Culture, Cuisine & Captivating Scenery: A Luxury Adventure to Montenegro and Croatia
Enjoy the best of the Adriatic on this nine-day trip, exploring beautiful towns, like Kotor and Dubrovnik, sailing around Skadar Lake and learning about Montenegrin and Croatian culture and history
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Drive around Boka Bay, seeing the surrounding medieval towns of Kotor and Perast
- Take a tour of the Old Royal capital, Cetinje
- Explore Lovcen National Park
- Sail around Skadar Lake, seeing the incredible birdlife that call the shores home and seeing the monasteries, churches and fortresses that surround the lake
- Cruise along the Adriatic coastline, with a picnic lunch-stop en route
- Experience oyster tasting in Mali Ston, enjoying delicious local dishes and wine
- Explore a local vineyard and learn about wine production
- Sail around the Elaphiti Islands for a day, enjoying the area's beauty
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When To Travel
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Day 1: Flying to Croatia
After an overnight flight, your luxury Montenegro and Croatia adventure begins when you land in Dubrovnik this afternoon.
Once you have touched down in Dubrovnik, its time to pick up your hire car and prepare for the two-and-a-half-hour drive, heading south along the coast, to Montenegro. The scenic drive will see you cross the border and hop onto the car ferry, to cross the Bay of Kotor, before continuing on to your hotel.
Once you have arrived, settle into your hotel and home for the next five days and unwind from the day's travelling. You'll be staying right on the coast, fully immersed in the untamed, wild beauty of Montenegro.
Day 2: Exploring Kotor and Perast
After breakfast this morning, get ready for the 50-minute drive to the charming fortified port of Kotor. Today you will be undertaking a tour of one of the most beautiful bays in the world and arguably one of the most beautiful parts of Montenegro - Boka Bay.
Your tour begins in Kotor, a UNESCO-protected medieval town that is rich in culture and historical heritage. Wedged between mountains, the town's staunch ancient walls snake around the surrounding slopes and hide a maze of museums, churches and cafe-filled squares. Enjoy wandering the cobbled streets with your guide before continuing on to Perast; winding your way around the bay, you'll reach this picturesque town after 15 minutes of driving. Looking like a slice of Venice, this tiny town oozes with character - boasting 16 churches, despite only having one main street.
The most famous of Perast's landmarks are two beautiful islands, one of which is home to Our Lady of the Rocks - a small church. Hop on your boat shuttle, heading towards this island which is also home to a museum full of interesting artefacts from the land and sea, so you can while away the time looking into the past.
Make some time to admire the beauty of the fjord at Boka Bay, stopping for a bite to eat on the banks, before heading back to your hotel, where you have the rest of the day to enjoy as you wish.
Day 3: History Hunting in Cetinje and Lovcen
Today on your luxury Montenegro and Croatia adventure, you'll be heading to Cetinje. The drive will see you head inland for about 45 minutes to reach the treasure trove of history and culture that is Cetinje.
Surrounded by mountains, the Old Royal capital dates from 1482, and happens to be home to the country's most impressive collection of museums - so you'll have plenty to delve into as you explore the streets.
The day's adventure continues as you leave Cetinje, headed towards Lovcen National Park. Only 12 miles from the town, your destination is Ivanova Korita (Ivan's riverbeds), which is nestled at the foot of Mount Lovcen. This black mountain (that gave Montenegro its name) stands guard over the area, with views stretching as far as Albania and Croatia. A shrine dedicated to one of the country's most famous sons stands at the top of the mountain - which is exactly where you are heading. Head up the slopes towards the peak, where the Mausoleum of Petar II Petrovic Njegos lies. Once a poet, philosopher prince-bishop as well as a member of the Montenegrin Royal family Petrovic, it is a spiritual place, perfect for reflection as you stare into the surrounding wilderness.
Once you are ready to descend from the heady heights, the drive will lead you to the Njegusi Valley, where you'll be greeted with breathtaking panoramic views. This marks the end of your adventure for today, the drive will take you back through Cetinje, so you might want to stop for a bite to eat before driving back towards the coast and your hotel for the evening.
Day 4: Boating Around Skadar Lake
You'll want your sea legs on this morning as you leave dry land to explore the waters of Montenegro. First though, you'll need to drive to Virpazar, which is 40 minutes away on a drive that will take you through the stunning Pastrovic Hills. This is where the continental part of Montenegro meets the Adriatic; the views as you wind your away through hills and past ancient stone villages is proof that here the journey can be just a beautiful as the destination.
