Looking for fun things to do in Montenegro? This guide covers the best places to visit and what to do there to help you plan an awesome Montenegro itinerary!
Unlike many countries in Europe, Montenegro is not the place to stoke your city-slicker fantasies.
While there are a handful of truly charming historic towns, like romantic little Kotor which should not be missed, what really surprised us was that the best places in Montenegro awaited us in the great outdoors.
With a continuous thread of turquoise water caressing every mountain, valley and beach, Montenegro has so much to offer in the way of stunning scenery and outdoor adventure that you’ll be pulling your hair out just trying to fit it all into your itinerary.
In our four weeks here we scrambled up craggy peaks, rafted through icy rapids and found the best sunsets between the mountain tops and the sun-kissed Adriatic.
These are our picks of the best adventurous things to do in Montenegro.
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We discovered Mrtvica Canyon quite by accident.
While doing a little research about Montenegro, we stumbled upon a photo of an enchanting archway made of rock and trees leading onto a turquoise pool in the jungle.
It wasn’t in our guidebook and we could barely find it on our map but through more detective work than we’d had to do in a long time, we finally found the trail to take us there – the stunning hike that feeds through Mrtvica Canyon.
With dramatic canyon walls, many bridges to cross and a turquoise river gurgling through the valley, hiking Mrtvica Canyon should not be missed in Montenegro.
Follow our guide to find out everything you need to know to hike the trail independantly.
Roaring through the mountains in the north of Montenegro, this rafting trip can vary from a fun but relatively mellow cruise down the blue Tara River, to an adrenaline pumping, white-water washing machine experience where you’ll most likely end up in the icy water on more than one occasion. It all depends on the time of year.
Whenever you visit, be it for the maximum thrills in April or for the more easy-going adventure in July, you’ll be given a new perspective on the area. Often we seek to get the best view from the highest possible point, but here, in the deepest canyon in Europe, the best way to experience it is from depths of the valley.
Choose a multi-day trip covering the full length of the canyon, passing through the deepest section of the valley and under the famous Tara Bridge, or keep the experience to just a few hours on the most rapid-heavy sections of the river. Rafting Tara River has become one of the most popular things to do in Montenegro and new rafting centres are popping up every year.
Between Šćepan-Polje in Montenegro, and Bastasi just across the border in Bosnia and Herzegovina, you’ll find a number of all-inclusive camps that cover accommodation, meals and the rafting trip, as well as offering other activities in the area.
We went with Rafting Centre Drina-Tara which has a well-established camp and rafting operation, though facilities are somewhat basic. They deal with large numbers of guests so it can be a little crowded at times, especially on weekends when it becomes a bit of a party place, but they’re experienced rafters and even on the mellowest sections of the rivers they made it a fun experience without compromising on safety. Check accommodation rates and availability here.
Otherwise, check out some of these more comfortable camps available – see prices and availability here.
Don’t have the time to stay the night? You can also do the rafting experience as part of an organised day-trip from Kotor or Dubrovnik. Check tour prices here.
Biogradska Gora National Park and the wilderness around Kolašin are bursting with beautiful, rarely hiked trails. What we saw barely scratched the surface.
Within the national park there is a lovely 3 km walk around the lake and, if you’re lucky, you’ll see a snake or five breaking the water’s surface.
This is the most visited area of Biogradska Gora where wooden boats and kayaks can be hired by the hour. Park entry is €3 per person.
If you have the time there are also several well marked trails leading into the surrounding mountains that give excellent views over the lake. The tourist information centre in Kolašin also offers several tours to mountain villages and golden prairies in the surrounding countryside.
Nestled in the far north of the country, those looking to experience even more of Montenegro’s wild outdoors should not miss Durmitor National Park.
If you’re looking for a challenge after gorging on too many ice creams and sunning yourself on the Adriatic, the strenuous hike up Bobotov Kuk is the just the ticket. This is by the far the most arduous hike we have attempted in a long time but it was also the most rewarding.
