[Last update: June 6, 2022] The pink pebble stone beaches of Sveti Stefan and the pink flamingos of Ulcinjska Salinas are just two of many gems you will find in Montenegro, the country of the black mountains. Nestled between Croatia, Bosnia Herzegowina, Serbia, Kosovo, and Albania, Montenegro is not just a hiker's paradise, but also an underestimated travel destination, often overlooked for popular places like Greece and Croatia.
Also home to the Pink Panthers, responsible for some of the most brazen thefts in crime history, Montenegro got much attention after James Bond's train ride through Montenegro to the Splendid Hotel in the famous Casino Royal. However, James Bond wasn't filmed in Montenegro at all, but at Lake Como in Italy and in the Czech Republic.
🇲🇪 Entry requirements for Montenegro
- Visa: Valid Schengen visa.
- Insurance: Travel health insurance that matches the Schengen requirements. Your insurance policy needs a minimum amount of 30,000 Euros of emergency cover.
🌱 Travel health insurance for Montenegro
- Additional note: Covid-related entry regulations are lifted on April 12th, 2022. Please check your airline, train, or bus company for additional required documents.
🏡 How to find a place
- Airbnb: Depending on the season you want to travel and how long you search in advance, you can find really nice accommodation in Montenegro on Airbnb. Rent for an apartment should be between 600 and 800 Euro per month.
- Guesthouses: An authentic way to live in Montenegro is by staying in one of the many local guesthouses. You find them in every little town and village.
- Facebook groups: You can invest a bit more time and monitor Montenegro Digital Nomads & Remote Workers, and WoM - Property in Montenegro.
- Coliving in Kotor: If you travel solo and you want to be surrounded by other nomads, consider staying in a coliving space. Kotor Nest is a beautiful coliving space in the beach town of Kotor. A month at Kotor Nest starts at 420 Euro for a private bedroom with a shared bathroom and 600 Euro with a private bedroom and ensuite bathroom.
- Coliving in Tivat: Playworking is a coliving space, that comes with private stays, a shared kitchen, work areas, and a fun activity schedule. One month in the Premium room (private bedroom with ensuite bathroom) is between 700 and 1,100 Euro, depending on the season.
✈️ How to get to Montenegro
- Plane: Montenegro has 2 international airports, one in Podgorica, the capital, and the other one in Tivat. Podgorica is connected to 31 international airports spread in 28 cities in 18 countries. The longest flights are to Spain, the UK, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. Tivat is connected to 26 international airports spread in 24 cities in 17 countries. From Tivat, you have connections to UAE, Finland, Norway, or the UK. From Podgorica Airport, which is around 10 km outside of the city, you can take a taxi (12 Euro), or the train (2 Euro) to the city center. When using the train, you need to walk 1 km from the airport to the train station. When arriving at Tivat Airport, you can either walk the 4 km to the city center (but there are no sidewalks along the road) or take a taxi to either Tivat or to Kotor (11 min.). Although there should be technically a direct bus from the airport, it is very rare that a bus shows up. Once you made it to Tivat, you can take the bus (10 min) to Kotor. There is no Uber or similar services available in Montenegro.
- Train: Consider traveling by train, especially if you want to visit neighboring countries, such as Albania or Serbia. Consider getting the Interrail Global Pass and combining Montenegro with other countries via train. The main intercity routes are
1) Bar – Podgorica – Belgrade (Serbia)
2) Podgorica – Nikšić
3) Podgorica – Skadar (Albania)
🚌 Public transport
Public transport in Montenegro is not great and depends solely on bus networks and their reliability. Taxis are the way to go for shorter rides.
- Bus: The public transport in Podgorica or Tivat is the bus system. The diameter of the urban area of Podgorica is around 7 to 8 km, so it is not a big city. Buses drive in 15 to 30 min. intervals. There are no trams or metro lines in Podgorica.
- Taxi: Every region has its own recommended taxi company. When in Podgorica, Kotor or Tivat, use Red Taxi. In Kotor and Tivat, you can also use Djir Taxi. In Budva, use Happy Taxi, and when in Herceg Novi use Maestro Taxi. When arriving at the international airport in Podgorica, you can take the Royal Taxi which comes with fixed rates which you should ask beforehand.
- Tesla Taxi: If you want to drive around in a Tesla, you can download the TeslaGoApp on your phone and request a ride. Visit the website for more information.
