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Montenegro Yacht Charter Guide

A yacht charter in Montenegro is like floating into the setting of a fairy tale, where medieval towns are dwarfed by thousand metre mountains, picture-perfect chapels sit on tiny river islands, and Venetian palaces line the shore, their belltowers reflecting in the mirror-still water.

Legend goes that Montenegrins once stretched a chain across the Bay of Kotor to prevent marauding Barbary pirates from entering; today, this tiny nation has opened up to become a yachting paradise.

The Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

On a Montenegro yacht charter you’ll cruise through the breathtaking Bay of Kotor, dropping anchor to swim into emerald, pine-fringed coves, drink cocktails in glamorous beach clubs, and stroll the maze-like streets of Kotor before dining in the luxury superyacht marina at Porto Montenegro.

The Lido at Porto Montenegro Yacht Club

Out on the steep Adriatic coast, olive groves and rugged cliffs overlook vivid blue-green sea on the Lustica Peninsula, and the jet-set gather for summer fun on the Budva Riviera and on the exclusive islet of Sveti Stefan, linked to the mainland by a strip of perfect pink sand.

Yet Montenegro’s charms are not limited to the coast. Up in Montenegro’s high country, you’ll discover a primeval landscape of glacial lakes and deep, dark forest where bears and wolves still roam, and snow-white monasteries sit above rivers that plunge through Europe’s deepest gorges, carrying white water rafters through the milky blue rapids.

Crno Jezero, lake in Montenegro

It is no wonder that Lord Byron, the great Romantic poet, wrote this of Montenegro:

‘At the birth of our planet, the most beautiful encounter between the land and the sea must have happened on the Montenegrin coast.’

Stay a While in Montenegro : A Yacht Charter Destination in its Own Right

Due to its superb Porto Montenegro marina, breathtaking setting, and attractive duty free fuel, many superyacht guests visit Montenegro for a day or two, before cruising up the coast to begin a Croatia yacht charter from Dubrovnik.

The town of Perast in Montenegro

But hold on. For tiny, wild Montenegro has more than enough to keep you busy for a week-long charter, and it’s high time that this deliriously beautiful country was considered a charter destination in its own right.

To show you just how much there is to do on a yacht charter in Montenegro, we’ve created this in-depth Montenegro yacht charter guide covering the main superyacht destinations in the country, from Porto Montenegro in the Bay of Kotor down to the old pirate lair of Ulcinj in the south, where flamingos gather in their thousands, shipwrecks litter the seabed, and minarets dominate the fortress city skyline.

Porto Montenegro/Tivat

Over the last decade, Tivat has accomplished what must be one of the greatest transformations of any town in Europe, morphing from a drab former Yugoslavian naval base into a stunning superyacht precinct known as the ‘Monaco of Montenegro’.

The town’s renewal has been led by the very swanky Porto Montenegro development, with its state of the art 450 berth superyacht marina, palm-lined promenade, and oh-so photogenic infinity pool.

Superyachts in Porto Montenegro

Guests arriving in Porto Montenegro to begin their Montenegro yacht charter might well find it hard to leave again, as you drink cocktails on a white sunbed by the ritzy Yacht Club Pool, browse the haute couture boutiques by Cartier, Celine, Chopard et al, or hit the spa at the opulent 5-star Hotel Regent. There’s also art galleries, a sports club for tennis, squash or yoga, and even a Naval Heritage Museum complete with a full-size submarine on display.

Alexandar V ISA yacht in Porto Montenegro

But don’t get too comfortable in port, as you’ll want to visit Almara Beach Club, located just beyond Tivat in a dreamy little cove. Relax on a daybed with a bottle of rose’, launch off the wooden deck into turquoise water, or lunch on the glamorous restaurant deck with stunning Adriatic views. Alternatively, Waikiki Beach Club and Movida Beach Club are also within a stone’s throw of Porto Montenegro for some decadent beach club action.

