YOUR BEJEWELLED SHELTER
UNIQUE BOKA KOTORSKA
Perched atop one of Boka Kotorska’s most exclusive areas, south-facing Portontovi is protected by land and water, privately relishing the timeless moment where mountains dramatically meet the sea, only to be embraced by the milky morning mists. Portonovi’s seat makes an ideal base from where the spectacular 300-kilometre Montenegrin coastline and its 117 beaches may be explored. The Bay is dotted by beautifully preserved mediaeval towns and picturesque fishing villages, overlooking the calm cobalt waters.
Conveniently situated at the Bay’s entrance, Portonovi Marina is an ideal homeport, offering adventurous yachts of all sizes immediate access to the open Adriatic Sea, and the wider Mediterranean, as well as the Montenegrin coastline, and the nearby Dalmatian coast’s islands within a day’s sail.
Described as the southernmost fjord in Europe, Boka Bay’s shape is attributed to a submerged river canyon that, for several kilometres, perforates the mainland. A glistening garland of sharp mountains arises from slumber, protecting the indigo bay from piercing winter winds and the open sea in its deep embrace.
Worded as one of the world’s most impressive inlets, Boka Bay is a star-shaped area that is composed of four arms – Herceg Novi, Risan, Tivat, and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kotor. The Bay’s unruffled waters is the home for seven isles, including Our Lady of the Rocks – one of two islets off the coast of Perast in the Bay of Kotor and where legends ring it surfaced in light of local Croat seaman’s quest to find the icon of Madonna and Child in 1452 – and Saint George, the second islet off Perast where the Saint George Benedictine monastery has proudly been standing since the 1100s.
As mirrored in Boka Bay’s architecture, the coast played a pivotal role within the Venetian Empire’s wider regional presence. Following the Great Schism of 1054, the region fell under the Catholic Church’s reach, and Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja sided with the Venetian Republic in a clash with the Byzantine Empire. Resultantly, the Boka region enjoys a long naval tradition, having harboured a strong naval fleet since medieval times. Once Serbia fell to the Ottomans in the late fourteenth century, the Bay bounced between Ottoman and Venetian patrons until the Venetians consolidated their grip by the end of the seventeenth century. Marking Ottoman expansions, the Venetians encountered the local communities’ plurality, in terms of art, cuisines, ethnicities, language, religion, and so forth, to which the Doges would embellish with the introduction of Italian language and cultures. In modern times, the Bay fell under the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, and later the French Empire under the guise of the Illyrian Provinces, the Habsburgs, as well as the Kingdom of Montenegro, Yugoslavia, and ultimately the present-day independent Montenegrin republic.
An oasis of Mediterranean vegetation decorates the Bay’s shores. The gentle climate allows agave, citrus, cypress, orange, eucalyptus, laurel, mimosa, pomegranate, and palm trees to thrive. Jutting into the Bay, natural stone quays, embroidered by beautiful baroque towns, the charming concoction of aesthetics, art and history embodies a symbolically durable naval legacy.
Reaching Boka Bay is simple, with three conveniently located airports within close proximity – the well-connected airports of Podgorica and Tivat in Montenegro, as well as Croatia’s Dubrovnik airport. Boka Bay, in echoing its history, may also be reached by the high seas, with nearby ports and marinas.
Adjacent Portonovi is Herceg Novi. Erected along a sharp incline on the foot of Mount Orjen along the entrance to the Bay of Kotor, the town was founded on a small fishing village as a fortress in 1382, and matured into a vibrant marine hub. For nearly four centuries, Herceg Novi was known as Castelnuovo, Italian for ‘new castle’ and a meaning shared in Montenegrin, drawing on the ancient citadels and walls that embellish its shoreline.
Facing sun and seas, Herceg Novi is one of the warmest towns in the Adriatic, flourishing in lush exotic flora and fauna. Captains and sailors brought many of its botanical treasures from their voyages, ameliorating its collection, according to local legends. A colourful laurel of blooming mimosa flowers adorns the coastal winters.
Herceg Novi’s long enriching history is deeply anchored in the activities present today. It remains an alluring sanctuary for creative and inquisitive spirits seeking inspiration, such as artists and writers. Home for a wide range of artistic, cultural and sporting events, there is always something happening within Herceg Novi’s wise stone façades. Colourful carnivals, aggrandised by the vibrant verdant of humming markets and surrounding setting, crown the community, accompanied by the annual celebration of the first spring flower – the fêted Mimosa Festival, Montenegro’s most popular festival – and the exclusive, star-studded Montenegro Film Festival, and many more events.
The amber and azure summer skies frame the town’s kilometre-long waterfront, lifting its cheerful cafes and romantic restaurants. The pretty scenery breathes life into long, scenic strolls during the soft summer sunset.
Herceg Novi’s eastern territories have merged with Meljine, a quaint small town, where the statuesque Savina monastery stands. The monastery’s neighbouring private state is renowned for cultivating fine wines, grappa, and organic produce.