If ever there was a land to go exploring it’s Montenegro.
Half the size of Wales and sharing borders with Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania, this tiny country was at the heart of conflict for decades.
Calm prevails these days and, slowly but surely following in the footsteps of Croatia, Montenegro’s on the way to becoming another Adriatic must-do.
It’s far from a family holiday secret and resorts springing up along the coast suggest it could fall foul of growing popularity. But at the moment it’s still peaceful, unspoiled and well worth getting to know a little better.
A tiny country by any standards, Montenegro counts 72km of beaches along its Adriatic west coast.
Direct flights from the UK to Tivat take just over two hours and all coastal areas are within easy driving distance of the airport.
Dubrovnik also has frequent direct flights from the UK is less than an hour’s drive from medieval Herceg Novi’s lovely beaches in the north of Montenegro.
Lake Skadar National Park has the Balkan’s largest lake at its heart and is a protected wetland habitat for hundreds of species of wildlife and birds.
Lively seaside resorts built around beautifully preserved medieval old towns are a feature all along Montenegro’s coast.
Stretching for 12,0000m, Velika Plaža on the south east coast, is Europe’s longest beach.
Montenegro has three UNESCO World Heritage sites: the historic region of Kotor; Stećci Tombstones; and Durmitor National Park in the far north.
As close to Dubrovnik Airport as Tivat, Herceg-Novi’s another pretty medieval village transformed into a seaside resort. The difference here is; the transformation took place in the 19th century and the legacy’s charming.
If you’ve seen pictures of Montenegro, there’s a high chance you’ve seen Perast. The UNESCO World Heritage town on the Bay of Kotor has one of Europe’s loveliest waterfronts and looks more Venetian than overcrowded Venice does these days.
Montenegro’s coast is trimmed from end to end with breathtakingly pretty medieval towns (some walled, some not). Thanks to the abundant beaches, most are now seaside resorts and Budva’s one of the liveliest. Here the old town’s such a charmer it’s easy to accept the less attractive new build background for what it is: an excellent source of places to stay, shop, eat and play.
Montenegro’s most visited city strings round the head of the Bay of Kotor and has an old town to rival Dubrovnik or Split any day.
Laid back little Petrovac is a friendly, family resort just 20 minutes south west of Budva. Known for its mix of big, water sport packed beaches and small, sunny coves, it’s one of the best areas for all-inclusive hotels and self-catering apartments.
With a three kilometre long beach, mountain views and a classically elegant prom, Becici couldn’t fail to be the perfect Balkan seaside resort. It’s less than 70 years old, but Budva’s a short walk away to fill the ancient history requirement, leaving Becici to get on with serving up fantastic seafood, organising water sports, mixing cocktails and generally looking after everyone beautifully.
20 minutes walk from Budva old town and closer still to Rafailovici; a old fishing village well known locally for good seafood restaurants.
Hire a car in Montenegro. It’s a tiny country and, driving, you could easily explore almost all of it in one holiday. Taxis and water taxis are the best way to get about in towns and cities along the coast. Most resorts are easily walkable and there are bus services from Budva, Kotor and Ulcinj to central and northern Montenegro.