Montenegro with Kids: The Best Things to Do
Montenegro was my favorite destination of our Balkans road trip. We visited Croatia previously and loved it. If you love Croatia, you will really love Montenegro. We found Montenegro with kids to be a fabulous family destination.
Montenegro is Croatia's tiny neighbor to the south continuing down the Adriatic coastline. We drove to Montenegro from Bosnia and Herzegovina toward the end of a 3-week Balkan road trip. Montenegro, meaning "Black Mountain," has large mountains that back right up to the coast. It is a dramatic scene with beautiful walled coastal towns and towering mountains right behind them.
We visited three cities Kotor, Budva, and Sveti Stefan. Here’s a breakdown of each city, practical tips, and what to do in Montenegro with kids!
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WHAT TO DO IN KOTOR
KOTOR OLD CITY
One of the best things to do in Kotor, Montenegro with kids is to simply wander the town, pop in and out of shops, and stop for gelato! If you are a photographer, you will love Kotor's white stone buildings and green shutters. There is something beautiful and charming to photograph around every corner. We enjoyed meandering, exploring, and looking at all the city's most famous residents...the cats! Kids will love finding these friendly felines hanging out in every nook and cranny of the town.
Kotor is a popular cruise port and when there's a ship (or 2) in port, you will definitely feel the crowds. To get a better experience, try to stay at least one night so you can see the town after the cruise crowds have all left. Kotor is an easy day trip from Dubrovnik, but Montenegro is really deserving of its own dedicated vacation.
You can also book a boat tour to go around the Bay of Kotor and see some of the caves and Our Lady of the Rocks. It looks like so much fun and you get to swim in beautiful blue water!
KOTOR CITY WALLS
We knew we wanted to hike the city's walls or fortifications that wind up the mountain directly behind the town, but weren’t sure how our young kids would do on the hike. We decided to head up and see how far we could get with the kids and the weather cooperating. Don’t miss hiking up the city walls with kids. With some water, snacks, and motivation-they might surprise you!
There is a small fee to enter the trail. At the church midway up there are people selling water, snacks, and trinkets so bring some cash. My daughter really appreciated the shopping stop to break up the hike. She smiled and chatted with a lady selling stuff and the lady ended up gifting her a little princess hair clip.
This happened to us multiple times in Kotor. People were so kind to the kids and kept gifting them sweets or little trinkets.
The views from the walls are phenomenal. We had some cloud cover restricting the full view of the Bay of Kotor, so I can only imagine how wonderful the view must be on a clear day. Next time, I would try to get up the trail early in the morning for two reasons: fewer people and cooler temperatures.
While not overcrowded, the trail did have quite a few people on it and there was some waiting and jockeying for certain photo positions. It is all stairs and uphill so expect to be hot and sticky in the summer. Add in a toddler who doesn't want to walk and now you're carrying extra weight. Even so, the hike is worth it. This is one of the best places to visit in Montenegro.
Also, I totally get that you want to look cute in your photos with the amazing view, but be warned it's a little tricky with loose rocks and hiking up a mountain. Decent shoes are recommended for this one! This hike is top of my list for what to do in Kotor!
This charming family apartment inside the city walls. The owner was so helpful and accommodating. He also spoiled us with wine and chocolate from Montenegro. He was also a huge help in finding parking for our car and bringing our luggage up.
Here are some other suggestions for hotels in Kotor:
Historic Boutique Hotel Cattaro-in the old town and has a restaurant and breakfast on-site!
Old Town Clock Tower Apartment-modern interior with phenomenal views!
Apartments Parteli- this one says it has free parking nearby which is a big help!
Kotor is car-free inside the city walls! We didn’t realize this when we showed up and it caused some momentary frustration. Be aware of this if you are traveling by car and will need to park.
WHAT TO DO IN BUDVA
We stopped in Budva for the day but opted to stay the night elsewhere. Budva is also a walled city right on the ocean. It also has a couple of gorgeous beaches for sunbathing and swimming. Budva is full of charm just as Kotor is but seems to have more of a party going atmosphere. The old town is charming but nearby in the newer part of the city there are more bars and clubs.
The best thing to do in Budva is walking the path along the rocky coast to the right of the main beach. It gave us great views of the old city and led to a more secluded Mogren beach. If we had more time to spend, we definitely would've camped on that beach all day!
There are a few aquaparks just outside the city that look like they would be fun for kids to visit.
Avala Resort-can’t beat this location right in between Budva’s two beaches. It also has it’s own pool if beaches aren’t your thing.
Apartments Aleksic Old Town-plenty of room for a family has laundry machines and a balcony with a great view!
Apia Residence-just outside the old town, has private parking available, elevator, and air conditioning. The interior looks modern and clean.
what to do in SVETI STEFAN
Our final stop on the trip was possibly our favorite. Although it is hard for me to pick between Sveti Stefan and Kotor. Sveti Stefan has a tiny little peninsula that juts out from the mainland. This little patch of land is completely private and can only be accessed if you are staying at the resort or one of the rentals on it. It is very exclusive and very expensive. But not to worry, if that's not quite in your budget, there are plenty of other hotels and apartments you can stay at where you can enjoy the dreamy view of the peninsula.
The beach in Sveti Stefan was rocky (like most other European beaches) but the water was warm and clear. There's plenty of chairs to rent, and also paddle boats if you wanted to paddle out on the ocean for a bit.
There is a restaurant called Olive not far from the beach, and there is a playground outside. It is always nice for the kids to get some playtime before asking them to sit nicely at a restaurant for dinner. Our first night in Sveti Stefan also happened to be our son's 2nd birthday. The waiters were very sweet and brought him a chocolate cake and sang to him. It was unexpected but very appreciated!
Sveti Stefan was a nice relaxing oasis. We didn't tour around, no hiking, no sightseeing. We just hung out on the beach and enjoyed relaxing and the beautiful views! It is easily one of the most beautiful places in Montenegro and a welcome respite after enduring the crowds of Dubrovnik and Kotor.
SVETI STEFAN HOTELS
This hotel where our room had a nice balcony overlooking the water and the peninsula. Once again the host was extremely kind and welcoming to our small children. The hotel has a small pool (perfectly sized for our little swimmers) and a beautiful sun deck. Across the street are a few restaurants that are good for breakfast.
Hotel California-this hotel is modern, very close to the beach and boasts a great view. You pay to be closer to the water but it means less stairs and hills you have to walk up at the end of the day!
Apartments Sunset Beach-beautiful views, and free parking! Located close to the beach as well.
I love the gorgeous blue water, warm summer air, and the beautiful architecture of the old cities in Montenegro. Montenegro is still a little bit under the radar as compared to Croatia (though I'm sure it will quickly catch up). You should go there quickly before everyone else figures out how wonderful it is! We found it to be less crowded and less expensive than Croatia but equally as beautiful and charming.
Next time we visit Montenegro, I’d like to go more inland to some of the National Parks. The mountains and countryside of Montenegro look just as beautiful as the coast but in a completely different way. Check out this day tour to give you an idea!
GETTING AROUND Montenegro
We had a rental car and found the driving to be relatively easy, but there are winding mountain roads. Be sure to check with your car rental agency if you will be driving from another country because sometimes there are country restrictions on where they will allow you to take the car, or you may need special documentation.
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If you've been to Montenegro, I'd love to hear your experiences! Or if you have questions please feel free to reach out!