‘The St. Tropez of 50 years ago’ is in Again
In a small piece of land, Montenegro has extraordinary beauties and a spectacular coastal landscape. Nicknamed ‘the St. Tropez of 50 years ago,’ Montenegro is nowadays preparing to regain the glamour of the time it hosted celebrities like Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and Kirk Douglas.
Tens of thousands of yachts sailing in the Mediterranean are obviously bored of re-visiting the same places. That’s why, Croatia, Montenegro and Eastern Mediterranean are now receiving more and more yachts. Having gained its independence in 2006, Montenegro is one of the rising stars in Mediterranean tourism, especially as a charter boat route with its wonderful nature. Owning a coastal strip of 293 kilometers along the Adriatic, Montenegro’s high mountains, plenteous seas and Medieval towns deserve a high place in your ‘bucket list.’
The Boka Bay: One of the Most Romantic Panoramas in Europe
The southernmost fjord of Europe, Boka Bay offers unforgettable views to its visitors. Here, four broad coves that meander into the land and make way to smaller inlets and narrow straits. But the bay’s true beauty comes from the 1,000-to-1,400-meter high mountains of emerald-green. Large and small mountains surrounding the fjord, little villages up the peaks and small Venetian port-towns with tile-roofed houses and the clear blue sea attest to the fact that this place does deserve being called ‘one of the most romantic panoramas in Europe.’
Each and every little coastal town in the shores of Boka Bay, enlisted in UNESCO’s world heritage list, are worth being discovered. Again under UNESCO protection, Tara Canyon, the second-greatest canyon in the world, and Skadar Lake, the biggest lake in the Balkans and one of the most important bird reserves of Europe, are also close to the Boka Bay. We recommend mooring your boat in the marina and making an excursion to these wonderful places.
Although Montenegro is a small country, it has well-equipped marinas that can host all sizes and types of yachts. The biggest marina of the country, Porto Montenegro, is in Tivat, in the heart of Boka Bay.
Boats up to 250 meters can be moored in the Porto Montenegro, meaning the marina can serve the biggest megayachts of the continent. With its capacity to host 450 yachts, Porto Montenegro offers a variety of services, including lifts, and is an important destination with its luxurious shops and fancy cafés. Other options are the Dukley Marina in Budva, with its capacity to moor 300 boats, and Bar and Herceg-Novi.
GotoSailing.com’s MapGuide shows Montenegro’s marinas with the services they offer and their navigation information. Here you can also see the sailing distances to the nearest marinas.
Multicultural Cuisine of Montenegro
Reviewed by sailors for sailors
You can taste the influences of Italian, Byzantine, Hungarian and Turkish cooking traditions in Montenegro, where there are differences in cuisine between the hinterland of the country and the sea side. The coastal provinces reflect more of the Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, quite impressive with the delicious seafood dishes. Here you must try ‘buzara,’ a seafood dish cooked in wine, and also the scrumptious shrimps of the Adriatic. The hinterlands are also worth discovering for their traditional dishes with lamb, and myriad sorts of cheese. Fresh vegetables, good quality meet and seafood are high lights of Montenegro’s local produces. You mustn’t leave Montenegro before tasting the food at the Seafood Restaurant Djardin in Perast.
Tivat and Porto Montenegro, the heart of luxury
Tivat used to host the navy yard of Austro-Hungarian Empire in the nineteenth century. This tradition is demonstrated in all its detail in the Maritime Heritage Museum, built right next to Porto Montenegro. The capital Podgorica is a nice place to visit, with a coast line suitable to take long walks, and has good beaches in Tivat, 1,5 hour driving distance. Don’t miss the chance to visit Donja Lastva, Tivat’s pretty little coast village.
Perast and ‘the Lady of the Rocks’
Sailing 15 minutes from Tivat gets you to the entrance of Kotor Bay. Here, you will be greeted by three islands, which once served as a perfect defense line for Kotor. It was almost impossible to enter old Kotor city back then. This region has numerous coves with restaurants, each having their own moorings. The most striking site around is Perast, which has baroque mansions and churches reminding of its ostentatious past. Right against the town there lie two wonderful islands, one is the St. George Island, which has a monastery from the twelfth century, and the other is the famous ‘Our Lady of Rocks’ Island. Although it really looks appealing with the stone walls and cypresses surrounding it, St. George Island is closed to visitors. Our Lady of Rocks is actually an artificial island, made of old or captured ships which were filled with rocks to sink there. The island hosts the Mother Mary Roman Catholic Church and a museum.
Kotor the Medieval City
Found by the Romans, Kotor has been ruled by the Ottomans, the French, and the Austro-Hungarians, but it has been the Venetians who gave the city its unique identity. Kotor lies right by the shores of the river outside its walls, and although it’s not built on water, its streets and buildings are reminiscent of Venice. Kotor’s gate by the sea shore is not surrounded by very tall walls, as the meandering shore line already provided the city with the protection it needed. These narrow straits gave Kotor many opportunities to defeat any enemy approaching the city from the sea, but it was difficult to defend herself against attacks that would come from the mountain side. This made the townsfolk carry huge stones 280 meters up the steep hills. And up there on the hill there lies a gorgeous church overlooking the panorama. Kotor used to be the center of weapon manufacturing in old times. You’ll love this city’s narrow hills and culture.
Budva and Sveti Stefan –Tito’s Place for the Jet-Set
To the south of Tivat and outside the Kotor Bay, Budva is the most touristic city of Montenegro. Although the buildings may seem rather too many, the antique town and that wonderful island called Sveti Stefan are well worth a visit. The city hosts Dukley Marina Budva, and as you move westwards, there are two pretty coves for day-trips: Jaz and Trsteno… Jaz Cove is also the venue for the great Sea Dance Festival held by the end of August every year.
The Sveti Stefan Island, the most iconic landscape of not only Budva but all Montenegro, has an interesting story. This fifteenth century settlement was built as a shelter against Turkish mariners and pirates, and it was a fishing village in the 1900s. Sveti Stefan was turned into a holiday heaven for the jet-set while Yugoslavia was ruled by Tito, and it was often visited by Orson Welles, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and other celebrities from the 1960s to 1980s. But it had to say goodbye to this glorious time as Yugoslavia fell apart. In order to regain the island’s lost glory, today’s Montenegro government has leased the island to Aman Resort for 30 years. Sveti Stefan’s tile-roofed houses and cobblestoned narrow streets lie in the shadow of cypresses, pine and olive trees. If you aren’t staying in the hotel on the isle, the only way to visit Sveti Stefan is to go to one of its restaurants, for which you need to book a few days in advance.
Winds and Weather in Montenegro
The winds blow mildly or moderately in Montenegro, which make it an ideal place for a sailing holiday. The summer season lasts from the beginning of June to the end of September. Throughout this time, mistral winds coming from the northwest blow during the afternoon, but the wind is never too strong. It’s live a pleasant offering for mariners who’d like to set sail. From time to time, more frequently in September, bora blowing from north can be sharp. This is a cold and dry wind. As it quickly descends the mountain and is observed in a limited space, it’s a katabatic wind. The Adriatic’s ‘jugo’ wind blows from the south and is a moist wind that carries rain and brings storms. You should also be wary of currents in Montenegro’s waters.
Montenegro enjoys the warm Mediterranean climate. During summer, temperatures rise over 30C in July and August. Seawater temperature reaches 24-25C around this time.