Diminutive Montenegro: A Grand Experience
What Montenegro lacks in size along its relatively short coastline, it more than accommodates for in beauty, architecture, and atmosphere. A gorgeous cruise around the Bay of Kotor and along the beautiful Adriatic coast will convince you to return time and again. The relaxing, laid back pace, and simple beauty of the region on board a private luxury yacht charter is exquisite. There is growth happening, however, and this lovely locale, dubbed by some as the next Monaco, is changing rather quickly.
With a fabulous new marina at Porto Montenegro, another on the way at Lustica opening in 2016, and a third at Kumbor, the Porto Novi opening in 2017, the stage is set for transformation from charming village to glamorous yachting destination. Graced by some of the clearest, cleanest waters in the Mediterranean, every day of this itinerary will leave you breathless at least once. Ancient backdrops, modern clubs, beautiful mountains, and wonderful people, happy to make your acquaintance, do their part to enhance the exhilarating experience.
Porto Montenegro is a sparkling gem, newly carved into the coastline at Tivat. The village supports apartments and hotels, along with a nice sprinkling of exclusive international designer shops. Dine at ONE, at the end of the jetty for a romantic view and delicious formal, local meal; drop into Al Posto Giusto for an excellent cocktail, nosh, and view of who’s who for the week; or head to Prova in Tivat on the Ivo Vizin Promenade for pasta, fish, and exquisitely prepared local fare.
Cruise deeper into the gorgeous Bay of Kotor, toward the town of the same name. Founded by the Greeks between the 4th and 7th centuries BC, the old town is one of the best preserved Medieval enclaves in the Mediterranean. Churches, fortifications, and stone houses fill the Stari Grad triangle with exceptional architectural remains. The view across the bay after a hike up the hills behind Kotor deliver a magnificent view of this serene bay surrounded by mountains. Stay into the evening for dinner at Resto Galion for great food and view to match, Resto Cesarica for authentic cuisine in an old stone house, or a very chic repast at Hotel Hippocampus for exotic modern, fresh dishes on the rooftop terrace or in the main restaurant. Then enjoy a busy social evening at Club Maximus with live DJs, or head back to the serenity of your private yacht for a quiet evening on board. Stunning starlight views of the bay should devour the remainder of the evening, whether in town or on board the yacht.
Herceg Novi, at the mouth of the bay and at the base of Mt. Orjen, the highest peak in the subadriatic Dinaric Alps provides stunning geography with exquisite mountain climbing, cycling, hiking, and swimming in summer, and skiing or hunting in winter. Romans, Venetians, and Turks have all left their influence in art and architecture, with later cultural influences from the Austro-Hungarians, Dalmatians and Slavs. A wonderful mix of things, Herceg Novi gathers tourists easily due to the beauty of the region and proximity to natural areas. A respected spa featuring Igalo mud and healing Igalo mineral spring water provides a popular retreat. Shop for photos, antiques, and boutique items, then stop for a glass of local wine, exceptionally good with fresh catches prepared at the local cafes. Or, book a table at Restaurant Aquarius in the posh Aleksandar Hotel. Delicious native cuisine with artful presentation and a good selection of Mongenegrin wines will satisfy the chicest of clientele.
Budva is bustling, both day and night. By day, this harbor town sits busily where the mountains meet the sea in a gorgeous combination of Adriatic blues and hillside greens. The Stari Grad Old City is one of the best preserved in the Mediterranean, sitting proudly behind its heavy fortification. Ancient churches, ramparts, and towers display some of the city’s 2,500-year history. The main attraction for the area, however, is the nightlife. Clubs, bars, casinos, and restaurants are plentiful along the Budva Riviera, with something for everyone’s taste. Try Raffaelo, Perla Pop Lounge, or the Opera Club for live music, DJs, and dancing. Should you prefer a peaceful evening on the yacht, the glittering coastline provides a romantic buffer between land and sea.
Sveti Stefan, home to the luxurious Aman resort, is an islet site frequented by an elite group of guests and celebrities. Connected to the mainland by a slim strip of sand, this exquisite resort boasts several bars and restaurants with excellent standards. Choose from the intimate, 7-table Dining Room, with Italian linens and fine china, the Loggia colonnade terrace, the Enoteca for tapas and cocktails on the terrace facing the sea; or any of several other culinary options. If it is luxury you seek, this is definitely a place to indulge.
Kumbor is the site of the soon to appear Portonovi luxury marina. Stopping by here before the crush occurs might give you insight about what’s to come, finding the charm of the old town in tact. Small local cafes serving authentic seafood and vegetable menus also serve some of the most delicious Montenegrin wines, from Krstac, Pro Corde, Cabernet, Chardonnay, and the infamous rajika brandy. Ristoran Olimpija, Mondo, or Amaro, none with websites, are the current culinary kings. Remember, however, that this is a dynamic, changing atmosphere, so what’s here today may evolve into something completely different next month. Still, delightful cafes will always continue to serve.