Rimmed by rugged limestone mountains and sleepy waterside villages, Kotor Bay is a 28-kilometer long meandering inlet. Sometimes referred to as Europe’s southernmost fjord, though in fact, it is a submerged river valley. We took a Sailing Kotor Bay, Montenegro trip to find out more.
Kotor Bay | Porto Montenegro marina in Tivat
We set sail from Porto Montenegro, a 450-berth super-yacht marina in Tivat. Besides the moorings, it’s home to the Regent Porto Montenegro hotel, chic boutiques, and a magnificent 64-meter infinity pool. There’s also a small Maritime Heritage Museum, where you can look inside a submarine.
From here, most visitors head straight for Unesco-listed Kotor Town, protected by medieval fortifications, deep inside the bay. But we wanted to explore the less-visited waters around Luštica peninsular. Historically, Luštica’s fertile olive groves supplied olive oil to Venice. Under Yugoslavia (1945-2003), it was a Yugoslav military base, so tourism never developed here. But that is changing fast, as several luxury resorts are now planned.
We sailed out of Kotor Bay, into the glistening blue Adriatic. The mouth off the bay is guarded by three sturdy 19th-century fortresses, built by Austro-Hungary. Arza on Luštica, Oštro on Prevlaka, and between them, on a tiny islet, Mamula, which is currently under renovation. With its unique location, Mamula Fortress is being turned into a 23-room boutique hotel with a spa, heliport, and casino.
Luštica’s south coast gives onto open waters dotted with several peaceful little coves. The first you come to is Dobreč. Indeed it has a pebble beach, accessible only by boat, and the Dobreč restaurant is backed by trees hung with hammocks. Here we dropped anchor to swim in a translucent turquoise sea.
But we couldn’t stop long. We wanted to reach the Blue Cave around 12 noon when the sun is at its peak. It’s hidden at the foot of rocky cliffs, it can be accessed via two openings. In the dingy, we passed through the larger entrance, which is some 3 meters high and 15 meters wide. Initially, it seemed dark, but as our eyes adjusted we found ourselves in a domed space, bathed in turquoise light. It was an extraordinary experience to snorkel in this magical cavern.
We then backtracked to Mirišta beach, where we moored up for lunch at Mirišta restaurant. Garlicky Spaghetti with clams, followed by grilled sea bream and salad. Nearby, Ribarsko Selo is also very popular with yachters, but you need to reserve well in advance.
Sailing back into Kotor Bay, we stopped in the little port below the town of Herceg Novi. From here we took a taxi up to the Serbian Orthodox Savina Monastery. It has a medieval church and a larger 18th-century Baroque church, both hung with golden icons. Then we visited the Savina Winery for a tour of their vineyards and wine tasting. We bought two bottles to bring home – their white Chardonnay (2019) and red Merlot (2016). Both were prize winners at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2021. We arrived back at Porto Montenegro marina just before sunset.
Combine Sailing Kotor Bay, Montenegro with a Croatia Yacht Charter.