Montenegro parking: paid and free

Free parking

Most parking spaces in any Montenegrin city are free. These are yards, hotels’ and villas’ car parks, roadsides and free spaces. You can park your car for free in any place where it will not break the rules of the road and where there is no “paid parking” sign.

Quite often the locals park their cars and violate traffic regulations. For instance, blocking one of the two lanes in narrow streets or right under “no parking” sign. You need to know that besides regular road rules Montenegrin cities also have own unspoken regulations.
For example, in winter time when there are very few tourists around, locals quite often park in no-parking zones and the police just ignore it. This is because traffic is not very heavy during the low season, there are not too many pedestrians and such unregulated parking does not create problems. When the tourist season starts the situation changes however. The locals can find out in advance about the change in attitude and stop parking their cars in restricted areas at once. It happens that a couple dozen cars can be towed away from a street in mere 20-30 minutes. Please do not follow the locals’ example and always follow traffic regulations.

The rule of thumb in any city is that the closer you are to tourist attractions or the city centre, the fewer free car parking spaces you can find and the higher the fee for the paid ones becomes.

Remember that in any city you can find free parking spots just a 10-15-minute walk away from the tourist attractions.

Paid car parking in Montenegro

Paid parking in Montenegro exists in two forms: car parks with a barriers (dedicated areas with barriers at the entrance and exit) and parking spaces along the streets (signage on the side of the road with a parking meter on the pavement).

Car parks with barriers are more common, parking time there is not limited, but the price is 30-50 per cent higher than for parking along the street. Paid parking places on the streets are not very common in Montenegro, parking time is limited to two hours and the price is lower. Special car parks with barriers usually have free parking spaces, while finding a space to park along the street is usually a problem.

Rates in cities:

CityAverage rateFree parking
Podgorica1-2 €/hourAvailable
Budva2-3 €/hourLimited
Kotor2.5-3.5 €/hourVery limited
Tivat1.5-2.5 €/hourAvailable
Bar1-2 €/hourAvailable

Prices for paid parking in Montenegro depend on the season and proximity to main tourist attractions. In summer the prices vary between 0.5 € to 2 € per hour. In winter the prices are usually almost twice lower, but not less than 0.5 € per hour.

Car parks with barriers

These are dedicated parking spaces or underground car parking with barriers at the entrance and exit. The entrance is often equipped with a sign showing the number of vacant spaces. At the entrance the driver approaches the machine near the barrier and presses the button. The machine issues a card with the time stamp. The barrier opens and the car can be parked. At the end the parking time the driver needs to present the card to the employee at the exit. The employee checks the final fee for the hours the car was parked. After the payment, the employee opens the barrier and the car can leave the car park.

The price of parking is usually indicated on a special sign next to the entrance or right on the parking meter at the barrier. Minimal fee equals one hour. Even if you spent 1 hour and 1 minute on the parking lot, you will have to pay for two hours. The employee at the exit cannot make any exceptions, as the fee-calculating system is fully automatic. The loss of parking card is a subject to a fee of 10 – 30 €, so make sure you do not lose it.

Montenegro paid parking on the street

This kind of parking is usually found near tourist attractions or in the city centre. These are regular streets with a sign for “paid parking” at the beginning of the street. Parking spaces in these streets are clearly marked and all cars should park in accordance with the road markings.

In some cities (for example Podgorica and Herceg Novi) street parking is divided into zones. The zones are marked in different colours: red is the most expensive, yellow is cheaper, and green is the cheapest. The closer the street is to the city centre, the higher the fee per hour. In this case under the standard “paid parking” sign you will see the sign indicating the colour code, fee per hour and instructions for payment.

Payment methods

There are two ways to pay for parking. You can send a text message from the local mobile number (it is impossible to do this from a foreign number) or pay at the parking meter.

Instructions on how to pay via text message are usually found right under the parking sign. Normally you need to send a text message with your license plate (without spaces) to a short number. The price of the text message equals the fee for one hour. The reply message will indicate the end of paid period. A few minutes before the deadline you will receive a text message reminding that your paid time is almost over. You can either leave the car park, or extend the time in the car park by sending another text message. All the messages are in Montenegrin, but they are normally comprehensible to a Russian speaker.

