Sveti Stefan island is a highlight in any Montenegro itinerary

Ultimate Montenegro Itinerary 2024: Bay of Kotor and Beyond

Montenegro is a picturesque small country located in Eastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula. It is known for its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and diverse culture. My 5 days in Montenegro itinerary will help you plan the perfect trip to this small, charming country in the Balkans. 

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In my travels, I’m always looking for new and exciting destinations to explore. Despite its size, Montenegro is packed with stunning natural beauty, rich history, and delicious food. 

If you’re planning to visit Montenegro and have only 5 days, my Montenegro itinerary is the perfect way to spend enough time in the Montenegrin coastal towns worth visiting. And most important, you don’t need a rental car for this Montenegro travel itinerary.

Day 1: Arrive in Kotor

Kotor Bay and the yacht port of Kotor at sunset

Getting to Kotor from Airport Tivat Montenegro

If you arrive in Kotor by plane, your flight to Montenegro will land in Tivat, which is 10 km away from Kotor. No public buses connect Tivat Airport Montenegro with Kotor, so to get from Tivat to Kotor you have to take a taxi or book a transfer. 

I pre-booked a transfer with Red Taxi. I can’t recommend their service enough. 

My flight was delayed, but the taxi company kept in constant contact with me and followed my flight schedule so that the taxi was waiting at the airport when I landed. I have used their taxi services several other times and they have always been punctual and reliable. 

Red Taxi phone numbers: 19719 for Kotor and 19729 for Tivat.

View of Bay of Kotor from Muo

Accommodation in Kotor check-in

Check in at your accommodation and depending on the travel time, have some rest or freshen up and set out to explore Kotor.

How to choose the best area to stay in Kotor

If you prefer to stay close to Kotor’s attractions, restaurants and shops, you’d better choose accommodation in Kotor Old Town.

For the best view of Kotor Old Town from across the Bay of Kotor, choose accommodation in Muo. Note that you’ll have to walk about 2 km to reach Kotor Old Town from Muo.

Kotor in the night viewed across Kotor Bay from Muo
This is the view of Kotor Old Town from Muo

Another good place to stay is Dobrota. It is just outside the old town of Kotor. You won’t have the view of the Old Town, but the view of the Bay of Kotor is no less beautiful.

🏨Click on the map to find the best accommodation in Kotor.

Kotor Old Town

Start your exploration from the Old Town of Kotor. Kotor Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a beautifully preserved medieval town on Montenegro’s Adriatic coast, at the foot of the Lovćen Mountains. I consider Kotor to be the most beautiful city in Montenegro and all Montenegro itineraries should include a visit to Kotor and the Bay of Kotor.

Stroll through its cobbled streets and ancient stone buildings. There are so many interesting buildings and hidden corners to explore. Get lost and find your favorite spot in Kotor Old Town. 

When it is time for dinner, take a seat in one of the restaurants in the old town of Kotor and enjoy a delicious meal.

I particularly liked the Church of St. Luke, which has a beautiful interior and a peaceful atmosphere.

Kotor Cats

As you walk the streets, pay attention to the many Kotor cats that seem to be the true rulers of the city. Kotor Montenegro cats are the local celebrities. They are everywhere and love to pose for pictures.

Kotor cats

When it is time for dinner, take a seat in one of the restaurants in the old town of Kotor and enjoy a delicious meal.

My recommendation is for Pescaderia Dekaderon,  just in front of the Kotor St. Tryphon Cathedral. This is one of the best places to try the traditional Montenegrin food prepared with local products. The seafood is particularly good here, opt for some fresh octopus and mussels. Also, try the local wine – it’s delicious and very affordable.

Day 2: St. John’s Fortress, Kotor Bay, Perast, and Our Lady of the Rocks

This is the most physically challenging day of the Montenegro travel itinerary.

Morning: St. John’s Fortress

First thing in the morning, climb up to St. John’s Fortress, which overlooks the bay and the town of Kotor. Note: The hill is steep and it’s a challenging hike. There is a small church halfway to the top.

