I often receive different questions about travelling to Montenegro. 90% of them are related to the following areas: tickets, accommodation, transportation, etc, so I decided to set up a FAQ section.
From time to time, I update articles to keep it up to date.
Air Travel to Montenegro
There are three ways to buy airline tickets to Montenegro.
- You can find an agency (there are hundreds) that sells air tickets to Montenegro. All of them use the same ticket booking backend, so you will see the same prices wherever you go. Of course, sometimes agencies offer discounts to attract customers, but they do so at the expense of their own agent’s fee (for example, if they usually have 10%, they can make a discount of 4% and get the remaining 6%). Usually, such offers do not last long and can indicate an issue with the agency’s financial situation.
- You can visit the airline offices: Moskovia, S7,Montenegro Airlines, Aeroflot. Sometimes they have special offers and discounts. For example, S7 usually sells tickets online with a discount. Montenegro Airlines are in financial turmoil at the moment, so their prices are the lowest on the market. Moskovia is considered a low cost option on this route.
- You can also use the largest aggregator that collects data from all booking systems (including agency bookings), compares them, and suggests the best option for air travel to Montenegro. I often use it myself. Below is the ticket search form. Try it to check the tickets for your dates.
Usually, there is no significant difference in prices in flights to Montenegro. The difference between airlines is minimal and prices fluctuate depending on the time of year. Good offers do appear regularly. It just comes down to luck for the most part, good luck!
Accommodation in Montenegro
You can look for an apartment online; there are lots of websites, but often this still goes via a middleman. You can ask your friends who visited Montenegro for landlords’ contact details. A direct approach does not mean that the price you are quoted will be better than with a broker. Some brokers book apartments in bulk, which is less expensive, while others are able to find quality accommodation at the lowest prices, or simply negotiate lower prices from the landlords.
Search via all available methods (directly, via brokers, or travel companies) and compare prices. Again, there are so specific rules like ‘here is cheap, there is expensive’. It really comes down to luck once more.
One of the largest private apartment databases for Montenegro is www.chernogoriya-club.ru. Most offers on it come from agencies, but the prices are quite reasonable.
You will not find anything decent for July and August (peak season) 3 months or so before those months. The accommodation is likely to be expensive or not very suitable. Do bear in mind therefore that accommodation in Montenegro should be booked way in advance.
Should I book the accommodation in advance, or can I find a place to stay after I arrive?
Firstly, there is much more choice online than trying to find something once you arrive. Booking online is quick, hasslefree and easy. Trying to find somewhere once you arrive is stressful in comparison, and actually takes longer than if you book before you leave.
Secondly, the most picturesque and the cheapest options near the sea get booked up in advance, three to five months before the summer. Managers in charge of bookings need to make 70% of bookings are made for apartments, villas or hotels before the beginning of May or else they risk being laid off.
This is why the really good options (quiet, convenient, good location, not too expensive) sell like hot cakes in February and March. People who come to Montenegro without a booking will have to choose between offers that have been rejected by everyone else. You would have to be incredibly lucky to land a good place during peak season. If you were planning to visit during June or late September you could book when you arrive.
If you are anxious about making the wrong choice or fraud (frankly, in my 7 years here I have yet to hear about genuine fraud), you could try the following. Select the best option online, book it for 3-7 days and then after you arrive, you can choose to move or stay. This way, you ensure a carefree beginning to the holiday and some time to spend looking for alternatives. If you do not find anything better, you will have a place to stay. The only disadvantage is that the apartment might be already booked for dates after the period you have booked for.
Personally, I would recommend booking online in advance. It is easier to spend time browsing at home than trying to look for accommodation once you arrive.
All tourists and many locals eat out, it is considered the norm, rather than a treat. Dinner is on average €10-15 per person. The minimum is about €5. The cooking is great and the portions are large. National cuisine is a bit on the meaty side. Fish is rare, it is simply cooked, the prices are higher (€10+ per course). Italian staples are abundant (pasta, pizza, lasagna etc.). You can cook yourself if your apartment has a kitchen. The average prices are the same as in Moscow. Meat and local produce are cheaper. The food is healthy, fresh and delicious, particularly the meat.
