there was hardly anyone around! You can hire a rowing boat to go out on the lake and we were the only people on the lake so it felt so quiet and peaceful.
Biogradska Gora National Park
The next spot on our itinerary was Biogradska Gora National Park but the drive took much longer than anticipated as we kept stopping to see the most beautiful views along the way.
We finally arrived. Biogradska Gora is one of the 3 remaining virgin rainforests in Europe. The walk through the rainforest was absolutely beautiful. Everything was so green and we saw so much wildlife.
The one downside of visiting Montenegro is that it does get a lot of rainfall. The week that we visited seemed to be a great week to visit as we did get some wonderful weather but the weather can be much colder and more temperamental in the mountains. We had originally planned to stay a few more days in the mountains but the weather forecast had predicted thunderstorms so we decided to head back to Kotor for our last few days to enjoy the sun and this was a great shout.
The great thing about a road trip is that you have the flexibility to go where you like.
It may not seem appealing to spend hours and hours in a car but the views from the road were spectacular and are even recommended in themselves. Hire a comfortable car, roll down the windows, get the tunes on and enjoy the ride!
This road trip is intended to give you some ideas for spots to visit but remember to check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. For example, you could do this whole trip in reverse.
Prokletije National Park
On our Montenegro road trip, we managed to see four of the five national parks in Montenegro but my one regret is that we didn’t have time to visit Prokletije National Park. Prokletije National Park looks spectacular and if you are a hiker, this is definitely the place to be. The national park is located on the west of the country and borders Albania and we didn’t think it was feasible to fit this into a one week road trip as we would want more time to explore so we left this one out but if you have longer than a week, I would recommend heading to Prokletije from Biogradska Gora and then flying back from Podgorica. We will hopefully return to see this at some point!
As previously mentioned, we absolutely LOVED Montenegro and I hope that this guide gives you the motivation to go and maybe follow our road trip. I think it truly is a hidden gem of Europe and to some extent, I hope that it stays this way but I also would love to recommend some less obvious places for you to visit and enjoy!
If you have any questions, please drop them in the comments or please let me know if you have been and what you think of Montenegro?