- WHEN TO VISIT
- VISA REQUIREMENTS
- CUSTOM FORMALITIES
- MONEY AND BANKING
- HEALTH AND SECURITY
- MANNERS AND CUSTOMS
WHEN TO VISIT
Montenegro is appealing for a visit in all seasons since its varied climate and geography offer a change of scenery and activities within only a couple of hours' drive.
April in the coastal area usually sees people lightly dressed but with umbrellas as this is the rainiest month of the year. Weather allowing the bathing season starts around May 1st when the sun shines brightly enough to convince even the wariest. During this month the usual sight in the coastal resorts are older European tourist strolling around or drinking coffee, enjoying off-season prices; most of the beach Bars and services are just opening and are not fully operational. The mountain rivers are swollen with melting snow and if you enjoy white-water rafting May and June are the month for your visit. Mountain peaks are still covered with snow and sudden weather changes may easily bring another snowstorm; the locals who had rain away from the fierce winter and the isolation are now returning. This is the most idyllic season in the lower inland areas and a good opportunity to see Lake Skadarsko at its larger when it is teeming with birdlife, the green leaves in the usually sun-scorched Podgorica and the nearby waterfalls of the River Cijevna in all their magnificence.
By the beginning of June, the tourist season starts to gain force but the prices of accommodation during this month are still significantly lower than those from the 1st of July. The real tourist invasion comes in July and August when the seaside becomes crammed with visitors of all ages and profiles bringing the rundown infrastructure to the verge breakdown. Cafes and nightclubs are all open, local music festivals and cultural events follow one another but if you are not looking for loud fun, girls on swarming beaches and being seen, this is the time of year to avoid. The season is also in full swing in the mountains but the crowds are not so evident here and a few more people in the uninhabited highlands are always appreciated. Many Montenegrins head off to freshness of the mountains to visit their relatives and in these months even the isolated villages seem alive once more. It is still summer in September, only the days are shorter, but by the middle of the month, the beaches have emptied and are left over to the enjoyment of the few remaining tourists.
October is mild in the littoral but it is the last month to finish what needs to be done in the high mountains as by its end it will almost surely start to snow. In November one day might be sunny and the next stormy but by now all of the tourist businesses have closed and the littoral has fallen into its winter slumber.
The skiing season starts in December and peaks between New Year’s Eve and mid-February, through good ski conditions last all the way through April; prices reflect the number of visitors. This is definitely not a season to travel around the interior as severe weather conditions may close many roads for days. Podgorica is coldish and gray while the coastal areas see some sunshine breaking through the rainy clouds. There are very few tourists around and you will be able to observe the locals in their relaxed everyday routine. You will also experience towns such as Kotor or Budva the way they were before the age of mass-tourism.
Montenegro Hostel Team
Visas are not required by visitors from the following countries to visit up to 90 days.
Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Argentina, Aruba, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Barbados, Belgium, Bermudas, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Catarrh, Columbia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Moldova, Mauritius, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Netherland, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Trinidad and Tobago, Timor-Leste, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vatican, Vanuatu, UAE.
EU nationals may enter with an ID card.
Holders of a valid US or Schengen visa may transit for up to 7 days without a visa.
Visitors from: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Comoros Islands, Congo, Cuba, Cayman Islands, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Gibraltar, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Korea (North), Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lesotho, Lebanon, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Mali, Malawi, Maldive Islands, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Macao, Montserrat, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Oman, Palau, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Syria, Somalia, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Sudan, Suriname, South African Republic, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvau, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe need a visa before arriving. Visas are not required by visitors from the following countries to visit up to 30 days.
Belarus, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Cuba, Peru, Venezuela.
Visitors from the Russian Federation can without visas stay up to 30 days in the period of 1st of November to 30th of April.
From the 1st of May to 31st of October visitors from Russian Federation stay can without visa up to 90 days.
