Travel and Home logo icon profile picture transparent traveling

Montenegro vs Croatia?

Having been to both Croatia and Montenegro, my personal choice is magical Montenegro. Once you’ve been to Montenegro, you’ll experience the country’s magical beauty in both seascapes and landscapes. I will try to highlight a few reasons why I prefer Montenegro if I had to choose. Just like Croatia, this tiny Balkan country offers a vast variety of sightseeing and outdoor activities.

The number one reason to visit is the country’s unsung beauty. Secondly, it’s far more affordable here than in Croatia. Accommodation and eating out are much cheaper than in Croatia (as of August 2020). You can enjoy a luxury holiday at a fraction of the cost you’d pay in Croatia. 

Montenegro is also known as Black Mountain (Črna Gora). It is believed that its inhabitants named it as such because of the towering mountains climbing into the dark clouds. Another version is that it simply was because of the forests, looking almost black. Especially around Lovćen National Park.

Just over half of its territory lies within the Danube River Basin, the remainder being in the Adriatic Sea catchment. Notable Danube rivers are the Tara, Piva, Lim and Ćehotina and the Ibar.

Budva

Budva is known for the ballerina statue or also referred to as the gymnast statue. Pack a picnic basket and watch the sunset, waiting for the perfect moment to snap a photo of the ballerina holding the sun!

Montenegro The Budva Ballerina Statue The Gymnast Statue from Budva
Montenegro Budva Beach

It’s hard to believe that there is a place that is 2,500 years old with only about 20,000 inhabitants! That is Budva, one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic coastline. dating back to the 5th century BC.

Previously under Italian rule, Budva was incorporated into the Socialist Republic of Montenegro (SRM) in 1944. At that time the SRM was a part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The land where, today,  humanity and nature live in perfect harmony became an independent country in 2006.

During this time on 15 April, 1979 Budva was hit with a devastating earthquake of 6.9 magnitudes.  Despite the devastation, Budva was restored to its original form and today we have Budva as the primary tourist destination.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Nearest airports to Budva

 
 
  • Tivat Airport (TIV) 16.90 Km
  • Podgorica Airport (TGD) 34.22 Km
  • Dubrovnik Airport (DBV) 56.39 Km
  • Tirana Airport (TIA) 121.46 Km
 
Montenegro Budva Church
Montenegro Budva Old Town

Sveti Stefan Island

Most probably Montenegro’s most iconic destination with a uniquely atmospheric setting of cobbled lanes, stone cottages, and handsome courtyards!

Kotor

Another coastal beauty of Montenegro is Kotor with a city population of just over 13,000 in 2011. The limestone cliffs of Orjen and Lovćen create an impressive landscape of this World Heritage Site, dubbed the Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor. Incidentally, Montenegro has four (see above and below) UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

The Bay of Kotor Montenegro UNESCO World Heritage Site includes the settlements of Kotor Herceg Novi and Tivat
The Bay of Kotor Montenegro UNESCO World Heritage Site includes the settlements of Kotor Herceg Novi and Tivat.

Korto is a double Unesco World Heritage Site because the city is also part of another World Heritage Site, i.e. Venetian Works of Defence between 15th and 17th centuries: Stato da Terra – western Stato da Mar. 

Cetinje

Cetinje is the secondary capital of Montenegro and also the official residence of the country’s President. The entire municipality of Cetinje had less than 20,000 inhabitants in the 2011 census. 

This 15th-century city is surrounded by limestone mountains.

Despite bursting at its seams with majestic mountains and breathtaking beaches, this magnificent country is not yet “a Croatia” in terms of mass tourism. For instance, you still experience a sense of authenticity. Unlike Croatia, it is easy to shop what the locals shop, without salespeople trying to push a sale.

