Lay of the Land
Montenegro, which means black mountains, is a tiny country (only 13,000 square kilometers with roughly 600,000 inhabitants) that was formerly part of Yugoslavia. Achieving independence in 2006, Montenegro also qualifies as one of the world’s “newest” countries.
But with close to 300 kilometers on the Adriatic and spectacular mountains rising behind the coastline, it has long been a favorite resort area for the region’s inhabitants. In fact, it offers some of the best skiing in its mountains and beaches on its coast as well as five national parks, so not surprisingly, it is where many in Yugoslavia and other Eastern bloc countries chose to holiday.
For centuries, in fact, its dramatic beauty has been hailed by foreign travelers from Italian painters to English poets. While its historic towns were left unscathed by Balkan unrest, a major earthquake in 1979 destroyed almost 60 percent of its historic port Kotor. Now, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the old town has been restored and stands as a smaller, less touristed example of a walled city than Dubrovnik.
Yachtsmen have discovered the wonders of Montenegro’s crystal clear waters and uninhabited islands. In fact, some of the world’s choosiest travelers, among them Lord Jacob Rothschild and Bernard Arnault, believe that this is such a coastal jewel that they have invested in the new Porto Montenegro. Whether you come by yacht or stay on land, this is now one of the chicest places on the Med.
The two international airports are in Podgorica and Tivat. Tivat is closer to the coastal resorts about 20 kilometers from Budva and a half-hour drive from Sveti Stefan. Podgorica is about an hour from Sveti Stefan, but most international carriers fly into this airport.