Montenegro is one of the newest countries in the world, gaining it’s independence in June of 2006. As such, it is just opening up to tourism, which makes it more of an exotic and slightly more rugged adventure than some of its neighbors, although many celebrities have been coming here for decades. A fantastic way to see this little gem is by renting a car. While some of the roads and infrastructure need a bit of maintenance, the scenery is awe-inspiring and magnificent. Green mountains cut in two by fjords full of deep blue Adriatic water, a variety of beaches, and the mysteries of the Old Towns, make Montenegro a wonderful place to visit, and one of the only ‘undiscovered’ places left in Europe!

Tourists should keep in mind that while Montenegro is a small country, the driving times between many of the cities can be much longer than they seem on a map. Switchbacks on mountain roads, meandering roads along jagged coastlines, and then just the oddities that you may run into on country lanes (herds of goats, cows, and such), and snow on the mountain passes in the winter are all obstacles that can make what seems like a short jaunt on paper, end up being quite a longer journey. Of course, driving along these gorgeous coastlines, and seeing interesting sights in the countryside is the exact reason to rent a car in Montenegro, so relax, enjoy the sights, and take a picture!

Many people choose to fly into Dubrovnik Airport, rather than Montenegro, as the airport there serves more airlines, and is just a short drive from the resort towns and beaches in Montenegro.

While driving in Montenegro, there are some important rules that must be followed to avoid problems and to keep safe. First off is to know that traffic checks by police are quite common, and nothing to worry about—assuming you have your affairs in order. Drivers must carry a valid driver’s license (international is OK), have proof of ownership or for rented cars, the rental contract, and have insurance. Travelers crossing into Montenegro from a neighboring country, will have to buy a “Green Card” insurance at the border, which should cost roughly 15 Euros for 15 days. Also, those wishing to cross the border into Montenegro should keep in mind that, especially in the high season, the checkpoints at the crossings can be extremely crowded, and lines of cars up to a Km are not uncommon. A good way to try to miss this is to cross on a weekday early in the morning, or late at night. Here are some other quick tips tourists wishing to rent a car in Montenegro should be aware of:

  • The use of seat belts is required.
  • Talking on cell phones while driving is illegal.
  • ANY drinking and driving is illegal.
  • Speed limits are tightly enforced.

Some Montenegrins drive aggressively and recklessly, so caution is always recommended when driving in any foreign country.
Although roads in the cities tend to be in fair condition, the mountain roads are in need of major maintenance, and guard rails are few and far between. Be very careful on these roads.

The main highways in Montenegro are the E65/E80 which connects Herceg-Novi to Podgorica, and passes through the other beach towns of Kotor, Perast, Tivat, and Budva, and the E762, which bisects the country, and leads into eastern Croatia. The driving time from Herceg-Novi (on the Croatian border) to Podgorica (on the other side of the country, near the Albanian border) is roughly two hours. The cities in between are somewhere between half and hour and an hour between each one.

Montenegro has two main airports, Podgorica Airport (TGD) , and Tivat Airport (TIV). Both airports offer plenty of car rental desks. It can be occasionally difficult to find flights into the Montenegrin airports, so many tourists choose to fly into Dubrovnik, Croatia. The airport is located just across the border, and is just as close to the beach towns as Podgorica. It also offers many car rental desks, but travelers wishing to drive over to Montenegro should tell the company this to make sure that all the papers are in order.