Last updated on September 29th, 2023
For most people, the city of Tivat in Montenegro evokes a single association and that is the airport. For some reason, it is not very common to include it in Montenegro’s itinerary even though there are quite a few interesting things to do in Tivat always on any visit.
However, Tivat offers an ideal retreat for independent travelers who prioritize exploring Montenegro over lounging on the beach. And since it was also recognized by UNESCO as a natural and cultural heritage site, there is an extra reason to visit it.
Going to Tivat Soon & Need a Cool Place to Stay?
Here are the best hand-picked accommodation options for all budgets:
Best Hotels in Tivat for All Budgets
- Sea Point Apart Hotel – 3* apart hotel (budget)
- Rosic Apartment – sea view (mid-budget)
- Casa Montenegro Residence – on the mountain (mid-budget)
- Boka di Mare – seafront apartment (mid-budget)
- La Fleur Boutique – 5* luxury in Tivat center (lux)
Planning to travel around Montenegro? Be sure to book your car rental in Tivat as it is one of the best cities for car hire!
In my endeavor to provide an objective overview of Tivat as a holiday destination in Montenegro, I have created this post with Tivat’s must-see and some best Tivat sightseeing spots to show you how to make the most of a visit there!
FAQs About Tivat, Montenegro
Is Tivat Worth Visiting?
Yes, Tivat is worth visiting but how much time you’d want to spend in Tivat will depend on your travel goals.
The main things Tivat is famous for are the luxurious Porto Montenegro, beautiful landscapes, and a convenient starting point of this city for exploring other beautiful places in Montenegro.
Tivat municipality has some of the ancient mountain villages (like Donja Lastva or Milovici for example), architectural monuments, and the Solila Nature Park with rare bird species and unique flora.
Tivat is also home to some nice luxurious accommodations (like this hotel for example), a marina with yachts, world-famous restaurants, and shops that create an atmosphere of luxury and indulgence.
It also offers guests various sports events and music and theater festivals that are the most diverse in the country.
Should You Stay in Tivat?
Tivat is a great city where to stay in Montenegro for a few reasons.
First – it is located almost in the middle of the Montenegrin coast, making it convenient to reach it by plane and then travel to other cities along the coast or more inland to nature.
Nestled at the foot of Vrmac mountain, Tivat benefits from a tunnel that connects it with Kotor, providing a shorter travel route to the beautiful Bay of Kotor. Also, the drive to Budva and then Ulcinj or Skadar Lake is quite short as well.
And another thing – Tivat is also well connected with the city of Herceg Novi, located on the border with Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina. Thanks to a ferry it is possible to travel fast between these two cities. So if you are coming from Croatia and want to stay in Montenegro in a place from where it will be easy to travel to other parts of the country, Tivat can be a great option.
Additionally, buses in Tivat provide a reliable mode of transportation for exploring coastal cities and the country’s interior, with the bus station conveniently located near the airport.
Best Things to Do in Tivat on Any Visit
Visit Porto Montenegro (Most Famous Tivat Thing To Do!)
Porto Montenegro is one of the most famous places in Tivat where all visitors go probably right after arriving. And paying a visit there is really a must-do thing to get to know the city.
Porto Montenegro is a luxury marina and residential complex with a prestigious waterfront development that was designed to provide a high-end lifestyle experience for residents and visitors. If you have been to Herceg Novi and visited a resort area of PortoNovi, then you should have an idea of what Porto Montenegro is like as it is a similar concept.
It can be considered a city within a city. There are many cafes, bars, and restaurants of various price ranges, where you can try different cuisines with a gourmet approach. You’ll also find fancy boutique shops with clothing, shoes, and accessories from premium international brands.
Additionally to that, Porto Montenegro has a yacht club, tennis courts, a gym, and a bar with a pool. Depending on the months of the year, various sailing regattas and other sports events take place here as well as seasonal exhibitions, fashion shows, jazz festivals, and other events.
Porto Montenegro is really a huge venue for concerts and festivals. This is why I recommend you check all their attractions and events here. Chances are high that something will be going on there during the time when you visit.
Go to the Maritime Heritage Museum & Explore a Real Submarine
One of the best things to do in Tivat for families with kids is to go to a Maritime Heritage Museum, located near the old dry dock in Porto Montenegro.
It houses more than 300 interesting exhibits related to the maritime history of the city. But the largest and most fascinating specimens are two submarines, located on the territory adjacent to the museum.
