If you inquire about the advantages and disadvantages of living in Montenegro, be prepared for subjective opinions. Furthermore, if you had asked me the same question five years ago or will ask me in five years, my responses might vary significantly. It all hinges on what you require during that particular phase of your life. Frequently, negatives can transform into positives and vice versa. And you know what? Any positive aspect can become a downside, and vice versa. That’s just how life works. So, broaden your perspective because life is not always black and white.
Advantages of living in Montenegro
11 “for” immigration to Montenegro
⭐️Ecology. Environmental factors are a big plus in Montenegro. The country has no harmful factories or production facilities, which means the air is clean and free of pollutants. The water in the sea and rivers is also clean, making it safe to use for cooking.
*However, tap water contains a lot of salts, so it’s not recommended to drink it without purification. In addition, while the air is generally clean, there can be issues with smog during the winter in some northern cities due to stove heating. In fact, in 2022, the problem of stove heating and air pollution became critical in several cities, prompting the state to take measures to address it.
⭐️The Sea. It is very important. Firstly, for the health of the body and lungs, and secondly, for mental health.
The Adriatic Sea is very beautiful, the water is clear and deep turquoise in color.
*When the tourist season is at its peak, the beaches in Montenegro can become quite crowded, and the water on the most popular beaches may be overwhelmed with people. In the winter, storms can bring a lot of garbage to the shore, which is not always removed immediately. However, the condition of the beaches greatly depends on the weather conditions. When the weather stabilizes, you can be sure that the beaches will be cleaned up.
⭐️Mentality. Before living in Asia, I never thought that a smile could hold so much importance. However, after spending three years in Thailand, I came to the realization that a smile can represent a lot — genuine happiness or even intense hatred and disrespect, often fueled by nationalist beliefs. It may sound strange, as we all know Thailand as the “land of smiles,” but as they say, there is a catch. In terms of mentality, Montenegrins and I have a lot in common.
Look more in my Instagram
About Montenegro, food & wine
⭐️I like Montenegrins. Initially, I didn’t comprehend them properly. However, as I got to know them better, I started liking them even more. Montenegrins may seem solemn on the exterior, but they are genuinely kind-hearted inside. This country taught me that people can offer selfless assistance without expecting anything in return, not even a favor in the future. They do so openly and without any self-interest. Although there may be some unpleasant experiences, especially during peak tourist seasons in resort areas, I’ve been fortunate enough to encounter good-hearted individuals. I hope this continues.
⭐️ Close to Europe. We prefer traveling by car as it provides us with more comfort than airplanes. It only takes 6 hours to reach Greece and 8 hours to get to Venice. In 2019-2020, we explored the Iberian Peninsula, traveling from Montenegro through Italy and France to Portugal, all the way down to Gibraltar and back along the Spanish coast. We repeated the journey in 2022, and although it was a bit lengthy (each trip lasting about 2 months), it was a delightful and exciting experience.
Before that, we went to Prague a couple of times, to Georgia through all of Turkey, not to mention the numerous trips to Greece, Albania, Bosnia and Croatia.
Many low-costers fly from Montenegro, for example, Wizz Air or Ryanair. Many destinations for only 20 euros per ticket.
⭐️Simple legalization. Montenegro is not yet a member of the EU, so it is easier to legalize here than in any country from the EU. Plus low taxes.
If you’re planning to do business in Montenegro, you can register a company and use it as a basis for obtaining a residence permit. Another option is to acquire real estate and apply for a residence permit based on ownership. If one of your family members already has a residence permit, you can also apply for a permit for family reunification. For digital nomads, Montenegro now offers a nomad visa. There are also other ways to stay in the country legally for a year without having to leave or renew your visa, although they are less popular.
⭐️ Mild climate. The coastal region experiences a mild winter, with temperatures rarely dropping below 0 near the sea. Spring is hardly noticeable as summer arrives soon after. Despite the heat during summer, the sea breeze provides relief from the stuffiness. However, if you crave snow and the magic of real snowdrifts, you can find yourself in a winter wonderland just three hours away.
⭐️Security. I see people leaving cars with keys inside, which is crazy for us. Crime is low. I can calmly walk down the street after midnight alone and feel safe. As in any tourist cities, thefts can occur during the high season.
