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Tourism in Montenegro is beginning to flourish as visitors realise that this Balkan country has much to offer. Its beaches, mountains, historical villages and stunning karsts, all of which can easily be discovered by car, are drawing increasing numbers of visitors from all over the globe. Self-drive offers visitors a comfortable way to reach the Adriatic coast, twist around the Dinaric Alps and visit Skadar Lake National Park.
Roads are not as good here as in other European countries and are all single-carriageways that curve through the mountains and along the coast. There are no toll roads though motorists must pay to enter the Sozina Tunnel from Lake Skadar to the sea. Headlights must be on at all times when driving here.
Driving licences: an International Driving Permit is needed to drive here, in addition to a valid UK driving licence.
Which side does Montenegro drive on: the right.
Motorways: 75mph (120kph)
Rural areas: 62mph (100kph)
Built-up areas: 31mph (50kph)
Alcohol limits: less than the UK limit (0.08 per cent) at 0.05 per cent, with visitors caught over the limit required to pay a steep, on-the-spot fine.
Driving age: 18 years.
Seatbelts: mandatory for all passengers, if available. There are no child seat restrictions though children under the age of 12 cannot travel in the front seat.
Mobile phones and GPS: it is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving unless it is used with a hands-free system. GPS can be used but may be difficult for English-speaking travellers to navigate with.
Cost of fuel in Montenegro: slightly cheaper than in the UK.
Car hire and fuel payment: credit cards are not always accepted at petrol stations so drivers should always carry euro with them. Credit cards can be used to hire a car.
Insurance: it is mandatory for car hire to include third-party insurance though most visitors opt to purchase additional coverage.
Traffic and parking: parking can easily be found during the off-season though in the peak summer seasons it can be difficult to find, especially along the coast. Traffic is at its busiest in the peak summer season but lessens as you head north.
Around 150 miles of railway links Montenegro with Belgrade (Serbia), making for a scenic journey that passes through the Dinar ridge. Train travel is cheap, with the 10-hour ride from Belgrade to Podgorica costing around £15. The train also passes through Bijelo Polje and Kolašin. For timetables or to reserve tickets, visit Serbian Railway. The country’s domestic Montenegrin Railways travels on the same tracks from the coastal town of Bar to Bijelo Polje. It is a cheap way to travel though service is not as frequent as bus service.
There is no shortage of taxis in Montenegro. They are a cheap and fast way to get around the cities. Taxis run on metres, with each kilometre (0.6 miles) travelled costing around £0.30. The only exception is when travelling by taxi from the airport, with drivers here asking a premium to take visitors to their destination. A taxi ride from Podgorica Airport to the Bay of Kotor costs about £60.
International buses arrive from neighbouring countries and terminate in Podgorica or Budva. Inter-city bus travel within the country is frequent and affordable, and buses reach most major tourist destinations. Yet they are not air-conditioned so they can be hot in the summer months. Bus travel within the country should cost a maximum of about £12. For bus timetables, visit Autobusni-Kolodvor.
The Bari port receives ferries from Italy (Bari and Ancona), which costs upwards of around £45. For ferry schedule and tariffs, visit Montenegro Lines. There are also domestic ferries that travel through the Bay of Kotor as well as across its narrow Verige Strait between Lepetane and Kamenari. The ferry across the strait is free for passengers and around £3 for cars.
Montenegro’s Podgorica Airport is the country’s main international airport, with non-stop flights from London-Gatwick with national carrier Montenegro Airlines. It is also possible to arrive via Tivat Airport, which also receives direct flights from London-Gatwick with the country’s national carrier. UK nationals can enter Montenegro and stay for up to 90 days without a visa so long as they have a return air ticket.
The capital city of Podgorica is a great place to start any Montenegro exploration as it is situated between the lowlands and the Dinaric Alps. Here, visitors can learn more about the country by visiting the Old Turkish town of Stara Varoš, the 19th century St George's Church and the modern Millennium Bridge that passes over the MoraÄï¿½a River.
The Bay of Kotor is one of the most beautiful bays on the continent and is home to the ancient fortified town of Kotor, the picturesque village of Perast and the impressive Herceg Novi old town.
To the south, the Budva Riviera is home to Montenegro’s best beaches and is considered to be its main tourist draw. Vibrant Budva is the most popular resort town on this coastal strip and is often referred to as the country’s Miami, while BeÄï¿½iÄï¿½i is more laid back.
The North Montenegrin Mountains are host to the country’s best outdoor sports, with Å½abljak being the main draw in the winter, while Durmitor National Park is a key attraction in the summer, offering rafting through the Tara Canyon.
Skadar Lake National Park protects the largest freshwater lake in the Balkans and boasts stunning karst mountains. It is home to an abundance of wildlife.
The Montenegro lowlands enjoy a Mediterranean climate, with dry summers and mild winters. Temperatures in July are around 29°C, while in January the average temperature is around 8°C. The North Montenegrin Mountains experience the coldest weather in the country, with winter temperatures often dropping below -8°C and summer temperatures sitting at around 19°C. Central Montenegro, including Podgorica, experiences the most extreme weather, with summers getting as hot as 40°C and winters as cold as 2°C.