For a country with such astonishingly rugged good looks, Montenegro is endearingly humble. With its mountainous hinterland, centuries-old bays with views over the glittering Adriatic Sea, Unesco-honoured walled cities, glistening ports, glacial lakes and pine forests, it would be forgiven for being something of a show-off. Montenegro holidays are becoming popular with trailblazing travellers who want a mix of everything. Because, while the country might be small, it packs a mighty holiday punch, and is a place of contrasts, of old and new.
Shopping gurus will love the super-swanky yacht-lined marina and posh promenades at Porto Montenegro in Tivat, where you can rub shoulders with the jet set. Sun (and fun) seekers should head to buzzing Budva, where the cobblestoned streets of the old town Stari Grad are backed with crystalline waters, and the mile-long beach at Bečići is just a few minutes away. If it’s historical charm you’re after, the coastline is a treasure trove of ancient towns, from palazzo-peppered Perast to fortified Herceg Novi. Kotor Old Town, a Unesco heritage site, is bursting with timeworn churches and cultural highlights – the Maritime Museum of Montenegro is a must – all with the spectacular fjord-like Bay of Kotor as a backdrop. But it’s not just culture vultures that are catered for.
Adventure lovers are in for a real treat, too. In the primeval forests of the Durmitor National Park (still home to bears and wolves) you'll find the vast Tara Canyon, which will satisfy the keenest of thrill seekers with its jeep safaris and exceptional views.
With balmy temperatures and prices slightly lower than full peak season, June is the perfect time to visit Montenegro. The Southern Soul Music Festival takes place at the end of the month.
The height of summer, this is the perfect time for serious sunbathing. More than that, it’s when the vibrant International Summer Carnival brings the cobbled squares of Kotor to life.
Crowds dissipate, there’s suddenly a bit more room on the beach and the land and sea are still basking from a sun-baked summer – September is golden in Montenegro.
Visit the Blue Cave
The Blue Grotto Cave in Luštica is a must-visit on a Montenegro holiday. Light reflecting through the sparkling water creates a magical opportunity for an iridescent swim.
Climb Kotor’s walls
Feeling energetic? Tackle the 1350 ancient steps of the 14th-century fortified walls in Kotor and you’ll be rewarded with glorious views back over the bay.
See a floating church
Just off the coast of pretty Perast, the 15th-century Our Lady of the Rocks church sits atop its own artificial island and is more than Instagram-worthy. Regular boat trips mean you can get a close-up look.