Renting a car in Montenegro – The Complete Guide

Imagine cruising along the stunning Adriatic coastline, exploring charming medieval towns, and relishing the awe-inspiring landscapes of Montenegro at your own pace. Renting a car in Montenegro opens up a world of possibilities, allowing you to delve into the heart of this Balkan gem.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about renting a car in Montenegro, from the best areas to explore to essential driving tips and local regulations.

Renting a Car in Montenegro – Should You?

Montenegro, often referred to as the “Pearl of the Mediterranean,” is a country of unparalleled natural beauty and cultural riches.

With its diverse landscapes that range from pristine beaches to rugged mountains, having the freedom of a rental car can elevate your Montenegrin experience.

Whether you’re an adventurer seeking off-the-beaten-path destinations or a traveler who craves convenience, renting a car could be your ticket to an unforgettable journey.

Which Areas of Montenegro Should I Explore With a Rental Car?

Montenegro’s compact size makes it ideal for exploration by car. Picture yourself winding through the serpentine roads of the Bay of Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage site, or driving up the winding Durmitor mountain range for panoramic views that will leave you breathless. With a rental car, you can access remote villages like Njeguši, renowned for its prosciutto, and indulge in spontaneous detours to hidden gems along the coast.

How to Rent a Car in Montenegro

Renting a car in Montenegro is a relatively straightforward process. The country boasts a range of international and local car rental companies, each offering diverse options to suit your preferences. Before you arrive, it’s advisable to book your rental car online to secure the best rates and availability, especially during the peak tourist season.

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Main Car Rental Companies That Operate in Montenegro

When it comes to car rental options in Montenegro, you’ll find several well-known international companies such as Avis, Hertz, and Europcar, alongside local players like Blue Car Renta, Tara-Car, Respecta Carl and Montenegro Car Hire. These companies provide a variety of vehicle types, from compact cars perfect for city exploration to sturdy SUVs designed to tackle Montenegro’s more rugged terrains.

Car Rental Insurance

Ensuring you have the right insurance is paramount when renting a car in Montenegro. Most rental companies offer basic insurance coverage, but it’s wise to consider additional coverage for comprehensive protection. Collision damage waivers and theft protection can provide peace of mind, especially if you plan to venture into the mountains or park in urban areas.

Choose Automatic Transmission Whenever Possible

Opting for an automatic transmission can greatly enhance your driving experience in Montenegro. The country’s diverse topography often entails navigating steep inclines and winding roads, where an automatic can make driving more manageable and enjoyable.

Be Strategic With Pick Up and Drop Off Locations

Selecting the right pick-up and drop-off locations can streamline your travel plans. Airports and major cities like Podgorica and Tivat offer convenient rental car facilities. Picking up your car upon arrival allows you to kick-start your adventure promptly while dropping it off at a different location can facilitate a smoother departure.

Documents Needed For Renting a Car and Driving Legally in Montenegro

Before embarking on your Montenegrin road trip, ensure you have all the necessary documents. These typically include a valid driver’s license, a credit card in the main driver’s name for the rental car deposit, and your passport for identification purposes. Additionally, an International Driving Permit (IDP) is recommended, especially if your driver’s license isn’t in English or if you plan to explore other European countries.

Do a Walk Around

Upon receiving your rental car, perform a thorough inspection of its condition. Document any pre-existing scratches, dents, or other damages to avoid being held responsible upon return. Taking photos or videos can serve as crucial evidence should any disputes arise.

Return Your Rental Car With A Full Tank

Many rental companies provide you with a full tank of fuel upon pick-up and expect the car to be returned in the same condition. Failing to do so could result in additional refuelling charges at higher rates.

Returning Your Rental Car

When returning your rental car, it’s advisable to allow extra time for the inspection process. Ensure all personal belongings are removed, and the car is clean. This can help expedite the return and minimize any potential disagreements about the vehicle’s condition.

Renting a Car and Driving in Montenegro with Children

If you’re traveling with children, renting a car offers convenience and comfort. However, it’s crucial to prioritize their safety by adhering to Montenegro’s child car seat regulations.

Renting a Car With Children – Car Seats

In Montenegro, the safety of children in vehicles is paramount. If your child is under the age of 5 and shorter than 135 cm, a suitable child restraint system, such as a car seat, is mandatory.

Car Seats in Montenegro – General Requirements

Children under 12 years old or shorter than 150 cm must use appropriate restraints. Infants must be placed in rear-facing car seats, while toddlers can use forward-facing seats equipped with a harness.

