Montenegro has landscape beauty to match any country on the map. Her undulating mountains stand out because of the numerous canyons. Likewise, her sapphire blue waters on the coast are contrasted with ancient coastal towns and porous rock spiraling up and even playing out in the waters. To experience the diverse beauty, consider a series of family travel drives or one big road trip across Montenegro. You can only see a fraction of the beauty spending a week on the beach. Moving about will increase your wow factor. As a mobility aid, we have identified the 15 most scenic roads for route planning in Montenegro.
How We Identified the Best Roads to Drive Montenegro
In 2010, I was bit by the Balkan bug. People that travel here understand. There is something fascinating about this region that causes a traveler to want to spend more time here. After a series of trips, I was bringing my wife along talking about the prospects of moving our family here. Then in 2013, we made the jump and moved to Montenegro. Since that time we have been working with locals to develop a farm stay network. That process has led to innumerable conversations with locals and lots of time spent all around the country. And every time I go out, I expect to be in awe of the nature around me. I don’t ever want to take the beauty for granted.
For more than a year we have been making notes on the most scenic roads. It wasn’t about just one specific lookout. We were looking for the stretches of road that would continue to offer something new and put the traveler in awe. After formulating a working plan, we began a 3-month period of filming.
Through the filming process, we tried to capture a wide range of beauty, giving scope both to the seasons and the landscape of nature. We also drew a little from the existing Meanderbug video library for some summer footage. We hope you enjoy the video as much as we did while making it. And, we hope this effort enables you to better formulate a road trip plan for your Montenegro adventure.
The 15 Most Scenic Roads for Route Planning in Montenegro
1. Plužine to Žabljak (P14)
The road between Pluzine and Zabljak is the most diverse road we have ever driven. It offers the Piva Canyon with perfect blue waters. The road winds through the UNESCO designated Durmitor National Park with its 48-peak massif and multiple glacial lakes. While the road can be driven in a couple of hours, we suggest you plan more time for lots of stops, picture-taking, scrambles out onto some rocks, and plenty of time to just sit in wonder. And if you can make the time, plan a couple days for hiking around the park.
Road notes: This narrow road requires give and take with oncoming drivers. While this is generally safe, there are multiple high points with massive drop-offs along the way. Also, note that this road is snowed out during winter. Do not rely on signage to tell if the road is passable. The locals are the best source of info on changing road conditions.
Food & lodging notes: While there aren’t many food options on this backcountry route, you can stop in Pluzine or Zabljak for a bite to eat. For organic food and lodging we recommend these farm stays on the #1 road in Montenegro.
2. Lovčen to Kotor (P1)
The most direct route between Lovcen National Park and Kotor includes a famous serpentine road that turns back and forth some 26 times high above the Bay of Kotor giving spectacular views with each turn. Above this road stands the most revered spot for Montenegrins high up in Lovcen. The road also goes through the Njegusi Selo or village where Njegos, their celebrated playwright and ruler, was born. This road has been featured on Top Gear and high-end auto commercials.
Road notes: This narrow switchback road can be treacherous. With inward leaning concrete barriers on one side and jagged rock on the other, multiple vehicles may have to reverse their way back up the road when meeting a bus or construction vehicle coming the other way.
Food & lodging notes: There are a few food options on this route with good lookout views. Good food options are available in Lovcen and Kotor. Also, Kotor has a significant amount of lodging inside the old town. Here are the farm stay options that look out on the Bay of Kotor.
3. Plav to Grebaje Selo (P9, GU02)
Though unknown to many locals, we were convinced this route had to be in the top 3 roads in the country. Visible along the route is Plav Lake, the Ljuca River, and the old town in the center of Gusinje. The whole route is beautiful, but the drive into Grebaje is absolutely stunning. This section of Prokletije National Park offers a boulder-strewn valley leading up to rock walls that skyrocket up to sharp peaks in the sky. If you are seeing the sites along the way, make time to stop by the Ali Pasina Izvor or springs. It is a great view with fresh springs in the foreground with the same mountain backdrop.
Road notes: The road between Plav and Gusinje is good. The village road in Grebaje is narrow, but there is plenty of space to make room for cars coming the other way.
