Montenegro offers everything for a luxurious and action-packed family holiday


LAUGHING along to our tour guide’s Only Fools And Horses references, it was hard to believe we were nearly 1,500 miles from Peckham.

But the Del Boy laughs made the airport transfer from Montenegro’s capital Podgorica to our coastal resort fly by.

The former BBC1 sitcom is so loved by the Montenegrin public that Rodders actor Nicholas Lyndhurst has described “feeling like the Queen” during a recent visit to the Balkan state, tucked in below Croatia on the Adriatic coast.
And our guide Alex treated us like royalty throughout the journey.

Meandering through the scenery, it is easy to understand how the name Montenegro — meaning black mountains — was born.


Some 85 per cent of the country consists of this rocky terrain — and some of the vistas can only be described as breathtaking.

The same adjective, though, could be used for some of the overtaking manoeuvres you will witness on the roads.

Ninety minutes’ drive from the airport lies the seaside town of Ulcinj — in a former pirate cove with a beautiful, long sandy beach.

There was no need for of Del Boy’s dodgy dealing at our resort, First Choice’s all-inclusive 4H Holiday Village, because everything is laid on just perfectly for family breaks.

Pulling up to reception we were greeted by what seemed like the closing party at Ibiza club night Manumission.

Entertainment trio The Widgets (Gizmo, Whatsit and Doobley) started our break on just the right note by whisking the children off to dance and play while adults enjoyed a well-earned drink.

The break was some valuable bonding time for me and my young daughter.

However, our deluxe two-bedroom family room could have accommodated a family of four — with its double bed and an adjoining area with two single beds.

The bathroom would also be big enough for four, and everyone’s various beauty routines, plus there was a spacious balcony — the perfect place to enjoy a cold beer and the late evening sun while the little one snored.

Some of the resort’s rooms even have swim-up balconies, which looked brilliant for those with kids who like to start the day with a morning dip.

In fact, children’s activities are a major selling point of the hotel, with all sorts of fun and games tailored to different ages and abilities.

Whether its high ropes, games in the pool or archery that take your fancy, they’ve got you covered.

The resort even has its own alien-themed Escape Room. Rumours that I’d left my own little monster in there while I visited the Irish bar are obviously wide of the mark, though.

One of the best things for children were the football and swimming academies where, for a small extra, your nippers can enjoy expert tuition.

FA or Uefa-qualified coaches run the footie sessions, for those aged five to 16.

But the winner for us was the swimming, run by ASA-qualified Amy and Chloe.

The pair were brilliant at working with all abilities — and my girl made fantastic progress.

While we enjoyed the learning pool, there are also four more pools — catering to all.

You can relax on a Bali bed in tranquillity or, like I did, try to get the better of your child in Total Wipeout-style challenges in the main pool.

If you tire of the pools, then there is also, of course, the 16km-long sandy beach just moments away.

But to be honest, most of the trip was spent trying to forget Only Fools And Horses — and remember only fools eat four courses.

With four different restaurants to pick from at the resort, your options are not limited.

There is a huge array of grub on offer at the Swallow buffet- restaurant — stretching from trusty beans on toast, through to fresh fish and Montenegrin bureks (Turkish-inspired filo pastry with cheese or meat).

And that was just breakfast.

Lowered counter-tops, and child-friendly tables and chairs, were nice touches for little ones — and even my fussy eater was impressed with the delicious fare on offer.

If you fancy a more scenic spot for lunch, head down to the beach bar, which rustles up sandwiches and salads while you enjoy the sea view.

The pick for us, though, was the Grill restaurant which, unsurprisingly, serves Croatian konoba-style grilled meat and vegetables.

Baby courgettes and peppers were the perfect accompaniment to seared steaks and cevapi (kofte-style sausages made of pork and beef mince).

After all that eating and drinking, it would be easy to relax into the evening and slope off to bed.

But with my daughter dropped off at the kids’ club, it was off to try some of the local hooch.

Montenegrins take great personal pride in their rakija (a type of fruit brandy) — and how much they can consume.

There is no point trying to go toe-to-toe with them at drinking, though.ž

Instead, if you really want to be a hit with the locals, just show them your best Trigger impression. Lovely jubbly.


The official website for Montenegro tourism