Don’t be surprised like me when I visited Kotor and noticed the currency in Montenegro was the Euro!
In my search for a vacation home near Kotor, I was hoping to experience the Balkan mystery money, which would give me the feeling of not really spending money. However, I was disappointed to learn that the euro is the official currency, despite Montenegro not being in the EU zone or Schengen area.
Nevertheless, the prices as of 2023 are still relatively reasonable when compared to western Europe, particularly in the Kotor Bay area.
During our search for a retirement flat in the stunning Boka Bay fjord area, my husband and I were pleasantly surprised to discover a branch of our German bank.
Furthermore, as an American, I would like to share that we were able to apply for a mortgage on a vacation home.
Please read until the end to learn more about our experience.
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?
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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.
When did Montenegro Adopt the Euro?
Montenegro decided to use the Euro without permission of the European Central Bank. in 2002.
Why did Montenegro Adopt the Euro?
Well, it’s complicated. Under socialism the inflation rate was very high. The euro brings in foreign investors, like us! It feels safer.
2: Politics : Montenegro wants to be in the EU
However, since gaining independence from , 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.
Can You Use Montenegro ATMs?
You can simply pull euros from any ATM. There are usually 5 euro fees. Do not accept the local exchange rate, use your own banks conversion rate as it’s typically much better.
Will Montenegro get EU membership and use the euro the standard way?
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.
3: Tensions : Russia vs EU
We all have some idea how this could present a problem as the Balkan war was horrific and influences from Moscow have been demonstrably affected too many people for the negative.
But just walk through the Stari Grad (old town) of Kotor and you’ll see influence from Venice, Turkey, Catholics, Orthodox, Russian, 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.
It is very difficulty to place Montenegro in any one box, but despite a lot of Serbian and Russian influence it has taken a pro Western stance. with the adoption of the Euro.
In Kotor just for the day??? See the Blue Cave, Lady of the Rocks, & Mamula on 🚤 This fun boat tour
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.
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.
It’s one of the best places in April in Europe for shoulder season travel.
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 (Tivat) and that fits our lifestyle because we’re here to enjoy the people, the food and landscapes without pretension.
We can’t wait to go back and take an inland Montenegro roadtrip to see Lake Skadar and it’s famous horseshoe bend, the moonscape Dinaric Alps and go rafting on the Tara River.
Househunting Video in Perast
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.
It’s true, you’ve got to use Euros to pay for things in Montenegro, even houses. It is much more difficult to transfer larger sums of money however. We finalized our home purchase, but had to use “wise” (formerly known as transferwise) to move dollars from our American bank to our newly adopted Adriatic bank with a maximum of 20,000 euros per day.
Our lawyers told us that it varies bank to bank and banker to banker. Also, the Russian war has made things a bit more complicated for money transfers. But hey, we got a mortgage as a foreigner in Montengro!
Also, we always eat a big bullet on the ATM fees when pulling out cash so prefer to use our credit card for most purchases if possible.
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FAQ Montenegro Money
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.
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Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a physical therapist and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.
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