Travel articles on Montenegro

KotorBordering Croatia and just up the coast from Greece (beyond Albania), Montenegro has long been dogged by memories of the Yugolsav wars which tore the region apart in the Nineties.

Before the violence erupted, Montenegro was well-known for hosting the wealthy elite and stars of the silver screen.

Luxury island resort Sveti Stefan (reopened last year by new owners Aman) hosted the likes of Princess Margaret, Sofia Loren, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

The violence all but killed off the tourism industry. But in 2006, Montenegro gained independence from Serbia, and within a few years, suddenly became a viable holiday destination again, bursting back onto the scene in 2011 with an extravagant Rothschild party and his budget-busting investment.

PuroBeachBut while the billionaire's extravagant get-together may have put this quiet little corner of the Adriatic on the map among Europe's elite, Montenegro (literally meaning 'black mountain') aims to be attainable for 'normal' people too.

Yes, Porto Montenegro - an all-encompassing resort of hotels, eateries, shops and glitzy marina - may have 600 yacht berths, waters deep enough to accommodate the most super of superyachts and apartments costing three million euros. But there are no gated communities - and the beaches, bars and al fresco restaurants are open to all.

Cultural heartland: Kotor, once ruled by the Republic of Venice, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

For anyone without a few million in the bank, head around the Bay of Kotor for more affordable accommodation in the walled town of Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Waterfront at dusk at the newly developed Marina in Porto MontenegroGrand mansions dot the cobbled lanes of the Stari Grad (old town), hinting at its aristocratic heritage, and quaint squares are dominated by crooked old churches. For 300 years Kotor was ruled by the Republic of Venice, and there is a distinct Venetian influence to the architecture.

While the small medieval town is sat right on the water, it is also surrounded on all sides by limestone cliffs, which make up the Boka Kotorska (Gulf of Kotor) - often referred to as Europe's southernmost fjord.

It is still possible to while away your days in Porto Montenegro if you are looking for glamour. Some have criticised it for being a 'soulless' modern addition to the rustic charm of the country's coast, but there is no doubt that it is big news as an emerging destination. Tatler recently shot a bikini-clad Florence Brudenell-Bruce - model and ex-girlfriend of Prince Harry - in the new, glitzy 'city' for its Travel Guide.

Yes, this consciously stylish area can feel over-manicured in parts. The landscaping at Porto Montenegro - towering palm trees have been flown in from Uruguay - is in stark contrast to, for example, the road from Dubrovnik airport (less than two hours away in Croatia), which, in places, is somewhat tarmac-free.

The bumpy ride is a reminder that the infrastructure in this former war-torn land is still raggedy – though some will argue that this has safeguarded rather than stymied the appeal and charm of the country


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