Renting a Car & Driving in Montenegro – Everything You Need to Know
Do you need to rent a car in Montenegro? Do you wonder what driving in Montenegro is like? Great, you came to the right page!
Here I answer all burning questions about Montenegro car hire, including the best company where to rent a car, how to find cheap rental deals that include insurance, type of vehicle to rent, documents to have, and much more! I also give lots of tips for driving in Montenegro, renting a car in different cities, and saving money on rentals.
Montenegro is one of the most diverse countries in the Balkans, even though it is also one of the smallest. To be able to see not only the most popular tourist destinations but hidden gems and distant corners, you would need to hire a car. If this is what you are going to do, my guide is going to answer all your questions.
Among all the countries I visited (and lived in), I loved traveling by rented car in Montenegro. Especially by the off-road vehicles in particular because I could venture into the untouched wilderness, not discovered by crowds of tourists.
During my digital nomad months, my husband and I have rented six different cars in Montenegro in various cities – Podgorica, Budva, Tivat, Herceg Novi, and at some point even Ulcinj. Every time we drove all over the country in different directions since there was just so much to see with the car.
We rented from bigger companies and smaller regional ones, at the airport and tiny offices that looked more like bazaar kiosks. And all those experiences made me want to sit down and write all the details to share all the necessary information as it will surely help you rent a car in a quick and easy way and make your vacation in Montenegro unforgettable!
If you still have any questions left after reading this post, let me know in the comments section. In this way, I will be able to respond, so other readers can see it too.
And then if you are up for renting a car, you also need to check my other posts that will help to pack your Montenegro itinerary with action. Some of them are about the best cities where to stay, things to do in Kotor, best day trips from Kotor, various hikes, and much more. You can find all my posts here.
Now, before I dive into details, let’s briefly talk about the main bullet points of this article:
Top Things to Remember Before You Rent a Car in Montenegro
1. First of all, while you are still thinking if you need to rent a car in Montenegro or not, let me tell you – you do need it! By doing so, you will be able to save money on excursions, cover more in less time and see the country in a way that none of the agencies will be able to show you. Oh, and of course, you’ll be able to travel in comfort.
2. Renting a car in Montenegro is easy and quick. You just need to have a passport, be at least 21 years old, have some driving experience, and have a desire to explore on your own.
3. What is the best company where to rent a car in Montenegro? Below in this article, I talk in detail about all the possible options.
But shortly – you can find the best Montenegro car rental through LocalRent. It is the only aggregator that entered the market to unite only reliable local rental shops that offer cars all over the country.
With them, you can expect the lowest prices, the best service, and a variety of cars to choose from. I talk more about them below in the section about the best car rental companies. Check what they offer, compare to prices on other aggregators and you’ll see how good their deals are.
4. Next, I highly recommend trying to rent a convertible car. You don’t necessarily need to take it for the entire vacation. Hire it for a day or two. Montenegro probably is the only country that offers such a big choice of convertibles at such low prices (even ahead of Dubai)! And the country itself was simply created for trips by car without a roof!
5. Do not wait for too long to book a vehicle. If you find a car you like, try to book it immediately. The best deals are gone pretty quickly and during the high season, there are not enough cars. This is especially true for convertibles and cars of the mini and economy class. For example, Toyota Yaris and Hyundai i20 are very popular and they are the first ones to be gone. The most popular convertible in Montenegro is the Peugeot 307CC.
6. No matter what, do not rent anything from GoldCar or Green Motion. LocalRent doesn’t work with them (as with any other international company), but if you decide to book through another aggregator, just stay away from GoldCar and Green Motion!
The most negative reviews on the Internet about car rental (in any country, including Montenegro) are associated with these companies. Mark and I also had a very bad experience renting from them (more on that below).
In this post, I will cover all of this in more detail. Also, you’ll learn about the parking, traffic, roads, cost of fuel, general Montenegro driving tips, police tricks, the nuances of getting a car at Tivat and Podgorica Airport, and much more. So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty!
9 Essential Tips for Renting a Car in Montenegro
Before you actually book a car for your trip, it is a good idea to answer a question if you need to rent it at all or not. I will instantly say that you need to have it but let’s actually talk about the exact reasons why hiring a car is a good idea.
I understand that different people prefer different experiences and for some, it can be much better to travel without a car. So here is a more in-depth look at who needs to hire a car in Montenegro and why.
