7 Reasons to visit Montenegro in 2023

Spanning just 14,000 sq km, Montenegro surprises travellers with its diversity of experiences, from its mountains and coast to its history-rich cities. Here are seven reasons to go in 2023…

Lucy McGuire
31 January 2023
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1. For the hiking and biking

(NTO Montenegro)

The Montenegrin mountains were made for avid mountain bikers and hikers, and you’ll find a plethora of national trails running across the country. The 6.6km-long Osmica trail, (meaning ‘figure of eight’), close to Plav, is one of the most popular mountain bike routes, while the 10km-long Wolf Trail and Babina Glava, which winds its way between birch forests and dramatic limestone karsts, rewards you with epic high-altitude panoramas. The famed 76km-long Durmitor Ring, which circles the eponymous mountain, takes hikers, or bikers, on a muscle-burning adventure past the deep canyons of Tara and Sušica while those who want to take it up a notch can tackle some of the 1,995km Via Dinarica, a mega trail that stretches across eight Balkan countries via the Dinaric Alps.

2. For the wild adventure

(NTO Montenegro)

Intrepid adventurers are well at home here with canyoning, ziplining and rafting found across many of Montenegro’s natural spaces. The Tara River, in the Durmitor National Park, is the number one place to experience wild river rapids and cascading waterfalls. Or get to grips with the enormity of this 1,300m gorge – one of the deepest in Europe – by taking a 1,050m Tara zipline across it. Travelling at speeds of up to 120km per hour, it’s one of the fastest aerial runways on Earth.

Below the national park, on the Mala Komarnica River, is another thrilling attraction known as the Nevidio Canyon. At 3.5km long, and with unique rock formations – including the 25cm-wide ‘Kamikaze Gate’ – it’s become a magnet for canyoners.

3. For the scenic road trips

(NTO Montenegro)

Scenery-laden Montenegro is a road-tripper’s dream, with the road between Kotor and Herceg Novi dubbed one of the best coastal roads in the world. The route starts from the UNESCO-listed The Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor and wedges you between brooding mountains and the ink-hued Boka Kotorska Bay, and is peppered with beautiful waterfront attractions, such as the old fortress town of Perast. Don’t miss the city of Tivat, an elegant pit stop where you can enjoy water-front restaurants, wander the marina and find secluded beaches.

Inland, rolling mountains and national parks are connected by serpentine roads that lead you to off-grid villages and tranquil natural springs. While the road between Žabljak and Plužine is known for its eye-opening views over the Piva Canyon and optional route through Durmitor National Park, many claim the serpentine route between Lovćen mountain and Kotor is the country’s most spectacular drive.

4. For the towns

(NTO Montenegro)

Hopping between Montenegro’s various towns and cities throws up a surprising mix of history-drenched old towns, café-lined piazzas and centuries-old architecture. The lively city of Budva, is a worthwhile stop for its city museum, Stari Grad ( The Old town Budva) and Sveti Nikola Island. Meanwhile, the 15th-century Cetinje monastery and various museums and galleries make for an interesting day out in the former royal capital Cetinje. Over in the UNESCO-listed old town of Kotor, you can lose yourself in labyrinthine streets, farmers’ markets and restaurant-filled streets. If culture is high on your agenda, head to fortress-filled Herceg Novi where in August, the annual Montenegro Film Festival is held.

For a spot of luxury, look no further than Tivat. Not only does it impress with its marinas, rich cultural life and fine dining options, but its eco-credentials are worth celebrating too. It’s easy to choose eco-friendly accommodation and tour operators here, and the town encourages exploration by foot and bike with e-bikes available to rent.

5. For the fine gastronomy

(NTO Montenegro)

If you enjoy food that’s straight-up simple and prepared using locally-grown – and often organic – ingredients, you’ll love Montenegrin cuisine. Famed for its cheese, honey and pršut (prosciutto), you’ll also find pasta dishes and hearty stews, with lamb and veal featuring heavily across menus. Up in the mountains, the typical fare is slow-cooked meat known as ispod sača. Meanwhile, fresh-as-it-gets seafood is served on the coast and freshwater fish such as eel, carp and sardine-like bleak are favourites in Lake Skadar. While the brandy-like rakija lubricates most Montenegrin meals, the country’s flourishing vineyards – including the 23sq km Plantaže, Europe’s largest single vineyard – brings various Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlot and the rare Krstač and Vranac wines to the table.

6. For the fascinating history

(NTO Montenegro)

From medieval walls to historical churches and monasteries, history abounds across Montenegro. Explore the Romanesque St Tryphon Cathedral of Kotor, known for its ornate frescoes and silver casket of the eponymous saint, and get your fill of intriguing fortress walls and a two-millennia-old necropolis in the Adriatic’s oldest city, and once Greek colony, Budva.

The ruined town of Stari Bar, which lies on the slopes of Mount Rumija, around 5km from the new Bar town, also makes for a curious place to uncover tales of the past. It was devastated by an earthquake in 1979 but was once a sought-after fort where the Venetians and Turks battled. Today, the remains of centuries-spanning ramparts, towers, churches and a restored Ottoman hammam comprise one of the Balkans’ most important archaeological sites.

7. For the beautiful coastline

(NTO Montenegro)

With a 293km coastline, comprising 117 beaches, Montenegro’s sands adds to its endless appeal. Walks along the city walls in coastal Budva offers panoramic views over the shimmering Adriatic while Herceg Novi is a haven for fishing and sailing. At 13km long, Velika Plaža (Long beach), south of Ulcinj, is the longest sandy beach on the Adriatic. And aside from being a haven for watersports, this beautiful dune-surrounded bay is said to boast therapeutic qualities.

Take boat trips from here to the crowd-free cove of Valdanos, known for its shipwrecks and 100-year-old olive groves. Or head to popular Kotor in August for the Bokeška Noć (Boka Night), where an open-air concert, parade of boats and firework displays light up the iconic waterfront.

Feeling inspired?

For more information and to start planning your dream visit to Montenegro, head over to the official website.

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