Top 5 things to do in Montenegro
Montenegro is a small, mountainous country with a beautiful coastline along the Adriatic Sea. Its dramatic scenery and charming coastal villages make it a compelling travel destination. Montenegro became an independent country in 2006, and was once part of the former Yugoslavia.
Montenegro boasts UNESCO protected walled cities along the Adriatic. These include Kotor and Perast, and natural wonders such as beautiful Lake Skadar, a national park set along the border with Albania. Explore the best of this dynamic young country with our 5-day Montenegro Regional Discovery!
Here are the top 5 things to do in Montenegro
1. KOTOR OLD TOWN
Kotor is a scenic delight! A medieval town tucked away between mountains and the Adriatic Sea. It is one of the best-preserved fortified walled towns on the Adriatic coast. Kotor rewards exploration of its picturesque Old Town with its warren of cobbled streets. Once part of the Venetian Empire, Kotor is full of impressive historic palaces, churches such as St. Tryphon Cathedral and medieval squares. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Take a walk up to the Fortress of San Giovanni for amazing views over the town and sea. Stroll along the seaside for panoramas of the fjord-like Bay of Kotor. Or pause to relax in one of the traditional restaurants in one of the town’s squares. History buffs may want to visit the Maritime Museum of Montenegro, which brings the region’s seafaring past to life.
Perast is another idyllic town set on the Bay of Kotor. Just a short distance from Kotor, Perast is a charming seaside town that is full of medieval palaces, old churches, and seaside restaurants. St. Nicholas Church is the most distinctive site in town. You can climb the bell tower for delightful views. Though the town does not have a beach, sunbathers flock to its stone jetties in the summer. Just wandering through the old town or its seaside promenade are the true pleasures of a visit to Perast. The town was also designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
Be sure to take a boat ride to visit the beautiful 15th century Our Lady of the Rocks church. It is perched on a small artificial island in the Bay, just a short distance from the town. The island was created by fishermen where a vision of the Virgin Mary appeared.
Budva is one of the oldest cities on the Adriatic coast. Its 15th century Venetian walls contain a beautifully preserved old town that is also listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Daytime pleasures include strolling the cobbled streets of Budva’s Old Town, admiring its palaces, churches such as the 9th century Church of Santa Maria. Be sure to visit its seaside Citadel and local museum. Its charming streets are lined with shops, cafes, and open-air restaurants to take in the ambiance.
Budva is located along the so-called Budva Riviera. Its beaches attract visitors along with a vibrant nightlife scene. The scenic Mogren Beach is only a 5-minute stroll from the town.
4. SVETI STEFAN
Sveti Stefan is a 15th century islet joined to the mainland by a narrow causeway. With a small village nestled within its stone walls that looks like a postcard setting. Historically, its walls protected the village from pirates. Its orange-tiled buildings and pink pebble beaches have made it a destination of choice of royalty and the rich and famous since the 1930s. Its setting is one of the most photographed images in all of Montenegro, with its picturesque buildings shimmering above turquoise waters.
The native population declined over the years. Today the island is owned by the 5-Star Aman Resorts Group, so it is only accessible to those staying on the property, or to those who book a reservation at the resort’s restaurant. But the charm of the island even from a distance is undeniable. It is well worth the short 15-minute trip from Budva. You can also find a restaurant on the nearby pebbled beaches that offer fresh fish and great views of the island.
5. SKADAR LAKE NATIONAL PARK
Montenegro offers areas of stunning natural beauty. One of the best is Skadar Lake National Park. The Lake itself, the largest in the Balkans, is located south of the nation’s capital of Podgorica and is split between the countries of Montenegro and Albania. It makes for a wonderful day’s outing. Enjoy the scenic lake vistas on a boat ride and spot the abundant birdlife the Lake is known for. Its shores are bordered by fishing villages, monasteries, and ancient fortresses.
Lake Skadar is an important wetland for over 280 bird species, including cormorants, herons, and the endangered Dalmatian pelican. Spring is when the Lake is most active with birdlife, but it is a scenic destination in any season. It offers boat rides, hiking along its shores, or more active pursuits such as kayaking. The park’s visitor center contains displays about Montenegro’s National Parks and cultural heritage.