It was certainly a challenge whittling our favourite things to see and do in Montenegro down to just 10!
Montenegro packs a whole lot of beauty and adventure into its tiny borders. It might be one of the smallest countries in Europe, but that doesn’t mean there’s any shortage of amazing sights and unforgettable experiences on offer when you choose to holiday in this Balkan beauty.
Breath-taking wilderness, picturesque villages, dazzling sea, and more… How many of these best things to see and do in Montenegro will you check off on your next trip?
1. Get lost in Kotor’s Old Town
Centuries ago, Old Kotor was built like a maze to confuse potential invaders. So getting lost among its narrow streets and quaint squares is not just encouraged – it’s expected!
Backed by steep limestone cliffs and located on the shores of the only natural fjord of its kind in the world, Kotor’s UNESCO-protected Old Town is one of the most popular things to see and do in Montenegro for very good reason.
While you’re here, don’t miss out on the very best view…only one thousand three hundred fifty-five steps up! San Giovanni Fortress dates from the 9th Century and no visit to Kotor is complete without a hike to the top. The views are stunning, taking in the Bay of Kotor, Mt Vrmac and the town.
2. Experience the magic of Lake Skadar
Lake Skadar is Montenegro’s hidden gem. Located on the border with Albania, this is the largest lake in southern Europe and one of the continent’s truly wild wonders. Home to more than 260 species of birds, traditional fishing villages, island monasteries, and pristine beaches, Lake Skadar makes for an unforgettable day trip from anywhere on the coast.
While you’re there you can take boat cruises to see the local wildlife (look out for the rare Dalmatian Pelican and wild tortoises), hire a kayak to explore on your own, or spend a day hiking the verdant green hills to ruined fortresses.
3. Enjoy 360° views at Njegoš Mausoleum
From the sublime to the awe-inspiring. The mausoleum of Montenegro’s beloved leader Petar II Petrović-Njegoš is located on one of the highest peaks in the Lovćen range. A fitting tribute to a man so intertwined with the country’s history and culture.
The imposing mausoleum itself is decorated with a gold ceiling and a huge statue of Petar Petrovic Njegos carved from one single piece of marble. Impressive by itself! But it’s behind the mausoleum that you’ll find the true reason this landmark is on our top 10 list.
From the guvno (meeting circle) and viewpoint you’ll discover 360° views of Montenegro, Croatia and even Albania. Once-in-a-lifetime sort of views.
4. Marvel at Ostrog Monastery
Sticking with dramatic landmarks, Ostrog Monastry has to be one of the most impressive we’ve seen. After all, does it get more striking than a monastery built straight into a cliff that commands reaching views over the plains below?
Ostrog Monastery is one of the most important religious sites in the Balkans, attracting millions of visitors each year. Indeed, it’s not unusual to see pilgrims making the climb to the upper monastery in bare feet or on their knees.
5. Take in the beauty of Sveti Stefan
No ‘Best of Montenegro’ list is complete without the picturesque Sveti Stefan. This jewel in Budva Riviera’s crown is a stunning 15th century island, connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway. Completely owned by the luxurious Aman resort hotel, this island has hosted names like Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Margaret, and was Novak Djoković’s wedding venue of choice.
But the charm of Sveti Stefan isn’t completely off limits for those who can’t afford the £1,000+ room fee. Like most views, its true beauty comes alive when seen from afar. And the two pink pebble beaches either side of the main island make for the ideal vantage point.
6. Hike in Durmitor National Park
Durmitor National Park is one of Montenegro’s greatest showpieces. Formed thousands of years ago by glaciers, it’s one of the world’s best locations for trekking, hiking, climbing and rafting. From December to March, the park is a major ski resort, while in summer it’s popular for hiking, rafting and other active pursuits.
However you choose to spend your time here, Durmitor is guaranteed to deliver. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s home to 18 glacier lakes (known locally as ‘mountain eyes’), five canyons, dense forests, the largest variety of butterflies on the continent, and incredible mountain peaks.
7. Explore the Tara River Canyon
Everyone knows the Grand Canyon is the world’s deepest canyon, but less known is the runner up: Tara River Canyon. With a drop of a staggering 1,300 metres, Tara River forms the deepest canyon in Europe and the second deepest in the world. Not that the astonishing beauty ends there. The crystal-clear water is a bluer-than-blue hue that seems amplified by the dense green forests that surround it.
Of course, the best way to see all this natural wonder is on a thrilling whitewater rafting tour. Winding through the imposing mountains of northern Montenegro, you’ll see the river at its full glory. Between rapids there are spots for swimming and cliff jumping, but at just 10°C (50°F) the water here is definitely for the brave!
8. Swim in The Blue Cave
The Blue Cave, or The Blue Grotto, is one of the biggest and most picturesque in the series of caves located along the coastline of the Bay of Kotor. With its iridescent blue waters this secluded spot is a must-see for nature lovers and photographers.
Its colour is a result of light that filters in through a small hole in the cave, bounces off the sand and reflects up through the water. With a depth of only three metres, this is a safe place for an unforgettable swim in dazzlingly crystal blue water.
9. Sample the local wine scene
Montenegro might not be the first place that comes to mind for a vineyard tour, but as one of the sunniest spots on the Adriatic it has a unique microclimate that makes it a wine lover’s dream.
We recommend visiting the Radevic vineyard. Here, husband and wife team Goran and Renee Radevic have developed award-winning Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay. But be warned, tastings here can go on for hours, with the couple insisting on second helpings of local prosciutto, cheeses and Renee’s homemade chutneys.
Or, for perfect rosé, head to Herceg Novi and Castel Savina (the only vineyard on Montenegro’s southwestern coastline). Enjoy a glass of their delicate rosé, watch boats bob in and out of the bay below, and truly savour the fruits of Montenegro’s coast.
10. Hire a yacht and set sail
It’s been said about Montenegro that ‘all of her history was written at sea’, so what better way to enjoy the country than by heading out on the waters? This really is the best way to explore some of the country’s hidden beaches, secret coves, and most memorable vistas.
Unlike those trapped on land, you’ll get to experience many of the top 10 things to see and do in Montenegro in one unforgettable trip, plus extra stunning highlights such as Boka Bay, Our Lady of the Rocks, and Perast. Not to mention enjoying luxuries like Porto Montenegro, Montenegro’s world-class superyacht marina.