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The rocky outcrop that is Sveti Stefan is Montenegro's most famous sight. It may actually be his only famous sight. If you want to put the country on a map, you will already be in a well-informed minority. The country gained independence from Serbia in 2006 and is trying to build a tourism trade. The easiest access is from Dubrovnik, where Wizz Air currently operates routes. We chose to go there on our road trip, coming from Budapest, we passed through Saravejo, Dubrovinik and then Sveti Stefan.

The roads in Montenegro are great, and we even ended up taking a ferry there. Montenegro is also a cheap destination in terms of food and hotels compared to the rest of Europe.

Sveti Stefan owes its unique beauty to its setting on a tombola, a rare natural phenomenon that connects a circular rocky island to the mainland's white pebble beaches across a narrow, sandy isthmus. The hotel itself occupies a former fishing village built in the 15th century as a fortified settlement to protect against pirates.

The closest city to Sveti Stefan is Budva, which used to be the glamor hotspot and is now ready to become the must-see destination on the coast. Its growing, fashionable scene has earned it the nickname St Tropez of the Adriatic, although with its cobbled streets, walled borders, shady cocktail bars and extravagant boutiques, it feels more like a mini Dubrovnik.

Further north is Kotor, a small medieval town on the edge of the huge Boka Kotorska fjord, with courtyards and street cafes packed with Montenegro's new generation of hip-hop. It's backed by a nearby vertical cliff that you can walk up to see Kotor's destroyed fortification system, a protected Unesco site, and a fabulous view over the fjord.

Montenegro is tentatively moving towards an optimistic and touristic future, which should be strengthened if it gains independence from Serbia. It is currently seeking a referendum to decide whether it will become a country in its own right.

Just as Montenegro is on the verge of prosperity and recognition that could see it invade the masses, Sveti Stefan is about to become an exclusive resort, accessible to few. Which means it's now time to visit both, quickly, before things change.

  • Capital : Podgorica

  • Official language : Montenegrin

  • President : Filip Vujanovic

  • Population 2007 : 684,736 inhabitants

  • Euro currency

  • Total Area : 13,810 km²

  • Time zone : UTC +2, +3

  • International telephone code : +382

  • Climate : Moderate continental

  • Visa : No visa required for Montenegro

  • Borders : Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia

  • Places not to be missed : Podgorica, Sveti Stefan

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