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Discover the Balkan state of Montenegro, a land of serene bays, cliff-face monasteries, rugged national parks and beach parties

MONTENEGRO

Discover a miniature Venice in the Bay of Kotor, before joining pilgrims visiting the cliff-hewn Ostrog Monastery, hikers tackling the lake-strewn mountain ranges of Durmitor National Park and kayakers exploring the islands of Lake Skadar, ending your tour in the millionaires’ playground of Budva

PHOTOGRAPHS JULIAN LOVE

The Roman Catholic church of Our-Lady-of-the-Rocks is built on an artificial island in the Bay of Kotor

Plan your trip

1 Explore elegant Venice-inspired Baroque towns nestled beneath looming mountains on the Bay of Kotor (p56).

2 Find peace at the wondrous, gleaming Ostrog Monastery, improbably hewn out of a sheer mountain wall (p59).

3 Glistening lakes, dramatic peaks and tales of partisan heroics abound in the wilds of Durmitor National Park (p60).

4 Sip homemade brandy and commandeer a kayak in search of pelicans and forested isles in the quiet surrounds of Lake Skadar (p62).

5 Cocktails, yachts, music, beaches and parties – Budva is your final port of call for luxury and exuberant nights out (p63).

MAP ILLUSTRATION: ALEX VERHILLE. WALNUT PHOTOGRAPH: ROMAN SIGAEV/ALAMY

i

HOW TO GET THERE

Ryanair flies direct to the capital Podgorica from London Stansted several times a week (from £70; ryanair.co.uk). Alternatively, you can fly with BA, easyJet, Flybe, Jet2.com, Monarch Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle or Thomson Airways to Dubrovnik, and drive across the border into Montenegro (from £95; norwegian.com).

HOW TO GET AROUND

Hiring a car is by far the best way to explore Montenegro. Being a small country, driving distances are relatively short, and main roads are mostly well maintained and signposted. Away from the major towns, however, roads are often narrow, rough and winding, and GPS trackers are notoriously unreliable, so a decent road map is essential (from £85 per week; sixt.co.uk).

HOW LONG TO SPEND

With your own wheels, you could cover the highlights of Montenegro in 10 days, with a couple of nights each at Kotor, Ostrog, Durmitor, Lake Skadar and Budva. Two weeks would also allow some side-trips for rafting in Tara River Gorge, hiking in Biogradska Gora forest, and exploring the little-visited area around Lovćen National Park.

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