5 Days in Montenegro: Montenegro Road Trip Itinerary

December 8, 2023

Montenegro is a fantastic destination in Europe, located along the Adriatic Sea in the heart of the Balkans. We think it’s a little underrated and lesser known destination compared to other Balkan countries, although it’s definitely a lovely gem to explore for its beauty and affordability.

Imagine a 5-day road trip through Montenegro – a journey filled with stunning scenery, charming towns, crystal clear waters and exciting adventures. Our 5-day Montenegro road trip is all about exploring the best places in Montenegro, allowing you to discover both the coast and the mountains. Despite its small size, Montenegro has plenty to offer, so you’ll see more sights in 5 days than in few other countries.

Our 5-day Montenegro itinerary gives you tips and useful information for not only the best places to visit in Montenegro, but also for excursions to neighboring countries. With a few extra days, you can easily visit the neighboring countries of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania.

Furthermore, our article is packed with useful information about Montenegro, perfect for those planning a trip. We guide you from the initial planning stages right through to the actual experiences you can look forward to during your journey. We suggest activities for your route, recommend hotels, and share personal insights gained from our travels around the country.

So, let’s start with some basic questions and information you may need for your Montenegro road trip.

Is Montenegro worth a visit?

Absolutely yes! Although it is one of the smallest countries in the Balkans, it offers plenty to see and do.

Getting to Montenegro

Traveling by car

From all neighboring countries, you can easily drive to Montenegro with your own car, just be prepared for border controls. So, check the border crossings on Google Maps (some have received complaints).

If you are an EU citizen, your identity card is sufficient, if not, a passport is required.

Make sure you have comprehensive car/travel insurance (including assistance) because it’s not easy to resolve issues if your car breaks down or gets damaged on the side of the road in the Balkans.

Traveling by plane

There are two main airports in the country: in the capital, Podgorica, and in Tivat, near the Bay of Kotor.

Most flights land in Podgorica, so that’s where our itinerary begins. If, however, you arrive in Tivat, simply switch the days accordingly.

How many days are enough to visit Montenegro?

Our 5-day itinerary includes most of the country’s main attractions, making it possible to explore Montenegro’s highlights in just five days.

If your time is limited, we suggest concentrating only on the southern areas.

For those wanting to see everything, consider planning a 7-day trip to Montenegro, providing enough time to experience almost all the sights.

Best time to visit Montenegro

The best time to travel to Montenegro largely depends on your travel goals.

If you wish to enjoy the beaches, summer is the ideal choice. July and August offer the best beach weather, but the first half of September is also worth considering due to fewer crowds.

If swimming in the sea is not a priority, we recommend visiting Montenegro during spring and autumn. The best months are May, June, September, and October.

We do not recommend winter due to heavy rainfall and snow in the mountains.

For a balanced compromise, perhaps the best month is September.

Getting around Montenegro

Since our article is about a road trip itinerary, we strongly recommend that you do this trip by car. This can be done with your own car or by renting one.

Public transport in Montenegro is quite poor, so we do not suggest using it.

If you don’t want to personally drive, private passenger transport services are available, especially to the major sights. Many locals offer private car or minibus transport, you can usually find them on site or on Viator and GetYourGuide.

Car rental in Montenegro

When you arrive at the airport in Podgorica and Tivat, you can choose from a wide range of car rental companies. Based on Google Maps reviews, local companies seem to be better.

Although we have not rented a car in Montenegro yet (we traveled with our own car), we would personally choose one of the following:

In Podgorica:

  • Apex Car Montenegro
  • Montenegrocar rent a car
  • Renault Rent A Car

In Tivat:

  • Abeona Rent A Car Montenegro
  • Dax Rent a Car Tivat
  • Montenegrocar – Rent a Car Tivat

Driving in Montenegro: Road conditions and driving habits

Road conditions in Montenegro are moderate. While the road network falls behind that of Western European countries, the overall quality is good.

