Car rental in Montenegro is easy, cost-effective, and accessible to every traveler. Montenegro boasts comfortable and safe roads, except for the mountainous spiral routes. I’ll guide you through the hidden nuances linked with car rental, police, traffic regulations and fines, parking, deposits, and much more.
Table of contents:
- Car rental in Montenegro: general points, pitfalls
- Car rental in Montenegro: rules of car rental companies
- Where to rent a car and how much does it cost
- Payment and deposit: all you need to know
- About insurance
- About roads and parking in Montenegro
- Police, traffic rules, fines and what to do
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Car rental in Montenegro: general points, pitfalls
Here are the key aspects to grasp about car rental in Montenegro:
- A Necessity for a Car: While the nation is compact, you won’t be able to explore even half of the top attractions through public transportation, regardless of what others may assert.
- Safety Assured: There are no reckless drivers on the roads. You won’t experience tailgating, flashing lights from behind, or unnecessary honking. Incidents like having a car window smashed for a bag on the front seat, as we encountered in the heart of Barcelona, are unheard of here.
- Familiar Traffic Regulations: Traffic rules in Montenegro closely mirror those of any European country, which we’ll delve into below. The average road speed hovers around 40-50 km/h, and there’s no rush to reach any destination.
- Well-Maintained Roads with Superb Surfaces
- Affordability at the Core: The main draw is the price, which is within reach for everyone. Renting a car for two travelers is roughly equivalent to the cost of their bus journeys, even during peak seasons. Car rental prices are significantly lower—around 3-4 times—compared to neighboring Croatia, particularly regarding deposits.
- Budgeting for Two Travelers in Montenegro: Guidelines on how much money to carry and what expenditures to anticipate.
Key Point:In fact, if you’ve never rented a car internationally before, Montenegro is the ideal starting point for your experience. Few places offer such a comfortable and affordable car-driving environment, coupled with car rental companies that exhibit exceptional service towards tourists.
Car rental in Montenegro: car rental companies
Previously, tourists typically searched for car rentals upon arriving in the city. However, those days are behind us. All car rental companies, including smaller ones, have transitioned online. Even major international players have entered the Montenegrin market, elevating the standards of car rental to a commendable level.
Good to know:Still, finding an on-site car rental option remains possible. Yet, prices could be significantly higher, and during the peak season, available cars might be scarce. This is due to the fact that all vehicles are usually booked well in advance by incoming tourists. On-site car rental in Montenegro is suitable primarily for spontaneous travelers without a plan. For instance, those enjoying a beach holiday who decide to rent a car on the fly for a day to explore the coast.
A notable advantage in Montenegro is the consistent requirements across all car rental companies. Your choice boils down to price and, if important to you, the car model.
Car Rental Rules in Montenegro:
- There are no mileage limitations, neither daily nor weekly. Drive as much as you desire, whether it’s 1000 km a day or more. It’s worth mentioning that previous limits were set at 300 km per day.
- Cars are always provided with a full tank of fuel and should be returned in the same manner.
- Basic insurance is invariably included in the rental cost. Additional coverage or super insurance is available at an extra charge, but we’ll delve into this further below.
- Driver’s age: typically 21 or 23 years, with a minimum of 1 year of driving experience.
- It’s worth noting that different rental companies might have variations in these requirements. For instance, there might be a surcharge for young drivers, often around 3-5 euros per day. Additionally, some companies might refuse rentals if the driving experience is less than a year.
- If you fall under any of these conditions, it’s always wise to consult the policies of the specific car rental company before making a reservation.
- A standardized set of documents is needed for all rentals: your driver’s license, credit card (more details on this below), and passport or ID.
- If you’re renting a car during winter (starting November 1), always inquire about the additional charge for winter tires. These are mandatory in Montenegro from November onward, and certain car rental agencies might impose an extra fee of up to 5 euros per day for this service, while others might not charge anything at all.
Car rental in Montenegro: where and how much it costs
Briefly here. Let’s start with prices.
- Car rental in Montenegro (economy and mini class) during the peak season, inclusive of all insurances, will range from 30 to 40 euros per day. This price is standard. Should you book 2-3 months ahead, you can secure a more affordable rate of 25 euros per day. Early booking offers significant savings.
- For the low season (April-May, late September – October), car rental in Montenegro (economy and mini class) starts at 15 euros. We recently obtained a car for 17 euros.
- In winter, when tourists are scarce, certain rental companies propose car rentals for as low as 5-10 euros per day.
- Petrol in Montenegro is priced at 1.4 euros per liter.
Where to seek out car rentals?
Currently, two major players dominate the car rental market in Montenegro. They are both reliable, offer competitive rates, and uphold service quality. They target slightly different niches, which benefits us as customers. The options are plentiful:
- Discovery Car – The frontrunner in Montenegro’s car rental landscape. It represents major international car rental firms and maintains rental offices in all Montenegrin cities. It offers dependability and boasts the widest selection of cars, even during peak seasons.
