22 Oct 2020
Written By Jonathan Howe

6 Popular cities to live in Montenegro for Expats (Pros and Cons)

Montenegro is my new home country after living a nomadic life for almost 10 years. It’s on the Balkan coast filled with interesting culture, history and gorgeous sites. Of all the places we planned on living, from Greece to Portugal, we actually made a home in Montenegro, and so can you. Here are 6 Popular Cities to Live in Montenegro for Expats.

Find apartments and houses for rent in Montenegro here.
Learn more about living in Montenegro and temporary residency in Montenegro!
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The places on our list are the popular choices amongst current Expats - we’ll be writing another article about the alternative cities you can live in the rural areas of Montenegro. We’ve also included Pros and Cons. I hope in this list you’ll surely find a new home. It’s a great choice to relocate in Montenegro as its currently affordable than most EU countries and on its way to hopefully becoming an EU Member.
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1. Podgorica

Podgorica is the capital of Montenegro. Its name means “below the little hill” as you can see a great view of the city on its hill lock.

PROS
  • The International Airport is located in Podgorica, this is more modern than the one in Tivat
  • Gateway to the rest of Montenegro
  • Surrounded by monasteries
  • Good international schools for Expat children
  • Many businesses and embassies are located in the capital.
  • The shopping in Podgorica is the best in the country, with plenty of malls, outlets and international brands.
CONS
  • People tend to say it’s “boring” compared to other parts of Montenegro
  • Cold and grey during the winter season
  • Podgorica is incredibly hot during the summer months and much colder than the coast during the winter.
  • City life can be much more stressful than on the coast, especially during peak traffic hours.
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2. Kotor

The fortified city of Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage site that was built in the 1400s. This coastal town is located in a secluded part of the Gulf of Kotor.

PROS
  • The aesthetic and charm of Kotor is amazing, with the old walled city being the most beautiful attraction.
  • A UNESCO World Heritage Site is located a few meters from your doorstep, so renting out your home while you are not there is very easy.
  • Kotor Old Town as well as the castle on the hilltop behind are the most popular tourist attractions in the country.
  • You can manage with English in Kotor, which is a huge help as the local language can take a lot of time and effort to learn.
  • Many Expats are already live here, so you can quickly build a group of local and foreign friends.
  • Cat lovers will love it here as it is the symbol of the city. There are cats everywhere and the city even has a cat museum.
CONS
  • The nightlife may be quieter than other cities in Montenegro. In fact the Old Town almost goes to sleep completely at night when the cruise ship passengers leave.
  • Colder and dryer during winter season but snow here is extremely rare on the coast.
  • Real Estate is quite expensive as the area is popular and very desirable to tourists.
  • This is where cruise ships dock, so you may find it too touristy on busy days. When a cruise ship lands, up to 4000 people can descend on the Old Town at the same time.
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3. Budva

Budva is one of the oldest communities near the Adriatic Sea. It’s interesting, historical, and a great place to live in Montenegro for beach lovers.

PROS
  • Budva was at one point the center of tourism in Montenegro. It is still popular, but more so with Russian tourists and those who like more of a party atmosphere
  • Perfect for those who love to be near the sea; sunbathers, swimmers, water sports
  • Great nightlife - Full of Bars and Clubs
  • There are lots of resort developments nearby, so the are potential job opportunities for people in the hospitality industry
  • The medieval walled city is one of the most beautiful historic sites in the country.
  • Many Expats already live here, so it’s easy to build a social life.
CONS
  • May not be ideal if you want a quiet nightlife, as there are many bars, nightclubs and casinos in Budva
  • Quite crowded especially during the tourist season. The main road through Budva can come to a standstill in summer.
  • Budva has become very built up over the years, evolving into a network of tall buildings and narrow streets. This can feel cramped and oppressive.
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4. Herceg Novi

Herceg Novi, meaning “New Castle,” was our home for 6 months and the first place we first visited in Montenegro. It has gorgeous coastlines and green mountains behind it. The city has been influenced by many settlers from Turkish, Spanish to Venetian. The truth is, our first visit to Herceg Novi is the reason we decided to live in Montenegro in the first place.

