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Montenegro’s small but dramatic coastline, which hugs the shimmering Adriatic Sea, is set to become Europe’s next hottest beach destination. In the summer months, endless sunshine and golden sands beckon beach-goers to the buzzing Budva Riviera. Nicknamed Montenegro’s Miami, Budva boasts an eclectic combination of medieval history, trendy nightlife and a wealth of sun-drenched beaches famous for that deep turquoise Adriatic water.

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A half hour drive up the coast from Budva lies the medieval city of Kotor, nestled into the craggy shores of the Bay of Kotor. Cradled by Montengro’s famous purple mountains and fortified by 9th century walls, Kotor’s rugged exterior gives way to historic charm and music-filled streets within city walls. With so much to offer in a small scope of space, Montenegro can no longer be considered Europe’s best kept secret.

1. Medieval Kotor

Montenegro’s famous purple-hued mountains loom over the captivating medieval city of Kotor.

2. The Budva Riviera

Villa Milocer, along Montenegro’s sunny Budva Riviera, was the former summer residence of Queen Marija Karadjordjevic of Yugoslavia.

3. St. Luke’s Square

Built in 1909 (quite new as far as Kotor’s buildings go!), the Church of St. Nicholas lies in the Old Town’s bustling St. Luke’s Square and remains one of the preeminent Orthodox churches in the city to this day.

4. The Bay of Kotor

Glitzy yachts and modest, local fishing boats mingle in the moody waters of Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor.

5. The island village of Sveti Stefan

Sveti Stefan is an iconic landmark along Montenegro’s Budva Riviera. Jutting out into the Adriatic Sea, the ancient island village was once home to 15th-century fisherman. Now, a luxury hotel occupies the island, providing 5-star accommodations to visitors while leaving the original structures unaltered.

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6. Kotor’s medieval walls

Kotor’s medieval charm is undeniable. While historians still debate when the city was first built, Kotor’s protective walls date back to the 9th century and were added to in the 14th century.—an impressive and ambitious undertaking given the steep mountainside terrain.

7. Unforgettable seafood


Mediterranean-style seafood dominates the cuisine along Montenegro’s coast. Galion Restaurant, with a beautiful terrace looking back at Old City Kotor, serves delicious fresh seafood dishes, like Mussels Buzara.

8. Queen’s Beach

Montenegro’s treasured Queen’s Beach was a favorite of Queen Milena of Yugoslavia. It is said that she sent out an expedition to find the most beautiful beach in Montenegro for her to build a summer residence nearby. Cradled in a small cove-like inlet, the private beach is simply serene.

9. Majestic Coastal Mountains

The scenic drive around the perimeter of the Bay of Kotor offers jaw-dropping scenery at every turn. Majestic mountains collide sharply into coastline, medieval towns dot the shore and shellfish farms speckle the glassy water. Mussels and oysters are farmed and served up fresh in the local restaurants.

10. Gate of Kotor

The Venetians ruled Kotor from the early 1400s until 1797, and much of the medieval city’s architecture reflects that period of time. Built in 1555, the main gate to enter Kotor is often referred to as the Sea Gate because ships were able to pull directly up to the gate one by one.

11. A labyrinth of winding streets

Despite Kotor’s small size, it’s easy to get lost in the labyrinth of stone streets. Back alleys twist and turn, leading to a new church or town square at every opening. With a walled in perimeter, it’s perfectly fine to let yourself get lost! Find a charming sidewalk café and soak in the history all around.

Tagged: Europe

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Compass + Twine
Sarah Driggs and Lindsay Ridenour are the story-tellers behind the NYC-based luxury travel blog, Compass + Twine. Follow along on Instagram @compassandtwine as they unearth some of the best hotels and travel experiences around the globe. From scenic landscapes to local cafés, they reveal the true character of a destination, always highlighting the best place to stay on .

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