Last updated on July 11th, 2023
At first glance, Montenegro seems to be a tiny country where you can fit everything into a 7-day itinerary and see it all. But in reality, there are many hidden places in Montenegro, including lesser-known towns, secret beaches, and undiscovered hiking trails that can keep you busy for weeks in a row.
And surprisingly, these places stay rather quiet until this day since not many people know about them.
I would like to share a list of my favorite Montenegro hidden gems that impressed me so much. Each location guarantees solitude, picturesque landscapes, authenticity, and locals who haven’t been affected by mass tourism yet.
So, get your camera ready and embark on a mini adventure! And if you’d love to find more inspiration about Montenegro, then check my other posts on this Montenegro travel guide page.
Montenegro Hidden Gems – Unique Way to Experience the Country
Looking for an alternative way to spend time in Montenegro? Here are a few quick suggestions!
Hidden Gem Activities in Montenegro:
- Cruise around Montenegrin Alcatraz – and to the hidden corners of the lake
- Exploring Lipa Cave – one of the rare underground caves in Europe
- Budva Bay & Hidden Caves tour – with kayaks or SUPs
- Canyoning in Nevidio Canyon – one of the lesser-known deep canyons in Montenegro
Hidden Gem Hotels in Montenegro:
- Palazzo Sbutego – modern historic hotel with an outdoor pool & views in a hidden place in Kotor
- Forza Mare – 5-star boutique hotel in one of the most beautiful Montenegro locations
Stara Čaršija Hotel & SPA – B&B in old Montenegrin style with Islamic touch in Old Bar
- Etno Selo Izlazak – one of its kind eco farm-stay above the river & canyon
Planning to go independently? Then make sure to book your Montenegro rental car in advance to ensure availability and good prices!
MONTENEGRO HIDDEN GEMS FOR NATURE LOVERS
In this section of the blog, I talk about beautiful Montenegro spots that are true hidden gems perfect for nature lovers. You do need to travel to this Balkan country to spend time in nature!
The best way to visit them all is by car but some spots are also accessible by public transport. And many of them still haven’t been discovered much!
1.) Fishing Villge of Karuc Near the Skadar Lake
The village of Karuc is one of only a few villages near Skadar Lake where you can escape the hustle and bustle of nearby cities and coast, and enjoy the beauty of different nature scenes.
It is a perfect place for independent travelers, lovers of abandoned sites, historians, artists, and especially photographers.
I am not saying you have to spend your Montenegro holidays in Karuc village, no. But this is an idyllic spot for a few hours or half a day.
Here, you’ll want to stop and wander among dilapidated buildings that time forgot, enjoy the sound of silence, and eat incredibly tasty fish from a mini cafe in the backyard of someone’s home.
Also, this is a great starting point for boat tours around the canals of Skadar Lake (which is way less crowded than other spots) or just a place where to sit down in one of the eateries, order a cold beer, and taste freshly caught carp or eel.
In winter one or two people live here permanently (no exaggeration) so it does feel very abandoned. But in summer, especially during weekends, Montenegrins love to come here from Podgorica, Kotor, and even Herceg Novi to catch and smoke fish, taste local to this region homemade wine, and just take a city break.
Having a mild climate and being a place where winters are not very cold and almost never windy, Karuc was the place where even Peter I Njegosh built his winter home. You can find the ruins of this site on one of the hills in the village and admire the beautiful view from the top (in this photo above you can spot these ruins).
Tourists don’t know much about this place as tour companies never bring them here on guided Montenegro tours. Twisty narrow roads are not very appealing to bus drivers. Karuc is hidden from the eyes of mass tourism and is one of the most authentic places.
If you rent a car and stop here on your trip to Skadar Lake, you’ll get a chance to see one of the smallest pretty villages in Montenegro. And on the way to Karuc, while driving down, you’ll get a beautiful panorama of the village and lake.
2.) Meanders of Cehotino River & Lesser-Known Cehotino Canyon
This is another secret place in Montenegro but on a very opposite side of the country which you can combine with a trip to Durmitor and/or Biogradska Gora.
In fact, it doesn’t make much sense to drive to Cehotino on its own as the road is long. But once you are in the area, it can be part of a unique lesser-discovered road trip that goes by a Dzhurdzhevich bridge, a working water mill 12 km from it, and through the Muslim town Pljevlja and then a small village Otilovici.
