lake surrounded by coastal buildings and mountains

As a small country in the Balkans, Montenegro was an undiscovered holiday destination until it gained independence in 2006. 

In recent years Montenegro has become more and more popular. Definitely should be on your bucket list. It is a fascinating and beautiful country with stunning beaches that foreign tourists are not aware of. It is often called the Pearl of the Mediterranean by many tourists and locals.

Since it’s a small country with good roads, renting a car in Podgorica is a great choice if you want to discover our beautiful country. 

In this guide, I will tell you what to look for and how to rent a car in Montenegro.

Montenegro has a lot to offer. If you respect the country's culture and are aware of some caveats you can enjoy both the major tourist attractions and the off-the-beaten-path locations, while having fun driving between them.

Why Car Rental in Montenegro?

It is an adventure and very comfy to drive a car in Montenegro. You can discover many places that are hidden if you drive and all can be done at your own pace.

However, if you do not understand the rules, renting a car can be frustrating and costly for many travellers. By following these simple instructions, you may even be able to save money and protect yourself from unwanted issues.

White car rental in montenegro with sunset in background

Renting a car from a local agency is highly recommended. Local car rental companies offer more affordable deals, they are much more flexible and include daily insurance in case of incidents with cars. They can also provide extra's such as GPS, road assistance, travel advice, etc.

What is the cost of renting a car in Montenegro?

A small car (Toyota Yaris), which costs on average 200 EUR per week, is a great price compared to other countries in the region like Croatia (where a car for a full week is 350 EUR).

You can get extremely cheap deals if you book six months ahead. However, these offers are limited and you shouldn't rely on them.

Gasoline costs around 1,5 - 1,7 EUR per litre. It’s more expensive than before due to the economic crises in Europe in the last two years. Gasoline costs around 60 EUR per week.

Make sure to check the deposit on a rental

Most car rental agencies require a deposit between 100 and 1000 EUR. It can be a surprise for those who have never rented a vehicle before but do not be afraid. Some local rent-a-car companies in Montenegro offer daily insurance for a small fee, then you can choose a car without a deposit. You also stay protected in case somehow you scratch the car or have tyre issues. 

When renting a vehicle, a deposit of 100 EUR seems reasonable.

If you book online, some international companies may block the deposit money on your credit card. Check the policy and rental rules before making a booking. Some local agencies may ask for a deposit to cover the cost of the trip. We don't recommend this option. Check before you make a decision.

Two white cars in carpark overlooking lake and mountains

A deposit of more than 100 EUR can be considered high. Booking a car through such companies is not recommended unless it's a well-known local brand, like for example, Tara-Car rent a car Podgorica.

The amount of the deposit is dependent on many factors, such as type of vehicle, production year, etc.

The most popular rental location in Montenegro

The majority of visitors to Montenegro pick up their rental car at the airport immediately after landing. There are also a few other popular spots.

There are two airports in Montenegro, one in Podgorica, and the other in Tivat.

The largest airport in Montenegro, Podgorica Airport, is a hub for travellers, as you can reach anywhere in Montenegro easily from here. The airport is located 15 minutes away from the centre of Podgorica. It’s a popular car rental location. Once you step foot into arrivals you will find many rental companies offering their cars. However, booking online is recommended because the airport prices are usually higher and most of the fleet is booked in advance – your choice will be limited. 

Tivat is home to the second airport. The airport is smaller but has more flights during summer connecting Europe's west and east with Montenegro. The airport in Tivat is the best option if you're travelling to the southern part of the country, but keep in mind there are a lot of traffic jams in the summer - you will need up to two hours to get to Budva, for example. You can also rent a vehicle from the airport. The airport is located 5 minutes away from Tivat's city centre.

Pro tip: Check with the rental company if they charge extra for airport pick-up. Some agencies charge high fees due to taxes they pay to Airports.

The car is usually picked up at your hotel or client's accommodation. We recommend that you double-check this before booking. You can find out if international car rental companies charge for delivery by visiting their website.

Is it safe to drive around Montenegro?

Montenegro, as a whole, is a safe place to visit. Even solo female travellers can be relaxed during the visit. Most travellers will not face any dangers driving own or car rental. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind if you want to be safe.

On the open road, 80km/h is the speed limit unless otherwise indicated by signs. In the city, the speed limit is 40-50km/h. Winter tyres are required from November 1st until April 1st.

Cameras cover the most popular boulevards of major cities; Podgorica, Budva, Niksic, Bar, Ulcinj, and Tivat.

The roads on the main highways are in excellent condition.

The Montenegrin main roads are in good condition. Recently the first highway was opened, connecting Podgorica and Kolasin, making driving more enjoyable and shorter. 

Trip map created with Wanderlog, a trip planner on iOS and Android

A 250-km route connects the cities of Bijelo Polje and Podgorica with Budva, Kotor, Perast, Risan and Herceg Novi. A 55-km road connects Podgorica, Danilovgrad and Niksic. Risan-Nisic-Zabljak is a scenic 147 km route. A 108 km long highway connects Herceg Novi with Tivat and Budva. It also runs through Bar and Ulcinj. 

The well-maintained road network allows drivers smooth travel between south and north, main towns and airports.

When should you visit Montenegro?

Montenegro's best season is between May and September. Montenegro is located in southern Europe, along the Balkan coast. The weather is usually warm and sunny.

Montenegro enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm summers. The summer temperature is 35 degrees. Winter temperatures are around 5 degrees, while in the north they range between 5 and 10 degrees.

aerial view of a old buildings sitting on top of a rocky outcrop in the sea

It is pleasant to visit the Montenegrin coastline at any time, but in July and August, it can be crowded. This is when temperatures are at their highest and the number of tourists increases. During this time, accommodation and rental services will also be at their highest prices.

The months of June and September offer the best weather and fewer tourists in the most popular destinations.

You can find some hotels that are still open between October and April.

Bonus tips for car hire in Montenegro

Plan your road trip

If you are renting a car, most chances you will drive through Montenegro to see mountains, old towns, and the most popular beaches

One-way rental fee

Renting a car one way means you can pick up your vehicle at Podgorica Airport and drop it off at another location such as Tivat Airport. It can lead to unexpectedly high costs. Be sure to pay attention to the details.

You can negotiate with local agencies. Some don't charge any additional fees.

What are the documents required to car hire in Montenegro?

You will need a valid driving licence in your home country, both for the primary driver and any additional drivers. You may be asked to snap a photo of your passport by some car rental managers.

Do you need an international driving license?

Montenegro does not require an international driving licence to drive. Foreigners can rent cars without a permit or international driving license.

Take photos of the rental car

Take a few photos of the car before you rent it. Pay attention to scratches on the side of the car and the headlights. In the world at large, it is not uncommon for car rental agents to accuse travellers of causing damage to their vehicles. You can save yourself stress and money by taking photos.

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About the author

Ivan is a seasoned Digital Marketing Expert focusing on SEO with a decade of experience in the dynamic world of E-Commerce, Travel and Telco industry. He enjoys running, hiking in the beautiful mountains, fishing in the Adriatic Sea and writing about Montenegro.

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