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The Ultimate One Week Montenegro Itinerary

by Sam
Tara River Canyon in Durmitor National Park - a great day trip from Kotor

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Despite being one of the more off the beaten path travel destinations in Europe, Montenegro has plenty to offer. The country is home to stunning national parks, quaint old towns, towering mountains and more, yet is still often overlooked in favour of visiting other European countries. Thankfully, it’s possible to see some of the best spots in Montenegro in just one week, making it a perfect add-on to a Croatia and/or Albania itinerary. Whether you want to relax on the beaches in Budva or enjoy the breathtaking scenery in the Bay of Kotor, it’s a country you won’t regret visiting. Make sure you don’t miss out any of the best spots thanks to this one week Montenegro itinerary!

Want to extend your trip? Check out our 10 day Croatia itinerary for inspiration of where else to visit!

Kotor (Days 1, 2, 3, and 4)

Day 1

The first step of your Montenegro itinerary is actually getting to the country and making your way to Kotor. How you choose to do this depends on where you’re coming from. If possible, the easiest option is to fly into Tivat airport, which is located 8 kilometres away from Kotor. The only other international airport in the country, Podogorica Airport, is 86 kilometres away and so Tivat airport is a much better option.

Once you’ve landed at Tivat, the best way to get to Kotor is to either take a taxi or rent a car. A taxi journey from the airport to the Old Town should cost around €10 as long as you arrange through your accommodation in advance. Be aware that if you don’t arrange your taxi in advance the drivers at the airport will probably try to overcharge you. The alternative to taxis is to rent a car, which is a great option as it gives you the freedom to explore Montenegro at your own pace. If you want to rent a car then we recommend clicking here to compare the best car rental prices for your trip!

Before committing to renting a car it’s important to know that cars aren’t allowed inside Kotor Old Town. If you plan to rent a car then you may want to consider staying outside the Old Town so that you can have accommodation with parking. Alternatively, if accommodation is located in the Old Town we recommend checking with  accommodation in advance if there is suitable parking nearby.

Depending on when you plan to visit, you may find that there are no direct flights to Tivat airport. Flights to the airport from London, Manchester, Paris and other destinations are seasonal, so generally there are only direct flights during the peak summer months. If you plan to visit outside of summer an easy alternative is to fly into Dubrovnik airport and make your way to Kotor from there. Flights to Dubrovnik are often cheaper as more European airports have direct flights to the city. If you do end up flying there then click here to find out how to get from Dubrovnik to Kotor!

Outside Kotor Old Town - the first stop of your 7 day Montenegro itinerary

It’s also possible to get to Kotor over land if you’re already in Montenegro or one of the nearby countries. The easiest way to do so is by taking the bus, with services running to the town from Dubrovnik, the Albanian cities of Shkoder and Tirana and more. Bus tickets can be booked online in advance on the BusTicket4.me website.

Assuming your flight gets in at a reasonable time, you should arrive to Kotor early enough to spend the afternoon and/or evening exploring the Old Town. Allow yourself to get lost amongst the narrow cobblestone streets in order to get acquainted with the town. No cars are allowed inside the Old Town, so you’ll have to get around on foot. Whilst wandering, be sure to enjoy the amazing mountainous scenery surrounding the town. 

As you wander, make sure not to miss the Church of St. Luka, St. Tryphon’s Cathedral, the Church of St. Nicholas and the three gates to the Old Town. There are plenty of restaurants and bars in the Old Town or along the promenade towards Dobrota, so we recommend spending the rest of your evening sampling some of the local cuisine and having a few drinks to celebrate your first day in Montenegro!

Spend day 1 of your one week Montenegro itinerary exploring the Old Town of Kotor

Day 2

Start your second day by climbing up to St. John’s Fortress for breathtaking views over the Old Town and the Bay of Kotor. The walk up involves climbing 1,350 steps, so it’s best to get an early start to avoid having to climb in higher temperatures as it approaches midday. Setting off early is particularly important in summer when temperatures are at their highest, as climbing all those steps can be a real struggle when it’s over 30 degrees celsius. 

A lot of tourists in Kotor only visit by cruise ships on day trips, and from 9am the town begins to fill up with these visitors. Another reason to set off early to the fortress is to get there before the day trippers arrive, so that you can enjoy it in relative peace and quiet. Entrance to the fortress costs €8 and the ticket office officially opens at 8am. It is possible to access the fortress before this time, and, with a bit of luck, you may not have to pay the entry fee if you’re early enough.

