I’ve shared a lot of helpful information about traveling in Montenegro but one thing I wanted to talk more about is renting a car in Montenegro. I’ve rented a car in countries all over the world, including Norway, Iceland, Bali, Portugal, Greece, Italy, and the US but I’m always wary because each country is so different. Countries have different driving laws, systems and even drive on different sides of the road! It can be overwhelming.
Renting a car in Montenegro was actually really easy. I honestly wasn’t sure how it was going to be. On my train ride to Croatia, a girl was telling me to be careful renting a car in Bosnia because the police were rather corrupt and will pull you over just for bribes (a case in a lot of countries) and I was worried Montenegro would be the same.
I also get worried that rental car companies will overcharge, claim we damaged the car and other issues like that… Alright so if you can’t tell, when it comes to renting cars I have a lot of anxieties and I always make sure that I know what I’m getting myself into.
First things first, do you need a car in Montenegro?
If you want to get off the coast and out of the capital city then yes! You will want to have a rental car. If you’re happy sticking within the region of Kotor, Tivat, Budva, and Podgorica, then you’ll be fine without a rental car.
You shouldn’t rent a car if…
1. You’re staying on the coast where it’s easier to get around between cities by bus. The coastal towns of Kotor, Tivat, and Budva are all easily connected with several buses every day. So if those are the places that you plan on visiting during your trip, you’ll be just fine without a car. Keep in mind though that these buses are about the only public transportation that Montenegro has to offer.
2. Your accommodation is in the city center so you can walk to everything that you want to do or see, or you don’t mind taking taxis to get to things that are a little bit further away. Luckily, taxis in Montenegro tend to be pretty cheap so you can get around with taxis fairly easily.
3. You prefer tours instead of independent sightseeing. If you prefer tours it will be easier to just book a tour of the various activities that you want to do.
You should rent a car if…
1. You want to do a lot of sightseeing. Like I said above, there’s not a ton of public transportation options So if you really want to explore the country and do a lot of sightseeing, you are going to want to have a rental car.
2. You’re staying in a remote location. The further away from the cities that you stay, the harder time you are going to have to get around or doing anything really. As I said, there are not a ton of public transportation options. If you stay somewhere rural, you’re going to have a hard time getting around without taxis or a rental car.
3. You don’t want to walk uphills in 100-degree heat. Montenegro is filled with hills. This means you are going to be walking up a lot of hills in the very very hot heat. Having a car gives you the flexibility to explore even more of the coast and see better, more secluded beaches without having to walk up and down hills for several miles!
Have you read my Ultimate Guide to Traveling in Montenegro? That will help you decide where to visit! Once you know where you plan to visit and stay, you’ll have a better idea of how long you’ll need the car and whether you should even get one at all.
How’s the driving in Montenegro?
This is always something that I want to know before I choose to rent a car in a new country. I want to know how the locals drive. You see, renting a car in Norway vs. renting a motorbike in India… those are two very different situations. Even renting a car in Portugal vs. renting a car in Italy is very different.
The driver’s in Montenegro are definitely crazy… They overtake on blind corners, they're impatient, they beep their horns a lot and they pay no attention to speed limits… it can be overwhelming to drive there.
That being said, the roads in Montenegro (within the cities and between cities) are really good. They have paved, wide roads with plenty of lanes, traffic lights, and roundabouts. When you get into the National Parks, you will notice that the roads get much smaller, most are only wide enough for one car and they are filled with twists and turns.
My biggest piece of advice for you is to drive slowly (the speed limit) at all times and make sure to use caution on mountain roads. I would say to just ignore the local and let them pass you and keep driving with caution. My biggest concern was that someone would come around a corner and hit us head-on but that never happened.
Overall the Montenegrins are good drivers. They can pass each other on the roads you would swear aren’t wide enough for one and they’ll get out of their car and help you do the same. They can park a bus in the space you’d think was only big enough for a car and besides a bit of yelling, the road rage in Montenegro isn’t even bad
I know that I probably drove some people crazy with my cautious driving but I know that I was always going the speed limit so they can’t complain! Haha!
That being said, in any country, I think that it’s important to follow the rules of the road and drive with caution. It’s better to get to your destination safely rather than get there 5 minutes early…
How much does it cost to rent a car?
One thing I can highly recommend when renting a car in Montenegro is that you use a company that’s local. Don’t rent with one of the bigger chain car rental companies. I recommend this because the Montenegrins are incredible and they’ll take really good care of you. Plus the company we went with was really affordable and they even gave us full insurance on the car for really cheap.
Cost of the car - Renting a car in Montenegro costs about $25 a day. The price goes up depending on the size of the car that you need and the style of the car. If you want to do a lot of sightseeing, having a car will quickly pay for itself because tours and taxis will add up quickly.
Cost of petrol/fuel - We had our rental car for a full week, drove every day, all over the country and we ended up only needing to get fuel once. We paid $80 to fill the entire car up.
What do you need to rent a car?
Honestly not much. As of right now (summer of 2019) you don’t even need an international driver's license. All you need is a driver's license for your home and your passport. And you need to be at least 18 years old.
Where can you pick up/drop off the car?
You can pick up the rental car basically in every major city. We picked ours up at the bus station in Budva and dropped it back off at the bus station on Tivat. You can also pick up in Podgorica and Kotor.
How long should you have the rental car for?
You can look at my 10-day itinerary for Montenegro to give you a better idea of how long you should have the car for. It will also help you get a better idea of how long you should spend in the country altogether, but I would recommend that you have the car for at least 5 days.
Who should you rent from?
We chose to rent from My Renta Car. They are a local, family-run company and they took really good care of us. You can let them know where you want to pick the car up from and they will come to you. They have options for pick up throughout the entire country.
They also have prices that are around 25% cheaper than anyone else in Montenegro. We were surprised to find out that we could book the car the day before we wanted to pick it up and only pay about 25 Euros a day ($27).
We got the full insurance for only an additional $30 (total not per day) and they gave us an extra driver for free. I honestly would have to recommend that you rent from them because they really will get you the best deal. You’ll be happy with your rental, I promise.
Any time you rent a car, I recommend that you get a full insurance package. You never know what’s going to happen and you want to make sure that you are covered. Especially in a country where people drive crazy and fast. You want to make sure that you are covered.
If you get in a car accident in Montenegro, make sure to call the police first thing. You can call the police at 122. You aren’t supposed to move the car, even if it’s just a small fender bender. The police are going to want the car to be in exactly the spot of the wreck. Don’t worry, traffic will go around you.
You must get a police report for insurance. So it’s really important that you follow those steps otherwise you are going to have to pay for everything yourself out of pocket and that’s not going to be fun.
Overall, I’d highly recommend renting a car in Montenegro. It’s a great way to get around and see the whole country. This tiny country has so much to offer and you aren’t going to want to miss it! Believe me!
For help planning your trip or questions about Montenegro, leave a comment below! And make sure you’re following me on Instagram to see all the photos from my trip!