REGISTRATION OF YOUR STAY IN MONTENEGRO
The local law requires you to register with the local police within 24 hours of your arrival unless you are staying in a hotel or official tourist accommodation, in which case you will be registered automatically on checking-in. If you do not register you may be fined and face difficulties leaving the country. If the company or person you are visiting is providing you with private accommodation, they are required to submit an application for your residence to the police within 12 hours of your arrival and cancel it within 12 hours of your departure.
From 2016. registration is in electronic form.
UNOFFICIAL BORDER CROSSINGS
If you are planning to take a hiking tour which includes crossing of the state border outside the official state border crossing points (e.g. Prokletije, Hajla, Ljubisnja, Kamena Gora, Maglic, Orjen mountains, etc), a relevant legal procedure must be observed.
The application form for crossing a state border outside the official state border crossing points (attached) should be lodged with the competent institution, namely state border police of the country from which you are exiting. Border police of the exiting state shall undertake all the necessary measures so to provide for your safe crossing.
When making plans to exit Montenegro outside the official state border crossings points, the Application form should be lodged with the local border police office which is in charge of the relevant area (contacts are attached) and they will provide you with their reply in a timely fashion. In cooperation with the border police of the neighboring country, a competent organizational unit of the border police shall provide all the conditions for your uninterrupted and safe crossing and inform you thereof.
The Application form may be lodged for groups and individual crossings the state border.
Along with the filled Application form, scanned travel documents should be sent by email or by fax.
Overview of visa regimes for foreign citizens
Mere possession of a visa does not grant entry to Montenegro. Other legal requirements for granting a foreigner the entry and stay to Montenegro must also be met according to the Law on Foreigners (“Official Gazette of Montenegro”, No. 82/08). The Visa regime between Montenegro and other countries is regulated by the Regulation on Visa Regime (“Official Gazette of Montenegro”, No. 18/09). Visa in itself does not offer a grant of permission to work in Montenegro. The person who intends to work in Montenegro must obtain a temporary residence permit for the purpose of employment or seasonal work, on the grounds of previously issued work permit.
Airports: Airport Podgorica (TGD) and Airport Tivat (TIV) www.montenegroairports.com
Roads: with Serbia (Ranče, Čemerno, Dobrakovo, Kula, Draženovac, Vuče), with Albania (Božaj, Sukobin, Grnčar), with B&H (Sitnica, Ilino brdo, Vraćenovići, Krstac, Nudo, Šćepan Polje, Metaljka, Šula), with Croatia (Debeli brijeg, Kobila)
Embassies and consulates of Montenegro
For all further information related to consulate matters (e.g. visas, citizenship, estates, etc) please contact by telephone or e-mail one of the diplomatic-consulate missions here
Montenegro Hostel Team
Generally speaking, Montenegrin custom officials are not too eager, one could almost say there are lax.
All travelers require a passport valid for the duration of their stay and should ensure that it is stamped on entry. One can bring an unlimited amount of currency into the country but is obliged to declare currency in excess of 2000 euro upon entry and must obtain a declaration form from customs officials declaration from form custom officials that must be presented on departure. The amount you can take out is limited to 500 euro unless more has been declared on entry. For sums of money in excess of €15,000, you should also have obtained a document which states the origin of the funds. If you fail to comply with these rules, your money may be confiscated. To avoid customs charges, declare items of value like expensive jewelry, photographic and computer equipment.
The latest regulations limit the amount of food and beverages which can be brought into the country to 5l of water, a 1l of alcoholic drink, 2l of non-alcoholic, a kilogram of dried fruits and vegetables and 1kg of purchased foodstuffs.
Persons traveling with expensive electronic equipment such as cameras or computers should list these items on declaration issued by the authorities ( ask if needed) this ensures that they can be taken out upon departure.
Montenegro Hostel Team
MONEY AND BANKING
The official currency of Montenegro is the Euro even though the country is not a part of the Eurozone. Montenegro used the Deutschmark from 1999 to protect against the instability of the Yugoslav Dinar and the influence of Yugoslav ex-president Milosevic switching to the Euro in 2002. Serbian Dinars are not accepted and it could be difficult to exchange them.
Only Komercijalna Banka exchange the Serbian Dinars in Montenegro.
