Montenegro, a small country on the Balkan Peninsula, possesses a magical allure. Despite its modest size in terms of both land area and population, it boasts a rich diversity of natural beauty, cultural treasures, and incredible historical landmarks. Here, towering mountains give way to picturesque Adriatic Sea coastlines, and ancient cities nestle comfortably amidst magnificent natural landscapes.
However, the appeal of Montenegro extends beyond its mountains and sea. The distinctive cities of Montenegro with their ancient architecture offer yet another compelling reason to travel here. Ancient monasteries, forts, and fortresses hold not only aesthetic value but also significant historical importance. Each city in this country leaves an indelible mark on memory, offering unforgettable experiences. In the following material, we will share which city to choose for your vacation. But for now: welcome!
Kotor, founded in ancient times, remarkably preserves its mediaeval appearance. The old town of Kotor is surrounded by formidable walls built in the 9th to 14th centuries and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. The main centre of the old town is adorned with narrow cobbled streets, squares, and bridges. Magnificent structures such as St. John’s Fortress, Our Lady of Salvation Chapel, and St. Tryphon’s Cathedral are historical and architectural masterpieces. Besides city views, Kotor offers various forms of active leisure, including hiking in the mountains, water sports, and bay cruises. In the evening, Kotor’s old town comes alive with cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy the music of local musicians.
Without a doubt, Budva remains one of the most popular resort destinations in the Balkans. The city encompasses various architectural styles due to influences from Venetian, Roman, and mediaeval cultures during its formation. The old town is the heart of Budva, where you will find stone alleys, small squares, and historical buildings like St. John the Baptist Cathedral, the Church of Saint Mary, and the Church of the Holy Trinity. The city also boasts numerous beaches, including Mogren, Pizana, Slovenska, Guvance, and Jaz, among others. Water sports like windsurfing and diving are also available here. Budva’s nightlife is vibrant during the summer months. Restaurants, bars, and nightclubs on the waterfront attract those seeking entertainment and fun late into the night. Rest assured, in Budva, you will not get bored!
The next city on the list is the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica. It is a dynamic city that combines modern styles with a rich history. The old parts of the city, known as Stara Varoš and Drač, preserve ancient houses, narrow streets, and numerous churches, making them interesting for history enthusiasts. Among the architectural landmarks, do not miss the ruins of the ancient city of Doclea, St. George’s Church, Millennium Bridge, and the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, all of which impress with their architecture and historical significance. While exploring Podgorica, be sure to savour the authentic culture and, of course, the cuisine. Many cafes and restaurants offer local and international dishes, as well as traditional food and drinks.
This city proudly carries the title of the “botanical garden of Montenegro”. What immediately catches your attention when visiting the city is the abundance of greenery: trees, bushes, flowers, and climbing plants. The Clock Tower is undoubtedly the most photogenic building in the city, frequently photographed by tourists and locals alike. Herceg Novi also has several interesting museums, including the Open-Air Anchors Museum and the Regional Museum. The city is also known for its festivals and cultural events, which take place throughout the year.
This small but culturally rich city invites travellers to explore its magnificent historical heritage and discover its diversity. Cetinje is situated near the picturesque valley of the Cetinje River, at the foot of the Lovćen Mountain. Its architecture combines influences from different eras, including mediaeval stone structures, Venetian houses, and elements of Ottoman style. Since the city is compact, you can easily explore its centre on foot, enjoying the local attractions. Notable places include Cetinje Monastery, the Church of the Birth of the Holy Virgin, the National Historical Museum, Vlaška Church, the Blue Palace, and the Zetski Dom Royal Theater. Cultural activities in Cetinje are rich and memorable. Afterward, you can take a trip to Mount Lovćen or explore the Lipa Cave.
The architectural character of the town of Ulcinj reflects its rich history and the influence of various cultures. In the heart of the Old Town, you will find ancient streets with houses built in the traditional Montenegrin style and mediaeval fortifications. During a stroll here, it is worth visiting the Balšić Tower and the Church of St. Mary. Additionally, Ulcinj offers numerous opportunities for entertainment and active leisure. The waters of the Adriatic Sea are ideal for swimming, water sports, and diving. Among the numerous beaches and promenades, everyone can find their own secluded spot for relaxation.
