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As demand for sunny and cultural holidays continues to grow, many southern European countries are reporting a rapid increase in arrival numberswith record levels of tourism recorded throughout the Mediterranean basin.
From Spain’s Costa del Sol to the easternmost Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, travelers flock to sandy beaches to enjoy this slow-paced lifestyle and subtropical atmosphere, but one destination in particular surpasses all others unexpectedly this year.
A small, lesser-known country in South-Eastern Europe is now poised to become Europe’s next big tourist hotspot, and it won’t be long before it becomes the “new St Tropez‘:
The youngest country in Europe
Montenegro is a small Balkan state sandwiched between Croatia and Albania, with 183 miles of Adriatic coastline. It is not only a new tourist destination but also an incredibly young destination country to this.
If the independence of Kosovo should not be taken into account due to ongoing litigationMontenegro is the youngest country in Europe.
While the territory that constitutes the current country has been inhabited for several millennia and there is no shortage of ancient monuments to claim, the Republic of Montenegro is a recent concept that only came to fruition in 2006.
Before that year, the country was in a state union with neighboring Serbiaand even earlier, it was a constituent republic of Yugoslavia, a communist federation, also led by Serbia, which existed in Southeast Europe for most of the 20th century, also including Croatia, Slovenia and others.
In some ways, Montenegro’s attachment to Serbia sadly hampered its development, particularly during the socialist years and after the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia, which left its last two countries ostracized within a continent increasingly westernized.
Since this fragile and dysfunctional union was dismantled, Montenegro has prospered as a more open and rapidly developing country.
As then-Prime Minister Svetozar Marović said, Montenegro was going to become one of the “most elite” destinations in the world, “better than Saint-Tropez,” and it certainly made great strides in that direction.
The jewel of the Adriatic
As part of the larger historic cross-border territory known as Dalmatia, which it also partly shares with Croatia, Montenegro is characterized by its wild beauty.
Made up of an Adriatic coastline dotted with century-old villagesa mountainous interior with majestic jagged peaks – hence the name of the country – and typically Mediterranean vegetation, it has all the qualities and attributes which makes all of its much more popular counterparts great.
There is the Dalmatian stone of Croatia and the ocher-colored coastal towns, the turquoise shades of the water are as brilliant as those of Greece and Montenegrin cuisine, like any other Mediterranean diet, is as delicious as that of the Italy or Spain.
The former Prime Minister was not wrong when he highlighted Montenegro’s potential to become a major player in the Mediterraneanas billions have been spent on critical tourism infrastructure over the years since its independence.
Affordable luxury resorts in a medieval setting
When visiting Montenegro, visitors will discover modernized marinas, a surprisingly developed wellness and hospitality scene, with an excellent portfolio of luxury spa hotels and resorts to choose from, as well as beaches of the Well-maintained Adriatic lined with beach bars and clubs.
Even though the country’s main goal is to become the next Saint-Tropez – the French city that is one of the luxury tourism capitals of Europe – it nevertheless remains relatively affordable by any Mediterranean standard.
According to BudgetYourTravel, a week-long vacation to Montenegro will cost around $786 for one person, including accommodation and daily expenses. The average hotel price in Montenegro for a couple is $92, while the median cost of meals per day is $39.
In Saint-Tropez or the wider French Riviera, a week’s stay will cost you around $1,111, or about $325 more than up-and-coming Montenegro.
This may not seem like much, but when you add up the costs of a vacation, including transportation to and from St Tropez and tourist attractions – in Montenegro, they can be A plot cheaper – you’ll soon understand why vacationers opt for the lesser-known jewel of the Adriatic.
Montenegro is definitely not as cheap as Albaniawhich should definitely be your go-to destination for a budget vacation, but most importantly It won’t break the bank.
An overnight stay at the Budva Hotel, in one of Montenegro’s hippest coastal spots, costs $136 this fall, and even the more luxurious Avala Resort & Villas, with its iconic infinity pool at the end of a pier in stone extending into the sea, costs only $186.
Come for affordable luxury, stay for the culture
When it comes to culture, the Bay of Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a favorite among visitors. It is home to the town of Kotor itself, a fortified medieval settlement listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Siteand several small settlements dating from the Roman period.
Some of the bay’s prettiest villages include Perast, a picturesque cobbled village; Notre-Dame des Rochers, small islet in the middle of the Bay housing a Catholic church and a museum; and upscale Tivat, which combines both medieval aesthetics and a high-end luxury resort scene.
The Montenegrin capital, Podgorica, is also worth a nod, although it is often completely ignored by tourists because it does not straddle the coast. A small town in the Balkans with only around 185,000 inhabitants, it is filled with modernist structures and wide tree-lined boulevards.
Visit Montenegro before it swings completely west
Montenegro is progressing rapidly towards full European integration, and it may not be another decade before it is fully accepted as a member of the European Union, which is not yet the case, although the euro circulates within the country.
Exactly like his Croatia, sister nationit emerged from the Yugoslav era a much more prosperous state, and its recent progress on the tourism front is commendable.
It really is it won’t be long before it effectively becomes the next St Tropezand hopefully a full member of the EU, but for now you still have the chance to explore this mysterious Adriatic country before everyone else finds out.
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This article was originally published on TravelOffPath.com