I only made it to the church, and although I did not climb to the top, the view was breathtaking. I could enjoy the best panoramic views of the Bay of Kotor and the surrounding mountains.

The path to Kotor fortress with a view of Kotor Old Town, the Bay of Kotor and the surrounding mountains

There is a tradition in Kotor. When a man wants to propose, he takes his girlfriend to the Kotor fortress. And when they reach the top, with the breathtaking view as a backdrop, he kneels and offers her a ring. It is supposed to be very romantic. In my opinion, any girl who makes it to the top of the fortress deserves a ring and more.

Afternoon: Bay of Kotor Boat Tour

In the afternoon take a boat trip around the Bay of Kotor. This is one of the best things to do in Kotor. A boat ride is a great way to see some of the other towns and villages in the area, as well as the stunning coastline. Boat tours start just outside the city walls. 

Tip: On your way to the pier, stop at the bridge over the Scurda River for some great pictures of the city walls and Kampana Tower. 

Kotor Old Town Walls, Kampana Tower and Scurda River

You can choose from several Kotor Bay boat tours.

I chose Our Lady of the Rocks and Perast boat tour.

Our Lady of the Rocks

We were only two passengers on this particular Our Lady of the Rocks boat tour. I was pleasantly surprised that the tour was not canceled. It was more like a private tour with our captain as our special guide.

The first stop of our boat tour was the small island of Our Lady of the Rocks. Our captain showed us some interesting spots along the Kotor Bay, told us the history of the island of Our Lady of the Rocks, some curious facts about the church, and what to look for while in there.

Our Lady Of The Rocks church in the Bay of Kotor

The romantic town of Perast

Our cruise continued to the charming coastal town of Perast, known for its beautiful baroque architecture and stunning views of the bay. We spent some time exploring the town, admiring its beautiful buildings and narrow streets. It is very small and easy to visit in an hour. I saw two weddings while I was there, making it another romantic destination in Montenegro.

A dedicated photo spot with a letter envelope frame in Perast

All in all, the second day of the 5 day Montenegro itinerary will be a great experience. You will be able to climb the fortress of St. John (halfway), explore the stunning Bay of Kotor, visit the charming town of Perast, and admire the beauty of Our Lady of the Rocks.

Day 3: Herceg Novi and Budva

Herceg Novi

On the third day of your 5-day Montenegro itinerary, take an intercity bus to the charming coastal town of Herceg Novi.

Located near the Croatian border, Herceg Novi is a great place to explore Montenegro’s history and culture.

One of the highlights of Herceg Novi is the historic old town. Start with a walk through the old town, which is full of narrow streets, stone buildings, and charming cafes.

The Clock Tower in Herceg Novi

The Clock Tower is a popular photo spot, and the Forte Mare and Kanli Kula fortresses offer stunning views of the Adriatic Sea.

Stop for lunch at a seafood restaurant by the harbor.

From Herceg Novi to Budva

In the afternoon take an intercity bus from Herceg Novi to Budva, where you will stay for the next few days. The travel time between Herceg Novi and Budva is about an hour and a half. 

Budva central bus station is an easy 15-20 minute walk from the old town of Budva.

When choosing accommodation in Budva, pay attention to where it is located. Accommodation options are spread all over the Budva Riviera and you may find yourself quite far from the things you want to see and do in Budva.

🏨Click on the map to find the best accommodation in Budva.

After checking in to your accommodation, spend the rest of the day exploring the Old Town of Budva. You will have plenty of time to stroll through the narrow streets, explore the Budva Citadel, and admire the medieval architecture.

Budva is one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic. It is known for its artistic atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and rich historical heritage. 

Spend a few hours wandering around, admiring the old buildings, and soaking up the atmosphere. 

Ricardova Glava beach in Budva with Budva Old Town and Budva Citadel

The Church of St. John the Baptist, dating back to the 7th century, is a particular highlight with its rich history and stunning frescoes. 

Visit the Citadel and the Church of Santa Maria in Punta. 

Visit the Archaeological Museum of Budva. It is a small but interesting museum.