1. Do You Need a Car in Montenegro or Not?
It all depends on the purpose of your trip and how comfortable you are behind the wheel.
If the main goal is to visit and spend time on Montenegro beaches and join a few organized excursions then no, you do not need a car. In fact, having it with you can be a burden. You see, parking in coastal cities in Montenegro in summer is a nightmare and cities are pretty small. You can easily move around them on foot, in a shared taxi or cab. Even if you want to go to another coastal town, it is much better to use a public bus instead of hiring a car.
However, if your plan is to experience the entire country, go on a road trip in Montenegro, explore hidden corners, see distant places, go to the deep depth of the mountains and visit secret beaches then you do need a car.
Even if you don’t plan to hop around the country but just want to get from Podgorica to the coast or see the Bay of Kotor, you’d still want to have a car. Rent it at least for a day or two in the city where you are based. LocalRent has rentals almost everywhere, so it is easy to hire a car in any location.
Another thing to remember is that Montenegro is not a big country. It is easy to get places in most directions. You can always take a taxi, bus, bike, or hitchhike to be able to get from the coast to the mountains and back. And with a big number of tours and transfer options available, it is easy to visit various destinations. Yet, to be able to move around on your own terms, save time and money, of course hiring a car is the best idea.
I know that some people take buses to travel around Montenegro. We used them a few times too, but only to go from Budva to Tivat, Bar, Podgorica, and back. One time waiting time for a bus to go to Svyatyi Stefan was more than an hour, so we gave up and took a cab.
In the summertime when the scorching sun can make you faint, waiting on a bus may become a challenge. If visiting Montenegro in winter, keep in mind that some buses on touristy routes run less frequently.
From my experience (and from what locals say) the bus system is average here and mostly operates along the coast. Also, while taking a bus to travel from Kotor to Budva, Sveti Stefan or Bar, or to Herzeg Novi is easy, you won’t be able to see everything that lies in-between those cities. And I have to tell you there are quite a few pretty places not to miss!
Road tripping in Montenegro is fun and so enjoyable. Especially, if you go up the north to the mountains like Durmitor National Park, Biogradska Gora or Prokletije National Park. Roads are in excellent condition and the country is actively building more roads and reconstructing highways, so driving here is an absolute pleasure.
2. What Age & Documents Do You Need to Rent a Car in Montenegro?
The procedure for renting a car in Montenegro is pretty straightforward. You need to have a valid driver’s license from your home country, passport, and money for a deposit. The minimum age of a driver should be 21, with experience of at least 2 years. You can pay a deposit with cash or by card.
Side note: There is NO NEED to have an international driver’s license on you. By Montenegrin law, a driver’s license of any kind which is valid in the country that issued this license is recognized in Montenegro too.
For Americans who plan to drive in Montenegro with a US license, if you recently renewed your license, make sure to take an old license too because it’s going to show a different date of issue. In this way, you’ll be able to prove you have enough driving experience.
Hiring a car and driving in Montenegro with a UK license is no different than driving with a license from any other European country.
3. How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Car in Montenegro?
I know that one of the most important parts of Montenegro car rental is finding a good price that will suit your budget. Yet, if traveling in peak tourist months (from June to September), expect to pay a lot.
And “by a lot” I mean at least €35 per day for a car class mini (manual transmission, automatic will cost more) but that’s the price if you rent a car for a day or two. The longer the rental period, the lower the cost per day. But that’s the price you pay when booking in advance. The last-minute booking might cost you much more.
A good newer vehicle with lower mileage and more horsepower on average costs between 50 and 70 euros per day during the busy summer season.
During the offseason, if booked in advance, a car rental can go for as little as €5 per day. But for the most part, prices fluctuate between €8-€10 per day. The off-season usually begins in October and ends in the first part of May. Fall and spring months are the best months to rent a car in Montenegro to go on road trips around the country.
4. Best Car Rental Companies in Montenegro – Our Experience
There are a few options for where to rent a car in Montenegro. Besides the LocalRent company that I mentioned above, there are a few other aggregators you could use. They are in the next chapter on international suppliers. Although, we personally prefer LocalRent more. This company just has too many benefits which I explain below.
LocalRent aggregator works in that way that it gathers the best offers from small local Montenegrin companies, thoroughly selects them, and sets very competitive prices. In fact, their prices often include insurance and no deposit.
