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Insider’s guide to Montenegro: the emerald gem of the Adriatic

By Nina Done   7 October 2021

Offering an abundance of verdant pine-scented forests in a series of rugged peaks and deep river canyons, alongside labyrinthine medieval towns, UNESCO World Heritage sites, vast stretches of golden beaches and breathtaking scenic beauty, Montenegro is a true jewel in the heart of the Mediterranean, tailor-made for luxury yacht charters.

Nestled between Croatia and Albania, Montenegro is one of Europe’s smallest countries. This tiny Balkan nation has been occupied variously by the French, Venetians and Austrians, to name a few, evidenced by the stunning architecture and rich cultural heritage that runs through its very fabric.

View of Kotor Old Town in Montenegro

Bolstered by a fine climate and unhurried pace of life, it’s easy to see the appeal of this beautiful country. And with the glorious cruising grounds on offer, coupled with the huge success of its elite world-class superyacht Marina at Porto Montenegro, it’s small wonder it has become a serious hotspot for luxury yacht vacations in the Mediterranean.

We’ve listed below some of our reasons why this Adriatic gem should be on your radar for your next yacht charter;

World-class marina

Once a historic naval base, Porto Montenegro is now one of the most elite marinas in the Mediterranean. Located in Tivat in the stunning Bay of Kotor, this vast award-winning marina offers an array of five star facilities, including a vibrant marina village lined with sculptural art installations, boasting upscale bars, restaurants, designer emporiums and high-end boutiques.

View over Porto Montenegro
Yachts in Porto Montenegro
Porto Montenegro

At the heart of the marina lies the glamorous yacht club, which offers its exclusive members access to a range of superlative facilities, including a member’s lounge, private dining, 64-meter infinity pool, fitness centre and tennis courts, as well as a mezzanine cocktail bar, rooftop restaurant and nightclub. 

Nearby, Nikki Beach recently opened its doors, sprinkling a little Saint Tropez allure over the town with its usual heady mix of buzzy beachclubs and uber-luxe poolside dwellings.

Porto Montenegro at night

Tivat International Airport is located a mere 10 minutes drive from the marina, and well-accustomed to accommodating private jets and chartered flights; perfect for quick, fuss-free transfers to your waiting charter yacht.

Tax haven

Montenegro has ensured its enduring popularity with the SuperyachtSet by writing yacht charter-friendly legislation into its incredibly generous tax laws. 

These include zero VAT on yacht charters, coupled with tax and duty-free fuel – often one of the biggest expenses on a yacht charter. Porto Montenegro conveniently provides duty-free fuelling at the end of its marina, which can accommodate yachts up to 250m/820ft LOA, and operates year-round.

And if that wasn’t enough of an incentive, Montenegro is also outside of EU tax and import regulations.

On top of this, there are no restrictions on pick ups and drop offs throughout the charter, so you and your guests can come and go as you please, saving on laborious formalities and leaving you more time to enjoy everything this fascinating country has to offer.

Spectacular cruising grounds

With easy access to Greece, Italy and Croatia, Montenegro is the ideal location to commence your yacht charter. Offering nearly 300km of breathtaking verdurous coastline, uninhabited islets, charming red-roofed villages and tranquil harbours, not to mention crystal-clear waters and an array of ancient historic sites, you may never make it past the borders! 

Bay of Kotor

This vast fjord-like winding bay – known in Montenegrin as Boka Kotorska, or more simply, Boka — has been occupied since antiquity and is remarkably deep, nearly 60m/200ft in places.

Bay of Kotor in Montenegro

Set in the heart of the Montenegrin coastline against the backdrop of sheer verdurous mountains, the warm waters of the Adriatic vie with the cool fresh streams that run off the steep hillsides creating the beautiful clear jade waters that surround the must-see picturesque coastal towns of Kotor, Tivat, Perast, Prčanj and Herceg Novi. 

Kotor Old Town

Overlooked by the imposing limestone cliffs of the Lovćen massif in the south of the Bay of Kotor, this UNESCO-protected fortified town is the oldest in Montenegro, and arguably the loveliest. Kotor’s bulwarks extend for nearly 3 miles, behind which lie a maze of cobbled streets, cafe-strewn squares and glorious Gothic and Byzantine architecture, culminating in the town’s centrepiece; the St Tryphon Cathedral, dating back to 1166 and home to a variety of medieval frescoes and a treasury of jewels. 