Regardless of what time you end up visiting the fortress, it’s bound to be one of the highlights of your one week Montenegro itinerary. On the walk up to the fortress you get some amazing views of the Bay of Kotor, so make sure to take plenty of photos. Around half way up you will pass the Church of Our Lady of Remedy, which is particularly picturesque with Kotor Old Town and towering mountains as the backdrop. In total the walk up should take around 45-60 minutes, although it can easily take longer dependent on photo stops. 

The fortress itself, which is also known as the Castle of San Giovanni, isn’t as well preserved as many of the other European fortresses we’ve visited. That being said, it’s still well worth the climb so that you can start your second day with some of the best views of the Bay of Kotor! Once you’ve finished up enjoying the viewpoints, make your way back to the town by walking back down the steps.

St. John's Fortress, Kotor, Montenegro

Next up is the chance to see the Bay of Kotor from a different perspective by taking a boat trip. It’s one of the top things to do in the area as it gives you the chance to see a number of the bay’s most beautiful spots in just a few hours. Fortunately you can arrange these tours in advance through Get Your Guide, just make sure to select a time slot that gives you plenty of time to be back in town after visiting the fortress.

There are two different tours we personally recommend doing. The first option is a 2-hour trip that visits the Our Lady of the Rocks island and the quaint town of Perast, as well as providing wonderful views of the bay from the boat. There are multiple time slots available in the afternoon for the tour, so just pick what suits you best! Click here to arrange your 2-hour boat trip around the Bay of Kotor on Get Your Guide!

The other option is to take a 3-hour boat trip around the bay, which gives you the chance to see even more of what the area has to offer. Although it costs slightly more, it’s well worth it as you get the chance to swim in the wonderfully blue water at the blue cave. On top of that, you also get to see Mamula Island and caves where the army used to hide submarines, as well as Our Lady of the Rocks Island and Perast. There are three time slots available throughout the day, with the latest being 3pm – which is the time best suited to you if you’re visiting the fortress in the morning! Click here to book an amazing 3-hour boat tour around the bay on Get Your Guide!

Once you get back to Kotor it’s time to grab some dinner, and a drink or two if you fancy it. Don’t go too wild though, as the next day also requires an early start!

Viewpoint of the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

Day 3

In our opinion the third day of this one week itinerary is the most memorable day of your trip as you explore the amazing Durmitor National Park and some of the top attractions in North Montenegro on a day trip. As there are a number of different stops on the trip, it’s unfortunately not possible to do by public transport because the buses between each place don’t run often enough. Instead, you will have to either rent a car or book a coach tour on Get Your Guide! If you rent a car you will have a bit more flexibility to stop when and where you want, but we personally recommend following the same route as the tour if you have the time.

The first stop is a lovely viewpoint near the town of Perast, giving you the chance to get photos of the Our Lady of the Rocks Island as well as the island of St. George. Before long you’ll be on your way to another photo stop, this time offering a stunning view across the Bay of Kotor from higher up.

Promenade of Perast - a great spot to visit on your Montenegro itinerary

After you’ve finished up with the quick photo stops you’ll make your way towards the city of Nikšić. Just before you reach the city you should make a stop at the artificial Salty Lake, also known as Slansko Lake. It’s another lovely spot to enjoy the wonderful nature and take some more photos! The lake is particularly impressive on nice days as it beautifully reflects the sky. Shortly after this stop you’ll have breakfast before continuing your drive into North Montenegro through the mountains. 

Your next destination is your first stop in Durmitor National Park, the Đurđevića Tara Bridge. From here you’ll be treated to stunning views of Europe’s longest canyon, the Tara River Canyon. Surrounded by dense forest and towering mountains, the canyon is a beautiful work of nature. We personally think this is a must see in Montenegro, so don’t miss the chance to visit this beautiful spot! If you want to do more than simply admire the views and you’re feeling brave enough then you can pay to do a zip-line straight across the canyon!

The Tara River Canyon in Durmitor National Park is an essential day trip on a one week Montenegro itinerary

The next stop in Durmitor National Park is the beautiful Black Lake, also known as Crno Jezero. Although it’s a glacial lake, its water is normally warm enough to swim in during the summer. It’s definitely an incredible spot for a wim, but if you’d prefer then there is also a 4-kilometre circular trail around the lake. Whatever you decide to do, it’s a great chance to enjoy some of the country’s excellent nature.

There’s still time in the day for one more stop, the impressive Ostrog Monastery – one of the most important religious sites in the Balkans. Built into the side of a steep cliff, the monastery is said to have magical magical healing powers. Once you arrive it can take around 45 minutes to climb up the monastery, but it’s well worth doing so for the brilliant view of the surrounding nature. As it’s a religious site you will need to be appropriately dressed, meaning your shoulders and knees should be covered.

