The first thing you may ask is, where is it? Many people think it’s a place in South America and when you look at some maps of the world, you may not find it. Montenegro, or Black Mountain (‘monte’ meaning mountain and ‘negro’ or black) is a small yet spectacular country on the Balkan Peninsular, in south eastern Europe. It shares a border with Croatia on the Adriatic Coast and extends across to spectacular glacial mountains and wilderness areas where it’s girthed by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania.
Historically the region was at the cross roads of cultures and the meeting point between Latin, Greek and parts of the Roman Empire. Many years ago, much of this part of the world was off the tourist grid, following the turbulent years of Yugoslavia’s tragic civil war. But today, Montenegro is fast becoming the next ‘must see’ destination in Europe.
It boasts a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers, sparkling blue seas, sandy beaches and colourful medieval towns. Nature lovers will find themselves in one of the most pristine wilderness areas in Europe, a playground for adventure seekers with its deep canyons, wild rivers, lakes teaming with birdlife and rugged National Parks, where wild brown bears, deer and lynx roam free.
Thanks to its enduring physical beauty and a healthy investment into tourism infrastructure, Montenegro has been reignited for tourism with the preservation of ancient monuments, as well as the construction and renovation of chic hotels, like the Aman Sveti Stefan.
On the small coastal islet of Sveti Stefan, once a fortified village dating back to the 15th Century, is the splendid Aman Resort. Connected to the mainland by a causeway, this is a place to escape, in a setting that absorbs the splendour and rich culture of Montenegro. Voted ‘Best Hotel Design’ by Harper’s Bazaar Travel Guide in 2017, this luxury five-star resort style hotel overlooking the Adriatic is uniquely atmospheric, set amongst ancient stone walls where cobbled lanes lead you to lush green courtyards and pink sandy beaches. With just 50 rooms, cottages and suites overlooking the sea, each room is individually styled to showcase original details that harmonise with the centuries of history that give the island its inimitable charm. The Aman Sveti Stefan resort, offers its guests supreme comfort and the exceptional style and service for which Aman is renown. There are serene spaces for rejuvenation dotted across the resort including the Hotel Spa Wellness Centre, Turkish baths and a yoga pavilion. A dining experience is infused with the delicious fresh flavours of local cheeses and honey, freshly caught seafood and beef from the north of Montenegro.
From here it’s easy to reach the lively port of Kotor, to explore this UNESCO listed fortified old town with its Venetian architecture, centuries old clock tower and Romanesque cathedral, naval museum and eateries. Nature lovers and photographers will be energised by a hike up the steps of the medieval city walls for the best vantage points of the Bay of Kotor, a magnificent narrow fjord like inlet with steep sided cliffs.
Whether you’re a nature lover, a beach lover or adventure seeker, Montenegro fulfils the highest expectations with a wide range of activities most of which can be discovered within a few days.
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Wine production in Montenegro can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and the Adriatic Coast provides the perfect microclimate and diverse soils for the production of world class wines. Just a short trip from Aman Sveti Stefan Resort is the family run Radevic Estate – Aman’s Signature Wine. Following the traditions of generations of winemakers the Estate provides an opportunity to sample award winning wines including the delicious Vranac, an ancient red grape variety unique to the Balkan region and protected as the most important grape in Montenegro.