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3 Days in Montenegro: Ultimate 3 Day Montenegro Itinerary

Are you wondering how to spend 3 days in Montenegro? 

Many people I’ve worked with felt overwhelmed trying to fit in all the top sights and still have a relaxing break in just a few days here.

In this 3-day Montenegro itinerary, you'll find out exactly how to get the most out of your limited time in this stunning country. 

From the sun-kissed Adriatic coast to the charming old towns nestled in the mountains, you'll discover the top sights and some authentic experiences that go beyond the usual tourist trails. 

As someone who's lived in Montenegro for 15 years and worked in tourism here for most of them, I've helped countless travelers like you explore the best of what Montenegro has to offer.  

I guarantee you’ll love this Montenegro 3-day itinerary and come away feeling like you’ve experienced the beauty of this magical place and enjoyed a relaxing break! 

This Montenegro itinerary is completely customizable, so you can skip parts if you wish. You can also do it with or without a rental car, I give you options for both.

Contents

Day 1: Kotor

Arrival in Kotor

Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed coastal town in Montenegro known for its stunning natural setting and rich history.

I recommend spending your 3 days in Kotor because of its central location, easy accessibility, and range of things to do.

You can easily get here by bus or rental car from Tivat Airport (8 km), Podgorica Airport (88 km), or Dubrovnik Airport (70 km).

Exploring Kotor Old Town

St Luke's Square, Kotor Old TownSt Luke's Square, Kotor Old Town

Kotor Old Town is a must-see sight in Montenegro. The walled old town dates back 2,000 years and is incredibly beautiful.

The old town is very small and its narrow streets are pedestrian only. Inside the town, you’ll find Baroque palaces, churches, government buildings, and charming piazzas with open-air cafes and restaurants.

Key highlights in Kotor Old Town include St. Tryphon's Cathedral, St. Nicholas Church, Kotor Maritime Museum, and the famous Kotor city walls, which have protected the town for centuries.

Kotor is also known for its cats. Cats lounge in the streets and squares, and you’ll find a large number of them in Wood Square near the River Gate.

You’ll need 2-3 hours to see Kotor Old Town.

Best Ways to Explore Kotor Old Town:

Take a Kotor walking tour: This is a great way to quickly familiarize yourself with the town's history and main attractions.

Use my self-guided Kotor tour guide: Perfect if prefer to explore at your own pace.

Do the fun Kotor Secret City Trail: This 2-hour activity is both entertaining and informative.

Local’s Tip

Pick up a map from the information kiosk in front of the Sea Gate. It's a handy tool to help you navigate the Old Town.

San Giovanni Fortress

San Giovanni Fortress, KotorSan Giovanni Fortress, Kotor. Image: Deposit Photos

Hiking up to San Giovanni Fortress is a highlight in Kotor. The fortress sits above the town, offering some of the best views of Kotor and the bay. 

To start the hike, find the pathway near the River Gate in Kotor's Old Town. The trail to the fortress hike is well-marked, so you'll easily find your way.

As you begin your ascent up the city walls, you'll climb a series of steps – there are 1,355 in total. It's a challenging climb, but the path is straightforward and the views along the way are spectacular.

Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring water, as the hike can be demanding, especially in the heat.

Along the hike, you'll pass by the Church of Our Lady of Remedy, a perfect spot to take a short break and enjoy the scenery. The 16th-century Roman Catholic church itself is a beautiful piece of history, worth a quick visit.

Once you reach the top, you'll be rewarded with stunning panoramic views of Kotor Bay. The fortress ruins are fascinating to explore, and the view from the top is breathtaking. It's the perfect spot for photos and to take a moment to appreciate the beauty of Montenegro.

The hike back down is easier, but still requires care. Take your time and enjoy the changing perspectives of Kotor and the bay as you descend.

Local’s Tip

You’ll get fantastic photos of the fortress at sunset, when the setting sun shines on it. However, you’ll get the best photos of the Bay of Kotor during the morning or day time.

Dinner in Kotor

At the end of the day, enjoy a dinner at one of Kotor's traditional Montenegrin restaurants.

Thanks to Kotor's seaside spot, seafood is a big part of the traditional cuisine.

I recommend fried, grilled, or stuffed calamari and black risotto, colored and flavored with cuttlefish ink. Fresh fish like sea bream and buzara, a seafood stew cooked with wine, are also great options.

Grilled calamari in MontenegroGrilled calamari in Montenegro

If you prefer meat, Montenegro's Balkan grill dishes are a treat. Ćevapi sausages are absolutely delicious. My favorite way to have them is with kajmak, a rich Balkan clotted cream.