Once you’re done at the monastery it’s time to make your way back to Kotor, which should take around 2 hours. As it’s quite a long day make sure you’re not too tired to drive before setting off. If you’ve booked a tour that shouldn’t be a problem, so you can just sit back and enjoy the scenery or even get a little bit of sleep after a long day of exploring Montenegro!

Click here to arrange an incredible tour of North Montenegro, Durmitor National Park and the Ostrog Monastery on Get Your Guide!

Ostrog Monastery - a beautiful spot to visit from Kotor, Montenegro

Day 4

For your last day in Kotor there are a few different options of what to do depending on your interests. If you’re an outdoors person then it’s a good chance to go hiking. One option is to walk to Vrmac Fort, which takes around an hour and a half from Kotor. There are various trails around the Vrmac ridge, providing great views of the incredible scenery in the Bay of Kotor. Alternatively, if you want a challenge then you can hike up the Ladder of Kotor. It’s one of the hardest hikes in the area as it has an elevation gain of 940 metres and involves 70 switchbacks along the way. The full length of the trail takes around 3-4 hours, although you can opt to only do some of the route and follow a trail to St. John’s Fortress partway up. 

If that isn’t your kind of thing then you may want to choose a day trip to the stunning Lovcen National Park as well as the city of Cetinje, Lake Skadar and more! One of the highlights of this tour is the chance to visit the Njegoš Mausoleum in the national park, which provides breathtaking views of the surrounding areas. If you’ve rented a car it’s possible to drive to all these places yourself but if not then click here to book this brilliant day trip through Get Your Guide!

One of the other options is to go whitewater rafting in the Tara River Canyon. Although you will have visited the canyon the day before, this is a completely different way to experience it. If you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie then this is the perfect way to spend your last day in Kotor. These rafting trips are normally only possible between May and September, so if you’re visiting outside of these months it’s unfortunately not an option. Click here to book an amazing whitewater rafting trip through the Tara River Canyon!

If none of these options seem like the right fit, then fortunately there are more alternatives. We’ve covered the options in more depth in our article on the best things to do in Kotor, so make sure to give it a read. If you’re hoping to go on a day trip but aren’t interested in Lovcen National Park then make sure to check out our article on the best day trips from Kotor.

Where to stay in Kotor

Budget – Art Guesthouse – Click here to see the latest prices on Booking.com!

Mid-Range – Antika Guesthouse – Click here to view this lovely property on Booking.com!

Treat yourself! – Hotel Vardar – Click here to see the latest prices at the amazing Hotel Vardar on Booking.com!

For more detailed information on accommodation options check out our guide to the best places to stay in Kotor!

Kotor Old Town from above - a great viewpoint to visit on your Montenegro itinerary

Budva (Days 5, 6, and 7)

Day 5

Start day 5 of your one week Montenegro itinerary off by checking out of your accommodation and making your way to the nearby town of Budva. It’s around a 30-minute drive away if you’ve rented a car, but it’s also quick and easy to get to by bus. The bus station in Kotor is a 5-minute walk from the Old Town, and buses leave from there to Budva around every 20 minutes. Tickets start from €2.50 if you buy them online in advance, although there is an extra charge of €1 if you need to use the luggage storage.

The bus station in Budva is around a 20-minute walk from the Old Town, so depending on where your accommodation is you may want to take a taxi. As it’s only a short journey from Kotor to Budva you shouldn’t need too long to settle in before heading out to explore your new surroundings. 

Your first stop should be Budva Old Town, which is smaller but arguably nicer than Kotor’s. It’s similar in many ways, as it’s extremely picturesque and has narrow cobblestone streets for you to get lost amongst. Spend some time simply wandering around the Old Town and exploring what it has to offer. One of the nicest spots in the Old Town is Trg između crkava, which translates to the ‘square between the churches’. Unsurprisingly there are a number of churches by the square, with the oldest dating back to 804.

After you’ve roamed the streets for a while we recommend heading up to the Citadel. It costs just €3.50 to enter and provides stunning views of Budva Old Town as well as the mountains and Adriatic coast surrounding it. Make sure you’ve got your camera with you as the view makes for some brilliant photos!

Budva Old Town, Montenegro

The Old Town has plenty of restaurants and bars, so it’s the perfect spot to grab lunch before continuing with your day. After you’ve eaten, we recommend spending the rest of the day visiting Mogren beach, which is just a 10-minute walk away. The walk there also offers some lovely views of the Old Town, as well as leading you past the town’s famous Ballerina statue, making for another good photo opportunity.

Budva is known for its beaches, and in our opinion Mogren beach is the pick of the bunch. It’s actually made up of two beaches, known as Mogren 1 and Mogren 2, and both beaches are connected by a small tunnel inside a cliff. Both of the beaches have a bit of a mix between pebbles and sand, but they’re great spots to chill out and soak up the sun or go for a swim in the beautiful turquoise water. 