Car Seats in Montenegro – Rent or Bring Your Own?

Traveling with your car seat can be cumbersome, prompting many travelers to consider renting one from their car rental company. While this is possible, availability can be limited, and there’s no guarantee that the seat will meet your safety and comfort preferences.

When renting a car seat, ensure it complies with Montenegrin safety standards and regulations. Your child’s well-being should never be compromised.

Car Seats in Montenegro – LATCH / ISOFIX Compatibility

If you bring your car seat or rent one with LATCH/ISOFIX compatibility, you can enjoy the simplified installation and added security.

Car Seats in Montenegro – Anti-Abandonment Devices

To prevent accidents due to parents forgetting children in cars, some car seats come with anti-abandonment technology. Considering Montenegro’s warm climate, this feature can be especially valuable.

Renting a Car With Children – Size of Vehicle

Opting for a slightly larger vehicle provides extra space and comfort for your family, ensuring a more enjoyable journey.

Renting a Car With Children – Minivans

If you’re traveling with an extended family or a larger group, renting a minivan can be an excellent option. It offers ample space for both passengers and luggage.

Renting a Car With Children – Rest Stops

Montenegro’s autostradas (highways) often have convenient rest stops equipped with amenities like restaurants and playgrounds, providing a perfect opportunity for your little ones to stretch their legs and unwind.

How To Navigate Montenegrin Roads

Driving in Montenegro can be an exhilarating experience, but it’s essential to be well-prepared to navigate the country’s roads safely and efficiently.

Montenegrin Driving Laws

Before hitting the road, familiarize yourself with Montenegro’s driving laws to ensure a smooth journey devoid of any legal complications.

Montenegrin Driving Laws – General Laws

Obey traffic signals, wear seat belts, and avoid using your mobile phone while driving. Adhering to these basic rules can significantly enhance road safety.

Montenegrin Driving Laws – Road Signs

Montenegro employs international road signs, making navigation straightforward for international travelers. Brushing up common road signs can prevent confusion and keep you on the right track.

Montenegrin Driving Laws – Types of Roads and General Speed Limits

Montenegro features several road types, each with its own designated speed limits. For instance, urban areas typically have speed limits of 50 km/h, while autostradas allow speeds of up to 130 km/h.

Montenegrin Driving Laws – Cameras

Keep an eye out for cameras, or speed cameras, positioned across Montenegro. These devices help enforce speed limits and ensure road safety.

What It’s Like Driving in Montenegro

Driving in Montenegro offers a unique blend of breathtaking vistas and thrilling twists and turns. From the coastal stretches to the mountain passes you’ll find yourself constantly awed by the changing landscapes.

Paying Tolls in Montenegro

While Montenegro doesn’t have an extensive toll system, some major roads and tunnels may require toll payments. Make sure to have local currency on hand for these instances.

Getting Gas/Petrol in Montenegro

Gas stations are abundant in Montenegro, ensuring you won’t face any challenges in fueling up your rental car. Payment is generally made at the pump, and credit cards are widely accepted.

Parking in Montenegro

Parking in Montenegro varies from city to city. While urban centers might have limited street parking, you’ll find many parking lots and garages available. Pay attention to parking signs to avoid fines.

Car Trouble and Accidents

While we hope for the best, it’s essential to be prepared for any unexpected situations during your road trip.

Car Breakdowns

If your rental car experiences mechanical issues, contact the car rental company immediately. They will guide the next steps, which might include providing a replacement vehicle.

Car Accidents

In the unfortunate event of an accident, ensure the safety of all parties involved. Contact the police and your car rental company promptly. Collect essential information such as license plate numbers, contact details, and insurance information from other parties.

Common Road Crimes and How to Avoid Them

Being aware of common scams and fraudulent activities can help you stay vigilant and protect yourself from potential pitfalls.

The False Flat Tire

Beware of individuals flagging you down to inform you of a flat tire. They might offer to help while an accomplice steals your belongings from the car. If you suspect foul play, drive to the nearest well-lit and populated area before inspecting your vehicle.

Read more: Who Pays for a Flat Tire on a Rental Car?

The Gas Station Distraction

Some scammers might approach you at gas stations, creating distractions while an accomplice steals your valuables. Stay cautious, lock your car doors, and be wary of unsolicited assistance.

Trunk/Boot Theft

When accessing your trunk/boot, be discreet. Thieves might be observing, waiting for an opportunity to snatch your belongings.

