Last year, we went to Montenegro as part of a holiday that included a friend’s wedding in Croatia (Hvar) and a Balkan roadtrip through Dubrovnik, Montenegro, through Bosnia to Sarajevo and back to Split, which was one of the most memorable holidays I have ever had.
By the time we got to Montenegro we were really keen to find a nice beach to relax, read and swim. We drove around Kotor Bay and checked into Palazzo Radomiri – a gorgeous and grand Venetian mansion with its own private frontage onto the bay. Without much sun left in the day we decided to spend it on the hotel’s deck chairs and experienced our first Montenegro sunset – where you truly understand why it’s so called, as the Black Mountains slowly darken and the sky transforms by the minute. Magical!
But we were desperate to find a beach to lie on. The next day we drove to Budva – and kept driving! With umbrellas stacked back into about 20 rows and droves of drunken tourists, we decided to continue around to Sveti Stefan – the little island where Aman Resorts have famously commandeered the entire village and turned it into a stunning luxurious retreat.
Montenegro Beaches you can’t miss #1 – Sveti Stefan
Sveti Stefan has a tiny isthmus/stone bridge out to the island, and a beach has formed on each side. It’s kind of a stark class division here! One the northern side (towards Budva) it will set you back €75 per person – it definitely won’t be crowded and you will get a very nice umbrella and chairs to relax on!
We were non-committal and happened to also be awaiting a confirmation of a dinner reservation in the resort, so we decided to check out the beach on the other side. Here the umbrellas and chairs are about €30 for the front row working back to €10 at the back, but you can also decline a chair and sit on the rocks. We thought we’d do this (it was 1pm) for about 5 minutes while I had a quick swim. By the time we left it was 9pm.
We couldn’t leave because:
- The sun was so beautifully warm and incredibly mild at the same time. It was completely addictive.
- The water was also very warm, a stunning blue colour, flat and clean
- The atmosphere was pure relaxation, happiness, with groups of friends, couples, families all enjoying each other’s company
- To relieve from the heat, the shower was icy icy cold. As were the beers from the nearby canteen. What an amazing day. We didn’t end up going to the Aman for dinner but instead found the best risotto we have ever eaten.
Montenegro Beaches you can’t miss #2 – Pirates Beach Bar Perast
After we checked out of Palazzo Radomiri the next day, we decided to try our luck staying in one of the local B&Bs. As you drive down the coast from Split, friendly-looking old folk hold signs “Rooms”, “Chambres”, “Zimmer” throughout the journey – a booming industry in the region. We decided to check out a small village called Perast, a short way around the bay, and found a host who gave us a very comfortable, clean room with a million dollar view (see my pic below) for €25 per night.
Perast is a beautiful little place right in the middle of Kotor Bay, and after walking through the village we were drawn towards some music at its very western edge. Here’s where we found the Pirates Beach Bar.
Here you’ll find a small shaded area where a DJ plays for most of the day – usually very chill tunes, and not too loud (it gets louder towards the sunset), a bunch of deck chairs in dappled sun under the trees by a small sandy beach, and another area on the other side of the bar with more umbrellas and deck chairs. Negronis are €4. Beers are €2. An Aperol Spritz is €3. Need I say more?
Everywhere at this bar area has an unimpeded view of the two small islands in Kotor Bay (which you can swim to if you’re brave enough). Surrounding you are the towering black mountains, and you look directly out towards the tiny bottle neck they create at the entrance to the bay. Just an amazing place to spend mid-summer.
And we did – we spent 4 long days at that bar. I don’t think I’ve ever been so relaxed in my life, my whole body and mind was practically putty.