EXPERIENCE MONTENEGRO COAST
The stunning Mediterranean coastline of Montenegro is a sparkling jewel on the Adriatic Sea dotted with charming coastal towns and serene beaches on the glistening blue waters. The Montenegro coastline stretches for 148 miles boasting over 120 beaches varying in size and style from sand to pebbles with dazzling views and dramatic mountainous backdrops.
Known as ‘The Pearl of the Adriatic Sea’ visitors flock to the coast to soak up the balmy summer weather, lounge on the beaches, swim in the sea and enjoy delicious dining options along the waterfront. The picturesque stretch of charming historic villages leads visitors through ancient winding cobblestone streets passing by old churches, fascinating museums, quirky boutiques, enchanting outdoor cafes, and a plethora of historic sites and monuments.
These gorgeous towns are decorated by authentic,Mediterranean style architecture, many boasting red-tiled roofs, others with white stone walls and historic ruins such as walled Old Towns, royal palaces, fortresses, and churches. The wonderful sunny weather on the coast allows visitors to explore the sights and attractions in the warmth of the sun and lap up the rays on the beaches. Cooling off in the mesmerizing blue waters of the Adriatic and partaking in the many water sports and beach activities is the perfect way to spend a day.
There are rugged mountains in the background that lead to ample outdoor activities, the glistening seaside ports along the coast offer fantastic shopping and dining options that will keep visitors busy. The towns and villages are full of charm, diversity, and allure and Montenegro’s close proximity to bordering countries such as Albania, Croatia, and Italy allows visitors the opportunity to explore and travel around are endless.
The gorgeous Montenegro coastline is a dream destination decorated with beautiful architecture, seaside restaurants with colorful terraces, quaint cafes, unique boutiques, and sparkling beaches where visitors can enjoy breathtaking sunsets and balmy nights outside. Check out charming towns such as Herceg Novi, the old walled town of Kotor, glitzy Porto Montenegro, beach fringed Budva, the small island of Sveti Stefan, and picture-perfect Petrovac.
Things to see and do
Montenegro literally has it all, from the verdant soaring mountains to the glistening serene beaches and idyllic coastal towns filled with historic buildings and monuments. There is so much to see and do including hiking, biking, canyoning, waterfalls, lakes, pine forests, national parks, fortresses, and ancient walled cities, visitors will be spoilt with choices.
Mount Vrmac is a mountain located in southwestern Montenegro overlooking the coastal town of Tivat, on a peninsula that divides Tivat Bay from Kotor Bay. The mountain is one of the most picturesque places to visit in the city decorated with beautiful trees and rare plants. There is an observation deck at the top with spectacular views over the bays and an ancient 800-year old church.
Mount Vrmac is an extension of Mount Lovcen and the highest peak is Sveti Ilija rising to 2,575 feet above sea level. The mountain is the site of the Austro-Hungarian Fort Vrmac, which was built in 1860, and the Vrmac Tunnel connects Kotor with the Adriatic Highway and travels through the mountain. Hikers can enjoy many adventures on the mountain with a hike beginning in Kotor, up the side of the mountain and traversing the ridge to reach the summit and descending to the village of Donji Stoliv.
Durmitor National Park is about a 3-hour drive from the coast, but well worth it to see what this outdoor gem has to offer. The verdant protected pine forests cover the land here and lead to glistening crystal glacier lakes, spectacular cascading waterfalls, deep gorges, and endless walking and hiking trails.
The park's dramatic backdrop is filled with over 50 limestone cliffs with the staggering Bobotov Kuk soaring to 8,202 feet. During the winter the park is a playground for skiers and summertime visitors flock to the rivers for rafting on the famous Tara River Canyon, the deepest (4,000 feet) in Europe. The Tara River Bridge is the setting for the 2,837 feet long zip line that soars above the rushing rapids.
Lake Skadar, also known as Lake Scutari, Lake Shkoder, and Lake Shkodra is nested on the border of Albania and Montenegro, it is the largest lake in Southern Europe named after the city of Shkoder in Northern Albania. The dolphin-shaped karst lake has its tail and two-thirds of its body in Montenegro, and its nose in Albania. The portion on the Montenegrin side has been protected by a national park since 1983. The area around the lake encompasses soaring mountains, clear waters, island monasteries, and floating meadows of water lilies, and dotted with tiny and charming lakeside towns such as Virpazar, and Vranjina. Lake Skadar is 15 miles south of Podgorica and is well connected to the city center by the main highway.
