Red roofs of Budva and mountains in the background, Montenegro

Things to do in  Montenegro

The new pearl of the Adriatic

Rugged mountains and glacial lakes roll out across Montenegro’s northern highlands, tumbling down to the fjord-like Bay of Kotor and the multihued beaches of the Adriatic Coast. Long overshadowed by neighboring Croatia on the tourism front, this Balkan beauty is ready to step up for a turn in the limelight. It's well deserved: There are plenty of things to do in Montenegro, whether hiking and white-water rafting through the Tara River Canyon, hopping among UNESCO-listed medieval towns, or taking a pilgrimage to a mountain monastery.

Top 11 attractions in Montenegro

Bay of Kotor

Working its way inland from Montenegro’s Adriatic Coast, the fjord-like Bay of Kotor—known locally as Boca—is one of Europe’s great natural beauties. Backed by rugged mountain peaks, scattered with sparkling blue coves, and dotted with medieval waterfront villages, this glittering inlet reveals a postcard-perfect scene at every turn.More

Our Lady of the Rocks (Gospa od Skrpjela)

Perched on one of two small islands in the Bay of Kotor, just off the coast of Perast, the 17th-century Our Lady of the Rocks church is a majestic sight. Framed by mountain peaks and cobalt blue waters, the church appears to float on the water’s surface, and has fast become one of Montenegro’s most photographed landmarks.More

Kotor Old Town

Nestled into Montenegro’s steep Bay of Kotor, Kotor Old Town is one of the Mediterranean’s best-preserved gems. Ringed by stone walls that climb the limestone cliffs behind it, its knot of streets hosts centuries-old architecture, quirky museums, and countless shops and alfresco eateries, making it a magnet for sightseers and cruise liners.More

Tara River Canyon

Snaking through Montenegro’s lush Durmitor National Park, the 94-mile (151-kilometer UNESCO-listed Tara River Canyon is Europe’s deepest gorge and one of its longest. Dramatic walls, turquoise waters, and bordering pine-coated hills make it a magnet for nature lovers and adventure sports enthusiasts.More

Ostrog Monastery (Manastir Ostrog)

The most visited pilgrimage destination in Montenegro, the Ostrog Monastery is also one of the most popular Christian sites in the world. The 17th-century Serbian Orthodox monastery is carved into a mountain cliff 2,953 feet (900 m) above the Zeta Valley, and is dedicated to Saint Basil of Ostrog, who is buried there. The upper section of the monastery contains the Church of the Presentation, home to Saint Basil’s relics and 17th-century frescoes, as well as the Church of the Holy Cross, a small cave church. The lower monastery holds the Church of the Holy Trinity and the monks' residences.Tradition dictates that pilgrims walk the three kilometers from the lower to upper monastery barefoot. Spectacular views of the Bjelopavlici plain await at the top.More

St. Tryphon Cathedral

One of only two Roman Catholic cathedrals in Montenegro, the Romanesque twin-towered cathedral of St. Tryphon (Sveti Tripun) is found in the delightful alleyways of Kotor Old Town and dedicated to the patron saint of the town. Standing on the site of an older church built in the seventh century by Andrija Saracenis to house the relics of Tryphon, the cathedral was consecrated in 1166 but thanks to a series of earthquakes, it has had several incarnations down the centuries. Today’s façade dates from 1667, when the Baroque bell towers were added, but the interior still remains an homage to Romanesque architecture. The vaulted roof is criss-crossed with tiny bricks and supported by pink brick pillars as well as marble columns, forming a three-aisle nave. There are 14th-century frescoes on the walls of the cathedral and a wooden crucifix in the reliquary chapel dates from 1288; here lie the relics of several saints, including Tryphon’s hand encased in silver. The cathedral’s biggest draw, however, is the silver-and-gold screen featuring a range of saints that covers the main altar; this is considered the most precious religious artifact in Montenegro and is topped with a stone carving depicting the life of St. Tryphon.More

Blue Cave (Plava Spilja)

Burrowed into the Adriatic-washed cliffs of Montenegro’s Lustica Peninsula near the Bay of Kotor, the Blue Cave—also called the Blue Grotto—is one of the region’s star attractions. Formed by millennia of wave erosion, it draws visitors with its luminescent blue waters, which are ideal for photo ops, swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking.More

Kotor City Walls

Snaking around Kotor Old Town and the mountain behind it, Kotor’s UNESCO-protected walls have guarded this well-preserved city since the Middle Ages. Mainly built between the 4th and 14th centuries, tourists walk along them to see the mountainside St. John’s Fortress and spectacular panoramas over Kotor and the Bay of Kotor beyond.More

