About Montenegro Self Drive 1 - The Grand Tour
A holiday exploring this incredibly diverse country; using convenient flights into nearby Dubrovnik - visit National Parks & the Bay of Kotor.
Activity code: MOFD01
Duration: 15 Days
START / FINISH - Dubrovnik.
This exciting self-drive holiday is a tour of Montenegro's "Best Bits", with the ease of starting and finishing in Dubrovnik, as it has many more flight connections. In just two weeks you can explore the Durmitor National Park and the Tara Canyon; the two lake-based National Parks - Biogradsko and Plav (Prokletije); the Adriatic coast around Budva and the spectacular scenery of the Bay of Kotor.
The exploration begins straight away on this holiday as you can get your hire car directly at the airport and you are free to enjoy the views from the coast road almost immediately. Few visitors travel to the surrounding countryside so you will get to enjoy the open road as soon as you cross the border into Bosnia. We've included a night in the lovely small town of Trebinje to break the journey; an early morning walk along the river is a delightful start to the day with an impressive stone bridge and still-working water wheels the reward (of course, the local pastries and open-air market are also a good reward on your return to the town).
Once you've climbed up and over the border into Montenegro there is a magnificent view of Lake Slano just outside Niksic which is where you could detour to visit the famous Ostrog Monastery. There's a lovely drive ahead though, all the way to Zabljak in the heart of the Durmitor National Park. You have an impressive choice of things to do whilst in this northern region of the country - take a walk around the beautiful, pristine Black Lake, head to the nearby peaks or why not consider a simply incredible and unique experience at the Tara Canyon - the "hands free" zip wire ride.
In the rest of inland Montenegro you will encounter forests, gorges, lakes, stunning views, traditional rural landscapes, monasteries, quiet roads and a friendly and diverse people in locations such as Kolasin, Plav and Mojkovac. On your way back to the coast we recommend stopping off at Lake Skadar, the largest lake in southern Europe. The remainder of your holiday can be tailored to your preference between the beach resort of Budva with its tranquil old town and Kotor with its impressive walls, historic buildings and challenging walk up the "staircase" to the fortress high above.
We feel that the best finale to this holiday is a few nights in Dubrovnik where you can relax, enjoy some activities and sightseeing without your car as the local buses and cable car offer an excellent service.
Accommodation: the hotels in this itinerary are generally small, independent or family-run, properties which add significantly to your travel experience in these fascinating countries (in the list below we have included our main recommendations together with suggestions for "boutique" hotels and deluxe options, please do not hesitate to request alternative hotels).
Transport: to take the stress out of arriving and departing we offer a private airport (or port) transfer service; we can deliver and collect your hire car from your hotel in Dubrovnik at no extra cost. All our vehicles have a/c and come with a full tank of fuel, we provide detailed driving routes, sightseeing suggestions and parking information for all accommodation.
Extra Information: all our holidays have a recommended route with suggestions for sightseeing and we include the most up-to-date ferry schedules and tariffs; we are also able to book activities and specialist sightseeing, particularly in Dubrovnik - such as cycling, sea kayaking, wine-tasting, etc.
NB: Flights available to book through us with a range of airlines, from various UK airport
Click on the location to view our whole selection.
Arrive into Dubrovnik; take hire car directly from airport (or port). Drive along coast a short distance then inland, crossing into Bosnia & Herzegovina, to the delightful town of Trebinje. Explore the old town (Turkish quarter) in the evening on foot from your hotel.
NB. This day has only a short distance to drive and would work with most flight arrival times; however, if you plan to arrive on a late flight then a night in the lovely small resort of Cavtat (close to the airport) would be recommended.
Enjoy your morning in Trebinje (we recommend a walk along the river to the Arsalangic Bridge). Afterwards, drive east into the mountains and cross into Montenegro, then head for Niksic (here you may like to take a small detour to visit the Ostrog Monastery). From Niksic continue north through yet another mountain pass to the small town Zabljak in the heart of the Durmitor National Park. There is so much to do here so we suggest a 3 night stay to give you two full days. Activities include a walk around the stunning Black Lake, rafting on the Tara river and an incredible zip wire ride across the deep gorge at Tara Most.