Skadar Lake is the largest body of freshwater in the Mediterranean, it's home to 280 species of birds, some of which are on the endangered list, such as the Dalmatian pelican and the Black Ibis. Protected by its national park status, the area is renowned for being one of Europe's top bird habitats. Hop on your private boat, for your floating cruise through the lake's waters. Blissfully beautiful, you'll glide past steep mountains whose slopes slide into the gin-clear waters, as well as islands monasteries and meadows of floating water lilies. The birds will no doubt be singing in the skies above as you enjoy tasting local wines and smoked ham, as well as the traditional pastry priganice, which is served with honey and cheese. The journey continues past fortresses and churches and there is a chance, should you wish, to go swimming in the heart of the lake - a welcome opportunity to cool off in the heat of the day.
If you're still looking to enjoy the local character after your lake trip, you can finish this tour with a trip to a nearby winery. Just a short drive from the lake, you'll get the chance to sample even more local wine and have a look at how they produce the good stuff, on the shores of Skadar Lake.
Once your feet are back on dry land, its time to head back to the hotel. The drive will take around 40 minutes, so you will be back in time for an evening meal, lit by the glow of the setting sun.
Day 5: Coastal Cruising Along the Montenegrin Adriatic Coast
This morning your luxury yacht awaits at the hotel's docks, ready for your coastal cruise.
Heading along the south coast, you'll find secluded bays, where the captain can drop anchor, meaning that you can dive in for a swim. Impossibly bright blue waters meet sugar-white sand, creating some of the most picturesque places you can find. Get snapping some of those holiday snaps and exploring the waters and beaches you find along your cruise. Once hunger strikes, make sure you find the perfect place to moor up so that you can enjoy your onboard picnic with a view.
With salty sea-hair and a new bronzed-glow head back to your hotel for a relaxing evening to yourself.
Day 6: Croatia Calling – Exploring Dubrovnik
Today marks the second part of your luxury Montenegro and Croatia adventure, as it's time to travel to Croatia. The drive will take just under three hours, hopping onto the car ferry to cross the Bay of Kotor.
Once you have arrived at your hotel and settled in you have the afternoon to yourself. You might want to relax in your luxurious, boutique hotel, head to the spa for some pampering, or venture out to explore Dubrovnik Old Town.
Day 7: Mali Ston & Oyster Tasting
This morning on your luxury Montenegro and Croatia adventure, your guide will be waiting for you at your hotel, ready for the hour drive from Dubrovnik to the Peljesac Peninsula.
The gulf of Mali Ston on the Peljesac Peninsula has been well-known for its mussel and oyster beds since the time of Romans, and oysters from Ston (Ostrea Edulis) have made the region famous among foodies.
Once you arrive, hop into a boat from Mali Ston for a short ride to the oyster farm. Here you will be able to enjoy the untouched beauty of the protected ecosystem of Mali Ston Bay and learn about the process of cultivating oysters and mussels, how to harvest them from the sea, and the correct way to shuck (open) them. Located in the middle of the oyster farm is a floating bar, where you can enjoy the freshest imaginable Ston oysters washed down with a crisp glass of (underrated) Croatian white wine. Bliss.
After tasting oysters it is time to prepare a traditional bouzzara (Croatian stew), complete with mussels caught from Mali Ston Bay, which makes for a delicious and unforgettable gastronomic experience.
Once you are full up on shellfish, your tour continues to a nearby village, to meet a local wine producer. You will be able to explore part of the old wine cellar and learn more about how they produce wine. Lesson done, your wine wanderings will be rounded off with wine tasting (of course) with a selection of award-winning wines paired with local cheeses.
Once you have had your fill of wine and cheese, your next stop is Ston. The small town is well known for fishing, shell farming and salt works, it is also home to the longest stone wall in Europe, which is a lengthy three miles long.
Stroll through the quiet, narrow streets with your guide, marvelling at the elegant houses of one-time noble families. Stop for dinner here or continue back to Dubrovnik to dine in the city and end another glorious day.
Day 8: Sailing Around the Elaphiti Islands
Today's adventure will see you taking to the seas once more on an all-day sailing tour of the Dubrovnik archipelago including the Elaphiti islands.
Hugging the coastline, the islands, dotted throughout the blue waters, hide some of the most beautiful caves and coves, which are best explored from the sea. As the wind fills the sails and the boat cruises through the water, the salty breeze will ruffle through your hair and the sun will warm the deck. Spend the day diving into the water, gliding from bay, to hidden bay, discovering blissful beaches, historic monuments and tiny votive churches. You'll sail past the islands of Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan, as your skipper expertly navigates through the water making sure you see the best side of the stunning coastline and islands. The boat will be stocked with snacks and drinks, and your skipper is your best bet for recommendations for places to stop in for some lunch.
You have the day on the boat to enjoy the sun, sea and sand, making the most of your sea-views and topping up your tan. Once you have returned to dry land, head back to your hotel for your last evening in Croatia.
Day 9: Heading Home
Sadly today is the last day of your luxury Montenegro and Croatia adventure. It will take you around 30 minutes to get to the airport, so make it there in plenty of time to catch your flight home.
Arran and Charlotte H are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.