I’m planning a summer holiday to Montenegro in June. I’ve heard it’s a beautiful and untouched country, but don’t know much else about it. Do you have any recommendations, eg: where to stay along the coast, and any ‘must-do’ activities while we are there? Jane, via email
Montenegro’s coast is dotted with gorgeous coves and quaint villages. Petrovac is a very pretty resort about halfway along the Montenegrin coast, but it can be busy. Try Perast, a historic and tiny town in the Bay of Kotor, boasting 16 churches and two small islands, which you can easily hop on a boat to (about £3) for some peace and tranquillity. Also within the Bay of Kotor is the unassuming town of Herceg Novi. Many people bypass it for the smaller villages, but the walled Old Town makes for a pleasant walk, and, as the water is clearer here at the mouth of the bay, you can cool off at one of the concrete swimming terraces.
After a few days in the Bay of Kotor, either head south to Budva or inland to Lovćen National Park. Budva is a lively coastal spot, and can be a bit of a love or hate destination as its popularity has led to garish bars and packed-out beaches. If this isn’t your cup of tea, Lovćen is the complete opposite. It’s a mountainous area offering great hiking and mountain biking in cooler climes than on the coast.
Hiring a car is a great way to explore this compact country and most major hire companies operate in Montenegro.
I’m travelling through the Balkans this spring. Could you suggest the best way to get around and any absolute must-sees? Is hiring a car a realistic option, or is it more advisable to use public transport? Dana Esperanza, via email
You will find it incredibly difficult to find a car hire company that will allow you to pick up a car in one country and drop it off in another. I would advise opting for public transport.
An excellent journey to travel by train is from Zagreb to Sarajevo. The journey is incredibly scenic and takes about nine hours (or you could choose to continue on to Mostar which takes 12 hours or Ploče, 13 hours). You cannot purchase this ticket online – you will need to buy it at the station or on the train. It is a fixed-price ticket (less than £30).
You may feel that travelling by train speeds through some of the best of the Balkans, so I would recommend using a combination of trains and buses. Travel by bus allows you to appreciate the scenery and it’s generally cheaper! Eurolines is a good place to start (eurolines.com).
The must-sees on this route include Dubrovnik, for its gorgeous walled old town, and Montenegro’s beautiful coastline. I’d also recommend you explore Zagreb for its atmospheric café culture; a great arts scene; and nearby Lake Jarun, for some rest and relaxation. Head to Albania for underrated Tirana, where there is plenty of nightlife to provide a welcome distraction from all the beach hopping.
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Guard your arse
When travelling in malaria zones, it is important to slap some mosquito repellent on your bare arse cheeks so as to not get bitten while pinching a loaf. Remember, mosquitos, along with other nasty insects, just
love to hang out in hot, damp, third-world shitters.
Mike MacGillivray, via email
Packing cubes! Amazing how much easier they make packing, unpacking and living out of a bag! Staying organised and finding what you want without having to completely unpack and repack everything is awesome!
Kimberly Wright, via Facebook