When it comes to a Montenegro holiday, you’d be thinking about dipping into the crystal clear blue waters, sunbathing the day away, and perhaps spending some time exploring an Old Town. Montenegro isn’t a particularly huge country but there are quite a few different coastal cities where each offers you a different experience. In this article, I will share with you what each of these coastal cities is like and the best places to stay in Montenegro.
I want to highlight that, no matter where you pick, Montenegro is basically a country of mountains and sea. This means if you’re not staying beachfront or near the waters, you may have to face an uphill climb. Also, the Old Towns tend to not allow cars so make sure you take that into consideration when picking your accommodation. Last but not least, make sure you book early to get yourself a better deal!
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Best Places & Areas to Stay in Montenegro
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Tivat is the glitz & glam of Montenegro with big fancy superyachts parked by the Porto marina – almost like Monaco! You can find the country’s most luxurious hotels & resorts in this area, including upscale shops & fine-dining restaurants, and receive world-class celebrity treatments. It’s a playground for the rich & famous so be ready to splash out your bank account if you do choose to stay in Tivat.
Apart from Porto Montenegro, Tivat is home to a few beaches, albeit not that sandy, and has several hiking trails that offer spectacular views over Kotor Bay. If you are an experienced hiker, you can even try the 11-mile trek to Kotor Old Town!
Where to Stay in Tivat
Boutique Hotel La Roche
Boasting a seafront location with its own private beach area, Boutique Hotel La Roche is a top place to stay in Tivat, Montenegro. The hotel oozes sophistication and opulence at every corner, with the perfect amenities (including heated bathroom floors) for a comfortable and luxurious stay. It also has a rooftop pool and excellent spa facilities including a hammam, sauna, etc. If you are looking for a romantic occasion, you can also arrange a dinner table by the beach for the perfect setting.
Regent Porto Montenegro
The Regent Hotel is located in the UNESCO-listed Boka Bay within a luxury Porto Montenegro Village. Its interiors ooze Renaissance Venetian charms and the hotel boasts world-class facilities including its own yacht club, two infinity pools, two kids’ pools, the best spa in the country, etc. If you are looking for the ultimate luxury holiday in Montenegro, look no further than Regent Porto Montenegro!
Kotor & Perast
Kotor & Perast are the two most popular destinations in Montenegro. Chances are if you’ve heard of Montenegro, you’ve seen pictures of these two places. The Old Town of Kotor, in particular, attracts flocks of tourists from all over the world and is a very popular day-trip excursion for those from Dubrovnik in Croatia and Mediterranean cruise ships.
Perast is a picturesque town that looks like it’s plucked straight out from a movie or painting. You can have a really good look at Kotor Bay against the mountains from there, which they call Europe’s southernmost Fjords. There are two islands, one natural with a monastery, the other artificially built for the famous Our Lady of the Rocks.
For both locations, there are no sandy beaches (you can still swim in the waters) and halal food is very limited. But you’d be at the heart of the jewels of Montenegro, which are protected under UNESCO World Heritage and are truly breathtakingly beautiful. If you’re only looking for a short stay in Montenegro, this is where you want to be staying at!
Where to stay in Kotor & Perast
Boutique Hotel Hippocampus
Boutique Hotel Hippocampus is located within Kotor Old Town so do note that it isn’t accessible by car and you’ll have to walk from the nearest car park/drop-off point. It is set in a 17th-century building, only steps away from the churches of St Anne and St Nicolas, and its roof terrace directly overlooks the San Giovanni Walls. The rooms are modernly furnished & comfortable and it is an excellent place to stay if you’d like to be immersed in the charms of the Old Town.
Vila Perast Boutique Hotel
Set in a charming 15th-century building, Vila Perast Boutique Hotel is the perfect place to stay in Perast. The rooms have been recently renovated, featuring stylish tones of beige, white and gold, and offer a minimalistic yet cosy atmosphere. There is a beautiful wisteria lane that makes the dreamiest photo spot, and it’s got a beautiful terrace overlooking the crystal clear waters as well!
