1685459793 This small Mediterranean country is the most promising summer destination | phillipspacc

This small Mediterranean country is the most promising summer destination in Europe

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Despite being an extremely popular destination among sun seekers, tourism in the Mediterranean has always been concentrated in its westernmost part, where Spain, France, Italy and the like meet.

Our Lady of the Rocks in the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro, Balkan Peninsula, South East Europe

While the powerhouse trio tend to see the most crowds during the summer, newcomers largely ignore other destinations in the less-explored East, especially those lying outside the European Unionoften perceived as less developed or perhaps not worth the detour.

It turns out that Europe’s hottest summer destination isn’t the Amalfi Coast or the Côte d’Azur, but a small Mediterranean country that very few Americans visit and that could soon surpass your favorite beach getaway in terms of tourism recovery:

A seagull hovering over the small Dalmatian town of Perast, in the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro, a Balkan country in southeastern Europe

Montenegro is the next trendy Mediterranean hotspot

Located between Albania and Croatia and sharing other land borders with other Balkan states, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro is a small European nation boasting stunning nature and a spectacular coastline.

At just 5,332 square miles, its topography is quite rugged, with mountains comprising more than two-thirds of the territory. With numerous places for walks, to the delight of travelers, deep valleys and inland basins, it is perhaps The most underrated nature destination in Europe.

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An isolated house in the Durmitor National Park, Montenegro, Balkan Peninsula of South East Europe

Nicknamed the Montenegrin ‘Dolomites’, in reference to the famous jagged peaks of northern Italy, Durmitor National Park is a popular nature spot and a UNESCO protected site. A part of the Dinaric Alps, it boasts a whopping 18 glacial lakes spread across the picturesque lake area plateau.

Tourism revolves around the small town of Frogthe gateway to Durmitor, and the area is much sought after in summer for mountaineering and leisure.

The country’s main tourist attraction, however, is the magnificent Bay of Kotor, a winding arm of the Adriatic Sea and the southern tip of the historic Dalmatian coastline.

Historic village of Perast in the Bay of Kotor, in the Dalmatian part of Montenegro, Balkan Peninsula, South-Eastern Europe

The stunning beauty of Kotor

The bay has witnessed human activity since ancient times, and is dotted with well-kept old towns, each so incredibly picturesque that it’s hard to pick a favourite. A strong contender is Kotorthe largest and most crowded of the Dalmatian settlements.

A busy cruise port, Kotor is where tourism in the bay is centered, attracting million visitors every yearwho crowd into its walled, maze-like Old Town to admire the Romanesque churches, charming cobbled streets and imposing hilltop fortress overlooking the entrance to the Mediterranean.

Cobbled street in Kotor Montenegro

Other attractions in the Bay of Kotor are the traditional Dalmatian villages of Risan, Tivat and Perat, known for their medieval heritage.

Perast is a popular day trip from the city of Kotor due to its picturesque harbor and its proximity to Our Lady of the Rocksan islet that houses a historic church and its adjacent museum.

“Croatia on a budget”

View of the Bay of Kotor in Kotor, Montenegro, from the fortress, South East Europe

Moving further from Kotor, as they travel the dream route of the Adriatic, visitors will find a rapidly developing tourism scene, particularly around the coastal city of Budva, where international luxury brands such as the Melia will soon open new large properties.

Distinguished for its wealth of amenities and affordability, Montenegro’s resort area is on its way to becoming Europe’s summer getaway, with nightly rates at five-star all-inclusive listings like the iconic Azul Beach Resort starting for only USD$138 per night.

Sveti Stefan Island, Montenegro

Google lists another 31 luxury properties worth considering, renowned for their elegance, unique vision of wellness, and haute Mediterranean cuisine.

Unlike other Mediterranean hubs, where luxury trends have crowded out budget travelers, backpackers and middle-income earners are still welcome in Montenegro.

Whether comfortable youth hostels and guest houses, or affordable but well-equipped AirBnBsthey will still be able to bask in the Montenegrin sun without taking a huge financial hit.

Couple Relaxing In Pool In Montenegro, South East Europe

With summer knocking on our doors and temperatures rising rapidly, it’s no surprise that tourists are already flocking to southern Europe in record numbers.

Sometimes described as ‘Croatia on a budget‘, Montenegro is becoming increasingly known as a result of its attractive prices, good climate, crystal clear waters and priceless cultural wealth.

Montenegro is open without restrictions

beach in Montenegro

In addition to its impressive tourism offer and competitiveness, Montenegro is open to tourism without restrictionsLike the rest of Europe. This means that foreigners are welcome regardless of their vaccination status and without the need to be tested before entry.

There are no direct flights between the United States and Canada and the Mediterranean nation, but low-cost deals abound, departing from numerous European transit hubs, including a selection of German, Eastern European and British airports.

Aerial view of the old town of Budva, Montenegro

Most seasonal routes serve Tivat, the main airport on the Montenegrin coast, and Podgorica, the capital of inland Montenegro. Tivat is the best airport to fly into if you are going to the Montenegrin coast.

The city of dubrovnik, in Croatia, just 92.3 km from Kotor, also hosts seasonal flights from Newark from July to September. From there, Kotor-bound visitors can take a cross-border bus or private shuttle service to reach Montenegrin Bay.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com