Travel to Montenegro

Kotor fortress

I visited Montenegro in September 2018, after visiting Albania and Serbia. My Serbian friend had recommended Montenegro as a relaxing and scenic place to visit. Although I was there for only a few days, I visited three different cities- Herceg Novi, Kotor and Cetinje. My friend’s favourite city is Kotor, and it was easy to see why. First, there is a beautiful old walled city centre. Then there are the surrounding mountains with nice hikes to see ruins and the stunning views. And lastly, there is a big lake which is beautiful for walks and waterside dining.

I also enjoyed the sleepy town of Cetinje with its beautiful architecture and a surprisingly large number of interesting museums. And I can’t forget my first stop in Herceg Novi. The beaches and hills were stunning, and there is also a beautiful old town. Also, a visit to Tito’s Villa is an interesting activity within walking distance. Travel on public transport between the cities was easy and cheap. And I always felt very safe even traveling on my own. Next time I would like to visit Budva as well!

Public beach in Herceg Novi
Public beach in Herceg Novi
View of Herceg Novi from Forte Mare
View of Herceg Novi from Forte Mare
The old French embassy built 1909-1910, Cetinje
The old French embassy built 1909-1910, Cetinje

Highlights

  • Walking around the old town of Herceg Novi. Beautiful views and architecture. Very hilly!
  • Kanli-Kula castle in Herceg Novi for the castle itself and the beautiful view of the sea and city. Also they host concerts there during the summer
  • Forte Mare fortress, also with great views
  • Church of Saint Archangel Michael
  • Herceg Novi City museum which is in an old house; interesting history and artefacts
  • Herceg Novi Beach, dip your toes in the clear water
  • Monastery Savina in Herceg Novi for the views
  • Hike up to the Fortress Spanjola, a ruined fort
  • Titova villa tour – ask the local tourist office about tour times. It only cost a few Euros, paid in cash at the entrance. The entrance is not easy to find using GoogleMaps and I had to walk up a park path to find it. Very interesting history from the 70’s with healing baths and spas, and a bomb shelter.
  • Kotor old walled city- Kampana tower, Napoleon theatre, ruins of the Saint Claire Catholic Church, Saint Nicolas church, Church of Saint Mary collegiate, Blessed Osana square,  Pima family palace and the Beskuca family palace, Saint Michael’s church, Church of the Holy Spirit and Saint Luke’s Orthodox Church
  •  There is a trail leading up to the Kotor fortress where you don’t need to pay but from within the old city the stairs cost 8 euros. Try googling “Start of the Ladder of Kotor” or around this point 42°25’37.9″N 18°46’24.4″E. Hike up to Saint John’s fortress to see ruins and stunning views. If you feel energetic, keep hiking to the top of the hill
  • Kotor local farmers Market
  • Maritime museum (Grgurina palace)
  • Beautiful architecture in Cetinje including the former French embassy (from 1909-1910) and Djukanovic palace
  • The National museum of Montenegro & Art Museum are in the old government building from 1910 when Montenegro was proclaimed a kingdom
  • Cetinje monastery where the hand of Saint John the Baptist is kept as a holy relic
  • Biljarda museum and relief map of Montenegro made by Austrians
  • King Nicolas museum, his former palace. Beautiful interior with exceptional furniture
  • Ethnographic museum with tools and clothes for every day life, and fine examples of Gusle, which are the traditional national string instruments

Before you go

  • Immigration at Tivat airport was chaotic and there was no queue. Be patient as it does eventually move.
  • USA and UK citizens do not need a visa for visits up to 90 days
  • Due to the lakes around the area, there are a lot of mosquitos so bring repellent if you tend to get bitten
  • Most hotels have air conditioning, and during the humid summer you may need it
  • Sim cards are cheap and worth using if you need maps and communication. From Telenor I got a SIM card with 100 GB data for 5 euros
  • Herceg Novi means new town but there is an old town in the centre of it
  • People sunbathe on the concrete as well as the small pebble beaches in Herceg Novi
  • Euros are accepted and the official currency
  • Many people smoke and smoking is allowed indoors, even in some buses
  • There is a famous mausoleum near Cetinje and it can most easily be reached by taxi. I didn’t have time to go, but I was asked many times by taxi drivers if I wanted to go.
  • Cetinje has a number of nice museums and a ticket to visit all of them for the day was 10 euros, which seemed well worth it
  • I discovered some new artists at the Cetinje Art Museum. I very much liked the works by Lazar Vozarevic, Mihajlo Vukotic, Petar Lubardam and Vojislov Vojo Stanic
  • To visit the Cetinje monastery, as a woman you may need to wear a scarf over your legs like a skirt.
  • My Serbian friend also recommended to visit Budva, another beautiful city by the sea. I didn’t have the chance this trip but would like to go next time
  • When leaving from Tivat airport, the waiting area was way too small for the number of flights leaving around the same time. The duty free shop also wouldn’t let me in with luggage so I couldn’t see anything there. It all seemed very chaotic but I made it onto the flight home
  • Most of the restaurants I went to did not have websites on GoogleMaps. I just turned up and found a table pretty easily. If you really want to reserve you can probably just walk up and reserve for later.
Tito’s Villa This was the main meeting and movie room
Tito’s Villa This was the main meeting and movie room
Taking the ferry on the bus journey from Herceg Novi to Kotor
Taking the ferry on the bus journey from Herceg Novi to Kotor
View from the fortress
View from the fortress in Kotor