Right next to the museum building, you’ll find one of them, the restored Yugoslavian diesel-electric submarine, Heroj (that translates to “Hero”). Its interior has been reconstructed to give visitors an idea of the submarine’s structure and operation. What makes it particularly interesting is the fact that it was a real submarine that Yugoslavia’s marine military forces used.
Watch the Sunset on the Pina Waterfront
The Pina waterfront is a favorite place for walks among city residents with multiple cafes and restaurants. It connects to the luxury resort hotel Porto Montenegro and marina and opens up views of yachts and the bay.
There, anchored at the dock, is the only three-masted training sailboat Jadran that holds special significance in Montenegro. It is the only boat of its kind in the country that serves as a unique symbol of maritime heritage and training. The boat provides hands-on experience and training for sailors, allowing to learn the art of sailing and seamanship.
Small boats also set off for sea excursions from this spot and you can hop on one around the bay specifically for the sunset.
Visit the Bucha Palace in Tivat City Center
It is one of the lesser-known things to do in Tivat which has a story to tell and shows a different side of the city.
Historically, during the development of the towns in the Bay of Kotor under the Venetian protectorate, Tivat was a resort area for noble families. This is why today, there is no Old Town with a fortress in Tivat as in many other Montenegrin cities along the coast.
However, old architectural monuments are still on the radar among the more modern buildings. The most famous old architectural piece in the city is the Bucha Palace, built in the 16th century as a summer residence for the Bucha and Lukovich noble families.
This architectural complex consists of a palace, a chapel, a tower, and a garden surrounded by a stone wall. It is one interesting place to visit and see how noble families of Montenegro lived before.
Nowadays, from time to time, the palace also hosts exhibitions and there is an ethnographic museum inside.
Take a Walk in the Old “Veliki Gradski” City Park
The “Veliki Gradski” city park with its centuries-old trees deserves special attention.
It was established during Austro-Hungarian rule by the order of Admiral Maximilian Daublebsky von Sterneck, who commissioned ship captains to plant a tree each time their ships docked in Tivat.
That’s why this park has so many rare plants from different countries. The tradition, by the way, is still maintained until this day. Residents of Tivat plant new trees every time when they celebrate important events in the city.
This city park was declared a natural monument of Montenegro in 2014 and today it covers an area of over 4 hectares.
Take a Walk to the Ancient Village of Donja Lastva
This is my favorite thing to do in Tivat in the early morning before everyone goes outside and the area becomes too busy. I like to walk there taking in the views on the way and then stop at Ponta by BigBan to have a morning cappuccino. But you can go any other time during the day as the village is special in many ways.
Donja Lastva is a former fishing village that has nice beaches and a beautiful promenade for strolling. It connects with Tivat by a road along the waterfront with scenic views. This road provides a tranquil setting for leisurely walks, enjoying the coastal scenery, and experiencing the laid-back lifestyle of Tivat.
The village is a nice place where to pause as it features a mix of traditional stone houses with small beaches and views. And there is a Catholic Church of St. Rochus, built in the classical Venetian style that stands in the center.
To reach it, you just need to walk along the waterfront from the Maritime Heritage Museum towards the Lepetane ferry dock.
And then if you are traveling to Montenegro on a budget, Donja Lastva is also a good place to stay since it has some budget-friendly accommodations.
Visit the Punto Crudo Restaurant
In Donja Lastva, right by the sea in a historic building, you’ll find an eco-restaurant “Punto Crudo” with creative cuisine. It is one of my favorite places to eat in Tivat.
From the terrace, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the sea and mountains. There is also a large, old carob tree growing there.
Carob tree fruits are pods with seeds used as a cocoa substitute in baking and beverage production. The tree was planted by Antonia Nina Stepčevich, a resident of Donja Lastva before she left for America in 1886. The street where the restaurant building is located is named after this tree, which is protected by the state.
Visit the Three Islands Opposite Tivat
Across from the city in the Bay of Tivat, there are three islands – the Island of Flowers (St. Michael), Island of Stradioti (St.Mark), and Island of Gospa od Milosti (Our Lady of Mercy). Going to one (or all) of them will be an activity for active travelers.
On the Island of Flowers, you should visit the Monastery of St. Archangel Michael and the Church of the Holy Trinity. Park a car in this area and walk to the island on a bridge around 10 m long. You’ll find there a local beach about 1 km long which goes around the entire coastline of the island. There are also cafes and eateries on this island and a souvenir shop at the monastery.
The Island of St. Mark (Stradioti) is currently uninhabited, but it used to be a remote resort for a beach holiday in Yugoslavia. In the last century, the French hotel chain Club Méditerranée built reed huts there, allowing visitors to stay a few days and have access to wild nature. With time, when the business became unprofitable, it fell into despair but the natural beauty stayed and is still captivating.