Drive east along the stunning Tara river valley, which stays within the gorge for some distance, and then continue through rural Montenegro where you will experience traditional agricultural scenery little changed in decades. You may also like to visit some of the little monasteries such as Dobrilovina and Djurdjevi Stupovi en route to the Prokletije National Park and Lake Plav. Stay here for a couple of nights to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery adjoining the borders of Albania and Kosovo. Once again, activities available include hiking in the "accursed" mountains, fishing and boating on the lake.
On day 7 it is time to leave Plav and head across the scenic Tresnjevik Pass westwards on smaller roads to Kolasin and the nearby Biogradsko National Park.
You then have a choice of options on Day 8:
1. visit the Biogradsko Gora National Park and stay another night in Kolasin.
2. visit Kolasin area and head south to Podgorica (e.g. Hotel Podgorica)
3. visit Kolasin area, by-pass Podgorica and continue to Lake Skadar (e.g. Hotel Vir or Eco Resort Cermeniza in Virpazar)
Whichever of the options you chose above you will likely spend much of day 9 visiting Lake Skadar and then continue your journey to the coast.
NB. As Budva and Kotor are quite close we suggest choosing just one of them for a 2 nights stay which leaves you a chance to explore further down the coastline. Our recommendation would be Ulcinj (e.g. Hotel Palata Venezia) - stay 2 nts B&B
From Lake Skadar you could drive along the southern shore towards the Albanian border exploring the villages and wine region along the way en route to Ulcinj. You then have a full day to wander around the old town of Ulcinj and maybe visit nearby Bar.
A relatively short drive up the coast via Bar and a possible detour to the famous "island" of Sveti Stefan (now a luxury resort) to your next destination. You can elect to stay in Budva or Kotor for this section of your trip. Whilst here you will also wish to drive up to the Lovcen National Park and the ancient capital of Cetinje.
In Kotor old town, as well as exploring the historic buildings and enjoying the atmosphere you may like to challenge yourself to climb the "Kotor Staircase" up to the fortress way above the town with stunning views across the bay.
A full day to enjoy the stunning scenery of the Bay of Kotor, drive along the north shore via Perast and Risan or the southern shore via Prcanj and the short ferry crossing to Kamenari. From here it is a short drive along the main coast road to Hercog Novi prior to re-entering Croatia. If you have time we recommend a short visit to the pretty little resort of Cavtat (near the airport) before arriving in Dubrovnik. Drop off car on arrival.
Local sightseeing on foot, by bus or cable car; optional excursions by boat, mini-submarine or sea kayak. Plenty of activities and excellent choice of dining.
Private transfer to Dubrovnik airport for flight home.
Prices shown are 'per person' in UK Pounds and are based on a travelling party of at least 2 adults. A single supplement needs to be added to the twin/double price if single rooms are required.
Prices are indicative and will vary depending on your chosen accommodation, room availability as well as time of travel. Please take this into consideration when comparing prices; we always aim to match a high quality experience with exceptional value for money. Please note that discounts will apply if there are 4 or more people in your travelling party as fixed costs such as transportation and guides will be shared equally between the group.
NB: Flights available to book through us with a range of airlines, from various UK airports.
"Loved this holiday but did not get on well with Vamoos."
F Broomby, UK, September, 2019
"I just wanted to contact you to say what a fantastic holiday we had and to thank you so much for all your help in booking and sorting everything and answering all my queries. The Vamoos app was very very good and easy to use as well as being massively useful especially the maps when driving. The hotels were really well chosen and situated perfectly - we decided our favourite was the one in Kotor - the hotel staff were especially helpful and really nice. It all went very smoothly (husbands driving not so much at times!) and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Thank you very much!"
C Matthews, UK, August, 2019
"Very pleased with trip and the use of the app (although struggled to download maps not sure why) hotels were all very different in character so contrast was good. Driving in Montenegro not for the faint hearted but the scenery and people we encountered along the way more than made up for this."
D Mellett, Switzerland, August, 2019
"Just a quick note to say thank you so much for organising such a fantastic honeymoon. It really was the best holiday either of us have ever had. I’d originally attempted to put together the itinerary ourselves and it wasn’t until we went away that we realised how much your knowledge of the area and attention to detail (you’d literally thought of everything) helped to make it the relaxing stress-free holiday it was and one that we’ll always remember. To top it off it was great value for money too. We could never have done it ourselves, so thank you!"
S Mitchell, UK, Sept 2017