The Menders of Cehotino final point where I suggest you make a stop and enjoy the surroundings is here in this location. From the top, you can see the bends of the river which form a reservoir built with the main purpose to supply water for cooling the turbines of the Plevlja Thermal Power Plant. However, water from this lake is also used to supply the city with water.
The area around this vista point is well taken care of, has a gazebo with shade and clean territory for picnics. Besides being a hidden gem, it is also one of the most beautiful secluded places in Montenegro where mass tourism has not reached.
If you want some action, take a village road towards the bottom of the canyon of the Cehotino River which is 11 km long. There, along the shore, you’ll find a fishing trail and quite a few fishing houses. There are also several access points to the reservoir where you can rent a boat or kayak.
NOTE: The entire route from Dzhurdzhevich Bridge goes along a good asphalt road. There is only a small stretch of about 1 km dirt road (in good condition) from the asphalt road to the Menders of Cehotino Vista point. You can cover it in a small economy car (just choose a bigger engine, 1.5 liters at least).
3.) Mamula Island & Fort – Hidden Gem of Montenegro Adriatic Sea
The island and fortress of Mamula are a mysterious attraction in Montenegro and at the same time somewhat lost place with unique architecture, landscape, and history. It is located in the Adriatic Sea and is strategically positioned, completely blocking access to the Bay of Kotor. It was for this reason that the fortress was built there.
The former name of Mamula was Lastavica. You will find this name until this day on old local maps or brochures. As for the modern name, it was given in honor of General Lazar Mamula, who ordered the construction of the fortress on the island in 1853. So Mamula became a fortification that protected the entrance to the Bay of Kotor, along with two other forts: Azra and Oštro.
If you climb the fortress walls, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Montenegrin coastline and the sea, visible from all sides.
The best way to visit this island is on a private small group boat tour like this one that goes through Boka Bay and makes a stop in a unique water cave with a crystal clear blue sea.
More Unique Tours in Boko Kotor Bay:
4.) Bukumirsko Lake – Nature Gem in Komovi Mountains
50 km away from hot Podgorica you can find an incredible landscape that not many people know about. Bukumirsko Lake, of a glacial origin, is surrounded by mountains with snowy caps and gentle slopes of the hills with a juicy green carpet of vegetation. The location is 1443 m above sea level with snow on the top almost until late spring.
This lake is very beautiful and its distinctive feature is that high mountains from all sides surround it. The water is transparent and beautiful water lilies float on the surface. It is also home to salamanders.
Number one reason to visit this hidden place is to enjoy the views and local hiking paths. In summer, come to swim or sunbathe, camp on the lake’s shores, have a picnic in nature, or even stay overnight to observe the star reflections on the lake. Stargazing here is as amazing as in Northern Tenerife. In July and August, when the weather is hot, it is one of the best places to escape the heat.
Bukumirsko Lake is located at the foot of Mount Komovi (in another lesser-known place in Montenegro – Komovi mountains), 50 km from Podgorica, near Mount Brskut. You can reach it via the TT4 highway and travel around 1.5 hours one way from the capital. And then from a parking lot, you need to continue to walk a bit on foot.
But even on the way to the lake, scenery changes and you can admire the mountain peaks and vast valleys.
At times, the road is not for the faint-hearted, there are no guardrails and some rocks may fall during windy conditions. But if you go in nice dry and sunny weather, there will be no challenges. And you can even go in a small car. But do NOT travel to such remote places in bad, rainy, and especially windy weather!
5.) Bjelasica Mountains – A True Hidden Gem of Central Montenegro
Montenegro has dramatic mountainous areas all over the country. The most famous ones are the mountains in Durmitor National Park and Prokletije. But those places are more or less known among many tourists.
Bjelasica mountains rightfully deserve the title of one of the most hidden places in Montenegro owing to the fact that almost no one visits them. Tourists usually head to Biogradska Gora National Park (which is full of people in summer) located on the western side of the Bjelasica mountain range. But there is so much beauty that exists farther in the wilderness that not many people visit.