Lovcen National Park is nestled in the rocky region of Dinara Alps with the steep slopes of the iconic Mount Lovcen rising above. The distinctive peak of Mt. Lovcen holds great significance to the Montenegrin people, where Petar II Petrovic Njegos (a beloved hero, and Montenegrin prince-bishop) was laid to rest, the country name derives from the mountain. The Mountain is also known as “Black Mountain” which rises to 5,738 feet and the National Park covers 6,220 acres featuring some of the best hiking in the country and home to plenty of flora and fauna. The park is filled with spectacular diversity and stunning landscapes, where brown bears and wolves roam around. There are over 2000 plants in the park which features nine different habitats, and two climate zones; Mediterranean and Continental in a small space creating a very unique habitat.
Relax on the quiet idyllic beaches nestled along with the coastal villages. The Montenegro Coast has a number of beaches that stretch throughout the quaint seaside towns to choose from, many are covered with soft sand or pebbles and lapped by the sparkling blue waters of the Adriatic Sea. Beachgoers will rejoice in the warm sunshine with access to many different watersports, swimming, sunbathing, seaside dining, shopping, and strolling along promenades, marinas, and through the charming villages.
The Peaks of the Balkans offer a 119-mile hiking trail that winds through the remote southeast “Accursed Mountains” stretching from the borders between Montenegro, Albania, and Kosovo. This spectacular outdoor adventure takes hikers through jaw-dropping vistas, passing isolated villages. There is a 14 day guided trek offered.
Whitewater rafting on the Tara River is an exhilarating experience and one of the most popular outdoor adventures in the country. The river winds its way through Europe’s deepest canyon (4,265 feet at its peak) it whizzes past pristine forests, hidden monasteries, and swooping falcons.
Montenegro has a lot to offer when it comes to shopping with open-air markets, malls, local shops, and upscale boutiques selling world-famous brands. Budva and Kotor’s Old Town districts are both great places for shopping on the Montenegro coast, there are upscale stores and everyday shops offering local and international brand names, and counterfeits. The local markets are charming and set up most days along the coast from sunrise until early afternoon with a wide array of stalls selling everything from fresh produce to footwear, local olive oils, cured ham, and inexpensive clothing.
Some of the favored souvenirs that can be picked up on the Montenegro coast include beautiful handmade silver and gold filigree jewelry, hand-carved wood images, home decor crafts, and leather goods like purses and shoes. Other traditional items include lace-making, crochet, embroidery, metalwork, and traditional musical instruments. Budva Leather is a store that is popular with the locals and visitors alike, with leather jackets, skirts, trousers, and other clothing made of top-notch quality Turkish leather.
Here are a few that are popularly purchased along the Montenegro coast; A Kapa, a type of cap that is round, and black with a red top and embroidered with a design modeled after Montenegro’s coat of arms, sold in markets and gift shops.
Olive Oil is an essential component of Montenegro’s cuisine with many olive groves around the country, a great gift or souvenir, found in grocery stores and markets.
Vranac wine is also another popular staple in the country and is served in many restaurants and bars. Montenegro is home to a wide array of vineyards where the Vranac grape is grown and yields a variety of flavors from black currant to cherry and chocolate.
Grape vinegar is another Montenegro staple made from sour grapes with a unique flavor used in salads, sauces, and pickling, bottles are sold in grocery stores and local markets.
Rakija is a local brandy-like spirit made from fermented grapes, bottles are widely available in grocery stores and markets
Different types of honey including flower, sage, chestnut, and black locust can be purchased in stores.
Dining and Nightlife
The Montenegro coast has plenty of good local food to offer some fantastic friendly food. The cuisine on the coast features lots of fresh local fish and seafood due to the distance to the sea. There are charming local bakeries and coffee shops in the coastal towns to start off your day with a slice of burek, the Balkan’s answer to a meat pie with layers of filo pastry.
Along the Mediterranean Coast, there are plenty of outdoor dining opportunities to choose from with Balkan grills serving up delicious burgers, seafood restaurants serving delicious fresh menu items, beachside bars, and restaurants with spectacular views.
Dine on delicious salads made from fresh local produce and dressings made from local olive oil and vranac wine drizzled over fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions creating the perfect summer salad.