Helpful Montenegrin Car Rental & Driving Words to Know

While English is widely spoken in Montenegro, learning a few basic Montenegrin phrases can go a long way in enhancing your interactions with locals and ensuring a smoother driving experience.

What to See on a Road Trip in Montenegro

Embarking on a road trip in Montenegro is like stepping into a real-life postcard. The country’s compact size allows you to experience a diverse array of landscapes and attractions in a relatively short amount of time. As you cruise along its winding roads, you’ll encounter a captivating blend of historical sites, natural wonders, and charming towns. Here are some must-see destinations to include in your Montenegrin road trip itinerary:

1. Kotor

Your road trip adventure could begin in the picturesque town of Kotor, nestled at the base of towering mountains along the Bay of Kotor. As you drive through the serpentine roads leading to the town, the dramatic scenery alone is worth the journey. Explore Kotor’s well-preserved medieval Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and hike up the ancient city walls for panoramic views that will leave you awestruck. Learn in our comprehensive guide how to rent a car in Kotor.

2. Budva

Continuing along the coast, you’ll reach Budva, known for its vibrant nightlife, beautiful beaches, and historic architecture. Take a stroll through the narrow streets of the Old Town, relax on the sandy shores, and soak in the lively atmosphere of this coastal gem. Learn how to rent a car in Budva.

3. Durmitor National Park

Heading inland, you’ll encounter the rugged beauty of Durmitor National Park. This UNESCO-listed site boasts glacial lakes, pristine forests, and towering peaks. Don’t miss the opportunity to drive the breathtaking Tara River Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world, and visit the enchanting Black Lake.

4. Lovćen National Park

A short drive from Kotor, Lovćen National Park is a haven for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike. Make your way up to the Mausoleum of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš, perched atop Mount Lovćen, for panoramic vistas of the Adriatic coastline and the surrounding landscapes.

5. Sveti Stefan

A sight that seems straight out of a fairy tale, the islet of Sveti Stefan is a luxurious resort with a medieval village atmosphere. Though you may not be able to access the private island, you can still capture stunning photos from the mainland.

6. Lake Skadar

Venture south to Lake Skadar, a sprawling freshwater lake renowned for its diverse birdlife and serene surroundings. Take a boat trip on the lake, explore charming lakeside villages, and immerse yourself in the tranquillity of this natural oasis.

7. Ostrog Monastery

A road trip to Montenegro also offers the chance to explore its spiritual and cultural heritage. The Ostrog Monastery, built into a vertical cliff face, is a place of pilgrimage and a remarkable architectural feat. Regardless of your beliefs, the monastery’s stunning location and intricate design are worth a visit.

8. Perast

Nestled on the Bay of Kotor, the town of Perast exudes a sense of timeless charm. Take a boat ride to the nearby islets of Our Lady of the Rocks and Saint George, each with its own unique story and allure.

9. Ulcinj

As you approach Montenegro’s southernmost tip, you’ll encounter Ulcinj, a town that seamlessly blends historical heritage with a lively beach scene. Relax on the beautiful Velika Plaza beach, explore the Old Town, and savor the Mediterranean flavors at local restaurants.

10. Herceg Novi

Complete your road trip with a visit to Herceg Novi, a town known for its impressive fortifications and lush botanical gardens. Wander through the historic center, relax in the town’s charming squares, and revel in the beauty of the Adriatic coastline.

Renting a Car in Montenegro FAQs

Can I rent a car without an International Driving Permit (IDP) in Montenegro?

While an IDP is recommended, some car rental companies might allow you to rent a car with just your valid driver’s license.

What is the minimum age to rent a car in Montenegro?

The minimum age to rent a car is typically 21 years, but some companies may require drivers to be 23 or older.

Is it safe to drive at night in Montenegro?

Driving at night is generally safe in Montenegro, but be cautious on winding roads and keep an eye out for wildlife.

Can I use my mobile phone while driving in Montenegro?

Using a mobile phone without a hands-free system is prohibited in Montenegro. It’s advisable to use a hands-free device or pull over to make calls.

Final Thoughts

Renting a car in Montenegro provides the ultimate freedom to explore this enchanting country on your terms. From navigating the winding roads to embracing the local culture, a rental car opens doors to unforgettable experiences. By adhering to local laws, prioritizing safety, and planning, you can embark on a road trip that will leave you with cherished memories of Montenegro’s beauty and charm.