For 2022, there are around 1232 cars for rent from budget Suzuki Alto 2014, Toyota Yaris 2010, Nissan Micra 2008 to the elite BMW X6, Range Rover, BMW 635d. And, there is the largest selection of convertibles (more than 78 cars and this number is increasing). You can choose whatever you feel like!
Among the advantages of booking with them is the fact that you book a specific car rather than a class of cars and the security deposit is often around 100-200 euros (sometimes even less) which you can leave in cash or put on a card. But what is particularly amazing is the fact that there are also vehicles for rent where you don’t need to pay any deposit at all. When renting at the airport from a big international company you always leave a deposit which is usually pretty high, between 600-1200 euros.
Among other benefits are free additional driver, free child’s car seat, cars with automatic transmission for the same price, and in some cases free delivery.
And the best part, with LocalRent company you can have a car not only in Tivat or Podgorica airport but in 28 cities and towns around Montenegro! Would you like to hire a car in Kotor, Herceg Novi, Bar, Ulcinj or Zabljak? Not a problem, you can do that! Prices don’t differ that much from prices of car rentals in Podgorica and at the same time, they are significantly lower than prices from international companies located in the airport.
See it for yourself. By the way, their interface is very nice and easy to navigate too.
FIND YOUR CHEAP CAR RENTAL IN MONTENEGRO WITH LOCALRENT
In my opinion, LocalRent is the best company for car rentals in Montenegro. They offer far better conditions than others.
Side note: While it is easy to hire a car during the winter or off-season, during the summertime it may get a bit tricky. Make sure to book your vehicle in advance, otherwise, you may end up staying without one.
Also, just keep in mind that in summertime some people tend not to return cars on time. There is a chance (a small one but it still exists) that a rental shop will you give another rental but not the one you booked. From time to time it happens during the busy season.
5. Hiring a Car in Montenegro From the International Supplier
Mark and I often use the services of international companies to hire a car in Europe and beyond. Companies such as AVIS, Hertz, Sixt, Budget, Enterprise, etc. work in almost all countries around the world. It’s easy to recognize them. But in Montenegro, to be honest, with LocalRent on the market, renting from international companies does not make much sense.
International prices are usually higher, you book a class of the car, not a specific car, deposits are unreasonably high (€800 and more), having a second driver, child seat and permission to drive abroad usually come for an extra fee. The entire auto park has only a few rentals with manual transmission which are much more expensive.
During the off-season, their prices are also significantly higher than prices from locals.
When renting a car from an international company, you either leave a high deposit or get full coverage. With local shops, even if you don’t purchase full coverage, the deposit is usually very small.
That being said, if you still prefer to rent a car in Montenegro from an international company, the best aggregator where to do that is:
They proved they are reliable and have excellent support in case something goes wrong on the supplier’s end. Check their prices, maybe you’ll find good offers on your dates. But when we were looking for a car, all the international distributors turned out to be much more expensive than the local Montenegrin ones.
6. Companies to Avoid Renting a Car From
One more thing to mention is about Montenegro car rentals to avoid. There are two companies to stay away from, directly or through the aggregator. And those companies are Green Motion and Goldcar (mentioned above). While they have the lowest prices, they are absolutely unreliable. Both of them have poor ethics, hide many extra fees and try to get money out of the customer in the end of the rental, coming up with different reasons.
Unfortunately, we rented cars from Goldcar too many times in various cities around Europe (some of them were in Istanbul, Turkey, Dubai, Vilnius, Barcelona) and every time our experience was just bad. Goldcar’s vehicles are usually cheap for a reason. They are cheap but their service is poor and representatives make an attempt not to return part of the deposit.
Every time while renting a cheap vehicle from them we paid much more in the end out of the deposit for something they made up. Besides the money thing, agents on duty were rude, pretended they didn’t speak English and didn’t care about us as customers by all means of this word.
The quality of their cars can be also very poor. Once we hired a car from Green Motion with a bad tire which we complained about but they assured was fine. It burst on us right after we left, and then they made us pay for it (much more than what it really cost). Another time, Goldcar charged us for scratches that were on the car that they didn’t want to mark on the contract assuring us there was no need.
Another note – they tend to release old cars that fall apart to those who purchase full coverage. If reserving a car without insurance (for instance you have your own one as we do), expect to have a brand new beautiful vehicle. Why? because the company expects you to make even the smallest damage that they can charge you for later.
