2024 Renting A Car In Montenegro + Driving Tips

Chasing the Donkey may include affiliate links - if you decide to make a purchase through these links, we receive a commission without any additional cost to you. Disclaimer & privacy policy.
Post author Guru

Written by our local expert Guru

Written by a local specialist we know and trust to bring you the most up-to-date travel information.

Written by Cat Roberts from Cat is out of the office 

In my 2.5 years of full-time solo travel, I have only rented a car a couple of times – I’m usually a go-by-bus kind of girl. However, renting a car in Montenegro is a great way to explore the country and discover its hidden gems that you can’t get to with public transportation.

In my guide, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about hiring a car in Montenegro, as well as some key driving rules you should know to stay safe. 

Montenegro Travel Blog_Car Rental & Driving Tips In Montenegro

It made sense to rent a car in Montenegro to explore further than any bus could take me. So, I put my backpack into the truck, downloaded my favorite podcasts, and road-tripped solo for a month, starting and ending in Montenegro and visiting five different countries along the way.

Montenegro is not only the most beautiful country in the Balkans, but it’s also so small that you can easily drive around the whole thing. Without a rental car in Montenegro, I wouldn’t have made it to places like Durmitor National Park and Lake Skadar.

I know firsthand that driving in a foreign country can be tricky and nerve-wracking. Montenegro is famous for its narrow and windy mountain roads. But, based on my experience, I can confidently say that driving around Montenegro is totally doable – as long as you stay aware of your surroundings, drive slowly, and watch out for switchbacks!

Should You Rent A Car In Montenegro

Renting A Car In Montenegro - stop for photos

Pros: Public transportation doesn’t go everywhere, allows you the freedom to go anywhere at your own pace, can go off-the-beaten path, affordable

Cons: Narrow and windy mountain roads, too expensive for budget travelers, unnecessary for tourist hotspots

Hiring a car in Montenegro is easy and convenient. There are many car rental companies throughout the country, the roads are in good condition, and it’s not that expensive compared to other parts of Europe.

As someone who lived in New York City for the past 13 years without a car, if I can drive in Montenegro, then almost anyone can!

The best part about hiring a car in Montenegro is that you can go anywhere, any time. Do you want to stop at a tiny town for lunch? Do it! Want to have a 20-minute photoshoot at the viewpoint overlooking Horseshoe Bend? You can!

On the flip side of that, if you’re not an experienced driver or don’t feel comfortable driving on winding roads, then renting a car might not be for you. There were a few times when I had to carefully reverse on a narrow road to let an oncoming car pass. I held my breath for those.

If you’re a backpacker on a tight budget, renting a car in Montenegro might not make sense. The average Montenegro rental car cost is USD 18 per day – while that’s a bit cheaper than what I paid to rent a car in Jordan, for example, that’s the same as a couple of nights in a hostel for most backpackers.

A lot of backpackers I met were getting around by bus and hitchhiking – but as a solo female traveler with a deadline, I went with the car.

You can get between the main tourist hotspots by bus or hire a taxi. And most towns are walkable. So, if you’re planning to spend time in Bar and Kotor, for example, you may not need a car.

But, if you want the freedom of traveling with no timetable, a car is your best bet.

Car Rental Companies In Montenegro

Renting A Car In Montenegro - Red Car in driveway

You’ll find the best rental prices if you get your Montenegro car rental at the Podgorica Airport. You’ll find a lot of rental car companies there.

You’ll find Montenegro car rental companies in these cities:

  • Bar
  • Budva
  • Kotor
  • Herceg Novi
  • Nikšić
  • Podgorica
  • Tivat
  • Ulcinj

Since I didn’t go to Podgorica on my visit (I arrived in Montenegro via land from Croatia), I rented a car at the Tivat International Airport – but this was a little more expensive than Podgorica.

Pro Tip: Use an aggregator site like DiscoverCars to compare costs and reserve your Montenegro car rental easily. Book in advance, especially if you’re renting a car in Montenegro in July and August. I also recommend double-checking the rental company’s reviews on Google before booking.

Montenegro Car Rental Companies:

  • Discover Cars
  • Avis
  • CarWiz
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • Final Rentals
  • Green Motion
  • Hertz
  • Montenegro Car
  • Sixt
  • Stella Car
  • Sunnycars
  • Surprice Car Rental
  • Viaggiare Rent

Brands We Use And Trust


Tips For Renting A Car In Montenegro 

Facts About Montenegro - Sunset

Know The Cost To Rent A Car In Montenegro

Luckily, renting a car in Montenegro won’t break the bank. Prices are usually quite reasonable, with an average cost of about USD 18/day. I paid about USD 22/day for my Montenegro rental car from Tivat Airport, which included the documentation needed for the border crossing.

You’ll find the best Montenegro rental car prices at the Podgorica Airport and in the off-season. Summer months – especially July and August – have the highest prices, up paying $40+ per day. Book in advance for the best prices!

