Montenegro. The Black Mountain.
Its name looms ominously, like a warning, and yet, despite the daunting description, the country shouldn’t be shunned. It is a stunning place, untamed and raw.
In its remote hinterlands craggy summits grow above green pastures, before journeying towards the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. Ever westward they travel, past virgin woods and shaded glens, by raging streams and hidden dens, chasing the movement of the fading light, before abruptly tumbling down into the murmurous depths of the sea.
Where the rock kisses the shore, this rugged land reveals its outmost beauty.
This is Montenegro. A dramatic creation shaped by the elements.
VISA | Montenegro grants visa-free entry to all European countries for up to 90 days (30 days for Kosovo, Belarus, and Russia). If you are a resident of a non-European country check Passport Index for a quick overview.
MONEY | Currency: Euro. Besides not being part of the EU, Montenegro surprisingly uses the Euro (same as Kosovo btw!). In the 1990s, Montenegro adopted the German Mark due to the rapid decline of the Yugoslavian Dinar, hence, when Germany transitioned to Euro in 2002, Montenegro followed suit.
Banks and ATMs are widely available in the main towns. Supermarkets and bigger restaurants will accept bank cards, however, smaller shops might not, so always carry some cash with you.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT | Podgorica is the main hub regarding bus travel in Montenegro. Due to its central location (and capital status) you will find buses to every corner of the country. Buses (from Podgorica) normally go a few times a day, however, it is best to check the day before your departure. Prices are reasonable (calculate roughly 3€ for an hour).
Train travel is also possible. Two lines are currently open for passengers. The Belgrade-Bar railway, linking Serbia with the Montenegrin coast (a simply stunning route, especially in the northeast of Montenegro), and the Nikšić-Podgorica railway, connecting the country’s two biggest cities.
Public transport in Podgorica is rudimentary at best, however, due to its manageable size walking or biking is the best option anyway.
| MONTENEGRO TRAVEL TIP
Rent a car
Although buses between main towns run relatively frequently, it might prove to be a bit more challenging to visit the more remote sites of Montenegro (e.g., Biogradska Gora, Ostrog Monastery, etc.). Therefore, I highly recommend renting a car, while inside the country!
Not only will you be more independent timewise but the small size of Montenegro allows you to reach pretty much any point in the country in around three hours from Podgorica, even allowing you to hit multiple sites in a day if you wish to do so.
In off season prices are relatively moderate (20-25€/day) but can increase quite a bit during the summer months.
| MONTENEGRO TRAVEL TIP 2
Get a Balkan SIM card
Most Balkan nations are relatively small and since travelling across the region is usually paired with multiple border crossings in a short amount of time, getting a separate SIM card for every country might not seem like the most budget-friendly option.
However, since July 2021 five ex-Yugoslavian countries (Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia), that are currently not part of the EU and their free roaming policy, + Albania have dropped all roaming charges within their borders.
I was told the price was around 20€ for a month. Definitely a good option if you are travelling around the Western Balkans.