Some travellers will be familiar with the picture perfect image of Sveti Stefan: the beautiful Adriatic islet joined to the mainland by a narrow isthmus with its brilliantly renovated, red-roofed, 15th century stone houses laced with evergreen trees. It's a beguiling sight, and Montenegro's most photographed attraction. But it's only a tiny part of this extraordinary Balkan destination. The small but perfectly preserved country, tucked into the coast below Croatia, has dramatic mountains, superb beaches and medieval architecture, mingling with ancient remains and monasteries that somehow cling to vertiginous rock faces without crampons. Understandably it's getting more and more attention.
In Montenegro you'll find a slice of former Yugoslavia famed for its beauty and astonishing diversity. The south coast has over 30km of beach washed by warm seas, while to the north dramatic mountains rear skywards. Stunningly located Kotor is a highlight. Some believe its beautiful bay is Europe's most southerly fjord, but it's actually a submerged river canyon - where the Venetian architecture, along with showstoppers like the Cathedral of St Tryphon, have earned it UNESCO heritage status.
In the south, explore Budva, one of the Adriatic's oldest settlements dating back to the 5th century BC. Following massive restoration, its Venetian architecture shows little damage from a devastating 1979 earthquake. It's just six kilometres from Sveti Stefan, the divine islet now sporting the pared back elegance of Aman hotels. It's a sign that while uncrowded Montenegro is changing and developing, it retains its myriad charms. As A&K will happily show you, there will never be a better time to visit.
Best time to travel
The best time to visit Montenegro is between April and September. Montenegro’s climate broadly follows two distinct patterns: the coast has typically Mediterranean weather, with very warm summers – temperatures regularly hover around the mid- to upper thirties – and mild winters; the interior has a sub-alpine climate, with warm summers and very cold winters – temperatures can drop to as low as minus fifteen or twenty degrees – with occasionally heavy rainfall and much snow.
The coast is pleasant any time of the year but can get very congested in July and August, when temperatures and crowds reach their peak.
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