by Annie 

Published: April 19, 2022

Updated:  April 18, 2022
image of the flag of Montenegro with the Bay of Kotor in the background. This view is a great reason for why visit Montenegro.

The Balkans have become my favorite part of Europe to visit since my first trip there in 2015. There are so many places to go so why visit Montenegro? Honestly, I didn’t make it there until my fifth trip to the region and now I can’t wait to go back! 

I took a forty-day trip through the Balkans in the fall of 2021 to celebrate my 40th birthday. I’d been wanting to visit Albania for years, so that was my first stop. My husband was meeting me in Dubrovnik, Croatia so spending a little time in Montenegro on the way there seemed like an easy option. 

There was a bus that took me from Tirana to Podgorica, where I picked up a rental car and headed into the mountains. Little did I know pretty much the whole damn country is covered in mountains! After a few days in the town of Žablijak, I spent a night in the capital before making my way to Kotor. 

I was worried Kotor would be a tourist trap because of its popularity. Within the first fifteen minutes of wandering through the old town, I understood why so many people want to visit! Its cobblestone streets and winding alleys are idyllic and picturesque. It was totally worth the time to visit. 

Now that I’ve fallen in love with the country, I’m ready to answer the question, “Why visit Montenegro?” Decide for yourself if this is a place you want to visit. I bet it will be!

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase using the link, I receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. This helps me keep the lights on around here. 🙂 I ONLY recommend products and services I personally use and love. ***

Why visit Montenegro? 5 Reasons to Love This Country

  1. The mountains are incredible! You’ll find opportunities for outdoor fun everywhere.

  2. Montenegro’s beaches are gorgeous! All along the Adriatic coast, you can find places to soak up the sun near the beautiful, turquoise water.

  3. The historic old towns are lovely and full of cultural sites. Many towns along the coast were settled more than 2,000 years ago!

  4. Food in Montenegro is a great mix of cuisines! You’ll find fresh seafood, Italian pizza and pasta, Greek dishes, and traditional Balkan flavors. Take your pick!

  5. Montenegro is incredibly affordable! You can have a wonderful time for at least half the price of visiting places like London or Paris.

Why Visit Montenegro? Reason #1: The Mountains & Forest

image of a mountain lake surrounded by pine trees which are reflected in the water

One of the gorgeous lakes in Durmitor National Park. You can’t see the craggy mountains in the background because of the storm clouds!

Montenegro is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe. Nearly 90% of the country is covered by mountains! They run right up to the Adriatic Sea in many places where you can go hiking and lay by the beach all in the same day. It’s glorious.

Inland you’ll find mind-blowing natural beauty -- craggy peaks, dense forests, and pristine mountain lakes. Durmitor National Park is a draw for outdoor lovers around the world. Tara Canyon, the largest and deepest canyon in Europe, is one of the major reasons visitors flock to the national park in the summer. You can go rafting, climbing, hiking, and biking during the summer and enjoy winter sports during the colder months!

Montenegro has four national parks that highlight the mountains in the country. There is no shortage of options for outdoor activities and breathtaking scenery! Whether you’d enjoy a multi-day trek or want to practice your photography skills, the mountains of Montenegro have something for everyone. 

Why Visit Montenegro? Reason #2: The Beaches

Image of the town of Budva, Montenegro with its lovely beaches, one of the many answers to the question, why visit Montenegro

View of Budva and its beautiful beaches while driving to Kotor.

I’m a nature lover through and through so the mountains and forest are reason enough for me to visit. However, if you prefer to soak up the sun on a pristine beach, Montenegro has that too! Along the Adriatic Coast, you’ll find plenty of places to enjoy a relaxing day by the water. 

Kotor and Budva are two of the most popular places to visit in Montenegro. There is much debate about which is the better place to spend your time. If you have the flexibility, I vote to explore both! I chose Kotor because it seemed like a more chill vibe and the perfect combination of mountains, beaches, and interesting history. I was not disappointed!

There are also plenty of smaller, lesser-known towns along the coast where you can get away from the crowds that gather in the summer. One of the best parts about the beaches in Montenegro is the variety of options you have so close together. You can wander through a historic old town, get amazing food, relax on the beach, and go for a hike in the mountains all in the same place!

Why Visit Montenegro? Reason #3: Historic Old Towns

image of a Mediterranean-style old town square with trees and people sitting on benches

One of the many lovely squares you can view from the walls of Kotor’s Old Town.

All along the Adriatic Coast you can easily access historic towns, some dating back to the 7th century BC! From Ulcinj in the south to Herceg Novi in the north, you’ll find remnants left behind by the Illyrians, Romans, Ottomans, and other empires that passed through here.

One of the biggest draws to Kotor are the well-preserved city walls. You can walk along and look down into the Mediterranean-style cobblestone streets and squares. Most of the old towns along the coast were settled by other seafaring cultures in the region -- the Greeks, Romans, and Illyrians. 

Further inland, you’ll find old towns captured or settled by the Ottomans in places like Podgorica and Nikšić. This is a fascinating contrast of cultures you see throughout the Balkans, but it’s on full display in Montenegro. History aficionados will love this place!

