I have just returned from a wonderful week in Montenegro, a petite country in the south-east of Europe, next to Croatia, sitting on the Adriatic Sea and having an intoxicating vibrant Mediterranean energy. A destination which I believe is very underrated and a place where I will certainly revisit on multiple occasions for its beauty and adventure.
This country on the southern Adriatic coast never ceases to amaze, from its natural beauty of green forest covered mountains, sun-kissed beaches, clear lakes and many island beauties to its cozy towns filled with ancient history and architecture.
Ideally I would recommended renting a car so as you can explore all the wonderful regions which I will break down below, but first let me share my experience staying at The Chedi located in the upscale Lustica Bay marina village.
The hotel overlooks a man-made marina at the bottom of a series of serpentine bends, in a secluded bay.
The village has taken inspiration from the vernacular architecture of local villages and offers luxury homes and apartments to rent and buy – great for a summer apartment.
As you walk into the large lobby of the hotel you are warmly greeted by the friendly staff who are quick to welcome you and share information about the area.
There are 111 rooms in 10 different categories. Some provide a forestry mountain backdrop while the sea view rooms have nice balconies to relax and watch the marina in full action.
All the rooms offer a palette of aquamarine, grey and white providing a Mediterranean vibe letting in a lot of light with the floor to ceiling windows.
The hotel has an infinity pool and a private pebbly beach with sun loungers and pontoons for easy access to the water, which is next to the hotel and a 10 minute walk away is their sandy private beach.
You can enjoy water sports such as paddle-boarding, jet skiing and of course boat trips which can take you around Montenegro for tours.
In addition to the outdoor infinity pool there’s another one in the spa along with a sauna a fitness centre.
The hotel offers 4 different restaurants, in the lobby is a bar and cake counter along with the all day Mediterranean dining called The Restaurant. The Spot is another location where hotel guest can also enjoy breakfast and is on the marina walk.
My favourite was ROK Beach Lounge which is 3 mins walk from the hotel on the beach with a rustic “Hamptons” vibe. During the day the menu is light bites and then in the evening it offers an Asian menu.
There is a large selection of restaurants all providing a verity of cuisine at great prices and not forgetting the lovely light house restaurant which is a walk around the Marina promenade.
There is a kids club for the younger children and when the older kids need a little time out of the sun they have a gaming centre with a golf simulator. There’s an outdoor cinema for Chedi movie nights!
What I loved about the Chedi Resort was the beautiful location around the marina which is perfect for families to enjoy everything on its doorstep from hiking, the beach, to the great selection of restaurants and bars to just relax and enjoy long evenings out doors.
Regions of Montenegro
Tivat known for its state-of-the-art luxury marina Porto Montenegro (owned by The Investment Corporation of Dubai, main investment arm of the Government of Dubai) offers a great marina lifestyle with designer boutiques, great restaurants and the marina club which offers sailing and is also home to Buddha Bar.
Bay of Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest natural harbor in the Eastern Mediterranean. Here you will see lots of cruise liners coming in to the harbor. Book a private boat tour to explore nearby attractions such as Our Lady of the Rocks, St George Island, the Blue Caves (amazing clear ocean perfect for swimming) and explore the submarine tunnels.
Old Kotor you can walk around the old piazzas and through the narrow streets you will spot the famous walls which is a trademark of the town. The walk will take you approx. 1 hour and provide stunning views.
Perast is located in the Bay of Kotor and for me my favorite region as its so picturesque with lots of lovely eateries on the waters edge. Its just one kilometre end-to-end, but what makes Perast truly unique is that the town has kept its traditional appearance, meaning there’s no modern architecture and all the buildings are built in the traditional stone style with Baroque Palaces and churches. The stone palaces and church belfries are interspersed with palm trees, vivid greenery and bright purple bougainvillea flowers that climb up over terraces and shade courtyards. It’s almost like the town has been frozen in time, its so pretty and a great place to enjoy lunch or dinner.
While in Perast, right opposite you will see the two most famous islands - Saint George Island a Benedictine monastery, and the other, Our Lady of the Rocks, which is a Catholic church and museum that attracts thousands of visitors. If you want to do a quick tour of both of the islands you can take a boat across.
Although it’s become a busy tourist destination, Perast’s charm is undeniable and a visit to, or stay in, this historic town is a must when you visit the Bay of Kotor.
Cetinje is the spiritual capital of Montenegro and home to the Royal Castle, museums and many monasteries including Cetinje Monastery. 35 minutes past Cetinie is Budva Rivera famous for its beautiful beaches, great restaurants and a fun nightlife.
While in Budva Riviera make sure you visit the unique island Sveti Stefan which used to be a hotel – its so beautiful. Sveti Stefan is a signature postcard moment of Montenegro and a must see.
Bar is the largest coastal town in Montenegro. Enjoy the area and then make your way to the old town of Bar which preserves the spirit of old Turkish towns, paved with stone.
Head south towards Ulcinj down the coastal road and head towards the old town. Here you will hear tales about the pirates and Cervantes, a prisoner of the dungeon. Walk around Ada Bojana the place where the River Bojana meets the sea and stop for lunch at one of the many wonderful restaurants offering gastronomic experiences.
Take the old road to Ostros the picturesque route to Podgorica the capital of Montenegro. Drive along the shore of Lake Skadar which is the largest lake in the Balkans and visit the scenic town of Virpazar.
There are lots of ways you can experience Skadar Lake’s beauty and culture. From the national park’s gateway town of Virpazar you can take a relaxing boat cruise to see the wildlife and islands, or explore on your own in a kayak or hike up the trails and stumble on ruined fortresses.
Durmitor National Park is one of the most beautiful National Parks in this part of Europe. Among over 18 glacial lakes called mountain eyes, the Black Lake takes the prime. Whichever option you go with, you will experience Montenegro’s wild beauty. Visit two beautiful areas: Biogradska Gora on the north east or Durmitor on the north of the country. Biogradska Gora is an untouched forest with trees over five-hundred-years old, large mountain slopes and glacier lakes at over 1800 meters, and an easily accessible lake at the very entrance to the Park.
Again this is a great location for kayaking, zip lining, hiking and horse riding.
One of the deepest canyons in Europe is Tara River which snakes between sky- high mountains,. Here you can explore canyons, dive off cliffs into spectacular waterfalls and ride the thrilling rapids. This is where you can enjoy incredible moments surrounded in nature and then raise your adrenaline even further as you cascade down some ferocious white water rafting.
This area is also called the Tear of Europe because the water is so pure you can literally drink it!
If you want to take it slow, enjoy the more rustic side of Montenegro and visit Lustica peninsular its such a pretty raw area that's recently built a stunning new marina and housing development. There is one hotel in this area, read the review here:
For more information on Montenegro, exclusive hotel rates and a detailed family itinerary contact Unique Family Travels.
* If you are visiting Croatia/Montenegro add a few extra days to your trip and visit Montenegro/Croatia - it's an easy border crossing from Dubrovnik. International airlines that don't land in Montenegro will land in Croatia.
* If you are renting a car – keep swimwear with you at all times as the coastal road is so inviting to simply pull over, enjoy a beach hut bite to eat and have a dip in the ocean.
*From Dubai - FlyDubai fly direct to Montenegro during late June/July/August and early September. Vaccinated visitors only require showing their vaccination report. UAE Nationals do not require visas to enter.
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