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The Sunday Times Travel writers Mark Hodson and David Wickers.

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Mark and David's verdict:

Some destinations punch well above their weight. Montenegro is a perfect example, a tiny country with not only 180 miles of Adriatic coast but also a striking interior of mountains, lakes and rivers. There’s plenty for the outdoorsy types, including hiking and mountain biking, plus historic gems from walled towns to Roman villas.

Recommended travel company: i-escape

Aman Sveti StefanPalazzo RadomiriPerast Boutique ApartmentHotel Forza Mare

i-escape says

Despite its small size – about the same as Northern Ireland – Montenegro is fast earning a reputation as the rising star of the Adriatic. National parks, lofty mountains and historic cities hide inland, while Baroque villages and fortified towns pepper the striking coastline.

  • Exciting destination
  • Great value for money
  • Hotels with character

Size really doesn’t matter here, as proved by popular Perast, Montenegro’s prettiest village. Two tiny islands lie just offshore, and there’s the opportunity to live like a local in a gorgeous apartment overlooking the village church and azure sea.

A little further along the coast, the fortified town of Kotor sits beside glass-still waters in the country’s most sheltered bay. Cloaked by mountains, a craggy fort arches up behind the Old Town, framing the buzzy streets below. Hotel Hippocampus nestles in the heart of the action, while Palazzo Radomiri and Hotel Forza Mare offer waterside relaxation in the sleepier suburbs.

Continue south along the coast and you’ll pass glossy Budva before reaching one of Montenegro’s most famous landmarks, the beautiful (and exclusive) Sveti Stefan island – a 15th-century fishing village turned heavenly Aman resort.

For day trips, climb into the mountains to discover Lovcen National Park (sky-high panoramas and unspoilt villages), the historic capital of Cetinje (a centre for museums and galleries), Ostrog Monastery (built into a sheer cliff face) and Lake Skadar (a vision of lilypads and wildlife, the largest freshwater lake in the Balkans).

To get to Montenegro, it’s usually more convenient to fly into Dubrovnik (in neighbouring Croatia) and drive across the nearby border. This prompts many visitors to spend a night or so in the famous ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, where luxury hotels and budget apartments await. Montenegro Stone Cottages is perfectly placed for those wanting to explore both of these fascinating countries.

Take a look at our full collection for impartial advice and guaranteed best rates, then start planning your itinerary with our handy destination guide.

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