A little country with a big heart, holidays to Montenegro unveil the hidden gem of the Balkan region. From its Adriatic shoreline to its fairytale mountain ranges, immersive woodland and captivating architecture, the tiny country has spirit, sensation and an abundance of things to explore. Take a look at a few of our recommendations before heading out to make some memories of your own.
The city of Kotor is among the most famous in Montenegro and is well known for fjord-like scenery as it's situated in a deep, winding and mountainous bay. Its buildings huddle together in the tradition of the Balkans with terracotta coloured rooftops and old fashioned brickwork. Once a fortress town under the rule of Venice, today you can stride through its mysterious streets with wide stoned plazas, ancient towers and ornate chapels.
Shops and cafes will keep you distracted for hours, but always keep you in sight of that magnificent stretch of water that's cupped in the clutch of a grand mountain range, secluding you from the rest of the world. Sights like these inspired a thousand fantasy tales, including the poetry of Lord Byron, but rest assured your time here is going to feel very much real.
The enticing blue of the Adriatic Sea has played a role in Montenegro's history since ancient times, when the entire region was under the sway of the Roman Empire. Yugoslavia and the old Ottoman Empire have also put their stamp on this endearing little country, yet the sea has remained its constant companion.
A visit to towns like Ulcinj will let you peer into the huts, havens and spires of the daring pirates and smugglers of years gone by, while nowadays you'll be pleased to hear those enjoying Montenegro holidays will just be observing when exploring the tales of the deep.
Boating and watersports are hugely popular activities for visitors to Montenegro, as well as diving and guided tours. Naturally, the flavours of the ocean are also readily available, so expect to find seafood in plentiful supply wherever you roam. In Budva and Kotor, the relationship with the sea is supremely strong, and that shows in the opportunities for parasailing, jet-ski trips and banana-boats for you to bundle the family onto. If you're feeling a little more hi-tech, you can try your hand at soaring above the sea on the airstreaming and flyboarding gadgets available to try in Budva.
Away from the beautiful coast, the hinterlands of Montenegro sweep up to meet the black mountains for which the nation is named. Tourists are only now starting to discover the rolling meadows and secretive woodland making up the trails weaving through these regions, which means you've got a secluded stretch of fantastic natural splendours awaiting your attention.
Lake Skadar, with its water flecked with lilypads and its central castle-like constructs, remains a popular place for visitors looking to see some stunning greenery and can easily be reached from Kotor or Becici.
For those of you looking to get lost among the forest, Biogradska Gora is a nature reserve that's well worth your attention, linking the rivers of Tara and Lim among its leafy canopies and gnarled roots. Visiting that location also gives access to Lake Biograd, which is another body of water as rich in history as in serenity. While in this area you can visit Lipa Cave – an extensive cave network with two and a half kilometres of passages and halls to explore.
Whether you take to cycling through the back country, hiking to the rugged peaks or rafting down the river, Montenegro's relationship with its unspoilt natural beauty makes it somewhere the adventurous can call a home from home. For the particularly daring, paragliding and parasailing are also magnificent means by which to take in the sights from a particularly lofty vantage point.