⭐️I like their Polaco. This is what I miss in my life. I am constantly running somewhere, if not physically, then mentally. Montenegrins, on the other hand, are in no hurry to live, enjoy, slowly stretch out the pleasure of life. They even drink brandy in small sips, and not a glass in one sip.
⭐️There are a lot of fruits that grow in any yard: figs, pomegranates, a huge amount of citrus fruits, tangerines in winter, just everything is littered with kiwi, grapes, berries, apples.
⭐️Diversity of nature. The natural beauty of this country is truly enchanting, with its pristine sea, majestic rocks, picturesque beaches and sand, towering mountains, serene lakes, deep canyons, and lush forests. Despite its small size, every corner of this country is worth exploring, and it only takes 3-4 hours by car to reach any destination. Words cannot fully capture the beauty of this place; it must be experienced firsthand. As someone who has lived here for over 8 years, even though I have seen it all, every time I gaze upon these mountains and sea, I am still awestruck by their breathtaking magnificence. And those pink sunsets, they are simply exquisite.
Look more in my Instagram
About Montenegro, food & wine
Cons of Moving to Montenegro
8 Cons of Immigration to Montenegro
So, what is missing, what might not be as cool as we would like?
⭐️Montenegro heavily relies on tourism as its main source of income, lacking in production and negatively impacting its economy, job opportunities, and GDP. While tourism is beneficial, the seasonal influx of tourists creates a disparity, with many visitors in the summer and few in the off-season and winter. Despite increasing prices, the quality of services has not kept up. However, Montenegro has been making efforts in recent years to promote its tourism industry and attract visitors to coastal cities, including during the winter holidays. I have observed significant improvements since my move to Montenegro seven years ago.
⭐️ Products and seafood. Many tourists note good and fresh products, but there are nuances.
Agriculture in Montenegro is underdeveloped due to the scarcity of land and the abundance of mountains, making it difficult to cultivate vegetables.
Most agricultural products are imported from neighboring countries, such as pork for prosciutto from Albania. In the winter, vegetables are scarce, but there have been positive changes in selection and freshness in recent years. Although there are many small farms that produce meat, cheese, eggs, chickens, lambs, and goats, it is almost impossible to find duck or rabbit meat.
Some residents travel to Croatia to purchase groceries, including seafood, which is quite expensive in Montenegro due to the lack of industrial fishing in the small Adriatic Sea. Artificially grown fish, such as gilthead bream, cost significantly less than wild-caught fish, and seafood is generally more expensive than meat. However, Montenegro does have some farms that cultivate mussels, oysters, sea bream, and sea bass, but there is not enough to meet demand during peak tourist season.
⭐️The country’s small size and population contribute to the limited availability and demand for goods and services. The country’s economy is not highly developed, which results in lower salaries for the population and a lack of demand for many services and products. Modern conveniences, such as ride-hailing apps, delivery services, fast order processing, and a wide range of choices, are not yet widely available in the country, unlike big cities. While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about some positive changes in the market, the level of service still has a long way to go to match that of larger cities.
⭐️It follows from the previous one. Lack of variety in products, things, quality of services. We try to shop or bring something important from other countries. We are also mentally prepared that in the event of a breakdown of equipment, we will have to transport it to another country. But, for example, you can perfectly buy apple or xiomi equipment in Montenegro with a local warranty.
⭐️Medicine. The state of healthcare in Montenegro is affected by the aftermath of the Yugoslav collapse, with production and medicine primarily remaining in Serbia. Some doctors from Serbia visit Montenegro once a week to provide specialized services. Private medical care is not accessible to most people due to the low salaries of the population. However, residents who pay taxes and have a residence permit are eligible for free healthcare, although it may be time-consuming and complicated. The majority of patients in hospitals are elderly people who do not have access to private healthcare. Despite its limitations, having this insurance is beneficial in emergency situations.
⭐️Digitalization. The bureaucracy in Montenegro is characterized by both low and high levels, which can be frustrating. In 2022, the situation became absurd with a huge influx of people wishing to obtain a residence permit in Budva. To get a number at the MUP, people had to occupy the queue as early as 3 o’clock in the morning, so they could get a number when the office opened at 8 o’clock. Even then, there were no guarantees that you would be able to submit your documents if you didn’t receive a number before 40. The process of issuing cards is also greatly delayed, and unfortunately, there is no way to check online whether your card is ready or not.
