Sailing in Montenegro

Sailing in Montenegro – The 7 Best Spots

 

Montenegro is another amazing sailing spot in Mediterranean Sea. Landscapes are more mountainous then in Croatia, but Montenegro has strong assets and offers impressive Balkan landscapes.

Sveti Stefan incredible peninsula in Montenegrp

There are over 290 km (180 miles, 156 NM) of unspoilt coastline, and around 70 km of sandy beaches. Montenegro also offers great weather condition for sailing; more than 250 days under the sun a year and typical Mediterranean wind conditions.

As always in the Mediterranean sea, it’s best to sail in Montenegro out of the High Season (June, July and August), even if Montenegro remains for now less crowded than Croatia, but for how long ?

Montenegro was, in 1992, the first country in the world to have written in its constitution a text about the environmental protection. The Montenegrin constitution defines the country as a “Democratic, social and Ecological” nation.

Though I will present a few “mandatory” stopovers for sailing cruisers, there are also a lot of great spots to visit inland, such as the Tara Canyon in Durmitor Mountains, that is said to be the only possible rival from Colorado’s Grand Canyon (although much greener).

If, after reading this article, you want to learn more or decide to go there, you’ll need the “Adriatic Pilot, from the excellent Imray collection.

From West to East: Herceg Novi, the Perast twin Islands, Porto Montenegro, Kotor, Budva and Sveti Stefan are really fantastic places to discover for sailing hedonists!

The best Sailing spots in Montenegro

I won’t mention any overnight anchorage, since it’s difficult to find good anchorages in coves, especially in the Gulf of Kotor, because of the steep mountains (with air much colder than the Mediterranean sea breeze) that create strong winds falling off the mountains. The Katabatic, or Bora (local name of that wind) can blow strongly and make moorings impossible to hold. This being said, there are terrific anchorages and coves in Montenegro, at least for daytime, and probably some that offer safe and comfortable moorings.

If you’re sailing from North to South, starting from Croatian border (North), the first mandatory stopover is : HERCEG NOVI: 47°27’N; 18°32’350E,

View from uphill Herceg Novi
View from uphill Herceg Novi

Herceg Novi is located 4 Nautical Miles North from the entrance of the Gulf of Kotor (Boka Kotorska). This city, built in the 14th century, has a rich history and have been ruled by the King of Bosnia, Turks, Venetians, French, Austrians and Russian. The town suffered widely from the 1979 earthquake but many historic buildings remain and now benefit from the World Heritage Listing. The citadel, at the top of the city has been well restored and offers a great walk. You can easily spend one or two days in Herceg Novi.

Herceg Stjepan square in HErce Novi - Montenegro
Herceg Stjepan square in Herceg Novi – Montenegro

The old city is full of small squares related to each other by narrow streets and stairs. The area is very dense in vegetation (Mediterranean and tropical) that create great sceneries and smells. Herceg Novi is like a medieval botanical garden on the Mediterranean coast.

Have a coffee on the Herceg Stjepjan square, with its little church in the middle and Palm trees all around; you’ll fully enjoy the spirit and atmosphere of that awesome city.

The area around Herceg Novi is a great sailing spot for a day in the bay. The coves of Zanjic and Mirista are known for having the clearest waters in this part of the Adriatic.

The Habour offers around 30 berths for yachts up to 25 m, and is quite welcoming. You’ll find everything you need, even a few luxury shops in town.

KOTOR: 42° 25′ N; 18° 46′ E

View from the Bay of Kotor - © Elena Zarubina
View of the Bay of Kotor – © Elena Zarubina

The amazing Bay of Kotor, at the bottom of the Gulf of Kotor (Boka Kotorska) is among the 10 most beautiful bays in the world. The very well preserved medieval city of Kotor, listed as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO, is surrounded by fascinating mountains that rise well above 1.000m high.

The harbour of Kotor is a single  long quay where visiting yachts can berth. The view on the city and the mountains in the back is spectacular from the harbour. Both History and the wild Balkan Mountains are watching you !

The harbour of Kotor and the old town ©Tomfry
The harbour of Kotor and the old town

The Bay of Kotor is one of the 3 basins of the Gulf of Kotor: the innermost and the one surrounded with the steepest mountains.

Kotor City Wall
Kotor City Wall and the steep Balkan Mountains

There is a lot to see in the old city and a lot to learn about the European History as Kotor played an important role in numerous empires and therefore has a rich and diversified heritage. The splendid city wall, narrow streets, tiny squares and the Mediterranean mood make Kotor one of the most memorable stopovers in the Adriatic sea.

Saint Triphon Cathedral in Kotor
Saint Triphon Cathedral in Kotor

Once you’ll cross all three basins of the gulf, separated by relatively small natural corridors, you will find the city of “Kotor”, definitively one of the main attractions of Montenegro. The city wall that surrounds Kotor is 4,5 km long and is in a real good shape.

The old town is full of churches and cathedrals to visit, such as the Saint Triphon Cathedral (Sveti Trifun), a nice piece of Romanesque architecture. The Maritime Museum is also very attractive, you’ll see great pieces (ancient maps, weapons, etc.) of history and learn fascinating stories about Petar Zelalìc, a famous member of the Maltese Knights that made the glory of Boka Kotorska. If you bring kids, they might even like this visit.