The Lido at Porto Montenegro

Stay at the beach until sunset cocktails, before the yacht’s tender arrives on the dock to whisk you back to your yacht, where you’ll dress for dinner before stepping ashore into the warm night air. The smartest table in Porto Montenegro is the Chef’s Table, an elite private dining experience for up to 6 guests offering a bespoke menu created by the Executive Chef.

Alternatively, take a terrace table at De Gustibus for a fish meal overlooking the pool and out across the shimmering bay to the mountains, keep things casual with a wood-fired pizza at Al Posto Giusto or indulge in an elegant Lebanese feast at Byblos.

Porto Montenegro at Dusk

After dinner, a nightcap at the Regent Library Bar is a must, offering live music in a plush gentleman’s club interior. If you want to carry on, then the A-list Club Platinum calls your name, and calls it loudly.

Kotor

The next morning the yacht will cruise to Kotor, a magnificent walled town nestled like a hidden gem at the very end of the fjord.

Aerial view of the old town of Kotor, Montenegro

A UNESCO-listed beauty often likened to a ‘mini-Dubrovnik’, Kotor is a sheer delight to explore, as you follow its maze of cobbled lanes opening out into marble paved squares lined with pavement cafes, and walk into the cool, whisper-quiet Romanesque churches, including the 12th century Cathedral of Saint Tryphon.

The main square in Kotor, Montenegro

The walk along the ramparts is a standout, for the city’s walls extend in a steep zigzag up the mountain behind the town to St John’s Castle, offering breathtaking views across the terracotta roofs, limestone cliffs, and the deep blue bay.

Stunning views from above Kotor

When you’ve had your fill of exploring, adjourn to the Old Winery in the Old Town to sample some excellent wine and cheese and listen to some live jazz or blues for an hour or two.

For dinner, there are a couple of very good tables in Kotor that deserve your attention, in particular Galion Restaurant on the waterfront, which is famous for its squid ink risotto and local fish dishes in a fresh modern setting. For something more traditional in tone, Konoba Koliba offers a delicious sample of ‘everything our ancestors used to eat’, with a varied menu of wood-fired meats and seafoods.

Alternatively, hop in the yacht’s tender and arrive in style at Stari Mlini near Kotor, a restaurant set in a 400 year old flour mill complete with a waterwheel and wooden bridges crossing emerald streams. Take a table on the terrace and drink in the enchanted setting as the sun sets across the Bay of Kotor.

If you’re in the mood to party after dinner, Maximus is one of Montenegro’s biggest clubs and has hosted a huge line-up of international DJs including Fat Boy Slim, David Guetta, and Bob Sinclar.

Perast

The romantic town of Perast is not far from Kotor as you cruise back up the fjord, but it is remarkably different in appearance, with white stone buildings and Baroque palaces lining the waterfront.

Perast, Montenegro

Perast has been occupied since the Neolithic age, but reached its glorious zenith under Venetian rule during the 17th and 18th centuries, leaving behind a dazzling architectural legacy of palaces, Catholic churches, and defensive towers.

Take a morning walk along the shore, marvelling at the mirror image of the town’s spires and belltowers reflected in the fjord, before adjourning to the elegant Hotel Conte Restaurant for as splendid seafood lunch on the terrace.

Our Lady of the Rocks in Perast, Montenegro

Spend an afternoon at anchor off one of the desperately pretty islands just offshore, either Our Lady of the Rocks with its 18th century church, or Sveti Dorde with its 12th century Benedictine monastery.

Sveti Dorde, Montenegro

These picturesque islands with their tiny chapels have graced many a Montenegrin tourist brochure, and you’ll have the perfect backdrop as you swim off the back of the yacht and play on the watertoys. Alternatively, you can head back across the water to one of the beach clubs near Porto Montenegro, where the jet-set gather on summer afternoons to swim and listen to chilled summer DJ beats.

A 200 year old flour mill that has been converted into a stunningly picturesque restaurant by the sea, Catovica Mlini offers just the right blend of the rustic and the elegant for dinner, with a superb seafood-heavy menu which particularly excels with its shrimp dishes. Take a table in the vine-covered pagoda in the lush grounds or inside the old mill, where thick stone walls and candlelight create a romantic atmosphere.