You can read reviews of others on google for both of these companies and see how bad they are. Very cheap car deals are cheap for a reason, remember that. It is better to pay a little bit more to receive much higher quality and better service.
7. Where Should You Rent a Car – Podgorica, Tivat, Kotor Or Somewhere Else?
Some people, when renting a car in Montenegro, think that the best city to pick up a vehicle is Podgorica. When in reality this is not the case. The beauty about Montenegro car hire is that you can rent it anywhere in the country and pay pretty much the same price.
The majority of local offices are located along the coast and they offer fantastic prices.
If you fly to Podgorica and plan to start your road trip from there, sure, rent a car in Podgorica. But if for any other reason you’d like to hire it in Kotor, Budva, Tivat airport, Ulcinj or even Crna Gora, you can easily do that too.
There are a lot of options to choose from on the Adriatic coast, Kotor Bay, and in mountainous towns. The choice is yours. Plus, distances are rather short. So no matter where you pick up a car you can always visit all the main points of interest.
And then if you wish, rent a car in one city and drop it off in another one, the price is also not going to differ that much!
We rented all our cars mainly in Tivat airport and Budva, and just once in Podgorica. Every time it was an equally easy process (besides that time when we went with Goldcar and Green Motion). Although in Tivat and Budva the entire experience was more casual and relaxed.
NOTE: Renting a car in Zabljak is going to be much more expensive mainly because they are usually delivered there from other cities.
8. What Type of Car to Rent to Drive in Montenegro
If you plan to drive in Montenegro mainly along the coast, including Lovcen National Park and Lake Skadar, get a small to medium size car. That is going to be enough to comfortably drive around and park on the streets of cities. A smaller size car is very convenient to park tightly in Kotor Bay, Budva, Tivat, Herceg Novi, or Ulcinj, or even on rural roads that are often narrow.
If otherwise, you plan to go far inland away from the coast, I wouldn’t recommend getting a car with an engine smaller than 1.2 liters. You will feel insecure about going uphill and overtaking.
For the mountains, rent a car with an engine capacity of at least 1.2 liters with the manual and 1.4 liters on cars with an automatic transmission. If you plan to fully load the vehicle, then add at least another 0.2 liters of engine capacity.
Is it a good idea to rent a 4×4 vehicle in Montenegro?
It depends on where you plan to go. To cities on the coast in the summer? Well, that will be a challenge mostly because of the size of the roads and limited parking spaces.
Also remember that mountain roads in Montenegro often have one narrow lane, so you need to be ready to reverse and let oncoming cars pass. Sometimes you need to pass them on your own in “cramped” areas. This is why you have to be comfortable not only driving such a car but also do all the maneuvers if needed.
But overall, outside those roads in national parks and open spaces having a 4WD gives much more confidence on the road.
What about the van, will you be able to rent it in Montenegro? Yes, vans are available for rent through LocalRent and they are good options for big families. Although again, keep in mind that parking in cities during the high tourist season will be a problem.
9. What to Know If Planning to Rent a Car in Montenegro to Travel to Nearby Countries?
If you plan to travel by car from Montenegro to Albania, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia or other countries, you need to do the next:
- Even at the stage of booking, see whether it says anywhere that there is a Green Card on this car, meaning you are allowed to take it abroad. A green card is international insurance and not all vehicles have it. Without it, you will not be allowed to cross the border.
- If there is no card, get in touch with the company and inquire if you can travel in this car internationally.
- When picking up your car, inform the manager that you intend to travel outside Montenegro, so that he would put a note in the contract. Also, the same contract will have the phrase “može vozi van” (which means “a car can go abroad”).
In Montenegro, when renting a car, the owner usually provides a green card as part of the service for no extra charge. But you need to mention that in advance or maximum when at the rental office.
Also, it is very important to check the validity of this document. We have friends who rented a car to go to Sarajevo but were not allowed through the border because their “green card” has expired.
My Top Recommendations Before You Rent a Car in Montenegro
Here are a few more things to take into consideration when choosing a rental car:
- Do not try to overtake locals on turns in the mountains, and in general, pay extra attention and be extra careful on mountainous roads.
- Do not leave the booking of a car for future times. Good options are taken quite quickly, especially during the season – from June to September. As soon as you buy tickets, look for and book a car because if you put it off “for later”, then the right option at a good price may no longer be available even in LocalRent, despite the huge number of cars in their database.