Things to do in Montenegro
Bus tours and group tours
If you do not want to rent a car, you can go for a good expensive tour from €30-70/person and there are low-quality cheap ones are €15-40/person. The former are offered at hotels by tour companies, the latter can be found at stands on the quay. The routes and content they offer are almost the same. My advice is to go for the more expensive ones.
The tour guides, buses, catering, even bus drivers will all be of a better standard. Many tourists aim for lower prices and buy tours at the quay, only to be disappointed by their Montenegrin tour general leave negative reviews online.
This is a real shame but you really do get what you pay for with a tour. Bus tours start in early June and end in late September.
Offered by select companies and private guides. This market is now emerging. There are an increasing number of people who have lived in Montenegro for a couple of years, got to know their way around, read some books and now advertise themselves as tour guides. Make sure you check out their credentials so you avoid anyone incompetent.
Individual tours are offered all year round. I also lead tours.
Absolute musts sees: Bay of Kotor, Cetinje, the canyons, Dubrovnik. Then in decreasing priority: Ostrog, rafting, Lake Skadar and Albania.
Swimming is already possible in May, but it differs from year to year: sometimes it is early May, sometimes the beginning of June. By the end of September, it gets cold at night but is still hot during the day. August is the peak season accompanied by skyrocketing prices, lots of people, lots of children and really hot days. The perfect time for a trip is late June or early September. Still, compared to other countries, Montenegro is always superb! Even in winter.
- Budva, Bečići, Rafailovići, and Petrovac are central for Montenegro tourism. Most tourists, hotels, shops, clubs, entertainment and facilities are located in these spots. Almost all tours in Russian start there. There are wide beaches which are sandy and pebbly.
- Bar, Šušanj, Tivat, Jaz, Sveti Stefan, Canj, Dobra Voda, Sutomore – lots of tourists (mostly Serbs), but insufficient infrastructure for tourism. In essence, all these are simply beach villages. Bar and Tivat might be rather large on a local scale, but the rest are just places for a quiet time. Canj is like a seaside children’s camp. The beaches are small and narrow and are pebbly and stony, but they are still picturesque.
- Bay of Kotor (Kotor, Perast, Herceg Novi, Prcanj, etc.) – a corner of old Europe. Few tourists, even less infrastructure. There are many old buildings, paved streets, ancient churches, monuments and places of interest. A perfect place to spend some quiet time. This is my favorite place in Montenegro. Dmitry Krylov often stays at Perast. There are almost no beaches. People swim in the stone quays where they are small floats with ladders. There is no open sea because it is a bay but a truly wonderful place.
- Ulcinj, Velika Plaza – Albanian Muslim area of Montenegro with its own characteristics: minarets, calls to prayer, headscarves, a different language and a different mentality. In short it is rather exotic. Ulcinj is a town and Velika Plaza is a huge beach nearby with 13 km of black sand. The shore and the sea floor are very smooth. Within 50 meters from the shore the sea only reaches your waist. There are quite a lot of tourists so it is not very peaceful, but the number of tourists is nothing compared with somewhere like Budva. The town has all the essential facilities but Velika Plaza itself is just a beach. Kite surfing rides are available. There are almost no Russian tourists.
Locals in Montenegro
Montenegrins are a Slavic people. They are amicable, hospitable, sincere and friendly to Russians. Montenegrins speak a dialect of Serbian, which comprehensible to a Russian speaker. Almost everyone understands Russian, if you speak slowly and use simple words. In areas frequented by Russians, like the coast, many people speak pretty fluent Russian.
English is used only in hotels and airports. Most locals English is poor at best. Montenegrins are Orthodox Christians. Around the Bay of Kotor, most are people are Catholics and Ulcinj is Muslim.
Further details can be found in the Articles section.