Travel Budget: Montenegro

Montenegro is incredibly beautiful- from the mountainous national parks, to the rocky coast and historic old towns, there is no shortage of variety of sights to see and activities to enjoy. The country is also a much cheaper and less touristy option than neighbouring Croatia.

Here is a breakdown of what I spent during two weeks in Montenegro.

Towns: Podgorica,  Mojkovac, Tara, Bar, Ulcinj, Budva, Kotor Bay

Travel Style: Budget

Currency: Euro

Duration: 16 nights

Season: End of Summer (August & September)

Total Spend: 720€

Daily Spend: 45€

Biogradska Gora-6

 

Accommodation:

 167€ for 16 nights

Camp.jpg

  • 8 nights in a shared hostel dorm, averaging 10€ per night
  • 5 nights camping at 5€ per night
  • 4 nights in an AirBnB at 30€ per night split by two

 

Transport:

160€ for 16 days

Biogradska Gora-40

  • Short or shared taxi trips averaging 4€ a ride
  • Local buses, averaging 3€ a trip
  • Car hire for five days 200€ split by two (quite a high rate due to lack of credit card incurring high insurance fee)

Food & Drink:

240€ for 16 days

Sunset Dinner.jpg
Sunset seafood dinner

I spent 145€ eating out, 65€ on groceries and 30€ on alcohol.

While local ‘fast food’ can be a cheap option, it’s not very healthy and you’ll likely tire of if after a week or so. Fresh vegetables and supermarket food is relatively cheap, so if you have access to a kitchen and are looking to save money (whilst maintaining a balanced diet) this is probably the best option.

A traditional fast food staple is burek- a huge fried pastry stuffed with meat, cheese or spinach. This is often served with yogurt and the local way is to have a mouthful of burek then a sip of yogurt and mix the flavours in your mouth.

By the coast seafood is fresh and delicious and relatively cheap compared to elsewhere in Europe- around 12€ for dinner at a good value touristic place.

  • Breakfast: burek at local places should cost less than 1€. Coffee is around 1-2€
  • Lunch: a salad roll or another pastry and a drink will set you back less than 5€
  • Dinner: you can find some great local restaurants away from the tourist areas serving local dises for under 10€ with wine. My favourite was a whole fish served with local vegetables.
  • Drinks: less that 2€ to buy a large can of beer from the supermarket ,about double for a bottle of wine. 4-5€ for beer or wine in a restaurant. Cocktails are around 5-10€.

Activities

153€ for 16 days

Rafting Above
The view from Tara Bridge
Rafting
Rafting Tara Canyon
  • Cetinj National Park Entrance and St. Paul’s Mausoleum: 2€ + 5€
  • Biogradska Gora National Park Entrance: 2€
  • White Water Rafting down Tara Canyon: 110€
  • Zip Line over Tara Canyon: 20€
  • Entrance to Bar Old Town: 2€
  • Boat trip in Ulcinj through Pirate Hostel: 12€

Total spent:    720€ / 16 nights = 45€ per day

Biogradska Gora: one of the most beautiful national parks in Montenegro

Biogradska Gora in Montenegro’s northeast is one of the country’s five national parks, and is famed for it’s extensive primeval (old growth) forests and beautiful lakes. There are over 2,000 plant species200 bird species, and a walk through the park feels like an escape to another world. Many of the trees are over 400 years old and protection of the area dates back to 1878- the second oldest protected park in the world after Yellowstone.

You can access the national park through the towns of Kolasin or Mojkovac which are both on the train line from the capital Podgorica or the coastal town of Bar. The train continues on to Belgrade and is touted as one of the most beautiful rail trips in Europe.

I stayed at Camp Rebrenovic in Mojkovac where you’ll find cabins, tent pitches and camper van spots, all nestled in a beautiful valley. Tara River is a 15 minute walk away for a refreshing swim and a 10 minute taxi ride (3€) will take you to a small but endearing town with a real local feel. I found the area to be a lot less busy and touristic than other areas in Montenegro’s mountainous north.

One of the best ways to reach the national park from the camp is to hire a push bike (5€ a day) and ride 10km to Lake Biograd. While the last 3km of the ride is purely up hill, the subsequent dip in the lake was one of the most refreshing I’ve ever had! The bike ride down the winding road past the ancient trees is also thrilling. By the lake you’ll find a cafe, restaurant and information booth, as well as row boats and canoes for hire.

After spending a few days in the area, I’d recommend getting the local bus to Tara (5€ for an hour trip along the river) where you can raft Tara Canyon and experience the incredible views of Tara Bridge and the canyon below from the thrilling zip line.

Visiting Montenegro’s Cetinje & St. Petar’s Mausoleum: as an independent day trip

Montenegro’s Old Royal Capital Cetinje is a beautiful, peaceful town well worth a visit on it’s own, but also the entry point to St. Petar’s Mausoleum. Perched atop Jezerski Vrh peak of Lovcen Mountain, the Mausoleum itself is not overly impressive, but the views from the top are spectacular. A quick 10 minute (steep) hike to the the rocky peak affords views of rugged mountains and the Bay of Kotor in the distance. Be sure to walk through the Mausoleum and along the narrow path to the guvno, a circular stone structure traditionally serving as a gathering point where important decisions were made.

Cetinj-1

Getting there

From the capital Podgorica or the popular town of Kotor you can take a local bus to the Cetinje bus station. The trip from Podgorica is shorter, at around 30-45 minutes and a little cheaper (3.5€) than the 5€, 1.5 hour trip from Kotor.

From the bus station in Cetinje it’s best to take a taxi to the Mausoleum. It should cost around 25€ for the return trip, including an hour of exploring at the top. I split the trip with two fellow travelers, so it was very affordable at around 8€ each.

Entrance Fees

Entrance to the Lovcen National Park is 2€ per person and 5€ to the Mausoleum. You can still appreciate the view without paying for the Mausoleum entrance but the best view is at the end and well worth the fee.

Cetinj-25