Montenegro travel guide
Montenegro remains one of Europe’s hidden gems… but for how much longer? Independent since 2006, the country has been quietly developing its fledgling tourism industry and is now being vaunted as one of the continent’s hottest new destinations.
So what does this nascent nation have to offer? Well, inland it’s all pine-scented mountains, rolling prairies and traditional, stone villages, which are a joy for hikers, bikers and nature lovers. The star attraction, though, is the blissful, 293km (183mile) coastline, which gives onto the calm blue waters of the Adriatic Sea.
The most popular coastal destinations are the enchanting Venetian-era port towns of Kotor and Budva, with their medieval stone buildings, family-run seafood restaurants and burgeoning hotel scene. Other less developed seaside towns include Herceg Novi, Petrovac, Bar and Ulcinj, where travellers can get a taste of local life.
The coastline harbours a pleasing combination of long sandy beaches to the south, near Ulcinj, curving pebble bays along the so-called Budva Riviera, and little coves around the perimeter of the meandering Bay of Kotor to the north.
As investment arrives, luxury marina-resorts have begun to spring up, offering mooring facilities for sailing boats as well as accommodation, restaurants, cafes, spas and shops. Porto Montenegro in Tivat is designed to accommodate some of the world’s biggest mega yachts and is indicative of the kind of travellers Montenegro seems to be targeting.
Of course, it’s not all about wealthy oligarchs. Particularly inland, where travellers can grab a slice of traditional Balkan life and lose themselves in rugged mountains, many of which rise above 2,000m (6,560ft).
The hinterland is also home to five national parks. Go in search of bears, wolves and lynx atop the peaks of Durmitor National Park; raft down the River Tara in Europe’s deepest canyon; explore Europe’s last virgin forest within Biogradska Gora National Park; or go bird watching in the wetlands of Lake Skadar National Park. But go now, before everyone else gets the same idea.
13,812 sq km (5,333 sq miles).
626,101 (UN estimate 2016).
47.8 per sq km.
President Filip Vujanović since 2003.
Prime Minister Milo Đjukanović since 2012.
230 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are standard.
Last updated: 10 October 2017
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. ‘We’ refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Most visits to Montenegro are trouble-free.
Terrorist attacks in Montenegro can’t be ruled out.
You must register with local police within 24 hours of your arrival in Montenegro.
Under Montenegrin law you must carry a valid form of ID with you at all times, for example a driving license, passport or equivalent, otherwise you may be fined. Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.
Safety and security
Crime levels are low, but street crime occurs, particularly in larger towns. Watch out for pick pockets in public places like tourist hot spots, beaches, airports and on public transport. Take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. You should report all incidents of crime to the local police station and get a report. If you lose your passport you should also contact the British Embassy.
Information on local road closures is available on the Auto-Moto Association of Montenegro website or by telephoning 19807, +382 20 234 999 or +382 63 239 987. You can also use these numbers to ask for roadside assistance. The main emergency numbers are: 112 (general emergencies), 122 (police), 123 (fire department), and 124 (ambulance service).
The standard of roads is fair to poor with conditions worsening in rural areas, especially in the winter and after bad weather. In particular the two-lane Moraca Canyon in Montenegro can be dangerous when conditions are poor and there’s overcrowding. Roads leading to Montenegro’s coastal areas are in better condition, but can be busy during the summer season.
The only toll in Montenegro is the Sozina tunnel between Lake Skadar and the sea.
To drive you must have a valid driving licence. If you are taking your car, you must have vehicle registration/ownership documents and a locally valid insurance policy with you. Check if your insurance provides European Green Card vehicle insurance valid in Montenegro. Drivers of cars registered on foreign plates and without a valid green card will be asked to buy temporary insurance valid for Montenegro, and available for purchase at all official border crossings (“granichno osiguranje” in Montenegrin).
You are required by law to wear a seatbelt. You must drive with dipped headlights on during the day and must not use a mobile phone while driving.