There are magical moments on a Montenegro yacht charter than linger in the memory, and dinner at Catovica Mlini may just be one of them.

Herceg Novi

Located at the mouth of the Bay of Kotor and at the foot of Mount Orjen,  Herceg Novi is known as the ‘City of Stairs’, as you’ll soon appreciate as you climb the higgledy-piggledy stairs between its steep, flowery streets.

‘Novi’ may technically translate as ‘new’, but this is all rather relative in this part of the world, as Herceg Novi was established in 1382, and its old town or ‘Stari Grad’ is a great place to go ashore and soak up some history, before taking the walk along to the therapeutic mud baths at Igalo.

The town of Herceg Novi in Montenegro

For wine lovers, a trip into the hills is a joy, where the boutique Castel Savina Winery sits perched high above the coast, offering jaw dropping views across the vineyards down to the sea, as well as some excellent wines including an award-winning merlot. There’s also the 17th  century Savina Monastery to explore.

Offshore, you’ll find a magnificent dive site at the Tihany Wreck, an old cargo steamship which is surrounded by ceramic remnants of ancient shipwrecks that have foundered in the same spot.

Lustica Peninsula

Just across the water from Herceg Novi is the Lustica Peninsula, a beautiful olive and pine covered headland that curves out into the mouth of the Bay of Kotor. A quiet yachting paradise of secret beaches and sleepy villages, the Lustica Peninsula is presently undergoing a luxury transformation, with the Lustica Bay development set to open in stages from 2018, bringing a yacht marina, a championship golf course, and luxury hotels.

While exploring the Lustica Peninsula, you’ll definitely want to drop anchor and kayak into the spectacular Blue Cave, before heading ashore to Dobrec Beach to laze in a hammock and perhaps order some fresh-caught fish from the rustic beach restaurant. Dobrec Beach is often called ‘Secret Beach’ as the cove is only accessible by boat; for a bigger beach, head to Zancije which is backed by olive groves, or for cliff-jumping fun, ask your captain to set the course for Uvalo Veslo.

Zanjic Beach in Lustica, Montenegro

Active charterers may want to rent a bike and cycle along to the extremely pretty fishing hamlet of Rose, while history buffs will definitely want to take the yacht out to the imposing Mamula Fort, which sits on its own private island just offshore.

After a day of exploring, make your way to Ribarsko Selo waterfront restaurant for a sunset cocktail with a fashionable crowd. Of course, with a masseuse on hand and daybeds on a bathing deck by the sea, you could happily spend your whole day here!

Budva

The town of Budva is a darling of the superyacht set, and it’s not difficult to see why. With its marble paved streets, shady stone courtyards and chic restaurants, Budva is an irresistible mix of the medieval and the modern, with a buzzing party vibe that kicks off after sunset after a day lazing about on one of Budva’s superb beaches.

Start off your day with a wander around Budva’s romantic Stari Grad (Old Town), admiring the fantastic views from the Citadel or the churches of St Ivan or St Mary’s of Punta. Step through the thick city walls onto the Town Beach to enjoy a cold café frappe on a lounger at one of the beach cafes, watching the translucent sea lap rhythmically at the smooth pebbles.

The old town of Budva, Montenegro

It’s not just the town itself that charms, as Budva is flanked by no less than 17 beaches, on a cliff-and-cove coastline so gorgeous it has been named the Budva Riviera. Jaz Beach is the most lively of the beaches, with a strip of restaurants and great conditions for windsurfers and kitesurfers. Jaz Beach also hosts the Sea Dancer Festival each summer, a live music concert which has been described by Forbes as one of Europe’s top summer festivals. Becici, Mogren, Guvance and Kamenova are other very popular Budva beaches, or you could head to Torch Beach Club on Slovenska Beach, a swish poolside beach club which morphs into the perfect place for sundowners.