Food & lodging notes: Food and beverages are available in both Plav and Gusinje including a number of halal options. Recommended lodging option coming soon…
4. Rijeka Crnojevica to Virpazar to Veliki Ostros (unmarked road, P16)
This 60 km road has more than any one road could normally contain. With sightings of the Crnojevica River including the famous river bend location, Pavlova Strana (pictured above), and sustained views of Skadar Lake, you may want to take turns driving so everyone can take in the views. Additional things to see include the old villages, family wineries, and an ancient chestnut forest. Also, this is a birders’ paradise. So be on the lookout for any of some 300+ species of birds playing in the area.
Road notes: This road offers a drive as difficult as it is beautiful. The narrow roads make for some tough passes in places if you meet oncoming traffic. Also, a number of blind corners should be taken slowly.
Food & lodging notes: Food is available in both Rijeka Crnojevica and Virpazar. For organic food and lodging we recommend these farm stays on the #4 road in Montenegro.
5. Kotor Bay Road (E80, E65, Jadranska Magistrala)
The views all around the Bay of Kotor are movie-setting ready. The mountains come down to the water all around unless there is a Venetian-style coastal town in the relief. Some of the most notable sites include the Kotor Old Town, Perast with her two island churches (pictured above), and Risan.
Road notes: The road is good for 2 lanes of traffic (1 each way). If someone is in a hurry it can cause some chaos. Also, drivers need to be on the lookout for foot traffic here. Best times for this road are any non-summer months. Trying to get somewhere from mid-June through August is difficult with all the congestion. Plan enough time to sit a while.
Food & lodging notes: Food and lodging are available all around the bay. Enjoy!
6. Podgorica to Bijelo Polje (E80, E65)
A drive with constantly changing landscape including the snaking Moraca Canyon, numerous Spartan mountain peaks, a much gentler Mt. Bjelasica area and the corresponding Biogradska Gora National Park. This drive is fascinating in all seasons including the vibrant Fall colors (shown above).
Road notes: Many travelers remark about the danger of the roads in Montenegro. They are often referring to this road. At times there are lanes for passing, but the rock falls, gorgeous views that offer distraction, narrow bridges, and often impatient other drivers can make this one a challenge. Enjoy, but be careful.
Food & lodging notes: There are sporadic food possibilities along the way with more options in Podgorica, Kolasin, and Bijelo Polje. For organic food and lodging along the way, we recommend these farm stay options on the #6 road in Montenegro.
7. Andrijevica to Konjuhe Selo (BT AN05 & TT3)
The Andrijevica area is a pastoral nature setting filled with quaint family farms and haystacks. The Zlorecica River cuts through for relief with pebbles to boulders the size of buildings accentuating its watery trail. Towering high above in the background, the Komovi Massif has a distinctive mountain look. This undiscovered area of Montenegro is full of hiking and MTB trails.
Road notes: The narrow roads provide an opportunity to interact with neighbors along the way. Whether you yield way or pass on through, be sure to wave to the locals on the roadway. And take the road slowly. While it is asphalt, there are enough potholes and loose gravel to keep you honest.
Food & lodging notes: The options are limited in this area except for several possibilities in town. To get the true experience of the land and her people, we recommend these farm stay options near Andrijevica.
8. Nikšić to Lukavica (M3, E762)
Driving through Niksic as you enter the region of Zupa, the city streets quickly change to rural life and family farms. As you wind your way up Lukavica, the rocky terrain sprawls in all directions. Then on the top of the mountain, a fairy tale world opens up. Besides the grassy terrain between the rocky areas, you also will see the glacial lake, Kaptenavo Jezero.
Road notes: The road to Lukavica is fine, but on the plateau it is a rocky road. Many of the rocks are large making it difficult for a low-clearance vehicle to pass. A good option is to park the car on the side of the road and make it into a casual hike out to Kapetanovo Jezero.
Food & lodging notes: Niksic has food and some lodging options, but the options drop significantly after you leave town. We recommend these farm stay options on and near Lukavica for lodging and farm to table national foods.
9. Skadar Lake to Budva (M2, M1)
Leaving from the Virpazar area, a new toll road makes getting to the beach faster, but the old mountain road provides some epic views. These views include views of Skadar Lake, more rocky mountains, and then the coastal view looking out over Petrovac and her two small rock islands. Continuing on gives a great view of the famous island view, Sveti Stefan.
Road notes: The road is windy and good with a few extra sharp corners. Take it easy and enjoy.
