My cost of living in Montenegro: one month in Kotor as a digital nomad

by gigigriffis

Montenegro.

It’s been on my to-visit list for ages, and finally, this spring, we figured out the dog transit rules, boarded a series of ferries and car transfers, and settled in for a month on the spectacularly pretty Bay of Kotor.

We stayed for a month and mostly explored the local area (only venturing out for a day trip to Budva, which was rather unimpressive, and an overnight in Podgorica before our flight) and, as usual, I tracked my real spending during that month.

So, how much does it cost to spend a month in Kotor? What’s the cost of living like in Montenegro’s most popular tourist destination, where we watched in surprise as as many as three cruise ships anchored in the bay each day during May?

Here’s my real budget for one month (late April to late May 2019):


Category Local currency Dollars
Accommodations 415.07 $466.28
Transportation (national/international) 61.77 $69.39
Transportation (local) 37.18 $41.77
Groceries  327.99 $368.46
Supplies 1.21 $1.36
Eating/drinking out  79.55 $89.37
Entertainment & activities 4.99 $5.61 (SIM)
Luna (vet bills, supplies) 22.66 $25.46
Health & wellness 146.88 $165
Other 17.80 $20
Totals 1115.10 $1252.68

Notes on my spending

Keep in mind that the above spending is my spending, not Chad’s. We’re both in different life phases right now (me saving like a fiend and hopeful for early retirement, him taking risks on his business), so we keep our finances separate, at least for the moment. We split accommodations 50/50 and sometimes share other expenses (like groceries) with a smaller split (because I eat much less). The numbers above are what came out of my bank account.

As usual, our accommodations were through Airbnb. We rented a very small one-bedroom apartment in Muo, about 10 minutes from Kotor by bike. The apartment was crappy, so I won’t recommend it here, but we had great views and a good location near the city but not too close to the tourist hordes. 

We ate out a handful of times, but were overall unimpressed with restaurant options and so ate at home a lot (despite having a tiny, ill-equipped kitchen). Groceries were a mix of purchases from the fresh market, a nearby bakery, and a nice little butcher shop just outside town. We also purchased filtered water.

Local transportation spending includes a taxi to Dobrota for lunch on the water one day, bus tickets to the well-loved little town of Perast, and more bus tickets to Budva. 

National/international transportation was our ferry and car service from Split to Kotor at the beginning of the month and our car transfer from Kotor to Podgorica to catch our flight at the end of our stay. I haven’t included flight tickets, as those prices will vary wildly based on time of year and where you’re going. 

Luna’s line item is pretty much all food, as she was healthy and didn’t need vet visits or anything like that this May.

My health and wellness line item is just health insurance. 

And the entertainment line item was half the purchase price of a 10-day internet SIM card when our internet went out for two days and our not-the-best-Airbnb-host-ever landlord shrugged her shoulders and said there was nothing she could do. 

Keep in mind that the above budget is my day-to-day living and exploring costs and does not include my business expenses and certain personal expenses like books, movie rentals, and replacing earphones and clothes. I figure those things are too personal and variable to be helpful if you’re using these budgets to figure out your own trip costs, so I generally pull them out.

It’s also worth noting that Chad and I are working while traveling. Anyone devoting their full attention to exploring will definitely spend more.


Want to see more nomad budgets? Check out this extensive piece with links to all my published budgets from the last seven-ish years.

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8 comments

Ali June 13, 2019 - 3:55 am

I found Kotor to be reasonably affordable as a tourist there for a couple of days, so I’m glad it translates to affordable for a more long term stay as well. Sorry your apartment wasn’t good! The views do look nice though. And yeah, I wasn’t overly impressed with Budva either, kind of cute old town, but Kotor is much better.

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gigigriffis June 13, 2019 - 4:58 am

Yeah. Budva felt kind of like a cheap beach resort in parts, a boring concrete city in others. The old town was fine, but not enough to justify the hype in my eyes.

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Camille Guignard July 19, 2020 - 2:31 pm

Hi Gigi, was this for you all e or for both of you and your partner?

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gigigriffis July 19, 2020 - 10:17 pm

It’s for me! Thanks for asking – I normally add a line about that and it looks like I missed it in this one.

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JuanCa Meneses August 27, 2020 - 2:42 pm

What about the quality of internet in Montenegro for a digital nomad?

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gigigriffis August 27, 2020 - 10:14 pm

I can’t speak to the rest of the country, but ours was so-so. The internet at the house was okay, but it did go out at one point and the Airbnb owner didn’t care, so we had to run across town and get a sim card ourselves. The sim worked fine and fast.

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Erez September 4, 2020 - 2:53 am

What a surprise to find your blog, Gigi! I’m looking to start a digital nomad life with a month in Kotor just before the cold season, and so your tips (and numbers) were very helpful for me. I love the honesty that you put in your writing, you shared your experience as it really was, without painting anything in pink. You’ve made yourself a new follower!

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gigigriffis September 4, 2020 - 6:28 am

Glad it’s helpful!

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