This relatively young nation is immersed in history, which can be seen in its inspiring highlands, gleaming bays, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and fascinating people. Over the years, Montenegro’s landscape has been moulded by influences of Arabic, Ottoman and Turkish design. Vestiges and relics can be found everywhere amongst the canyons, lakes and primeval woodland. Each destination has its own remarkable narrative and travel across Montenegro offers tourists unique experiences.
Visit the Bay of Kotor to witness the Venetian architecture, Sveti Stefan for its pink beach & cobbled streets, Budva for some cultural extravaganza or Ulcinj for a calmer coastal scene. You will never be far from some scrumptious local food, alluring beaches or picturesque backdrops.
We have just added Montenegro to our collection, and we’re super excited about these three regions: Sveti Stefan and the South Coast, Bay of Kotor and Budva.
The southern coast of Montenegro is largely made up of the Bar and Ulcinj Municipalities. This area is ideal for those who enjoy the lack of crowds and are in pursuit of a more serene setting.
Sveti Stefan is probably the most likely image you will find on a Montenegrin postcard and with good reason too! With pink sandy beaches and delightful little shops, you will find yourself in a world of your own. Due to the seasonality of Sveti Stefan, its island gate is open to guests from May.
An introduction to Bar
The rich history of Bar is chronicled in its partially restored towns, which have seen a Turk invasion during the 19th Century and a severe earthquake in the late 70’s. Bar really is a treasure, and efforts have been made to rebuild its old town and surrounding communes, which has given rise to one of our more peculiar, but captivating destinations.
The clearest way to understand this area’s past is to pay a visit to Stari Bar. Firstly, you’ll be in awe of the striking Mount Rumija, which frames this beguiling town. A heavy presence of Ottoman architecture can be seen scattered amongst renovated structures, dilapidated buildings and relics. This image alone denotes the staggering degree of one town’s inauspicious history and lends a careful reminder to visitors of an era long-gone. More stately buildings have stood the test of time, so pay a visit to the Church of. St Jovan Vladimir (formerly the Patron Saint & Protector of Bar) and King Nikola’s Palace that now acts as the town’s museum. Perhaps one of the most inspiring feats of this town is Stara Maslina and its olive grove – this olive tree has remained in place for over two millennia!
A short trip from Bar will land you on the doorstep of Skadar Lake and its national park. This reserve encourages its guests to view exceptional indigenous wildlife, enjoy water sports, boat trips and taste the wines of Vinarija Bogojević & Cemovsko Field. Perfect for those looking for a bit of outdoor adventure!
The southernmost city of the coast, Ulcinj
South of both Bar and Skadar Lake, the town of Ulcinj is found bordering Albania. This is where the best beaches in this region can be found, which include Valdanos Beach and Velika Plaža & Mala Plaža. Here is where you can truly unwind.
Unlike Budva, Ulcinj hasn’t quite been touched by the hordes of European tourists. The old town of Ulcinj stands proud as the oldest in Montenegro and with this comes a humbler style of life…people come here for good old-fashioned spot of R&R! The streets are bustling with farmer’s markets and street vendors, which tend to operate most days, and they’re a great way to soak up the vibrancy of everyday life here. And for the sweet-toothed traveller, Ulcinj has a reputation for having the best gelato in Montenegro and the Adriatic coast, so much so, you’ll probably visit on more than one occasion! When the evening falls and you’re craving something savoury, stroll along the Bojana River and you will find some of the more renowned restaurants in the area.
The Bay of Kotor, or Boka as it’s widely known, has been a World Heritage Site since 1979, so be assured of its captivating scenery; a Venetian old town, a Fortress, Roman Mosaics, churches and a glistening cove all culminate to make Boka an exceptional holiday destination.
Sailing through the fjord you will notice the Orjen Mountains along the west, and the Lovćen Mountain range curling around the east, which outline this spellbinding landscape. As you enter through the bay you are greeted by a man-made islet that is home to Our Lady of the Rocks Church and a museum. This is the first of many reminders that you are about to reach a region of Montenegro that is famed for its natural scenery and poignant architecture.
