The tiny country of Montenegro, located in Southeastern Europe, is packed with charm and enough to keep newlyweds intrigued for any length of stay-and the small city of Kotor and the surrounding bay is its crown jewel. Just two hours by car from the trendy travel destination of Dubrovnik in Croatia, many visitors have discovered this less tourist-packed place and the word-of-mouth of its delights is quickly spreading to travelers and honeymooners alike. Why go? For one, it's got Lake Como-esque vibes at a fraction of the price, plus an incredibly relaxing atmosphere full of lots of tanning opportunities come the warm summer months. And while Kotor is worthy of a trip all on its own, it's also incredibly easy to add on as a destination for any 'moon centered around the Dalmatian Coast or Southern Italy.
What to Do:
Tour the fortified small city of Kotor, an important town in the Venetian period that dates back to Ancient Roman times and has a bounty of different architecture and history as a result. You'll enter through the main gate which was built in 1555 and once opened directly into the Bay of Kotor (also known as Boka Bay). Here you'll start your journey at the Plaza of the Arms, where the city's famed clock tower stands, before heading on to St. Tryphon Cathedral-in a town with as many religious relics as Kotor, it definitely stands out. Spend the rest of your day weaving your way through Kotor's narrow cobblestone streets and alleyways which open to small squares and plazas, each one brimming with restaurants, fashion boutiques, artisanal shops and souvenir stands. Grab some gelato and look closely as you slink around each corner to spot the many impressive estate homes-built for wealthy Venetian merchants back in the day-before you reach the edge of town and its city walls. If you're feeling adventurous, you can climb up a steep mountain incline to the top. It may be challenging, but it's worth it for the stunning views.
No trip to Kotor is complete until you get outside the city's walls and discover Boka Bay, and the best way to see this UNESCO World Heritage site is cuddled up at the back of a speedboat, the wind blowing in your hair as you witness the breathtaking landscape of steep Montenegrin mountains that dive into the glassy bay waters below. Whichever boat you and bae commission should make a stop at the Church of Our Lady of the Rocks (Pro tip: go at sunset), a still-operational house of worship built in 1722 that sits in the bay's waters on a man-made islandвЂ¦ with fascinating history. After a quick photo opp, set your sights on the fairytale-like town of Perast, which you'll clearly be able to see since it sits just across the water from the Roman Catholic church. Your boat can dock here for an enjoyable afternoon, or you can later reach Perast by car and discover the many intimate swimming beaches-which are just off the main road and seem to hug the windy bay at every turn-along the way.
Where to Eat:
The food scene in Kotor has something for every discernable palette, in every imaginable setting. No surprise given its Adriatic location, it's hard not to eat great seafood in Kotor, where simple, fish dishes like dorado are drenched in olive oil and baked to perfection at restaurants like Galion, and highly rival similar dishes in Italy and Greece. There's also trendy hotspots and bars like One, fine Lebanese mezze at Byblos, and sophisticated lunch and dinner fare to be enjoyed outside on a grand terrace at Verige65, which arguably has some of the best views over the entire bay.
Where to Stay:
The nautical-inspired Regent Porto Montenegro will make you feel like you've stepped into one of the grand ocean liners of years past-with a chic contemporary twist. Built in 2014, the 149 rooms and suites were a delightufl addition to Kotor's Porto Montenegro development-a marina of distinction for the yachts and super yachts docked outside. Surrounding the marina are 50+ upscale retailers and restaurants-brands like Cartier, Celine, Gucci, Tom Ford and more are all a safe walking distance from the hotel for any fashion-forward couple.
The rooms here have views over the marina and Boka Bay and newlyweds will enjoy the comfort and casual maritime chicness of their honeymoon hideout just as much as they will a quiet afternoon sitting in the sun of the Venetian-inspired garden, or getting some R&R in the intimate spa and hammam. The piece-de-resistance of the property, however, is the gorgeous pool and sun deck, built on multiple levels that cascade into each other.