Introducing Sveti Stefan

Sveti Stefan is Montenegro’s recently re-discovered supermodel. This small islet’s elusive beauty first drew film stars, royalty and photographers to its picture-perfect shores in the 1950s. Connected by a golden thread of a causeway to the mainland and Medieval town of Budva, its glamorous air of exclusivity still feels as prevalent today. Breathe it all in from the 15th-century hilltop fortress village that’s now a luxurious Adriatic retreat.

Things to do

Sveti Stefan might be small, but its cuisine covers a wide range of international flavours. Here, centuries of Venetian rule have left their culinary mark, particularly on the pasta and risotto dishes. Montenegrin fine dining can be found at Villa Miločer and Avra. While family-run restaurants tend to serve traditional favourites such as pašticada, a slow-cooked beef stew, and black risotto that owes its rich colour and subtle taste to cuttlefish ink.

Venture north into Sveti Stefan’s backdrop of green hills and go back 600 years with a visit to Praskvica Monastery. Or head further afield to the Bay of Kotor and follow the city’s ancient fortifications up to the Old Town. Spread across the top is a beautiful jumble of Renaissance cathedrals, squares, baroque towers and Venetian villas. Under the sun, their cream-coloured stone walls and crimson tiled roofs glow.

When you’re one of Sveti Stefan’s private guests, tranquillity isn’t hard to find on the rosy-pink pebbly beaches. Lie back on a sun lounger, mountains soaring above you. Then swim in the crystal-clear sea which deepens quite quickly from the shore. Walk up the coast past fragrant pine and olive trees, and Miločer Beach shimmers into view. You can just imagine the Yugoslavian royal family from the 1930s, the Karađorđevićs, spending their summers here in the wisteria-clad Miločer Villa.

Top Tip from SLH

Look out for rocky arch in nearby Kotor known as the ‘Fairy Gate’. Legend has it that only the fairy’s favourites – direct descendants of sailors and the town’s founders – can see her boarding a golden vessel to explore the world.