The hidden North

1 Week

This mountainous 650km loop combines some of Europe’s most beautiful drives with visits to isolated monasteries and ample opportunities for wilderness hiking. You won’t be able to tackle this route in winter, as snows close the Plužine–Žabljak road, and rafting stops in October.

Spend the morning exploring the nation’s capital and biggest city, Podgorica, and then head through Danilovgrad to the extraordinary Ostrog Monastery. Continue on through Nikšić where the highway passes through farmland before reaching Piva Monastery, with its sumptuous frescoes, and the start of the Piva Canyon. From here the road passes through numerous tunnels cut into the canyon walls until you reach the Bosnian border at Šćepan Polje, the main rafting base. Check yourself into one of the rafting camps for the night.


Start day two with a half-day’s rafting on the Tara River and then jump in the car and double back through the canyon as far as Plužine. From here, take the scenic mountain road through Durmitor National Park to Žabljak. Spend the rest of this and the next day hitting the park’s hiking tracks.


On day four drive east to the Tara Bridge and head north to Pljevlja to visit Montenegro’s most beautiful mosque and a picturesque Orthodox monastery. Double back to the Tara Bridge and continue southeast along the river road. Consider making Eko-Oaza Suza Evrope your pit stop for this leg; from here you can walk to the secluded Dobrilovina Monastery and to a swimming hole on the river.


Continue to Mojkovac and then head north around the Bjelasica Massif and back down through Berane to Plav. Base yourself nearby for a day’s hiking in Prokletije National Park; make sure you fit in a quick visit to the old Ottoman town of Gusinje. The following day, take the awe-inspiring back road through Andrijevica to Kolašin, Montenegro’s best-developed mountain resort. Spend the rest of the day tackling the tracks through Biogradska Gora National Park.


The road back to Podgorica follows the Morača Canyon and is just as extraordinary as any on this trip. At the start of the canyon, call in to admire the exquisite frescoes and icons at peaceful Morača Monastery. You might also like to offer a prayer for your safety on the scenic but treacherous road ahead.

A Taste of Montenegro

5 Days

This 325km trip zigzags from the coast to Montenegro’s heartland then back to the beaches again, taking in some of the country’s most emblematic sights. It requires a car.


Start in Herceg Novi and slowly wind your way towards Kotor, allowing at least an hour in Perast en route.


All three are ancient bayside towns filled with old churches and marbled squares. The next morning, take the dazzling drive to the historic Montenegrin capital Cetinje through Lovćen National Park, stopping to visit the Njegoš Mausoleum on the way. Explore Cetinje’s museums and galleries by day, its lively cafe-bars by night.


Next day, head up to the dramatically positioned Ostrog Monastery before sweeping south to Podgorica to roam the small capital and sample its up-and-coming bar scene. On day four, continue to Virpazar for a chilled-out two-hour cruise on Lake Skadar. Carry on down to Sveti Stefan, check into somewhere with an island view and head to the beach. Spend your last day in Budva, splitting your time between exploring the Old Town and lazing on the sand.

 

The Full Monte

2 Weeks

Most of Montenegro’s big-hitting beauty spots are covered in this almost-800km itinerary.


Base yourself in Herceg Novi and take a boat or kayak trip to Rose, Mamula Island, the Blue Grotto and the beaches of the Luštica Peninsula. Stop at Morinj and Risan on your way to Perast, and don’t miss the boat trip to Gospa od Škrpjela island. Continue to Kotor and use the walled town as a base to visit Dobrota, Prčanj, and Stoliv. Then head through Lovćen National Park to Cetinje, making time for a quick tour of Lipa Cave before stopping in Ostrog Monastery. Carry on north through the Piva Canyon to Šćepan Polje, the main staging point for rafting trips down the Tara River. Stay the night at one of the rafting camps, and take on the river on a half-day trip. Hop back in the car and take the scenic road east from Plužine through Durmitor National Park to Žabljak. Allow some time to enjoy the park and, at a minimum, make sure you hike around the Black Lake.