- If you take a convertible, then consider that most convertibles have front doors longer than regular cars. Be careful in parking lots, and open doors carefully.
- When driving outside towns, pay attention to wildlife. Sometimes foxes, hedgehogs run across the road, turtles, and snakes crawl.
- Do not pay attention to accessive honking. Montenegrins have a habit to honk each other for various reasons, be it a ‘hello’ to a friend or irritation over the actions of others on the road.
9 Essential Things to Consider About Driving in Montenegro
And now, since you know all the important things about the Montenegro car rental process, let’s quickly cover the topic of driving.
1. Is It Safe to Drive in Montenegro?
Yes, it is absolutely safe to drive anywhere in Montenegro. Even if you have little experience driving you’ll be totally fine in cities and between them.
Driving in the mountains on narrow or unpaved roads can be somewhat of a challenge for some people. But overall driving in Montenegro is easy and safe. Far back in the past most of the roads had cracks and holes but they were rebuilt and until this day they are in great condition.
One thing to remember is that Montenegro has many mountain roads and mountain passes are not straight but twisty. So please take your time and be careful on them. Also, be sure to turn on your headlights in tunnels.
Although let’s be honest, if you have ever driven in the mountains in Europe (particularly in the Alps), you will have no problem driving in Montenegro.
The crime rate in the country is low and overall Montenegro is a very safe country. Thus there is no need for theft insurance. Thefts are very rare, although theft from cars still happens. In order not to seduce the robbers, do not leave valuables in sight.
2. Is it Difficult to Drive in Montenegro?
No. Driving in Montenegro is not difficult at all, but it takes a little time to get used to the local traffic rhythm. Depending on the person, someone immediately feels comfortable, but for others, it may take a day to two.
The most unusual thing to get used to is the width of the road. Many roads are so narrow that it is difficult for a large SUV to turn around everywhere or park. And in some places, when a large bus or truck passes nearby, everything you want to do is just to squeeze into the side of the road.
The second point that still often annoys me is small parking lots. Seriously, in Montenegro, there is a problem with parking spaces. In summer, many parking lots are full, and finding a place to park your car is not so easy.
But the problem is not even that. The real problem hides in the sizes of parking spots. They are very small which increases the possibility that someone carelessly opens the door and hits your car. It is also common that people who owe older cars (and don’t really care for them), bang the door of their car onto someone’s and just leave! So unless you have full coverage, it is better to park a bit outside crowded areas.
Another thing to remember is that Montenegrins are always in a hurry and that’s why they always exceed speed limits. The only time they follow the signs is when they are warned that there is a traffic police patrol on the road. So watch out when you are on traffic lights (because someone can run a red light when it is green for you). And don’t stress out when someone tailgates you. Just let them pass.
Oh and the last thing, drivers in old falling apart cars often do not follow the rules. For example, they can leave the gateway without even checking if someone has a right to go or they don’t bother to use a turning signal. They just don’t care because there is nothing to lose with their car. Just keep an eye on them!
3. Montenegro Roads
Roads in Montenegro are in great condition and they are all free besides a tunnel road which I mention below. Their quality is monitored and roads regularly go through repairs if required. But there are some older roads between smaller towns (or in the mountains) that are very narrow and driving on them is not for the faint-hearted.
First-time visitors usually don’t get to them but a few examples of those roads just to give you an idea are a road from Bar to the monastery Rybnjak, this twisty narrow road over the Crnojevica river, or parts of the road from Podgorica to Sokolova Korita scenic viewpoint.
Sometimes the road is so narrow that only one car can go through. Often, there is no shoulder or extra space (like with these roads) for you to pull over, so if an oncoming car comes your way, the only option is to back up. If the road is twisty you can imagine how you’ll be doing that maneuver. Therefore, only a confident driver should be taking those roads.
4. Tunnels in Montenegro
There are many tunnels in Montenegro with many of them being short and unlit. Almost all of them are free except for one, the largest Sozina tunnel. It is a two-lane tunnel that connects the coastal part of the country with its capital. Payment of 2.5 euros per car occurs when leaving it, that is, in the direction of movement towards Podgorica.
No matter how you travel around the country, you will definitely see and even pass through several tunnels. Some of them have “pockets” for emergency stopping and telephones. Almost all of them have a single line and many are winding with sharp turns. The most dangerous of them are marked with black dots before entering.