The location of this small town is simply wonderful. It is situated in the southern part of Montenegro, between the Adriatic Sea and Lake Skadar. The history of this place is quite eventful and even includes some difficult periods of war and destruction. However, the town was rebuilt, and in 1954, a large port opened in Bar, which is still operational today. When it comes to tourism, Bar is considered a budget-friendly option for a vacation in Montenegro. There are no crowds of tourists here, as in the previously mentioned cities, but the town has retained its authenticity and charm. You can find the best spots for diving, take a walk along the wide promenade, go hiking, and trekking. Be sure to visit both parts of the town: New Bar with the largest modern port in Montenegro and Old Bar, where the historic partially ruined fortress is located. You can also explore the cosy shops and cafes, where the atmosphere of Bar is felt most strongly.
Located on the Vrmac Peninsula, Tivat is a port city of extraordinary beauty. In this place, you can find both ancient buildings with interesting architectural solutions and modern structures. Water skiing is highly popular among tourists and locals alike. Not far from Tivat is the Island of St. Michael, also known as the Island of Flowers. When you visit, do not miss the monasteries of St. Michael and the Jesuit Order, as well as the Church of the Mother of God. Also, allocate some time for a visit to the luxurious botanical garden with a park and the tower of the palace once belonging to the Buca family.
Montenegro is a country that offers diverse travel options, regardless of your interests. Its cultural heritage, natural beauty, and hospitality provide all the conditions for a unique and unforgettable experience.
How to Plan your Trip to Montenegro
If you dream of unforgettable adventures on the Adriatic coast and in the picturesque mountains of Montenegro, then the second part of our article offers you a ready-made plan of action. We will tell you how to easily and advantageously visit several cities on your own terms. The key aspect of this is car rental in Montenegro. This will provide you with complete freedom of movement. You will not have to be tied to the schedule of public transport or worry about getting to remote attractions. You will be able to plan your trip independently, without the influence of external factors.
It is important to consider several aspects if you are planning your trip to Montenegro by car. Let us discuss them further.
- Choose the time of year. Montenegro offers a range of travel options depending on the season. Summer is suitable for beach holidays, spring and autumn for active nature walks, and in winter, you can enjoy the ski resorts.
- Plan your route in advance. Explore the map and determine which places and attractions you would like to visit. Place the most important ones at the top of the list, gradually moving down to less priority ones.
- Book accommodation in advance. This is especially relevant during the peak tourist season. With advance booking, you can avoid misunderstandings and inconveniences upon arrival.
- Rent a car. Car rental in Montenegro will provide you with the freedom of movement and the opportunity to explore places not accessible to tourists using public transport. Cars in Montenegro can be rented on the website of LocalCarRents.
- Prepare your documents. Before your journey, make sure you have all the necessary documents, including your passport, driver’s licence, insurance, and car documents. Check their expiration dates.
- Learn about local culture and traditions. Adapting to the basic norms and values of the local culture is an excellent way to integrate into society, interact more respectfully with local residents, and learn more about their customs.
- Explore natural attractions. Montenegro is famous for its natural beauty. Explore national parks, lakes, canyons, and waterfalls. Such landscapes are truly breathtaking.
- Allocate time for relaxation. After long walks, hiking, and water sports, it is a great idea to set aside time for relaxation. Beaches, spas, and local cuisine will allow you to fully enjoy your rest.
- Follow local rules and laws. This is a fundamental aspect, but no less important. Before your trip, familiarise yourself with Montenegro’s legislation, learn about any unusual rules and norms. Upon arrival, adhere to all laws, including speed limits on roads and parking rules.
- Be prepared for surprises. Travel always carries an element of adventure and unexpected situations. Therefore, unexpected situations are not uncommon. It is important to be prepared for the most common ones, such as losing documents or getting lost in a remote area. Prepare an action plan for such situations.
Montenegro is an amazing country for travel, offering diverse opportunities for active recreation, cultural exploration, and discovering the architecture of cities, as well as opening up new horizons. By following our advice, you can make your journey as enjoyable and memorable as possible.