Follow the road along the Tara River to the isolated Dobrilovina Monastery then continue on to Biogradska Gora National Park – you can stay in the cabins here or continue on to the upmarket hotels in Kolašin. Stop at the Morača Monastery on your way to Podgorica, then hang out in the capital for a day. Continue down to Virpazar for a morning’s cruise on Lake Skadar. Skirt the Rumija Mountains until the road shies away from the Albanian border and hooks down to the buzzy beachside town of Ulcinj. Be sure to visit Velika Plaža before continuing back up the coast. Stop to check out the charming ruins of Stari Bar before you get to the beach town of Petrovac. Continue along the coast, stopping at the beaches of Sveti Stefan and Pržno before finishing up in Budva, with its walled Old Town and busy promenade.


If you’re traveling by bus, you’ll need to pare back the itinerary a little. From Kotor, the easiest way to Cetinje, Ostrog or rafting is on a day tour. Swap the Plužine–Žabljak road for a Nikšić–Žabljak bus. To get from Žabljak to Kolašin, you’ll need to go via Pljevlja or Podgorica. From Virpazar, take a train to Bar followed by a bus to Ulcinj.

The coast

1 Week

Spend a day in Herceg Novi and consider a kayak tour or a boat trip to the beaches on the Luštica Peninsula. The following day, make your way slowly to Kotor, stopping to view the Roman mosaics at Risan and the baroque beauty of Perast. Base yourself in Kotor on day three; climb the fortifications, hike the Vrmac Ridge, explore neighboring coastal villages or just hang out in the fascinating Old Town.


If you’ve got a car, take the serpentine road up to Lovćen National Park, then spend the rest of the day exploring the museums and galleries of Cetinje before heading to Budva for the night. If you’re traveling by bus, head straight to Budva and save Cetinje for another day.


For the following two days, base yourself anywhere on the stretch of coast between Budva and Petrovac. Budva is the easiest place to arrange a day tour to Ostrog Monastery and Lake Skadar, or a rafting trip on the Tara River, while Petrovac is more family-friendly, with a relaxed vibe and great beaches nearby. Close neighbors Pržno and Sveti Stefan also have excellent accommodation options, great restaurants, and striking coastal views.


No matter where you put down roots, make sure you take the walk through the woods from Sveti Stefan to Pržno. A car or bike will get you to hidden bays such as Drobni Pijesak and Rijeka Reževići, and there are several monasteries to explore, including Podmaine and Podostrog, near Budva, and Reževići and Gradište, near Petrovac.


Continue south until you get to the Sozina tunnel near Sutomore, and drive through it to Virpazar, gateway to Lake Skadar, to take a boat cruise and enjoy a village-style meal in one of Montenegro’s top restaurants. Retrace your steps back to the coast, and head southeast to visit the ruins of Stari Bar on your way to Ulcinj. The atmosphere of this largely Albanian town is quite different from anywhere else in Montenegro and there’s a palpable buzz on the streets at night. The succession of rocky coves heading east from the crowded town beach is great for snorkeling. Nearby is the 12km continuous stretch of sand known as Velika Plaža and just across the Bojana River, there’s a further 3km of beach on the nudist island Ada Bojana.

Cheap Flights to Podgorica

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29.11.2019

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26.11.2019

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20.11.2019

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02.12.2019

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15.01.2020

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Zagreb

10.05.2020

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20.11.2019

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Istanbul

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19.11.2019

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Minsk

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Iasi

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Chisinau

02.12.2019

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30.04.2020

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25.11.2019

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23.11.2019

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Mulhouse

25.11.2019

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15.02.2020

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Voronezh

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Varna

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Kherson

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Lviv

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22.11.2019

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29.12.2019

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Manchester

29.07.2020

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Antalya

30.11.2019

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22.11.2019

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