- Localrent – The main contender, collaborating with local rental companies. Partial prepayment can be made via card, and the remaining balance can be settled in cash on-site. There are no additional fees for picking up a car in one city and returning it in another. It also offers the lowest deposits on the market (50-100 euros), with the option to leave the deposit in cash. A formidable player in Montenegro’s car rental market.
Payment and deposit: all you need to know
Commencing with payment, all companies require upfront payment when booking a car online. Typically, this amounts to 10-20% of the total rental cost. In the event of cancellation 48 or 24 hours prior to the booking commencement, the prepayment is fully refundable to the card. If this is pertinent to your situation and your trip is tentative, this aspect warrants your attention. The balance is to be settled upon car pickup.
Important Note:The balance due on-site can be paid either in cash or via your preferred card.
And now, onto the deposit:
- Prominent international car rental companies often request a deposit ranging from 300 to 700 euros for an economy class vehicle. Payment by card is typically the only option.
- On the other hand, local and indigenous distributors accept deposits of 50-100 euros, even in cash. This convenience is particularly beneficial for those without a credit card or who are reluctant to share their card information with unfamiliar parties.
Important:When you reserve a car online, the prepayment card’s origin is inconsequential. You can even pay with a card belonging to someone else. However, a driver’s credit card is necessary for the deposit. This is where companies that accept cash deposits gain an advantage.
In Montenegro, the deposit is indeed modest. In Italy, we were charged 1500 euros, whereas here it was 500 euros. Moreover, some companies have deposits as low as 100 euros. The deposit serves as a guarantee that you’ll handle the car responsibly and return it to its owner, rather than abandoning it in a field. Considering the owner is entrusting their valuable possession to complete strangers who will depart the country within a week, and tracking them down might prove challenging, the deposit offers at least some incentive to return the vehicle as agreed.
Car rental in Montenegro: about insurance
Now, let’s delve into a sensitive subject that directly ties into the deposit. This aspect is especially crucial for those unfamiliar with the intricacies or who are embarking on their first car rental experience in Montenegro.
Two Types of Insurance Exist:
- Basic Insurance: Also referred to as standard insurance, this coverage is invariably included in the rental cost. It’s both mandatory and complimentary for all renters. Basic insurance provides coverage for:
- Accidents where you’re not at fault.
- Natural disasters like forest fires, tsunamis, and earthquakes.
- In all other instances, you’re liable for any incurred damages. This is where the deposit steps in. For instance, if you accidentally hit a flower bed while parking or a stone chips your windshield along the way, you’ll be responsible for the costs.
- Supplementary Insurance: Known by different names—super insurance, super coverage, full franchise, and so forth—this insurance type is always an add-on service that comes at an extra cost. It’s offered to every client but remains optional.
- Supplementary insurance provides coverage regardless of the situation. Whether you puncture a tire, scratch the door, stain the interior, or even if you’re at fault in an accident, this insurance eliminates the need for you to pay for any damages.
- Your sole responsibility is to ensure the deposit’s return by returning the car to the rental company’s premises, rather than abandoning it in an unexpected location.
- Every company establishes the price of supplementary insurance. The average rate in Montenegro falls between 7 to 12 euros per day.
Important:While super insurance can provide coverage for damages, fines resulting from speeding or parking violations might still be deducted from the deposit—more on this later. And always remember, no amount of insurance coverage can protect you if you choose to drink and drive.
Personally, I always opt for full insurance, as it doesn’t significantly impact the overall travel budget. It’s a safeguard that guarantees a complete deposit refund and affords me peace of mind. After all, no one is immune to a stone being kicked up by another car’s wheel.
Car rental in Montenegro: about roads and parking
Car rental in Montenegro doesn’t just mean getting a vehicle; it also encompasses navigating the roads and finding suitable parking. Fortunately, the entire process is straightforward. Here’s a brief rundown:
- All roads in Montenegro boast exceptional quality and, for the most part, are toll-free. Every type of vehicle can traverse them with ease.
- However, there’s a single toll road and a solitary toll tunnel in the country:
- A1 Highway from Podgorica to Kolasin: This route is still in the process of construction. As of 2023, the open section spans around 80 km. The toll for the entire road amounts to 3 euros. The permitted speed is 110 km/h. The road’s condition is excellent, and it conveniently enables reaching the Biogradska Gora National Park from the capital in just an hour.
- Sozina Tunnel: Stretching almost 5 km, this tunnel connects the coast, specifically the town of Sutomore, with Podgorica. It takes approximately 30 minutes to drive from the capital to the sea. The tunnel toll is 2.5 euros, and the maximum speed allowed is 80 km/h.
Car rental in Montenegro also involves seeking out parking spots. This entails a few specifics and challenges, particularly in coastal cities frequented by tourists like Herceg Novi, Kotor, Budva, Bar, and Ulcinj. In the peak season, parking can be a significant concern. In these cities, paid parking zones are located centrally, with free parking available at a substantial distance from the center and attractions.
What you need to know about parking in Montenegro:
- In major cities, almost all parking is subject to fees.
- It doesn’t matter whether you’ve rented a car in Montenegro or arrived with your own private vehicle; the rates are uniform for all.
- In small villages, free parking is often available. Pay attention to road signs.