Food & lodging notes: Food and lodging are available in the area, but this part books early. Best to make your reservations months in advance. For great food and lodging along the way including glamping and family micro wineries, we recommend these Skadar and coastal farm stay options.
10. Berane to Šiško Jezero (R24, BT TT3)
On this route west from Berane, concrete quickly gives way to nature and villages. Heading into the backside of Biogradska Gora National Park, the rock structures put on an artistic display including a local favorite jutting up by the side of the road as well as the distant Stena or wall of rock. Continuing on past Lubnice and Kurikuce Villages, a gravel road will lead several kilometers further into Biogradska Gora and the glacial lake–Sisko Jezero.
Road notes: The R24 is a newly constructed road and still good in most places. Some potholes are already present requiring more ever-present driving. The road from Lubnice to Kurikuce has patches of gravel, but this is a well-packed road. After Kurikuce the driving is large gravel and stone. High clearance is needed to go further. The drive from Kurikuce to Sisko Jezero is best done in a 4×4 or take it as a good hike.
Food & lodging notes: Berane has several food and a couple lodging options. We recommend these village farm stays on the #10 road in Montenegro.
11. Danilovgrad to Ostrog Monastery (R23)
There are two ways to get to the Ostrog Monastery and both provide epic views. The M18 is the known route and can handle the most traffic on the far side of the valley. But the smaller road (R23) provides the best approach views of the cliffside monastery.
Road notes: The road is narrow, but good. After the monastery heading back out to the M18, passing oncoming buses is difficult. While this isn’t the most treacherous road in the country it does require patience and possibly a few close scrapes.
Food & lodging notes: Food and lodging are available both in Podgorica and around the monastery. Here are our recommendations for the best places to stay in Podgorica including our favorites, the farm stay options.
12. Nikšić to Risan (M6, P11)
Though not on the original list, we just decided the contrasts here were too good to pass up. Leaving out of Niksic, you’ll pass a large lake, Slansko Jezero, which provides some great tree-filled watery views. As you leave the lake behind, you’ll be in a sea of rocks for more than 50 km. Then climbing up, you crest a hill to have a spectacular view of Kotor Bay from the Risan side.
Road notes: The road is good along this route. Drive careful!
Food & lodging notes: Food and lodging are available both in Niksic and around the Bay area. We recommend these farm stay listings in Zupa for staying the night and tasting organic, local foods.
13. Tara Bridge to Mojkovac (P4)
The Djordjevic Most or Tara Bridge is the longest bridge in Montenegro at 365m and standing 170m above the Tara River. Inviting both a drive and a walk across, the bridge is a key landmark for the Tara River Canyon, one of the deepest in Europe and the world. Much of this road travels along the canyon providing some spectacular lookout points along the way. Toward the end of the road, the view northeast toward Bjelasica is also noteworthy.
Road notes: The road is narrow but good along the way. Much of the route has a mountain wall on one side with Tara Canyon dropping down below on the other side of the road. We suggest you drive with caution as many stretches do not have guard rails. Also, hold hands of little ones for safety if stopping for any observation or picture taking.
Food & lodging notes: Food and lodging are available around the bridge area and in Mojkovac with few stops along the way. We recommend these farm-stays on the #13 road in Montenegro.
14. Bijelo Polje to Plav (E65)
Driving the east side of the country, the mountains are not as numerous, but still just as powerful. Much of the way Bjelasica is visible on the right with Prokletije National Park and the Komovi Massif visible at points along the way. This flatter land features the Lim River and a number of family farms.
Road notes: The road is narrow but good much of the way. There are spots where previous landslides are awaiting repair, but these are still passable. Proceed at those points and through the towns with restraint.
Food & lodging notes: Food and lodging are available at each of the towns. Our preferred place to stay and eat are the farm stays between Bijelo Polje and Plav near the E65.
15. Andrijevica to Kolašin (M9)
This old road is a collection of twists and turns that somehow collectively progress in a forward direction. The road captures the centuries-old tradition of Montenegro’s village life combined with her spectacular nature. Besides woodpiles and haystacks along the way, you will also have great views of Komovi.
Road notes: The road is narrow and windy with high, narrow passes. Calm your nerves and allow plenty of time for this one. If you are not in a hurry, this road can be a great adventure.
Food & lodging notes: Food and lodging are available at the beginning and end of the road with only a few food options in-between. We recommend these farm stay options on or near the M9 route.
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