- Uber: There are no Uber, Lyft, Cabify, Grab, Bolt, and any other ride-sharing services available in Montenegro.
- Bicycle: Podgorica is not bicycle-friendly. There are no lanes, no dedicated traffic lights, and nearly nobody uses a bicycle nor is used to protect cyclists.
🏘 Where to stay in Podgorica
- Kruševac: The positive aspect of choosing Kruševac as your base is that it’s the capital city. From here, you are well connected to travel basically anywhere around Montenegro and even to neighboring countries. The prices here are fair and not inflated, unlike some of the other more touristy cities. Expect to pay around 1,000 Euro in rent, especially when booking short-term on Airbnb and co.
🧑🏻💻 Where to work from in Podgorica
- Nest Coworking: In a nice location in Podgorica, there is a newly opened coworking space called NEST. The space is open 24/7 and comes with a community manager taking care of us nomads. The daily membership is 12 Euro, 7-days is 60 Euro, and 1-month is 200 Euro. All prices plus VAT.
- Work Hub Montenegro: A clean, pet-friendly place, full of natural light, with all necessary office supplies, high-speed internet, and a lounge area. The Work Hub is located a 20-min walk from the city center.
- Soba: The café is designed to resemble someone’s living room, albeit the living room of someone with plenty of friends and no shortage of drinks for the guests. With a good wifi connection and combined with a cozy working spot, this place can be recommended.
- Zrno: This contemporary spot wouldn’t be out of place in cities like Belgrade, Zagreb, or Ljubljana. Tasty menu, good coffees, and cozy little work spots.
🏘 Where to stay in Kotor
- Dobrota: It’s a tiny town but it’s in a beautiful location on Boka Bay, which offers hikes, an atmospheric old town, and a nice bay to explore. Plus, Tivat, with its airport and with some expat life is only ten minutes by car. One of the best parts about staying in Dobrota is that you stay away from the cruise shipping day guests but you are neither isolated nor deserted either. The monthly rent is around 1,500 Euro when booking short-term through Airbnb.
🧑🏻💻 Where to work from in Kotor
- Kotor Nest Coworking and Coliving: Located in an ancient building, Kotor Nest offers a great coworking and coliving arrangement. A month at Kotor Nest starts at 420 Euro for a private bedroom with a shared bathroom and 600 Euro with a private bedroom and ensuite bathroom.
- Astoria Café: Located inside the Boutique Hotel Astoria in the old town, you find the Astoria Café with a great breakfast menu, lunch specials, and dinner options. It is a good place to work when in the old town, with stable wifi and no crowds.
- Forza Café: This is a great place near Sea Gate, and is suitable for an afternoon break. Forza Café serves tasty food and has a wide selection of drinks at an affordable price.
🚊 How to travel around Montenegro
- Bus: Montenegro is a smaller country and offers a very good bus network with more than 500 combinations. The average speed is 35km/h but intercity buses using the highways drive faster, of course. In fact, they drive so fast that one might feel unwell. A bus trip from Podgorica to Kotor takes between 2 and 3 hours, and a ticket is between 5 and 10 Euros. Check the bus connections and fees here.
- Train: By taking the train, you can visit Kotor Bay, Bar, Kolašin, and Podgorica.
- Car rental: By renting a car, you are a lot more flexible, you can stop along the way, and simply travel at your own pace. The highways are in good condition, especially compared to neighboring countries. People younger than 21 and older than 75 are not allowed to rent a car. Please note that most public transport does not take you to sightseeing points, and some public transport does not run in the offseason. If you are ambitious to see the hidden gems of the country, a car is necessary.
🎖Must see in Montenegro
- Kotor: This historic Venetian town was built in the Bay of Kotor, a submerged river canyon at the Adriatic Sea. Both, the surroundings as well as Kotor itself are UNESCO World Heritage sites. And because of its beauty, Kotor attracts many tourists, especially cruise ship tourists. When traveling to Kotor, have a look at the cruise ship schedule. You can access Kotor via Tivat Airport within 10 min. drive.
- Perast: In just a 15 min. drive by car or taxi (10 Euro) from Kotor, you can get to Perast. The idyllic village is located in the Bay of Kotor (Bokor Bay), with beautiful mountain and lake views, romantic waterfront restaurants, historic architecture, and hiking trails. You can reach Perast by bus and boat from Kotor, and if you rent a car and want to continue to Dubrovnik in Croatia, it is only a few hours away.
