Magnificent Montenegro!

25th Jun 2022
Photo of Magnificent Montenegro! by SwaRaj :)

Where is it?

Montenegro is a small Balkan country located south of Serbia and north of Albania which is north of Greece and west of Serbia and Herzegovina. It is situated along the coast of Adriatic Sea, which separates it from Italy.

South Europe Map

Photo of Magnificent Montenegro! by SwaRaj :)

How and why we selected Montenegro?

1. I remember reading some months ago that there are 33 countries where we can visit with a UK BRP. Montenegro is one such country.

2. Weather check: While many countries had bad weather on the weekend we wanted to travel in, I drew a list of those where weather was pretty decent.

3. Budget: Then I compared travel and accommodation cost in the selected countries.

Basis all the criteria, we zeroed upon Montenegro.


Since we planned the trip only 1 week before our travel dates, and considering it's peak tourist season (June end) both flight and hotel costed us more.

1. There are two airports in Montenegro - Podgorica & Tivat. However from UK, only Podgorica is connected by direct flights operated by WizzAir. There is no train connectivity between UK and Montenegro. However one may choose to take a train from UK to Serbia and then another one to neighbouring Montenegro. The convenient and time-efficient still remains the direct flight option.

2. For accommodation, first step is to choose city (or cities) where you want to stay. This consumed a lot of time for us, the homework basically. Thumb rule is, do not stay in Podgorica (the capital city) as there isn't much to see here. Better options to stay are island cities like Kotor, Budva, Bar, Ulcinj, etc. or mountain centres. We chose Budva.

3. We checked both and Airbnb. Due to last minute check, we had limited options and we chose a hilltop property with amazing views of Adriatic sea and an island.

View from our villa balcony

Photo of Magnificent Montenegro! by SwaRaj :)

However, this proved to be a not-so-wise decision as hilltop properties aren't walkable due to steep walk needed from main city and you need to spend on taxis every time you have to step out of or back to your property. So, better go for some decent property in main city. Please note, accommodation isn't very expensive in Montenegro compared to Europeans standards.


1. WizzAir is known to be a low cost airline and hence only basic hand luggage (backpack of 10kgs - normal laptop bag size) is included in your basic luggage allowance and you need to buy additional luggage at extra cost which generally ranges from GBP 30 to GBP 90. We bought 10kgs check in luggage for a comfortable travel. However, it's not a mandatory thing and you can definitely try to fly lighter with the basic allowance.

2. UK to Montenegro flights run from and to London Gatwick Airport. Being far from city, do plan to travel on time and within airport also, boarding gates are pretty far from common area so be ready to walk a lot.

3. Being a low cost airlines, there is no free food on board so better carry food with you or have it before you board.

Podgorica Airport

Podgorica Airport

Photo of Magnificent Montenegro! by SwaRaj :)

1. Podgorica airport is very compact with limited kiosks. You get out of immigration and baggage area in no time.

2. First & foremost, buy a simcard from a tobacco shop (these are general utility shops and don't just offer tobacco products). A 10 euro sim gives you local calling and a whopping 400gb data for 14 days!! Value for money for sure!

3. There are lot of kiosks offering car rentals. However, we didn't go for the same due to 2 major reasons:

a. Montenegro follows right side driving on the lines of the US and Netherlands and not like UK and India. So, we felt it wasn't a good idea to try our hands with new side driving just for 3 days. Later, it came out as a wise decision as Montenegro is a highly hilly terrain and driving here requires good experience.

b. Higher prices: With insurance, a rental car costs almost 50-60 euros per day (fuel extra). Also with just 2 people, car renting economics are further not so great.

4. To get out of Podgorica airport, apart from car rentals, the other 2 options are hiring a cab or a bus.

a. Direct cab from Podgorica to Budva costs around 50-55 euros and takes around 1-1.25 hrs time. We chose this option.

b. Hire a cab from Podgorica airport to bus station (10-12 euros). Then hire a bus from Podgorica to Budva (5-6 euros per person). Bus hire is more convenient online. At Budva, you might need to hire a local cab again if your accommodation is far from bus station.

