Last Updated October, 2021
Planning a trip to Montenegro soon? Great choice, this tiny country will keep you mesmerized with its beauty, I can assure you that! It 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 rent a car in Montenegro. If this is what you are going to do, my guide is going to answer all your questions.
Among all the countries we visited (and lived in), we loved traveling by rented car in Montenegro. Especially by the off-road vehicles in particular because we could venture into the untouched wilderness, not discovered by crowds of tourists.
During our digital nomad months in Montenegro, Mark and I have rented six different cars and drove all over the country in different directions. We rented from bigger companies and small regional ones. And I wanted to share all the necessary information that will 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.
By the way, if you are up for renting a car, I also have some pretty detailed posts that will help you plan a Montenegro vacation. Some of those posts are about the best accommodation and resort towns, Kotor guide, best day trips from Kotor, various hikes and much more. You can find all my posts here.
But before I go into details, here are a few highlights of this article:
1. First of all, I do highly recommend hiring a car in Montenegro. Not taking a bus or hitchhiking but renting a car. 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.
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 a desire to explore on your own.
3. Where is it better to hire a car? Below in this article, I talk in detail about all the possible options. But in a few words: the best aggregator to rent through, based on our experience, and the one we recommend to all our friends is: Myrentacar. It has the lowest prices, best service, and a lot of cars for rent. Go check what they offer, compare to prices on other aggregators and you’ll see how good their deals are.
4. 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! 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. 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.
To make it easier for you to navigate through this post, refer to the table of contents.
Renting a Car in Montenegro – the Process & What to Know Before You Rent
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. From my experience, I can say with confidence that yes, you should definitely have a car in Montenegro with you. But then I pause for the moment and remember 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 cause a headache. 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.
Montenegro is not a big country and it is easy to get places. You can always take a taxi, bus, bike, or hitchhike to be able to get from the coast to the mountains and back. You can also go on a tour to one of the monasteries, Durmitor National Park, Skadarske Lake, Herceg Novi or many other 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 lays 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, the country is actively building more roads and reconstructing highways, so driving here is an absolute pleasure.
2. What 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 from 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 different date of issue. In this way, you’ll be able to prove you have enough driving experience.
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. What’s interesting, prices for cars this year are somewhat lower than they used to be during previous years. Still, summers are quite pricey.
In July and August, expect to pay at least €30 per day for a car class mini (manual transmission, automatic will cost more) but that’s only if you book for a week or longer. The same type of car for 3 or 4 days will cost €35 per day. For a day or two, the price will be €40 per day. 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 double.
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. The off-season usually begins in October and ends in May.
You’ll see more prices below.
4. Best Car Rental Companies – Our Experience
There are a few options for how you can rent a car in Montenegro. Besides Myrentacar 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 Myrentacar more. This company just has too many benefits which I explain below.
Myrentacar aggregator works in that way that it gathers the best offers from small local Montenegrin companies under an agreement that prices should be the same (or often lower) as when booking directly through a walk-in. And for 2020, there are around 750 cars for rent from budget Suzuki Alto 2014, Toyota Yaris 2010, Nissan Micra 2008 (from 14 euros per day, all prices depend on the season and rental period) to the elite BMW X6, Range Rover, BMW 635d. And, there is the largest selection of convertibles (more than 45 cars and this number is increasing). You can choose whatever you feel like!
When you book a car with this company, that’s what you get in the end. Not a class of cars like large international rental companies (such as Discover Cars) offer. Another benefit is the security deposit in the amount of 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. With big companies, you always do and this deposit is usually 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 Myrentacar company you can have a car not only in Tivat or Podgorica airport as international companies offer 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! And prices don’t differ that much. In fact, prices for rentals with Myrentacar are significantly lower than with international well-known big names.
See it for yourself. By the way, their interface is very nice and easy to navigate.
FIND YOUR CHEAP CAR RENTAL IN MONTENEGRO WITH MYRENTACAR
In my humble opinion, Myrentacar is going to become the #1 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 a 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 a car 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. Renting 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 Myrentacar 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 (€1000 and more), having a second driver, child seat and permission to drive abroad usually come for an extra fee. The entire auto park has rentals with manual transmission only.