The country has no highways and driving times are relatively long due to heavy traffic.

In terms of driving style, Montenegrins drive similarly to their neighbors – often boldly and, unfortunately, sometimes aggressively. If another vehicle approaches too closely on the road, it’s better to yield.

Most roads are winding, often narrow, which is why we recommend traveling with an experienced driver.

Police checks are common along the way, so always keep your documents handy.

We found it interesting that Montenegrins, like Hungarians, use flashing lights to indicate when there is a police check in the area. This is a practice in only a few countries.

How to spend 5 days in Montenegro

After answering the general questions, now let’s look at the 5-day Montenegro itinerary we’ve put together based on our own experience.

Map of the 5-day Montenegro road trip

We also show you the route and important points on a map:

Montenegro itinerary

After the overview, here are the 5 days in detail, with the programs and recommendations for each day.

You can find out:

  • where to visit in Montenegro in 5 days
  • what are the best things to do
  • recommendations for activities and accommodation
  • as well as recommendations of other places to add to your trip if you can spend more days in the area.

So here is the 5-day itinerary in detail:

Day 1: Arrival in Montenegro, Podgorica

We start the first day in the capital, Podgorica, where most flights arrive.

Podgorica is a relatively small capital with not much to see, so you can see all the sights in an afternoon.

Best things to do in Podgorica:

Take a stroll in the city center to see the most popular attractions

  • Millennium Bridge
  • and Old Ribnica River Bridge
  • Independence Square

If you have more time, you can also visit:

  • Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ
  • Gorica Park
  • and Petrovic Castle.

One of the biggest attractions in the area, which is not in the city, but in a nearby village, is Niagara Falls (or Vodopad Nijagara). Yes, Montenegro has Niagara Falls too.

It is worth noting that the water level is higher in spring and early summer, while the rest of the year the falls are often dried up.

However, the restaurant Restoran Niagara next to it is always worth a visit, an ideal place for a dinner with a unique view.

Spend the night in Podgorica, from where we continue to the Montenegrin coast the next day.

Where to stay in Podgorica

The following hotels are recommended in Podgorica:

Day 2: Budva, Sveti Stefan

The second day of our itinerary is starting to get really exciting: you can explore places that are truly special in Europe.

First, take the road M2.3 towards Budva.

Podgorica – Budva: 1 hours, 65 km (40 mi)

On the way, if you have enough time, don’t miss one of the highlights of Skadar Lake, the Pavlova Strana Viewpoint. It’s a must for photographers and nature lovers.

Pavlova Strana Viewpoint

Just a few kilometres from the M2.3, you will find the Pavlova Strana Viewpoint, which offers a truly breathtaking view of the winding Rijeka Crnojevica River, which feeds the picturesque Skadar Lake.

There are few such photogenic natural formations in Europe, so this is a must-see.

Just be prepared for some challenging road conditions on the final stretch, but the magnificent scenery makes it absolutely worth it.

When you are ready here, head on to Budva.

The road to Budva offers many excellent views, especially on the last, mountainous section.

If you have more than five days in Montenegro, we also recommend visiting Lipa Cave in the village of Lipa (near Budva), which is a stalactite cave similar to the Postojna Cave in Slovenia.

When you arrive in Budva, you have two options: either go into the town and explore the old town, or go straight to Sveti Stefan, another popular spot in the area.

We would choose Sveti Stefan first, so a few words about it:

Budva – Sveti Stefan: 20 minutes, 10 km (6 mi)

Sveti Stefan

Located between Budva and Petrovac, the iconic Sveti Stefan islet stands as a symbol of Montenegro’s coastal beauty.

Once a 15th-century fishing village, it has been transformed into an exclusive resort, preserving its historic charm.

The islet is connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus, offering breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea.

Next to the road E80/E65, there is a viewpoint called “Sveti Stefan great view” on Google Maps, don’t miss it if you are there, it offers a great view of the islet.