Just before sunset, go to the famous Budva Dancing Girl statue to take some pictures and watch the sunset. It is also known as the Budva Ballerina.

Budva Dancing Girl at sunset with Budva Old Town in the back

Day 4: Stari Bar and Sveti Stefan

How to get​ to Stari Bar from Budva

The 4th day of the 5 day Montenegro itinerary is dedicated to the town of Bar and the island of Sveti Stefan. 

Bar was the first capital of Montenegro. Here is the place to see some Ottoman architecture along with Renaissance, Gothic, and Baroque.

In the morning take a bus from Budva to Bar. The bus will take you along a picturesque road along the coast of the Adriatic Sea.

TIP: Take a seat on the right side of the bus for the best view.

Bar Fortress and Stari Bar

Stari Bar or the old town of Bar is about 5 km from the bus station. There is no public transportation, so taxis or walking are the only ways to get from Bar to Stari Bar. Keep in mind that Stari Bar is on a hill and it is a steep walk. I decided to take a taxi. There are a few of them waiting in front of the bus station. It was a quick and cheap ride.

Stari Bar, the old town of Bar, was destroyed by an earthquake in 1979. The clock tower, the customs building, the church, and the hammam have been restored and are worth a visit.

Just outside the walls is a small street full of charming souvenir shops and nice restaurants.

Restarurant in Stari Bar in a traditional house

Stop for lunch at one of the local restaurants. Expect the food to be more like Turkish food. It is delicious, fresh, and inexpensive.

Sveti Stefan Island – Montenegro’s most Instagrammable spot

On your way back to Budva, get off the bus at Sveti Stefan, which is about 10 km from Budva.

This tiny island is home to a luxury resort, but you can still enjoy the stunning views from the mainland.

TIP: Go down for a walk on Sveti Stefan Beach and then return for a coffee break to Hotel Adrovic. Their terrace has the best views of Sveti Stefan and is the perfect place to take your postcard photos.

Sveti Stefan Island near Budva in Montenegro

Overall, you will have a fantastic day discovering the beauty and history of Bar and Sveti Stefana Montenegro. These two destinations are not to be missed on any Montenegro itinerary.

Day 5: Relax And Go To The Beach

On the last day of your Montenegro travel, explore further Budva Old Town and spend some relaxing time on the beaches.

Mogren Beach is one of the best Budva beaches

Overall, it will be a great way to end your visit to Montenegro. Budva has a rich history and plenty of natural beauty.

Depending on your flight departure time, take the intercity bus to Tivat or a taxi to Tivat Montenegro Airport.

If you have one week or 10 days in Montenegro, you can extend your Montenegro travel itinerary. You can also add to it Durmitor National Park, Lovcen National Park, and Lake Skadar.

You could also continue your Montenegro trip to Croatia and make it a Croatia and Montenegro itinerary. Dubrovnik is less than an hour by bus from Herceg Novi.

The rooftop view of Kotor from St. Johns Fortress

To wrap it up: With my tested 5-day Montenegro itinerary, you will visit some of the top tourist destinations in the country, as well as some lesser-known gems. I highly recommend visiting the Bay of Kotor, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most picturesque places in Montenegro. Montenegro is an affordable and accessible destination, perfect for travelers who want to experience the beauty of Europe without breaking the bank. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or just relaxing on the beach, Montenegro has something for everyone.


Is 5 days enough for Montenegro?

Five days in Montenegro can be enough for a memorable experience, with a glimpse of everything from ancient towns to breathtaking beaches and mountains.

How many days do you need in Montenegro?

Even a short 3-5 day visit to Montenegro can be rewarding due to the country’s small size and the proximity of its attractions. However, spending more time allows you to appreciate the country’s diverse beauty and cultural depth more fully.

Can you do Montenegro without a car?

Traveling in Montenegro without a car is not only doable but can also enhance your experience, allowing you to enjoy the journey itself, meet locals, and reduce your environmental footprint.

Find everything you might need for your travels in one place on my Travel Resources page.

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