Three Adriatic destinations for summer 2018

  A stunning sunset at Tivat's Porto Montenegro.

A stunning sunset at Tivat's Porto Montenegro.

If you’re looking for a coastal destination with plenty of sun, shimmering waters and an abundance of things to do, check out these fantastic destinations on the Adriatic Sea. From Italy to Montenegro, there’s plenty to keep you occupied in this up-and-coming region of Europe.

Split, Croatia

  Overlooking the terracotta roofs of Croatian city Split.

Overlooking the terracotta roofs of Croatian city Split.

Split is a beautiful city, fronted by a palm-lined waterfront and glorious, secluded beaches. Much of its charm lies within the Old Town, characterised by the fortifications of the former Roman palace built for the Emperor Diocletian. With a wealth of trendy restaurants, plenty of space to either sunbathe or take a dip and history everywhere you look, Split is a perfect summer break destination.

Just off the coast of Split, you’ll find some of the most popular Croatian islands, which are well connected to the city by regular ferry services. If you’re looking for a beautiful old town offering relaxing days and lively evenings, head to Hvar, while Brač is home to the famous Zlatni Rat beach, with pristine white sands and turquoise waters.

Split is also a great base from which to explore some of Croatia’s best attractions. Soak at the foot of a waterfall at Krka National Park and explore over 800 species of flora and fauna, or discover the majesty of the UNESCO-listed Plitvice National and pace the boardwalks that wind around its 16 beautiful, interconnected lakes.

Tivat, Montenegro

  The sun sets behind the luxurious Regent Porto Montenegro hotel.

The sun sets behind the luxurious Regent Porto Montenegro hotel.

Montenegro’s answer to Marbella comes in the shape of Tivat. This small, coastal town is not only the youngest in the region but is also home to the ultramodern and simply stunning Porto Montenegro. This ex-naval base now welcomes super-yachts and tourists to experience the luxury it offers.

Infinity pools, gin palaces, nightclubs and a fleet of helicopters join a wondrous rugged coastline, beautiful pebble beaches and the dramatic sunsets that the Bay of Kotor provides. It has the flair and pizzazz of St Tropez, Monte Carlo and Puerto Banus at just a fraction of the price.

Only a short bus ride away is nearby tourism hotspot Kotor, a historic old town with city walls, snaking alleyways and arts and crafts shops aplenty, while nearby Budva is home to a water park and one of the country’s best beaches, both of which are great for kids. Following the recent popularity of neighbouring Croatia, Montenegro is one of Europe’s budding destinations and could soon be a major player on the continent’s coastal plains.

Puglia, Italy

  The Palazzo Mincuzzi in Bari.

The Palazzo Mincuzzi in Bari.

The heel of Italy’s boot, Puglia is a long, thin region and is one of the country’s most underrated destinations. There is no shortage of coastal beauty, with green wooded hills giving way to white cliffs, sea stacks, crystal-clear waters, golden sands and pebbly coves. The beaches around Rodia Gaganico, Peschici and Vieste are Puglia’s most popular.

Bari is Puglia’s biggest seaside city with a medieval centre, splendid, picturesque architecture and grand boulevards lined with fantastic restaurants and boutique stores. Here you’ll be able to enjoy the boats in Bari’s port, or top up your tan at Polignano a Mare, Cala Porto and Porto Cavallo beaches.

Puglia is also a fantastic spot for a family holiday with the opportunity to see free-roaming big cats at Fasanolandia, a zoo safari theme park, as well as scuba diving and snorkelling in the warm, calm seas. Children will also be amazed by curious cone-shaped houses that dot the Valle d’Itra hills, giving an air of fairytale in this part of southeast Italy.