With its beautiful Adriatic coastline, Montenegro offers diverse scenery that is best explored by car. Driving allows you the freedom and flexibility to discover hidden gems at your own pace. However, narrow roads and summer congestion can make driving stressful. Is renting a car in Montenegro worth the cost and effort in 2023?
The answer depends on the length and locations of your stay. For quick city trips relying on public transit, the hassle of driving may not make sense. But for multi-destination holidays around the country, having your wheels can be invaluable.
Consider both the pros and cons to decide if a rental car is right for your Montenegro trip this year.
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Where to Rent a Car in Montenegro
The three most popular places for visitors to pick up cars in Montenegro are car rental Podgorica Airport and Tivat Airport, and the most popular tourist destination town of Budva. Podgorica Airport serves the capital and is located inland. The coastal airports at Tivat and Budva may be more convenient for accessing the Bay of Kotor and southern Adriatic beaches.
Major local rental companies like Tara-Car, Car Tzar, and Adio Car operate at all three locations. Booking in advance, even just a few days, can secure the best rates. Expect to pay around USD 45 or 40 euros per day for a standard sedan during peak summer. Rentals of a week or longer often offer discounted weekly rates.
The Pros of Renting a Car in Montenegro
When renting a car it’s important to carefully consider the pros and cons. Here are the top pros that having your car can provide during a Montenegro trip:
Freedom and Flexibility
A rental car allows you to travel anywhere on your schedule, and to have a perfect holiday with 7 days itinerary in Montenegro. You can spontaneously stop to enjoy scenic viewpoints without relying on public transit routes and timetables. Driving grants the flexibility to change plans on a whim.
After long international flights, sorting transit with all your luggage can be exhausting. Picking up a rental car means everything goes from plane to car to hotel smoothly. Driving also allows easy access to non-central hotels and villas.
Buses in Montenegro primarily operate between major cities like Budva, Kotor, and Podgorica. To reach national parks and other remote destinations, you’ll need to drive. A rental car provides door-to-door transport to places not serviceable by public transit.
For families or groups, having a rental vehicle can save money compared to relying on buses or taxis for airport transfers and sightseeing trips. The ability to share costs makes car rental more affordable.
The Cons of Renting a Car in Montenegro
However, there are good reasons to be wary of dealing with a rental car in Montenegro:
Between rental fees, collision insurance, and fuel, having a car is rarely the cheapest option for solo travellers, unlike for groups. Daily rates range from $45-$100 depending on car size, rising further in July and August. Parking fees and highway tolls also add up.
Outside main highways, many Montenegrin roads are incredibly narrow and winding, with sheer drops. Locals drive fast and boldly navigate tight passing spaces. Driving here takes confidence and focus. Signage is sporadic in English.
In coastal towns like Budva, Kotor, and Ulcinj, parking is scarce. Spots in central areas require paid metres or expensive garages. You may end up parking far from sites and then walking in congested traffic.
To pick up a rental car, an International Driving Permit (IDP) is required alongside your native driver’s license. Rental deposits run 500 to 1000 euros, even with credit card insurance coverage purchased.
Key Factors to Consider Before Booking a Rental Car
Given the mix of pros and cons, what should factor into your decision about whether or not to rent a car in Montenegro? Here are some key considerations:
Length of Rental
For a rental of just two or three days, the time saved may not outweigh logistical hassles and added costs. But for week-long or longer trips, by spreading fees across more days, having a car often makes sense.
If just spend your holiday in a single coastal hub like Budva, everything is walkable. With a broader itinerary across the Bay of Kotor, national parks, and beaches, a car makes connecting destinations feasible.
For solo travelers and couples, rental car costs don’t justify themselves as easily without splitting expenses. Families and groups can share rental and fuel fees to access cost savings over other transport.
Comfort Level Driving Abroad
Montenegro requires confident defensive driving and navigation abilities. If you have little experience driving overseas or on narrow mountain roads, the stress may ruin the trip.
Ultimately, the decision depends on your priorities and itinerary. For a multi-city trip or to access Montenegro’s famous landmarks, having the freedom of your rental car often outweighs the hassle. Travelers prioritizing cost and convenience over flexibility may find public transportation or tours better suit their needs. Carefully compare benefits against your budget, destination, and comfort driving abroad before you book. With spectacular scenery all around, Montenegro offers an amazing experience either on four wheels or two.