The Top 5 Upcoming Mediterranean Destinations of 2012: Montenegro
St Tropez will never fall out of fashion. Nor will Cannes ever lose its passion. But according to luxury yacht company Y.CO, this summer’s Mediterranean charter season has seen a shift to offbeat, experiential yachting destinations.
Private aircraft use Tivat’s seaside promenade to line up the resort’s runway two miles from town. Jets swoop low enough for passengers to check the restaurant scene from the comfort of their Gulfstream. Yet the area’s insistence on calling itself the ‘Monte Carlo of the Adriatic’ is missing the point. Montenegro’s coastline offers a uniquely Edenic mix of mighty fjords and deserted sands. As culture-seeking charter parties will attest, it’s also laden with history and a polyglot past.
A case in point is Tivat’s seaside promenade. This lungomare was built by Venetians, embellished by Austrians, frequented by Russians, and is now serviced with Montenegrin smiles. Just behind it stands an astounding botanical park. In times past Tivat mariners were ordered to bring back plants from sailing tours, be they day trips to Corfu or Croatia, or voyages across the globe.
Tivat’s must-sees lie a tender ride away. Cvijeca Ostrovo – the Island of Flowers – basks in a sunny microclimate, as does its monastery. Sveti Marko Island is an eerily abandoned Club Med bungalow camp, which is set to become a six-star Banyan Tree resort in 2014. Up above lies the Vrmac mountain range. Each hill village is linked by a spectacular hiking trail, including a 14km route that winds all the way to the Venetian port of Kotor. Fitness fanatic charter guests won’t find anything like it anywhere else in the Med.
Vintage Tivat is brought to life in its brand new Naval Museum. Exhibits will melt even the hardiest mariner’s heart. On show are engines from Hamburg, postcards from Portsmouth and sailor’s trinkets from the former USSR. Oddities include a torpedo-sized one-man submersible, the Soviet version of a SeaDoo Seascooter. The adjoining naval dockyards once serviced Libyan warships. They’ve now been redeveloped to serve superyachts, as the ultra-hip Porto Montenegro.