Exploring Montenegro by car is an exhilarating experience that allows travelers to truly discover the beauty and diversity of this enchanting country. From the charming coastal towns of Budva and Bečići, to the awe-inspiring landscapes of Durmitor National Park, every day in Montenegro offers a new adventure.
I want to share something that might be useful — a plan with sights and a schedule for visiting both walking and driving routes through Montenegro.
It’s designed to help you see all the important places without wasting any extra time, especially given our short week-long vacations.
Starting off with a leisurely exploration of the local beaches, bars, and restaurants, one can easily get a taste of Montenegrin hospitality and cuisine. As the journey unfolds, you’ll encounter pristine beaches like Mogren and the island beach of Sv. Nikola, and historic towns such as Kotor and Ulcinj.
The country’s natural beauty is undoubtedly one of its main draws. The journey to the Boko-Kotorsky Bay, the Skadar Lake, the Durmitor National Park, and the stunning Piva Lake are experiences that will stay with you for a lifetime. The winding, perilous roads that lead to these destinations may be challenging, but the breathtaking views they offer are more than worth it.
Visiting cultural heritage sites such as the monasteries of Savina, Moracha, and Ostrog, as well as the old towns of Budva, Kotor, and Ulcinj, provide fascinating insights into the rich history and traditions of Montenegro.
The journey concludes with a trip to the Lovcen National Park and the Njegos Mausoleum, symbolizing a fitting end to the Montenegrin adventure. It encapsulates the spirit of Montenegro — a blend of natural beauty, historic richness, and enduring traditions.
Detailed road routes in Montenegro are timetabled by day
I love planning and detailing itineraries and calculations for such trips to the maximum extent. After all, when you have a clear, step-by-step plan, you always know what to do next, especially when you find yourself in an unfamiliar area, an unclear situation, or simply feeling lost.
When everything goes according to plan, we are calm, as there is no daunting unknown ahead, and instead of anxiety and worry (which only add to mistakes), our brain is busy with analysis. And when the brain is occupied with analysis, it has no time to worry — something like that)
Day 1: We arrive at noon, check into our accommodation in Bečići, take note of our surroundings, and head to the local beach, cafes/bars/restaurants along the Budva promenade.
Our roaming from Vodafone at 1 $ for 100 MB per day is a real bummer, it barely works but steadily deducts money, it pushed me into a -10$ overcharge in just two days.
Therefore, it’s better to immediately get a SIM card from the local operator Telenor (a starter pack costs from 5€ for 5 days and 10GB of high-speed 4G) and we feel even better than at home
(since their 4G is not like ours, it’s much faster and more stable, even in the mountains).
Becici and surroundings
Day 2: We explore the surroundings (on foot along the promenade from Bečići to Budva).
- 9:00 Budva: Old Budva (map https://tmpl.at/2Oj49N1)
- 11:00 The cleanest beaches on the Budva Riviera, «Mogren» — make sure to walk all the way to the rocks!!
- 15:00 St. Nicholas Island Beach «Hawaii» (by boat from Budva for 3€/person round trip)
Next, we rent a car for 5 days (it’s essential here),
- It’s better to do it through the website — http://localrent.com/l/bd8c — because local rental points lure you in with cheap prices and then surprise you with murky payments such as «mileage limits» and so on. On the website, you can clearly see all the terms in a language you understand: about insurance, conditions, price, etc. They have a large selection of cars, there are seller ratings, etc.
- Ideally, choose one without a deposit/excess (though there are few of these) so you won’t be charged later for scratches, chips, etc. Choose a car with a not too weak engine, automatic transmission, and compact size to make it easier to navigate serpentine roads and parking lots.
- Renting for a day is not cost-effective, the longer you rent, the cheaper the daily price becomes (you can find decent options for 30-50€/day).
- And it’s better to book in advance (if you book two to three weeks before the rental date, there will be more cheap cars to choose from, the deposit is not large, and there’s little choice if you wait until a day before!)
You can also book a car in Becici, Montenegro by using this form
Day 3: Kotor, Bay of Kotor (130 km round trip): Full day itinerary — https://tmpl.at/2OtYRyv
- 9:00 Kotor: Old Town (right across the bridge from the old town there’s decent parking)
- 11:00 Perast: + by water to St. George Island, Our Lady of the Rocks Island
- 13:00 Risan
- 14:00 Savina Monastery, Russian cemetery
- 15:00 Herceg Novi: Old Town, + by water to Blue Cave, Arza Fort (Map, what to see https://tmpl.at/2OjDz6F), beach
- 18:00 Kamenari-Lepetane (Ferry crossing), in Lepetane when disembarking turn LEFT and drive along the narrow streets of fishing villages, the views here are simply stunning!!!
