Montenegro offers a great variety of accommodation. Booking ahead in the summer – especially on the coast – is essential.
Hotels Range from slick seaside offerings to off-the-beaten-track Yugoslav-style digs. Prices range accordingly.
Hostels Popping up in popular destinations but thin on the ground elsewhere.
Campgrounds Usually offer million-dollar views for penny-pinching prices. Facilities vary wildly.
Private accommodation Almost every town and village has private rooms (sobe) and/or apartments (apartmani) for rent.
Eco villages Wooden cabins in the countryside.
Camping & Caravan Parks
Facilities at camping grounds tend to be basic, often with squat toilets and limited water. Some national parks have cabin-style accommodation but most camping grounds don’t. Charges are a combination of a nightly rate per vehicle, size of tent, number (and age) of guests and whether you require power or not. Camping grounds are most common along the coast (including the Bay of Kotor) and near Žabljak.
During summer, when shepherds in the mountainous areas take their flocks to the higher meadows, you can ask permission to pitch your tent next to one of their traditional katun dwellings. Some agencies, especially around Durmitor and Kolašin, can organise stays in a katun itself.
Though it's a Slovenian-based website, www.avtokampi.si has a fairly thorough list of campsites in Montenegro.
Traditional accommodation is offered in 'ethno' and 'eco' villages (etno i eko sela), particularly around Piva, and Durmitor and Prokletije National Parks. Quality can vary wildly, but generally accommodation is in rustic-style cabins, and meals come hot and hearty; rakija (fruit brandy) shots with the hosts are usually unavoidable. They're almost always run by families; if you're travelling with your brood, these are generally great for kids (think wide-open spaces, fresh air and plenty of livestock to pester).
Hostels have made a relatively recent appearance on the scene, as they previously never fitted into tidy bureaucratic pigeonholes, being neither private accommodation nor a traditional hotel. Thankfully, that battle has been fought and won, and some great places have sprung up – particularly in Kotor, Budva, Ulcinj, Podgorica and Žabljak. Some are little different from private rentals split into dorms. The better custom-built places have well-thought-out communal spaces and offer a roster of activities. Most have some sort of kitchen; shared bathrooms are the norm.
You'll find a large range of hotels of varying size and quality in the popular destinations. They usually have some form of restaurant attached and offer the option of half- or full-board (breakfast plus one or two meals). In Montenegro, a hotel spa centre is called a ‘wellness centre’.
Generally, the further you travel from Budva, the cheaper the average price. Tourist-focused Žabljak and Kolašin are the most (relatively) expensive of the northern centres, but you’ll find bargains in the other towns.
The cheapest options in any given town are almost always private rooms and apartment rentals. These can be arranged through travel agencies or, in season, you may be approached at the bus stop or see signs hanging outside the houses (they often read ‘Sobe/Zimmer/Rooms’). Some local tourist offices publish handy guides to private accommodation. Rooms in local homes shouldn’t be difficult to find, but some places will require minimum stays in high season (often a three-day minimum). Don’t expect an en suite.
Apartments (apartmani) will always have their own bathroom and at least a kitchenette. Generally speaking, you’ll get what you pay for. The cheaper options are usually a bit rougher and further from the attractions, but there shouldn’t be a problem with cleanliness. For a range of luxurious apartments, some of which have swimming pools and cliff-top locations, try Explore Montenegro (www.montenegroholidays.com).
If you’re armed with a bit of charm, an adventurous spirit, an unfussy attitude and a few words in the local lingo, it should be possible to turn up in remote villages and ask if anyone has any rooms to rent for the night. Some restaurants in out-of-the-way places also have rooms available that they don't otherwise advertise: just ask.