Only CKB Banka exchanges the Croatian Kunas in Montenegro.
None of the banks in Montenegro does exchange Albanian Leke and Macedonian Denars in Euros.
Banks and large post offices will exchange, though always with a commission charge. The larger hotels also have exchange bureaus. You will find several exchange booths in Podgorica ad Tivat airports, on major bus and train station. Currency changes usually deal with US Dollars and Swiss Francs. Purchasing the British Pounds and other currency might be more difficult as exchange offices rarely have sufficient amounts available.
Montenegro is still generally a cash economy. Credit cards are accepted in a growing number up marked hotels, travel agencies, restaurants, and larger stores, but corner shops, bars, and other smaller stores will only accept cash. It is a good idea to carry enough cash for your daily needs. Amongst international credit cards, the most accepted are Visa, Maestro, and Master card. Cash dispensers (ATMs) are few and far between but are most often to be found next to the bank.
Bank accounts are easily opened with a valid passport but you should carefully inquire which bank to choose as some charge for withdrawals.
Cash transfers to and from abroad are somewhat difficult: all international transfers to and from Montenegro are required to pass through cleaning banks in order to keep control of the number of Euros in the country, which means that transfers can take anything from 5 to 10 working days. Commissions for this kind of transfer are hefty and differ significantly from bank to bank. For fast money transfers, there are several branches of Western Union in the banks of Montenegro.
Banking hours are 8:00-16:00 on workdays, and 8:00-14:00 on Saturdays.
Montenegro Hostel Team
It is wise to take out comprehensive travel insurance so that your expenses are covered in case of treated illness or accident both on state-run and in private clinics. Medical staff in Montenegro are generally well trained and some will speak English. In case you don’t have medical insurance, emergency treatment will require payment, most usually in cash. There are a number of private clinics around and the cost of treatment in these is a bit less expensive than elsewhere in Europe.
Pharmacies (apoteka) are well stocked and easy to find. They follow the usual working hours (8:00-20:00) but in the South, especially in the summer season a lot of pharmacies are open every day from (8:00-23:00).
Many of the branded medicines you might be acquainted with will have different names in local pharmacies so be sure to known the generic name of the drug or take your prescription with you. If you are reluctant to use other medicine or to buy them as imported goods at higher prices be sure to take a good supply with you.
The water is safe to drink in all Montenegro. Local meat, cheese, poultry, and fish are all considered safe to eat. Hygiene standards are quite high in most hotels and restaurants except in the bottom end ones.
Jellyfish are rare in Montenegro waters but can be stumbled upon. Burning and welts from these will subside of their own accord in a few hours. Mosquitoes carry no diseases in Montenegro but can be a real nuisance; insecticide vaporizes and repellents are available in better stores and in pharmacies.
Street crime on foreigners is generally low in Montenegro. One should beware of pickpocketing in busy tourist areas as well as on trains, busses, and airports. Armed robberies are almost unheard of. Extra precaution should be taken if leaving a luxury car in an unattained parking place-put all your bags, no matter what is in them in the trunk or some other place where they can’t be seen. The general attitude towards foreign tourists is generous and friendly but this might not be the case with some local youths. To avoid conflict with them, ignore any provocations, remain calm and collected if spoken to in a mocking way and, most importantly, do not try to outsmart or outdo them in any way. Contrary to many European cities the streets of Montenegrin towns are quite safe after dark though it is wise to stay out of secluded places.
Women traveling solo should feel safe and comfortable but will also experience an unusual level of unwanted attention in bars and discotheques, less in the streets, but it starting or rude remarks. A girl sitting on her own in a café is bound to be approached for a conversation-try not to be impolite but keep to yourself if you are not interested. Montenegrin men are great gentlemen to those of their heart’s desire but do not like being rejected.
Topless bathing is usual on most beaches but should be avoided in areas with the Muslim majority such as Ulcinj and its Riviera. Full nudity is tolerated only on nudist beaches.
Although homosexuality is not illegal, a display of same-sex affection in public places will arouse discontent and mocking behavior.
