Arrival by car
Traveling to Montenegro by car is a wonderful trip for those who love driving. Especially the route to the coastal region is really visually very impressive. There are a few things to keep in mind when coming to Montenegro by car and traveling there. More about that below.
Montenegro’s road network
Montenegro is – especially in contrast to Germany – basically not so strongly connected as far as roads are concerned. The roads here are continuously renewed and thus the road network is also improved. However, like everything in Montenegro, this also takes a little time. Along the coast, the road network is super, but in the interior it is a bit more meager. This is mainly due to the fact that the interior is very mountainous and thus the road construction is basically somewhat more difficult and costly.
Montenegro does not have highways, as such, known from other countries (although highways are under construction….). There are so-called “magistrals”, roads that connect the cities with each other. These are comparable to German country roads. If one drives on the Magistralen, then one has in any case no problem with it, possibly to get lost. Highways are actually “under construction”, but this will probably take a few more years to complete.
Then there are the “old country roads”. Roads that have connected villages and towns since ancient times. Most of these have been replaced by newer, higher quality routes and roads. Most of the inhabitants, of course, know the old roads very well and take them as a “shortcut”. However, since the signage and also the quality of the roads as such is rather poor, I would rather advise tourists/travelers not to use these routes. It is easy to get lost in the middle of nowhere and then you have to ask your way – and here everybody likes to guide you somewhere else.
These old country roads are of course very good for getting to know small villages and taking photos for example. But if you have a specific destination and want to get there quickly, then it is recommended to take the newer roads.
Driving style of Montenegrins
The driving style of the Montenegrins should be mentioned here briefly. Defensive driving is highly recommended here. Montenegrins often drive very fast, overtake in places that do not seem safe and not at all suitable for overtaking. There is sometimes tailgating when driving according to the rules and the one or other race is also delivered here.
In most cities the traffic is regulated by traffic circles instead of traffic lights – also here the driving style and handling of the Montenegrins is a bit special. Here, people often simply take the exit from the traffic circle from the inside without paying attention to the outer lane.
So, as I said, it is recommended to drive defensively, carefully and with foresight, so that you are on the safe side.
Within built-up areas the speed limit is 50 km/h,
on country roads you are usually allowed to drive 80/100 km/h.
If you are stopped by the police in Montenegro for speeding or possibly overtaking across a solid line or the like, it will be very expensive for non-Montenegrins. So you better stick to the prescribed speed limits and also to the signs and lines.
In addition, there are a lot of tunnels in Montenegro. For some tunnels you have to pay fees. But these fees are in a very affordable range – mostly about 2,50 Euro.
Here is a small excerpt from the catalog of fines. In part, however, the penalties will also be individually higher.
There are no tolls in Montenegro. The only “road use” you have to pay for is passing through the Sozina tunnel. This connects Podgorica with Sutomore/Bar and was created as a sort of shortcut between the coastal towns of Bar, Sutomore etc. and the capital Podgorica, which is a bit further inland. It actually represents a significant time saving. The Sozina tunnel is about 4200 m long and was completed in 2005.
Here and only here at this tunnel a fee must be paid now. The fee is between 1 – 18 Euro, depending on the type of vehicle you are traveling with. The fee is divided into 5 categories – from motorcycle to truck. For an average car, the fee is 2.50 euros, which is very reasonable.
A small note about gas stations. In the tourist coastal area there are a lot of gas stations, so you don’t have to worry about running out of gas. The situation is different in the interior. In the interior you often have to drive very long distances to get from one village/small town to the next. Accordingly, it is advisable to always pay attention to the tank and to refuel earlier rather than too late.
As always and everywhere, you must always carry your documents with you in Montenegro. These include your driver’s license, ID card, passport and the “green card” for your car. You will be asked for all papers at controls and must show them.
The EU driving license is recognized in Montenegro, so an international driving license is not necessary.
Entry / Obligation to register
Important: With a valid identity card you are allowed to stay in Montenegro for a maximum of 1 month, up to a valid passport 3 months. In addition, anyone staying longer than 3 days in Montenegro must register within 24 hours either with the police or also in a tourism center (eg Turistička organizacija Bar). If you have booked a hotel or accommodation, then the registration is usually done for you by the management of the accommodation.
Switch on the light!
In Montenegro it is obligatory to have the lights on all year round, day and night. This is mainly for caution, because in some tunnels – and there are many of them here – there is no lighting and it would be dangerous to drive without lights.
If you drive without lights on, then there is again a hefty fine.
Alcohol behind the wheel
This is actually a matter of course, but: the alcohol limit in Montenegro is 0.3% – so it is more than advisable to drive only if you have not drunk any alcohol! Here, too, in addition to a hefty fine, sometimes a driving ban or a short stay in jail threatens.
There are two different types of road quality here in Montenegro: in the coastal tourist area, the roads are mostly of good quality. This means that the roads have guard rails, are marked with lines, there are turning lanes and the like and the roads are illuminated at night.
In the interior or on older country roads, the situation is unfortunately quite different – here the road quality is unfortunately often very poor. You can find here many road damages – like potholes – the road painting is often missing. Sometimes the roads are very narrow and scarce, there are partly no turning lanes and the street lighting is also missing on long stretches.
It is therefore advisable not to drive on country roads or old roads at night and to always drive very carefully anyway.
Other duties and prohibitions
Of course it is not allowed to talk on the phone while driving in Montenegro. So put your cell phone aside or let the passenger make the call!
And as everywhere else, you have to wear a seat belt in Montenegro.