Journey by car

Traveling to Montenegro by car is a wonderful journey for all those who like to drive. Especially the route to the coastal region is really visually very impressive. There are a few things to consider when you come to Montenegro by car and are on the road. More about this below.

Montenegro’s road network

Montenegro – especially in contrast to Germany – is basically not so strongly networked when it comes to roads. The roads here are constantly being renewed and the road network improved. But like everything in Montenegro, this also takes a little time. Along the coast, the road network is excellent, but in the interior it is a bit leaner. This is mainly due to the fact that the interior is very mountainous and therefore the road construction is generally a bit more difficult and expensive.

Road types

Montenegro does not have any motorways as known from other countries (although motorways are under construction…). There are so-called “magistrals”, roads that connect the cities. These are comparable to German country roads. If one drives on the Magistralen, one has in any case no problem with getting lost. Motorways are indeed “under construction”, but this will probably take some years until they are finished.

Then there are the “old country roads”. Roads that have connected villages and towns since ancient times. Most of them have been replaced by newer, higher quality routes and roads. Of course, most inhabitants know the old roads very well and take them as “shortcuts”. However, since the signposting and also the quality of the roads as such is rather poor, I would rather advise tourists/travellers not to use these routes. It’s easy to get lost in the middle of nowhere and then have to ask your way through – and here everybody likes to find his way somewhere else.

These old country roads are of course very good to get to know small villages and take pictures for example. But if you have a special destination and want to get there quickly, then it is recommended to take the newer roads.

Driving style of the Montenegrins

The driving style of the Montenegrins should be mentioned here briefly. A defensive driving is highly recommended here. The Montenegrins often drive very fast, overtake in places that do not seem safe and are not at all suitable for overtaking. There is sometimes pushing when you drive according to the rules and the one or other race is also delivered here.

In most cities the traffic here is regulated by roundabouts instead of traffic lights – here too the driving style and handling of Montenegrins is somewhat special. Often the exit from the roundabout is simply taken from the inside without taking the outer lane into account.

So, as I said, it is recommended to drive defensively, carefully and with foresight, thinking ahead so that you are on the safe side.

Speed limits

  • Within towns and villages the speed limit is 50 km/h,
  • on country roads you are allowed to drive 80/100 km/h as a rule.

Fees

If you are stopped by the police in Montenegro because you were driving too fast or maybe you overtook over a solid line or something like that, it will be very expensive for non-Montenegrins. So you better stick to the prescribed speed limits and also to the signs and lines.

There are also a lot of tunnels in Montenegro. For some tunnels you have to pay fees. However, these fees are very affordable – usually around 2.50 euros.

Here is a small excerpt from the catalogue of fines. Some of the fines will be higher individually.

Violation Sanction
Alcohol Violation 70 Euro
Handy Violation 60 Euro
Incorrectly parked 70 Euro
Buckle obligation disregarded 40 Euro
Red traffic light ignored 70 Euro
above 20 km/h speed driving 40 Euro
above 50 km/h speed driving 100 Euro

Toll charges

There are no tolls in Montenegro. The only “road use” you have to pay is the passage through the Sozina tunnel. This tunnel connects Podgorica with Sutomore/Bar and was created as a kind of shortcut between the coastal towns of Bar, Sutomore etc. and the capital Podgorica, which is a little further inland. In fact, it represents a significant saving of time. The Sozina tunnel is about 4200 m long and was completed in 2005.

Here and only here at this tunnel a fee has to be paid now. The fee is between 1 – 18 Euro, depending on the type of vehicle you travel with. The fee is divided into 5 categories – from motorcycle to truck. For an average car the fee is 2,50 Euro and is therefore very cheap.

Petrol stations

A small note on the subject of petrol stations. In the touristic coastal area there are a lot of gas stations, so that one does not have to worry if the gasoline is running low. The situation is different in the interior of the country. In the interior of the country one often drives very long distances to get from one village/small town to the next. Accordingly, it is recommendable to always pay attention to the tank and to fill up earlier than too late.

Documents

As always and everywhere you have to make sure that you always carry your paper with you in Montenegro. This includes your driving licence, identity card, passport and, for the car, the “green card”. You will be asked for all your papers during controls and must show them.

The EU driving licence is recognised in Montenegro, so an international driving licence is not necessary.

Entry / obligation to register

Important: With a valid identity card you may stay in Montenegro for a maximum of 1 month, until a valid passport 3 months. In addition, anyone staying more than 3 days in Montenegro must report within 24 hours either to the police or to a tourist center (e.g. Turistička organizacija Bar). If you have booked a hotel or accommodation, the report usually takes over the management of the accommodation for you.

Turn on the light!

In Montenegro it is obligatory to have the light on all year round, day and night. This is especially important 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, then you will be fined again.

drunk driving

This is actually a matter of course, but: the blood alcohol limit in Montenegro is 0.3% – so it is more than recommended to drive only if you have not drunk any alcohol! Here too, a heavy fine is sometimes accompanied by a driving ban or a short stay in prison.

Road quality

There are two different types of quality of roads in Montenegro: in the tourist coastal area the roads are mostly of good quality. This means that the roads have crash barriers, are marked with lines, there are turning lanes and the like and the roads are illuminated at night.

In the interior of the country or on older country roads the situation is unfortunately quite different – here the road quality is unfortunately often very bad. You can find a lot of road damage – like potholes – the road painting is often missing. Sometimes the roads are very narrow and scarce, there are sometimes no turning lanes and the street lighting is also missing for long distances.

So it is recommended not to drive on country roads or old roads at night and to drive very carefully anyway.

Other obligations and prohibitions

Of course, it is also not allowed to make phone calls while driving in Montenegro. So put your mobile phone aside or let the passenger make a call!

And as everywhere else in Montenegro you have to drive with your seatbelt fastened.