Dishes along the Mediterranean coast are highly influenced by neighboring countries like Macedonia, Croatia, Albanian, and Greece. Try some freshly caught octopus grilled and drizzled with authentic olive oil, served alongside sarma (cabbage leaves stuffed with mincemeat).
Balkan dishes include delicious hearty slabs of lamb kebabs, meat stews, smoked ham, pork rashers, and cevapcici (grilled southeaster dish made of mincemeat from sausages).
On the stunning island of Sveti Stefan visitors can find the world-renowned Nobu restaurants opened by Robert De Niro serving up delicious fish like the famous black cod and other locally caught seafood like mussels, clams, octopus, and prawns.
The coastal regions of Montenegro have plenty to offer visitors in the form of exhilarating nightlife. Budva is the best bet and is fast becoming a summer vacation destination for those seeking exciting nights on the town and beaches, Budva has been nicknamed the “Montenegrin Miami” for its vibrant nightlife. During the summertime nights on the Montenegro coast are simply fantastic with beachside bars, cafes, and restaurants offering outdoor seating with views of the beaches and sea. The days and evenings along the coast are balmy during the summer months, meaning visitors can spend their evenings dining and drinking outdoors and experiencing the best of the Montenegrin nightlife.
Budva is the most famous city on the coast when it comes to nightlife guaranteeing visitors a good time in its plethora of bars, pubs, clubs, and discos on the riviera. The party never really ends in Budva especially near the marina and along the sparkling waterfront and the famed Top Hill, which is the largest disco in the city renowned for being one of the most beautifully designed nightclubs in the Balkans. The club has a capacity for 5,000 partygoers!! And features performances by various musical artists and DJs. Trocadero is nestled on the Slovenian beach, near the promenade recognized due to its resemblance to the Eiffel Tower. Famous DJs and regional stars often perform here.
The coast of Montenegro is packed with historic monuments and ancient stone villages and walled cities.
Kotor, founded in the fifth century BCE, is one of the oldest cities in Montenegro. It sits on the Bay of Kotor, and is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Medieval-era Old Town, fortified since the time of Roman emperor Justinian; and the fortifications themselves, which were upgraded during the time of the Venetians (who called the city Cattaro). Kotor Cathedral, one of the oldest buildings in town, is one of only two Catholic cathedrals in the country.
Tivat is located seven miles away from Kotor along Montenegro`s northwestern coast, wedged between the Bay of Kotor and Mount Vrmac. One of the younger towns along the coast, Tivat has grown to become a must-see destination for those who love boating and yachting. Just in the last two generations, Tivat has become one of the most popular ports of call for luxury yachts in all of the Adriatic.
Fort Gorazda is an old Austro-Hungarian fortress set on top of a hill between Tivat and Kotor, it can be seen from both towns. Built into a mountain between 1884-86 with an iron dome and 100-ton Gruson rotating turret on the roof. The fortress was used as a prison during the mid 20th century, today it's abandoned and sadly covered in graffiti, but it's a great place to explore with views over the bay of Kotor and Tivat and astounding views of the sunset.
Gornja Lastva is a charming village in Tivat, found in the hinterlands on the slopes of Mount Vrmac. The quaint village features around 20 old stone buildings, beautiful gardens, trllises of grapes, and stone benches dotted around the town. The village square has been used for various parties and festivals over the years with the “Festivities of Lastva” held in August.
Ulcinj is a dream destination on Montenegro’s coast, the southernmost city on the coast stretching for 20 miles with the longest stretch of beaches (11 miles) on the Adriatic Sea. The old city of Ulcinj is over 2,000 years old, making it one of the oldest in the region. It overlooks the sandy beach and is set in the heart of town. A popular holiday destination for the young, and one of Europe’s best-undiscovered destinations with luxury accommodations, top-notch eateries, rustic cabins, beach parties, and plenty of attractions, and activities.
The Budva Riviera is a beautiful long stretch of coastline boasting 25 beaches. A famous and one of the most sought out beach destinations on the Montenegro Coastline. Nicknamed the “Mediterranean Miami” for its very vibrant and pulsating nightlife, Budva has some of the best bars, and nightclubs in the entire region. Jaz Beach is the longest beach in the neighborhood stretching for 1.55 miles covered in soft sand, and fine pebbles, a beautiful location for sunbathing, swimming, water sports, in the calm, clear, shallow waters.