Montenegro and Croatia have histories dating back thousands of years and boast beautiful ancient buildings, spectacular scenery and blissful beaches. Whether you’re discovering Montenegro, exploring Dubrovnik or relaxing along the Adriatic Coast; we’ve picked out some of the must-see sights during your break in the Balkans.
Our Lady of the Rocks, Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
Top Fact: According to legend, the island was created by local seamen who, on their return from a successful voyage, laid a rock in the bay. To this day, every 22nd July, an event called fašinada takes place where locals take to the water and throw rocks into the sea.
Walls of Dubrovnik, Croatia
Top Fact: Instantly recognisable to viewers of Game of Thrones, Dubrovnik and its ancient fortifications are used to portray the Westerosi capital, King’s Landing. Fans should head to Fort Lovrijenac, Minčeta Tower and Fort Bokar.
Sveti Stefan, near Budva, Montenegro
Top Fact: Once a base for Adriatic pirates, Sveti Stefan is now a luxury resort accommodating guests in cottages and suites and also includes restaurants, bars and a beach café. In July 2014, three-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic got married at Sveti Stefan.
Skradinski buk, Krka National Park, Croatia
Top Fact: There are a total of 17 waterfalls covering over 400 metres in length and dropping nearly 50 metres from top to bottom; making it one of the largest systems of waterfalls in Europe.
Ladies Beach, Ulcinj, Montenegro
Top Fact: The mixture of sulphur, radium and sea salts is said to give the waters and sea caves around Ladies Beach curative powers, specifically to aid women with fertility issues.
Trsteno Arboretum, Croatia
Top Fact: Another one for Game of Thrones fans, the arboretum featured as the Red Keep’s gardens where Dame Diana Rigg as Lady Olenna Tyrell held court. Highlights of the arboretum are two Old World Sycamores which are over 500 years old and which are rarely found in Europe.
Kotor Cathedral, Montenegro
Top Fact: Katedrala Svetog Tripuna or the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon dates back to 1166 but was seriously damaged by two earthquakes in 1667 and 1979. The cathedral contains many religious artefacts and relics (including Saint Tryphon’s head) as well as a collection of 14th century frescoes.
Lokrum, near Dubrovnik, Croatia
Top Fact: According to legend, Richard the Lionheart was shipwrecked on the island when he was returning from the crusades. The royal connection continued when Archduke Maximilian of Austria built a holiday home there in 1859 which included a magnificent botanical garden.
Castle of San Giovanni, Kotor, Montenegro
Top Fact: The castle is perched on the hill of St. John, part of the fortifications of Kotor. A walk up to the castle is actually more of a climb! There are over 1,300 steps ascending up to a height of over 1,200 metres.
Diocletian’s Palace, Split, Croatia
Top Fact: Roman Emperor Diocletian built the palace in 305AD in preparation for his retirement. The complex covered over 30,000 square metres and included luxurious living quarters, temples and a military barracks. Several sphinxes were imported from Egypt, of which only three survive to this day.
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