Montenegro is a religious country, 2500 years of history have left their mark. Today, the monasteries of Montenegro can make a list of several dozen pages, and the number of pilgrimage tours and excursions around the country is simply huge. Further in the article I will tell you about the main shrines of Montenegro, there will be a map of monasteries, tips for visiting.

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ostrog monastery in montenegro
Of course, the main monastery of Montenegro, its main shrine and the most important tourist attraction: Ostrog Monastery, which is built right in the rock

General information about monasteries in Montenegro and not only

Briefly and most importantly:

  • Officially, there are more than 50 monasteries in the country
  • Almost half of them were built between the 13th and 16th centuries. For example, the famous Moraca monastery was built in 1252.
  • We will not go into religion in detail, this topic is another article, but Montenegrins are a very believing nation. And here is how they are distributed by faith:
    • Over 72% of the total population: Orthodox
    • Muslims 18%
    • And Catholics are less than 3%
    • There is also Judaism and others.
    • You can read more about religion in Montenegro in this article.

Interesting to know:

And as a result of this statistics above: all the monasteries of Montenegro are only Orthodox, there are no others here, well, or I don’t know.

And one more interesting fact is already about the churches and temples of Montenegro. Here you can meet two altar churches. This is when the church has two equal altars: Catholic and Orthodox, and services can be held for representatives of both faiths. According to local guides, this is quite a rare phenomenon in the world.

Two altar churches in Montenegro are about ten. The most famous and accessible to tourists:

Map of the most famous monasteries in Montenegro

Below, for convenience, is a map of the most popular monasteries in Montenegro. And popular with both pilgrims and ordinary tourists. It would seem that religious topics are not the most popular type of tourism, but in Montenegro every year tens of thousands of people choose tours only to monasteries. And the well-known Ostrog is visited, according to some data, by 1 million people annually.

TOP 6 monasteries in Montenegro: overview

So, an overview of the most visited monasteries.

Monastery Ostrog

Far from the oldest monastery in Montenegro, even young by local standards. Built in the 17th century. But this is definitely a symbol of the country and the main Orthodox shrine of the region. There is no church/temple in this country more popular than Ostrog Monastery.

And St. Basil of Ostrog, whose relics are lie in the monastery, is considered the main saint of the entire Orthodox Serbian diocese.

  • Ostrog coordinates: 42.6750203658825, 19.030548478185896
  • The monastery is built in a rock at an altitude of 900 meters
  • Entrance is free
  • There are two car parks: the upper car park may not be allowed during high season as it is overcrowded. Only the lower parking will be open. It took us 40 minutes to get up from the lower parking lot.
  • You can’t get here by public transport
monasteries in Montenegro
Ostrog Monastery – a place of power

Author’s recommendation:

This is the most important Orthodox shrine in the country and the most visited monastery not only in Montenegro, but throughout the Balkans. If you are not interested in religious topics, then you do not need to travel to all the monasteries, they are all optional. But every tourist must visit Ostrog.

Cetinje Monastery

The monastery was built in 1484 in the first capital of Montenegro in Cetinje. It was not just a monastery – but a whole fortress. There were high and powerful defensive walls with loopholes, a moat with water and protective stakes. But that didn’t help much. It was completely destroyed by the Turks in 1692.

By the beginning of the 18th century the monastery was restored. At various times, the monastery had the first printing house in Montenegro and the first secondary school. And today you can see the remains of defensive structures of the 15th century.

  • Coordinates: 42.38787862981536, 18.92168942605019
  • The visit to the monastery is free. Visiting hours: from 8 to 19.
  • Here lie the relics of St. Peter of Cetinje (the first Montenegrin ruler), John the Baptist’s right arm and the particles of the Holy Cross are kept
  • Overview of Cetinje: attractions, restaurants.
  • From any city you can take a bus to Cetinje and from the city center in 15 minutes walk to the monastery.
best monasteries in montenegro
Cetinje Monastery

Author’s recommendation:

If Ostrog is the most visited monastery by tourists. Then Cetinje Monastery is the most visited by sightseeing and pilgrimage tours. I have not seen a single program in the monasteries of Montenegro, where the route did not include Cetinje.

Piva Monastery

The Piva Monastery was built in the 16th century on the Piva River, today it is one of the lakes in Montenegro (but not the most beautiful). In those days, the Turks ruled these lands, robbed churches and monasteries. Therefore, the Piva Monastery was built inconspicuous and modest so as not to attract too much attention.

400 years later, it was moved 2 km to the place where it is today. Due to the fact that it has never been plundered, the interior of the monastery is very richly decorated. And outside he is today, modest and unremarkable.

  • Coordinates: 43.110031077942615, 18.81834292131969
  • People come here for the impressive frescoes that were preserved when the monastery was moved.
  • When the monastery was moved, it was dismantled down to the stone, and then stone by stone was assembled. It was moved because a dam was built on the river and the Piva River overflowed, turning into a lake. The previous site of the monastery was flooded.
  • Admission is free
  • You can’t get here by public transport
monasteries of montenegro
Not remarkable from the outside, but look at the frescoes on the walls inside

Author’s recommendation:

The frescoes inside the monastery are amazing. You can come here just for it. By the way, the Piva Monastery will be on the way if you drive from Durmitor Park through the mountain pass Sedlo (and these are the two top sights of the country). It is here that it seems that time has stopped, and you can no longer rush anywhere.