There are no special features of driving through the tunnels. But you should follow the same approach as you would anywhere else in Europe – have the car lights on, watch out for incoming cars, and look out for falling rocks when driving near cliffsides.
5. What Is Parking Like?
Parking is quite easy. Everywhere we go we don’t have any challenges with finding a parking spot. Most of the parking is free and available on the street. You can park pretty much anywhere unless there is a restriction sign. A lot of roads don’t have designated parking areas but there are quite wide shoulders where you see people park their cars. You can do it too.
The biggest challenge with parking is probably in Kotor. There are not enough parking spaces and locals, who come to work in the city center, usually, take up spots for the entire day. But if you don’t mind walking, park a bit outside of Kotor and walk to Old Town. Here is the link to the street where we prefer to park.
In summer, especially in July and August, finding a parking spot in coastal cities can be very difficult. So you may want to come early to reserve the spot or be ready to park outside main roads.
6. Traffic in Montenegro
If you are visiting the coastal part of Montenegro in July or August, get ready to hit the traffic around Kotor, Budva, Bar, Ulcinj, and Herceg Novi. But even then this jam is not massive. Overall, traffic is not a problem here.
Anything to the north of Podgorica is completely quiet and peaceful. Every time we are up in Durmitor and Biogradska Gora we barely see any cars on the roads at all. It is easy and stress-free to drive on twisty mountain roads.
7. Gas prices
Gas is expensive ($6.15 per gallon or €1.59 per liter) but one full tank of gas will let you cover almost the entire country.
Plus, for someone who is coming from Western Europe, the UK or Scandinavia, gas is actually cheaper in Montenegro than in their own country. But for anyone else who is traveling from the States, Eastern Europe or Asia, gas prices are going to surprise.
8. How Much Alcohol Can You Drink to Be Allowed to Drive?
In Montenegro, a driver is allowed to drink 330 milliliters (11.15 ounces) of beer or a glass of wine. The legal limit for driving under the influence of alcohol is 0.3 ppm.
If a test shows that the amount of alcohol in the blood is higher than 0.3 ppm but lower than 0.5 the fine is 50 euros. Paying it within the following 8 days guarantees a discount in the amount of 34 euros. If the amount of alcohol is higher than 0.5 ppm driving license is taken away until a court day (which usually takes place the following day) and in some cases, a driver gets arrested.
Here is a post about traffic fines in Montenegro, if you are curious to learn more.
9. Driving in Montenegro in Winter – What to Expect?
Winter driving differs depending on the region where you drive. The northern regions of Montenegro are mountainous cold regions that see a lot of snow. Therefore, driving there requires winter tires and chains. For an easy drive, it is even better to rent a 4WD car so that you don’t get stuck anywhere.
My experience driving to Zabljak in December was the next – roads were covered with piles of snow, but they were regularly cleaned. They were also sprinkled with sand or salt to improve grip. Driving in the snow on all main connecting roads was not a problem.
However, repeatedly, the municipality does not take time to clean secondary roads that got blocked by snow, so they often become impassable. Do not rely on signs and online information that say a particular road is open to traffic. It is better to check with locals in the nearby town what’s the situation.
If you decided to drive to Zhabljak too or to a ski resort in Montenegro, keep in mind that sometimes avalanches come down in the mountains and traffic stops until the road is cleared. Many small roads turn into almost tunnels of snow, where two cars cannot pass.
During the day, the snow can melt (depending on the temperature), and you can get stuck if the car is not four-wheel drive. Pulling the vehicle out of the snow costs between 15-20 euros, but the entire experience adds up some stress.
Thus get ready to rent the right type of car and/or have chains and winter tires.
On the coast of Montenegro, driving in winter is easy if it doesn’t rain. As a matter of fact, coastal roads don’t have any traffic and road conditions are usually good. The only challenge can be heavy rain which is common in the second part of winter.
Driving in Montenegro More Tips
At the beginning of your driving experience in Montenegro, you’ll feel like most drivers are aggressive. But after you drive around you’ll understand it’s not really true.
Yes, Montenegrins are used to driving fast (especially, for some reason, on the hilly roads,) they often don’t stop for a pedestrian and are not restricted from parking on the pavement. They absolutely don’t know how to park and often take up to two spaces with just one car. Or simply park askew. Also, we noticed how impatient they sometimes get if another car goes slowly. So yes, for someone who is used to driving only in suburbs, driving in Montenegro may be stressful and annoying.