- Sveti Stefan: Perast is already very picturesque but Sveti Stefan might be one of Europe's most beautiful places. The little islet was once a royal summer residence, dating back to the 15th century, and home to an old olive tree forest and historic palace. You can find pink pebble stone beaches on Sveti Stefan, which is just 40 min. drive from Kotor.
- Cetinje: From Kotor, you can drive 40 min. by car or taxi and get to Cetinje. The old capital of Cetinje lies 670 m above sea level in the Cetinje plateau and is home to the president's residence and many national institutions. Cetinje is surrounded by limestone karst and is a great starting point to explore the Lovcen National Park (7 km).
- Durmitur: Montenegro means black mountain, and although most tourists focus on the coastal towns, the hinterland of Montenegro is the sleeping beauty of the country. Around 200 km from Cetinje, you arrive in Durmitor, a massif in the northwest of Montenegro. The Durmitor National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The mountain range is far in the north, accessible from both, Podgorica and Tivat/Kotor, with train plus bus and taxi connections.
- Podgorica: I heard Podgorica is known as the ugliest city in Europe, but that should be the Belgium town of Charleroi. However, Podgorica is not really a tourist magnet either. Let's say you enter the country through the Podgorica International Airport, you might want to spend one night in the city to rest but the next day it is time to move on. For example Cetinje, the old capital. If you do spend more time in Podgorica and you need a place to work from, try Donkey Farm, and Nest.
💡Good to know
- Internet: The average internet speed in Montenegro is 50 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload.
- Sim cards: Best sim card is provided by Telekom, which has good coverage and in many stores, you can top up your prepaid sim card. You can buy the sim card already at the airport in Podgorica when entering the country.
- Digital nomad community: You will find a small but growing and lively digital nomad community in Tivat and in Kotor. In Tivat, check out Playworking, a coliving and coworking space, and Kowork and Balkanoffice in Kotor.
- Currency: Montenegro is using the Euro.
- Safety: The country is very safe, and it ranks 51st on the Global Peace Index.
- Weather: Do you know the rainiest city in Europe? It is Podgorica, Montenegro's capital, followed by Ljubljana in Slovenia, and Tirana in Albania. Montenegro has a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and mild and rainy winters. The inland is colder than the coast, which can be very windy in winter, too.
🚧 What to avoid
- Missing out on sightseeing: From the Ostrog Monastery, the horseshoe bend of Lake Skadar, the Lovcen National Park, or hiking trails, if you want to see the sites and natural wonders of Montenegro, it is necessary to rent a car or hire a private driver as public transport might not go there in the off-season, schedules are old and not updated, and even tours you book in advance do not take place without a minimum amount of people.
- Crime: Pickpocketing is common in Budva, Kotor, or Sveti Stefan, the most touristic places in a low touristic country. Watch your belongings, use the safe in your hotel room, lock the car and stay a bit alert - tips that are useful anywhere you go in the world.
- Language barriers: Besides people working in tourism and hospitality or younger adults, most people in Montenegro do not speak English.
- Costs: Montenegro sounds like a bargain, but if you want to find good deals, you need to dig deep and invest time in the research. Especially in Kotor, due to cruise ship tourists, prices can jump up.
🚴🏻♀️ How to stay healthy
- Hike in Lovcen National Park: A short 3-hour hike is the Wolf Trail which you can combine with the Babina Glava's viewpoint. The hike starts near the Hotel Ivanov Konak, which is together with Hotel Monte Rosa, the best accommodation in the area.
- Hike to Sveti Andrija Fortress: In the Bay of Kotor, you can hike to Sveti Andrija Fortress, which is said to be one of the most beautiful trails in the country with wonderful views of the bay. The hike starts in the village of Orahovac with a gentle climb and it takes about 6 hours to complete. It is a family-friendly hike, so it is easy to do and the fortress itself is a site you don't want to miss.
- Cycling the Perast - Kotor loop: Starting from Lepetane, this 2.5 hours cycling trip brings you by ferry to Perast and Kotor. Good fitness is required for this intermediate tour. You can find more details here.
- Coliving: An easy way to meet new people is by staying in hostels they say. I have never been a fan of hostels as I like silence and privacy. I do like coliving spaces, as the target group is slightly different. The majority of people staying in coliving spaces are working folks, interested in traveling, and coworking. Check out Kotor Nest in Kotor and Playworking in Tivet.