Kotor is a gorgeous ancient town in the heart of the stunning Bay of Kotor. This walled Venetian town is tucked into the sheer mountainside and has been an impenetrable and defensible location for centuries. Kotor is one of the top must-see attractions in Montenegro, and wandering through its alleyways is sure to charm even the most seasoned tourist. Behind the town, San Giovanni Fortress offers unforgettable views of the terracotta-roofed town and the Bay of Kotor’s dramatic scenery.
Budva’s 2,500-year-old town is one of the prettiest coastal towns in Montenegro. The fortified old town is surrounded by stunning beaches and the azure sea that the Budva Riviera is renowned for. Inside the town, the ancient, stone buildings are decorated with climbing ivy and blossoming wisteria vines.
Budva is also one of the liveliest towns in Montenegro. A buzzing seaside resort, visitors come for the exquisite beaches and some of the best nightlife in the Balkans.
In contrast to Budva, Perast is a sleepy idyll that’s epitomises the Mediterranean seaside. The tiny hamlet’s seafront is lined with stone palaces of a bygone era. Once home to powerful shipping families, Perast’s crumbling palaces have been restored into luxurious hotels and restaurants. Picture-perfect Perast lies in the centre of the Bay of Kotor and has views over the Verige Strait and the two island churches of Our Lady of the Rocks and Saint George.
Lacking the old world charm of Montenegro’s coastal old towns, Tivat more than makes up for it in understated ‘cool’. The compact town is easy to navigate on foot and is a short drive from Kotor, Budva and Luštica Peninsula’s wild coast. A stone’s throw from Tivat town, Porto Montenegro is a luxurious platinum-rated marina and village with excellent restaurants in beautiful surrounds. Stay in Porto Montenegro’s Regent Porto Montenegro hotel, and infuse a bit of flip-flop luxury into your Montenegrin stay.
At the northern end of Montenegro’s coast, Herceg Novi stands guard over the entrance to the Bay of Kotor. Often overlooked by more touristy towns like Kotor, Herceg Novi offers visitors a laid-back Montenegrin experience among locals. The pretty old town’s Bellavista square is a popular gathering point for coffee and late night drinks. The seven-kilometre-long seaside promenade is ideal for summer strolling, and Igalo’s sandy beach draws sun worshippers from May to October.
Sveti Stefan might well be the most beautiful coastal town in a country that is filled with beautiful coastal towns. The town is known for its namesake island which has evolved from a 15th century trading port to the most exclusive resort in Montenegro.
Sveti Stefan has excellent accommodation options at all budget levels, and it’s just 15 minutes from Budva, making this one of the best places to stay on the Budva Riviera. The location has everything going for it: accommodation on a private island, pink pebble beaches, a former royal residence and a mature forest park.
At the end of the Budva Riviera, Petrovac is a pretty Mediterranean town that epitomises the coastal Montenegrin lifestyle. The boardwalk is lined with small boutiques, where shop owners gather to chat over Turkish coffee with their neighbours. Seaside restaurants serve fresh-caught calamari and sea bass drizzled with garlic and parsley-infused olive oil. Tanned children build sandcastles with leather-skinned grandparents, who have been coming here for all of their lives. Petrovac is a true beach holiday destination.
On the south coast of Montenegro, Bar is mostly off the tourist radar but has some attractions that are well worth visiting. Visitors can wander among the ruins of the old town and visit the pop-up art galleries in the restored buildings. Stara Maslina is thought to be the oldest olive tree in the world at over 2,000 years old, and Bar’s colourful old town street shows the influence the Ottoman Turks left during their 500-year rule.
On Montenegro’s southern border, Ulcinj is a dream destination for the young and intrepid. Endless sandy beaches and beautiful coves make Ulcinj one of the best undiscovered destinations in Europe. Ulcinj’s old town is over 2,000 years old and overlooks a sandy beach in the heart of the town. To the south, the Bojana River is lined with top-notch restaurants and rustic cabins for rent. Adventurers love to try their hand at kite-surfing and dancing in the sand at beach parties when the sun goes down.
A tiny hamlet on the Budva Riviera, Pržno is the perfect, romantic destination for couples. The town is based around a pretty cove with a pebble beach and traditional restaurants lining the shore. Stay in the hamlet’s main resort, Maestral Resort and Casino, and spend relaxed days switching between the beach and getting massages in the hotel’s wellness centre.
The Krašići coast lies on the Bay of Kotor side of the Luštica Peninsula. The peninsula offers visitors looking for a remote getaway a semi-wild destination with swathes of olive groves and wild beaches. Along Luštica’s Krašići coast, visitors can enjoy the rustic atmosphere of Luštica while still being just 20 minutes away from other top coastal towns, including Tivat and Kotor.