Seeing Sveti Stefan including the journey takes no more than 2–3 hours, so the rest of the afternoon and evening is left to explore Budva.


Budva is a beautiful coastal town with stunning views, fantastic beaches and an enchanting old town.

If you’re not planning a longer beach stay, you can explore the best of the city in a couple of hours.

The best things to do in Budva include:

Explore the old town

Budva’s old town is quite small, so you can easily discover every corner of it. Take a walk around the city walls, see the Pizanela Gate, the Budva Bell and the Terra-Ferita Gate.

Wander its narrow streets, browse the local shops selling handmade products, or maybe stop off at a restaurant or bar.

On the way, visit two of the main attractions, the Church of St. John and the Budva Citadel.

Check out the Budva Dancing girl statue

Near the old town, you will find the famous ballerina statue of Budva.

If you walk towards the Mogren beaches, you’ll find the statue on the way, with the old town in the background. For photographers, it’s a must-see, it’s a wonderful sight.

Take a walk on one of Budva’s beaches and maybe go for a swim

Which direction you go depends on which beach you choose. Some can be reached on foot from the city center, some are only accessible by car.

The best beaches in Budva are:

  • Mogren 1 and 2 beaches
  • Slovenska Beach
  • Becici Beach
  • Jaz Beach

Spend the night in Budva or Kotor, which is a short drive from Budva. The next day’s destination will be the Kotor Bay.

Where to stay in Budva

Budva, as a summer holiday destination, offers numerous great hotels, surprisingly at very reasonable prices. Budva is the place where you can truly enjoy a budget-friendly vacation, thanks to its affordable accommodations.

Personally, we recommend the following accommodations in Budva:

  • Boutique Hotel Vissi d’Arte: an extremely elegant five-star hotel close to the old town and Slovenska Beach. Recommended for those looking for elegant luxury.
  • Splendid Conference & Spa Resort: a five-star hotel located between the main road and Becici Beach. It has several private pools and direct access to the beach.
  • Iberostar Slavija: an elegant five-star hotel along the main road, a little further from the beaches and attractions. Very well priced in general and its rooftop pool offers stunning views.
  • Hotel Astoria: a simpler four-star hotel in the old town of Budva, close to Ričardova Glava Beach. Recommended for those who arrive without a car, want to stay in the old town and be close to several beaches
  • Apartments Menuet: four-star apartments near Slovenska Beach with private kitchen, highly recommended for families.

Where to stay in Kotor

There are plenty of hotels in and around Kotor, so it won’t be easy to choose. To help you decide, we recommend some of the best:

  • Hyatt Regency Kotor Bay Resort: perhaps best of all, a wonderful five-star hotel a little further from Kotor, a short drive away, with stunning interiors, private beach, bay views, parking and available off-season at a good price
  • MAISON W: a small, five-star hotel a few kilometers from the sights in Kotor at a very good price
  • Boutique Hotel R Palazzo: a beautiful and modern 4-star hotel in Dobrota, close to Kotor. It has a magnificent view of the bay
  • Hotel Monte Cristo: an old-style four-star hotel in the old town. Recommended for those who arrive without a car and want to stay close to the main attractions
  • D & Sons Apartments: very affordable apartments in the old town, ideal for families, especially those arriving without a car

Day 3: Bay of Kotor

Whether the previous evening or on the morning of the third day, head to the Bay of Kotor, undoubtedly the most beautiful and popular place in Montenegro.

Budva – Kotor: 30 minutes – variable, there are often traffic jams, 23 km (14 mi)

Bay of Kotor

Often referred to as the southernmost fjord in Europe, the Bay of Kotor or Boka Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the highlights of the Balkans. The bay unfolds with steep mountains hugging its shores, creating a dramatic landscape.

Within the bay, you’ll discover charming medieval towns such as Kotor and Perast.

Although there are several towns along the bay, we focus on these two because of the short time available.


In the first half of the third day, explore Kotor.

Kotor is one of the most beautiful and most iconic places in Montenegro.