This range of mountains is hidden from tourists’ eyes. Mainly because none of the agencies sells tours here and infrastructure is not as developed as in other parts of the country. Still, getting here is not a problem, and going on a hike or just walking in nature is a pure delight.
Among the must-visit hidden places in Bjelasica Mountains besides Biogradska Gora National Park and Biogradska Lake are Crna Glava, the highest peak of the Bjelasica range, standing at an elevation of 2,139 meters with panoramic views (you can hike to the summit) and Pešića Lake, known for its tranquil ambiance and pristine beauty. It’s an excellent spot for fishing, picnicking, and enjoying the peaceful surroundings which you can also hike to.
Kolašin and Mojkovac areas are also worth visiting for a relaxing mountain atmosphere, wine tasting, and eco stays.
And then if you are visiting Montenegro in winter, Bjelasica transforms into a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding. Kolašin Ski Resort and Jezerine Ski Resort are the main ski areas in the region, offering a range of slopes and facilities for winter sports enthusiasts.
BEST HIDDEN PLACES TO VISIT IN MONTENEGRO FOR VIEWS & RELAXATION
6.) Radenovici Church Hidden From the Sight – For the Best View of Sveti Stefan
You can admire the view of the mysterious island-hotel Sveti Stefan from different vista points. One of them is from a path in a nearby State Park, another from the restaurant in Hotel Adrovic which is right by the main road E65, or Grill Bar Murva on the beach.
I personally prefer a less-known and more distant spot near the church of Saint Sava in Radenovici village, location here. I am convinced this is the best site not only for the most fantastic view of a luxurious island with an elite hotel but also for the coastline and outskirts of Budva city.
For Mark and I, Radenovici village became some type of place of power where we felt we could access the energy of nature after long days of work. Come here too with snacks preferably for the sunset to take in the views and enjoy the atmosphere.
To get here you need to rent a car and drive up the hill on a twisty road with potholes. But as soon as you reach the top, you forget about the slow ride. The view beneath your feet and silence help to unwind the mind.
You won’t find loads of tourists here, just occasional wedding ceremonies and romantic photoshoots. Come to relax and distract.
7.) Žabljak Crnojevića Fortress – Abandoned Place in Montenegro
Mystery and thrill seekers will undoubtedly be interested in the abandoned fortress of Žabljak Crnojevića, located near Lake Skadar, which besides some mystic offers fantastic views. You can surely combine a stop here with the Karuc village that I mentioned in the beginning.
Once a major trade and economic center and a formidable defensive structure, the fortress now stands devoid of any inhabitants, which adds to its mystique. Old (and new) cemetery stands nearby.
The well-preserved buildings here are capable of evoking a sense of mystical awe. And the location by the river allows to observe abandoned boats, adding to the captivating and imaginative scenery.
If you come here hungry, I recommend you walk down to the river to Bisevina restaurant which serves incredibly delicious fish dishes. Right there nearby, you can also pay for the boat ride and cruise around the canals.
8.) Sveti Nikola Island – Secluded Beach Near Budva
From any resort city on the Budva Riviera, you will be able to observe the Island of Saint Nicholas (or Sveti Nikola Island). However, only a few tourists decide to visit this somewhat hidden place. You can reach it by boat from Budva during the high season from the waterfront many times during the day.
Despite its proximity to the mainland, the island retains a sense of seclusion and natural beauty. And because of the fact that many tourists prefer not to go there (for no reason), it stays quiet and feels untouched until this day.
One of the main attractions of Sveti Nikola Island is its stunning hidden beaches. The island offers several beautiful sandy and pebble beaches with crystal-clear turquoise waters. They are known for their natural beauty and relaxing atmosphere, although feel wild (as there is a minimum of infrastructure).
In addition to its natural charm, Sveti Nikola provides panoramic views of Budva and the surrounding coastline. You’ll find there a small cafe that usually rents out sunbeds in the summer. From the island, you can enjoy breathtaking vistas of the Adriatic Sea and the picturesque Budva Riviera. It’s a great spot for photography enthusiasts and nature lovers.
The ticket price for the boat from Budva waterfront to the island ranges from 5 to 7 euros depending on the season. But you can also visit it on a boat trip along the coast. Some companies make a quick stop there and give visitors some time to swim on the island’s beaches.