HUMA Kotor Bay Hotel & Villas
Situated in between the charming Kotor Old Town and picturesque Perast, HUMA Kotor Bay Hotel is the perfect final piece of the puzzle for a fairytale-like experience in Montenegro. The hotel is set on the seafront facing the spectacular Kotor Bay and boasts a private beach area as well. Each room and villa are thoughtfully polished and the hotel offers amazing facilities including infinity pools, a spa, upscale restaurants, and a beach club.
For those looking for sandy beaches and resorts in Montenegro, Budva is the go-to city. Budva is a very lively beach city, packed with beachfront hotels and activities. It also has its own medieval Old Town with picturesque lanes and quaint squares, but it doesn’t compare to that of Kotor’s. The best viewpoint of Budva is Vista Vidikovac, where you can get a panoramic view of the whole of Budva, including the Old Town, all the while enjoying a drink or nibble! Halal food isn’t too common but you may find a few halal Turkish kebab shops here and there. Budva is also known for the most vibrant nightlife in the country.
Opposite Budva is St. Nicholas Island, which they call the Hawaii of Montenegro. You can reach the island by boat or you can even walk there by following the isthmus that’s half a meter deep at low tide. The island has three main beaches and plenty of coves to swim in. It also has a large & thick forest where you can enjoy some wildlife.
Where to Stay in Budva
The Iberostar Slavija is one of the most ideal hotels to stay at when visiting Budva, Montenegro. It is located not too far away from the Old Town and is only a few steps away from the beach. The hotel boasts a stunning rooftop infinity pool, as well as a rooftop snack bar and fantastic spa facilities. Its rooms feature modern furnishing and amenities
Avala Resort & Villas
If you want to be staying closer to the Old Town in Budva, then check out Avala Resort & Villas. The hotel is situated just next to the Old Town and directly on the beach. It boasts two outdoor pools, a large spa area with an all-year indoor pool, as well as a well-equipped fitness centre. You get to choose between a mountain or sea view for your rooms and it’s a great place to stay if you want to be staying in the heart of Budva.
Dukley Hotel & Resort
If you are looking for a 5-star luxury holiday in Montenegro, then you must check out the Dukley Hotel in Budva. The elegant hotel boasts a private beachfront location, surrounded by lush landscaped gardens, and rooms with a terrace that overlooks the sparkling sea. Additionally, it has a stunning rooftop infinity pool and there are three restaurants on-site that are set on three different beaches around the hotel!
They say Sveti Stefan is where you rub shoulders with celebrities and is especially popular in the 1900s. It is an islet that has housed numerous famous guests such as David Beckham, Marilyn Monroe, Princess Margaret, Novik Djokovic, Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie, and many more. One side of the island is privately owned by the Aman Hotel Group where celebrities go enjoy their luxury holiday in privacy. The rest of the island is open to the public where you can find charming and atmospheric cobbled lanes and quaint courtyards at every corner. Not to mention that Sveti Stefan is home to some of the most amazing sandy beaches with crystal clear waters in the country!
Where to Stay in Sveti Stefan
Part of the Small Luxury Hotel Group, Villa Geba is a marvellous hidden gem in Montenegro. The luxury boutique hotel is located only a few steps away from Sveti Stefan Beach and boasts stunning views over the Sveti Stefan islet. Stepping into the hotel, you’d be greeted with grand Romanesque columns and Greek vestal sculptures, with every corner and room oozing refined contemporary designer details. Aesthetic and luxurious rooms aside, the hotel is also incredibly well-equipped, including a fantastic spa featuring a hammam, sauna, etc.
Hotel California by Aycon
Boasting a beachfront location directly overlooking Sveti Stefan, Hotel California is a great 5-star boutique-style hotel to stay in the area. Each room is elegantly designed and features either a mountain or sea view. The hotel owns a private beach area on the Sveti Stefan beach that showcases one of the best views of the famous islet and is not too far away from other beaches such as Milocer Beach and Queen’s Beach as well.
