Renting a car is often the most convenient way to explore Montenegro. We already have a lot of guides related to car hire in Montenegro. But, it’s always good to present the best tips for car rental in Montenegro to our readers.
Here are my tips to help you confidently rent a car in Montenegro.
Choosing the right rental company
With tourism on the rise in Montenegro, there are now over 60 car rental companies operating around the country. However, not all provide the same level of service.
I recommend using one of the local brands like Tara-Car rental, Respecta, and Mtel cars, which have offices in Podgorica airport as well as in the main coastal towns.
The larger companies tend to offer better-maintained vehicles and have clear insurance policies. Small local firms can be cheaper but may neglect minor repairs or attempt to charge for non-existent damages.
Booking in advance
During the peak summer tourist season, rental cars in Montenegro get booked up quickly, especially if you want an automatic transmission or a 4×4 for exploring the mountains.
I advise reserving your rental car at least 2-3 months in advance if visiting between June and September. Booking early also locks in the rental rate and ensures you get the exact vehicle type you need. Last-minute walk-in rentals will be limited.
Inspecting the vehicle
When you pick up your rental car, take the time to thoroughly inspect it for any prior damage. Check the exterior for scratches and dents, and inspect the interior for stains or tears. Point out any issues to the rental agent and make sure they note it on the rental agreement, so you are not held responsible later.
This protects you from unfair charges. Also, check that the gas tank is full and that all features and accessories are in working order.
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Understanding the insurance
Montenegro law requires all registered vehicles to carry liability insurance. However, basic coverage may not provide sufficient protection. I strongly advise purchasing the collision damage waiver (CDW) and theft protection when you rent.
This will minimize your financial liability in case of accidents, theft and vandalism. Also, consider getting personal accident insurance for additional peace of mind. Clarify the exact amount of your deductible and which damages are covered.
Checking local driving rules
While they generally follow European conventions, Montenegro does have some unique driving regulations. For starters, everyone must drive with their headlights on, even during the day. Children under age 12 are prohibited from sitting in the front seat.
Drivers and all passengers must wear seat belts. Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal unless you have a hands-free device. Montenegro also enforces a strict zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving. Know the local rules of the road before getting behind the wheel.
Adjusting to mountain roads
With a landscape dominated by the Dinaric Alps, be prepared for adventurous mountain driving in Montenegro. Roads cling to steep hillsides and have sharp drop-offs. Curve warning signs are often too faded to read. Potholes and damaged pavements are common.
Allow extra time and maintain slow, cautious speeds. Driving in these conditions takes focus. Pull over in safe areas to enjoy the breathtaking vistas. Also, beware of rocks in the road that fall from above.
Watching for speed cameras
Montenegro has implemented numerous speed cameras in major cities and urban areas to improve road safety. Fixed cameras are well-marked with signs, but mobile units can pop up anywhere. Fines for speeding are steep, so obey all posted limits.
Cameras target both locals and tourists. Some rental cars may have a speed warning system that beeps when you exceed the limit. This can help avoid costly tickets. Just remember to keep glancing at your speedometer.
Preparing for border crossings
A Montenegro road trip allows you to easily visit neighboring Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania. However, border crossings can involve long queues and paperwork checks. Have your rental agreement, IDP and passports handy. Know that additional fees may apply for taking the rental car across borders. Purchase extra travel insurance for further protection. Communicate your cross-border travel plans to the rental company ahead of time. Patience is key when crossing.
Filling the tank before returns
In Montenegro, rental cars are given out with a full tank of gas but drivers are expected to return them full as well. Petrol stations are not always common in rural areas, so I suggest filling up the tank anytime it goes below half-full during your trip.
Don’t wait until the last minute! Unfilled tanks can lead to expensive refueling fees. Keep a reserve gas can in the trunk when exploring remote mountain zones just in case. Plan accordingly and avoid surprises at drop-off.
Renting a car opens the door to experiencing Montenegro at your own pace. By booking early, inspecting your vehicle, understanding the insurance, brushing up on local rules, driving cautiously and planning fuel stops, you can have a smooth and stress-free car rental experience.
With its charming villages, historic monasteries, rugged peaks and glittering coastline, Montenegro is best enjoyed on four wheels. Hit the open road and let the Balkan adventures begin!
Packing essential gear
Driving Montenegro’s winding roads and isolated terrain means you should be well-equipped for emergencies. Here are some key items I recommend packing:
- Spare tire – Rental cars may only include a tire repair kit. An actual spare is more reliable.
- Jump starter – For recharging a dead battery in remote areas.
- First aid kit – For treating injuries until you can reach medical care.
- Flashlight – Important if you break down at night in the mountains.
- Reflective triangle – To warn other drivers if your car is disabled.
- Fire extinguisher – Helpful for electrical or engine fires.
- Emergency blanket – Provides warmth if stuck overnight.
- Bottled water – Prevent dehydration if the wait for help is long.
- Snacks – Granola bars or nuts give you energy in a pinch.
- Paper maps – For navigation if you lose phone signal in rural zones.
Being prepared for emergencies gives peace of mind when driving in Montenegro’s challenging road environments.
Finding secure parking
In Montenegro’s historic towns, parking can be limited. Spaces may be scarce, street parking tightly spaced, and roads narrow. When visiting Kotor, Budva, Perast and other hotspots:
- Use public parking garages when possible.
- Check for restricted zones with signs or red curbs.
- Have small bills ready to feed short-term parking meters.
- Avoid double parking which blocks traffic.
- Don’t leave valuables visible in the parked car.
- Verify the vehicle is locked before walking away.
- Take a photo of where you parked as a reminder.
- Check for wheel clamps when returning – fines are steep.
Finding legitimate parking takes extra effort but reduces the risk of tickets or vandalism.