Or pair them with ajvar, a thick sauce made from roasted bell peppers for a healthier option.

Balkan grillBalkan grill

Njeguški steak, a schnitzel stuffed with smoked ham and cheese from Njeguši, is another traditional favorite. President Tito's chef created this award-winning dish!

For dessert, try palačinke, local pancakes, or kotorska pašta, a Kotor cream cake.

Kotorska pasta / krempitaKotorska pasta / krempita

Montenegro's traditional wine, Vranac, from the Lake Skadar region, pairs well with both seafood and meat. If you're up for something stronger, Rakija, a potent fruit brandy, is a classic choice – but it's strong, so be careful!

If beer is more your style, go for Nikšičko Pivo, Montenegro's local brew. It's especially refreshing after a climb up San Giovanni Fortress.

>> Find out about tipping in Montenegro.

Recommended Restaurants in Kotor

Konoba Scala Santa: Known for its authentic local dishes and cozy atmosphere.

Konoba Trpeza: Offers a variety of Montenegrin specialties, perfect for a culinary end to your day.

Galion: Upmarket seaside restaurant with idyllic views of Kotor’s fortress when it’s lit up at night.

BBQ Tanjga: Great-value, excellent-quality Balkan grill.

Where to Stay in Kotor

If you're staying in Kotor without a rental car, I recommend staying in Kotor Old Town. There are a lot of great accommodation options and you have restaurants and activities on your door step.

If you are hiring a car for your stay, I recommend looking for accommodation with parking outside the old town. You also have the option of being close to beaches.

Below you'll find accommodation recommendations for both inside and outside Kotor Old Town for every budget.

Recommended Accommodation Inside Kotor Old Town

Budget: Guesthouse BiT has super affordable and good quality rooms in a quiet part of Kotor old town.  

Mid-range: Kotor Nest has beautifully-presented and comfortable rooms in Kotor old town. These stylish rooms come with kitchenettes and some rooms have a private balcony. 

Luxury: Set in 13th-century Buća Palace, Boutique Hotel Astoria is a 5-star hotel with just 9 rooms.

Recommended Accommodation Outside Kotor Old Town

Budget: Apartmani Bobo has nice modern apartments with sea views and parking within walking distance of the beach and Kotor.

Mid-range: Apartments Jovanovic has modern and spacious seafront apartments just 20 minutes' walk from Kotor Old Town.

Luxury: Hyatt Regency Kotor Bay Resort is a 5-star seaside resort with pools and a private beach.

Day 2: Lovćen National Park and the Budva Riviera

Today’s itinerary takes you to experience Montenegro’s heartland and some of its most glittering attractions.

Lovćen National Park

Start your day with a drive from Kotor to Lovćen National Park. The journey takes you along the Serpentine Road, famous for its 25 switchback turns. As you climb higher, the views of the Bay of Kotor become increasingly spectacular.

Make a stop at Horizont Bar for a  drink while enjoying the panoramic views of the bay. It's a perfect spot to take in the scenery and snap some photos.

Njeguši Village

Njeguši is known for making the best smoked prosciutto in Montenegro. The combination of sea and mountain air, together with smoking that takes 4 months, produces excellent smoked ham.

Visit Kod Pera Na Bukoviću in Njeguši, Montenegro’s oldest restaurant. Here, you can buy traditional smoked prosciutto, cheese, and fruit brandy, all locally produced. These delicacies are a true taste of Montenegrin culture.

Local produce for sale at Kod Pera Na BukovicuLocal produce for sale at Kod Pera Na Bukovicu

Petar Petrović Njegos II Mausoleum

Petar Petrović Njegos II MausoleumPetar Petrović Njegos II Mausoleum. Image: Deposit Photos

Your next destination is the Petar Petrović Njegos II Mausoleum, a significant historical site offering more stunning views.

Petar Petrović Njegos II ruled Montenegro from 1830 to 1851. Although just 17 when he took the throne, he is credited with uniting Montenegro’s warring tribes and modernizing the fragile country.

At his mausoleum, you can climb the 461 to the mausoleum itself. From there, you can walk onto a traditional, circular threshing floor (a place where meetings would take place) for breathtaking views that stretch as far as Croatia, Albania, and even Italy on a clear day.

Lunch

For lunch, head to Belveder Restaurant near Cetinje and enjoy 'ispod sač', a traditional roast meat dish. It's a hearty and authentic Montenegrin meal that will give you a taste of Montenegro’s mountain cuisine.