If you’re in the mood for something a little more placid, rejoin your yacht and heading out to Sveti Nikola, an island of dramatic cliffs and pretty coves, where fallow deer wander among the trees and crusader graves surround the whitewashed church. If you’d prefer a day trip inland, the old royal capital of Cetinje is a quiet beauty on a valley hillside, promising palaces, museums and theatres in a place that feels untouched by the passing of the centuries.

Dukley Beach Lounge in Budva, Montenegro

For dinner, take a table at Dukley Beach Lounge in Dukley Gardens, where you’ll dine at white cloth tables on the beach, with views back to Budva’s Old Town and St Nikola Island. The restaurant terrace atop Astoria Hotel is also a wonderfully atmospheric place to dine.

Budva’s summer nightlife scene is famously good, and we suggest you start off by just wandering around the streets of the old town to find a bar that suits your mood. Vinajera is a great wine bar, Casper sets the scene perfectly with DJ’s under the pines, and Greco absolutely packs out the square on summer nights. There’s also a multitude of bars along the waterfront.  Alternatively, Budva has some impressive theatre events during summer, from organised performances in venues to street performers.

Top Hill club in Budva

When it’s time to turn up the heat, it’s up the hill to Top Hill, an open-air superclub which hosts 5000 people and top international DJs.

Sveti Stefan

Today you’ll drop anchor off one of the most photographed places in all of Eastern Europe. A tiny walled village on an islet connected to the mainland by a causeway, Sveti Stefan has a fairy-tale setting, a fairy-tale foundation story—and a fairy-tale clientele of Hollywood starlets and royals.

Sveti Stefan in Montenegro

An ancient fishing village, Sveti Stefan’s walls were built to protect the villagers from invading Turks and Barbary pirates in the 14th century. The fisher folk are long gone, replaced in the 20th century by movie stars and aristocrats who came to sunbathe on the islet’s pink sand beaches, bathe in its blue-green waters, and dine on shady courtyards under the pines.

Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Kirk Douglas were guests in the 1960’s, with Sophia Loren claiming that her visits were reminiscent of ‘the most beautiful fairy tale of my childhood’. Now privately owned by ultra-luxury hotel group Aman Resorts and still a hedonistic summer playground of the rich and famous, you’ll need to be dining at the resort’s restaurants to be allowed on the island of Sveti Stefan itself.

However, some of the finest views of the island are actually looking back at the jumble of terracotta roofs and stone cottages from a distance, which you can do from either of the two pink sand beaches leading out to the island, Milocer Beach or Queen’s Beach, or from the adjoining township on the mainland.

Aerial view of Sveti Stefan

When it comes to dining, you’ve got some seriously impressive choices. The previously mentioned Aman Restaurant has to die-for views from its cliff-edge and poolside terrace, while the Aman hotel also has a refined Dining Room Restaurant across the causeway on the mainland in the Villa Milocer, once the summer residence of the former Queen of Yugoslavia. The Villa Milocer is also the location of the Aman Hotel’s genuinely phenomenal Aman Spa, a 1600 square metre wellness temple complete with an indoor pool that must be seen to be believed.

Aman resort Montenegro

One of the most sought after tables is at the summer popup of Nobu, which stuns from its position high up on the mainland at Queen’s Chair, looking across the Adriatic coastline from its dreamy hillside terrace. At Nobu, you’ll want to arrive before sunset and begin with a champagne and fresh raspberry cocktail, before sampling the signature dishes of black cod miso and rock shrimp tempura.

Nobu restaurant Montenegro

But one of the best views of all is from the deck of your yacht, so you’ll definitely want to have a meal onboard as well while visiting Sveti Stefan. Breakfast at anchor, lunch at Aman, dinner at Nobu perhaps? There are worse ways to pass a day on a yacht charter in Montenegro.

Bar

Today, your yacht will make its way down the coast to Bar, a town of two astonishingly different parts. On the coast, the new town of Bar features a modern marina, museums, and pretty beaches shaded by palm trees, while 4 kilometres inland, the ruined Byzantine fortress town of Stari Bar looms on a hill over the landscape, with stunning steep old streets and ruined buildings to explore.