Montenegro lies on the main corridor for drug and trafficking from the Middle East to Western Europe and consequently, there is a number of illegal substances on the street. Possession and trafficking of drugs are punishable by law and may result in jail sentences.
You are obliged to carry your passport at all times as a means of identification, but this is not strictly observed in the police. We advise you to make a copy of our passport ( and other important documents) and keep it in a safe place so that you can easily get the replacement travel document in case your passport gets lost or stolen.
Montenegro Hostel Team
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS
Until recently one of the most popular jokes about Montenegrins was that the problems in their customer service steam from the fact that proud warriors cannot be changed overnight into humble waiters and chefs. Surely, Montenegrins are a nation in transition who are changing en route from shepherds clinging to their traditions to businessmen and tourism industry workers. These changes are also causing a transformation of the national temperament: once stiff and sober in order to remain heroic and just, modern-day Montenegrins are more relaxed, reckless and hedonistic. Their feisty humor is unbeatable and ever-present, delivered in such a way that one wonders whether to laugh nor to take seriously. In so far as these generalizations hold true Montenegrins are very intelligent, witty and quick to learn. In their talents are put to good use they become top artists, managers, professors, and doctors who complete with the best in their field elsewhere in the world.
As a nation, Montenegrins are very warmhearted and welcoming. Hospitality is the dearest obligation of every host, be it the person you are staying with, a good friend or just an acquaintance; don’t be surprised if you are treated to coffee or rakija (domestic brandy) by a total stranger as many people consider in honor to have a visitor in their far-flung corner of the earth. Hospitality is practiced particularly in rural areas where it is treated with an air of seriousness and where is often tends of eating and drink.
When meeting people for the first time shake hands sturdily, say your first name or it presented by someone else with and the phrase “Drago mi je “ (Pleased to meet you). Formal greetings are “Dobro jutro!” ( Good morning, but note that this used only in the early morning, not at 11 a.m. like in English), “Dobar dan!” (Good day!) and “Dobro veče” (“Good evening, and only at dusk and during the evenings). On formal occasions surnames and names are preceded with titles “gospodin” for Mister, “gospodjica” for Miss, and “gospodja” for Mrs. Stand up when you are meeting older people and women but try not to be formal. On meeting the people you already know shake hand s and say either “Zdravo!” (Hello) or, even more casually, “Djesi ?” ( What is up?). Younger women will kiss friends on the cheek instead of shaking hands but will do this only this they know well. When meeting old friends on the cheek instead of shaking hands. When meeting old friends after a long period or any kind of celebration it is usual to kiss on alternate cheeks two or three times and even hug affectionately. A fair amount of physical contact (tapping on the shoulder, taking by the hand and similar) is usual and should be viewed as an act of closeness. Some hugging and kissing procedure precedes cordial departures. The usual goodbyes are formal “Dovidjenja!” (Goodbye) or more familiar “Zdravo!” or “Ćao” ( on Italian is Ciao).
Although at their first meeting with you Montenegrins may seem a bit reserved this is likely to disappear after only a few minutes. Anyone whom they met several times is counted as a friend and treated to intimate stories; proportionally they will show interest in your life, political views, likes and dislikes or other topics you might find unusual but this should not offend since it is considered a normal basis for conversation.
On entering someone’s house you will be treated to a coffee ( almost always a strong black one), rakija or a juice, possibly homemade. If offered, don’t miss the delicious preserves called slatko, served in small pots, on which you should take one or two teaspoons. On first entering a household it is customary to bring with you a small symbolic gift- a bottle of wine, some coffee, chocolate, flowers or something similar. When toasting say “Živjeli” or when drinking with only one person “Zdravobili” ( May you be healthy); it is very important to touch glasses and look into the eyes of the people you are toasting with. Beware that your glass will be refilled as soon as you have finished it, the best defense against this is to leave a sip or two until you are prepared to leave. It happens frequently that people are invited to lunch or dinner and you should not hesitate as it is not purely a gesture of politeness.
