Must see attractions in Montenegro

  • Top ChoiceSights in Central Montenegro

    Ostrog Monastery

    Resting improbably – miraculously? – in a cliff face 900m above the Zeta valley, the gleaming white Ostrog Monastery is the most important site in Montenegro for Orthodox Christians, attracting up to a million visitors annually. Even with its numerous pilgrims, tourists and souvenir stands, it’s a strangely affecting place. A guesthouse near the Lower Monastery offers tidy single-sex dorm rooms, while in summer sleeping mats are provided for free to pilgrims in front of the Upper Monastery.

  • Sights in Northern Montenegro

    Morača Monastery

    Morača (founded in 1252) is one of the most important Orthodox monasteries in Montenegro, with some of its most accomplished religious art. Its two churches are plastered in frescoes; the Church of the Dormition (Crkva Uspenja Bogorodice) has external frescoes by the celebrated master Djordje Mitrofanović, plus beautiful doors inlaid with geometric patterns. Inside are icons by Mitrofanović as well as other masters. The monastery is located near the banks of the Morača River, 46km from Podgorica.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Durmitor National Park

    Tara Canyon

    Slicing through the mountains at the northern edge of the national park, the Tara River forms a canyon that is 1300m deep at its peak (the Grand Canyon plummets a mere 200m deeper). The best views are from the water, and rafting along the river is one of the country's most popular tourist activities. If you’d rather admire the canyon from afar, head to the top of Mt Ćurevac (1625m) – although even this view is restricted by the canyon walls.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Lovćen National Park

    Njegoš Mausoleum

    Lovćen’s star attraction, this magnificent mausoleum (built 1970 to 1974) sits at the top of its second-highest peak, Jezerski Vrh (1657m). Take the 461 steps up to the entry where two granite giantesses guard the tomb of Montenegro’s greatest hero. Inside, under a golden mosaic canopy, a 28-tonne Petar II Petrović Njegoš rests in the wings of an eagle, carved from a single block of black granite.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Kotor

    Kotor City Walls

    Kotor's fortifications started to head up St John's Hill in the 9th century and by the 14th century a protective loop was completed, which was added to right up until the 19th century. The energetic can make a 1200m ascent up the fortifications via 1350 steps to a height of 260m above sea level; the views from St John's Fortress, at the top, are glorious. There are entry points near the River Gate and behind Trg od Salate.

  • Sights in Adriatic Coast

    Gradište Monastery

    Perched on a hill overlooking Buljarica Beach, Gradište Monastery is a tranquil collection of stone buildings facing onto a central courtyard. The monastery was first mentioned in documents from 1305, although it’s believed to date from 1116. Like many Montenegrin monasteries, it’s had a rough time over the years at the hands of invading armies and has been rebuilt several times.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ulcinj

    Old Town

    The ancient walled town overlooking Mala Plaža is largely residential and somewhat dilapidated, a legacy of the 1979 earthquake. This is part of its charm – this Old Town really does feel old, with its uneven cobblestones and paucity of street lighting. Allow at least an hour to simply ramble around to your heart's content. Whatever else you find, spectacular views of Ulcinj and the beach below are guaranteed.

  • Sights in Around Herceg Novi

    Mt Orjen

    Hulking Mt Orjen (1893m) separates Herceg Novi from Hercegovina and is higher than the more famous Mt Lovćen. It’s a popular spot for hiking and mountain biking (bring plenty of water). A hiking trail commences near the bus station at Herceg Novi (look for the red and white markings); heading towards Kotor, take the first road to the left, followed quickly by a right turn. This is the start of the mammoth Coastal Mountain Traversal hiking path, which goes on to Lovćen, the shores of Lake Skadar, Mt Rumija and Bar.

  • Sights in Piva Canyon

    Piva Monastery

    Small Piva Monastery has an intriguing history: originally constructed between 1573 and 1586, it was the only Serbian Orthodox monastery to be built during the Ottoman occupation (the Grand Vizier was a relative of Piva's founder; connections have always been everything in Montenegro). It hulked by the Piva River until the late 1960s when plans for the Mratinje Dam forced it to be moved – brick by brick, fresco fragment by fresco fragment – over 12 years to its current location near Gorankso village.

  • Sights in Morinj

    Lipci Prehistoric Drawings

    You'd never know it – thanks to a distinct (and puzzling) lack of hype – but 3km up the road from Morinj, a quick hike will bring you to the Balkans' most comprehensive collection of prehistoric drawings. Created in the 8th century BC, the drawings – which include mystical animal and sun symbols – have been largely left alone: there's no signage bar a token street sign, no admission fee and no fences. If you're the Indiana Jones type, this one's for you.

