Montenegro is the rising star of the Adriatic. Barely the size of Ireland, it gained independence from Yugoslavia in 2006 and has since been cultivating a warm welcome for international visitors. Directly translated to mean ‘Black Mountain’, it should be no surprise that there’s some serious natural wow-factor to be found here.
With lofty peaks running the length of its sea boarder, much of the country remains relatively wild. National parks, enormous lakes and historic cities hide inland behind the mountains, while Baroque villages and fortified towns punctuate the striking coastline. Look out for beautiful Perast (with its tiny offshore islands) and Kotor’s popular Old Town (reminiscent of a smaller, more lived-in Dubrovnik). As Byron wrote, "At the birth of our planet, the most beautiful encounter between land and sea must have been on the Montenegrin coast”.
Unlike other Adriatic hotspots, it’s still great value and its neat footprint makes exploring easy. You can cover most of the main coastal road in a few hours and, despite some winding mountain roads, heading inland doesn’t take much longer either. Bonus: many people fly into nearby Dubrovnik in Croatia, so it’s easy to combine the 2 destinations during your trip.