During low season, you can find prices as low as USD 7/day.

Use DiscoverCars to compare rental car prices and find the best deal.

Car Rental Ages

You must be at least 21 years old to hire a car in Montenegro and have your driver’s license for at least one year. Some rental companies charge a “young driver surcharge,” which is an extra fee to be paid by drivers under 25 years old.

Pick A Car For The Terrain

The smaller the car, the better in Montenegro! There were so many times I was grateful to be in a compact car on those narrow mountain roads

It’s easy to find automatic transmission (& manual transmission) rental cars in Montenegro, but book early for the summer months.

Bring The Appropriate Documents

Required documents include a valid driver’s license and ID (usually a passport). You should always have these documents on you when you’re driving. An International Driving Permit (IDP) is not required unless your driver’s license doesn’t use the Roman alphabet.

Ask About Snow Tires And Spare Tires

Renting A Car In Montenegro_Cat Roberts - freedom to drive

Ask about snow tires if you’re driving in the wintertime.

Additionally, check the trunk for a spare tire before you start. I learned the hard way on a road trip in Scotland that a lot of rental cars no longer come with a spare tire. We had to wait hours for assistance!

Document Existing Damage To The Vehicle

Always check for existing damage to your rental car before you go and notify your rental company of every scratch. I like to take a video walking around the whole car, just in case they try to charge me for pre-existing damage later on.

Check With Agency For Extra Fees

Always check with your rental agency regarding extra fees such as a young driver fee if you’re under 25, additional drivers, border crossings, winter tires, child booster seats, GPS usage, and insurance coverage.

Have A Credit Card In Your Name

It’s also important to know that many rental companies place a hold on your credit card in case of any damage, to be released when you return the car. Many rental companies don’t accept debit cards – only a valid credit card.

Know The Required Rental Car Insurance

Driving in Montenegro - views of the bay of Kotor as you drive

Make sure you check all the covered insurance options with your rental company and ask questions if something is unclear. Many credit cards include car rental insurance coverage if you used the card on the rental, so check with them before buying additional insurance as this saves money.

Third-Party Liability Insurance is mandatory – this usually comes standard with your car rental and covers damages to third parties in case of an accident. It does not cover damages to your rental car

Extra coverage that covers damages to your rental car is always a good idea because you never know what’s going to happen!

Green Card Insurance For Border Crossings

Green Card Insurance is required if you cross any country’s borders. Your rental company will take care of this (and charge you a fee) if you tell them. I needed this since I traveled to 5 different countries on my road trip in the Balkans.

Ask About Restricted Border Crossings

Your rental company may prohibit travel to certain countries like Greece, Poland, or Romania, so tell them your travel plans when you book.

Keep Rental Contact Information On Hand

Save the rental company’s contact information into your phone before you go. The agent I worked with was very easy to reach on WhatsApp, and I was able to request an extension very easily.

In Case Of An Accident, Know The Steps To Follow

If you get in an accident:

  • Call the police 112 and wait at the scene until they arrive and obtain a copy of the police report.
  • Do not move your car.
  • Notify your rental company immediately – they can help you talk to the police and get the needed documentation.

I scratched my car in Albania and didn’t follow these steps and ended up paying hundreds of Euros out of pocket for the damage – ouch!

Tips For Driving A Car In Montenegro

Bungee Jump From The Đurđevića Tara Bridge

Basic Traffic Rules

  1. Everyone in the car must wear a seatbelt.
  2. Cars drive on the right side of the road in Montenegro and pass on the left. This took some getting used to after so many months of driving in Thailand.
  3. You can pass only in designated spots and across dashed lines.
  4. Children younger than five years old must sit in a child seat in the rear – your rental company can provide appropriate seating, sometimes for an extra fee.
  5. 0.03% is the legal blood alcohol limit in Montenegro. Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs is illegal.
  6. Cellphone use while driving is illegal unless it’s hands-free.
  7. Headlights must be on at all times when driving in Montenegro, even during the day.
  8. Speed limits in Montenegro are usually posted and are typically 50 km/hour in cities, 80 km/hour in non-urban areas, and 100 km/hour on highways. Speeds are strictly enforced.
  9. Drivers are required to carry a collapsable warning triangle and reflective jacket in their vehicle.

Road Conditions

While most roads in Montenegro are in good condition, you’ll find the back roads to be very narrow and often windy. I accidentally ended up driving the mountain roads around Lake Skadar the same day as a car rally with tons of giant SUVs – that was wild!

Additionally, driving at night on unfamiliar roads can be tricky, so try to get to your destination while the sun is still shining.

General Road Safety

General road safety and courtesy is key.

  1. Only stop in designated viewpoint areas – you want to stay safe when getting the perfect shot!
  2. Lightly honk your horn around blind corners and when passing another vehicle.
  3. Cars will flash their lights at you if there’s a hazard coming up or if there is a police checkpoint so that you know to slow down.
  4. Montenegro Emergency Number: 112

Parking Your Car

It can be hard to find parking spots in tourist hotspots, especially during the summer months. Go early or park a ways away and walk.

