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The great escape


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“At the birth of the planet, the most beautiful encounter between land and sea must have been on the Montenegrin coast,” wrote Lord Byron. Late to the tourism game, and all the better for it, Montenegro is luring droves of billionaire investors, says the Telegraph. Unspoilt medieval villages sit beneath soaring mountains that plunge into the glassy Adriatic. “The coastline curls into hundreds of bays, ensuring spectacular 360-degree views that look like Lake Como from certain angles and Cape Town from others.”

Places of note Our Lady of the Rocks is a manmade island formed in the 15th century by villagers weighing down hundreds of stolen ships with rocks. Every July Montenegrins throw stones into the Bay of Kotor to keep its tiny church above water. The 17th-century Ostrog Monastery, set in a sheer cliff, draws thousands of visitors and pilgrims. For the best views of Kotor, walk the 1,355 steps to the top of the 9th-century San Giovanni Fortress. Or escape the heat by going white-water rafting in the rapids of the Tara Canyon. You can watch migratory birds en route from northern Europe to Africa at Unesco-listed Skadar Lake. It’s the last breeding ground for the endangered Dalmatian pelican and pygmy cormorant.

Weather Typically Mediterranean on the western coast and more continental as you head inland.  

Famous faces Novak Djokovic and his wife, Jelena, tied the knot in 2014 at the ritzy Aman Sveti Stefan hotel – where the Beckhams have stayed twice. Top models Naomi Campbell and Adriana Lima have toured Montenegro, and the pink sands of Sveti Stefan have attracted royalty since the 1930s.

To eat The Living Room is the place to see and be seen in the capital, Podgorica. A “destination for coffee, dining and cocktails”, it holds a Travellers’ Choice Award from TripAdvisor. If you’re looking for something meatier, Pod Volat, also in Podgorica, is famous for its kebabs. The Catovica Mlini tavern, in Morinj, was a flour mill for 200 years before becoming a restaurant. Its mills and stream provide a peaceful backdrop to fish dishes, homemade cheeses and local wines. There’s more Montenegrin wine and cheese on offer at the Old Winery, in Kotor, this time with live jazz.

1 To stay

A new addition to the Portonovi coastline, the palatial One&Only has Venetian-inspired architecture, a Giorgio Locatelli restaurant, a medical spa and a private beach. There are stunning views of Boka Bay and it’s an ideal base for visiting medieval towns or hiking forest trails. From £422 a night.

2 To rent

This one-bedroom flat claims to have the best view on the Bay of Kotor. Handy for Our Lady of the Rocks and a host of picturesque towns, it’s 10 miles from Tivat airport. From £102 for two nights.

3 To Airbnb

Mareta Loft is a 200-year-old stone house sleeping two on the waterfront in Ljuta, five miles north of Kotor. You can visit the village’s baroque church and enjoy the views on a seaside stroll or from a balcony overlooking the beach. From £120 for two nights.

4 To buy

After a damaging year for the economy, sales are spiking in Montenegro. This semi-detached stone villa is in the coastal village of Lepetane, near Tivat and right on the Bay of Kotor. Built in 1820 but renovated a few years ago, the four-bedroom property combines traditional Montenegrin architecture with contemporary interiors. It has a pool, a sauna and a Turkish bath. €1.5m.