  • Sights in Cetinje

    Lipa Cave

    Cetinje may indeed be littered with old-time reminders of its days as Montenegro's capital city, but just 4km away lies an attraction that makes the town look positively modern. Millions of years old, Lipa Cave is one of the country's largest caves – and the only one open for organised visits – with 2.5km of illuminated passages and halls filled with stalactites, stalagmites and freaky natural pillars. Tours take 60 minutes, including a road-train ride and short walk to the entrance.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Budva

    Stari Grad

    Budva's best feature and star attraction is the Stari Grad (Old Town) – a mini-Dubrovnik with marbled streets and Venetian walls rising from the clear waters below. Much of it was ruined by two earthquakes in 1979, but it has since been completely rebuilt and now houses more shops, bars and restaurants than residences.

  • Sights in Lake Skadar National Park

    Rijeka Crnojevića

    The northwestern end of Lake Skadar thins into the serpentine loops of the Rijeka Crnojevića (Ријека Црнојевића; Crnojević River) and terminates near the pretty village of the same name. It’s a charming, tucked-away kind of place set around an arched limestone bridge, built in 1853 by Prince Danilo.

  • Sights in Adriatic Coast

    Krapina

    It's easy to be seduced by Budva's Old Town treats and beach scene, but if the smell of suntan lotion is getting a bit cloying, head for the hills and the lovely oasis of Krapina. Just 6km from town, this clean, green escape offers a sweet taste of village life that's great fun for the whole family; there are donkeys and rabbits for the littlies to cuddle, a zipline (€5) over a canyon for the older kids and a gorgeous waterfall-splashed natural pool for everyone to swim in. The delightful restaurant (mains €5 to €18) serves fish straight from its own farm; you can snooze it off on one of the lawn lounges. Krapina is a 6km winding and well-signposted drive from Budva.

  • Sights in Luštica Peninsula

    Rose

    At the peninsula’s very tip you’ll find this sleepy fishing village (pronounced with two syllables: ro-seh), a blissful stand of stone houses gazing at Herceg Novi across the sparkling waters of the bay. Outside summer, village life winds down to near inertia, but from May to September a handful of waterside eateries open their doors to day trippers. If you fancy staying over, ask a local about private accommodation. Rose is easily reached by taxi boat from Herceg Novi (€10 to €15). Kayak Herceg Novi stops here on its guided paddle tours or you can hire a kayak and go it alone; it takes about 30 minutes each way.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Perast

    Gospa od Škrpjela

    This picturesque island was artificially created (on 22 July 1452, to be precise) around a rock where an image of the Madonna was found; every year on that same day, the locals row over with stones to continue the task. In summer, boats line up on the Perast waterfront to ferry people there and back (€5 return); off season, you may need to ask around.

  • Sights in Danilovgrad

    Donkey Farm

    If you happen to be around Danilovgrad on a Saturday, head out to this wonderful farm, established as a sanctuary for abused and neglected donkeys. They also produce (and sell) donkey milk, said to be incredibly therapeutic. It's a wonderful, non-exploitative place for animal lovers and families; the donkeys are used to small children. It's best to ring ahead before visiting, and though it's free to enter, visitors should take appropriate treats (apples, carrots, dry bread) for the star attractions.

  • Sights in Northern Montenegro

    Morača Canyon

    Heading north from Podgorica, it doesn’t take long before the scenery becomes breathtaking. The highway – a thrilling, spectacular stretch of road – gets progressively more precarious as it follows the Morača River into a nearly perpendicular canyon, 300m to 400m deep. If you’re driving, pull over into one of the viewing areas to enjoy it properly: this is an extremely busy and unforgiving stretch of road. The river continues after the canyon recedes; you'll find the Morača Monastery near its banks.

  • Sights in Adriatic Coast

    Drobni Pijesak

    Hidden in a secluded cove three minutes north of Rijeka Reževići, Drobni Pijesak is a 240m stretch of ‘ground sand’ (the literal translation of the name) surrounded by green hills and turquoise waters. Every year on 28 June, the elders of the 12 Paštrović clans hold the Bankada here, a community court with origins in the 16th century. Nowadays its main focus is the restoration and preservation of the tribe’s traditions, environmental and cultural conservation and economic development. The day ends with a folk and arts festival.

  • Sights in Risan

    Mosaics

    In 1930, the foundations of a grand villa were discovered in Risan, complete with wonderfully preserved Roman mosaics from the 2nd century AD. The building’s not much to look at from the outside, but within, you’ll find a dining-room floor decorated with flowers, herbs, grapevines and squid, while other rooms have intricate geometric patterns. Best of all is the bedroom, with its glorious depiction of Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep, reclining on a pillow.