Tip:If you’re traveling by car, consider accommodations offering complimentary private parking, especially in Budva and Kotor. Parking can be notably challenging in these cities, even in paid lots.
Parking spaces can be categorized into two types:
- Paid Zones with Parking Meters: These zones are color-coded into three categories: 1 – red, 2 – yellow, and 3 – green or blue.
- Rates can vary in each city, but the standard price usually ranges from 0.4 to 0.5 euros per hour in the third zone, and up to 1 euro per hour in the first zone.
- Although the instructions on parking meters are in Montenegrin, they are user-friendly. You simply need to choose the zone where you’re parking (zone signs are always present where you park). Then, insert coins into the parking machine according to your preference. The system calculates the time down to the minute and produces a ticket showing the expiration time. Display the ticket in a visible spot in your car and proceed with your activities.
- Note: Failing to display a ticket results in a 30 euro fine.
- If there is no parking meter, then you can pay via SMS (price 1 SMS = 1 hour parking). Or buy parking tickets at the nearest newsstand (they are generally everywhere in Montenegro, on every corner)
For me, the most convenient option is to pay via SMS, but this requires a local SIM card. In the article at the link – everything about mobile communications and the Internet in Montenegro, where to buy, tariffs, how to top up.
- Ticketed Parking Areas: Tourists often prefer this type of parking, where entire sections are designated for parking. At the entrance, you collect a ticket, and payment is made when you exit. On average, an hour of parking in such areas costs between 0.5 and 1 euro.
Important:Parking in Montenegro is free from 9 pm on Saturdays until 7 am on Mondays.
Car rental in Montenegro: about the police, traffic rules and fines
There are police officers present on the roads, albeit infrequently. Their role involves overseeing road conditions and maintaining order. Occasionally, you might spot them using speed radar equipment.
Good to know:Stationary speed radars are almost non-existent in Montenegro. I have extensively traversed the country, and I can attest to encountering only two such radars. One of them is situated along the A1 toll road, where it calculates the average speed of vehicles. The second radar is positioned within one of the country’s tunnels. However, even if you desired, driving faster within tunnels is typically unfeasible.
The most prevalent infractions that could lead to your being pulled over involve overtaking on solid lanes and exceeding speed limits. The corresponding fine for such breaches is 60 euros.
Key Information for When You’re Stopped:
- Wear a smile, apologize if necessary, and exhibit courteous and respectful behavior.
- Expect the police officer’s conduct to mirror your own.
- Depending on the gravity of the violation, fines can range from 20 to the standard 60 euros.
- You can look sad, but don’t offer anything yourself.
- The police in Montenegro are not corrupt, and most importantly, no one torments tourists, they often let you go simply for the promise that you will not violate again.
- In fact, an officer has the authority to confiscate your driver’s license even if you’re exceeding the speed limit by just 5 km/h. Subsequently, you would need to visit a bank to settle the fine before returning to the officer to reclaim your license. This process can consume a couple of hours, which could be a challenge if it’s a Sunday and banks are closed. If you’re interested, you can read more about local time practices in Montenegro and how various establishments operate during weekends.
Useful:Exhibiting politeness towards the police, coupled with a friendly demeanor, will resolve approximately 90% of encounters amicably.
Before proceeding with car rental in Montenegro, it’s wise to briefly acquaint yourself with the country’s traffic regulations. In general, these rules mirror those in other regions. Here are the key points to be mindful of:
- Outside city limits, the maximum speed is 80 km/h.
- Within urban areas, the speed limit is 50 km/h.
- Going just +5 km/h above the speed limit is already considered an infringement.
- Always utilize low beam headlights.
- All passengers, even those in the back seat, must wear seat belts.
- Throughout the road network, you’ll encounter numerous speed limit signs indicating 30 and 40 km/h zones. Along the coastal route connecting Budva, Kotor, and Tivat, average speeds are unlikely to surpass 40 km/h. It’s important to accept this and find pleasure in traversing the splendid roads, even at such speeds.
Good to know:I am frequently asked about the veracity of a claim that driving in slippers or beach shoes is prohibited in Montenegro, with a fine of 60 euros imposed. While I cannot pinpoint its origin, there is some truth to it. Although Montenegrin traffic regulations don’t specifically mention slippers, they do stipulate that driving footwear should be comfortable and secure. However, I have yet to witness anyone being fined for wearing slippers while driving.
Read about yacht charter for a day or a week in Montenegro in this article.
In conclusion: Car rental in Montenegro is straightforward, secure, and enjoyable. The hospitable attitude towards tourists is consistently commendable, and rental companies are no exception to this. Here, travelers are not subjected to undue attention from locals or law enforcement officers. Moreover, during the car return process, rental companies are generally reasonable, not nitpicking over minor scratches or attempting to levy additional charges.
Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Montenegro
- Flights at the best prices with discounts
- Car rental in Montenegro (cheaper – only by bus):
- Hotels and apartments all over the country: Booking
- Tours, excursions and activities (including extreme ones):
- Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
- eSIM virtual card in Montenegro
- Taxi and transfers from Montenegro airports: Intui.Travel