Nearest airports to Cetinje

  • Tivat Airport (TIV) 15.8 km (9.8 miles)
  • Podgorica Airport (TGD) 28.0 km (17.4 miles)
  • Dubrovnik Airport (DBV) 56.3 km (35 miles)
Montenegro Cetinje

Island of Gospa od Skrpjela (Our Lady of the Rocks)

Montenegro Boka Bay

Magical Montenegro? Yes, for sure. When you tell your friends and family you’re off to Montenegro, chances are they won’t be advising you where to eat, or what to do! This is only because they have not been YET. So, you’re up to exploring all on your own. Magic stuff! You’ll have many stories and photos to share and I bet they’ll be making plans to visit as well! This time you can advise them on the choice of restaurants, why they should visit Perast for a romantic excursion, visit the Ostrog Monastery, take a boat trip to the Blue Caves, and another boat trip to our Lady of the Rocks.

No matter what the season, there is a reason to travel to this unsung travel destination all year through. The annual carnival sets off in Boka Bay and flows over to other coastal towns when the colder weather moves into Boka Bay. 

 
 
 
 
 

The nearest airport to the Island of Gospa od Skrpjela

  • Tivat Airport (TIV) 3 km 

Tivat in the southwest region

It features a lovely promenade along the harbor with good cafes for coffee and cake. If you’re into hot chocolate you should try Topla Chocolader. Delish! And don’t miss out on Minjon – Italian ice cream, better than the Italians make it.

Tivat is famous for…

A great choice to stay in Montenegro is indeed Tivat because it is very central to most tourist attractions. That said, without the hassle of staying in one.

Airports in Tivat

Tivat Aiport is the larger of the two international airports in Montenegro.

Do you need a car in Tivat?

Yes. That is if you’re not staying on a beachfront and intend to spend all your time there. If you’re staying inland you sure need a car to go to one of the nicer beaches. 

Things to do in Tivat

  • The beautiful big city park, in the center of Tivat, is the largest botanical garden in the South Adriatic and encloses the space of 4 ha.
  • Porto Montenegro is one of Montenegro’s most beautiful destinations. In addition, it is one of the most prestigious marinas on the Adriatic Sea and a major tourist attraction.
  • Take a tourist taxi boat or one of the barges to Sveti Marko Island, also known as Stradioti, for its enchanting beach.
  • Seventeenth-century old Summer cottage house Buca is the place to go for interesting literary nights, painting exhibitions, and various other cultural events during the summer season.
  • Usually, during August, the nearby village Gornja Lastva is the place to enjoy listening to authentic music from Boka, in folk round dances, and folk games, and to see the exhibitions of the paintings of Tivat fine art creators.
  • The Consulate of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, not far from the promenade Pine in Tivat, is open to the public. Here you can learn about the period 1945 to 1989 in its museum.  
  • Lastly, the amazing Naval Heritage Collection Museum is a must-see. Tivat used to be a Navy-base, and the museum tells the story of which is partly in under the open sky.  You’ll know you’re at the right place when you spot the old submarines! Address: Porto Montenegro, Tivat.

Where to stay in Tivat

With Booking.com you’ll find over 400 approved lodging options, varying from luxury hotel stays to self-catering apartments, guesthouses, and more.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tivat Montenegro travelandhome coastline
Tivat Montenegro travelandhome
Tivat Montenegro travelandhome porto montenegro yacht club
20140726 131736
Tivat Montenegro travelandhome naval heritage collection museum
Tivat Montenegro Naval Heritage Collection Museum

Nature

There is no shortage of the wonders of nature in Montenegro.  Enjoy walking on the beach, hiking, fishing, cycling, swimming, and a variety of water sports. 

Hiking the mountains of Zabljak is a must for keen hikers. You can join a tour group or hire a local guide to show you the hidden gems of the lakes, alpine forests, ice caves, craggy mountains, and amazing views.

Hiking can take up quite some time.  You may want to pad your itinerary with some extra time to allow for those unplanned stops taking in the breathtakingly beautiful views.

 
 
Durmitor National Park Zabljak Montenegro UNESCO World Heritage Site

If you spend one full week in Montenegro you’d be able to cover Montenegro’s highlights.  Of course, if it is in peak summer you may want to pad your stay with a few extra days for lazing on the beaches.

It may sound annoying and like a big brag, but it sure feels good to say you’ve explored a country before it was hit by mass tourism. The time to explore its unparalleled beauty is now.

Stecci sing. stecak or the medieval tombstones in Zabljak and Pluzine in Montenegro UNESCO World Heritage Sites