Planning day wise itinerary

1. Since Montenegro is a very small country, it can be travelled in less time. Plan for 2-4 full days of stay to be able to fully cover good part of country.

2. You have 2 options to travel:

a. Prepare your own itinerary and keep traveling places and covering desired areas.

b. Book day tours (offline prices of local agents seemed better to us). These agents are mostly located around the beach areas.

We chose option b and booked 2 trips for our 2 days of stay.

What to see and do

1. The country has a good mix of beaches and mountains. We were able to cover both parts in our 2 full-day tours.

Mountains & beaches - best of both

Photo of Magnificent Montenegro! by SwaRaj :)

2. Adriatic beaches are beautiful and local cruise tours are perfect to help us cover some good ones for sure. One of the highlight is blue cave. Do carry your swimwear to be able to make the most of Montenegran waters. You may also try some water sports available locally.

Adriatic waters

Photo of Magnificent Montenegro! by SwaRaj :)

3. Mountains is what gives Montenegro its name after all. (In Italian, Monte = mountain, negro = black) The mountain ranges and chains are literally a layered structure like we used to draw in our school drawing classes. Most of them are complete with lush green cover and higher altitudes get snow in winters (skiing also available in winters at awesome prices). Traversing through these ranges is an experience only Himalayan travelers would know.

Layers of Dinaric Alps

Photo of Magnificent Montenegro! by SwaRaj :)

4. The high mountain ranges are separated by rivers flowing in between creating deep canyons. World's second deepest canyon, the Tara River canyon, is situated here. Zip lining is worth it if you get a chance (costs around 25 euros per person along with professionally clicked digital pictures)

Deep canyon over Tara river

Photo of Magnificent Montenegro! by SwaRaj :)

5. There are some damn beautiful rivers & lakes too across the country, with deep blue waters, an eye tonic for sure!

Deep-blue in color - Black Lake

Photo of Magnificent Montenegro! by SwaRaj :)

A quaint natural spring

Photo of Magnificent Montenegro! by SwaRaj :)

6. There are a couple of monasteries too that can be visited.

Additional info

1. It's more or less a friendly and honest country. We found our wallet forgotten in a store.

2. Population is just 600k, and concentrated in a few cities; very sparse in higher altitudes. One striking observation was the amazingly fit local population. An average built tourist literally feels oversized here!

3. You may skip getting too many clothes here as stores like Terranova offer you amazing summer collection at unbeatable prices, esp. for women wear!

4. Being a touristic city, there are abundance of taxis and cabs throughout city. However, it's better to opt for specific vendors. We got a contact of one such agent through our villa owner and they accept bookings through Viber app. It's quite economical compared to hiring random cabs running around.

5. Buses also run within and between cities but the frequency is limited and hence taxis are more feasible and easy option.

6. Since it's a less known country, most of the tourists come from surrounding nations and one can see very few Asians or even Americans and Africans!

7. Since most of local shop and taxis use cash here, do carry ample cash with yourself for a comfortable stay. Only big shops and online portals accept cards and cashless payments. Ensure to carry Euros before you getting to Gatwick as airports offer worst exchange rates possible!

8. Plan to sit (if you get an option) on the right side of buses esp when you are traveling north to mountains as all good views come to the right side when traveling to North.

9. Being close to Italy, a lot of authentic Italian food is available here. Vegetarians can easily get risotto, pasta, and pizzas at most places.

Mouth-watering risotto

Photo of Magnificent Montenegro! by SwaRaj :)

10. We also read that Montenegro is so small in size that one can actually travel from its West tip to East tip in mere 4-5 hours!

Old Kotor city

Photo of Magnificent Montenegro! by SwaRaj :)

11. Last but not the least, surviving with English here is a little challenging but not impossible. Most people speak native Montenegran or other Balkan languages. Russian is quite popular too.