Croatia has understandably become a popular location for travellers. Great weather, excellent beaches, and eye-catching architecture mean there’s something for everyone.
Oddly, its neighbour, Montenegro, isn’t as popular despite having a similar climate and its own charms.
The gulf in popularity also makes Montenegro a cheaper holiday, so why hasn’t it become a tourist hotspot?
Here are eight reasons why you should visit Montenegro over Croatia.
Montenegro v Croatia
As mentioned, price is a big motivator to holiday in Montenegro. Accommodation and food are reasonably priced, and Budget Your Trip estimates that total holiday costs will amount to €84 a day.
If you’re travelling on a bigger budget, luxury holidays are a fraction of the cost. For example, one of the country’s most expensive hotels, Herceg Novi at Lazure Marina and Hotel, was just £95 a night in October 2022.
However, there are lots of affordable places to visit – what makes Montenegro the best budget choice?
2. It’s quieter
Croatia’s reputation is well-known, meaning it’s crowded throughout the year. During peak summer months, hotspots like Dubrovnik can become very busy.
By contrast, parts of Montenegro are busy, particularly Kotor when a cruise ship comes in, but it’s easy to escape the tour groups and cruise passengers. If you’re a fan of a quieter holiday, then Montenegro is the better choice.
It isn’t exactly a hidden gem but it’s lesser known than its neighbour Croatia, so it does have an ‘off the beaten path’ vibe about it.
3. Kotor over Dubrovnik
When reviewing Montenegro or Croatia, you need to compare its two gems: Kotor and Dubrovnik.
They’re both beautiful, but some visitors are blown away by the charm of Kotor.
Your preference comes down to taste, but if the image of a medieval, fairy-tale-like town with tiny streets nestled in the mountains appeals, then Montenegro’s Kotor could win.
4. There’s so much to see
Montenegro has much of what makes Croatia popular: quaint towns, gorgeous beaches, stunning coastline, great restaurants and rugged mountains.
It’s a cliché, but there is something for everyone. Enjoy hiking? Try Durmitor National Park. On a romantic getaway? Make sure you visit Perast. History or culture buff? Don’t miss Ostrog Monastery. Fancy getting nautical? Take a boat trip to the Blue Caves from Herceg Novi.
5. It’s small enough you could almost see it all
Montenegro is small, meaning you can see (almost) everything the country has to offer in a short time.
Visit Montenegro for a week and hire a car, and you'd see the country's highlights. Learn all about hiring a car abroad.
6. Hiking in the mountains of Zabljak
Montenegro is regularly referred to as a hiker’s paradise. If it’s your first trip to Montenegro, make time to hike in the mountains of Zabljak. You’ll pass lakes, alpine forests, ice caves, craggy mountains and stunning views.
There are numerous hikes to choose from, and you can hire a local guide or join a tour if you’d rather be part of a group.
7. Perast and Our Lady of the Rocks
Perast’s beautiful waterfront lined with historic buildings is one the best places to visit in Montenegro thanks to its dramatic mountains and incredible bay.
From Perast you can take a boat trip to two little islands, one of which is Our Lady of the Rocks where there’s a pretty church with an interesting history. An ideal spot for holidaying couples.
Montenegro doesn’t experience mass tourism like Croatia does, so it retains a level of authenticity.
You can easily veer off a popular street and stumble upon something that’s just for the locals.
Is Montenegro safe?
Montenegro is considered safe.
However, the UK Government advises visitors to take care of their belongings when travelling, as you would any other country.
Despite being relatively unknown, Montenegro still has its touristy areas, and you can be targeted for scams and theft. However, this is rare, and you can circumvent this by prioritising your safety.
The local emergency numbers are 112 (general emergencies), 122 (police), 123 (fire department) and 124 (ambulance).
If you lose your passport, contact the British Embassy in Podgorica.
No matter where you go, travel insurance helps. It’s a safety net, and you can enjoy your overseas break with peace of mind.
I’m the founder of The Travel Hack, one of the UK’s leading travel blogs focusing on travel tips and hacks to make your travels as easy and affordable as possible. I began blogging in 2009 during a two year backpacking trip through Asia and Australia when I lived and travelled in an old VW campervan. I studied journalism when I returned home, but quickly realised traditional media wasn’t for me. I now live in Wales and have two little boys, so I also blog about family travel and my weekend adventures around Wales.