The spotlight’s well and truly on this Balkan beauty. While Croatia’s been catapulted into stardom recently, Montenegro is poised to become the next big thing. So turn your attention to this teeny country perched on the crossroads of eastern and western Europe. For somewhere so small, it offers the real full monty.
Montenegro’s coast is a prime example. It’s under 300km but a total dazzler. Centuries-old seaside towns are stuffed with historic treasures, epic mountains brood in the background and the Adriatic twinkles in the sunshine. Inland, dense forests and more mountains await, so eager explorers will be in their element.
Want to know more about Montenegro? Here’s the inside scoop on this Balkan nation’s must-sees…
Ringed by medieval walls, beautiful Budva dates back to the 5th century. And its Stari Grad (old town) flaunts those roots beautifully – albeit it has been largely restored following an earthquake. Wander the honey-hued cobbled streets, ducking into shops and occasionally catching a glimpse of the sparkling sea.
Lounging on sun-drenched beaches is another draw here. Becici Beach is one of the best, a popular pebbly patch extending almost 2km along the coast. Blue Flag Mogren Beach meanwhile offers 350m of sand to plop down on and get stuck into a good book, while inhaling the scent of nearby pine trees.
Cast your eyes on handsome Tivat. This glitzy port is tucked into the Bay of Kotor, with a polished promenade, high-brow boutiques and a swanky yacht-filled marina. It’s the latter, Porto Montenegro, where you’ll feel this resort’s vibrant atmosphere.
Settle down at a waterside table and watch boats glide in and out of the marina. If you’re after authentic dining, tuck into a bowl of squid ink risotto. If meat’s more your thing, cevapcici is Montenegro’s answer to the classic kebab. The country’s a keen wine producer, so look out for red wine, Vranac, and white wine, Krstac.
Speaking of the Bay of Kotor, its namesake town is disarmingly beautiful. And the bay itself is soul-stirring, with inlets that look like they’ve been plucked straight from the fjords of Norway.
Kotor Old Town interrupts the jaw-dropping natural scenery with its pretty jumble of ochre-tinged rooftops. Its been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its prized Venetian architecture so is well worth a visit. Step through the Sea Gate entrance and discover buzzing sun-bleached piazzas. At one of the pavement cafés, sip kafa (that’s coffee in Montenegrin) and devour a cherry strudel, the local speciality.