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Montenegro…. Where Mountains Meet the Bay

25 May 2016

The Mediterranean is a popular yachting destination owing to transparent blue water, lovely coastal villages, and delightful Mediterranean climate. Outstanding regional cuisine, accompanied by great local wines only enhances the experience. With popularity rising to its height in the summer season, competition for the best marina berths, secluded mooring spots, and quiet beaches runs large. There is, however, a place with all of the beauty and a bit less of the buzz in the stunning coastline of Montenegro.

Tucked in between Croatia’s intricate coast to the north, and the Albanian coast to the south, Montenegro has quietly become the fashionable escape for many an exclusive yachting adventure. The glorious Bay of Kotor’s 28 miles of fjord, the longest of all in southern Europe, leads to waters once sailed by ancient Illyrians, conquered by Romans, and peacefully existing today after a long, challenging history. Neolithic remains, Medieval villages, a modern superyacht marina, and busy beachside nightlife are rapidly earning Montenegro a status badge, but there is still much unspoiled territory to explore, with fewer crowds to invade the view. While you could spend two weeks simply cruising about the Bay of Kotor, there are several interesting destinations along Montenegro’s Adriatic coastline.

Our suggestion for seven delicious days departs from Porto Montenegro, reaching for a loop to the south, returning to Kotor. We are certain this itinerary will provide both a fabulous journey as well as unique talking points upon your return home, gathering envious glances as you retrace your route.

Day 1: Settle into your splendid yacht in the lovely new superyacht facilities at Porto Montenegro. Cruise the Bay of Kotor, arriving at Kotor city and it’s old town ramparts and architecture. This excellent natural harbor is home to many scenic, fortified villages set into the cliffs of the Balkan range, where magnificent mountains plunge dramatically into the bay.

Day 2: Admire the Bay of Kotor’s stunning waters, with pretty bays and cliffside villages clinging to rock on your way to the city of Kotor. Step off the yacht to explore old town Kotor’s churches, cathedrals, monuments, and authentic architecture. Refreshed, but allowed to gracefully show their age, the buildings of Kotor tell their story well. Great mountain backdrops provide stunning panoramas, and for those with the stamina to climb the steep 1,350 steps to the peak at the fortress of St. John, the view delivers vast rewards. The massive peaks provide a glorious view of the red tile roofs and whitewashed walls of the city against the blue waters of the bay.

Day 3: Cruise back through the Bay of Kotor to Perast, past two pretty islands, St. George and Lady of the Rocks, each with its own beautiful chapel reflected in the smooth, clear waters of the bay. With the hill of St. Elijah as a backdrop, this lovely town shows its Medieval roots in art and architecture, as well as its romantic side. Beautiful cruising here around the islands makes for a leisurely day on the water, navigating back to the entrance to the Bay of Kotor at Herceg Novi. Dive the Blue Grotto caves, explore the 1,000 year old trees and ancient stone houses, and Arza Castle.

Day 4: Cruising south along the coast to Budva, where beaches, monuments, shops, galleries, and the City Theatre welcome tourists and entertain locals. The Budvanska Riviera invites idyllic beach days in this ancient town with Illyrian relics dating back to the 5th century BC. Also stroll the open-air markets for souvenirs. Known for its summer nightlife, Jaz Beach holds concerts with international rock stars, and the clubs stay open late to accommodate those on holiday. The lovely island of Sveti Stefan deserves a look, home to a beautiful upscale resort.

Day 5: Cruise north back to Rose at the entrance to the Bay of Kotor. Tender in to Dobrec Beach, accessible only by water from the bay, for a charming visit to an old fashioned fishing community with an eye for capturing a small, select clientele. Unspoiled and off the beaten track, Dobrec offers a relaxed visit with exceptional views.

Day 6: Cruise the coast back to Tivot and Porto Montenegro, exploring islands, coastline, fishing, and diving.

Day 7: Disembark.

Customized itineraries scheduling an additional week or two may include destinations along the coasts of Croatia, Albania, and Greece, or passage across the sea to Italy. The Montenegrin introduction to Mediterranean cruising is as close to perfection as any, with enough traffic and buzz to make it interesting, yet plenty of largely unexplored, quiet villages and majestic scenery. The exceptional facilities at Porto Montenegro are especially welcome for neophytes, while accommodating experience sailors with ease.

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