How to escape the crowds in magical Montenegro
Montenegro's undergoing a mini-renaissance of sorts in terms of travel. Creeping out of the shadow of its fashionable neighbour Croatia, it's popping up in many magazines and holiday brochures as an exciting new destination just waiting to be explored.
From its wild beauty and stunning Dalmatian coastline, to its charming number of towns and villages, Montenegro has so much to offer, as well as being lighter on the purse strings than many well-known European holiday spots.
Montenegro: top five places to escape the crowds
Many holidaymakers are drawn to Montenegro's bustling resort of Budva, known for its busy beaches, loud music and selection of places to stay, eat and party. However, this isn't for everyone, and there's so much more to see in this beautiful country. These are our favourite five places go if you want to avoid the crowds:
1. The Bay of Kotor
This really is one of the most picture perfect bays in the world and, although not exactly secret, it's a far cry from the busy coastline. There's something so calm and serene about this fjord, and the old town that hides within its old fortified walls. Taking the steep climb to the top of St John's Hill is a must for amazing views of the bay but be careful you don't get lost in the maze of the cobbled streets.
The Bay of Kotor does, however, get very busy in the summer months so if you really want to escape the crowds, just 20 minutes away is the quieter town of Dobrota, where you can rent a self-catering villa overlooking for the bay to really experience Kotor as a local. Restaurants line the water's edge and you'll often see cruise ships and small boats as they pass by.
2. Sveti Stefan
The tiny islet of Sveti Stefan is probably the most iconic image of Montenegro, and definitely the country's most exclusive island, making it incredibly expensive. The only other downside to this gorgeous coastal town with its pretty terracotta houses is that it's one of the most expensive places in Montenegro, and the main beach can get extremely busy.
Escape the horde of people by following in the footsteps of a previous royal family, and exploring the coastal path. You'll soon come across the secluded areas of both the King's and Queen's beaches and although a pricier spot, it's definitely quieter.
The small coastal resort of Petrovac used to be the preserve of the wealthy only, however, today, it's open to all, and makes a welcome retreat from the busy coast of Budva. With small inlets and olive trees there's plenty of space on the long beaches to find your perfect sunbathing spot.
Moving away from the coast you'll find the mountain village of Njegusi. With just a couple of hundred inhabitants, this small village with a rich farming background is definitely off the beaten track, and you won't find many tourists here.
Rather than visiting the capital Podgorica, which is the largest city with not much to see, travel roughly 25 miles west to the town of Cetinje. Once the old royal capital of Montenegro, and still the cultural centre of the country, Cetinje lies near the River Crnojevic, an area known for its caves and hemmed in by high peaks.
What you're looking for on your holiday will very much determine where it is you want to go. If you love the bustle of the lively coastal towns then Budva is the place to be, but for those who prefer somewhere quieter there are plenty of spots for a more tranquil holiday in Montenegro.
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