The Montenegro coastline is 182 mi long and boasts many sites of interest, including historical towns, trendy seaside resorts, and unspoilt natural beaches for those who've come for the water sports. This part of the Adriatic Coast is lined with mountains, has two national parks that will delight trekking enthusiasts, and boasts huge green expanses free of any human constructions.
A little summary to help you choose where to stay and what to do:
Budva, Montenegro's most famous seaside resort, attracts 70% of the country's tourists and has been dubbed the Monte Carlo of the Adriatic. On the itinerary: a marina with a few yachts worthy of those in Cannes moored next to small fishing boats, a charming citadel surrounded by ramparts, and a series of sandy and pebble beaches, the most famous of which is Becici, just a few minutes away from Budva. Here you'll find a dozen or so luxury hotels displaying not exactly the most ecologically-friendly architecture grouped together along the beachfront.
The star of the Adriatic coast is unquestionably Sveti Stefan, an ancient fortified fishing village dating back to the 15th century. It was built on a rocky island linked to the coast by a narrow sand isthmus. In 1960, under the impetus of Tito, the island was turned into a luxury hotel, a symbol of the country and a top holiday destination for royalty, political figures, and members of the fashion and film worlds. Now, 50 years later, the island has undergone a facelift with the opening of Aman Sveti Stefan, owned by one of the most luxurious hotel groups in the world.
Lake Skadar National Park, in the eastern part of the country, is home to one of the largest bird reserves in Europe. Those who are interested in the local fauna and flora, or even urban dwellers eager for a bit of nature, can spend a day or two here listening to the birdsong, hiking, discovering the small fishing villages dotted along the coast, and admiring the colours that are constantly changing throughout the day. There is a 27-mile long, fish-filled lake in the middle of the park which even features a series of small islands with monasteries built on them. A real breath of fresh air for those who like the great outdoors!
After 32 minutes and 32 twists in the road from Budva, you'll come across the charming little town and former capital of Montenegro, Cetinje, which is a great stopping point along the Lovcen National Park route. Its colourful houses, palaces, and embassies give this little town, perched at an altitude of 650m, an undeniable charm. The main reason for coming here, though, is to explore Lovcen National Park. For the Montenegrins, Lovcen is a sacred site offering an exceptional view of the Gulf of Kotor, the Adriatic coastline, and the rocky mountain range. For a truly breathtaking view, climb the 420 steps that lead to the summit where Njegos Mausoleum stands overlooking the entire region.
Bar is a large coastal city but offers little in the way of tourist attractions. It is the largest port in the country and the arrival and departure point for ferries travelling back and forth from Bari in Italy. The old part of the town, Stari Bar, is some 6 mi from the port. This is a charming little place set against the backdrop of the mountains, with steep little roads leading to the fortifications surrounding the oldest part of the town. Long since abandoned, nature has started reclaiming its roots among the older buildings. You have to pay a fee to visit the site but it's worth it for the pleasure of walking around it, particularly if you like old stonework.
The southern coast boasts 25 mi of fine, brown sandy beaches, undoubtedly the nicest along the entire coast. The most famous seaside resort in the south of the country, Ulcinj is modern, without much charm, and built around a beach. Only the old town is really worth visiting. Perched high up above the city, it provides a great setting for a walk among the stone houses and cobbled alleyways.