If you’re in search of the ultimate in 21 st century luxury combined with traditional architecture, spectacular scenery and a welcoming ambience, look no further than Montenegro. This small nation with a population of around 600,000 has become one of Europe’s most rapidly expanding tourist destinations, with over two million visitors a year.
And with world-class facilities and ground support for superyachts, Montenegro is attracting a growing number of vessels keen to experience its pristine and picturesque cruising grounds, old world charm and incredible dining options.
MYS Yachting founder Maja Ban believes Montenegro is a fast developing superyacht destination which will continue to go from strength to strength. “It has great infrastructure with beautiful, well equipped marinas like Porto Montenegro and Portonovi,” she says.
“Unlike Croatia, Montenegro is not part of the EU or Schengen Zone so the rules regarding border crossings remain, but at MYS Yachting, we ensure that all formalities are attended to relatively quickly so that the yacht can explore these beautiful waters with minimum delay.”
Every foreign flagged yacht cruising in Montenegro must purchase the ‘vignette’ cruising permit on arrival, which is valid for anything from one day to one year.
World class marinas in Porto Montenegro
Opening in 2009, Marina Porto Montenegro in the UNESCO-protected Bay of Kotor (also known as Boka Bay) has rapidly become one of the Med’s most sought-after and glamorous superyacht locations. Known as ‘the pearl of the Mediterranean,’ Montenegro is often referred to as the Eastern Med’s version of Monaco.
Indeed, Marina Porto Montenegro lives up to that sobriquet, offering berths from 12m to 180m complemented by spacious waterside residences, elegant hotels, stylish art galleries, leading designer boutiques like Boss, Dior, MaxMara, Vilbrequin and Heidi Klein and of course, super cool bars.
Signature fine dining restaurants not to be missed include La Piazza, Lido Rooftop, One and Montenegro’s first Japanese fusion restaurant Mitsu.
Situated halfway along the Adriatic coast, not far from the Croatian border, it’s easily accessible from three international airports (Tivat (4.6km), Dubrovnik (47km) and Podgorica (90km), which all have facilities for private jets. The perfect base for a three day charter, or longer if you are planning to include Croatia on your itinerary, Marina Porto Montenegro has been dubbed the most vibrant marina in the Adriatic.
Portonovi Marina is another great choice, enjoying a sheltered location inside Boka Bay, offering 238 berths up to 120m. Its elegant One&Only resort offers the last word in five star refined luxury, with a prestigious Chenot Espace Wellness Centre, elegant bay-facing suites, 10 private villas, three restaurants and the sophisticated Caminetti cocktail bar.
Cruising Montenegro - itinerary highlights
Montenegro’s waters are conveniently situated between Croatia and Albania, with natural delights including breath-taking waterfalls, rugged mountains, clearwater lakes and rivers to thrill nature lovers. Located along one of Montenegro’s most beautiful bays is Kotor, famously the base for early traders and celebrated sailors. Built between the 12th and 14th centuries, the Old City of Kotor is a beautifully preserved hub featuring medieval architecture and culturally important monuments.
A visit to the fortress of St Ivan, with its incredible views of the Bay of Kotor, is a must before heading to the Kotor Riviera for supper at magical Čatovića Mlini or Stari Mlini in their beautiful mill setting, or romantic fish restaurant Galion.
Perast, Budva and Sveti Stefan
One of the most picturesque and best preserved baroque settlements in the Adriatic, Perast’s two islets across from the town are iconic landmarks in this region. The natural inward facing island of St George contrasts sharply with manmade Lady of Skrpjela (Rock), formed by stones deposited around a small crag by passing ships.
Budva is the ultimate summer metropolis, enjoying a lively reputation as the place that doesn’t sleep! A colourful nightlife and casino scene takes hold by night while stunning sandy beaches offer the chance to while away the days in relaxed bliss or try a variety of watersports along the 21km coastline. Music lovers will adore Jaz Beach, where the Rolling Stones, Madonna and Roisin Murphy have all performed.
Dinner in Budva is a treat. Choose from Restaurant Bruno, Stari Grad, romantic Mediterranean fayre at former olive mill Blanche Mlin or Promenada, famed for its sushi.
Sveti Stefan started life in the 15th century and later became home to the most lauded resort in Montenegro. Connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway, this year only Amam’s Villa Miločer was reopened, offering hotel guests private tours of the island and exclusive access to the luxury spa.
Montenegro's national parks of global renown
Covering an area of 6,400 hectares, NP Lovćen draws visitors in awe of its panoramic views. An adventure park within NP Lovćen offers the chance to explore more adrenaline fuelled games and activities via a series of pathways and platforms. Explore Ivanova for its religious sacral objects and rich spiritual life before visiting the mausoleum of Montenegrin poet and ruler Petar Petrović Njegoš. From here, you can head to Njeguši to sample their delicious ham and cheese.
NP Skadar Lake is the largest lake in the Balkans, straddling Albania and Montenegro’s borders, with 400 sqm of parkland and winelands to roam through. More than 260 bird species have made their home among its shimmering waters, rocky shores and wetlands and visitors will be dazzled by quaint traditional fishing villages, island monasteries and pristine beaches.
Formed by glaciers, traversed by rivers and underground streams, NP Dumitor offers dense pine forests, crystal clear lakes and a haven of endemic flora and fauna. Take a thrilling rafting trip on River Tara, situated in the second deepest canyon in the world.
Wining & dining in Montenegro
Šipčanik wine cellar has a fascinating history, having been converted from Yugoslavian air force tunnels in 2007. The hill complex of vineyards are home to Cabernet, Merlot, Sauvignon and Chardonnay grape varieties and overlook Lake Skadar and Podgorica.
With a typically Mediterranean cuisine, influenced heavily by Italy and Turkey, Montenegro’s gastronomy scene is a delight for the curious gourmet. Traditional dishes include soups, stews and dairy specialities like Kacamak, a heavy dish made from wheat and corn flour and served with cheese and milk, and Njegus pršut and cheese, prepared using oak cured meat and served with local grape brandy Loza.
Montenegro's notable resorts
Luštica Bay, nestled within the Bay of Kotor, is brimming with rich culture and heritage as well as astounding UNESCO-protected mountain views. Take some time to enjoy the comfort of the five star Chedi Hotel, where tradition embraces the modern world.
Don’t miss Mamula Island, a carefully restored 19th century fort also located in the Bay of Kotor, which is now a unique island hotel. Featuring a holistic spa, fine dining at the minimalist Kamena restaurant presided over by Erica Archambault, formerly of Michelin starred Septime in Paris, and more casual entertaining on the Sun and Pool decks, CN Traveller describes it as “a destination for those who like intimate luxury and their hotels to be unique and sociable.”
And finally, for hedonists looking to party in the most hip and happening surroundings, Nikki Beach at Tivat Bay offers 54 luxury rooms and suites, two amazing pools where you can kick back and watch le beau monde in action, numerous dining choices and a location that literally takes your breath away.
For further information about formalities, provisioning, itinerary planning and concierge, contact the experts at MYS Yachting:
Tel: +385 99 502 3127