Why Visit Montenegro? Reason #4: The Food

Image of a pizza on a table. Why visit Montenegro? The food!

The variety of cuisines available in such a small country is one of my favorite things. Since Italy is just across the water, the pizza is amazing!

It doesn’t take long to figure out that food is one of my favorite parts of travel! Getting to try the local cuisines is one of my favorite ways to get to know a new place. Montenegro’s diversity of flavors and cultural dishes matches its fascinating history. 

Seafood is abundant along the coast, as you would expect. You can easily find a multitude of fresh fish as you walk through any of the lovely beach-side towns. Paired with a carafe of local wine -- yes, Montenegro produces incredible wine! -- you’ve got a delightful meal!

Because the coastal region was settled by other Mediterranean civilizations, you’ll find dishes from those areas as well. Pizza is everywhere and it’s as good as most I’ve had in Italy! You can find Greek dishes like moussaka readily available and traditional Balkan street food is plentiful. Further inland the flavors turn more toward the Turkish dishes of the Ottoman empire and the traditional Balkan dishes you’ll find throughout this part of Europe. I love the variety!

Montenegro has its own specialties as well. In Žablijak, I was looking for traditional food and my server recommended I try Kačamak which is porridge of cornmeal, cheese, potatoes, and butter. It’s incredibly hearty and was perfect on the cold, snowy day I tried it, but it’s not a light meal! So, why visit Montenegro? To eat!

Why Visit Montenegro? Reason #5: It’s Super Affordable

Image of Kotor Bay with red tiled roofs. Towns like this are one of many reasons for why visit Montenegro.

The view of Kotor is priceless and to access the trail to the old fort cost about $5.

The Balkans is a wonderful part of the world to visit. Full stop. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s incredibly affordable by Western standards. Most days you can easily get by with less than $50. That includes your accommodation! 

During my time in Montenegro, I always had my own apartment. In Žablijak I had a cozy little cabin all to myself for about $21 per night. My little apartment in Kotor was inside the city walls and right in the heart of everything. It cost me about $23 per night. Of course you can save even more by staying in hostels, but I do like to have my own space, when it’s affordable. 

Food in Montenegro is also really affordable. Street food, like burek and cevapi, are local specialties and you can have a meal’s worth for less than $5. One of the things I like about having my own place is keeping food around for breakfast and snacks. Groceries cost about half of what I’m used to paying at home in the US. Restaurant meals are usually less than $20, even for a nice seafood dinner with wine. 

Public transportation is the best way to get around and won’t cost you much at all! The bus I took from Podgorica to Kotor cost me less than €10. The car I rented to venture into the mountains was only €15 per day (not including gasoline). 

It’s hard to beat those prices for such a gorgeous and interesting place! If you want to see more on the cost of traveling to Montenegro compared to other parts of Europe, check out this article

Planning A Trip to Montenegro and The Balkans

Hopefully you’ve now added Montenegro to your list of places to visit! Stay tuned for more content about this incredible country. Here are a few other resources about the Balkans to help you make the most of your time there:

If you’re in the Balkans already, don’t miss Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina! It’s one of my absolute favorite cities EVER! Here’s why you should visit and here are all the best things to do while you’re there. If you want resources for planning your trip to Europe, here’s a complete step-by-step guide

Conclusion

Ah, I really want to go back to Montenegro after writing this article! Now when people ask, “Why go to Montenegro?” you can tell them all the things!. 😊

I’d love for us to stay connected! You can sign up for emails so you’ll always know when new articles are out. Plus I send flight deals and other goodies for you too. You can find me over on Instagram and follow my adventures there, if you’d like.

I know that indie travel can be lonely sometimes. It’s just you doing all sorts of research behind your computer screen and it would be nice to have other friends to chat with! That’s why I created the Indie Travel Collective -- it’s a place for us indie travelers to gather for hangouts, sharing resources, and learning more about planning our own trips! You can get full access to check it out with a two-week free trial

Sometimes it’s a challenge to sort through all the information available on the internet. It would be nice to just talk to a real, live person who can help you figure out the details and give some insight, right? If that sounds like something helpful for you, check out these travel consulting services designed specifically for indie travelers! You won’t be handing your trip over to anyone and you’ll only get the help you want. 💯

Now get out there. The world is waiting for you!

Your Turn

Which of these reasons makes you want to visit Montenegro? Where would you want to go first?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

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About the author 

Annie

Fun Lover. Food Eater. Bold Explorer. Big Dreamer.

Annie is a fiercely independent traveler who loves to create unique and interesting experiences. She thrives on finding the magical moments and hidden gems waiting around every corner. Her passion for helping others make their travel dreams come true fuels her work as a travel planner, consultant, educator, and community builder.

  • Montenegro is the only country that is missing on my list of visited Balkan countries and I can’t wait to go there. It is high on my list and your post just gave me another reason to go!

    • Ooh, that’s exciting! I still have a few countries in the Balkans I haven’t visited yet. I’d love to hear what you think of Montenegro once you go!

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