On the tiny island of Gospa od Milosti, with a length of 147 meters and a width of 80 meters, there is a women’s monastery founded in the 15th century, along with the Church of the Most Holy Mother of God.
These islands are located close to each other, and you can explore them all in one trip by taking a boat ride from Tivat.
Explore the Bay of Kotor From the Sea
Tivat is one of the best places in the Bay of Kotor from where to go on a boat trip. So of course, if you haven’t been on any boat tour yet, make sure to add it to your Montenegro itinerary.
At the Pina waterfront in the Tivat city center, there is a dock for excursion boats and you can buy a tour right there on spot. Some go only around the Bay of Tivat while others around the entire Bay of Kotor, including the towns of Perast, Kotor, and its surroundings. But there are also other trips to the open sea and Budva.
Here are options for boat tours if you prefer to arrange it in advance:
Explore Hiking Trails Nearby
Tivat is located at the foot of the Vrmac Mountain range, separating it from Kotor. There are many marked hiking trails for hikers in the area.
From Donja Lastva (the one I talked about above), you can take a marked trail for a hike in the mountains and visit the ancient village of Gornja Lastva. There, you can see a preserved church, a square, and many stone houses built in the old style. During the summer, the village hosts gastronomic festivals and concerts almost every week and other events.
On Mount Vrmac, there are also military fortifications from the Austro-Hungarian era. These are the Gorazda and Vrmac fortresses. You can go hiking to them as well from Tivat or reach them by car.
From both of these fortresses, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Bay of Kotor and the mountains, but the perspective is very different.
More experienced and prepared hikers can join a hiking tour to Kotor from Tivat through the mountains or conquer all the peaks of the Vrmac range – Sveti Ilija (785 m), Velji Vrh (712 m), Čisti Vrh (616 m), Popova Glava (584 m), and Sveti Vid (440 m). Hiking to them all offers breathtaking views.
Don’t Miss Birdwatching at Solila Nature Reserve
The Solila Nature Park deserves special attention as a unique bird sanctuary covering an area of 150 hectares. It is named after the old salt mines located there.
In the Middle Ages, there were salt pans, and in 1683, Solila provided 81% of the income for local residents. The industry declined over time but has now been revived in this unusual context.
The marshy area is a favorite nesting place for birds and you can see it for yourself thanks to the convenient paths for walking and bird watching set in the park for visitors.
Solila Nature Reserve offers a unique opportunity to observe rare birds in their natural habitat. Over 100 bird species nest and spend winter there. The most popular inhabitants of the park are flamingos. Other species include the sea eagle, black-winged stilt, Eurasian woodcock, common moorhen, gray crane, and little egret.
This park is only 9 km from Tivat and you can easily reach it by car. But for a bigger adventure, do it better by bicycle which you can rent in Tivat city.
Visit the Lustica Bay Resort
The success of Porto Montenegro in Herceg Novi has shown large investors the attractiveness of luxury resort development projects with full infrastructure in Montenegro. This is why in the Municipality of Tivat, on the open sea, another resort project popped up a few years ago and that’s the Lustica Bay resort on the Lustica Peninsula.
It is a real small luxury town among the steep cliffs on the open sea that includes apartments, the five-star hotel The Chedi, beaches, restaurants, and a yacht marina. There is also a promenade with a lighthouse for romantic walks and infrastructure for active leisure.
In addition to that, Lustica Bay hosts cultural and sports events that often happen a few times a week in the busy summer season. The events calendar is available on this site.
You can come to Lustica Bay from Tivat on a quick trip by car and for a walk, exquisite dining or spend a day in the pool at Chedi Hotel.
For a more budget-friendly experience, head to the 21 Beach Club at Pecka Beach. For those who prefer seclusion, they can stay for a few days at The Chedi Hotel or in one of the resort’s apartments.
Rent a Kayak or SUP to Paddle Around
The calm sea in the Bay of Tivat allows for both short and long kayak or stand-up paddleboard (SUP) excursions. This type of activity is becoming increasingly popular, and Tivat provides all the necessary conditions for water sports.
There is a kayak rental shop in the city center where to hire kayaks and paddle boards. In the summer season, you need to book them in advance to reserve the time slot, so just walk in and reserve on spot. Otherwise, you can book it online.
Where to Eat in Tivat on Your Visit
First of all, you have to try food in Porto Montenegro which is considered a gastronomic center of the coast. It offers a variety of cuisines, including original traditional dishes from around the world.
