Choose your family break from bold Budva, beachey Becici or sultry Sveti Stefan
A little under three hours and you’ll land in Montenegro ready to start your family holiday, with the attractive resorts of Budva and Becici reachable in just a further 30 minutes.
The Budva Riviera is a strip of coastline with some of the country’s best beaches and the Medieval town of Budva at its centre, which has a contrasting modern marina and family facilities including a big waterpark. Nicknamed Montenegro’s Miami, there’s a wide selection of bars and restaurants here.
Just next door, Becici is a 25 minutes’ walk from Budva and boasts a two-kilometre sand and pebble beach. This purpose-built resort has a good line-up of watersports, some beach snack bars, plenty of restaurants and a handful of souvenir and craft stalls to browse. And further south, Sveti Stefan is a fancy islet for a laid-back holiday with great hotels nearby. Two pink-sand beaches join the picturesque former royal residence of Sveti Stefan to the mainland.
Best family friendly beaches
Among Budva’s superb beaches, Jaz Beach is famous for hosting the Rolling Stones, and has seen plenty of music events since. As well as concerts, you can get your dose of watersports here, as well as boat trips and an inflatable trampoline zone in the sea.
The beautiful Becici Beach offers two-kilometres of space lined with bars and seafood restaurants. It’s pebbled among the sand but there are plenty of sunloungers to lie on and soak up the incredible views. Although there’s less to do here, the crystal clear water is ideal for the kids to play in.
Sveti Stefan Beach provides 300 metres of pink sand to chillout on, overlooking the quaint islet of the village. To get among nature, head to Petrovac Beach, which is part of a protected natural area with red sand. It has a promenade with places to eat and drink and scenic views across to islands floating in the water.
Best family activities in Montenegro
You can’t go wrong with a waterpark when travelling with children, and Aquapark Budva is the biggest around, with seven extreme slides, swimming pools, 53 children’s attractions, restaurants, a cafe for the kids and a shop. For more thrills with older kids, there’s a karting centre in Podgorica or a classic trip to Budva Citadel, the fairytale-style Medieval fortress where kids can play make-believe knights, princes and princesses.
To delve further into history, take a trip to the National Museum of Montenegro in Cetinje, in the magnificent old Royal Court. Among over 10,000 exhibits are weapons and photographs from pre-Slavic Montenegro to the Yugoslav days.
Lots of ways exist to make the most of this scenic country, such as white water rafting on the Tara River or taking a more relaxing boat trip across Lake Skadar. The latter has the biggest bird reserve in Europe and is the only place on the continent you can see Curly Pelicans.
Get back to nature
In a country with as much scenery as Montenegro, there’s every reason to get back to nature and have the kids unplug for a while. Although this is a small country, it packs in a lot of diversity, much like the similarly little-but-lovely destination of Costa Rica.
For a budget-friendly family day out, a trip to Lake Skadar is a good plan. The bird sanctuary here is just the start of discovering how many creatures have come to call this body of water separating Albania and Montenegro home, although there’s plenty else to enjoy here too. For example, once you’ve made some feathered friends, think about taking a boat tour out over the water, visiting the little islands and old monasteries dotted about.
If your kids don’t take to history quite as much, spice it up by explaining that the nearby town of Uljinc by the sea was once home to pirates. If the adults are feeling particularly cheeky, some of the regional wines produced here come highly recommended while you see the sights, best enjoyed on a sunny terrace while the kids play in the meadow.
Seek some adventure
Montenegro’s natural brilliance also shines in its rivers, which entice many a white-water rafting enthusiast throughout the year. That said, more gentle journeys downstream are also available, and make for plenty of fun for both grown-ups and enterprising little souls. The Tara River is often your best bet here, whose currents tend to slow come late summer to make for a gentle journey that won’t frighten the little ones but will still make them feel like true pioneers of the waterways.
Of course, family fun is always guaranteed at the beach, and Montenegro easily outperforms the ones we get back home. Budva by the sea is already likely to captivate you with its distinctive, almost fairytale architecture, but its shoreline is similarly whimsical. Montenegro’s beaches are broad, hot and colourful, so youngsters are going to have a superb time burning off their energy in the sunshine or helping you build the ultimate sandcastle. You’ve also got the lapping Adriatic Sea to dip in and out of at your leisure.
For the more daring among you, Lovcen Natural Park is a good place to be. It’s open all year round, offering secluded woodland and inspiring natural sights, but what really makes it shine is the high flying rope course. From its lofty perches, you’ve got sublime views every which way, with the Adriatic once more shimmering on the horizon.
Get cultural in Kotor
A wonderful coastal city filled with narrow winding streets, fantastical spires and medieval towers, Kotor will whisk you and your loved ones to another era. Shop in the side streets or take a boat trip out onto the water, perhaps visiting Our Lady of the Rocks, a manmade island made from sunken ships.
If you’re all feeling up to the challenge, you can climb the 1,200 stairs to the top of Kotor Fortress, for a view of the bay that’s definitely worth the journey. Once that’s done, head back into town for some well-earned gelato to beat the heat.
Other family holiday destinations
When thinking about your family holiday, other places to consider include lively Spain and its chilled out, family-oriented islands of Ibiza or Majorca. And the regions of Italy cover bold beach resorts, chic cliffside rivieras and huge freshwater lakes edged by some excellent family hotels.
To find out a bit more about Montenegro before you make your mind up, read our travel guide for more details on this beautiful country. And check out our top family hotels below.
Italy | Malta | Croatia | Bulgaria | Portugal
Situated in an ideal spot seconds from the beach and only a 10-minute walk from Budva old town, Slovenska Plaza is a massive hotel complex with everything you could possibly need on-site. As well as three restaurants, a pizzeria and a fast food outlet, there are mini-markets, boutiques, a hairdresser and beauty salon, all surrounded by greenery. Two outdoor saltwater pools include a children’s pool with slides, and kids also get a mini club with bouncy castles and entertainment all day. In nearby Aleksandar Hotel, children can go wild in the big play centre in the nearby Aleksandar Hotel while grown-ups can relax in the wellness and spa centre. Days are filled with gymnastics, mini golf, dance classes or tennis and nights bring music programmes, folklore evenings, salsa and karaoke.