The minimal paid period of parking is one hour. Even if you are only parking for ten minutes, you will have to pay for the whole hour. Parking along the streets usually has time limit of 60-180 minutes. Some zones allow free parking on Sundays and outside business hours (from 9pm to 7am). Exact conditions for each zone will be indicated on the sign under the “Paid parking” road sign.

Payment via text message is very convenient, as you can prolong your parking time without returning to the parking lot.

If the parking road sign does not have any indication of how to pay via text message, that means the only way of payment is using the parking meter. For example, in Budva this is the only option. Paying using a parking meter is even easier. You will need small change, coins from 10 cents to 2 euro. The fee per hour will be indicated either on the screen, or on a sticker next to the screen. Pay with the coins for as many minutes as you need. Here you can pay for parking time shorter than an hour, it depends on what coins you have, as the machine does not give change. Then press the green button. The machine will issue a receipt with a clearly visible timestamp showing what time you can be parked until. This receipt must be placed under your windscreen so that the inspector can see the time clearly.

If you want to extend your parking, you will have to return to the car parking, get a new receipt and put it under the windscreen.

Parking spots along the streets are checked by inspectors. They either check text message payments via a smartphone or check the receipt under your windscreen. If the car is still car park 10-15 minutes after the paid period is over, the inspector can either call for a tow truck or fine you and leave the fine ticket under the windscreen wiper.

Parking fines in Montenegro

The fines for parking in Montenegro vary from city to city. The final amount depends on many factors. The fines for parking violations, loading the car on a tow truck, transporting the car to be impoundment, impoundment is charged per day and these are all calculated separately. Each of these fines is different amount depending on the city. The cheapest “total price” of parking violation is in Herceg Novi – 15 €, the most expensive parking violation is in Budva – from 160€.

Do you have to pay the parking fine in Montenegro?

If the car has been towed away, there are not many options. You cannot get the car back without paying the fine. The procedure for paying a fine is different in different cities. You can either pay the fine where the car has been impounded, or you might have to go to the nearest bank or post office and pay the fine there. Normally the officer at the impoundment facility will explain the procedures and even help with filling out the papers.

You can question the decision to tow your car away, if you believe the police were wrong. Usually the police officers will explain every specific case and quote the law. This is not their responsibility though, so if the officer is busy you might be left without an explanation. Please be understanding. Overall, the police in Montenegro are sure when the car must be towed away and only do so in they are 100 % certain that they are in the right.

But it may not be obvious if there’s a penalty charge notice (PCN) placed under the wiper on the windscreen. For cars registered in Montenegro, every fine is recorded in the police database. And it’s impossible to renew a car’s annual registration if there are unpaid fines for this car. So, if you are renting a car in Montenegro and have been issued a fine, it’s best to pay it. According to the car rental terms and conditions, all fines are the responsibility of the renter.

What to do with the PCN under the windscreen wiper:

  • If the PCN includes the exact amount, you can pay the fine yourself at the post office.
  • If the amount is not specified in the PCN, it’s best to contact your rental agent right away. They will explain where to go and how to get a ticket for payment.

If you have been issued a PCN without an exact amount, you will first need to collect your ticket at the police station in the town or city where the traffic offence was committed. And then pay it.

You can also ask your rental agent for help in paying the fine. The rental agent will drive to the police station, collect a ticket, and pay the fine. The rental agent’s travel costs, hourly rate, and post office commissions are the responsibility of the customer.

In a situation where the driver has lost the fine ticket, during the annual registration the company will be notified of the fine, pay it, and then invoice the person who was renting the car on that day via post. If the invoice is not paid, the company has the right to go to court in Montenegro and when the tourist visits the country again, the police officers will meet him or her at the airport upon arrival. Please pay attention to all papers you find under your windscreen wipers when you park in Montenegro.

Parking in Budva

Parking fee in Budva: 1€ — 2.40€ per hour.

Most parking places in Budva are in the car parks with barriers. There are only two streets where parking can be paid via a parking meter. They are located closest to the seafront. Each of these streets has a “paid parking” sign and parking meters on the pavement.

Illegally parked cars are towed to be be impounded, near the main post-office. The tow trucks patrol the streets all the time, so your car can be towed away in as little as 15 min after you parked it in the wrong place.

