Looking for the most diverse, stunningly beautiful and adventurous country in the Balkans? Montenegro will not disappoint. This hidden beauty has quite literally jaw dropping scenes you’ll want to save on your screen saver. If you’re searching for the best things to do in Montenegro or the best places to visit in Montenegro, or you’re looking into solo travel in Montenegro, you’re in the right place!
Montenegro (literally Black Mountain) is a minimally touched hidden gem of the Balkans of Eastern Europe. A former Slavic Yugoslavian country, becoming independent in 2006, it borders Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Albania and Croatia, and sits on the West of the Adriatic sea.
Think balmy sunsets, breathtaking views and clear starry skies. With snow capped mountains, the clearest rivers and beautiful railway journeys, it’s impossible not to want to visit as there are so many amazing things to do and places to visit in Montenegro. Whether it’s whitewater rafting, hiking, skiing or cycling that takes your fancy, this place definitely appeals to those seeking the beauties and thrills of the outdoors. What’s more is that it’s half the price of countries in Western Europe, so one of the best places to visit in Europe on a budget. More importantly, if you’re considering Montenegro as a solo traveller, it’s generally safe.
In this blog post I will go through what to do in Montenegro as a solo traveller, including the best things to do in Montenegro and the best places to visit in Montenegro. It’s one of Europe’s most hidden gems and definitely one for your Europe bucket list… keep reading to see why!
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How to get to Montenegro…
Montenegro is very accessible from most countries in Europe and around the world.
You can fly directly to one of Montenegro’s airports. Podgorica International Airport is located in the heart of Montenegro. It’s an hour to the nearest mountain resorts and 30 minutes to the coast. Tivat Airport is another option if you want to fly directly to the coast.
You can also fly into Dubrovnik airport, and then drive or get a bus to wherever you fancy in Montenegro! Depending on where you decide to go, it could take 2-6 hours (the coast of Montenegro is much closer to Dubrovnik than the capital of Podogorica is!).
Wherever you fly from or to, booking your flights in advance is going to save you a lot of money!
I travelled to Montenegro from Skhoder in Albania. I took a 1-hour taxi ride to Podgorica (the capital) costing approximately £23; otherwise you can get a local bus for much cheaper.
Where to stay in Montenegro…
Compared to other countries, there aren’t many hostels in Podgorica. If you’re travelling Montenegro on a budget, book early to avoid disappointment. I recommend using the Hostel World app. See more useful travel apps here.
Q Hostel in Podgorica is a home from home. It’s great value for money and serves a very tasty breakfast! It’s approximately 40 minutes walking from the city centre and 10 minutes by a cheap taxi ride. Regular buses also run to and from town. It’s very peaceful, has a big garden, and great vibes where you’ll meet other like minded travellers. The host Lana is very loving and has lots of useful information.
Alternatively, if you’re solo travelling in Montenegro and prefer to stay nearer the centre, other hostels are available at approximately £13 per night or a 3-star hotel costs around 30- 50 euros.
I decided to travel North to Zabjlak. I took a bus from Podgorica for €9 to stay in a beautiful hand made wooden log cabin. Think Goldilocks and the 3 bears, this place is magical! ETNO Houses USKOCI is authentic and looks out to the stunning Durmitor National Park. I went there for tranquility and to be at one with nature. It’s situated on a working farm, and provides electricity and water. It’s up to you to keep the wood burner running to get cosy after star gazing with a hot chocolate and blanket on the balcony. All food is provided at their restaurant and the owner offers a taxi service. The attention to detail in this property makes it feel that bit more special. There are 3 lodges available at €50 per night for up to 5 people. My goodness is was worth it.
The best things to do in Montenegro as a solo traveller...
1. Explore Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro.
One of the best things to do in Montenegro has got to be exploring the capital, Podgorica. There are loads of fun things to do here, and it’s a perfect starting point for solo travel i nMontenegro, especially if you’re flying into Podgorica!
One of the best things to do in Podgorica is visiting Park Suma Ljubovic, a beautiful hill in Porgorica centre. Here I watched the sunset over the city, played table tennis with the very friendly locals (bring bats or use the locals) and went to the “free outdoor muscle gym”. There are also loads of green spaces throughout the city to meet locals and use the outdoor gyms for free!
Another of the best things to do in Podgorica is a free walking tour of the city! I do this whichever city I travel to. It’s a great way to meet people, learn about the history and find out the best places to eat and drink. Although it’s free, I recommend always tipping the guide as they are volunteering (and this is something that is generally expected).
2. Take a railway journey along one of Europe's greatest train routes.
Think phenomenal views of mountains and river valleys in a Harry Potteresque carriage, not dissimilar to the train that runs along Glenfinnan (check out the best things to do in Scotland here). With incredible engineering, you get to go over the highest railway bridge in Europe, so it’s definitely one of the best things to do in Montenegro!
I travelled from Podgorica to Kolasin Ski Resort. It cost £2.20 and took 1.5 hours, running 5 x daily. Be sure to get the 6:30 train if you want a full morning skiing. I love trains, and this journey was breath taking.
3. Go skiing or snowboarding in Montenegro
Hitting the slopes is definitely one of the best things to do in Montenegro in winter!
I went skiing in Kolasin. I took a taxi to Kolasin 1450 and 1600 Ski centre, and hired kit for €15 and a ski pass for €15 for the day. With 45 km of slopes, and 7 lifts, it’s good for beginners and intermediate skiiers. The restaurant is good value and the food is traditional and tasty. Try the kacamak; it’s a must.