Transport

  • When I landed in Tivat, I took a taxi from the airport to my accommodation. Luckily the hotel recommended a reliable, friendly and honest driver named Vlado. I don’t have an email address but his number at the time was + 382 (0) 69059340 The journey was about an hour including a ferry journey, and cost 40 euros. I tried to pay 45 but he wouldn’t take it and bought me an ice cream on the ferry!
  • Busticketfor.me is the online bus ticket website but the bus station in Herceg Novi said I could just buy a ticket to Kotor on the day. It ended up costing 3 euros plus 1 euro extra for my suitcase. The journey took about an hour including a ferry journey, and it was comfortable in a mini bus.
  • From Kotor bus station, I bought a ticket to Cetinje for 6 euros for a day trip. We picked up some people along the way at unofficial stops and the main stops were Tivat and Budva.

Accommodation

  • In Herceg Novi, I stayed at the Apartment Tamara, which seems no longer available to book. It was owned by a nice lady named Tamara. And I booked through Booking.com in this same building now called Kanli Kula Hotel. I had to pay in cash but didn’t have enough when I arrived. Tamara told me just to leave the rest on the table when I left- very trusting.
  • The apartment Moskov in Kotor was an amazing place to stay. The owners were so friendly and helpful, and the apartment was clean, comfortable and well-located. The owner has viber and the number on Google is +38268518870

Currency

The currency in Montenegro is the Euro, which makes it easy to travel for those from the European Union.

I recommend to check the currency conversion just before you leave as this fluctuates

10 euro note
10 euro note
Dinner at Bokun Restaurant, Kotor
Dinner at Bokun Restaurant, Kotor
Kotor Market
Kotor Market
Mussels spaghetti at Tri Lipe
Mussels spaghetti at Tri Lipe
Local Montenegro wine and beer
Local Montenegro wine and beer
Caffe Del Mare, Kotor
Caffe Del Mare, Kotor

Food

One of my favourite meals was at Caffe Del Mare near the water in Kotor. I had a great table with a view of the sunset over the water and behind the mountains. I enjoyed sea bass and rose wine.

In addition, the food at Tri lipe restaurant in Herceg Novi was delicious! I had a shopke salad (tomato, cucumber and cheese like in Bulgaria) and fresh mussel pasta.

I had dinner outdoors in a square in Old Town Kotor at Bokun restaurant. The prawn risotto was more like normal rice with salad and a glass of Montenegro rose wine. The food was so-so and not so cheap.

The fast food pizza was delicious and also very cheap! About 1.50 euros per slice. I also enjoyed the cheese pie from a Poslasticara pie shop in Cetinje.

Finally, I can recommend trying the local beverages. First I had a dark Montenegrin beer called Niksicko Tamra. It was very rich and flavourful. Then later I tried red wine called Vranac.

Saint Michael Archangel Church in Herceg Novi
Saint Michael Archangel Church in Herceg Novi
I ❤️ Herceg Novi
I ❤️ Herceg Novi
Old Town Kotor Orthodox Church with the fortress behind on the hill
Old Town Kotor Orthodox Church with the fortress behind on the hill

FAQs

Q: Do I need a tour guide?

A: No, it is easy and cheap to get around by bus and ferry to different cities. Places of interest are well-marked on GoogleMaps. And the cities I visited were all easily walkable.

Q: Do people speak English?

A: At the hotels, and tourist places people spoke English. Also in the larger restaurants in the city. However some smaller shops were more challenging. Montenegrin is the official language. However, Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian and Albanian are all commonly used in Montenegro.

Q: Can I travel solo?

A: Yes it felt very safe and the public transport was very good to travel between places.

Q: How easy is it to send postcards? Postcards and stamps were available from the post office and easy to find and send.

A: See Sending Postcards from Abroad for details on cost and the time it took to reach the USA.

Go to Country Map

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.