A sweep of coast here, an atmospheric old town there, all set to a backdrop of brooding jade mountains – it's no surprise that Montenegro is quickly making a name for itself. From Blue Flag beach days to exploring some of the oldest settlements in the Balkans, the list of things to do in Montenegro puts countries ten times the size to shame!
Proving to be just as popular as neighbouring Croatia, Montenegro is starting to etch itself onto the world travel map. Fresh-faced and unspoilt, this is villa escapism at its finest. From the northern haven of Herceg Novi to beautiful Budva in the south, our villas in Montenegro are scattered along picturesque peninsulas and nestled in forest-cloaked foothills.
Wherever you choose to stay, there's a wealth of attractions crammed into the compact little country – so you're never far away from your next adventure!
Gatekeeper to the Bay of Kotor, Herceg Novi is sure to satisfy sand-seeking sun babies. Boasting a pretty promenade that runs for a whopping 7km near the centre of town, this seaside sanctuary is a beautiful spot for a day on the beach. Waters are wonderfully warm and crystal clear, with a mixture of sandy shores and pebbly peninsulas making up the full 25km of the Riviera. Headline acts include Igalo, Meljine and Žalo beach.
If towel lounging isn't your cup of tea, opt for a kayaking trip across the bay, or hike and bike your way through the hills behind the town – there's more than one way to take in the sparkling seascapes…
Peer into the past at Herceg Novi's old quarter. Here you'll find a whole host of historic attractions and cultural treasures, from medieval masterpieces to Archangel Michael's Church in the town's centre. Climb the iconic clock tower that sits above the main city gate, discover the notorious 16th century prison of Kanli Kula and wander the pedestrian-only streets of Ulica Njegoševa. Be sure to visit Forte Mare, the crowning glory of Herceg Novi's cultural collection, for second-to-none panoramic views across the bay.
If you're the type of traveller who likes to pack as much in as possible, Herceg Novi puts you right on the doorstep of dazzling Dubrovnik. A little over an hour up the coast, hop over the border to Croatia and discover the bucket list heavyweight for yourself. The walled wonder is every bit as enchanting as you'd imagine, with limestone-paved streets, red-roofed residences and Baroque architecture to boot. Treat yourself to an ice cream and watch the boats bob in the old harbour, explore the network of winding alleyways and walk the ancient walls. The views from the top are like witnessing a postcard in real life – now that's what we call perfect day trip potential!
Undisputed star of the show, Kotor Bay is probably the first picture your brain conjures when thinking of Montenegro. Gravity-defying, Fjord-like cliffs burst from sapphire waters with spellbinding sharpness. Brooding mountains disappear into the distance, while the gentle Adriatic Sea laps at over 100km of shoreline. Add to the mix a whole host of Venetian and medieval villages and you'll discover a region that ripples with natural and man-made wonders. Get ready for magnificent vistas that will etch themselves into your memory forever, with jaw-dropping scenery around every corner and tucked into every inlet.
A hiking destination of the highest order, outdoorsy types can get up close and personal with nature courtesy of the countless trails and pathways that surround Kotor Bay. Winding their way across mountainous foothills and snaking along glittering shorelines, there's always a new panorama popping into view. Hiking highlights include the Old Fort Trail to Kotor Fortress, the stepped trail to Castel San Giovanni and for the strong-willed walker, the Ladder of Kotor. You're sure to work up a sweat, but you'll be rewarded with awe-inspiring views every step of the way.
Stamped with the UNESCO seal of approval, once you've laid eyes on the charming old town of Kotor you'll see why conquerors have long coveted the coastal gem. Totalling in at over 5km of city walls, multiple medieval fortifications, a handful of Venetian-style churches and plenty of restaurant-packed piazzas… Spend the day wandering through the jumble of buildings that tell tales of bygone times.
Our Lady of the Rocks, Kotor Bay's 'floating church', is undeniably the region's star attraction. Take a boat trip to the 500-year-old, fisherman-built island and combine it with a trip to the nearby Blue Cave. Two bucket list beauties for one – you can't go wrong!
Three magic ingredients are staples on a Montenegro summer holiday – sand, sea and sun. And as luck would have it, Budva has all three in abundance! It's no wonder then that most travellers beeline for the region's beautiful bays, flopping into sunloungers or rolling out towels in anticipation of a day well spent on its stunning shores. An impressive 35 beaches sprawl out for 21km, eight of which are bona fide Blue Flag suntraps. Families will love the sizeable Slovenska Plaza, as well as mile-long Becici and bustling Jaz Beach.
Another Adriatic treasure, another old town, and Budva's Stari Grad is one of the oldest of the bunch. A Dubrovnik miniature, you'll see the same iconic red tiles and honey-hued buildings that accessorise the Croatian city. In fact the only thing that's missing are the crowds! 2,500 years in the making, stroll through cobbled streets teeming with centuries-old churches, relics of ancient rule and pretty palaces. All cocooned in trademark towering walls and overlooking Ričardove Glava Beach – history is at the heart of any holiday here.
Get a taste of traditional Montenegro with a villa holiday in the Lustica Peninsula region. Still relatively untouched and blessed with footprint-free beaches, tradition and tranquillity are rolled into one here. Sleepy fishing villages are sprinkled along shimmering shores, while sweet-scented olive groves are scattered across the undiscovered countryside. If 'getting away from it all' is your go-to, then you won't do better than this picturesque peninsula.
A 'tomatoe, tomato' attraction, to some this tourist treasure is a cave, to others a grotto – but to all, it's one of Montenegro's greatest natural wonders! Take a boat tour and see what all the fuss is about for yourself. Daylight floods through the mouth of the cave, creating the brilliant peacock-blue scenes that give the grotto its name. Be sure to have your swimming costume at the ready, as you won't want to miss the chance to take a dip in the sun-dappled waters. For the adventure-seeking souls, conquer the cave with a kayak. That way you can time your trip so you'll likely have the place to yourself!
If you're a devoted daytripper, the dramatic north is sure to spark your wanderlust. A wonderful wilderness awaits in the form of Durmitor National Park, displaying some of nature's most breathtaking masterpieces. From mountain highs to valley lows, there's not a bad view in the house, and best of all – it's one of Europe's most safely-guarded secrets. Raft your way along Tara River Canyon or fly overhead on a zipline course, swim in one of 18 glacial lakes or take to the nature trails and trek your way through pin-drop peaceful peaks. Don't forget to keep your eyes peeled for resident wildlife too, as brown bears, grey wolves and wildcats are equally as fond of roaming through the rugged scenes.
Sharing joint custody with neighbouring Albania, Montenegro houses the lion's share of the mammoth Lake Skadar. Stretching out for a mind-blowing 44km, you'll find this glittering gem along the north-eastern border that separates the two Balkan countries. The area is celebrated for its diverse collection of flora and fauna, with 280 species of bird lucky enough to live here, as well as tortoises, lizards and wild boars. The stuff of fairy tales, floating meadows of water lilies accessorise the aquamarine waters, while trademark mountaintops make up the backdrop. A head-turner of the highest calibre, it's hard to believe something so beautiful is only a few hours away from home.