Montenegro is such a unique destination. Located in Southeastern Europe, between Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania, this Balkan country really has it all; stunning coastlines along the Adriatic Sea, medieval villages and impressive national parks with limestone peaks and glacial lakes. To help you better navigate how to discover this unique country, I’ve rounded up the Ultimate 8-Day Montenegro Itinerary complete with all there is to do, see and eat in the country. You can also check out my Montenegro Travel Guide for more general details on the destination.
The Best Time to Visit Montenegro:
For optimal weather, the best time to visit Montenegro is from May through October.
How to Get to Montenegro:
There are no direct flights to Montenegro from New York, so we opted for the shortest, most affordable route. We hopped on a 5:20pm flight from New York JFK to Dublin (~6 hours), with a short two hour layover. From there, we boarded a 4:59am flight from Dublin to Dubrovnik (~3 hours), arriving in Dubrovnik at 11:45am local time. We then drove from Dubrovnik to Kotor, Montenegro which took a little under 2 hours.
Where to Stay in Montenegro:
We spent our time in Montenegro in the town of Dobrota, comfortably nestled in an Airbnb right on the Bay of Kotor. Its 20-minute walking distance to the town of Kotor and under an hour’s drive from a number of other towns made it the ideal place to stay during our time there.
Make the trek from Dubrovnik to Montenegro.
Once we arrived in Dubrovnik we hopped in the car to make the two-hour journey to Montenegro from Dubrovnik.
Make a pitstop at Konoba Vinicia Monkovic in Croatia for a traditional Croatian Peka dish.
After doing some research prior to our trip, we found a local Croatian restaurant, Konoba Vinica Monkovic, conveniently located on our way to Montenegro. Having called the restaurant ahead of time, we requested their traditional Peka dish, known as one of the most popular meals in Croatia’s Dalmatia region. A blend of vegetables and meat drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs, the signature Peka dish is baked to perfection all day under a bell-like dome.
Nestled right on a small waterway in the town of Ljuta, this meal was truly the best way to kickoff our trip and an ideal pitstop to stretch our legs on the way to Montenegro.
Once you make it to the town of Dobrota, Montenegro, walk over to Tiha Noc for dinner before turning in for the night.
After a quick refresh, we made the 10-minute walk to local restaurant, Tiha Noc, for Turkish pizza, and local Montenegrin wine and seafood. This restaurant also has great views of the water so it’s the perfect place to enjoy a meal and drinks.
Head over to the town of Kotor to walk through the medieval walls.
On day two, we woke up and headed straight for the town of Kotor to take in the town’s history and roam through the city walls. While there we found that the earlier you head to the city, the better, as there are less crowds to navigate. By the time we left in the early afternoon, the cruise ships had rolled in in full force so it was difficult walking through the crowds on these small cobblestone streets.
Pop by the Mamma Mia Bakery to grab some breakfast.
Once in the city walls, we popped by the Mamma Mia Bakery to grab some meat and cheese Burek, a baked filled pastry made of a thin flaky dough such as phyllo or yufka, traditionally found in the Balkans. I had my fair share of Burek while in Montenegro, and man was it tasty!
Climb the city walls to the Kotor Fortress.
After we were sufficiently fueled on local burek, we paid the 8€ to climb the walls to the Kotor Fortress. The climb up and down will take roughly an hour and a half and while it’s not easy, the views at the top make it all worth it. I recommend wearing close toed shoes if you’re going to make the trek and especially recommend avoiding flip flops altogether as the stairs can get a bit slippery with all of the rocks and debris around.
Grab a well deserved drink at Karampana Caffe.
After we descended from the Kotor Fortress, we headed right over to Karampana Caffe in the Old Town for a much-needed drink or two.
Head back to Dobrota for a dip in the Bay of Kotor.
After a long climb to the Kotor Fortress and much-needed drinks, we headed back to our Airbnb to take a dip in the Bay. One of the best parts about staying in Dobrota is the fact that practically the whole town is public coastline so you can swim just about anywhere there’s an opening to the ocean.
Walk down the street to Konoba Bonaca for a seafood dinner with a view.
Although this wasn’t one of my favorite meals of the trip, it had some of the most beautiful views of the bay. Luckily, the drinks were tasty enough to make up for the food.
Enjoy a slow morning in Dobrota, watching the sun rise on the bay.
We spent most of day three relaxing on the dock and soaking in the cool waters of the bay. The views on the Bay of Kotor are absolutely incredible.
As the sun starts to set, grab a Red Taxi to make the 20-minute drive to the town of Perast.
As the sun started to set, we headed out to visit the town of Perast. Given its small size, Perast is best seen at night when all of the crowds have dissipated and the lights of the town start to twinkle, reflecting off of the water of the bay. While you’re there, walk through the small town and take in the views of St. George and Our Lady of the Rocks.
You can also pay to take a boat tour to get an up close and personal view of St. George and Our Lady of the Rocks but we enjoyed taking in the sites from far away as the sun set.
Grab a bite with a view at Konoba Otok Bronza in Perast.
After we were done walking through the town of Perast, we stopped in the local restaurant Konoba Otok Bronza for a tasty dinner with a view. If you decide to sit on the water at night, don’t miss out on seeing the cruise ships all lit up, sailing by on the bay.
Wake up early to make the 4-hour drive inland to the Tara River.
Wake up with the sun to make the drive to the Tara River, but don’t forget to stop by all of the beautiful lookout points along the way.
Book a 3-hour rafting tour with Blue River Tara.
