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Where can you enjoy a holiday that allows you to experience the unique culture of five diverse and beautiful countries?

When it comes to travelling, people have flocked to destinations around the Mediterranean Sea for years, but it’s now time to take another look at the Adriatic Sea and the wonderful destinations to discover there.

From classic cities such as Venice to undiscovered gems such as Budva on the magnificent Montenegro Riviera, the Adriatic Sea will give you access to exciting ports of call from Italy, Slovenia and Croatia to Montenegro and Albania.

Whether you want to concentrate on one or two areas, do a more comprehensive trip or take it all in on a cruise, here are 6 unmissable, culturally rich gems to discover along the Adriatic Sea.

1. Venice and the Veneto – A Dreamy Destination



Venice is probably the most spectacular city in the world and must be visited at least once. Set in the Veneto region which stretches from the Dolomite mountains all the way to the Adriatic sea, the delightful rolling landscapes and picture-book towns and villages have inspired generations of artists, travellers and painters. The best way to explore Venice is by foot, so wander around the piazzas, bridges and quaysides and literally get lost in the magic of it all. A gondola ride is a must-do for every visitor, as well as a visit to St. Mark’s Square, the gothic Ca’ d’Oro and the marble Palazzo Ducale.  Other highlights of the wider region include Padua, famed for Galileo and St. Anthony and Bologna, one of Italy’s most beautiful cities.

Discover holiday suggestions to Venice and the Veneto here.

2. Contrasting Countries: Slovenia and the Gulf of Trieste



A trip to the hauntingly beautiful Trieste in Italy will give you plenty of topics for conversation when you return home, as this city is one of the most talked about destinations of the past few years. A guided walking tour is the best way to discover this historic city with its pretty piazzas, impressive monuments and churches. There is no shortage of bustling cafes with delicious seafood and wines. On the doorstep is the neighbouring country of Slovenia, famous for its astounding natural beauty and if you’re interested in culture and architecture, this is the place for you. Highlights here include the charming coastal resort of Lucija-Portoroz; a trip from here to Izola with its whitewashed bell-towers, taking in the coastline and of course the capital city of Ljubljana and its majestic castle. It’s a great way to combine the very best of two beautiful countries.

Discover holiday suggestions to Slovenia and the Gulf of Trieste here.

3. Discover Dubrovnik – A Jewel on the Adriatic Coast



Dubrovnik is the city of choice for most visitors to the Adriatic region – its rich history dates back to the 7th century and it has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979. ‘The pearl of the Adriatic’ is a serious alternative to traditional Mediterranean destinations. It’s a place to discover at your own pace, whether you just want to relax and enjoy the beautiful views and seafood or you prefer to get going and explore the historical marvels, enjoying breathtaking views of the Old City from the cable car along the way. Dubrovnik is a great base for a boat trip to the unspoilt Elaphite islands or an excursion into the neighbouring country of Montenegro. After crossing the border, there’s a chance to travel across the fjord-like bay of Kotor to visit one of two artificial islets off the coast of Perast, Our Lady of the Rocks and a winding coastal route to the Old Port fortified with walls from the Venetian period.

Discover holiday suggestions to Dubrovnik here.

4. The Walled City of Budva and the Montenegro Riviera



So where is Budva? This beautiful walled city is not your traditional choice for a holiday, which makes it a much more exciting option to explore. This historical coastal town is on the Montenegro Riviera and offers sandy beaches, forest-cloaked mountains, crystal clear lakes and beautiful old towns ranging from Ottoman to Venetian. Budva has a remarkable history and a walking tour will reveal stunning medieval catholic and orthodox churches and charming small squares. Other highlights of the Montenegro Riviera include the old royal capital Cetinje and King Nikola’s Palace; Njegusi village, the birthplace of the Petrovik dynasty and the spectacular Serpentine Mountain Road and Boka bay by boat.

Discover holiday suggestions to Budva and the Montenegro Riviera here.

5. Off the Beaten Track in Montenegro – Stunning Skadar

Lake Skadar.jpg


When visiting the Montenegro Riviera, a relatively undiscovered day-trip well worth embarking on is a visit to Lake Skadar. This stunning lake borders Montenegro and Albania and is surrounded by low hills and has amazing wildlife. It’s the largest lake in Southern Europe and is shaped like a dolphin! It’s popular for nature lovers and those that want to escape the heat of the cities. It’s a photographers dream with steep mountains, clear waters and island monasteries. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to spot the ‘floating meadows’ of water lilies and there are timeless exotically named towns such as Virpazar and Vranjina. Legend has it that the lake was created by the tears of a pixie and whether or not you believe in fairy tales, this area has a magic of its own!

Discover holiday suggestions to Montenegro Riviera here.

6. Puglia – The Time is Now



On the heel of Italy’s ‘boot’, the beautiful region of Puglia boasts some of the most stunning landmark cities in Europe. These highlights include the baroque city of Lecce – which has been described as ‘The Florence of the South’, as well as the sea port of Bari and the heritage towns of Trani, Ostuni and Martina Franca. If you’re interested in food, you’re in the right place with specialties including ‘orecchiette’ pasta and fresh burrata cheese, in addition to wonderful wines and olive oils.

Discover holiday suggestions to Puglia here.

Explore these unmissable experiences and more with Belfast Telegraph Travel who offer a great selection of guided holidays, in association with Travel Department.  Travel Department is one of Europe’s leading guided holiday companies with over 20 years’ experience organising fantastic tours to over 100 destinations worldwide.  Our holidays are fully guided, which means that they include return flights, hotel accommodation, guided transfers and expert local guides for all excursions that are included in the holiday.

These holidays are truly great value and are competitively priced. To learn more about planning your trip to the Adriatic Coast, please visit

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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