There are 2 tiny islands in front of Perast, at the other end (NW) of the Bay of Kotor worth visiting. Gospa od Skrpjela is an artificial island hosting a church. Sveti Djordje also has it’s church. If you ask to the Kotor harbourmaster for instruction to go there sailing and berthing for the afternoon.

Gospa od Skrpjela
Gospa od Skrpjela – One of the twin Islands off Perast
View on the Islands off Perast -  Gospa od Skrpjela and Sveti Djordje
View on the Islands off Perast – Gospa od Skrpjela and Sveti Djordje

If you are in Kotor during August, you might also assist to the Boka’s Night (Bokeska Noc). It’s a city party with music in the streets and squares, and a boat defile in which local boats and barges are decorated and make a defile in the harbour. The night ends with fireworks. It’s a good time to be in the city.

View from the excellent restaurant “GALION” in Kotor, ©Hotel Vardar
View from the excellent restaurant “GALION” in Kotor, ©Hotel Vardar

If you’re looking for a nice restaurant, The “Galion”, on the east shore of the harbour is one of them. It has a nice view on the harbour, the old city and the mountains, from a modern terrace. It offers nice fish meals.

There is absolutely no way you could be disappointed.

PORTO MONTENEGRO (Marina in Tivat):  42˚ 26′ 076” N,  18˚ 41′ 634” E

Porto Montenegro is a luxury yacht marina in Tivat and the first comprehensive state-of-the-art deep water marina in the Adriatic Sea.

Porto Montenegro Luxury Marina in Tivat
Porto Montenegro Luxury Marina in Tivat

Porto Montenegro is still in a phase of development: there are now 250 secure berths ranging from 12 to 150 metres, with a further 185 in planning. It also features 130 luxury residences, over 20 retail outlets, a yacht club, fine restaurants, lively bars and a wide range of sports and entertainment amenities. Porto Montenegro also provides a 24/7 Yacht Assist experts, who help with everything from supplying your favourite champagne to solving technical problems.

Montenegro has the most yacht-friendly legislation in Europe. Advantages include duty-free fuel and reduced VAT on marine services. Porto Montenegro is also an official Port of Entry, with a customs and immigration office located directly in the marina.

Projects related to Porto Montenegro also include an 18-hole golf course in the vicinity of Tivat Airport, and a yacht maintenance facility.

View on the Gulf of Kotor, from the Purobeach of Porto Montenegro
View on the Gulf of Kotor, from the Purobeach of Porto Montenegro

Once in Porto Montenegro, you can also enjoy the Purobeach Porto Montenegro – a chic beach club launched last summer by one of European’s hippest beach club operators. Suspended above the Bay of Kotor, with views of the surrounding mountains and the marina of Porto Montenegro, the 64-meter pool appears to be an extension of the bay. Purobeach features sunbeds, cabanas, a boutique, as well as a lounge area with two bars and a restaurant. DJs spin beats from sunrise until night, and visitors can enjoy yoga classes and sea-side spa treatments. Guests arriving by private boat are able to anchor directly next to Purobeach and leave their dinghy at the private pier.

BUDVA : 42°16’ N; 18°50’ E

Budva is located 25 Nautical Miles SE of the exit of the Gulf of Kotor, it’s a very pleasant sailing leg. The landscapes in this Part of the Montenegrin coast are quite different from those in the gulf of Kotor. Mountains leave room for long fine sand beaches and the water is clearer and clearer.

View on Budva, one of Montenegro's jewels
View on Budva, one of Montenegro’s jewels
Narrow street in the old Budva - The Montenegrin Saint Tropez
Narrow street in the old Budva – The Montenegrin Saint Tropez

Budva is really fantastic, it’s kind of a Montenegrin Saint-Tropez. It’s a beautiful and charming old walled city lying in a natural Mediterranean harbour and a lot of fortunate tourists coming during the summer. You’ll spend a great time walking through Budva’s narrow streets and enjoying the Montenegrin version of “La Dolce Vita

 

SVETI STEFAN: 42°15’300″ N; 18°53’750″ E

It’s hard to find a better end for an article about the greatest sailing spots in Montenegro than Sveti Stefan. It’s basically a postcard decor, a huge Luxury hotel village on a dream peninsula with fine sand beach on each side of the coast. The whole medieval picturesque village was transformed in the 1950’, during the communist area into a luxury resort…). Despite this strange destiny, the village remains a terrific spot. The best here is to let pictures do the talk.

Sveti Stefan Peninsula in Montenegro is among the very best sailing spots in the Mediterranean Sea
Sveti Stefan Peninsula in Montenegro is among the very best sailing spots in the Mediterranean Sea
Sveti Stefan Peninsula in Montenegro

Note that you can moor in front of the beach SE from the Sveti Stefan village (well.. luxury resort).

To sum it up, Montenegro is another great place to sail in Mediterranean that offers unique landscapes and has a rich history. It’s the perfect succession for a cruise in Croatia.

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Thanks for reading, have fun sailing,

Aurélien

Administrative informations:

Tourists from West European countries can enter Montenegro either with Identity Card or a Passport.
Visa is not required.

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