The town is nestled at the corner of the Bay of Kotor, with a history that spans many centuries. Its old town is surrounded by a massive city wall adorned with beautiful gates and bastions. Inside the old town of Kotor, visitors can explore intriguing churches, historical buildings, museums, charming narrow streets, excellent restaurants, and encounter numerous adorable cats.

The best things to do in Kotor in a day:

Explore the old town for the main sights

The old town of Kotor is relatively quick to walk around, taking probably 1–2 hours.

The main attractions are:

  • Kampana Tower
  • Sea Gate
  • Clock tower
  • Kotor Cats Museum
  • Saint Luke’s Church
  • St. Tryphon’s Cathedral
  • Gurdić Bastion

Climb up to Kotor Fortress

The other main highlight beyond the old town is the Kotor Fortress, which can be reached by a relatively short but somewhat challenging hike.

More details on the hike to the Kotor Fortress can be found in another article.

Plan to visit for about 2 hours, during which you can experience the best views of Kotor.

If you don’t want to spend the whole day in Kotor and would like to see another interesting place, we recommend Perast, another famous destination in the Kotor Bay.

Kotor – Perast: 20 min, 13 km (8 mi)


Perast is a very small town with only a couple of attractions, so it’s the perfect place to visit if you only have a little time left at the end of the day. In this case, take a stroll along the promenade, see the historic buildings, churches (e.g. Church of Saint Nicholas) and enjoy the breathtaking sea views.

Please note that there are frequent complaints about a parking mafia in Perast, who will only let you park in free parking spaces if you pay them (or buy a boat ticket, for example). They are more common in summer, we have not seen them at other times of the year. But be careful and don’t give in to any aggressive behavior.

If you have more time around Perast, we recommend the following as additional activities:

Go on a boat trip

In Perast, you have plenty of opportunities to book boat trips to nearby attractions, which include:

The two islands near Perast: Lady of the Rocks and Saint George

Of the two islands, only Lady of the Rocks is open to visitors. For that, there are so many boat trips available that it’s hard to choose.

Perhaps the best ones can be found on the site and on GetYourGuide:


If you have an extra few hours for such a boat trip, don’t miss it.

Visit the Blue Cave

If you have even more extra time and want to experience something truly special during your Montenegro trip, book a boat tour to the popular Blue Cave. This is a cave along the coastline where you can swim in water illuminated by marvelous blue light.

However, this activity is only recommended if you are staying in the area for more than one day.

Either way, spend the night in Kotor or Perast.

Where to stay in Kotor

There are plenty of hotels in and around Kotor, so it won’t be easy to choose. To help you decide, we recommend some of the best:

  • Hyatt Regency Kotor Bay Resort: perhaps best of all, a wonderful five-star hotel a little further from Kotor, a short drive away, with stunning interiors, private beach, bay views, parking and available off-season at a good price
  • MAISON W: a small, five-star hotel a few kilometers from the sights in Kotor at a very good price
  • Boutique Hotel R Palazzo: a beautiful and modern 4-star hotel in Dobrota, close to Kotor. It has a magnificent view of the bay
  • Hotel Monte Cristo: an old-style four-star hotel in the old town. Recommended for those who arrive without a car and want to stay close to the main attractions
  • D & Sons Apartments: very affordable apartments in the old town, ideal for families, especially those arriving without a car

Where to stay in Perast

If you want to extend your trip to a real Balkan tour, here’s your chance to do a day trip to Croatia, for example to the famous Dubrovnik. An equally good option is to take a day trip from Kotor to Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Day 4: Durmitor National Park

On the fourth day, we bid farewell to the seaside and head towards the Montenegrin mountains, venturing into northern Montenegro.

The mountains of Montenegro are less known to tourists, but there are many beautiful places to discover there too.

Because of the short time available, we present the most easily accessible attraction, the famous Black Lake, which is located near the village of Žabljak.