Note that you may have to pay for parking. For those looking to save some money, choose accommodations with parking on site.

Using Google Maps 

Google Maps worked really well for me during my road trip in Montenegro. Local SIM cards are cheap, but I did lose cell signal on a few of my mountain drives. Download your maps offline, and you should be fine. Don’t forget a car charger!

Always add extra time to whatever time Google estimates for your route. I rarely arrived somewhere at the time Google predicted. Between traffic and photo stops and wanting to take mountain roads at a safe pace, it almost always took me longer than expected.

Gas Stations

Filling up your gas tank is very easy in Montenegro. There are plenty of gas stations, and attendants do all the work. Most stations take both credit cards and cash.

Top Places To Visit In Your Montenegro Rental Car

Be sure to add the famous Serpentine Road in Kotor to your road trip plans – it was so fun to drive the 16 hairpin turns!

Other great road trip stops include:


Explore Kotor in one day (Montenegro) with a mesmerizing aerial view of its old town. Get inspired with trip ideas for a perfect day in Kotor.

It is a beautiful old town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site along the bay of the same name. It has been an important port since the Middle Ages and is now a Mediterranean hotspot for tourists looking to explore its winding streets and colorful buildings. Cat lovers will be in heaven – every local feeds the strays.


 Its waterfront promenades and palm-lined beaches make it a popular destination for vacationers looking to lounge in the sun. There are plenty of activities to enjoy, from kayaking and water sports to visiting nearby islands such as Mamula or Sveti Marko. And the Forte Mare Fortress in the old town is an impressive sight.

Sveti Stefan

 A stunning island village in Budva Municipality, this exclusive resort was once a fishing village but is now a luxurious destination for those looking to relax in some of Montenegro’s most beautiful coastlines. Even Marilyn Monroe stayed here!

Lake Skadar

Renting A Car In Montenegro - Lake Skadar

Set between Albania and Montenegro, this large lake is a great spot to take a boat trip or bird watch as you enjoy some of Europe’s best views. There are also several easy day trips you can visit from here, including the Horseshoe Bend viewpoint. I used this spot as a home base for a couple of days, and it was one of my trip highlights.

Tara River Canyon

 Located inside Durmitor National Park, Tara River Canyon is one of the deepest and longest canyons in Europe. You have to visit when you’re in Montenegro! And it’s tricky to get here without a car, so you’ll be happy to have one.

Budva Old Town

Best Beaches In Montenegro - Mogren Beach Budva (1)

With 2,500 years of history, this picturesque old town offers excellent restaurants, shopping, and nightlife, all within a maze of narrow cobbled streets and centuries-old stone walls. The medieval architecture and lively atmosphere make Budva worth a visit.

Ostrog Monastery

 I don’t normally get excited by religious sites, but I’ve never seen anything like this in all my travels! Located high on a hillside – carved into the mountain – this Serbian Orthodox Monastery is one of the most important religious sites in Montenegro. The monastery itself is made up of two parts – the Lower Church and Upper Monastery. With your rental car, you can go early to beat the tour buses.

Nearby Countries To Add To Your Road Trip Itinerary

Albania or Croatia - choose Jade Beach, Albania

If you have extra time, I highly recommend exploring some of Montenegro’s neighboring countries.

I had an amazing time visiting Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina on this trip – all in my rental car! I would never have been able to explore so many different countries if I had been limited to public transportation.

In Albania, I was taken away by the dramatic coastal beaches of Sarandë and the wild beauty of Theth National Park. I accidentally drove into Tirana the day before the marathon and barely found a place to park – next time, I’ll check the calendar!

Further north in Kosovo, the capital city of Pristina surprised me with its buzzy street art scene and café culture.

North Macedonia offered up some great hiking spots and beautiful mountain landscapes that I’ll never forget.

Last but certainly not least was Bosnia & Herzegovina, where I explored the old Ottoman city of Mostar with its famous bridge over the Neretva River.

Hiring A Car In Montenegro Wrap Up

You should rent a car in Montenegro if you want to explore the country and its stunning coastline at your own pace. There are many places in Montenegro you can only get to by car, and it’s often cheaper to rent a car than to pay for a taxi.

The roads are generally safe and well-maintained; just be mindful that the backroads are narrow and windy.

Expect to pay anywhere from $7/day (in the low season) to $50/day (in peak season) for your Montenegro rental car. You’ll find the best deals if you rent at the Podgorica Airport and if you book in advance. Talk to your rental company about extra fees for border crossings, extra insurance coverage, and additional drivers.

Driving around Montenegro and the other Balkan countries is one of my favorite memories from the past couple of years of full-time travel – I can’t wait to do it again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Move This Adventure To Your Inbox & Get An Instant Freebie

Subscribe To Unlock Your FREE Customizable Travel Packing List & All Our Best Tips!