How to avoid the crowds in magical Montenegro
Montenegro has been quietly creeping out of the shadow of its popular neighbour Croatia over the past few years. It's increasingly found in magazines and 'top' lists as an exciting and affordable destination just waiting to be explored.
From its wild beauty and stunning Dalmatian coastline to its charming towns and villages, Montenegro has so much to offer.
Many are drawn to the bustling resort of Budva*, known for its historic old town walls, busy beaches, lively nightlife and variety of places to stay. However, this isn't for everyone, and there's so much more to see in this beautiful, diverse country.
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The Bay of Kotor
This really is one of the most picture-perfect bays in the world and, although not exactly a secret, Kotor a far cry from the busy coastline. There's something so calm and serene about this fjord and the tiny old town that hides within its old fortified walls.
As well as wandering the maze of cobbled streets, taking the steep, stepped climb up the Ladder of Cattaro to the top of St John's Hill is a must. Expect incredible views over the bay - just remember to take plenty of water and try to go early before the sun really gets going.
The Bay of Kotor, a UNESCO-recognised region, is unsurprisingly popular, especially in summer. If you really want to escape the crowds, head just 20 minutes away to the quieter town of Dobrota.
Here, you can kick-back overlooking the bay and really experience Kotor as a local. Restaurants line the water's edge and you'll see cruise ships and small boats as they pass by.
The tiny islet of Sveti Stefan is probably the most iconic image of Montenegro, and definitely the country's most exclusive island.
The downside to this scenic isle 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 Beach and Queen's Beach; although still a bit on the pricey side, 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.
Now this is a bit of a sneaky one as Virpazar itself is pretty busy. It's the main hub for those seeking to soar out across Lake Skadar National Park, the largest lake in the Balkan Peninsula that also forms part of the border with neighbouring Albania.
Well equipped with restaurants, bars, wineries, small hotels and apartments, its real appeal is that you can hire a kayak or take a boat ride and be out in the wilderness of this incredible body of water in minutes.
Peppered with ruined monasteries, churches and villages, it's a wonderful place for spotting wildlife among the waterlilies from frogs and snakes to pelicans. It's also one of the important sites in Europe for migrating bird and duck species.
Rather than visiting the capital Podgorica, which is the country's 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.
The other side of Lovcen National Park, you'll find the mountain village of Njegusi. With just a few hundred inhabitants, this small rural community with its rich farming background is definitely off the beaten track - you're unlikely to find many tourists here.
Where you go in Montenegro will be determined by what you want: 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.
Weather in Montengero
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For a small country, the weather in Montenegro can be quite different depending on where you are, be it the mountains in the north or the beaches on the Adriatic. Find out more and see when we think is the very best time to go.
Fancy exploring magical Montenegro's coast? Book your great value all inclusive break to Montenegro with First Choice, and you can choose to depart from a number of major and regional airports across the UK.
More about Montenegro
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