If you’re after a holiday in the Adriatic Sea, allow us to introduce you to Montenegro. While it’s largely flown under the typical tourist’s radar up until now, we feel that this relatively young nation, with its glistening bays, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and sweeping landscapes, will quickly rise in the holiday hotspot rankings. If you’re already convinced and looking for somewhere to stay throughout your visit, we’ve got luxury villas in Montenegro to accommodate families, large groups and couples alike. Still not won over? Read on to discover the top 10 things to do in Montenegro.
1. Visit Bay of Kotor
The Bay of Kotor, which is also known as Boka, was designated a World Heritage Site in 1979. It’s made up of four cornerstones – Lastva, Morinj, Stoliv and Tivat. Within each of these villages you’ll find various iconic landmarks, including St Petka Church and St Mary’s Church. However, its true majesty is the natural scenery, with the Orjen Mountains along the west, and the Lovćen Mountain range curling to the east. Whether you choose to experience this bay from the shore or out on the sea, be sure to have your camera ready to snap away!
2. Explore Sveti Stefan
If you’re after a beautiful beach break, head to Sveti Stefan. Once a humble fishing village dating back to the 15th century, today this luxury resort area is connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. Boasting pink pebbly sand, an array of picturesque shops and lots of local eateries, it’s easy to see why this spot is beloved by celebrities, royals and residents alike.
Keep in mind that the island gate only opens to guests from May, so you should avoid visiting earlier in the season if this is on your must-visit list.
3. Try the local food
There’s a heavy focus on meat in Montenegro, with four month-smoked Njegusi prosciutto, speciality Njeguski steak and skinless sausages known as cevapi all making our must-try list. However, vegetarians need not fear. Burek serves as Montenegro’s alternative to a toast, seeing a baked filo pastry stuffed with a variety of sweet and savoury fillings. Speaking of dessert, you’ll find palačinke (pancakes) served across the island topped with homemade jam.
4. Hike Mount Orjen
Mount Orjen serves as the Adriatic’s tallest mountain, meaning it automatically jumps to the top of any hiker’s to-do list. It’s a moderate climb that most of average fitness can manage, passing sections of pavement and forest, but the views are truly extraordinary. We’d suggest tagging onto a local tour and choosing the hike that’s best suited to you, with different routes offered depending on ability.
5. Wander Old Town Budva
Nuts about history? Prepare to go wild for the Old Town of Budva. This medieval walled city is over 2500 years old, but it’s far from a sleepy spot, boasting a bustling array of shops, restaurants, and a museum that’s filled with ancient artefacts. You’ll also find Mogren Beach just a five minute walk away, allowing you to get your fill of culture before spreading out beneath the sun.
6. Go rafting along the Tara River Canyon
Found within Durmitor National Park, the Tara River is known for being the world’s second deepest canyon. If you want to experience this natural wonder up close, we’d suggest embarking on a white-water rafting trip along the river – an excellent bonding opportunity for families or groups of friends. Fine seeing things from afar? Stick to the , which towers 172m above the canyon.
7. Descend into Lipa Cave
This may not be one for those with a fear of claustrophobia, but it’s sure to wow anyone that has an adventurous streak. Situated in the mountains east of Budva, Lipa Cava has 3.5km of winding passages to explore. While it was originally discovered by a dog who fell into it by accident, today tourists make very deliberate trips inside, starting with a train ride that takes them through the countryside and into the cave’s entrance.
8. Take a boat trip along the coast
When staying along the Adriatic Coastline, it would be rude not to go out and explore the sea! We’d suggest heading out on a boat from the Bay of Kotor, allowing you to take in some of Montenegro’s key historical sights as well as the many natural marvels. Some itineraries will stop along the way, meaning you’ll get to take in some of the trickier-to-reach towns before sailing around the Orjen and Lovćen mountain ranges.
Want to try and see some dolphins or turtles? Take a wildlife tour around some of the more secluded coves for the best chance.
9. Spend the day in Ulcinj
Found by the Albanian border, the unique town of Ulcinj once served as the Adriatic Sea’s pirate capital – so it’s sure to excite dreamers of all ages as they imagine the antics that took place here. Little ones will also love paddling in the shallow waters at Velika Plaza, which serves as Montenegro’s longest beach.
Due to its position, you’ll find many Middle Eastern restaurants and cafes here, so you can sample some different cuisine than you’re enjoying throughout the rest of your trip. However, Ulcinj is also known for having the country’s best gelato, so save some room for a scoop or two!
10. Discover Blue Cave
Some blue grottos and caves have become victims of Instagram, flooded with tourists all looking to recreate the same ’empty’ shot – and inevitably failing. Montenegro’s Blue Cave has so far escaped such a plight, located in the charming Lustica Peninsula and accessible only by boat tour from the Herceg Novia marina. Whether you choose to snorkel around its fluorescent blue water or stay dry as you observe the glistening colours from your boat, this is one spot you have to see to believe.
Note that the cave is only open from April-October, coinciding with the higher tourist season and when the waters are welcomingly warmer.
So that’s our picks for the top 10 things to do in Montenegro, but there’s truly so much more to see throughout any visit. If you’re ready to book your villa holiday in Montenegro, be sure to contact our concierge team so they can help you with the planning process. Thinking about staying one week? We’ve got a dedicated guide for conquering 7 activities in 7 days.