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.
About Montenegro Country
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.
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Montenegro Visa and Passport Requirements
|Passport required||Return ticket required||Visa Required|
To enter Montenegro, a passport valid for the duration of stay is required by all nationals referred to in the chart above, except (1) EU nationals holding a valid ID card who can stay up to 30 days.
Visitors not staying in a hotel or official tourist accommodation must register with the police within 24 hours of arrival.
Visas are not required by nationals referred to in the chart above for touristic stays in Montenegro of up to 90 days.
EU nationals entering with a national ID card may stay for up to 30 days, but can stay for 90 days if using a passport.
Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements for Montenegro.
Types and Cost
Airport transit visa; transit visa; short-stay visa; long-stay visa. Check with the embassy for the latest fees.
Airport transit visa: valid for one or several airport transits within three months; transit visa: valid for one, two or exceptionally several overland transits for five days per journey within six months.
Short-stay visa: 90 days within six months; long-stay visa: over 90 days, but no more than six months in one year.
Consulate (or consular section at embassy). In countries where Montenegro has no diplomatic representation, visitors requiring a visa should apply to the Serbian Embassy.
Extension of stay
For stays of more than 90 days, you must apply for a temporary residence permit one week before the 90 days expire.
Embassies and tourist offices
Embassy of the Republic of Montenegro in the USA
Telephone: (202) 234 6108.
Address: , 1610 New Hampshire Ave NW , Washington, DC 20009,
Embassy of the Republic of Montenegro in the UK
Telephone: (020) 7727 6007.
Address: , 18 Callcott Street, London, W8 7SU,
British Embassy in Montenegro
Telephone: 020 618 010.
Address: , Ulcinjska 8, Gorica C, Podgorica, 81000,
Opening times:Mon-Thu 0930-1700; Fri 0900-1330.
Consulate General of Montenegro in the USA
Telephone: (212) 661 5400.
Address: , 801 Second Avenue, 7 th Floor, New York, NY 10017,
Montenegro Health Care and Vaccinations
Doctors are well trained and generally speak basic English, but medical facilities are generally not to Western European standards. There are seven state-run general hospitals in the country, as well as three specialist hospitals, plus an increasing number of private hospitals. Many medicines and basic medical supplies are often unavailable at state-run pharmacies, so make sure you take an adequate supply of any prescription drugs. There is a gradually increasing number of privately-owned pharmacies, and these tend to be better stocked with essential drugs.
The UK and other EU countries have reciprocal healthcare agreements with Montenegro, so that emergency hospital treatment is free (upon the presentation of your passport and a document such as a European Health Insurance Card, EHIC), though in non-urgent cases you will be expected to pay, normally in hard currency. Note that doctors often expect a small cash bribe from patients in return for priority treatment. Prescribed medicines must also be paid for.
Health insurance with emergency repatriation is strongly recommended for visitors from outside the EU. Visitors may be asked to pay first and seek reimbursement later. If you planning to take part in ‘extreme’ sports, such as bungee jumping or scuba diving while here, you would be advised to take out extra insurance for that. Respective consulates and Podgorica-based embassies can help visitors find hospitals and doctors in Montenegro, should the need arise.
Pharmacists in Montenegro are highly qualified and can offer advice and medication for mild conditions, so for minor problems, a visit to a pharmacy may suffice. In summer, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, and wear sun-cream (SPF 15 or greater) to avoid sunburn. In you go hiking in the mountains, you might also take insect repellent. For emergencies, ring 124 (ambulance). Pharmacies (apoteke) are generally open Mon-Fri 0800-2000 and Sat 0800-1500.
Food and Drink
Mains water is normally chlorinated and, whilst relatively safe, may cause mild abdominal upsets. Bottled water is available. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally considered safe to eat.
Vaccinations against tick-borne encephalitis (especially if going to the mountains), tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended.
Montenegro Public Holidays
New Year’s Day
Orthodox Christmas Day
Orthodox Christmas Eve
Orthodox Good Friday
Orthodox Easter Monday
Money and duty free for Montenegro
Currency and Money
Euro (€) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of €2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.
Note: Montenegro does not have its own currency and although it is not a member of the EU, it adopted the Euro as currency in 2002 (having previously used the German Deutsche Mark). The European Central Bank and the European Commission were not altogether happy about this, and when Montenegro was officially recognised as a candidate for EU membership in 2010, the situation became even more complicated. By EU law, member countries have to meet a stringent set of economic criteria before they can adopt the Euro. However, it looks unlikely that Montenegro will be forced to drop the Euro. As Montenegro is not an official member of the Eurozone, it has no issuing rights and cannot mint its own national version of the Euro coins (cents).
International credit and debit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, American Express and Maestro are accepted, but cash may be necessary for some payments, especially in small restaurants and shops in remotes areas. ATMs accept all the main international debit cards.
ATMs are widely available in all main towns and resorts.
Although acceptable in theory, in practice these can be very hard to exchange. It is advisable to take cash and credit or debit cards.
Mon-Fri 0800-2000 and Sat 0800-1500.
There are no restrictions on the import and export of local and foreign currency. Sums equivalent to or exceeding the amount of €10,000 need to be declared.
Money should be exchanged through official exchange offices and banks only.
Montenegro duty free
The following items may be imported into Montenegro by travellers aged 17 and over without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250g of tobacco.
• 2L of alcoholic drinks up to 22% volume or 1L of spirits over 22% volume.
• 4L of non-sparkling wine.
• 16L of beer.
• Goods to the value of €430 if arriving by air or sea or €300 if arriving by land (reduced to €150 for children under 15).
Note that Port Montenegro, the luxury marina-resort in Tivat, offers duty-free and tax-free fuel, at the cost of 45% of retail diesel prices, to both private and commercial yachts.
Prohibited imports include narcotics and endangered species of flora and fauna (unless authorised). You can only import arms and ammunition if you’re bringing them in for sporting or hunting purposes, in which case you must declare them to the police on arrival.
Unlicensed cultural artefacts, protected fauna and flora.
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