Top 5 Cities in Montenegro
Montenegro is at the top of everyone’s bucket list these days. The rugged mountains, blue beaches, and lush forests are enough to make anyone want to visit.
The tricky part of visiting Montenegro is choosing which city (or cities) to visit! There are quite a few great options, and they all are so different in their offerings. From sandy beaches to old towns to fortress hikes, Montenegro has something for every type of traveler.
If you want to travel somewhere with a new surprise around every corner, then Montenegro is your place. The best part about Montenegro is that it is a tiny country; therefore, driving or taking a bus to other cities is easy and doesn’t take long at all.
Kotor is located at the bottom of the Bay of Kotor and is the most popular city in Montenegro. It is a small city full of medieval architecture and mind-blowing views. Despite its small size, there are a ton of stunning sites to see, exciting activities and a rich historical significance. From the old town to the Kotor fortress to the short boat rides to nearby attractions, Kotor is a city that doe not disappoint.
One of the main attractions to Kotor is the Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Cultural Site. This is a stunning medieval area full winding streets, and little alleys bring you to various historical monuments and buildings. The Kotor old town has a new surprise and adventure around every corner. Make sure you check out some of the churches – such as Sveti Nikola and Sveti Luka – that were constructed in the 15th century.
Many people flock to Kotor for the famously beautiful views from the top of the Kotor Fortress. But these views don’t come easy! To get to the top of the San Giovanni Fortress, it is a tough 1300 steps up the steep, cobblestone mountainside. However, from the top, you can see all of Kotor and the surrounding bay and it one of the most beautiful views in the city.
Another great thing about Kotor is its location near many other stunning attractions and coastal towns such as Our Lady of The Rocks and Perast. These two places are a short boat ride away and well worth the visit.
Kotor is a beautiful city to visit; however, in the summer months, it gets swamped with tourists. It is one of the main stops for cruise ships traveling along the Adriatic Sea and during the hours of 10 AM – 5 PM it is packed with tourists piling off the boats and into the city.
Budva is a stunning coastal city full of some of the best beaches in Montenegro (https://samseesworld.com/top-10-montenegro-beaches/) and a great nightlife scene. Much like Kotor, Budva holds a plethora of activities to engage in; therefore, spending a few days here is wise.
Being a coastal country, many people come to Montenegro for summer holidays full of swimming and beach days. If this is your ideal travel experience, then Budva is perfect! There are beaches galore in this city that will blow you away. Whether you prefer a sporty beach day, relaxing beach day, or party beach day Budva has you covered. For a sporty beach day head to Becici Beach, for a relaxing beach day head to Sveti Stefan, for a sporty day head to Ploce Beach.
Like most of the cities in Montenegro, Budva has an exceptionally well-preserved Old Town. The old town in Budva is filled with charming stone buildings and feels like an ancient fortress. This is a great place to learn about Montenegro’s rich history and learn about its complicated past.
Another reason to visit the city of Budva is to experience its famous nightlife scene. Budva has the best Montenegrin nightlife scene in all of Montenegro. So if you value letting loose with locals and tourists, Budva is the place for you! There are a ton of casinos and clubs to choose from as well as a renowned club called Top Hill that hosts various famous DJs all through the summer.
Tivat is very different from the other cities in Montenegro. Due to recent renovations that completely remodeled the town, it is now uber modern and luxurious. It is located along the Bay of Kotor and is full of high-end shops, fancy restaurants, and luxurious hotels. Heading to Tivat and exploring this city almost feels like you’ve transported to Monaco.
The stark contrast between Tivat and other cities in Montenegro makes it a very appealing and exciting city to visit. More so, despite its recent remodeling it still has some authentic Montenegrin areas, but mixed with more high-end developments. One of the developments was creating a long boardwalk and promenade, plus a mega yacht marina that, during the summer months, is home to various stunning yachts. Walking around the promenade is full of exciting things to see, tasty restaurants and delicious ice cream shops!
Moreover, Tivat is also home to Porto Montenegro, which is a luxurious pool club that overlooks the Bay of Kotor and the yachts in the sea waters. Porto Montenegro is a great place to spend the day relaxing on a day bed with excellent customer service while looking at the mountainscapes and surrounding views. A sun-bed at Porto Montenegro costs 40 euros for the whole day and comes with the bed, an umbrella, a towel, a small snack, an infinity pool and 24/7 sun-bed service where you can order a drink or meal with ease. Porto Montenegro is a stunning addition to Tivat and makes for a beautiful day in the sun.
4. Herceg Novi
Herceg Novi is a less popular town than those listed above, but this adds to its charm and attraction. With less popularity means fewer people clogging up the streets and filling up the restaurants. A visit to Herceg Novi will give you the most authentic Montenegrin experience because it is not a tourist city and a more off the beaten path option. However, there are many attractions and things to do in Herceg Novi that make it a great town in Montenegro to visit.
One of the more popular attractions in Herceg Novi is the Old Town, which is quite different from other old towns in Montenegro. This is because it is preserved as a place to live for locals and not as a tourist attraction. In this old town you will see all the same old stone buildings, ancient churches, and historical monuments but also locals living in the buildings and going about their daily lives. If you prefer a more authentic experience while traveling Herceg Novi’s old town will provide it.
Also, Herceg Novi is surrounded by stunning mountains and there are a few hikes available that result in panoramic views of the city and the Adriatic Sea. One of the most popular hikes is the Kanli-Kula Fortress hike that brings you to the top of an old fortress that was used to defend the city from enemies in ancient times. More so, at the top of the Kanli-Kula fortress is a stone amphitheater that is still used today for events.
Bar is the Southernmost city on this list and it is relatively untouched by tourism. This makes for great off the beaten track explorations. Also, if you are traveling to Montenegro from Croatia, there is a direct train from Dubrovnik to Bar that takes a very scenic route along the whole journey. The train ride is incredible, and some people visit Bar just for the wondering train ride.
Bar’s old town has been around since 800 BC, and is an exciting attraction due to its half-ruined half reconstructed look. It is fascinating to explore on foot to see firsthand the old buildings that have been preserved for centuries. In the old town, you can check out one of the museums filled with artifacts, go to a local Montenegrin restaurant, or shop for souvenirs.
An additional exciting attraction in Bar is Stara Maslina, The Old Olive Tree. Although there are hundreds of thousands of olive trees in this region of Montenegro, this one is extraordinary. It is said to be 2,200 years old and is the oldest tree in Europe! The area surrounding this tree is fenced off, but you can look and also buy some souvenirs.
No matter what city you go to in Montenegro you are sure to have a fantastic time. Montenegro is truly unlike any other country in Europe and will leave you wanting more!
Samantha Karen is the founder of the travel bog Sam Sees World. She is a millennial traveler on a mission to seek the new and unknown so she can document her experiences and inspire others to travel this wondrous world.
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