From centuries-old walled cities to dramatic coastlines and brimming national parks, Croatia and Montenegro are filled with culture and heritage. I have only travelled to the en-vogue duo once, and they made such an impression on me, I cannot wait to return. Steeped in thousands of years of history, I felt like I was wandering through a film set of winding cobbled streets framed with wellpreserved Roman palaces. I recommend combining city and beach to truly get the most out of your trip. Start in the vibrant coastal metropolis of Dubrovnik, featured in the epic fantasy series Game of Thrones; discover medieval buildings and crystal clear waters before heading to Korcula Island – a small sleepy village filled with charming stone houses topped with red roofs; an architectural nod to Dubrovnik 30 years ago. The UNESCO World Heritage Site Kotor is unquestionably one of the most beautiful areas along the Adriatic, it reminded me of Vietnam, with towering limestone rocks enveloped by exquisite green waters.
Step back into history-steeped cities and sleepy villages where life continues much as it did a century ago, the glittering Adriatic beckoning along the dramatic coast. Here life moves at an unhurried pace – the warm, dry Mediterranean summers beckoning visitors to over five thousand kilometres of coastline. In Dubrovnik orange-hued roofs are enlivened by the sun’s rays, which contrast vibrantly against the azure waters of the Adriatic. Encircled in its medieval limestone walls which surge dramatically from the sea, labyrinthine alleys and piazzas are alive with the buzz of outdoor life. Cosmopolitan cafés spill out onto the pavements of Placa Street, where glasses of the local plum brandy flow. Set sail north to Hvar, one of Europe’s most beautiful islands – a sophisticated hideaway reminiscent of St Tropez. Sleek yachts dot the harbour, nestling in the embrace of attractive Romanesque churches, palaces and villas. Sail over to Korcula – reputed birthplace of Marco Polo – to discover secluded bays and wander medieval streets brimming with folkloric tradition. Further south, along the dramatically crafted coastline of rugged inlets and verdant islands lapped by the purest waters, lies Montenegro. Pink sands envelop the islet of Sveti Stefan, once the favoured playground of the Hollywood glitterati and now revitalised once again as a luxurious retreat. In Istria discover a haven of visual and epicurean delight – medieval hilltop villages perch above expansive olive groves; the cuisine, with its prosciutto hams and white truffles, more than a little influenced by its Italian neighbours.
The coastal regions of both countries enjoy a typically Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers. The height of summer in July and August can be hot with moderate humidity. May, June and September are often the best times to visit. Winters on the coast are mild with increased rainfall.
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