Kotor – Žabljak: 3 hours, 165 km (103 mi)

Black Lake

Montenegro’s Black Lake (Crno Jezero) is located in the beautiful Durmitor National Park. The area around the lake has popular hiking trails, making it an excellent destination for nature lovers and hikers.

The water of the lake is generally very dark green, perhaps hence its name. The surrounding forests and mountains are a perfect showcase of the beauty of the Montenegrin mountain landscape.

You can get to the lake from the village of Žabljak and leave your car in one of the nearby car parks (Parkovisko I or Parkovisko II). At the car parks, be aware that they charge a ticket for those entering the national park. After parking, you can reach the lake by a comfortable 10-15 minute walk on an asphalt road.

Next to the lake you will find a restaurant where you can sample the Balkan and Italian (surprisingly, yes, Italian) cuisine that is so common in Montenegro.

There are also boat rentals, similar to the wooden boats popular at Lago di Braies in the Italian Dolomites.

And if you have time to see anything else, don’t miss the equally famous Tara Canyon.

At Tara Canyon, you can enjoy unique experiences such as canyoning or rafting, or simply hike or cycle around breathtaking natural formations.

For photographers, we recommend one more spot nearby, an interesting and extremely photogenic bridge called Đurđevića Tara Bridge. Spanning over the Tara River, the bridge is truly stunning when photographed from its southwestern side.

Spend the night in Žabljak or its surroundings.

Where to stay in Žabljak

Day 5: Back to Podgorica, Return home

In the morning, you may have some time to enjoy the sights and activities of rural Montenegro and Durmitor National Park. However, depending on your flight back, it may soon be time to head back to Podgorica.

Žabljak – Podgorica: 2 hours, 125 km (78 mi)

On the way, don’t forget to visit another popular Montenegrin attraction, the Ostrog Orthodox Monastery, an Orthodox Christian monastery.

Ostrog Orthodox Monastery

It is a popular 17th century religious site in Montenegro, dedicated to St Basil of Ostrog.

Locally, you can find it northwest of Podgorica, near the village of Dabovići.

Built into a huge rock face, the monastery is a truly stunning sight to visit if you are in the area.

Probably in the afternoon or evening, you’ll be back in Podgorica, and the 5-day Montenegro road trip will be over.

Finally, the 5-day journey through Montenegro ends with a wealth of experiences. From the magnificent beaches to the stunning mountain scenery, each destination presented its own special charm.

We hope you have enjoyed our itinerary and have found enough useful travel tips. We have tried to provide the most information on the best things to do and see for those planning a trip to Montenegro.

If you are still thinking about traveling there, all we can say is don’t be afraid to explore Montenegro, because you won’t be disappointed.

Montenegro is one of Europe’s most underrated countries, but its popularity is growing, so it’s worth a visit before it gets too popular.

So take the opportunity to explore this small yet diverse country, where you can discover new things every day.

And at the very end of our article, let’s look at some extra information about Montenegro that is frequently asked.

Other frequently asked questions about Montenegro

Let’s see what other questions may arise regarding a trip to Montenegro.

Is Montenegro a cheap destination?

Yes, it is generally an affordable destination within Europe. Hotels and entertainment are comparatively cheaper. However, food and driving can be as expensive as in other parts of Europe.

What is the currency in Montenegro?

While the country is not a member of the Eurozone, it uses the euro as its official currency.

Which language is spoken in Montenegro?

The official language is Montenegrin, which is similar to Serbian and other southern Slavic languages. In tourist areas, English is widely spoken.

What is the main religion in Montenegro?

The predominant religion is Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

Is Montenegro safe?

Yes, absolutely. Although minor theft is something to watch out for everywhere, we have not heard of any crime against tourists in Montenegro.

Is tap water safe to drink in Montenegro?

Yes, tap water in Montenegro is safe for drinking. The water quality is generally good.

Is Montenegro in the European Union?

It is not a member of the European Union, only a candidate for many years. Similarly, it is not a member of the Schengen Zone, so it is subject to unique entry rules.

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