During meals, there are not too many rules to obey. Helping yourself to some more food without hesitation is not unusual and will spare you the even larger amounts of food your hosts are likely to serve you. Try to taste everything you are offered so as not to offend the host. The courses (appetizer, soup, main dish, and dessert) are accompanied by saying “Prijatno!” (Bon appetite) and answering “Hvala, takodje!” (Thanks, the same to you). The greatest honor for every guest is to be invited to a slava, the celebration of a family’s saint day. The most common amongst them are Nikoljdan (St Nikola’s -19th December), Arandjelovdan (St Michael-21st November), Jovandan (St John’s -20th of January) and Djurdjevdan ( St George’s -6th of May) when the most people roam around visiting their friends and relatives. You could bring a small, symbolic gift, but you will be accepted equally even if you don’t it. The most conventional greetings are “Srećnaslava” followed by kissing on the cheeks. Upon entering the house you will be offered žito-a wheat, nuts and honey cake of which you should take a spoon or two after making the sign of the cross ( if you are Cristian, of course). After this, all you should do is enjoy yourself and drink eagerly at all the toasts. The local’s skills in foreign languages depend on their age and education. Most of the younger people will at least understand English and will know a couple of phrases. The second language spoken is Italian, then Russian and more rarely German. Knowledge of any Slavic language is fairly useful as many words and phrases are common or similar.
Govoritel li engleski /ruski/ italijanski/ njemački?- Do You speak English/ Russian/ Italian /German?
If invited for a drink in the café it is highly probable that your host will strongly insist on paying the whole bill. As there is no point in arguing it is best to buy round yourself when he/she is not round to pay, but be careful not to equal the amount as the might be considered offensive. Sharing payment around the table is not considered convivial. Ask to add some money but try not too precise as bargaining over cents is considered avaricious. Montenegrins are not formal in the least when it comes to clothing. Most of them tend to overdress but there are few occasions in private life apart from weddings or funerals when there is a dress code to obey.
Though Montenegrin girl dress provocatively and act quit too much e free one should not expect too much from the first few “dates”. Patriarchal morality still looms over and is society as small as that Montenegro no girl wants to be labeled as “easy-going”.
When asking for something politely use the phrase “Molim Vas” (please), Using this at the end of each and every sentence will be considered much too formal so try to apply in only when you are really in need of something.
Bartering is not customary and will be tolerated only in certain places for instance greenmarkets, provided you are willing to spend a somewhat larger amount of money.
Business Hours: Government and business offer usually work from 8 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday. Department stores and supermarkets are generally open from 8 am to 9 pm. 24 hours shops ok kiosks are common. Most restaurants are open till midnight. This is also when the cafes and clubs should turn the music off.
Churches: Most of the large town churches are open throughout the day whilst those in the village are open only at service times, usually at 8:30 am at 5 pm. Upon entering the church one is required to act politely, not too loud or raise your voice. Enter decently dressed –no swimsuits, shorts, miniskirts or even uncovered shoulders. Take your hat off. Women are expected to cover their heads although this rule is too strictly obeyed. In orthodox churches, women are not allowed in the sanctuary behind the iconostasis. Moving around during service is not encouraged and men should keep to the right while women to the left of the church. Ask for permission if you want to take pictures, especially in the church.
Electric current: 220 Volts with plugs of two round pins.
Local Time is GTM + 1 hour. From the end of March to the end of October the time is GTM+2 hours.
Museums rarely open every day. Most are closed on Monday but some close on Sunday. Specific opening hours are provided in the texts on particular museums. The last entrance is usually 30 to 40 minutes before closing time.
Tipping is not obligatory but it is usual in taxis and restaurants to round up to sum to the nearest whole followed with the phrase. “U redu je” is OK, provided you are satisfied with the service, of course. This applies even to the smallest bills.
Weights and Measures. The metric system is used in Montenegro, the same as the rest of continental Europe. The unit of length is a meter for weight it’s gram for capacity.
January 1st and 2nd- New Year’s Day
January 7th and 8th- Orthodox Christmas
May 1st and 2nd- Labor Day
May 21st –Independence Day
July 13th- National Day
Montenegro Hostel Team