Costing roughly $45 for a 3-hour tour, we booked our reservation online ahead of time, due to a recommendation I found from a blog. Starting at 9am, the $45 tour included a homemade local breakfast, the 3-hour rafting excursion and a hearty homemade lunch upon our return. The tour guide told us when we could safely swim in the Tara River water (although it was a chilling 50 degrees), took us cliff jumping and steered us safely through the rough parts of the rapids, although I will say that at this time of year the water was relatively calm. This was by far one of my favorite experiences of the trip.
Make the drive to Zabljak and Durmitor National Park.
After finishing up at the Blue River Tara, we made the roughly hour and a half trip to the Hotel Polar Star in Zabljak. Upon starting our journey, we thought the roads couldn’t get any worse but as we entered Durmitor National Park, we were greeted by one lane roads with shoulders peering right off of a cliff. What should have taken a 3 hour journey, took almost five due to the roads and of course our stops to take in the sights.
But, although the drive was stressful, the views all but made up for it. Everywhere you looked there were miles and miles of rolling green hills and woven mountains. We even saw quite a few goats grazing on the hilltops. It was truly an incredible experience.
Pull over where you can and take in the sights of Durmitor National Park.
Although there aren’t many safe spots to pull over on the drive through the park due to the fact that the shoulder is nonexistent, when you can find one take advantage of it. We only pulled over once for these pictures and I regret not taking in our surroundings more.
Once you safely make it to Zabljak, head to your hotel for some rest.
After a long, stressful day driving through the park, we headed to the Hotel Polar Star, for some food and rest. It’s definitely not the best hotel in the area but it serves its purpose.
Wake up early on day 5 to explore Crno Jzero, the Black Lake.
On day five, we woke up early to make the short drive to the Black Lake, located right in Durmitor National Park. We took a walk around the lake, made friends with the park dogs and explored the other trails in the area. I highly recommend popping by here to take in the beautiful views.
Get an adrenaline rush at the Savin Kuk Summit Point.
After walking through the trails by the Black Lake, we headed over to the Savin Kuk Summit Point to ride the roughly $8 ski lift up to the top of the mountain. Without the fluffy snow below, the height of this ski lift is much more noticeable, which really got my adrenaline pumping. Once we arrived at the top, we took a short hike to the very tippy top of the mountain and took in some of the most beautiful views of Durmitor National Park.
Head back to your home base of Dobrota for dinner at Pirun & Ozica.
After sitting in the car for close to three hours, we needed a walk so we took a a stroll down the street to grab dinner and drinks at Pirun & Ozica, a cozy neighborhood spot.
Have a lazy day lounging in Dobrota.
On day six we had a slow start to the morning and decided to spend the whole day relaxing on our private dock and taking dips in the bay.
Head into the city of Kotor for dinner at Cesaria.
We decided to change up the scenery on this night and headed into the town of Kotor for dinner and we were so glad that we did. Not only was the food tasty but the setting within the walled city was just the change we needed.
Make the drive out to Budva.
On day seven, we woke up and headed straight out to the city of Budva, only roughly a 35-40 minute drive away.
Take a walk through the old town of Budva.
After our drive, we headed straight to the Old Town to explore its historic streets. We had such a great time popping in the local shops and picking out some handmade gems along the way. The Old Town is small so you don’t need much time to explore.
Stop by the Hotel Mogren for a delicious breakfast.
After walking around, we were hungry for some food and the outdoor restaurant at the Hotel Mogren offers a great setting with views of the Old Town and the ocean, as well as some seriously good food. We ordered the traditional Montenegrin dish, Priganice, which are small airy donuts often served with honey and a fried ham and cheese wrap. It was exactly what we needed and I highly recommend stopping by if you find yourself in Budva!
Spend the day lounging at Mogren Beach.
After we had our fill of Montenegrin donuts, we headed over to Mogren Beach to spend the day lounging. While there are chairs available for rent, we opted to post up on our towels for the day and ended up purchasing a beer from the beach stand, although I recommend bringing your own if you plan ahead of time. This beach can get really crowded in the late morning so I highly recommend heading there early or if you decide to come later, don’t be hesitant to get cozy with your neighbor, all of the locals do it!
Grab dinner at Dobrotski Dvori back in Dobrota.
After returning from the beach, we showered and changed and headed straight for Dobrotski Dvori for a tasty, meat-filled meal. Not only does this place have a great atmosphere, but the waiters are extremely friendly and accommodating.
Walk from Dobrota to the Old town of Kotor.
On our last full day in Kotor, we woke up and headed straight for the Old Town to browse the local shops for trinkets to take home.
Browse through the Kotor Market.
After we picked up some souvenirs, we made our way to the Kotor Market to take a peek at the fresh local goods. We had such a great time tasting the local cheese, meats and eyeing up some of the colorful fruit they had on stands. I love visiting local markets to get a taste of what the locals are eating and buying.
Take in the sights of St. Matthews Church on the walk from Kotor to Dobrota.
On our way back to the Airbnb, we popped in the courtyard at St. Matthews Church to snap some photos of this beautiful location. Not only is the architecture of the church itself beautiful, but the view of the bay and the town of Dobrota is absolutely striking from this viewpoint.
Savor one last dip in the Bay of Kotor.
After returning to the Airbnb we had to take one, long last dip in the Bay of Kotor, soaking up the Montenegrin water and taking in the beautiful views of the Bay.
Enjoy some local BBQ at BBQ Tanjga.
Wrapping up our Montenegro trip, we headed to BBQ Tanjga for a traditional Montenegrin BBQ. While it wasn’t our favorite meal of the trip, it was a great, casual and very local way to bring our journey to an end.
If you’re looking to learn more about Montenegro, you can read my Montenegro Travel Guide.20