Kotor Clock Tower

Built in 1602, the clock tower in the center of Kotor is the focal point of the town. Standing three stories tall with two clock faces, it is one of the first things people see as they enter the town through the main sea gate. Combining elements of both Baroque and Gothic architecture, the tower is made of gray stone and features a coat of arms on the front of the building that belonged to the family of a Montenegrin prince from the era when it was built. On the ground level is a watchmaker’s shop that is said to have been there since the 17th century. In front of the tower is a small pyramid shaped stone that served as a pillar of shame where local criminals were once tied as punishment.More

Lovcen National Park

High in the Dinara Alps in Montenegro, encompassing Mount Lovćen and its surroundings, Lovćen National Park is known for its beautiful views and its diverse flora and fauna. It's also the site of the mausoleum of Petar II Petrović Njegoš, a poet and philosopher who once served as Montenegro's ruling Prince-Bishop.More

Church of St. Luke

The Church of St. Luke in Kotor is one of the oldest churches in Montenegro. Originally built in 1195 as a Catholic church, the modest single nave building features both Romanesque and Byzantine architectural elements. Only fragments of the original 12th century frescoes remain today. The iconostasis dates to the 17th century and the floor is made of tomb panels as citizens of Kotor were buried underneath the church through the 19th century. The church is particularly unique due to the existence of Catholic and Orthodox altars standing side by side and from 1657 to 1812, services for both religions took place. Miraculously, the church was the only building in Kotor that did not suffer major damage during a 1979 earthquake.More

Top activities in Montenegro

Lady of the Rocks and Blue Cave - Kotor Boat Tour
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Private Kotor Bay Speed Boat Tour and Blue Cave Adventure
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Tour Kotor - Perast Old Town - Island Our Lady of the Rocks - Every 2 hours
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Private Montenegro Tour for Cruise Passengers

Private Montenegro Tour for Cruise Passengers

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Private Boat Tour Kotor - Blue Cave Adventure - Up to 9 passengers
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Kotor Bay - Blue Cave Adventure & Beach Time
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Private Boat Tour Kotor: Lady of the Rocks & Blue Cave - Small Groups up to 15
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All about Montenegro

When to visit

Montenegro’s busiest season is July and August when the beach resorts along the Adriatic Coast fill up with tourists and cruise ships ply the Bay of Kotor. To avoid the crowds and still enjoy the balmy Mediterranean weather, visit in May-June or September-October, or head inland to the cooler mountain regions. In winter, the ski resorts of Zabljak or Kolasin are the places to be—ski season runs November–March.

Getting around

Most visitors arrive via one of Montenegro’s two international airports—Podgorica or Tivat—from where buses and taxis connect with resorts including Kotor, Budva, and Plav. If you’re traveling around the coastal regions, buses are your friend, while ferries and boat cruises offer a scenic way to traverse the Bay of Kotor. A central train line runs up from the capital through the mountains into neighboring Serbia.

Traveler tips

Peel yourself away from the beach and head for the hills—Montenegro is prime turf for hikers. Some of the most scenic hiking trails include Zabljak’s Black Lake, the Bobotov Kuk peak in Durmitor National Park, and Volusnica in Prokletije National Park.


People Also Ask

What is Montenegro best known for?

Montenegro’s star attraction is the Bay of Kotor, the largest fjord in the Mediterranean—known for its picturesque medieval towns, island church, and magnificent natural scenery. Inland, Lake Skadar is a bird-watching hot spot, while Durmitor National Park and the Tara River are popular with hikers and white-water rafters.

Is Croatia or Montenegro better?

It depends! Both have beautiful Adriatic beaches, UNESCO-listed medieval cities, and mountainous highlands where you can hike and white-water raft. Montenegro is the less-developed of the two, making it easier to escape the crowds and explore off the beaten track, but Croatia’s islands and national parks are hard to beat.

Is Montenegro worth going to?

Yes. Montenegro remains largely undiscovered, but this small Balkan country has lots to offer. Unspoiled beaches and uncrowded resorts dot the Adriatic Coast, while the dramatic landscapes of the Bay of Kotor, Durmitor National Park, and the Tara River Canyon afford plenty of outdoor adventure opportunities.

Why do people visit Montenegro?

Montenegro is best known for its Adriatic coastline and UNESCO-listed Bay of Kotor, a popular cruise destination. Many travelers visit Montenegro to enjoy its wild beauty, picturesque medieval towns, and traditional Balkans culture. With great transport links and uncrowded resorts, it’s fast becoming a popular Eastern Europe vacation spot.

How many days do you need in Montenegro?

Plan a minimum of three days to visit coastal highlights such as Budva and the Bay of Kotor, or at least a week to combine beach time with mountainous Durmitor National Park. You can drive across Montenegro in a few hours, but you'd miss many of its charms.

Is Montenegro cheap to vacation?

Yes, compared to many Western European countries, Montenegro is an affordable destination. The small country uses the euro, and with its tourism industry still developing, it’s easy to find great-value accommodation and restaurants. At the lower end of the scale, it’s possible to travel for between €35-€50 a day.

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