Montenegro has been referred to as the hidden gem of the Adriatic. Bordering Croatia, one of the most popular summer destinations for Europeans and Americans, Montenegro features a shorter coastline and incredible mountains. Some Americans say Montenegro’s mountains remind them of Colorado, whereas others compare it to Norway and New Zealand. Thanks to its warm climate, hospitable culture and affordable prices, Montenegro is a great place to live and this guide will prepare you for life in Montenegro, with all its pros and cons!
“Samo polako” is a Lifestyle
There’s a stereotype about Montenegrins being lazy. If you ask them, the responses will vary but they’ll agree on one thing – Montenegrins like to take things slow. Forget about the fast paced lifestyle in the US or Western Europe. Montenegro is all about cultivating relationships. Meeting up for coffee means you’ll spend 3 hours in one coffee shop having one or two drinks, starting with small talk and then diving deep into philosophy.
If you’re a people person, you will enjoy the long, meaningful conversations and how quickly they grow into close friendships. However, “samo polako” can be frustrating when it comes to business. Deadlines can be taken less seriously than you expect; for example, a handyman may come 2 days later than agreed. Make sure to set exact deadlines and follow up to check in, in order to avoid frustrating situations.
Making Friends is Easy
Don’t be afraid to start conversations, even if you don’t speak the language. Montenegrins, like other Balkan people, are very expressive and their body language is easy to understand. With “ok, yes, no” and lots of hand movements, they will be able to keep the conversation going surprisingly well. If you decide to live in a house, don’t be surprised if your neighbors come to say hi. In Montenegrin culture, neighbors are the first people to turn to when there’s an issue and they are always invited to important celebrations and events.
Most Montenegrins, especially the younger generations, speak English well. Since people are friendly in general, they may approach you first and ask questions such as what you do and why did you decide to move to Montenegro.
There are a few online communities where you can make friends and get information about the country. They’re mostly made of expats, remote workers and digital nomads but everyone is welcome.
Dating Can Be a Bit Difficult
Even though Montenegrins are friendly, Montenegro is a conservative country. If you are used to Tinder for dating, you should know that online dating apps are somewhat taboo, especially among women. Therefore, you might be better off meeting potential dates through friends or in bars.
If you’re a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, you might have even more difficulty meeting people. Montenegrin society is still quite conservative and there are no such things as gay clubs (even though some bars promote themselves as LGBT-friendly). Your best shot may be with online dating apps, after all.
Home Visits in Montenegro Can Be Special
When you befriend a local, it’s quite likely they’ll invite you over to their place for coffee or a meal. If you’re visiting an older family for the first time, the tradition is to bring a pack of coffee, chocolate or wine/spirits for the hosts. However, this is an older tradition and young people won’t care if you brought something or not. It is good practice to bring a bottle of wine or spirits if you’re invited to a party, though.
Religious celebrations, such as Christian Christmas or Muslim Bayram, are special occasions and you can expect to meet a lot of the family’s cousins, friends and neighbors. You are not expected to bring anything but an empty belly as these celebrations usually entail a feast. In Orthodox Christianity, there is a special religious day called slava. Every family has a saint and celebrates that saint’s day once a year. The family may choose to have an intimate celebration reserved only for family members or to invite friends and neighbors too. If you get an invitation make sure you attend, because it’s a unique cultural experience!
Shops are well stocked but if you’re after special ingredients, make sure to bring them over.
Montenegro does not produce a whole lot, so the nation depends on imports. However, the preferences of Montenegrins can differ significantly from yours so you may need to bring special ingredients from your home country. For example, expats often complain about the limited selection of spices. However, do note that Dubrovnik in Croatia is quite close and Croatia is in the EU so the shops there may have just what you need.
For diabetics or vegans, it is recommended to check online shops or consult locals or expats in Montenegro to find out about availability of special dietary options and vital items. Check the list below for online shops and delivery services.
Online shops and delivery services in Montenegro
- Voli, the largest chain of supermarkets and one of the biggest importers in the country.
- Idea, one of the largest chains of supermarkets.
Renting an Apartment or a House in Montenegro
Looking for a long-term rental in Montenegro can be quite frustrating for foreigners. The number of real estate agencies is dramatically increasing but only a handful are known for providing a good experience. Renting directly from a landlord is close to impossible and if you do, by some chance, get in touch with one, prepare to pay a “foreign tax”. Seeing that you’re a foreigner, most landlords will try to take advantage and charge you a higher price, which can be 40% higher than the market value.
To avoid this “foreign tax” and settle in Montenegro hassle-free, get in touch with JML International.
When you need to relocate your workforce abroad, don’t go it alone. JML International advocates for you through each step of the process. Save time, save money, stay safe.