The trail is steep and a little sketchy in parts but when you finally emerge at the top you’ll enjoy panoramic views over the mountains for hundreds of miles around you stretching across the peaks of Bosnia, Montenegro and Albania.
For more leisurely hikes, there are 18 different lakes to explore, with Crno Jezero, the Black Lake, being the most visited. Wherever you end up, the landscapes are dramatic and beautiful, although the weather has a habit of dampening the mood – come prepared.
Visiting in winter? During the colder months Durmitor tranforms into the premier ski spot in Montenegro.
If you’ve been following our posts on Montenegro, you probably already know that we can’t say enough good things about Lovćen National Park. It was the place we nearly skipped over, but in the end, the one we didn’t want to leave.
After driving the winding road to the top of the mountain, stumbling out of the car feeling a little worse-for-wear and climbing the 461 steps to the mausoleum, the surrounding peaks bathed in golden light as the sun sank toward the horizon was the highlight of our time in Montenegro. We could have sat there for hours as the light danced between the mountains but, annoyingly, the grumpy guard shooed us all out a few minutes before the sun melted away entirely.
Less than an hour’s drive from Kotor, visiting Lovćen National Park is easily one of the best things to do in Montenegro so don’t miss it!
We’d recommend hiring a car to take your time and explore it independently, definitely around sunset, or join one of the many organised tours heading up from Kotor, although these are done earlier in the day.
For more on what to do while in Kotor and the incredibly scenic road we recommend taking to reach Lovcen, don’t miss this guide!
This little detour was a complete surprise and at one point had us exchanging worried glances wandering where on earth our taxi driver was taking us.
We were heading between Foča and Žabljak when we turned off the main rain onto a tiny track that hugged a little too tightly to the side of a cliff where loose rocks were crumbling away before our eyes. Up and up we wound before he pulled over and jumped out, gesturing enthusiastically to the view before us over the brilliant blue Piva River.
As we crossed over the pass we found ourselves in verdant countryside speckled with flocks of sheep and tiny mountain huts amidst the greenery.
If you’re seeking some peace and quiet, or just want to relax your nerves after a nerve-wracking bus ride or two, sitting beside the shimmering expanse of Lake Skadar is the best place in Montenegro.
Not much goes on here aside from the movements of tiny boats skimming across the water, off to discover the array of birdlife and explore the tiny waterways that feed the lake.
Have lunch alongside the river in sleepy Rijeka Crnojevica and take in the astounding lake views from Virpazar.
In Virpazar, we stayed at Draga’s Rooms, a budget-friendly and family-run guesthouse with a charming outdoor terrace area and views across to the mountains on the Albania side of the lake. The perfect place to relax in solitude with a glass of delicious Montenegrin wine. Check prices and availability here.
Normally we find pebbled beaches a little, shall we say, annoying. There’s always that pointy rock jutting out just so and no matter how much you try to wiggle into a comfortable pebble groove, it never quite fits. Then there’s the awkward walk you have to do to and from the water where your feet try to contort their way around the slippery stones that give way beneath you.
On the Adriatic, once you make it into the luscious water, all your pebble frustration will be forgotten. Montenegro has some stunning beaches of incredibly clear water. Paired with a blazing sunset every night, it’s a hard place to tear yourself away from.
Some of you may be surprised why Ostrog Monastery did not make this list. After reading so much about it and seeing it recommended wholeheartedly online and by local tour operators, we expected this to be a highlight. How often to do see a monastery built into a cave on the side of mountain anyway?
Honestly though, the entire visit is very ritualistic with devout pilgrims kissing archways and mosaicked walls, bowing and crossing themselves through every doorway and muttering an emotional few words before dipping into the holy water. As people who are not at all religious, the significance of the symbology and the religious acts that accompany them were somewhat lost on us. We felt like we were trespassing on sacred ceremony that we weren’t invited to. For this reason we felt the iconic monastery was very much a place of pilgrimage and should remain as such, rather than the tourist attraction it is so often made out to be.