The beach at Bar, Montenegro

Once a thriving fortress city, Stari Bar came under attack from waves of invaders over the centuries, from the Venetians through to the Ottoman Empire. Finally taken back from the Turks in 1877, the city was hit by an earthquake in 1979, destroying the ancient aqueduct water source and forcing the townspeople to move down to the coast.

Now with its aqueduct restored and makeshift cafes and shops springing up to cater to the tourist trade, villagers are moving back and setting up house in the shadow of the city walls. Stari Bar is a richly atmospheric place to visit on your Montenegro yacht charter, with highlights including the 17th century town hammam and the 2000 year old olive tree just below the city.

Ulcinj

An old pirate lair perched near the Albanian border, the beautiful resort town of Ulcinj on Montenegro’s south coast has a dramatically different flavour from the towns further north. As you approach by yacht, the mosque minarets rise up above the walled fortress city, while down below, the beaches are lined with the umbrellas of lively beach cafes, and locals sit and chat in the shade of an ancient olive tree.

Ulcinj was ruled by the Ottoman Empire and is still majority Albanian Muslim, so this is a perfect place to appreciate Montenegro’s cultural balancing act between east and west as you wander past the pretty blue and green dome of Bregut Mosque, admire the Sailor’s Mosque set in a grand former lighthouse, and sample the wares in the bustling food market.

Ulcinj is well-known for its fabulous beaches, with standouts at Long Beach and Valdanos Beach. There’s also beautiful beaches (nudist) on the nearby river island Ada Bonjana, which is also an excellent windsurfing location and home to some very good seafood restaurants for lunch.

Ulcinj in Montenegro

Ulcinj also offers an excellent winery in the nearby hills, Vinarija Milovic, where the Vranac Status Barrique wine is a highlight, while you can also visit Ulcinj Salina, where flamingos gather in their thousands on the salt pans—the only place in the Mediterranean they do so.

Ulcinj once boasted the third largest fleet in the Adriatic with many battles taking place offshore, so the sea floor is a rich trove for wreck divers, with remains of pirate, naval, and merchant ships which met their watery end. There’s even remains of a submerged Roman town called Oleotopolis.

Back in Ulcinj, wind down your afternoon with a drink or two at one of the many beach clubs perched on cliffs along the shore, with Aquarius Beach Club among the best of them. Cool off with a dive off the swim platform and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere among a young, happy crowd. For dinner, the best view by far is from the romantic clifftop terrace of Antigona, but you will probably prefer want to spend your last evening on the yacht, enjoying a moonlit meal at anchor off the stunning Adriatic coast, Albania’s mountains rising up in the distance.

Breathtaking Inland Adventures

One of the many delights of a Montenegro yacht charter is that because the country is so tiny, even the inland attractions are extremely accessible from your yacht on the coast.

Tara River Canyon in Montenegro

So, where will it be first? The mind-blowing Monastery of Ostrog, which is built into a sheer cliff-face 900m above the Zeta Valley? White water rafting along the Tara River Canyon in Durmitor National Park, home of the deepest gorges in Europe and mesmerising clouds of butterflies? If you’re in the mood for breathtaking natural grandeur, the Biogradska Gora National Park stuns with its 9 glacial lakes, rugged mountains, and deep primeval forest hiding bears and wolves, while the largest lake in Europe, Lake Skadar, spans the Montenegro and Albanian border.

Lake Skadar, Montenegro

After a day of hiking, quad-biking or mountain-biking through Montenegro’s wild beauty, return to your yacht on the Adriatic coast to swim and dine and bliss out by the peacock-blue sea.

Heart shaped lights in Kotor, Montenegro at night

Welcome to the fairy tale, with a Montenegro yacht charter through Bespoke Yacht Charter:

This article was written by Jo Morgan – Jo is a freelance writer for yachts and travel, offering targeted feature articles, content marketing, blogs and press releases for the yachting and travel industries.

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