Montenegro is a dream for a budget-minded traveller: so far, accommodation, transportation and food in the country is so inexpensive it’s practically free. Depending on the price level of your home country, a backpacking holiday in Montenegro might actually end up saving you money – at least if you take into account how much you would normally spend back home while enjoying the summer. This blog post is a summary of my two-week holiday to Montenegro and Croatia. I’ve included both an itinerary as well as a breakdown of my travel budget. I hope it can be of some use to others planning a similar holiday to the Balkans.
All in all, my two-week holiday ended up costing less than 850€. All the prices are from June 2018, and the total includes everything:
- Travel within Finland: Turku – Helsinki-Vantaa airport – Turku: 19€
- Turkish Airlines flights Helsinki-Podgorica // Dubrovnik-Helsinki: 221€
- Accommodation: 12 days in Montenegro 205€, 2 days in Dubrovnik 82€, 287€ in total
- Transportation in the destination (train+bus): 61€
- Restaurants: 12 days in Montenegro 97€, 2 days in Dubrovnik 48€, 145€ in total
- Shopping (groceries+snacks): 78€
- Entrance fees and tickets: 33€
My 14-day holiday was divided into two parts: 12 days in Montenegro and two days on the Croatian side in Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik is significantly more expensive than Montenegro: those two days in Dubrovnik ended up costing me around 190€, whereas 415€ carried me through all the 12 days in Montenegro. Therefore, excluding the flights and the travel costs within Finland, my average daily budget was as follows:
- Montenegro: 35€ per day, of which
- accommodation 17€
- food (restaurants+groceries) 14€
- transportation 2,65€
- other 1,35€
- Dubrovnik: 95€ per day, of which
- accommodation 41€
- food (restaurants+snacks) 27€
- transportation 12€
- other 15€
These figures may be helpful when you’re trying to create an approximate budget for your own holiday. If you like to drink, party and eat out three times a day, you should at least double or triple the restaurant budget. I prepared snacks and meals for myself quite often. I usually don’t drink a lot of alcohol, either, which obviously saved me a nice chunk of money here. (I know, I know, what kind of a Finn admits to not drinking?!) In Montenegro, I usually ate out once a day, and in Dubrovnik, twice a day. When it comes to accommodation, note that I was travelling alone. Outside of hostels, I had to pay the full room price by myself, whereas people travelling in groups of two or three would have been able to split the costs. So, if you’re travelling with a friend or two, you might be able to drive the accommodation costs even lower than they already are in my examples.
My strongest recommendations go to all the activities and destinations marked here with an asterisk. By clicking the links, you can read more on my experiences of each place. I’ve also included some of the most relevant costs where applicable.
Day 0: Arriving in Podgorica. Accommodation: bed in a dorm, Hostel Q Podgorica (13€).
*Day 1: Hiking in the Lake Skadar National Park, beach bumming in Sutomore. Train travel Podgorica-Virpazar-Sutomore-Podgorica (4€). Accommodation: bed in a dorm, Hostel Q Podgorica (13€).
Day 2: City tour in Podgorica. (Better alternative: visiting Biogradska Gora National Park by train, if weather allows.) Accommodation: bed in a dorm, Hostel Q Podgorica (13€).
Day 3: Arriving in Durmitor. Bus ride Podgorica-Žabljak (6€, student price). Wine and decent food at the Hotel Soa restaurant (15€). Accommodation: executive suite, Rooms and Bungalows Sreten Žugić (10€). Note: the room sleeps up to three people.
Day 4: Hiking, Planinica Fail Trail. 3-day entrance ticket to Durmitor National Park (6€). Overpriced pizza at Zlatni Papagaj (8€). Accommodation: executive suite, Rooms and Bungalows Sreten Žugić (10€).
*Day 5: Summiting Bobotov Kuk! Dinner at restaurant Podgora (8€). Accommodation: executive suite, Rooms and Bungalows Sreten Žugić (10€).
*Day 6: Crno jezero. Delicious pizza at the pizzeria next to the post office (4.60€). Accommodation: executive suite, Rooms and Bungalows Sreten Žugić (10€).
*Day 7: Arriving in Petrovac, chilling on the three beaches. Bus ride Žabljak-Podgorica (6+1€, student price), train ride Podgorica-Sutomore (2€), bus ride Sutomore-Petrovac (2€). Lunch at the Hotel Admiral terrace (18€). Accommodation: apartment with sea view, Apartments and Rooms Vjera (43.50€). Note: the apartment sleeps up to three people.
Day 9: Arriving in Kotor, day trip to Perast. Lunch at Konoba Akustik (19€). Bus ride Petrovac-Kotor (3€), hitchhiking Kotor-Perast, bus ride Perast-Kotor (1€). Accommodation: bed in a dorm, Hostel Pupa (15€).
*Day 10: Kotor Fortress and Old Town. Excellent lunch at BBQ Tanjga (7€). Accommodation: bed in a dorm, Hostel Pupa (15€).
Day 11: Tivat and Porto Montenegro. Bus ride Kotor-Tivat (2.50€). Dinner at Ponta Veranda (12.50€). Accommodation: apartment with sea view, Rosic Apartments (7€. The real price was 79€, but I spent a Hotels.com rewards night on this.)
Day 12: Arriving in the crowded Dubrovnik, exploring the abandoned hotel Belvedere. Bus ride Tivat-Dubrovnik (18€). Burger lunch at *Barba (10€), dinner at *Ten11 (8€), dessert at an old town ice-cream parlour (4€). Accommodation: bed in a dorm, Old Town Hostel (41€).
*Day 13: Dubrovnik sunrise, City Walls walking tour (7€, student price). Breakfast menu at Dubravka 1836 (11€). Picnic and swimming on the island of Lokrum (20€). Sunset walk in the Velika & Mala Petka forest park. Dinner at my favourite snack corner, Ten11 (12€). Accommodation: bed in a dorm, Old Town Hostel (41€).
Day 14: Return flight to Finland. Bus ride to Dubrovnik airport (5.50€).
HOLIDAY HIGHLIGHTS – Don’t miss these!
- Virpazar: Lake Skadar National Park
- Durmitor National Park: Bobotov Kuk and the Black Lake
- Petrovac: the three beaches, walk to abandoned hotel on Perazic Do beach
- Kotor: fortress and old town, grilled food at BBQ Tanjga
- Dubrovnik: City Walls walking tour. Restaurants: Barba (octopus burger), Ten11 (tortilla “Cape PrimaDona 1805”) and Dubravka 1836 (delicious, reasonably priced breakfast menu)
To read the entire travelogue in English, use the tag Montenegro18EN