Day 1 Montenegro
Arriving at Hotel Regent Porto Montenegro where the mountains meet the sea. Porto Montenegro is the perfect location with access to idyllic bays, baroque towns, and breathtaking natural wonders.
The hotel is calm and quiet and feels like you have a place to yourself. It’s luxurious but not flash, stuffy, or pretentious. Heading straight out onto the balcony of the luxury suite, I gaze across the marina’s rows of yachts to a sweeping expanse of water and views of Lovćen Mountain on the opposite shore of the bay. With stunning views of the Adriatic’s Boka Bay and nautical-style interiors in coastal calm shades of blues and beige, I could happily just hang out in the room!
It’s about 18° C (well, it is April - the average Summer temperature is 27°C) and we have an alfresco lunch at the hotel’s Gourmet Corner. There's lots of very fresh fish (there’s a big fishing community here) and truffles are on the menu to the delight of some. The red snapper fish is outstanding and the local wines are exceptional.
Porto Montenegro (or Monty Negs as our group affectionately nicknames it) is set in the Bay of Kotor on Montenegro’s Adriatic coast. It's beautiful and feels like Monte Carlo but with more charm and lots of buzz around the port. Montenegro Marina has a great choice of restaurants and high-end shops including Bulgari, Balenciaga and Rolex.
Dinner is at local restaurant Al Posto Giusto with spacious stone interiors, waterfront terrace, a welcoming Italian ambience, and a wood-fired oven. The tasty thin-crust pizza is the best pizza I’ve ever had! We’ll need the energy for sightseeing day tomorrow.
Day 2 Boka Bay boat tour
We sail on a boat to the nearby towns of Perast and Kotor with a fresh sea breeze blowing (pack a lightweight scarf). The still ocean looks like a lake with a serene view of mountains that drop dramatically to crystal waters (la da dee la da da).
A local informative tour guide shows us around Kotor Old Town and Perast and his passionate storytelling really brings the area to life. I highly recommend these tours for interesting historical knowledge. A mix of Baroque, Venetian and Austrian architecture and monuments enchant narrow streets and small squares. Strolling through cobblestone streets we see the impressive St Tryphon catholic cathedral in Kotor.
According to legend, Our Lady of the Rocks islet was made over centuries by local seamen who kept an oath after finding the icon of Madonna and Child on a rock in the sea on 22 July 1452. After each successful voyage, they laid a rock in the Bay, and over time, the islet gradually emerged from the sea. A room with a view: windows open out of the monastery, looking out over the steel blue ocean.
For lunch, we eat scrumptious grilled prawns at Conte Perast restaurant, with a relaxing view of the sea and the Perast islands.
Back at the hotel enjoying the facilities: sauna, circuit, spa, and lounging at the pool.
I then feel compelled to have a relaxing soak with luxury toiletries in the freestanding bath in my gorgeous marble bathroom.
Dinner is at Murano restaurant in Regent Porto Montenegro, sitting on blue velvet chairs, enjoying the lovely artwork, locally sourced produce, tasty tuna and Burrata.
Day 3 Dubrovnik
A ferry, a drive to the land border, and another drive (a two-hour journey) to reach Dubrovnik. Set into the rocky cliffs on the Dalmatian coast, Villa Dubrovnik is a stylish luxury retreat. The hotel’s white architecture is a stunning contrast to the rocky landscape and emerald green waters of Adriatic.
I’m blown away by my hotel suite: a Premium Seaview room in calm neutral-toned decor with great views. My room has a Bose sound system but it’s so lovely, relaxing and calm there that I don't feel the need to put music on or the telly!
There are incredible views of the old city of Dubrovnik and my room overlooks a rocky, steep staircase (probably best avoided after a few drinks).
The hotel has a luxury terraced area that overlooks the ocean. All the rooms are seafront. The pool is indoor/outdoor. I’m eyes wide open, lapping up this wonderful experience.
Surprisingly the hotel is closing from Oct 2023 till June 2024 for a full refurb.
Lunch is salad and seafood at Al Fresco Bar Giardino overlooking the Old City walls and the island of Lokrum under maritime pines. It ends on a (sugar) high with the most delicious desserts. The cheesecake teams wonderfully with basil, ice cream and a brandy snap–Incredible flavours - the diet’s not going so well though!
The best is yet to come as we have a walking tour of Dubrovnik city: It’s clean and pristine with stone walls and high-end family-run boutiques, paved and cobbled streets and buildings with Venetian wooden shutters. There are super steep stairs and potential for a lot of walking, so pack your trainers, especially if you want to climb that hill!
Dinner is at a traditional family-owned fish and seafood restaurant Proto established in 1886. There’s a lovely hidden roof terrace to enjoy the carefully prepared seasonal Mediterranean dishes. The catch of the day!
Day 4 Elafiti islands
A yacht takes us to the Elafiti islands. This is the highlight of the trip for me! It’s so special with free-flowing champagne and an attentive friendly crew. Disembarking from the yacht in Slano onto another boat for Oyster tasting. A local man pulls oysters fresh out of the sea and they shuck them for us to knock back with fresh lemon and his homemade local wine. Aw shucks!
A minibus takes us to visit the Ostrog Monastery in the charming little mediaeval town of Ston. Within the stone-walled ‘city of salt’ is St Blaise’s Church.
We return to dine at Hotel Villa Dubrovnik’s Michelin-star-recommended Restaurant Pjerin sampling Croatian and Mediterranean cuisine.
From our sunset-facing rooms, we see a gorgeous pink sunset.
The scenery on this fabulous trip has left even me speechless (comparable to Lake Louise in Canada) and I felt like I was on a film set. I am a film star!
Julie Gooding, April 2023
Thanks to Hotels Regent Porto Montenegro with Van Isacker Exclusive and Villa Dubrovnik.
Abbotts Travel work with concierge services Montenegro Concierge DMC and Adriatic Concierge for local expertise to offer you exclusive experiences, excursions, authentic places for tailored, discrete, affordable luxury.
The flight to Tivat, Montenegro is just 2h 55 mins from London Gatwick airport then a 10-minute drive to Porto Montenegro.
Contact Julie at Abbotts Travel for more info and to book your trip.
BEACHES Montenegro is home to beaches with crystal clear waters and beautiful scenery. Plavi Horizonti Beach in Tivat, Oblatno Beach on the peninsula Luštica, and the Blue Flag-certified Mogren Beach in Budva. The area is known for its unique stone beaches, like in Perast, where sunbathers relax on flat, smooth stones instead of sand.
SAILING Boka Bay is a prime destination for sailing enthusiasts, with several marinas and ports catering to both locals and visitors. The Bay of Kotor offers calm waters and picturesque scenery, with notable ports including Porto Montenegro in Tivat and the historic town of Kotor itself.
OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES The rugged mountains surrounding Boka Bay are ideal for hiking and trekking. Some popular hiking destinations include the Durmitor National Park and the Lovcen National Park. Enjoy bird watching on Tivat’s Solila, hiking, or cycling to olive groves and Lušti villages or the Vrmac peninsula.
MOUNTAINS The mountains surrounding Boka Bay are great for hiking and also offer stunning views and unique cultural experiences. The Ostrog Monastery, built into the cliffs of Mount Ostrog, is a popular destination for pilgrims and tourists. The village of Njegusi is known for its smoked ham and cheese, produced using traditional methods.
RICH CULTURAL HERITAGE Boka Bay has several historic and artistic landmarks. The UNESCO-protected town of Perast is known for its Baroque architecture and the Our Lady of the Rocks church. The city of Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a well-preserved Old Town and museums and galleries.