Montenegro is turning into the country that very soon will start to suffer from over tourism. With each year, more and more people seek to spend their holidays in this part of the Balkans. Still, since most travelers mainly flow to the coastal cities and towns, there are still quite a few hidden places in Montenegro where you’ll barely see any people. Even during the peak season.
It makes no odds how gorgeous a destination is, I personally cannot enjoy it if there are too many tourists around. That’s why during the time when Mark and I lived in Budva, we tried to go on more secluded hikes, stay away from crowded Old Towns and discover hidden gems and spots. And to tell you the truth, there are a lot of hidden spots in Montenegro.
I would love to share a list of our favorite ones that impressed us so much. Each location guarantees solitude, picturesque landscapes, authenticity and locals who haven’t been affected by mass tourism yet. If you are a traveler who prefers noisy, busy, most popular must-see places, this list will not impress you. Sorry. It is for adventurous souls who appreciate peace and quiet and is eager to escape the crowds.
So, here is the list of majestic hidden places in Montenegro that you absolutely have to see on your visit.
Looking to travel to Montenegro in winter? Check this post out.
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MONTENEGRO HIDDEN GEMS – FISHING VILLAGE OF KARUC NEAR THE SKADAR LAKE
A village of Karuc is one of only a few villages near the Skadar Lake where you can escape the hustle and bustle of nearby cities and coast, and enjoy the beauty of different nature scene.
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 on the backyard of someone’s home. Also, rent a boat and cruise around the canals or just sit down in one of the eateries, order a cold beer and taste freshly caught carp or eel.
RELATED POST: BEST HIKES IN MONTENEGRO THAT WILL LEAVE YOU SPEECHLESS
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 from Podgorica, Kotor and other cities to catch and smoke fish, taste neighbor’s homemade wine, gossip and just take a city break.
Tourists don’t know much about this place and tour companies never offer it as part of 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 witness a totally different picture.
TIP: In July and August it gets extremely hot here, so don’t forget a hat, plenty of water and stay in shade. Among the ruins, there are a lot of fig and pomegranate trees. Feel free to pick the fruit.
RADENOVICI CHURCH 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 probably more distant spot near the church of Saint Sava in Radenovici village. 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 entire 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. Come and experience it yourself.
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.
TIP: The best time during the day to visit is for the sunset but when the skies are clear.
BJELASICA MOUNTAINS – A TRUE HIDDEN GEM OF MONTENEGRO
Montenegro has dramatic mountainous areas all over the country. The most famous ones that you’ve probably heard about are mountains in Durmitor National Park and Prokletije. But those places are more or less known among locals and guests alike.
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 extremely touristy nowadays,) located on the western side of the Bjelasica mountain range. They simply don’t know how much beauty exists farther in the wilderness and that hardly any people wander there.
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 walk in nature is a pure delight.
Spending a few days in this area helps to clear the mind of stress and focus on achieving new goals. If you are planning a trip to Montenegro and will be visiting Biogradska Gora National Park, drive a bit farther to Mojkovac or stay in Kolasin. Those two cities are gateways to the Bjelasica mountains.
TIP: If considering to stay overnight, look into Mojkovac, one of the cutest cities to visit in Montenegro. Some people call it a “Switzerland of Montenegro”. It is quiet, cozy and very beautiful. Neat little houses with unpretentious architecture every morning wrap in the fog descended from the mountains. If you don’t mind staying in a wooden home, choose a Country House Eco Village.
PLAZA GALIJA BEACH AS ONE OF THE LEAST CROWDED BEACHES IN MONTENEGRO
This tiny beach with red rocky formations is actually called Crvena Glavica beach. However, people often call it 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 nearby beaches. 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.
TIP: During July and August come as early as you can to reserve a chair. Otherwise, do not hesitate to sit on the rocks.
PIVA LAKE CANYON
Piva Lake is one of the most stunning places in Montenegro. It was artificially created during the time of Yugoslavia when the dam was built on a narrow at that time river.
The main highway from Montenegro to Bosnia goes right by the lake, so it’s easy to see the lake’s beauty from the window of a car or bus. But to experience the grandeur of Piva Lake Canyon in its best you should drive off the main road, park your car and follow one of the paths that go along the canyon.
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 looks just like the surface of a blue 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. When driving to the park, take a country road from the main highway towards Boricje. That drive is more fascinating.
Another option is to come to the town of Pluzine where you can rent a kayak or a motorboat, just swim on the beach and have a delicious home-cooked meal in Zvono restaurant.
TIP: If you would like to stay overnight in Piva Lake area, I can highly speak of the Ethno-village “Izlazak”. For the best view, book a LUX* type of room on the second floor.
50 km away from hot Podgorica you can find an incredible landscape that not many people know about. Bukumirskoy 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 1.5 km above sea level with snow on the top almost until late spring.
If you start your journey in Podgorica, it should take less than an hour to get here with a few other pretty sites along the way.
The first part of the road into the mountains has two lanes but then it narrows down to only one lane. Don’t worry, it is an asphalt road. In some places though, the ride is not for the faint-hearted. With twisty turns and sharp cliffs, you may even feel nauseous. But the view in the end with complete silence is going to pay off for the ride.
Among the stony mountain formations unsuitable for living you’ll still see houses and signs of life.
Come here to escape the heat, get a breath of clean fresh air and hike to the mountain peaks or neighboring Rikavacko Lake. This spot is perfect for lovers of fishing, trekking, and camping. If you are that person, this is the place to go.
TIP: Do not go when the weather is bad, rainy and windy. Do not hire a driver to bring you there. Montenegrins hardly know these roads since they rarely travel this way.