In recent years, tourism in Europe has exploded, especially during the summer months. However, there is one relatively new and tiny country in Eastern Europe yet to experience the over-tourism countries like neighbouring Croatia has suffered thanks to the popularity of Dubrovnik.
Once a playground for the rich and famous, the beauty and magic of Montenegro is once again coming to the attention of savvy travellers looking for a Mediterannean experience without the crowds.
For a tiny country, Montenegro is brimming with staggering natural beauty and diversity. 5 days is just enough time to experience some of the best things to do in Montenegro and get a feel for this tiny nation’s fascinating history and culture. More time is always better, but thanks to Montenegro’s small size, travelling around the country is relatively quick and easy.
5 Day Montenegro Itinerary
This five day Montenegro itinerary will give first-time visitors a perfect introduction to the beauty and diversity of Montenegro from the cities to mountains, and it’s pristine coast.
Day 1: Tivat
Arriving at the international airport in Tivat on the Bay of Kotor is the perfect place to start your five days in Montenegro. (Many people also come to Montenegro via Dubrovnik airport as there are more flight services and the border crossing is very straightforward and close to Tivat).
Tivat is one of the more modern and upscale towns in Montenegro. Often referred to as the Monaco of Montenegro, Tivat attracts the superyacht set and jet-set elite during the summer months. You can experience a unique contrast to the older and more historic cities and get a feel for what attracted film stars and royalty to Montenegro before the war.
Tivat boasts a beautiful new marina development that fills with magnificent mega-yachts during the season. It also has enough high end shops and restaurants to keep you busy for a few days.
Suitably, Tivat also has a great beach club. The Beach Club Porto Montenegro is a great place to relax next to the infinity pool and soak up the excellent Montenegrin hospitality.
Day 2: Budva
After relaxing in Tivat on your first day, make a short 30-minute drive to the city of Budva.
Budva has long been one of Montenegro’s most popular holiday destinations because of its beauty and lively atmosphere. Budva is also the nightlife capital of Montenegro with one of the best nightlife scenes in the country. It is the perfect place to enjoy a day of sightseeing or beaches, followed by a night on the town.
Despite the modern holiday condominiums catering to the summer crowds, the highlight of Budva is the Old Town which still makes up a considerable part of the city. You can wander around for hours searching through the narrow alleyways, cobblestone streets, and local shops. The Old Town also has a good selection of good typical restaurants.
Budva also has a good beach for enjoying the great weather and crystal waters of the Adriatic coast. At the end of the day, enjoy Buvda’s vibrant nightlife. There are various bars and clubs with great music and cheap drinks. There is also a huge music hall called Top Hill which often hosts big-name DJs and artists.
Day 3: Kotor
No trip to Montenegro is complete without visiting the country’s most famous city, Kotor, a small coastal town at the end of Kotor Bay.
Surrounded by huge mountains and blue water, it is one of the most magical places in Montenegro. Kotor is so picturesque; it is the striking images of the city that has made Montenegro famous.
There are two main things to do in Kotor while visiting the city – First, explore Kotor Old Town, which is often compared to the old town in Dubrovnik. However, unlike Dubrovnik where many only spend a day or even a few hours, Kotor’s old town has fewer tourists despite an increasing cruise ship presence in Montenegro, which makes it more enjoyable to explore.
Morning and evenings are your best bet during peak summer times for a genuinely relaxed time in Kotor.
The second thing to do in Kotor is to hike the Kotor Fortress. One of the most popular things to do in Montenegro, the climb reveals some of the most magical and breathing views of the Bay of Kotor.
The hike to the top of the fortress takes around 45 minutes and costs 8 euros. It is a pretty steep uphill climb, and the rocks are slippery. If you visit Montenegro in the summer, try to plan your hike before 10 AM when the sun passes the mountains.
Day 4: Kotor & Perast
With only five days in Montenegro, you will find yourself moving around a lot. Two days in Kotor positions you to explore more without having to relocate again. On your second day in Kotor, plan a day trip to the UNESCO listed town of Perast and Our Lady of the Rocks a short distance from Kotor.
Perast is a small town located 20 minutes from Kotor easily reached by bus or boat. Perast has the old warm charm of Montenegro with a laid back holiday beach vibe and spectacular views of Kotor Bay. You will also find some charming restaurants along the waterfront.
Do the short climb to the top of the church bell tower in Perast for some exceptional views of the islands and bay. There is a small fee payable at the church entrance.
Our Lady of the Rocks
In the bay in front of Perast are two small islands with churches. One is a natural island with a monastery that is not open to the public. The other, Our Lady of the Rocks is an artificial island built up over 600 years.
There is a Catholic church on the island, which is also a museum. Take a guided tour of the island for around €1 or explore on your own. You can reach Our Lady of the Rocks by boat directly from Kotor or Perast.
Day 5: Ostrog Monastery
Ostrog Monastery is one of Montenegro’s most famous religious sites. The burial place of Saint Basil, the Monastery is built vertically into a cliff face in the mountains between Podgorica and Niksic.
Each year, more than 100,000 pilgrims of all faiths visit Ostrog Monastery. Many pilgrims will make the 3km journey from the lower monastery to the mountain top barefoot to pray in front of Saint Basil.
There are tour busses from Kotor to Ostrog, which take about 1.5 hours. As a sacred religious site, modest dress is expected – shoulders covered and long pants.
Plan Your Montenegro Itinerary
For such a tiny country, Montenegro packs a punch, especially on the scenic front. It’s also very budget-friendly. While five days is enough to see the highlights, a little longer will give you time to experience the laid back atmosphere and indulge in the countries many wonders.
While Montenegro is beautiful any time of year, summer and the shoulder seasons are best to visit as many places will shut down for the winter. The warmer weather also allows the opportunity to enjoy the stunning Adriatic and Bay of Kotor beaches.
Montenegro makes a great addition to a Croatian itinerary as the border is only 45 minutes from Dubrovnik. Buses leave Dubrovnik for Montenegro a few times a day.
About the Author
Samantha is the founder of the travel bog Sam Sees World. She is a twenty-something traveller on a mission to explore the world, seek the new and unknown and document her experiences to inspire others. Her objective is to learn about the world while also searching for her place in it. Check out Sam Sees World for more information on the best things to do, see, eat, and experience while travelling and making memories along the way.