- 19:30 Muo (watch the sunsets here, they’re stunning!)
- 20:30 Bečići
Day 4: Ulcinj, Ada Bojana, Lake Skadar, Virpazar (236 km round trip): Full day itinerary
Option №1 — https://tmpl.at/2wmKwMX (return home from Virpazar through the tunnel to Bečići, without visiting Rijeka Crnojevića)
Option №2 — https://tmpl.at/2BrPihD — this one takes more time (with a visit to Rijeka Crnojevića, but without stops at St. Bar, and with minimal time in Ulcinj, here from Virpazar to Rijeka Crnojevića and home along the M23 route)
- 8:00 Sveti Stefan (panorama from the highway)
- 10:00 Old Bar, Bar: Port, Shopping (this is up to personal preference, it’s better not to linger too long, or you can skip it altogether)
- 11:00 Ulcinj: Old Town (it’s also advisable not to stay here too long, as the city can be quite tiring)
- 12:00 Velika Plaža: (if you feel like it, you can check it out, but again, it’s better not to linger)
- 13:00 Ada Bojana Island: we swim with the nudists and move on)
- 16:00 Lake Skadar (stunning views along a DANGEROUS and difficult road along Lake Skadar to the village of Virpazar), it’s advisable to get on this road no later than 14:00!!!
- 18:00 Virpazar, a fishing village, coffee, dinner: and if it’s already late, then home to Bečići through the tunnel (E80 highway) will take about an hour and a half
- 17:00 Rijeka Crnojevića: THIS is only if you have at least 3 hours until sunset!!!
- 20:00 Bečići
Day 5: Durmitor National Park, Žabljak (250 km), (with overnight stay in Žabljak):
Day №1 — https://tmpl.at/2BqvRps
- 9:00 Virpazar (you can quickly have a coffee there, or you can just drive through)
- 10:00 ‘Niagara’ Waterfall (there’s no waterfall in August, the river is not full, but overall it’s nice to take a look)
- 11:00 Podgorica: you can check out the Old Town, the Millennium Bridge, or you can just drive through it
- 13:00 Canyons of the Mrtvica River, (you can take good photos before the bridge, I’ve marked the coordinates on the map 42.705212 19.374902)
- 14:00 ‘Moraca’ Monastery (entry is paid, but there’s not much to see here)
- 15:00 Lake Biograd (it takes quite a while to walk around it)
- 16:00 Canyons of the Tara River,
- 17:00 ‘Djurdjevich’ Bridge, you can ride the ZIP-Line here
- 18:00 Žabljak, we look for accommodation on Booking (it’s quite possible to find something for 25-40 €), good pubs: in the center at the intersection and on the way to the lake (if you happen to have time, you can also visit the park with the Black Lake this day, but it’s open from 6:00 to 17:00)
6th day: Žabljak, Bobotov Kuk, Pivsko jezero, Ostrog Monastery (230 km): Day #2 — https://tmpl.at/2whLt8S
- 8:00 Black Lake, Durmitor National Park
- 10:00 Bobotov Kuk
- 13:00 Piva Lake, Piva Monastery (you can visit the dam at Piva Lake, but it’s a bit of a drive and there’s not much to see)
- 14:00 Nikšić (in transit)
- 15:00 Ostrog Monastery
- 16:00 Danilovgrad-Podgorica (in transit)
- 17:00 Cetinje
- 18:00 Bečići
7th day: Lovćen National Park, Njegoš’s Mausoleum, Njeguši village, serpentine road to Kotor (130 km round trip):
The route for the whole day — https://tmpl.at/2Bsc0Gw
- 9:00 Kosmač Fortress
- 10:00 Cetinje Monastery, Cetinje
- 12:00 Njegoš’s Mausoleum
- 14:00 Njeguši village (stocking up on pršut, wine, cheese)
- 15:00 Serpentine road to Kotor, Gorazda Fortress
- 16:00 Here you can either go to Kotor or to the beaches of Jaz and Ploče
- 19:00 Bečići
8th day: (we are going home) — we check out and fly home.
If the flight is after lunch, you can still manage to visit the beach of Sveti Stefan island (the left beach is free if you don’t take loungers, while the right one is €100/day). The shuttle from Budva/Bečići to Sveti Stefan costs €2 and takes 15 minutes.
Overall, a self-drive tour through Montenegro is a rewarding and enriching experience. It offers flexibility, convenience, and the opportunity to explore this beautiful country at your own pace. Just remember to plan and book in advance, especially during the peak tourist season, to ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey.