Souvenirs and Gifts from Montenegro: What to Bring Back Home?

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When it comes to souvenirs and shopping, we are very picky. There is no problem in buying a whole bunch of expensive and unnecessary things that will then gather dust on a shelf.

But choosing really useful and interesting souvenirs and gifts is much more difficult. Especially if you don’t want to spend a lot of money in a gift shops.

What should you know about Montenegro concerning shopping, souvenirs and gifts

  • Most shops are open from 8:00 or 9:00 until 20:00 or 21:00.
  • Montenegro is a country that rely entirely on tourists. It has virtually no other sources of income. Therefore, not only markets, but also hotels and airports will be packed with a wide variety of gifts and souvenirs. In general, it’s not difficult to buy “standard” magnets or mugs.
  • Most goods in Montenegro are imported. They produce almost nothing, except fruits — food and goods are imported from Serbia, Italy, Greece, Turkey, China and many other countries
  • Do not hope to buy branded Italian things nearby gift-shops here as well. The assortment will be rather small, the prices are high, and there are a lot of Chinese counterfeits.
  • If you want to buy Italian things, go to the Bar or better to Podgorica.
  • It’s not always possible to pay by a credit card — people here prefer cash.
  • If you buy very expensive items — keep the check until the end of the trip. Very rarely there are problems with customs.
  • Bargaining in Montenegro is difficult. In purely tourist places, you can bargain for almost half the price (we were able to), but in “serious” markets like Bar and Podgorica it’s very hard. Sellers will yield a maximum of 5-10%.
  • Young girls may be interesting in Pandora modular jewelry, it’s slightly cheaper here.If you are looking for such a store in Budva, drop by Leandro, near the beach Ričardova glava.

Useful souvenirs that are really worth the money — what should you buy in Montenegro?

In this section, we will try to tell you about all the things that will not only remind you of Montenegro, but also will be useful.

If these are gifts from Montenegro, then it should ones that you’ll enjoy giving, if things meant for you — they should be useful and cheaper than at home.

Real Italian clothing, shoes and even jewelry

There are some branded Italian clothing, shoes and jewelry in Montenegro. Country is located near Italy, so it seems logical. But, to be honest, we can’t find a lot of branded stores with a reasonable prices.
I would like to warn you that in Budva and on the Budva Riviera, the choice will be very modest, prices are high, and there are many counterfeits.

In Herceg Novi the choice will be a little better and fakes are less common.

But if you are really interested in a good shopping, go to Bar or Podgorica. There will be better choice and much lower prices. By the way, in Podgorica there is a whole jewelers street.

Serbian textile (very high-quality clothes, towels, linen)

As far as we know, Serbia was always well-known for it’s textile. It goes from the time when Serbia was a part of Yugoslavia.

Since then, much has changed. There is no more Yugoslavia on the map. But textile factories in Serbia have survived. We found a small shop near the food market in Budva and another one on the way to the Old Town (see map). Things there are of high quality.

Religious souvenirs from Montenegro monasteries

There are a lot of religious souvenirs in Montenegro. Here we will list the main and most interesting souvenirs and gifts:

  • broyanitsa
  • the icons
  • incense
  • amulets
  • consecrated olive oil (for grinding)

Delicacies and Food

Although most of the products in Montenegro are imported, there is also something local that is definitely worth a try. All this will be natural and environmentally friendly.

Prsut

Prsut — national delicacy of Montenegro. It is made from Serbian pork (there are no pig farms in Montenegro), which is smoked in a special way. A good prsut should be brown on the outside, richly red in color with light bacon. Cut into thin slices. The taste of prsut is quite strong, sharp and very salty.

In vacuum packaging, prsut may be stored for 3-5 years. If the packaging was opened, then prsut should be stored wrapped in plain paper and at room temperature. In the fridge it will quickly deteriorate — a lot of salt will appear on the meat.

If you look on the Internet, almost everywhere it is advised to bring prsut from Njeguši, but this is absolutely not important. Yes, the tradition of doing this ham originated in the Njeguši, but now they are doing excellent prsut all over the country. If you are willing to pay for it from 10 euro per kilogram then you will get prsut of excellent quality in almost any corner of the country.

Cheese of Njeguši

Cheeses are generally one of the national dishes of Montenegro. There are a lot of different varieties, most of them we liked. If you don’t have time to try different types of cheese, stop at the classic version. Personally, we tried cheese of Njeguši while traveling to Herceg Novi and we really liked it.

Kaymak

Some people saying that Kaymak is a cheese. In fact this is not absolutely true. Kaymak is something between sour cream, clotted cream and salted cheese. Montenegrins eat it mainly as a seasoning for various meat dishes.

Honey and Nuts in Honey

Honey in Montenegro is very good, high quality. It’s not diluted and very sweet.

We especially recommend trying black mountain honey, which smells like herbs and contains a huge amount of vitamins. It is easiest to purchase during Durmitor and Tara Trip.

You can also buy honey directly from the Moraca Monastery.

There are also popular nuts in honey. For a small jar they will ask for two euros, and for a decent one 7-10 euros. But it’s really very tasty and well be much better souvenir or gift than standard mugs or magnets.

Dried mushrooms

Montenegrins practically do not eat mushrooms. So they make them and then sell to tourists. Prices are quite high, but mushrooms are environmentally friendly. If we talking about prices, mushrooms will cost you from 70 to 100 euros per kilogram (we bought them on Zelena Pijaca market in Budva).

Olive oil

There are a lot of olives in Montenegro. We even saw a whole olive grove near Janitsa Beach. And, of course, it’s not the only one.

Olive oil produced at a factory in Bar (Barsko Zlato) or manufactured by locals.

The most useful is first-pressed olive oil. They call it Extra Virgin. Then it comes second-pressed oil Virgin, and then Ordinary. Of course, the prices are also different. For Extra Virgin they will ask you about 5 euros for 500 grams, and for Ordinary — only 1-2 euros.

There are also colored oils in Montenegro. Pink, green or blue ones. This is because the oil is additionally mixed with rose petals, hypericum, nuts and other medicinal herbs. Then the oil acquires an unusual color, aroma and additional healing properties. Often tourists use it for grinding instead of a sun cream.

To be honest, olive oil from Greece in Montenegro is cheaper than local. But it has a little different taste.

National souvenirs from Montenegro

Tablecloth with folk embroidery

Natural tablecloths with folk embroidery are sold mainly in mountain villages. We came across them during  Durmitor and Tara Trip, especially a large selection was near Đurđevića Tara Bridge. To be honest, we wasn’t impress by Montenegrin national tablecloths. On the one hand, they’re nice, but on the other, there’s nothing special about them. And yes, they are very expensive.

We advise you to be careful: under the guise of Montenegrin tablecloth, do not buy Chinese ones. Their quality is completely different.

Warm Woolen Clothing

In terms of woolen clothing Montenegro is a good option for shopping. You can find woolen vests, sheepskin coats, woolen socks and other stuff here. And the prices are quite good. For example, we bought a warm vest for ourselves.

We saw warm woolen clothes during the Durmitor and Tara Trip. You will have a wide choice at a Đurđevića Tara Bridge. But, of course, you can find gift shops, that sell woolen clothing all across the country.

Fruits (especially figs)

Montenegro is an ecologically friendly country without industry. The fruits here are very healthy and delicious. We’re working on a separate article about the fruits in Montenegro.

Speaking of us, we brought home a box of figs from Montenegro. It was just unbelievably delicious. So we recommend you to do the same.

If you’re afraid that fresh figs will go bad till you get home, you can buy dried figs. They will also be very tasty. It costs from 3 to 8 euro per kg. Dried figs are often sprinkled with flour for better preservation.

It is also worth trying an unusual fruit called a Jujube. It looks like a date fruit, tastes like something between an apple and a pear. The jujube can be preserved for a rather long time, and costs from 3 euro per kilogram.

By the way, in small shops scattered around the city, fruits will be cheaper than in large markets.

Crafts from wood

A variety of wood crafts can be used to decorate the interior. For example, it can be a clock covered with carving, wooden shelves, icons of saints or something else. If you search well, you will find very beautiful works of art.

Silver (for those who go on tour to Albania)

If you decide to go on a trip to Albania, you will be able to buy cute silver jewelry. I would like to warn you that the jewelry, especially the rings, are pretty massive there, in the Arabic style. But it’s cheaper than at home. The only pity is that you will have very little time for shopping.

By the way, Albania is no longer a poor, underdeveloped country as it was ten years ago. Everything is changing very quickly here — new skyscrapers appeared, cities becoming super-modern.

Rare and not too expensive cosmetics

Our friends, that are into fashion, you can inexpensively purchase rare high-quality cosmetics on Montenegro’s resorts.

We can recall some of the common manufacturers: Catrice, Essence, Golden Rose, Rimmel.

We found small store Cosmetics·Market.com opposite the Zelena Pijaca vegetable market in Budva. To be honest, we didn’t buy cosmetics, because we are not into it, but we can tell that we saw a really good choice there.

Turkish clothing, shoes, bags and other little things

Last time we visited Montenegro, we bought T-shirts, shoes and some other little things at a market in Podgorica. All Turkish clothes was inexpensive and not differ from home.

They sell a lot of Turkish made clothes nearby beaches or in little shops, it’s approximately two or three times cheaper than Serbian textile or Italian clothing.