During the off-season, prices may be significantly lower. But when high season comes, prices skyrocket. For instance, one of our cars at the end of October was €8 per day and then another booking 2 weeks later was €6 per day. Yet in summer, the same car cost €40 per day.
When renting a car from an international company, you have to choose whether to get full coverage or not. With local shops, for example, you don’t buy additional insurance. In case of damage or theft, you lose a deposit there (which is usually €100-€200) but there are no more extra charges. With renting from an international company and having a choice of purchasing the coverage you are not liable for anything. Without coverage, you are risking losing a deposit which is very high compared to local shops.
The best aggregator where you can check the prices of international car rentals in Montenegro are:
They proved they are reliable and have good cars to offer. Check prices on these websites, maybe you’ll see 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.
Nonetheless, if you decide to hire a car through one of them, try to avoid Goldcar. We rented their cars in various cities around Europe (some of them were in Istanbul, Turkey, Sarajevo, Vilnius, Barcelona) and every time that experience was bad. Goldcar’s vehicles are usually very cheap but their service is poor and representatives make an attempt not to return part of the deposit.
In any case, when choosing a car, you should check all the options. Sometimes there are very good promotions and discounts. On these sites, you can also sometimes find a car for 10-11 euros per day. So definitely, check them all but don’t spend too much time.
6. Companies to Avoid Renting a Car From
There are two companies to avoid renting cars 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.
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.
One more thing – 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 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 or another city, that is not a problem. There are a lot of options to choose from and 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.
We rented all our cars mainly in Tivat 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.
8. 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 an 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.
Things to Consider About Driving in Montenegro
9. 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 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.
The crime rate is low in Montenegro, 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.
10. Is it Difficult to Drive in Montenegro?
No, it’s not difficult at all but there are a few nuances that you need to know about:
1) First of all, remember that there are almost no straight roads in Montenegro. Most of them are serpentine roads. Do not rush on them.
2) Montenegrins are always in a hurry somewhere 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 drive on a red light when it is green for you). And don’t stress out when someone tailgates you. Just let them pass.
3) 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.
11. Montenegro Roads
Roads in Montenegro are in great condition. But there are some older roads between smaller towns that are very narrow and driving on them is not for faint-hearted.
Sometimes the road is so narrow that only one car can go through. Often, there is no shoulder or extra space 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.
12. What Is Parking Like?
Parking is quite easy. Everywhere we go we don’t have any challenge 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 a 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, it can be very difficult to find a parking spot in coastal cities. So you may want to come early to reserve the spot or be ready to park outside main roads.
TIP: When it comes to cities, do not park anywhere where you think it is ok to park. Montenegrins do not like this and quickly call a tow truck. And this experience as you know is unpleasant and expensive.
13. 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 Novy, but even then this jam is not massive. Overall, traffic is not a problem here.
Anything to the north from Podgorica is completely quiet and peaceful. When we were up in Durmitor and Biogradska Gora we barely saw any cars on the roads at all. It was easy and stress-free to drive on twisty mountain roads.
14. Gas prices
Gas is expensive ($5.8 per gallon or €1.35 per liter) but one full tank of gas will let you cover almost the entire country. I guess for someone who is coming from Western and Central 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.
15. 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 the 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.
16. 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. We personally had way more stress driving in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.
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 situation.
Additional Car Rental Tips for Montenegro
Here are a few things to take into consideration when choosing a rental car:
- If you plan to go 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.
- 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 Myrentacar, 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 on parking lots, open doors carefully.
- When driving outside towns, pay attention to wildlife. Sometimes foxes, hedgehogs run across the road, turtles, and snakes crawl.
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 car rental process in Montenegro. 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 to where to stay in Montenegro. Then check out my very detailed posts with Montenegro travel tips.
Since I lived in Montenegro and have been there many times, there is a lot to share. Feel free to subscribe to our newsletter to know when the next post is up. If you are curious about where we are now, follow us on Instagram. We are always happy to connect.
And happy travels!
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