The black mountain. That was the name of a book I was handed to read in Malta by my Serbian friend. Montenegro being the black mountain and the book was in French so I could just about read parts of it. It looked cool, I had never really thought about it as an option before. What’s it like there I asked my friend. Her answer and the little parts of the book I could make out were enough to get me thinking about making Montenegro my next destination. A little more research and I had tickets booked.
Now define what makes an ideal digital nomad location. To me it would go something like this. Cheap cost of living, decent climate, beautiful place, friendly locals, good internet and coms. Hell I don’t know why I didn’t stay longer. Well actually I do, that would be because I am not really a financial nomad, I have very itchy feet and an obsession with what the next country is like. But Montenegro is an awesome digital nomad location. I don’t know why it has not become a popular one yet?
So here is my lowdown on being a digital nomad in Montenegro, for a short time anyways.
Cost of living in Montenegro.
I found it super cheap here! I paid about €20 a night for a private room in what is probably the best hostel I have ever stayed in. If you are going to Kotor, which you probably will then you have to spend at least one night in this place just for the owners and the craic alone.. www.hostel-kotor.me for an extra €3 you get a proper homemade dinner of local dishes and breakfast!
Asking around it was possible to get your own place for a couple of hundred Euro a month. Airbnb prices were not too shabby either.
Keeping yourself fed and watered here is seriously good value and the food options are quality. Local stews, pastries, and stone baked pizzas for a few euros you name it. Supermarket prices were some of the lowest I have ever seen too!
Finding accommodation in Montenegro.
It is possible to get an apartment for a month in the summer for less than €500 on Airbnb etc. I would say if you turned up, stayed in a hostel and asked around you would be able to get some really good prices. Living and working out of hotels, hostels or holiday apartments is totally doable year round here also. You just have to take a quick look at booking.com to see the amount of places available for less than €20 a night, even in the height of summer!
Internet access and places to work from.
The internet was good where I stayed and equally as good on any café wifi and public networks I used. When I say good I mean I could work uninterrupted with it using FTP and Skype etc. It was by no means a blazing fast fibre line but it was more than adequate for my needs.
4G / 3G was a bit patchy in places but I did not have a local sim card and roaming outside of the EU meant I did not use it much. There is WiFi in every café you pass though.
There seems to be a couple of co-working and even co-living options there now that may be worth checking out if that’s how you roll. I just worked from the hostel and from a café. Working from cafes is cheap! Although I was the only person with a laptop in them so was a little weary about it.
Entertainment, things to do and eating out.
The seaside party town of Montenegro is Budva, if you want to stay up all night then this is the town to do it in. Kotor is also pretty lively at night.
Eating out is a treat, the food is really top quality in most places with prices that are sometime unbelievably low.
As for scenery and sightseeing Montenegro is insanely beautiful! I even wrote a blog post stating Montenegro is possibly the most beautiful place I have ever been. Kotor is a well-kept old town deep in a bay surrounded by mountains. If you are not planning on staying here then you have to visit. The coast line of Montenegro is amazing. The mountains come straight out of the sea and rise high. The beaches are beautiful and golden. The views from the mountains over the coast are stunning.
More information about Montenegro as a digital nomad location.
Montenegro is a very young and new country. The main towns are Podgorica the capital, Budva and Kotor. With other towns such as Bar and Ulcinj remaining less visited but equally as charming. Podgorica is not really equipped for tourism and as far as I could tell does not get many visitors. Most head straight to the coast from the airport.
Kotor as I already said is an old town in a sea water valley and Montenegro’s main port of call. I would recommend basing yourself here. Lonely planet named Kotor number one in the best places to visit in 2016 lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel/cities/1
Budva is the main seaside town. It is really just a tacky seaside town. Like a version of Benidorm frequented by Russians and east Europeans. I was not over keen on this town at all. I would check it out first before thinking about committing to any time there.
Montenegrins are generally very friendly and welcoming. Often shaking your hand and saying welcome to Montenegro. English is pretty much widely spoken or at least understood. Especially in the places visited by tourist and travellers.
I did not meet any digital nomads in Montenegro. The main source of traffic seemed to be backpackers and travellers passing through on route to or from Albania, Bosnia and Croatia.
Getting in and out of these countries is easy enough (Maybe a bit harder for Albania on public transport) by bus and the hostels organise transfers for little cost.
As I started this post with I don’t understand why Montenegro has not become more of a hub for digital nomads like neighbouring Croatia. It may be a little more rough around the edges compared to the big name Croatian towns but it rivals them in every way and even beats then hands down in sheer beauty and cost of living.
If anyone has any longer term experience of being a digital nomad in Montenegro then leave a comment below. It would be cool to hear about it.