Living as an Expat in Montenegro

Montenegro, a picturesque country on the Adriatic coast, has gained significant attention from expats due to its favorable tax system, potential European Union (EU) membership, and promising real estate investment opportunities.

When planning a trip to Montenegro, it's essential to be aware that you will require a Montenegro visa to enter the country. Be sure to check the specific visa requirements and application process for your nationality to ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit to this beautiful destination.

Church The Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas of Kotor, Montenegro, Kotor Bay, the Balkans, the Adriatic Sea.

However, before making the leap, it's natural to have questions about what life in Montenegro entails. This comprehensive guide aims to provide you with detailed insights and answers to key questions, helping you decide if Montenegro is the right place for your expat journey.

Best Places to Live in Montenegro

Construction and house prices make it clear that most expats are attracted to Montenegro’s coastal areas. 

Coastal Areas

Most expats are drawn to Montenegro's coastal areas due to their stunning beauty and real estate opportunities. However, there are alternative options beyond the coast.

The island of Gospa od Skrpela, Kotor Bay, Montenegro


aerial view of Podgorica during sunset, Montenegro

  • Offers a cheaper cost of living.
  • Better options for year-round rentals.
  • Active expat community focused on diverse interests.


Old town in Budva in Montenegro, summer sunset

  • A picturesque old town on the Adriatic coast.
  • Hub for Montenegrin tourism.
  • Suburbs like Bečići or Sveti Stefan offer a quieter retirement option.
  • Crowded during July and August due to tourism.


Panorama of Kotor in a beautiful summer day, Montenegro

  • UNESCO world heritage status for the Old Town.
  • Popular with luxury-seeking expats.
  • Quieter and more authentic compared to Budva.
  • Cooler climate in the winter due to its location.


Gumball 3000 Rally On a Pine City Promenade

  • Known for luxury living.
  • Home to Porto Montenegro, a superyacht marina and luxury resort complex.
  • Houses Montenegro's second airport.
  • Home to Knightsbridge Schools International.

British Expats in Montenegro

Montenegro has a rich history of attracting British expats, especially retirees seeking a sunny escape. 

Areas around Kotor Bay, Budva, and even Podgorica have seen a growing British expat community. Many expats can maintain their British health and pension benefits while living in Montenegro.

Cost of Living

Montenegro is renowned for its affordability, making it one of Europe's most budget-friendly destinations. Here's a breakdown of typical monthly expenses:

  • Rent: Expect to pay at least €275/month for a basic apartment, while €650-800/month can secure a two-bedroom apartment in a nicer area.
  • Utilities: Budget €50-100/month, with costs varying based on the property's size and energy efficiency.
  • Transport: A monthly bus pass typically costs under €20, depending on the municipality.
  • Dining: Eating out varies in cost, with meals ranging from €10 at local eateries to €50 for upscale restaurants in tourist hotspots.
  • Healthcare: Private healthcare plans cost around €300/year, but expats may opt for pay-as-you-go services, with doctor visits typically priced at €25 and most medications under €10.
  • Groceries: Feeding yourself at home is economical, with a budget of about €25/week per person.

Retiring in Montenegro

Montenegro is an attractive retirement destination due to several factors:

  • Favorable Tax System: Montenegro offers low capital gains taxes as part of its overall tax system.
  • Affordable Real Estate: Property prices in Montenegro are competitive, especially when compared to neighboring Croatia.
  • Reciprocal Agreements: Retirees can retain some or all of their health and pension benefits from their home country.
  • Low Cost of Living: Montenegro's cost of living is significantly lower than that of countries like Germany, France, Italy, or the UK.

For those planning to retire in Montenegro, buying property is often the easiest path to securing a temporary residence permit. Additionally, a citizenship-by-investment program is available for high-net-worth retirees looking for a golden visa or tax benefits.


Montenegro is generally considered a safe country with a low crime rate. Violent crime is uncommon, and the US State Department rates Montenegro as a level 1 country. 

However, during the peak tourist season (May to September), street crime can increase in coastal tourist areas. To stay safe, exercise common sense, protect your belongings, and stick to well-lit areas when out at night.

Montenegro is generally safe for women, but public displays of affection by gay couples may sometimes lead to harassment in certain areas. Organized crime and corruption are concerns, primarily at higher levels and unlikely to impact expats in their daily lives.

Non-Crime Safety Concerns in Montenegro

  • Road Safety: While driver training is mandatory, road safety can be a concern, with occasional reckless driving practices.
  • Weather: Montenegro enjoys a pleasant climate, even during mild winters. However, mountainous areas can experience rock and mudslides, and flooding may occur.
  • Seismic Activity: Montenegro experiences moderate seismic activity, with minor earthquakes being relatively common.

Pros and Cons of Living in Montenegro


  • Straightforward Path to Citizenship: Montenegro offers a clear route to citizenship through temporary residency, permanent residency, and citizenship applications, making the process more predictable than in many other countries.
  • Low Taxes and Cost of Living: With a flat 9% personal income tax rate and no hidden tax surprises, Montenegro is an attractive destination for those seeking a first-world lifestyle at an affordable price.
  • Pleasant Natural Surroundings: Montenegro's warm and sunny climate, coupled with its diverse landscapes, makes it a desirable place for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.


  • Language Barrier: Montenegrin is a challenging language to learn, and its status is somewhat in flux. Learning the local language may be necessary, particularly for interactions with government officials and local tradespeople.
  • Small Country: Montenegro's small economy and limited taxpayer base can result in challenges in areas such as healthcare, which may necessitate seeking medical care in neighboring countries.
  • Geopolitical Uncertainty: Montenegro's strategic location between Russia, the EU, and NATO can potentially impact the country's stability and economic prospects, making it somewhat dependent on external factors.
  • Short Track Record: Montenegro's recent independence from Serbia and lingering ethnic tensions may introduce an element of unpredictability in its governance and policies, which could affect expats.

Is Montenegro a Good Place to Live?

The old fishing town of Perast on the shore of Kotor Bay in Montenegro

  • The decision to live in Montenegro hinges on personal preferences and circumstances.
  • Consider factors like healthcare, taxes, cost of living, and geopolitical stability.
  • Montenegro may be an ideal choice for retirees, investors, or those seeking a European lifestyle at an affordable cost.


Determining whether Montenegro is the right place for you to live as an expat is a personal decision influenced by various factors. Consider your healthcare needs, tax preferences, cost of living expectations, and appreciation for natural beauty when making your choice. 

Montenegro offers opportunities for retirees, investors, and those seeking a more affordable yet enjoyable lifestyle. For further information or assistance with visas and citizenship-by-investment programs, feel free to get in touch for a local perspective.