Church of Our Lady of Remedy in Kotor at sunset
Insider’s guide to Montenegro: the emerald gem of the Adriatic photo 8Saint Tryphon cathedral in Kotor Old Town, Montenegro
Winding steps up to St John's Fortress in Kotor, Montenegro

Many visitors enjoy scaling the 1,350 steps up to the top of St John’s Fortress, where the sweeping views over the town and bay make the challenging climb well-worth the effort.

Our Lady of the Rocks (Gospa od Škrpjela)

One of two islands situated off the idyllic Venetian port town of Perast, Our Lady of the Rocks is a man-made structure made of stone gathered by locals after, according to legend, a fishermen found an icon of Madonna and Child stranded on a rock in the sea in 1452 and vowed to build a church in its place.

Our Lady of the Rocks in Montenegro

Over time, the local fishermen would add another rock after each successful voyage until the island was formed, along with a glorious blue-domed 17th century chapel. The locals still celebrate this tradition on the 22nd July every year when they take their boats out at sunset to throw rocks into the sea for the event, known locally as fašinada.

Adjacent to Our Lady of the Rocks, lies the (naturally-formed) island, Sveti Đorđe. This tiny cypress-strewn islet boasts its own 12th century Benedictine monastery where the ancient nobility of Perast are buried, although tourists are not permitted to enter.

Sveti Dorde in Montenegro
Both Sveti Dorde and Our Lady of the Rocks in Montenegro

Both islands have become a major attraction for anyone visiting Montenegro. Picture-perfect and framed against a lush mountainous backdrop, these tiny islets capture the idyllic essence of Montenegro, and well-worth a visit. 

​​Sveti Stefan

Located at the end of a causeway, this picturesque islet used to be the secluded bolt-hole for Hollywood glitterati, including Marilyn Munroe, Sofia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor. 

Sveti Stefan in Montenegro
Insider’s guide to Montenegro: the emerald gem of the Adriatic photo 15Beachfront at Sveti Stefan in Montenegro

Characterised by Montenegro’s iconic red-roofed stone architecture and awash with cypress and pine trees, this original 15th century fishing village is now a private five-star resort and spa. However, you can anchor nearby and enjoy the beautiful clear waters and spectacular views as you enjoy a delicious alfresco lunch onboard under the glorious Montenegrin sun.

Blue Cave

Located in the Luštica peninsula, tucked inside the rocks lies a beautiful natural phenomenon; a shimmering cerulean blue cave. 

Blue cave in Montenegro

This exquisite light is caused as sunlight from the hole in the cavern’s top bounces off the sandy bottom of the clear waters below, forming the iridescent hues that have made this cave a popular hotspot. 

Stunning beaches

Although sometimes overlooked by some of its more popular East Mediterranean contemporaries, Montenegro boasts its own bevvy of standout beaches, all set against a backdrop of lush mountains and lapped by exquisite crystalline waters, making a trip to the beach a highly-instagrammable affair.

The world’s your oyster on a yacht, making accessing hard to reach secluded beaches a doddle. Jump in the tender and take a ride over to Sveti Nikola (St Nicholas Island), located just off the coast opposite Budva Old Town, which offers not one but 3 beautiful sand beaches, as well as an array of secret coves and rocky capes. 

This island is covered with fragrant pines and conifers, making this the perfect spot for a picnic lunch. For nature lovers, the island is also home to a variety of birds and unique wildlife.

Dobreč beach offers a tranquil stretch of sand that is only accessible by boat. Nestled between two wooded headlands, this blue-flagged beach is the perfect haven away from the hustle and bustle of the summer tourists, where you can dive off the boat into gin-clear waters or head ashore to the beach’s sole restaurant, renowned for its stunning seasonal dishes delivered to your table as you soak up the astonishing views across the water.

Dobrec Beach in Montenegro

The vibrant Jaz beach (pictured below), where they host the annual Sea Dance Festival and the picturesque, child-friendly Plavi Horizonti – another blue-flagged beach – ideal for snorkeling in the turquoise-clear waters, are also both well worth a visit. 

Jaz Beach in Montenegro

Need some more information?

To find out more about chartering in the region, check out our in-depth Montenegro yacht charter guide for more information.

If you’d like to learn more about chartering a luxury yacht, please contact your yacht charter broker.

If you are interested in booking a yacht for your next charter vacation you can view and compare the entire fleet of yachts available for charter.

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