9.) Crvena Glavica Beach As One of the Least Crowded Beaches in Montenegro
This tiny beach with red rocky formations is often called Plaza Galija because of the restaurant with the same name there. Surprisingly, it never gets overcrowded, even during the busiest summer months.
The place is amazingly beautiful and differs from all other beaches of Montenegro. Due to red rocks, emerald sea, wonderful sunsets in the evening, and fewer people, I confidently add it to the list of the most hidden places in Montenegro.
Being close to Sveti Stefan and the main road, having a restaurant and deck chairs, there is still a secluded area on the cliffs where you can lay down on your own towel without having to pay.
Among the beaches of Budva Riviera, this one may become your favorite. At the end of spring or the beginning of the fall, when the water is still warm for swimming but not many tourists are there, you may find yourself alone. Pebbles are average in size, thus making it easy to enter the water.
During July and August come as early as you can to reserve a chair. Otherwise, do not hesitate to sit on the rocks.
10.) Piva Lake Canyon
Despite Piva Lake being one of the most beautiful places in Montenegro, tourists don’t visit here as often as other places. Although it is that corner of the country which in some ways is similar to the famous Scandinavian fjords like those in the small town of Modalen or Ulvik in Norway.
Piva Lake is not really a lake, but a river in the form of a reservoir. But the entire area around this reservoir includes Piva Canyon with small Stabanska and Trnovacko lakes, a magnificent mountain range with forests and pastures, ethno-villages with apiaries and herds of horses, waterfalls, and ancient monasteries.
When I recommend visiting it, I do not mean to look at it from above (although there are a few scenic spots where you can take the best photos with the lake in the background).
Among the best things to do on Piva Lake is to go to the beach in Pluzine, take a boat ride or kayak there (you can inquire about it on the beach directly or at one of the restaurants), go SUPing, walk on the wooden bridge on the Piva River that leads to Bosnia and Herzegovina, visit the 16th-century Orthodox Piva Monastery, or take a mountain road trip to the villages of Trsa and ethnic-village of Milogora, where you’ll find horseback riding tours.
To get the best of your time in this area, I recommend visiting in the morning or early afternoon on a sunny day. In this case, the water will look just like the surface of a mirror.
The best drive is along the canyon in the northern part, in the same direction as you would be going to Scepan Pole for rafting on the Tara river, or when paying a visit to Durmitor National Park towards Sedlo Pass. When driving to the park, take a country road from the main highway towards Boricje. That drive is more fascinating.
11.) Krašići – Unique Lesser-Visited Village on the Adriatic Coast
And I want to finish (for now) my post about Montenegro’s hidden gem places with one of my favorite villages near Kotor that many people simply miss on their travels to this country.
This village has the name Krašići (once a simple fishing village) that transformed into a clean and well-maintained settlement with modern cottages, cozy houses, and a few very short but neat streets. It attracts those people seeking a quiet and peaceful getaway away from all those touristy places.
The main feature here are guesthouses and tiny local beaches with transparent azure water. Almost all of them here are very budget-friendly but the location and views are beautiful. Some examples just to show you what to expect are Boka Apartments and Villa Mare.
Among the attractions are ancient churches built several centuries ago like the Church of St. Nicola and the Orthodox Church of St. Luka. Both of them are connected by a trail that goes above the village and offers fantastic views of the fjords and Tivat in the distance.
This is it for now in terms of lesser-known places in Montenegro. But from time to time, I am updating this post adding more beautiful Montenegro spots that not many people visit. So you can be sure this post is up to date!
More Posts About Montenegro Travel
- Lovcen National Park hiking guide – things to know before you go hiking
- 6 Easy Scenic Walking Trails – along the Montenegro coast
- Is Montenegro Safe? – honest answers to important questions
- Hiking in Durmitor Park – 10 stunning hikes that should be on your list
- Bobotov Kuk Hike – guide to the highest peak of Montenegro
- What to Do in Kotor – things to do in one day and longer
- Is Herceg Novi Worth Visiting? – when it is and when it’s not
- Day Trips From Kotor – best spots to visit and places to skip
- Where to Stay in Montenegro – guide to resort cities & accommodation
- Rent a car in Montenegro – things to know and avoid
- How to Find & Rent Apartment in Montenegro – long term
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