An interesting article about time in Montenegro, about the attitude of locals to time, about punctuality and much more.

Moraca Monastery – one of the oldest monasteries in Montenegro

The monastery was built in 1252. It was founded by the son of one of the rulers of the Nemanic family, who ruled in these lands. Like many places of that time, the Ottomans plundered the monastery in the 15th century. They not only plundered, but also dismantled, removed the roof and destroyed part of the frescoes. Only the walls remained. The Moraca monastery and the frescoes inside were completely restored only by the 18th century.

Today on the territory of the monastery there are two more churches and cells of monks.

  • Coordinates: 42.766216294821014, 19.390507077468445
  • Of the main relics, the hand of St. Harlampy and Oktoeh, the first printed Slavic book, are kept here.
  • The visit to the monastery is free. Opening hours: from 9 to 17.
  • It is located away from tourist routes, so there are mainly pilgrimage tours.
tours of the monasteries of Montenegro
Moraca Monastery

Author’s recommendation:

It is very convenient to visit the monastery during a trip to the Biogradska Gora National Park. But over the past couple of years, a high-speed highway was built in the direction of the park, bypassing the Moraca monastery. And most of the tourists are driving on the new road. If you choose the old path, it is only half an hour longer, then it just passes through this monastery.

Daibabe is one of the most interesting monasteries in Montenegro

Daibabe or Daibab Monastery is a functioning monastery on the outskirts of Podgorica, just 4.5 km from its center. Of all the monasteries of Montenegro, it is easiest to get here by public transport.

The uniqueness of the monastery lies in the fact that it is completely underground in caves. These caves are natural and resemble a large cross in shape. And above the monastery on the surface there is a small church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Montenegro churches and temples
Daibabe – a monastery built in underground caves

Author’s recommendation:

Daibabe Monastery is also called a cave monastery. And this is the case when you can combine a visit to a religious site with an interesting architectural landmark. There are not many monasteries carved into caves.

Monasteries of Montenegro: the whole monastic complex of Rezevici

Rezevici is not the most famous monastery in Montenegro.

By the 16th century, there were already 2 churches, a monastery and monastic cells on the territory of the complex. The churches had very beautiful frescoes on the walls. But like most other monasteries in the region, they were plundered by the Turks in the 16-17th centuries. Frescoes have not survived to this day, only small fragments.

During the Second World War, the monastery was almost completely destroyed by the invaders of fascist Italy. The monastery lost all its relics.

  • Coordinates: 42.21504938359653, 18.92406201031424
  • Rezevici is located on a hill with a beautiful panoramic view of the sea and the beach of Petrovac – Perazica Do.
  • You can walk from Petrovac in 2-3 hours one way. Be aware that there will be a lot of climb.
routes to the monasteries of Montenegro
Monastery Rezevici

Author’s recommendation:

The Rezevici monastery is located right on the main road of the coast. It does not matter where you are going along this road: to Budva, Petrovac, Bar or Ulcinj – you will have it along the way. And if your vacation takes place in Petrovac, then you can even take a walk to the monastery. The main thing is to have time and take water and food with you.

Overview of Petrovac for tourists.

Tours of the monasteries of Montenegro

This is not the most popular type of tourism in the country. Therefore, below I will give a few links and examples of good excursion routes around the monasteries of Montenegro.

General things to know:

  • Almost all guides speak English, if the tour is individual, then there will definitely be an English-speaking guide.
  • Since the entrance to the monasteries is free, you don’t have to pay for entrance tickets anywhere, you won’t have any special additional expenses. The price of the tour plus lunch on the road = all your expenses.
  • Pay attention to the route and time of the tour. There are routes where guides offer to visit a huge number of places in one day. And everywhere you will be given 15 minutes to visit. I like excursions more, where everything goes at a calm pace.

Here is an example of a good tour of the monasteries of Montenegro:

  • Viator
  • At the end of the article you will find links to all excursions in Montenegro.

In conclusion: most tourists go to this country for a beach holiday, and between the beach and the restaurant, tourists go on excursions to the most interesting places in Montenegro. A special place in this sightseeing holiday is occupied by visiting the religious shrines of Montenegro.

The monasteries of Montenegro are what every Montenegrin is proud of. The number of pilgrimage tours and routes to holy places is incalculable. Any monastery is open for both organized groups and independent travelers.

Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Montenegro

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    • LocalRent – works with local rental companies. Leader in car rental in Montenegro.
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    • Booking – the most popular booking platform
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  • Tours, excursions and activities (including extreme ones):
    • GetYourGuide – more than 430 tours
    • Viator – 780+ excursions and activities throughout the country
  • Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
  • Internet and Calls:
  • Taxi and airport transfers: Intui.Travel