PROS
  • The center of Herceg Novi is a historic town with beautiful architecture, two squares and outdoor bars and restaurants. It has a very active and social atmosphere, but is also very relaxing. You never feel overwhelmed in Herceg Novi.
  • Being just over the border from Croatia, it’s less than an hour drive to reach Dubrovnik Airport. Only a little further and you can visit the UNESCO heritage site of Dubrovnik.
  • There is a good mix of locals and expats and many of the local residents speak English, making it very easy to move and live here.
  • Herceg Novi is not overly touristy. There is a growing number of tourists visiting the area each year, but it is still much quieter than other areas of the country.
  • The town is located at the foot of Mt. Orjen, so access to spectacular hiking paths is easy. In fact there are some hiking paths that start in the old town center and lead all the way to the top of the mountain!
  • Herceg Novi is home to the Igalo Institute for Physical Therapy, which is renowned across Europe for its treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, physical injuring and for their rehabilitation treatments.
CONS
  • Herceg Novi is the farthest from Podgorica, which could be an issue if you need to travel frequently to the capital business, or for air travel.
  • If you have kids then you need to know that there’s no International schools here, the closest is in Tivat
  • Some consider Herceg Novi a little too detached as it takes 30 minutes to drive to the ferry which you have to take to get to other areas. The only option is a much longer drive around Kotor.
  • There are no sandy beaches in Herceg Novi, only pebbly ones. This is actually a positive thing if you prefer clean beaches!
  • Herceg Novi is known locally as the 'Town of 100,001 Steps' . Nobody knows just how many steps there actually are in the town, but it is a lot! It’s great to stay in shape, but the constant up and down to reach your apartment or travel from one part of town to the other can become tiresome.
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5. Bar

Located in the South of Montenegro is Bar, another coastal town. Its name comes from “Antivari” because it is across from Bari, Italy.

PROS
  • Perfect for beach lovers as there are more than 25 miles of coast and this region has natural white sand beaches that stretch for kilometers at a time.
  • Great for families who enjoy peace and quiet as the area is far less popular with tourists than other parts of the country further to the north.
  • Real estate prices are lower than in other regions thanks its relative distance from major airports.
  • Bar is much cheaper compared to the other cities for property, food and drinks and many other supplies.
  • The Old Town of Stari Bar is one of the best preserved in the country and is unique amongst coastal towns in that it was built high up on the hills overlooking the sea, rather than directly on the coast.
  • Bar and nearby Ulcinj are the center of olive oil production in Montenegro.
CONS
  • Bar is much quieter than other areas of the Montenegro coastline, so some might find it too quiet. You have be willing at able to make your own entertainment here.
  • There is a growing number of expats living in the Bar area, but as of yet there are far fewer than the rest of the coast. So if you really value having large numbers of foreigner friends around you as well as locals, then you could struggle here.
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6. Tivat

Outside the Bay of Kotor is Tivat, a fairly new town that grew on the back of the Porto Montenegro development. It’s the smallest municipality in Montenegro by area. It’s becoming a center of nautical tourism in the Adriatic Sea.
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PROS
  • Another international airport is located here, which is smaller than the one in the Capital but provides lots of flights to Europe and neighbouring countries.
  • Perfect for yacht and sailboat owners, with Porto Montenegro and many other facilities for boat storage, dockage and maintenance.
  • Some feel there is a higher level of facilities available in Tivat, including restaurants and shopping, but that really depends on what you are looking for.
  • Tivat is not a particularly busy town for tourists in the sense of day visitors as there are very few historical attractions or old town center to enjoy. There are many holiday homes and rental properties however, as many use it as a base for their summer holidays.
  • There are many expats living here who all meet up and connect on a regular basis, so there is a ready made social life.
CONS
  • Real Estate prices are higher in Tivat than in some other areas thanks to the success of Porto Montenegro.
  • There’s not much to see in the city itself, but Kotor is nearby and Tivat in very centrally placed.
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I hope this article has helped you with what are the Popular Cities to Live in Montenegro for Expats. It will totally depend on your taste and feel as each place has its own charm. If you are here, you can spend some time in a few of the cities and conclude which fits you the most.

In case you want to relocate, you can also contact me as my agency will help you, you can read more, here!
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