I also tried Savin Kuk Ski Resort, which is approximately a 15-minute drive from Zabjlak. It’s a bustling open resort with very friendly locals and fun slopes. With 4.7km of slopes and 6 lifts, it’s a smaller resort. If you’re not into skiing, I recommend buying a lift pass just for the views. It cost €5 for 1 hour and €10 for equipment hire for the day. Top tip: take cash, as they don’t accept card. The slopes are very short so I wouldn’t recommend more that a few hours here.
4. Visit the stunning Black Lake.
Located in Mt Durmitor National Park, this glacial lake is made up of 2 lakes and it’s definitely one of the most beautiful places to visit in Montenegro. There are 18 glacial lakes to explore in Montenegro, but this is the biggest and my favourite. It’s 3km from Zabjlak and costs a reasonable 3 euros to enter.
Hiring a car is the easiest way to get there and is extremely affordable, otherwise hitchiking is an option. I never did it but I would have done if needed.
Some of the best things to do in Montenegro are at the Black Lake. If you love hiking, it’s one of the best places in Montenegro for it. I went in March in the winter and it was – 3 degrees and a Narnia scene. The lake was frozen and incredibly peaceful. Walking the circular path around the lake takes approximately 2 hours (3km) in the snow, however due to severe uphill ice I had to turn back almost ¾ of the way around despite the warden saying the path was accessible. Don’t walk on the frozen lake, the ice is quite thin around the edges. The area is rich in flora and fauna, and information is provided on the types of animals and plants living around the lake.
Be sure to warm up and refuel at the restaurant by the lake after. The thick hot chocolate, chicken soup and home made bread all for €6 gets a big thumbs up.
If you like a cold dip, swimming is allowed in the summer months. However, be aware the water is still cold (glacial lake). There are also small boats available to rent for €8 per hour carrying up to 4 passengers. I recommend going early to avoid disappointment, as it’s one of the best things to do in Montenegro in summer!
Looking for a different active adventure? You can hire a mountain bike from Zabjlak and explore the many trails available. Ask at the tourist information in Zabjlak.
5. Visit the Tara Canyon for fresh drinking water, zip lines and white water rafting!
The Tara canyon is definitely one of the best places to visit in Montenegro, because some of the best things to do in Montenegro are here! Be sure to take in the views from the Tara Bridge, where you can see the second deepest canyon in the world with the bluest water.
Take it one step further, and zip line across it for €25 (definitely one for the Montenegro bucket list!). If you go in a group it’s cheaper. Theres’s 3 different zip lines so don’t worry if you’re a little scared of heights. It’s one hour away from Zabjlak and its best to hire a car or get a taxi.
Another of the best things to do in Montenegro is white water rafting down the Tara River. Experience fun and adventure whilst “soaking” in Montenegro’s stunning wild scenery. This is a great way to meet other people if you’re solo travelling in Montenegro! It costs on average €45 per day, including 2 meals. Recommended companies are the Waterfall Rafting Centre and Etno Houses Uskoci (which includes transport). 1-3 day packages are also available.
You should also drink from the Tara River! It’s named the “Tear of Europe” because it has the clearest and cleanest water in Europe. Wow!
6. Hiking in Durmitor National Park
One of the best places to visit in Montenegro is Durtimor National Park. The most popular hike is “Bobotov Kuk” (2522m). There are 4 available routes, but the most popular are the long and short route. The short route (14km) starts at Sedlo and takes 3 hours to complete on soft easy terrain. The long route begins in Zabjlak and has more challenging terrain, taking 10 hours to complete. The views at the the top are breath taking, seeing as far as kopaonik (Ski resort) in Serbia, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Park entry fee is €3 cash. Do not attempt to climb this route in the winter unless you are a professional mountaineer.
7. Take on the Via Ferrata in Opstina in Zabjlak
One of the best things to do in Montenegro is to conquer your fear of heights whilst absorbing those stunning views and making new friends!
The via ferrata in Opstina runs from May to October and costs €50 per person.
8. Meet the locals and make friends.
The locals in Montenegro are so friendly kind and humble, and just want to get to know you! Please spend time connecting with them and feel their love. You will never feel lonely when you’re solo travelling in Montenegro.
9. Try the local food.
The food in Montenegro is a hint to its past; a mixture of Ottoman, Italian and Balkan flavours. One of the best things to do in Montenegro is to give it all a try! Some of the food that you must try includes…
- Kacamak: the Montenegrin version of cheesy mash! Hands up if you’re ready for some comfort food! It’s a type of porridge made with potatoes, flour and topped with cheese. Try this in Kolasin, the ski region.
- Cevapi: a meal of meat fingers made with a mix of pork and beef. Typically served with pita like flat bread and onions, you wont be dissapointed. Try this in Podgorica.
- Priganice: Montenegrins greet guests with these small airy doughnuts served with honey and white cheese.
- Burek: a classic Balkan savoury snack, usually a mixture of mince beef and onions. The best in Montenegro is from a stall in the centre of Podgorica called “Bureci kod Vukčevićaask”; ask the locals to direct you. It’s very filling, naughty and is a bargain at €1.
- Rakia: the Balkans’ national tipple. The flavours and ingredients vary depending on the country and area, however it’s a must try. Remember, at an average of 47% alcohol, go easy, and don’t drink it alone. This drink will be offered in most households to visiting guests and holds a mythical status.
What’s the average cost of food and drink in Montenegro?
- Coffee €1.30
- Wine €3 for a decent wine.
- Beer €1
- Basic Meal €5
Montenegro is generally a tad more expensive than the other Balkan countries I have visited. However, the prices are still very reasonable for the beauty of the country compared to Western Europe.
What are your top things to do in Montenegro?
What are your top tips for solo travel in Montenegro? Anything you’d add?
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