The prices in Petrovac are known to be a little higher than in the rest of Montenegro but it is still a great location to stay at. It is known for some of the best beaches in the country and is also great for hiking. In particular, Lucice Beach is often regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, featuring a gorgeous lagoon surrounded by lush pine trees.
Overall, Petrovac is a lot more laid back compared to all the other cities mentioned above. If you are a sporty person, there’s no shortage of watersports such as kayaking and diving at the beaches and there are several hiking trails available as well. The Petrovac-Rezhevici trail, especially, is very popular and offers serene views of beaches and coves. As for sights, there is the Kastio Castle, which is a Venetian fortress by the bay, as well as the Roman Mosaics, Elijah’s Church and Gradiste Monastery.
Where to Stay in Petrovac
Hotel Eleven is a relatively new addition in Petrovac and is a small family 4-star hotel that’s located only a few steps away from the beach. Each room comes with a balcony and features modern amenities and furnishings. There is an outdoor pool at the hotel, as well as a jacuzzi that’s free to use.
Monte Casa SPA & Wellness
Monte Casa is a 4-star hotel with a pebble beachfront location by the picturesque Petrovac Bay. The hotel features an outdoor pool, an indoor pool, and various spa & wellness facilities. Each room offers comfortable amenities and a lovely balcony to enjoy the views.
Hotel Harmony by Aycon
Here is another hotel by the Aycon Hotels Group. Hotel Harmony takes up a beachfront location in Petrovac and is another popular hotel in the area. It features an outdoor pool and a lovely restaurant on-site for al fresco dining. All rooms have a cosy interior and feature a furnished terrace.
One thing I learnt about the Montenegrin is that they are super straightforward (or one may say lack creativity) when it comes to names. The name Bar comes from being directly opposite the city of Bari in Italy – as simple as that. Anyway, Bar is the largest coastal city in Montenegro and has a mixed population. It’s got sandy beaches, a handful of hotels and we’re told that there are mosques around too. Hence, there should be a couple of halal food options around.
The main landmark of Bar is the Church of St Jovan Vladimir which you can recognise from its golden roof. Like other main cities in Montenegro, Bar also has its own Old Town (a.k.a Stari Bar) on the hillside. It was severely damaged by a devastating earthquake in 1979 but the place still oozes plenty of history and features plenty of influences from the Venetians, Hungarians, Ottomans, Serbians, etc. As you would expect, it also presents some spectacular views of the coastline there. Additionally, Bar is home to one of the world’s oldest trees if that’s something of interest! The famous Lake Skadar National Park is also only half an hour’s drive away from Bar.
Where to Stay in Bar
Stara Čaršija Hotel & SPA
Nestled high up in the rugged hills, Stara Čaršija Hotel & SPA is a rustic but charming 5-star accommodation in Bar. It is housed in a historic house but is newly renovated with modern amenities & furnishing. The hotel boasts stunning views over the old fortress and village and oozes history. It may not have a beachfront location but you’d be enchanted by the mountainous landscape of the country. Additionally, the hotel features an outdoor pool, as well as an indoor pool and great spa facilities.
This is probably the least popular pick of coastal cities when it comes to holidaying in Montenegro but you do still get some tourists here. Ulcinj is a small and quiet residential beach town neighbouring Albania on the southern coast of Montenegro. It has a Muslim majority population as it’s mainly Albanians residing in this city. As such, the meats are all halal in this area and you can hear the beautiful adhan against the spectacular sea view.
The main attractions of Ulcinj include the Old Town, Small Beach, and Long Beach. Quite impressively, Long Beach stretches 13km all the way to Albania! However, we personally prefer the Small Beach more as it is a little better maintained than the Long Beach and it is closer to the Old Town. Ulcinj also used to be a pirate town and you can take a little boat tour to see the pirate cove.
Where to Stay in Ulcinj
Apartments Secret Garden
Apartments Secret Garden is where we stayed during our trip to Montenegro. It is located on an uphill slope near the Small Beach & Old Town of Ulcinj and offers a stunning sea view from the poolside and deck. The rooms are generally comfortable but not at luxury standards. All in all, it’s a decent place to stay and we especially enjoyed the lovely pool there!