There are still a lot of free parking places. All of them are located at some distance from the touristy spots. Quite often you can park for free on the side of the road or at car parks belonging to hotels and villas.

If you rent a car in Budva and are staying in a hotel or villa, check with the reception desk to see if they have free parking for the guests.

In other parts of Budvan Riviera, such as Becici, Rafailovici, Przno, Sveti Stefan and Petrovac, paid car parks are either unavailable or there is only one with a barrier. All other parking places are free, but the everyone wants to park in there. Pay attention and do not violate traffic rules when parking in these areas.

Parkings in Bar

Parking fee in Bar: 0.5€ — 1€ per hour.

Car parks in Bar are very good. This city was mostly built in the 20th century taking into the account that most locals have cars. Every building has its own car park. Almost all parking areas in Bar are free of charge. There are only few paid car parks with barriers in the heart of the city centre near shopping centres and at the seafront near the port.

Shushan (Bar’s satellite town) has serious parking problem though. The streets have very little space for parking. If your villa does not have a car park you will have to park your car at the seafront and walk up the hill to your villa. Make sure you check this with your host in advance.

Parking in Tivat

Parking fee in Tivat: 0.5 – 2 € per hour.
Parking in Tivat airport: 0.8 € per hour.

Tivat still does not have free parking along the streets. There are a lot of “no parking” signs. The locals violate parking rules fairly often, but you should not follow their example (see above). There are paid car parks in the Porto Montenegro building and near the seafront.

Paid parking in the city will set you back around 0.5€ per hour. Parking in Porto Montenegro will cost you up to 2€.

Tivat airport has one paid car park.The parking fee there is 0.8€ per hour. This car park is where you can pick up and return a rental car in Tivat airport.

The airport has no free parking. The only option is to drop off the passengers without switching off the engine.

Parking in Kotor

Parking fee in Kotor: 0.8 – 1.2€ per hour.

Kotor does not have free parking along the streets. There are several dedicated car parks but parking spaces are always limited. You might have to queue at the entrance to the paid car park.

There are so few free parking spaces in Kotor that you should not count on them at all.

Parking in Herceg Novi

Parking fees in Herceg Novi: 0.5 – 1€ per hour.

Herceg Novi has a large amount of paid parking on the streets and virtually no dedicated car parks. In all the streets where a tourist might want to park, you need to pay. The only payment method is via a text message from a local mobile number. There are almost no parking meters.

Those who violate the rules are not towed away, but the fine ticket is usually left under the windscreen wipers.

Overall, Herceg Novi is one of the most problematic cities for parking. The city is located on the slope of a mountain, and there are simply no free spaces for parking. If you are going to spend your holiday in this city and plan to rent a car, check with your hotel or host about the parking opportunities. In most cases the hotel will either have no parking, or it will have a parking lot for 4-6 places that will be never vacant.

Parking in Podgorica

Parking fees in Podgorica: 0.4 – 0.8€ per hour.
Parking fee in Podgorica airport: 0.6€ per hour.

The main city in Montenegro is also the most developed in terms of parking spaces. There are several dedicated car parks with barriers. You can find them on the map marked as “P” (parking lots) and “G” (underground parking lots). Most cars are parked on paid parking areas along the streets. The whole city is divided into zones:

  • green zone III – least busy streets, 0.4€ per hour
  • yellow zone II – medium busy streets, 0.5€ per hour
  • red zone I – most busy streets, 0.6€ per hour

Parking along the streets can be paid for both in a parking meter and via text message from a local mobile number.

There is no free parking in the city centre of Podgorica, but on the outskirts you can park in the yards, along the streets and in free car parks.

Podgorica airport has a car park right in front of the airport building. It is 0.6€ per hour. A car hired in Podgorica can be delivered there. You can try to leave your car right in front of the entrance for about 10-15 min, but quite often there is a police officer and a tow truck monitoring the place, and the cars left like this are immediately towed away to be impounded in the city. You can park your car free of charge at some distance from the airport. On the left of the entrance to the airport there is a turn to an area under the trees. This parking zone is just 5-minute walk away from the airport building.

Kirill A., car rental expert
The author of this article is: Kirill A.
Expert in car rental in Montenegro.
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