Why go to Montenegro? For thousands of years in Europe’s southeastern corner, kingdoms have come and gone, cultures have fused, and the art of hospitality has been perfected.
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Don’t be surprised like me when I visited Kotor and noticed the currency in Montenegro was the Euro! I was hoping for some kind of the Balkan mystery money that makes me feel like I’m not really spending money, but alas it’s the euro!
However, the prices as of 2023 are still pretty good compared to western Europe for savory and delicious foods, hiking vacations, coastal walks and apartment stays in cute cobblestone lined old towns like Kotor.
Kotor (Boka) Bay is a Fjord!
My husband and I were scouting a retirement flat near the stunning Boka bay fjord area and we were surprised to even find a branch of our German bank! What’s going on? We definitely had to go through customs to get here so it’s not part of the Schengen zone or the EU.
Read until the end where I share how we even applied for a mortgage on a vacation home as an American.
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And if you love meat…Montenegro is definitely for you.
Quick Verdict Pros and Cons of the Currency Used in Montenegro
Kotor Montenegró Currency
- Avoids hyperinflation that was historic here
- Easier for European travelers to avoid transaction fees
- Clear understanding of consumer prices for travelers
- International presence for investment
- Easier invoicing, accounting for international trade
- Euro is second most important reserve currency (in this recently unstable region)
- Difficult for local monetary policy to address unemployment and inflation
- Decreased autonomy
- Cannot mint it's own currency
- Doesn't help with ascension into EU
- Potentially higher consumer goods prices?
What You Will Learn in This Article
3 Unexpected Things About the Currency in Montenegro
The Currency of Montengro is the Euro
1. History of Currency in Montenegro : It’s “Unofficial”
Before Montenegro gained its independence in 2006, it was part of various other countries, including Yugoslavia and Serbia. As such, it used various currencies throughout its history, including the Yugoslav dinar, Serbian dinar and German Deutsche mark.
It’s worth noting that Montenegro is not part of the European Union, so it cannot mint its own euro coins. Instead, it uses coins and banknotes minted by other countries within the eurozone.
When you visit Montenegro, you’ll find coins from countries such as Germany, France, and Italy, among others.
Montenegro decided to use the Euro without permission of the European Central Bank.
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2: Politics : Montenegro wants to be in the EU
However, since gaining independence, Montenegro has adopted the euro as its de facto official currency despite not being in the EU.
This means that when you visit Montenegro, you won’t have to worry about exchanging your money, as the euro is widely accepted throughout the country.
However, the path for Montenegro to meet the 4 economic convergence criteria to join the EU are unclear. In order to fall under the Maastrict Treaty and join the EU, the local economy must meet:
- Price stability
- Sound and sustainable public finances
- Exchange-rate stability
- Long-term interest rates
I don’t know about you, but I’m confused how Montenegro could show it’s working on these things if it’s using the Euro – which it has no monetary or fiscal control.
In Kotor just for the day??? See the Blue Cave, Lady of the Rocks, & Mamula on 🚤 This fun boat tour
3: Tensions : Montenegro speaks Serbian Which is Aligned with Russia
We all have some idea how this could present a problem. Montenegro is a fascinating and wonderful place precisely because of it’s varied culture and history.
Just walk through the Stari Grad (old town) of Kotor and you’ll see influence from Venice, Turkey, Catholics, Orthodox, Balkan culture and more.
It’s a melting pot of people from all over the world and ….CATS!
Influences here include: Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, Austro-Hungarian and and Ottoman. Even Napoleon staked a claim at one point.
Benefits of Using European Currency
Reduced Transaction Costs
Increased Clarity for International Business
Direct foreign Investment
Cons of Using the Euro in Montenegro
No Monetary policy at the National Level
Increased Price Consumer Goods
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Why We Love Kotor & How We’re Buying a Flat There
The area of Kotor offers old world European ambiance with the unexpected charms of the Balkans. More importantly, it has amazing seafood and Montenegro’s signature meats and vegetable dishes for reasonable prices.
