Montenegro with children? Here's how to do it...
Montenegro, in Southeastern Europe is a part of the Balkans is a country is known for being very family friendly. Junior writer Rebecca Hay gives a low down on where to stay and what to do.
Eighteen times tinier than the UK, Montenegro packs a real punch. A great destination for families with crystal blue seas and golden sands, majestic mountains, and old-fashioned traditions. And what's more with prices that are just the ticket if you want some sun and to travel smart too.
> Bag a beach hotel
This Balkan hotspot has the lure of the bright blue Adriatic sea and impeccably kept beaches and with balmy temperatures, having a spot on the beach is a must.
One way to ensure you have a sunbed and shade is to stay in an all exclusive beach hotel. There are plenty to choose from, but in the south of the country, the Azul Beach Resort in Ulcinj is the cream of the crop. This stylish and sympathetically designed resort is ideal for singles, couples and families and there are packages to suit all pockets.
If you upgrade to premier, then luxury oozes, with a choice of an exclusive pool by your accommodation and unlimited snacks, alcohol and soft drinks. The rooms are airy, with a privacy wall dividing parents from children, each with their own television and the room has a well stocked courtesy mini bar. The bathroom has a power shower, grooming area and there is a luggage and wardrobe area.
The package enables you to choose between three restaurants for dinner and breakfast and lunch are included too. The tick box though is the access to the beach, complete with a snack bar, comfy sunbeds and shades and only a hop and a skip along the golden sands and into the sea. Plenty of watersports and a boat taxi to the town centre are on offer too and included in the hotel stay is nightly entertainment.
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Central Budva is a real tourist attraction due to its lovely beaches and lively nightlife and close proximity to the major sight-seeing towns. Here there are hundreds of hotels to choose from, but the all inclusive Slovenska Plaza has prime status on the sands.
Designed as a holiday village, the well established hotel has mid range accommodation inside wooden shuttered rooms and buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner available. There are two pools and the beach is a stone’s throw away. Popular with package holiday firms, the hotel is suited to families on a budget and is easily accessible to the main town.
IN THE KNOW: The Azul Beach Hotel is two hours from Tivat Aiport, with Slovenska Plaza just a 30 minute ride away.
Wonderful views of Kotor Bay. (Photo courtesy of The National Tourism Organisation of Montenegro)
> See the famous sights
Kotor – described as Montenegro’s jewel in the crown, you can stroll the piazzas, promenade and marina or hop aboard a speed boat and take in the wonderful views from the great expanse of water. If you have the energy, a hike up to the San Giovanni Fortress awards a lovely view.
Nearby the small village of Perast is just the place for people watching, climbing up the 16th century bell tower of St Nicholas’s Church or nipping across to Our Lady of the Rocks and another striking church, all fantastically beautiful and worth a visit.
Southern Europe’s largest lakes, Skadar, a magnificent 44 km long and 14 km wide water course is inside a beautiful national park at Virpazar, a small rural village, packed with restaurants serving local fish dishes and stalls selling home made crafts. Here you can hop onto a traditional wooden boat and take a leisurely cruise along the massive expanse of water amongst reefs and surrounded by an area rich in wild and bird life.
Montenegro oozes history and one of the best preserved towns is Stari Bar, unique because nearly all of it is a ruin. Originally, containing 240 buildings in total, it is perched on the very steep cliff in the bottom of the mountain Rumija, with two well preserved churches, a Turkish bathroom and the oldest olive tree around, an impressive site for this well gnarled trunk.
A chance to cool down and see a great natural cave is a must at Lipa, where you can take a 60 minute tour of its beautiful and wild system of 2.5 km of passages and halls and see all the fantastic rock formations.
Fun fact: Lipa cave is one of the largest cave monuments in Montenegro. Its 2,5 km long system of passages and halls make it a must see attraction. More information at Lipa Cave
Eat & drink like the locals
Locals love to socialise over meals mainly taken outdoors to complement the great weather. One of the most beautiful restaurants is Stara Carsija in Stari Bar. As you dine on such delicacies as fish soup, lamb in milk, juicy spiced meat kebabs, pancakes and delicious sugar filled cakes and desserts, you have a stunning backdrop of the historic town and luxury facilities in the adjoining hotel and spa.
The national drink is rakija, a ferociously powerful brandy served neat and with most common served having a plum infused taste.
Fun fact: The country’s mild climate means excellent growing conditions for wine, with vranac, the most popular. Taste some of the best at Staracarsija
How to get there
Montenegro is well served from the UK with flights to Tivat and Podgorica airports, the most popular. Once inside the country, there is public transport, but a hire care is the best way to sight-see.
Fun fact: The locals are well known for their love of driving fast and furious, so make sure you keep to the new coastal routes, rather than the old and very windy mountain routes, no matter what your sat nav tells you!
GOOD TO KNOW
> Tourist information
The beauty of Montenegro is the warmth of the natives, people will stop and chat and tell you where to visit and what to eat. The tourist board is geared up to give advice too via www.montenegro.travel
Fun fact: So popular is Montenegro becoming, that in the first eight months of 2022, 52,000 tourists from the UK visited, an 87 % increase on 2019.