Two lane highways and cliffside drives dominated my driving in Montenegro. Knowing me, it was a good thing I didn’t know that the coast of Montenegro was a series of steep rock faces heading into the Adriatic Sea; otherwise, I might not have rented a car. Surprisingly, it didn’t bother me as much as it usually does! Renting a car is the most efficient way to see the Old Towns of Montenegro. Here are my tips for driving in Montenegro and not going over the cliffs.
Almost every road was a two-lane road. The only place I went in Montenegro that had more than two lanes was Budva and that was only in the central part of town. Many of these roads were narrow, and you share the roads with tour buses and public buses. These narrow roads started just after Herceg Novi and continued to Bar. Since I stuck to the coast of Montenegro, I am not sure if the roads inland are wider or more than two lanes. The narrow lanes bothered me more than the cliff driving, probably because I couldn’t see the edge or the water from the cliffs in most cases.
Most of the roads I drove on were in decent shape. This is especially true near the towns. However, some of the bridges seemed like they needed some work. Although, none seemed dangerous. Rural roads are not in as good of shape according to the articles I have read.
Due to the narrow roads and the lack of multiple lanes, traffic can be an issue in the towns. I noticed that traffic was very heavy in Kotor when there was a cruise ship in the bay and even worse if there were two cruise ships or if it was a large ship. Most of the traffic was centered around Kotor old town. Getting into Budva was another place I saw lots of traffic. After I left Montenegro, I learned that Budva is a popular beach spot for Eastern Europeans and that explained the amount of traffic there.
As in much of Europe, you drive on the right in Montenegro. According to the rules I have looked up, you should drive with low beams on during the day in Montenegro. I only discovered this after I saw people doing it. Obviously, you will want to drive with your regular lights on during the night. I also turned them on when going through the mountain tunnels.
The speed limit varied a lot on the roads and sometimes went down to 30 Kmh in towns. Pay attention to the signs as they changed quickly and the fines for speeding more than 10 Kmh are steep and can include jail time. My GPS beeped at me when it knew the speed limit was changing and I was going over it. Hint, rent the GPS from your car rental company. Seatbelts are required. I did see cops pulling people over, but never saw a radar gun. They may have just been pulling people over to check papers. This never happened to me, though. They also just wave at you to pull over and were not chasing people down in their cars with a siren or lights.
An international drivers license was not required, but I did rent my car in Croatia, check prices here. My advice is to have one if you are planning on driving overseas in any country. They do not cost much, and it is better to be safe than sorry!
The legal drinking limit is very low at .03% so my advice would to just not drink and drive in Montenegro. It isn’t worth going to jail in any country for a drink.
Parking in Montenegro was a bit haphazard. My Airbnb advertised free parking, but in reality, it was pullover as close to the wall next to the house as close as possible next to the street. It was a good thing my rental car was small and I never saw large passenger cars in Montenegro. Many areas in Montenegro had paid parking areas. At first, I was reluctant to do use the paid parking as usually, it is expensive, but then I saw how cheap it was and I immediately started parking in the paid spots. I never paid more than €3 for parking. In some towns, there was free parking, but it was usually full. In Herceg Novi, I couldn’t figure out where to pay. I asked an official-looking man in the parking lot and I had to go to the mini market and pay and then put the ticket on my dashboard. Most of the other parking was take a ticket and pay on the way out or pay an attendant.
Overall, driving in Montenegro was pretty easy. Have you driven in Montenegro? What was your experience?
Is it bad that I’m 35 and I never learned to drive? I’ve been so envious of your travel adventures – this place looks stunning!
Wait! How did I not know this! I can’t believe you don’t know how. I figured since you lived outside London you knew how.
It seems tricky but fairly manageable but where I am from, its a real traffic jungle the roads are terrible and the cops easily give tickets its a mess.
I thought of going there by plane and walking only, but now driving seems like a reasonable option as well. Thanks for the info!
Next summer I plan to go there, run into your blog and glad about it, well done!
How I wish to visit Montenegro in the future.
It’s great. I hope you get to go.
Hello, I just booked my flight tickets to Montenegro for late August to Sep this year and plan to be driving there. I’m Canadian and have driven in Norway, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia, France and a bit of Switzerland in the past. Hope I can manage these roads in Montenegro. Thank you for the information posted in your blog. Well done, I just found this blog and will follow your website.
Hi, Louis! Enjoy your trip. It sounds like you will be just fine driving in Montenegro with all that international driving experience. Thanks for stopping by!
Hope you are well, we’ve just returned from our trip to Montenegro. We’ve spent a total of 11 days in the country, visited places such as Herceq Novi, Perast, Zabljak, Podgorica, Budva, Kotor and Bar. Traffic volume in the countryside part (such as going to Zabljak) is much lighter, the roads are also two lane-roads (one lane for each direction) consists of some twisting turns going up and down and hairpin turns. I really enjoyed driving these roads a lot, although my wife was getting nausea from all these quick successive turns. I tried my best sticking to the speed limit as advised by your website, some other cars were going by much faster than me and they would find their way past me whenever its a dotted white line. In the country side, do pay attention to animals, I have seen sheep and cows walking on the roads and had to avoid them. I saw quite a lot of policemen on the roadside catching other cars (not sure if its because of speeding or not wearing their seat-belts).
As for the roads in the tourist towns such as Budva / Kotor, the roads leading into these old towns have much heavier traffic volume, but most of the times, it was moving along ok, although I have also encountered stop-and-go traffic volume in Kotor (bear in mind that I visited these places in September, after the summer holiday season). Parking is difficult so make sure you booked an accommodation with parking space.
Also, I rented my car in Dubrovnik Croatia and got a green card from the rental company. You will need to show this green card to the officer when crossing the boarder into Montenegro. Also my car rental company (Europcar) charges a cross border fee based on how many days you are in other country. So beware of this (possible) additional fee.
Overall we really enjoyed our time in Montenegro, I look forward to our next visit to Europe (tentative plan: Provence-France next June).
Hi Louis! Thanks for all your notes. The traffic in the historic areas was so crazy. I also rented my car in Croatia and drove over. The flights to Dubrovnik were better than to Tivat. Have fun on your next trip!!
Awesome Tips for Driving in Montenegro… I wish to visit in the future…
Thank you! I hope you get to go.
Thanks for the tips. I’m planning to drive in Europe and Montenegro is my first choice. It will be my first time driving in foreign country so I’m bit of exciting. I hope it won’t too bad for driving in the village because I’m planning to stay couples days outside of the city. Well done, thx again for the tips.
I am so glad you found this helpful! Montenegro was great. Having a car made it so much easier to get around as well. The villages were easy to navigate as well. Have a great time.
I’ve never been to Montenegro – I really want to visit, but I don’t think I’ll drive!
I had a short period of time so I found driving to be the most efficient way to get around. You definitely don’t need a car to go though.
Driving in Montenegro sounds like quite the adventure by itself. I’m glad to hear that both you and your rental made it. Personally I don’t think I could handle the stress and would choose to go by public transportation 🙂