Having spent much of your Montenegro itinerary on the go, now is the time to simply relax on the beach without having to do anything too strenuous. Sun beds and parasols are available to rent, but you’ll also be able to find space to lay out a towel and set yourself up for the afternoon. If you’re looking for a bit more of an adventure then you can walk beyond Mogren beach 2 and go cliff jumping from Shark’s Rock cliff!

When you’ve had enough of lazing around on the beach, make your way back towards the Old Town and treat yourself to a nice meal and some drinks. Budva is known for its nightlife, especially during the peak summer season, so if that’s your scene then head out and dance the rest of your night away!

Mogren beach, Budva - a great place to relax on your one week Montenegro itinerary

Day 6

There’s no need to wake up too early on day 6 of your Montenegro itinerary, so take the chance to have a bit of a lie in! When you’re awake and ready to go it’s time to see one of the country’s most iconic sights, the island of Sveti Stefan. The island is a beautiful and picturesque spot, so it’s hardly surprising that it’s been named as the most photographed place in Montenegro.

If you haven’t rented a car then the cheapest and easiest way to get from Budva to Sveti Stefan is to take the bus. It costs just €1.50 one-way, and the journey takes around 15-20 minutes. Another option is to take a taxi, but considering how cheap the bus is we suggest taking advantage of that.

Once you’ve got to the area walk to Hotel Adrovic, which takes around 10 minutes. The car park next to the hotel provides some of the best views of Sveti Stefan, so it’s the perfect place to snap some photos. Alternatively, there’s a rooftop bar/restaurant in the hotel which also has great views.

Sveti Stefan Island, Montenegro

Years ago Sveti Stefan was a fisherman’s village, but it has since been restored and converted into an exclusive luxury resort known as the Aman Sveti Stefan. The small island retains its charm thanks to its 600 year old buildings with beautiful orange rooftops. Its location on the Adriatic coast means it’s surrounded by wonderful blue sea, which helps to make it even more picturesque!

As it’s an exclusive resort, access to the island is restricted. To be able to visit you have to either stay at the resort, eat at one of their restaurants or pay for a guided tour. Prices to stay at the resort start from around €800 per night, which means it’s the most expensive way to visit. If you have a reservation to eat at the resort then it’s free to visit, although don’t expect meals to be cheap! Guided tours run twice a day, at midday and 4pm, and cost €20 per person. Tickets can’t be booked in advance and are sold at the small brown building in front of the bridge that connects the mainland to the island. Places on tours are limited so make sure to arrive early if you want to visit.

Although visiting Sveti Stefan itself is a nice option, it’s by no means essential. Admiring the picturesque island from the surrounding areas is worth the trip alone. After you’ve visited the viewpoints at Hotel Adrovic we recommend heading to the public beach, which is on your left as you face the island. Take the chance to have another relaxing day on the beach whilst enjoying the beautiful views of Sveti Stefan.

Sveti Stefan Beach, Montenegro

Day 7

Depending on your flight time and where you’re flying from you may not actually have much time to do anything on your 7th and final day in Montenegro. If you are able to find a suitable flight from Tivat airport then you may have a bit of time to fill, but if you’re flying out of Dubrovnik you will need to spend a few hours getting there. 

If you do end up having some time to fill then there are a few options of what to do. You could head back to Mogren beach or Sveti Stefan to top up your tan, or if you want to see a different beach then head to Petrovac or the Island of St. Nicholas. Alternatively, if you’re into wildlife or nature you may want to visit Lake Skadar, which is located at the border with Albania. If none of those options take your fancy then check out our guide to the best things to do in Budva for some more ideas of how to spend your last few hours before heading to the airport.

In terms of getting to the airport, it really depends where you’re flying from. If you haven’t rented a car and are flying from nearby Tivat, then you may have to take a taxi as there is currently no bus to the airport from Budva. The main alternative is to fly from Dubrovnik, but thankfully there are several buses running to there from Budva each day.

Although this Montenegro itinerary lasts just 7 days, it allows you to see the best that the country has to offer in a very short time. If you’re planning a longer trip then we recommend visiting Croatia or Albania either before or after Montenegro.

Where to stay in Budva

Budget – Djukic Apartments – Click here to see the latest prices at the property on Booking.com!

Mid-Range – Boutique Hotel Vela – Click here to view the brilliant Boutique Hotel Vela on Booking.com!

Treat yourself! – Avala Resort and Villas – Click here to book a luxurious stay at the amazing Avala Resort and Villas on Booking.com!

Find out more about the accommodation options with our guide to the best places to stay in Budva!

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