THE NEW RIVIERA
After our post on the new Gen Y destinations, we take an in-depth look at Montenegro as an alternative ‘summer riviera’ for luxury yacht holidays.
|In a nutshell:||The Mediterranean’s next big thing|
|Best for:||Sailing buffs and nature lovers with a taste for discovery|
|When to go:||July and August for the full summer experience (June or September to avoid the crowds)|
|Surprise me:||The Bay of Kotor is emerging as a watersports hotspot|
Unspoilt, tranquil and breathtaking in equal measures, Montenegro is set against a spectacular mountain range and surrounded by the clear waters of the Mediterranean, making it a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Except that the crowds of Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast have yet to descend on this young country.
Its dramatic coastline has of course been luring visitors for centuries, as have its medieval villages, secluded coves and memorable waterfront restaurants. It all points to a forgotten charm that many wish to return to, time and time again. Monaco or Porto Cervo it may not be (yet) but for those looking for authenticity in a land still untouched by the effects of globalization, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Lazy, sun-filled days are the norm along the coast from early June through to late September but there is plenty for the active and adventurous too, in fact the country is fast establishing itself as an emerging outdoor pursuits hotspot.
The main National Park, known as the Biogradska Gora, is about a 3hr drive from the Bay of Kotor on the coast; this peaceful wilderness with glacial lakes and wild fruits is a place of quiet and undisturbed perfection, ideal for camping, hiking and bird watching.
For those after something a little more energetic, nothing can rival a day’s white-water rafting along the Tara Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world. Rafting in this unique location is an unforgettable experience whether for a day trip or full weekend. Early summer is when local thrill-seekers visit for the fastest rapids. Hardcore devotees can even set up camp for the night and really get to grips with nature over a full weekend experience.
A trip up to the historical village of Kolasin is also worthy of consideration, whether in summer or winter. Although it may be better known for its impressive ski terrain, chalet hotels and indulgent spas, the abundance of steep slopes and dense pine forests makes this an ideal mountain biking location.
Back down on the idyllic Mediterranean coastline, Porto Montenegro marina has a complete range of water sports lined up for summer 2012, including waterskiing, wakeboarding, jet skiing and scuba diving. Weta trimarans, Blu26 race boats, kayaks and Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUPs) will also be available this year, meaning visiting crew will have no excuse for staying out of the water for long.
At the Lido Mar, Porto Montenegro’s 64-metre long infinity pool, visitors experience a luxury beach lifestyle by Spain’s famous Purobeach. Signature morning yoga sessions, chill-out music from live DJs, healthy poolside dining options and a late night lounge bar will ensure that Purobeach Porto Montenegro becomes one of the hottest hangouts on the Mediterranean.
Just a few minutes drive away lies the historic town of Kotor, a guaranteed step back in time and a great place to get a feel for ‘old world’ Montenegro. Wander through cobblestone streets and enjoy a seafood lunch in a shady central piazza or stroll slightly further on along the waterfront to the upmarket enclave of Dobrota to get well and truly off the tourist trail.
Rearing up on the horizon in the middle of the bay is a man-made island known as Our Lady of the Rocks, a unique piece of local history with its very own 17th century church and a fantastical folk story to explain its creation. Resourceful locals with a small boat will often offer to give you a ride across from the picture-perfect town of Perast in exchange for a euro or two, otherwise there are well organized tours if you are after the full guided experience.
Montenegro is best experienced from the decks of a private luxury yacht charter and the newly developed Porto Montenegro makes the perfect base for superyachts.
Our top recommendations for luxury charter yachts in the area this summer are below. For more information on chartering in Montenegro, contact the Y.CO charter team.
Thank you to Matt Morley and Daniel Nyul at Porto Montenegro for pictures and information.