Right next to Croatia, you will find Montenegro (translated to Black Mountain) which has only been an independent country since 2006. It’s still a new tourist destination without any international food or hotel chains – but incredible rich in nature, experiences and people. North of the country, you will find huge mountains, lush forests and beautiful lakes. While in the south, a coastline line of almost 300 kilometers provides you with 117 beaches with crystal clear water. Even with so much diverse in landscape, Montenegro is actually 3 times smaller than Denmark.
I landed in a small airport in Tivat since it made most sense to start my roadtrip here right on the coast. Tivat reminds me of a smaller and less tourist coastal town in Spain. I didn’t see many tourists at all on the way to the hotel. I stayed at the Eco Hotel Carrubba which is a lovely hotel right on the bay. The terrace, where breakfast is served, has the most beautiful view.
After a 20-minute walk you will find Porto Montenegro which is the most exclusive marina in Montenegro. There are plenty of fine dining and designer shops in the Marina. This area is the most exclusive place you will find in Montenegro.
Durmitor National Park
After one night in Tivat, I headed to Durmitor National Park which is an absolute must-do! I found the cutest cabin called Etno selo Smrčevo brdo close to the National Park. The cabin is literally located in the middle of nowhere and has an extraordinary view. The host served delicious breakfast in the morning outside my cabin and took his time to explain more about the area.
I spent two nights here to have a full day in the National Park. I went to different viewpoints recommended by the host, but the most impressive sights are the Black Lake and Tara Bridge. Tara Bridge provides an excellent view of the Tara River Canyon, which is the second deepest canyon in the world – right after the Grand Canyons.
If you are nature person who likes active vacations, you would be able to spend days here as they have good hiking tracks, river rafting on Tara River, zip lining and much more. Many people from neighboring countries also go here in the winter to ski and snowboard.
Sveti Stefan – Budva
On the way back to the coast, the plan was to stop at the Ostrog Monastery placed in the mountain. However the road was too dangerous, so I skipped it and drove directly to Sveti Stefan. Sveti Stefan is a small islet owned by a 5-star hotel and unless you have a reservation there you can’t go to the islet. One night is about €1.250 for the standard room and it wouldn’t be worth the money for me. So I stayed at Hotel California – a 5-star hotel with direct view to Sveti Stefan and only paid €150 per night. I stayed here two nights and went to Budva for lunch. Budva is also located on the coastline and has a beautiful old town. The coast town is popular for being a tourist coastal resort. Here you will find cheaper accommodation, night life and more restaurants than in Sveti Stefan. However I preferred Sveti Stefan as it seemed to be a more special place.
Last and final stop was Kotor near Tivat. Kotor is a medieval town located on a beautiful bay on the coast of Montenegro. Kotor is beautifully surrounded by mountains with crystal clear water. In Kotor you will find a bigger and more commercial old town than Budva. More commercial, because most of the restaurants and shops seemed to be for tourists. In Old Town you can climb to the top of the Castle of San Giovanni. By climbing to the top, you will get the best view of Kotor bay. It’s a 45 minutes climb and not recommended if you wear flip flops. In Kotor I stayed at the Art Hotel Galathea located right outside of the city center.
I felt that I got to experience so many different things in Montenegro. Montenegro is definitely a place that I would visit again. It has something for everyone and it isn’t so crowded yet. I visited four different coastal towns and they were all charming in their own way. The National Park was truly spectacular! I would recommend to visit Montenegro for at least 8-9 days as I didn’t feel that I experienced all of Montenegro yet. I would love to have a day more in Durmitor National Park to visit Pluzine and a few more days on the coast line.
Price level: Cheap! I only stayed at 4 and 5-star hotels (besides the cabin) and paid between €100-150 per night. But I know that you can get very cheap and decent AirBnBs. The food is incredible cheap especially if you go to local spots, but expect a lot of meat!