Montenegro is one of Europe’s newest countries, created in 2006 from the former Yugoslavia. It lies south of Croatia and directly across the Adriatic Sea from Italy and although it’s small it packs in five National Parks, three ski resorts and the Balkans largest lake.
Most international investors focus on the rocky 190-mile Adriatic coastline and in particular the protected waters of fjord-like Kotor Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of outstanding natural beauty. British poet Lord Byron was so moved by the steep mountains plunging down to crystal waters that he described Kotor Bay as “the most beautiful encounter between land and sea”.
Around Kotor Bay five-star hotel brands have moved in and several developers are building golf courses, high-quality marinas and ambitious residential resorts aimed at sophisticated international buyers.
Tivat, home to an international airport, has become the focus for much of this new development with plenty of sleek super-yachts on show in the impressive marina at Porto Montenegro. Montenegro’s position in the Mediterranean provides hundreds of islands nearby to explore by boat and a little further afield, Venice, Corfu and Croatia. The country’s appealing tax structure and relatively affordable fuel charges have enticed boat owners from other more usual Mediterranean berths.
As well as modern apartments and villas on these new sports and leisure resorts, buyers can opt for renovated old stone houses and apartments around Kotor Bay. Pretty towns like Perast and medieval Kotor are the best known of several romantic waterfront villages and towns.
Kotor has been named best city in the world to visit by the Lonely Planet Best in Travel yearbook for 2016. Lying at the end of the romantic fyord, guarded by dramatic mountain above, Kotor’s stone flagged streets and squares offer both the cafe culture in many open-air cafes, and quiet romantic corners. Many of the apartments in the Old Town’s houses and palaces have been renovated and now provide rental income to their owners.
Busiest of all is buzzy Budva, a party-town further along the coast that mixes a throbbing centre with a marina and medieval Old Town. Property in Budva is popular mostly with younger buyers who appreciate the facilities of a lively town. Offshore, linked by a narrow road to the mainland, the tiny stone cottages of the fifteenth century fishing village Sveti Stefan, popular with Hollywood film stars in the 1950s and now reborn as a magnificent Amanresort, is a reminder of the contrasts Montenegro provides between the old and the new.