⭐️ We are residing in a village in Budva and unfortunately, we do not have an address to call our own. It’s a challenging situation as we cannot receive packages or goods directly to our home. It’s frustrating to have to rely on a post office box for deliveries. We often have to verbally explain to delivery drivers how to find our home, which can result in mistakes due to the lack of an official address. It’s a plea for help because Budva has transformed from a village to a town, and it’s time for us to be able to receive packages like everyone else.
⭐️Idiot driving. Driving in Montenegro can be quite unpredictable compared to other European countries. Even if you have the opportunity to stay in your own lane, you can’t always expect others to do the same. In Montenegro, it’s not uncommon for some reckless driver to overtake you from the wrong side. Such situations are especially nerve-wracking on narrow, winding roads.
You can talk on this topic endlessly, probably, these are the main minuses and pluses.
When moving to Montenegro, it is important to understand that this is a small country with low development. If you are used to constant traffic and megacities, I don’t think you will get along here.
Frequently asked questions about immigration to Montenegro:
Will I be able to find a job in Montenegro?
There is little work. You can find a job in tourism (which has a strong seasonality), or work with Russian speakers who live here. Yes, the Russian-speaking diaspora is large, but nevertheless it is scattered throughout the cities. In 2022, of course, the number of permanent residents from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus has changed a lot, which led to an increase in demand for quality services, which in turn provoked the opening of a large number of businesses.
If you want to work in the local market, in local companies, then the language is required.
If you managed to succeed in your homeland, then most likely you can do it here. But if everything is bad in your homeland, do not think that everything will be trampled here — it does not happen. Another country, other customs, traditions and other bureaucracy. There are no necessary friends, acquaintances, understanding of processes and how everything works here, which means that all processes will go slower than it might seem initially.
Is it difficult to learn Montenegrin (Serbian) language?
Many people immediately understand it at the everyday level. It is very similar to Russian, many words are exactly the same. For example, summer is summer, sea is sea, sky is sky. However, many of the words are completely different. As in Russian, there are cases and declensions. And also the verb “to be”, as in English. There are a lot of exceptions. The language is very rich. There are words that are not in Russian at all. However, learning is quite easy. If you teach, and not kick the bulldozer, then quickly learn. If you communicate a lot with locals, then all the more quickly.
How is medicine in Montenegro?
They say that medicine is so-so here. (To be honest, where is not so-so free medicine? Free without the obligation of huge insurance premiums). If something is serious, then it is better to be examined not in Montenegro, the number of highly specialized specialists is limited here. There is a slight development over the past 5 years in this area, but still not very good. Many doctors fly in from Serbia. It is also important to remember that the coast is a resort area, a zone of “villages” — small towns. If you do not have the right to state insurance, then be sure to do it yourself (tourist). We are officially employed and pay taxes, therefore we are entitled to free medical care.
Can I drive with a Russian license?
By law, it is possible, but not for long. But, so far, no one is nitpicking and everyone is driving with a Russian license, including Russian license plates. There is some nuance in case you drive a car on Montenegrin license plates without a rent-car agreement with Russian rights. In the event of a stop, the police may also demand a residence permit from you, and in case of refusal to provide it, try to issue a fine (or ******** ****** to let you go). To be honest, there is nothing about this in the laws, but here you have to defend your rights, ask on the basis of what article you are fined, try to prove that this is not in the law, etc. If you know the language, then there will be no problems. But if you do not know the language, then everything is very difficult.
What’s with the kindergartens, schools?
There are kindergartens, there are schools. There are several accredited Russian schools with excellent teachers. I don’t really know the details. Children are loved here. I know that many children go to local schools, no bullying or discrimination from teachers.
Which city to choose for living in Montenegro?
If you don’t want to live by the sea, then, of course, Podgorica. This is the capital. If on the sea, then look towards Tivat or Bar, or Herceg Novi, or Budva. I do not recommend Kotor, because it is very hard there in winter because of the climate. The mountains catch all the clouds, it is more humid, wet, rainy, dank, mold is actively developing. Be sure to choose an apartment on the sunny side, otherwise you will freeze in winter and pay beshbablo for heating, because there is no heating here. Ideally, if the apartment is in a house where neighbors constantly live, especially under you and on the sides.
If you want to see more photos of Montenegro or read some useful things about it. Subscribe to my Instagram
Well, a dozen more photos of Montenegro)