Ispod sačIspod sač

Lipa Cave

Lipa Cave, MontenegroLipa Cave, Montenegro

After lunch, head to nearby Lipa Cave. Lipa Cave is a karst cave and it’s one of the biggest in Montenegro. It was discovered in the 19th century and so far about 3.5 km of it has been surveyed.

You can take a 1-hour guided tour through the cave (you can’t explore it on your own), which includes a mini-train ride to the cave’s entrance.

Local’s Tips

  • Wear sturdy shoes because the paths can be slippery.
  • Bring layers and a jacket because it’s just 8-12°C (46-54°F) in the cave.

Sveti Stefan

Sveti StefanSveti Stefan

Your next stop is Sveti Stefan, one of Montenegro’s most beautiful and exclusive destinations. This 15th-century fortress islet surrounded by turquoise waters and pink pebble beaches is a must-see. 

I recommend spending time swimming on the beach and walking through Miločer Forest Park to the charming hamlet of Pržno.

Along the way, you can see Villa Miločer the former royal summer residence, and Queen’s Beach, a stunning beach in a sheltered cove.

Przno, MontenegroPržno

Dinner

Hotel Adrovic, Sveti StefanHotel Adrovic, Sveti Stefan

For dinner, Hotel Adrović offers delicious food and incredible sunset views overlooking Sveti Stefan.

Budva

Budva Church St Maria di PuntaSt Maria di Punta Church in Budva Old Town

Cap off your night with a visit to Budva. Here, you can experience Budva’s famous nightlife, with its vibrant bars and clubs.

Finally, head back to your accommodation in Kotor.

Tour Option

If you prefer not to drive, you can do the Montenegro Full-Day Tour to Lovćen National Park and More that has a similar itinerary.

This tour takes includes:

  • Ride up Kotor Cable Car to Njeguši village
  • Guided tour of Kod Pera Na Bukoviću’s smokehouse with complimentary brandy shot
  • Traditional breakfast of prosciutto and cheese
  • Guided tour of Petar Petrović Njegos II Mausoleum
  • 1-hour walking tour of Cetinje, Montenegro’s old royal capital
  • Stop at Pavlova Strana viewpoint in Lake Skadar National Park
  • Traditional lunch of river fish
  • Boat trip in Rijeka Crnojevića
  • Photo stop at Sveti Stefan

This a great day tour (you can read my review here) that I highly recommend if you’re traveling solo or don’t want to drive. 

Day 3: Kotor Bay Boat and Beach Day

No stay in the Bay of Kotor is complete without taking a boat trip. Kotor has a range of boat tours to choose from that will take you to top attractions inside and outside the bay.

Here is a video of our experience on the Our Lady of the Rocks, Mamula, and Blue Cave Boat Tour.

Top attractions to see include:

  • Our Lady of the Rocks: a 15th-century island church and museum
  • Blue Cave: a natural sea cave known for its iridescent blue light
  • Žanjice Beach: a pristine pebble beach with crystal-clear water

If you have the whole day, I recommend this full-day Boka Bay Day Cruise on a luxury catamaran. This cruise is a fun and relaxing way to see the sights, and includes plenty of time for swimming and sunbathing.

The itinerary includes a guided tour of Our Lady of the Rocks, swimming in the Blue Cave, and a visit to Tivat and Porto Montenegro luxury marina.

For a half-day tour, this Blue Cave speed boat tour includes Our Lady of the Rocks, the Blue Cave, and an hour of beach time on Žanjice Beach. It also includes a stop at the Yugoslav-era sea tunnels that were used to hide submarines.

Zanjice BeachŽanjice Beach

Local’s Tips:

  • Wear your swimsuit under your clothes; there are no changing facilities on the boat.
  • Bring a snorkel and mask for an unforgettable snorkeling experience in the Blue Cave and at Žanjice Beach.
  • Pack layers, as it can get chilly on a speedboat, especially when returning in the evening.

If you want to spend more time on the beach you can explore some of Kotor’s best beaches. You’ll find both natural beaches and polished beaches with restaurants and sun loungers.

Dinner at Ćatovića Mlini

Konoba Ćatovića MliniKonoba Ćatovića Mlini

For dinner, head to Konoba Ćatovića Mlini in Morinj. This restaurant is renowned for its traditional Montenegrin cuisine and tranquil ambiance.

The converted watermill has running water throughout its manicured grounds and the traditional stone restaurant and dining terrace are an idyllic way to end your 3 days in Montenegro.

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