Montenegrin traffic law defines intoxication as a blood alcohol level higher than 0.3 g/kg, or 0.1 g/kg for drivers younger than 24 or with less than 12 months of driving experience. Exceeding the speed limit by just 10kph will get you a fine in Montenegro, while excessive speeding (30kmh over the limit in towns and 50kmh on motorways) and overtaking under dangerous conditions will lead to automatic confiscation of your driving licence. Fines for traffic offences range from €20 to €6,000. Prison sentences can also be imposed.
Usually the police officer issuing a fine requests payment be made to a bank account within a reasonable time. In certain circumstances your passport may be seized. If you deny the charge you have the right to appear in court. All fine receipts have serial numbers and can be monitored in a central register for three years.
You must equip your car for winter conditions when the weather requires it.
See the AA guide on driving in Montenegro.
Extreme and adventure sports
A wide range of outdoor activities are on offer for tourists. Take precautions to prevent injuries and use protective equipment. Before signing up with paragliding instructors, for example, ask to see their training licence for tandem flights. Take particular care when hiking in the Montenegrin mountains.
Protests take place occasionally in Montenegro, and are usually peaceful. Keep up to date with local developments, check local media and avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings.
Terrorist attacks in Montenegro can’t be ruled out. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. Terrorists may target religious sites, including churches.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.
Local laws and customs
Drug laws are similar to those in the UK. Possession or trafficking of drugs will attract strict penalties and often a lengthy prison sentence.
There are no laws against homosexual activity. Same-sex couples are generally tolerated, but due to the nature of society you should avoid public displays of affection.
Taking photographs of military and police installations, personnel or vehicles may lead to difficulties.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
British passport holders do not require a visa to enter Montenegro for stays of up to 90 days. For an extension of stay beyond 90 days you must apply for a visa or a temporary residence permit no later than one week before the 90-day period expires.
Your passport should be undamaged and valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.
There may be additional delays on roads approaching the border crossings between Montenegro and Croatia as Croatia implements an EU decision on enhanced border controls which involves additional checks.
Only enter Montenegro through recognised border crossings.
If you are planning a mountaineering tour which involves crossing borders other than at an official border crossing point contact the National Tourist Organisation for advice.
On entering Montenegro, make sure the border police put an entry stamp in your passport. This helps avoid problems related to verifying the length of your stay in the country.
You must by law register with the local police or tourist organisation in the town/city where you’re staying within 24 hours of your arrival, unless you’re staying in a hotel or other commercial accommodation provider where you’ll be registered automatically on checking in. If you don’t register you may be fined and face difficulties leaving the country.
Further information can be found on our living in Montenegro page.
Although there is no limit to the amount of money you can bring into Montenegro, you should declare sums of money in excess of €10,000 (including travellers’ cheques or equivalent in other currencies). To take more than €10,000 out of the country you will need to provide proof that you brought the money in. Customs Officers at all border points issue declaration forms. On departure, you will need to return a certified copy of this declaration to customs. For sums of money in excess of €15,000 you should also have obtained a document which states the origin of the funds. If you fail to comply with these rules, your money may be confiscated. To avoid customs charges, declare items of value like expensive jewellery, photographic and computer equipment.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Montenegro.
Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.
There is a reciprocal healthcare agreement for British nationals, which entitles you to free emergency treatment in Montenegro. In non-urgent cases, payment may be required, which would normally be in cash to the health institution. More detailed information can be found on our living in Montenegro page. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 124 to contact the ambulance service directly. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Montenegro lies in a seismically active zone and small tremors are recorded throughout the year. Serious earthquakes are less frequent but do occur. The last serious earthquake, in 1979, resulted in 94 deaths and approximately 1,000 injuries and caused major structural damage along the Montenegrin coast. To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, visit the website of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Wildfires are common in Montenegro from April to October. Make sure cigarette ends are properly extinguished, don’t light barbecues and don’t leave any rubbish, particularly empty bottles, behind.
Flooding can be a problem in winter and spring when heavy rains and snow melt causes rivers to swell.
Monitor media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities if a forest fire, flood or earthquake occurs in your area.
The official currency of Montenegro is the Euro. Credit cards are widely accepted throughout the country. Only Bank of England issued bank notes are recognised or exchanged in Montenegro. Scottish and Northern Irish bank notes are not accepted.
Travel advice help and support
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCO travel advice
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.