Alcohol — rakia and local wines

It is worth to tell about alcoholic drinks in Montenegro in a separate article. In this one we will only list the most popular brands of alcohol:

  • Rakia — national fruit brandy of Montenegro. It is made from different fruits and berries. It’s a very strong alcohol drink (40% ABV). It’s expensive in stores, so many tourists are buying homemade rakia, that even stronger that factory-made (50% ABV). You can find stores selling almost anywhere. It’s interesting to buy rakia during Durmitor and Tara Trip while you near Đurđevića Tara Bridge.
  • Nikšićko Beer —Montenegro’s only national beer (there is only one factory for the whole country). It produced in bottles and in cans. Can be light and dark. To be honest, we didn’t try it ourselves — we don’t like beer, but most of the tourists we know agree that the beer is not bad, but there is nothing special about it.
  • Wines of Montenegro — produced on wine company Plantaze. The two main grape varieties are called Vranac (red grapes) and Krstač (white grapes). They make white, pink and red wine.
  • Vignac is a Serbian cognac. As it not local made, we wouldn’t tell anything about it.

Useless souvenirs that you can buy anywhere

Here we include almost all “standard” souvenirs and gifts that you can find in any country.

If we brought a mug and a magnet from every country or city we visited, there would simply be no room in the kitchen! In the same way, it’s hard for me to imagine a person who will really be pleased to receive a magnet from me or another cup / plate with the Montenegro inscription.

And it will be even more unpleasant when after buying such a beautiful cup you will read: “Made in China”. And for standard souvenirs this happens very, very often.

Plates, cups, magnets

This is the most common souvenir. In our opinion, it’s very trivial. And all these useless little things cost almost as much as the really necessary and interesting gifts.

As for magnets, we can recommend you to select some beautiful shots and make custom magnets with them, instead of buying a magnet in Montenegro. It will turn out much more original.

National souvenirs (those that were not included in the useful ones)

Let’s talk about national souvenirs. Not all of them I would consider useless, but many things have turned exclusively into an instrument of making money from generous tourists.

Let’s look at two of the most common examples:

The Montenegrin cap — national headdress of Montenegro

The Montenegrin cap is a national headdress. It is very symbolic for Montenegrins. A small black cap with a red top, which symbolizes the sorrow of the former greatness of Serbia and the blood shed by the Montenegrin people in countless battles. Usually, five golden bands are embroidered on the top that remind of the five hundred years of the Turkish yoke. Typically, these hats are decorated with the ancient coat of arms of Serbia or the modern coat of arms of Montenegro.

On the one hand, the Montenegrin cap is a very interesting souvenir, but in our experience it will most likely just gather dust in a cupboard or on a shelf. Maybe you should spend this money on something more useful?

Montenegrin Gusle

The Gusle is a single-stringed musical instrument of the Montenegro. Usually they look very impressive — the only string is attached to a carved, luxurious neck, which is additionally decorated with carvings and a head in the form of animals and birds, most often in the form of an eagle. They play such a harp with the help of a luxuriously decorated bow.

But those items that you can buy in souvenir markets are not musical instruments. They look beautiful, but do not sound at all the way they should. And it’s understandable — original gusle is quite expensive (just as example — the string of gusle is made of thirty horsehairs).

Montenegrin commandments, trinkets, seashells.

Montenegrin commandments

Montenegrin commandments are a rather funny text that is printed on all kinds of letters, cups, plates and t-shirts.

Montenegrin commandments
  1. Man is born tired and lives to rest.
  2. Love thy bed as you love thyrself.
  3. Rest during the day, so you can sleep at night.
  4. Do not work — work kills.
  5. If you see someone resting, help him out.
  6. Work as little as you can, and convey all the work you can to another.
  7. In shade is salvation — nobody died from resting.
  8. Work earn illness — do not pass away young.
  9. If you have an urge to work, sit down, wait and you’ll see it will pass.
  10. When you see people eat and drink — approach them, when you see them work — withdraw yourself not to trouble them.

These commandments have nothing to do with the mentality and history of the hardworking and brave people of Montenegro, but tourists love them.

All kinds of key chains and other “useful little things”

On the one side, a keychain is a useful and necessary thing. But when you look at the price, you understand that it is 3 times higher than it should be.

For example, we are not ready to overpay so much for the inscription “Montenegro”. Especially if there are so many really useful gifts and souvenirs around. Better yet, go on a tour — your memories will make you happy for a long time.

We have approximately the same attitude to other souvenirs: cups, plates, ashtrays, etc.

Seashells and other cute crafts

In general, everything here is dependent on the person. For some the shell will become a beautiful design element, but for most of the people it will be useless.

Is it worth spending the money on what you don’t need? Or is it better to postpone on the next trip? It’s clearly up to you.

General conclusions on “useless” souvenirs and gifts

All this things are quite expensive. If we talk about Budva, sometimes instead of a couple of such souvenirs, it’s quite possible to go on a tour or try local delicacies.

In general, we recommend you to save money.

Victor and Alina Pashinskyi

Victor and Alina Pashinskyi,
authors of the guide

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Glad to see you on our site!

We hope that it will be useful to you, because we love to travel and to share our own experiences and discoveries.

All information is checked by us personally. We write only about those places and countries where we were!

We’ve been travelling to Montenegro since 2013. We’ve visited almost the whole country and we know it well.

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