The opportunity to swim or hike is abundant making it great for Outdoor enthusiasts like us.
Additionally, the vibe is much more relaxed that the more upscale regions around Boka Bay and that fits our lifestyle because we’re here to enjoy the people, the food and landscapes without pretension.
Buying a Flat
Once we found a suitable apartment that we wanted to buy, we reached out to a loan officer at Erste Bank. It has not been a fast or highly smooth process. I cannot same the same thing about our German bank either. It always depends and takes more time when you’ve got a 400 year old house and a country that was state-owned for a few decades.
Clearing the title is no small feat.
“The Balkans produce more history than they can consume.” – Winston Churchill
If you want to buy a home using debt from a Montenegro bank be prepared for the long haul and make sure the place you want is “legalized”. It’s not worth the time to get legalization as it can take years, decades?
There’s really no way to expedite either and no way to project when your place will be on the “docket” for legalition even if you want to pay for the process. This is similar throughout former communist places.
Consider an all cash purchase if you just have to have the place. Or consider a new build as they are guaranteed to be legal.
Note: Erste bank has the same logo as Sparkasse – a prominent German bank.
There are long lasting ties between Germany and Montenegro banking and fiscal systems.
What is the currency in montenegro
Simply put, it’s the Euro. Plain old Euro.
What is the Montenegró Money?
Euros. Montenegro uses euros despite not being in the EU.
Is Montenegro inside the Schengen Travel Zone?
No it is not. You will need to pass through customs with the appropriate documentation to visit Montenegro.
Europe Travel Planning Guide
Hey there travel enthusiasts! Looking for a one-stop-shop for all your trip planning needs? Look no further! Here’s a list of our go-to resources for all our Outdoor wanderlust adventures.
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Should I buy Europe travel insurance?
100% YES! — Europe has many different healthcare systems but it’s only for citizens! Foreigners visiting need travel insurance in case anything happens on their visit.
I recommend Hey Mondo Travel Insurance – they have a 5% discount for the readers of Crave the Planet!
How do I pay mountain huts and other places that don’t do credit cards?
Wise is the absolute bomb for international banking. With this awesome tool, we can send and receive money in multiple currencies, convert to even more with no extra fees, and withdraw or pay with local currencies. Click here to signup for Wise, a must-have! FAR better than paypal.
Can you drink the water in Europe?
Yes — In all major cities in Europe, you can drink the tap water. However, you should never drink river or lake water, there are cows doing their business in streams everywhere! I recommend a Lifestraw water filter for long hikes and backcountry camping to stay safe and hydrated.
Is it safe to rent a car in Europe?
Yes — Renting a car is safe, but not a necessity in most of Europe. However, if you want to go on road trips or adventures outside of the major cities, you’ll find it easier to get to trails and need to rent a car.
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What’s the best way to book my European accommodations?
My go-to for European hotels, hostels and vacation homes is Booking.com as it’s more transparent and safe than Airbnb. Read my full Booking.com review here.
What’s the best site to buy European Tours?
Ready to explore the world with a local guide? Get Your Guide has a massive selection of tours, activities, and adventures waiting for you!
Do I need a visa for Europe?
Likely Not — US and UK passport holders don’t need EU visas. However, some other countries do. And if you plan to stay for more than 90 days (an average tourist visa length), you will need to look into visas to live in Europe.
Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a passionate hiker and writer, physical therapist, and photographer. She has a doctorate in physical therapy and is featured giving science-based hiking tips and advice.
When not out exploring the mountains or sea, she’s writing articles and gear reviews to empower Outdoor Journeys that include family and good food.
With 💞, Crave the Planet
Thanks for reading! Please share your stories of your awesome outdoor adventures or ask questions from the community over on our facebook group Untold Outdoor Europe Travel Planning.