But if you have been driving in any of the large American cities, in Asia, Eastern Europe or even in the Caucasus, driving in Montenegro will not surprise you. It will also not be difficult if you are coming from Dubai or the UAE in general. We spent our last winter in Dubai driving all over and noticed that it was much more stressful to drive there than in Montenegro.
There are still quite a few drivers here who yield, help you make a difficult turn, and even blink their high beams to warn about the cops up ahead (which is very common for Eastern Europe too, by the way). If they see you going slowly they will get impatient and just pass you.
So it really depends on what kind of driver you are, what type of experience you have, and how you perceive the road.
Wrapping Up The Guide to Car Hire in Montenegro
Montenegro is that country where you don’t want to miss an opportunity to hire a car and drive around! Even if your budget doesn’t allow you to rent it for the entire stay, book for a day or two and go on an adventure. Roads are in excellent condition, almost everywhere you go there are views and beautiful things to see.
I hope I was able to answer your questions about the Montenegro car rental process. If you have anything else to ask, make sure to drop it in the comments, once I answer it will be beneficial to future readers as well.
If this will be your first time in Montenegro, I also have some resources to help you get the best of your trip. First of all, start with my guide on where to stay in Montenegro and learn in which city it is best to make a base. If you are starting your travels in Herceg Novi from Dubrovnik, check my one week itinerary perfect for those who have a car.
Nature-lovers should take a look at my posts about Lovcen National Park, the best walking trails, hiking in Durmitor National Park, and Montenegro hiking in general.
Since I lived in Montenegro and have been there many times, there is a lot to share. Feel free to subscribe to my newsletter to know when the next post is up.
And happy travels!
P.S. Did you find my post about car hire in Montenegro helpful? Then please, pin it!
I only visited Kotor and ever since then, I’ve been wanting to visit Montenegro again! It seems like such a beautiful country. We would definitely rent a car there as we love exploring at our pace 🙂
Yes, there is so much more to explore in this country. I hope you’ll get a chance to come back and rediscover it for yourself, Grace!
Very comprehensive article, especially good that you cover the practicalities of getting around Montenegro as well as how to rent. Great job!
Thanks, Dagney for your lovely comment!
We rented a car while there, such a great way to see all the beautiful spots! Thanks for the guide and tips to renting!
Yes, the best of Montenegro can be seen by car. Thank you for stopping by, Vivien!
Looking at your photos of Durmitor national park make me want to jump back on a plane! I drove a big campervan around Montenegro and would have lived a small hire car instead in some places.
We are actually thinking now to rent a jeep and drive into more remote areas. There is still so much to explore here!
Love your photos! You’ve inspired us to rent a car in Montenegro 🙂 the original plan was to take public transport around Montenegro then down through Albania, and fly from Corfu to Belgrade. However I think it will actually be much easier to hire a car near Kotor, drive ourselves down through Albania and back up again, then catch the train to Belgrade (from Bar)!
Do you have any advice for hiring a car near Kotor in October? I used localrent as you suggested and it’s going to be about 260E for 15 days’ hire, with pick-up and drop-off from Tivat airport. Does that seem like a good deal? We can only drive automatic. Even for October, do you think we need to book in advance?
Hi Caitlin, yay, I am so glad to hear I inspired you!
This is the right decision to rent a car since by public transport you won’t get to see a lot.
Unfortunately, cars with automatic transmissions cost a lot more in that region, so 250 euros sounds about right. Still, chances are that the price will go down in September.
We would personally book a car now (just in case) for 250 euros and then later (starting in September) start tracking prices again. If we find something cheaper, we cancel the previous booking. If you do that too, double-check on the cancellation policy. Most of the companies let you cancel until the day of arrival.
On another note, does the price you found include full insurance? Or will you have only basic insurance with a deposit? If you are planning to drive a lot and especially take this car outside the country, I recommend paying for full coverage.
Also, don’t forget that if you want to cross the border, you need to get a “Green card”. The car supplier normally provides it with their own insurance which they sell at the counter. It is something you might want to ask the rental agency about before purchasing full insurance online. I would even write them an email in advance to double-check on that.
Tivat is the best place to rent a car, especially if you are going to be in Kotor. Cars in Kotor are much more expensive.
I hope it helps. Enjoy your trip! October is an amazing time to visit!