The Bay of Kotor is made up of four cornerstones – Lastva, Morinj, Stoliv and the most renowned Tivat. Within these villages you’ll find iconic landmarks such as St Petka Church and St Mary’s Church. You’ll also be able to enjoy Tivat Marina and Gornji Stoliv’s Olive grove & Fig orchard.
Boka for the intrepid traveller
Travel inland and strap on a pair of hiking boots as you explore Lovcen National Park. Although it’s about an hours’ drive from the Bay, it really is worth the day trip! Even if you’re not a botanist or ecologist, you’ll still be able to appreciate the impressive number of species of birds, insects, bears and wolves, plus some breath-taking flora and fauna.
The charming town of Kotor has everything you need to forget the day-to-day tribulations of home life. Not only does this small medieval refuge have a host of cute cafes and restaurants, but there are some must-see attractions like the Maritime Museum, the Cats Museum of Kotor, Cats of Kotor Shop and St. John’s Hill. The perfect retreat for a family in need of sun, sea and some quality time together.
Budva has been celebrated for its remarkable Riviera for decades! Not only are the beaches pristine and lapped by turquoise waters, holiday-goers are continually reminded of this destination’s antiquated past wherever they look. With mesmerising streets in the Old Town and monasteries rising over the symbolic Adriatic rooftop-slates, tourists unite in this glorious city for treasured holidays.
First stop, the beaches! Budva’s coastline stretches for over 20km, so you can meander out of the city’s medieval walls to enjoy your choice of seventeen beaches. By far the most popular of these beaches is Jaz – here you will find lots of water-based activities that extend over the 4km shore. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, a day trip to the charming island of Sveti Nikola is urged. Not only will you experience stunning scenery, which locals liken to Hawaii, but you’re likely to see deer and rabbits. If the heat and sand is all becoming a little too much for you and the family, make sure to visit Aquapark Budva. This impressive facility not only has restaurants, shops and great views, but it also has a superb range of water-related activities.
Cultural adventures in Budva
During the day, make sure to explore the Old Town. There’s lots to see and learn about this unique town’s history, so visit the numerous museums, the Citadel and Santa Maria del Punta Church. After some sightseeing, stretch your legs along the promenade that acts as a walkway between Budva and another of our favourites – Sveti Stefan. Perhaps stop off half-way down this coastal boulevard and familiarise yourself with the Montenegrin food, which includes the well-known Njeguski Steak (schnitzel filled with Njegusi prosciutto & cheese), Buzara (shellfish & prawns) and Ispod Saca (a hearty stew). If shopping is your thing, take yourself on a trip to Petrovac in order to explore the dozens of unusual boutiques that are still spoilt with prominent coastal views.
Budva also has a recognised nightlife scene, so if you fancy a cocktail in the evening then check out Mogren Beach or Maltez. Festivalgoers are drawn to this part of the world during late August for the intimate Sea Dance Festival.
Budva has seen some development over recent years, but that hasn’t taken away from its 2,500-year history. If you want to be wowed by architecture, beaches and wonderful food and drink – this could be your next holiday!
These areas of Montenegro are serviced by Tivat Airport or Podgorica Airport.
From the UK:
Direct flights are available from London on Montenegro Airlines, easyJet, TUI, Ryanair and many others. Chartered flights are also available from several other UK airports.
From Dubrovnik, Croatia:
Connecting flights are available from Dubrovnik Airport to Podgorica Airport.
GetByBus operates from Dubrovnik, Tivat and Podgorica to Sveti Stefan, Bar & Ulcinj. Journeys can take up to 4 hours and 45 minutes.
Travelling Montenegro is magical, thrilling, historical and memorable, which is why we decided to add it to our portfolio. Are you ready for some Montenegrin magic? Have a look at our handpicked collection of unique and stylish villas that’ll put you in the heart of the action. Or alternatively, get in touch with our concierge team who can help you find your perfect match (and organise some extras for you too – like catering!)