But if you don’t have time or you are not in the mood for refined cuisine, you can enjoy Italian food at Al Posto Giusto pizzeria. This popular and affordable place has been serving excellent dishes for many years. Visit their Instagram for more information.
On a hot day, you can try the ice cream from the Serbian chain Moritz Eis. They offer a wide selection of unusual flavors that will surprise even the most avid gourmets.
To find more restaurants, cafes, and confectioneries in Porto Montenegro, you can find an up-to-date list at the following link.
Outside Porto Montenegro, in the city itself, I can also recommend from personal experience the restaurant-pizzeria Mala Bevanda with charming interior and nice views of the sea. It is known for its selection and quality of Mediterranean and local dishes, including meat and fish.
What to Know About the Beaches in Tivat
There are no beaches within the city limits of Tivat, but there are beaches in the surrounding areas where it is possible to walk on foot.
For example, the settlement of Seljanovo north of Tivat is a good option with both pebbly and platform beaches. And the beach of Kalardovo south of the airport is another beach where to go to if you don’t want to leave the area and get to other beaches along the Montenegro coast or beaches in Budva.
Due to the characteristics of the bay, the sea around Tivat is always warmer and less salty. In August water often blooms. This is why (to be honest) Tivat is not really a beach destination. I wouldn’t be planning a beach vacation in Tivat at all.
If you make a base in Tivat and want to swim in azure cool water, I highly recommend you rent a car and drive to the Lustica Peninsula. It is really a place where to enjoy beautiful beaches and the open sea.
Bonus: Tivat or Budva – Which One is Better
When comparing Tivat with Budva, you need to look at the following and choose what is more important to you:
Unlike Budva, Tivat lacks a distinct old town, beautiful beaches, and modern glass buildings that create a contemporary aesthetic. Beaches are pretty much non-existent directly in the city (as mentioned above) but there are a few smaller beaches in adjacent settlements where you’ll need to walk.
However, Tivat is very green and cozy since buildings are mostly low-rise and there are a lot of trees and plants. You’ll find many hiking trails nearby, trendy restaurants, and nice fancy shops.
So, Tivat or Budva – which city should you choose as a base for your vacation in Montenegro?
Choose Tivat if:
1.) If you plan to visit Montenegro for nature and road trips and don’t plan to spend much time on beaches. In fact, Tivat is an excellent city where to make a base to travel around the country. It is less touristy and less crowded and it is easier to find parking there in the high season.
2.) If you love extensive walks or hiking in the mountains, Tivat is the best choice since its location near the Vrmac mountain opens up access to so many trails with fantastic views.
3.) Tivat is better for people who love a combination of a quiet stay with various events. Thanks to Porto Montenegro extensive program of events, there is always something going on their in terms of concerts, exhibitions, jazz shows, and concerts.
4.) If you want to go on boat trips and explore nearby islands, Tivat is better than Budva for that.
Choose Budva if:
1.) If you look to be close to the sea and want to have a slow beach vacation. Beaches in Budva are gorgeous!!
2.) Choose Budva when thinking to stay in or near the old town. The city’s old part Stari Grad is one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic coast which is over 2,500 years old. Staying there feels quite special, particularly outside July and August when it is quieter.
3.) If you are a party person and looking to visit for the nightlife, then Budva will be a better option for you
4.) Budva is also a better pick in terms of the number of hotels and types of accommodation in general. You’ll find all types of hotels in Budva for different budgets, including all-inclusive like Iberostar Bellevue or other hotels of this type down the coast.
5.) Another reason to choose Budva for its cultural life. The city authorities take good care of cultural entertainment, so during the summer there are always some types of festivals that take place, concerts, performances by street artists, and concerts with world-known music stars.
More Montenegro Travel Inspiration
- Is Montenegro a good country? – what to know before you go
- Is Montenegro Safe? – honest answers to important questions
- Visiting Lovcen National Park – hiking trails & best sights
- Hiking in Durmitor Park – 10 stunning hikes that should be on your list
- Bobotov Kuk Hike – guide to the highest peak of Montenegro
- Driving Sedlo Pass – one of the most beautiful road trips in Durmitor
- Hiring a car in Montenegro – things to know and avoid
- Where to Stay in Montenegro – quick overview of resort cities
- How to Find & Rent Apartment in Montenegro – long term
- Is Herceg Novi worth visiting? – when it is & when it is not
- Day Trips From Kotor – and where not to go
- Autumn in Montenegro – why it’s the best season to visit
- Backpacking Montenegro – what to know
- Montenegro Travel Guide – all my posts in one place!