Thank you for the wonderful write up! I am planning to rent a car in Tivat starting the day we arrive by plane. How do you typically receive the car from the airport: Will I need to take a taxi to the the rental car company? Is the car typically at the airport? Is there someone from the company there to drive us to the rental car place?
Hi Aidan! Once you book a car through Localrent aggregator you get a voucher with instructions about the place and time of pick up. Also, this voucher will have the contact information of the rental car company such as their email and phone number.
Usually, through Localrent, all rental companies are located outside the airport since they are small local shops, not big chain companies (those are always located at the airport). Some of them offer to pick you up, others do not and you may need to take a taxi or a bus to get to them, or walk if they are close.
Tivat airport is very small (really, really small) and as I remember the majority of rental companies are located within walking distance. We always walked to their office and never paid for a ride.
But once you book it, it’ll be more clear. And if you have any questions, contact Localren tcustomer service. They have the best support team and respond within minutes. Happy travels!
Thank you so much for the info, Anya!!
I will be in Montenegro the first week of November, flying into Podgorica and going to Bar. I will arrive on Sunday afternoon and plan to do a tour on Monday before leaving Tuesday morning. I was planning to book a commercial tour, but cannot find one that leaves from Bar, so now I am contemplating a car hire.
For just one day from Bar, what would be a good path to take to see the most sights? Do you have any suggestions or a link to a road trip map or anything? Thanks for this article. I found it very informative!
I didn’t really understand what you meant by ‘one path to the most sights’. Would you like to tour the coast, go to Skadar Lake or to the mountains? You can really go in different directions for different activities on a day road trip from Bar. I also didn’t understand where you are heading next after 1 day in Bar. It is difficult to recommend one specific route, not knowing what you actually enjoy and what’s the plan for other 6 days in Montenegro.
If I had to choose for myself and had only one day in Bar (as well as Montenegro), I’d skip the south from Bar towards Ulcinj and Skadar Lake (as in November it will be very quiet and many places work limited hours) and go instead to Kotor along the coast, making stops in Petrovac, Sveti Stefan, Przno, Becici, Budva, follow one of the walking trails (I have a separate post about them) by the sea, go to Sveti Stefan beach and coniferous park next to it (even though you can’t swim, nature and views are beautiful and air is healing), then stop in Budva old town and head to Kotor where you can climb the stairs to Kotor Fortress and end your day in one of the lounges in Kotor Old Town.
As you can see, it is a rough draft because I don’t know what you plan to do and where to be during the rest of your vacation in Montenegro. If you give me more details, I am happy to give more suggestions!
We are booked to stay in Kotor for 5 days at the end of October as a family of 5 (2 adults and 3 children). We fly into Tivat on a Sunday and are considering car hire from the airport with drop off on return. Is there likely to be any issue with a pick up on a sunday. Noting that a taxi or walk maybe required when choosing a local hire company which would mean leaving the family at the airport. Would it be better to use a company with an airport desk instead?
There are a few companies not in the terminal but if I remember correctly, it is only a five-seven minute walk to them. The airport is really small and finding your rental office will not be a problem.
But it’s possible that the rental company will offer to come and pick you up, yet you’d need to clarify that directly with them. The rental offices for the most part are open 7 days a week, but exact schedule will be shown on the booking.
Thank you Anya
I am 20 and renting a car in Croatia and planning to visit Montenegro, do you know if it is legal to do this? You mentioned that you need to be 21 to rent a car, is this because of local law of needing to be 21 to drive a rental car or rental policies that companies within montenegro can only rent to people 21 and older?
That’s right, you need to be 21 years older in order to rent a car in Montenegro. However, that’s the rule companies set, the legal minimum driving age in Montenegro is 18 years old. So if you drive there from another country in your own or rental vehicle and you are younger than 21, that’s totally okay.
In Croatia however, the minimum required age to rent a car is 18-19 years old, depending on the company. But there is a Young Driver Fee involved which also depends on the company. Some suppliers charge $10 – $12 per day, others charge a flat rate per rental (around $80). Plus don’t forget there is a cross-boarding fee and you will have to get written permission from the rental company to cross the border.
I did a quick research on different companies that rent cars in Croatia allowing to drive to Montenegro and found this aggregator has the best prices. Although you need to check individually every company’s young driver fee and crossing border fee.
I hope this helps. Good luck with you trip!