With Greece in turmoil and Italians deserting their shores in droves because of new taxes, it's no wonder that one of the most popular sailing destinations in the Mediterranean at the moment is Montenegro, meaning 'Black Mountain'.
While it's true that it's a haunt for billionaires like Nat Rothschild who has just celebrated his 40th birthday there, the cruising grounds make plenty of space for the non-billionaire.
Montenegro was long dogged by memories of the Yugoslav wars which tore the region apart in the nineties. But that is long past now, and the region has again become well-known for hosting the wealthy elite and stars of the silver screen.
Luxury island resort Sveti Stefan (reopened last year by new owners Aman) hosted the likes of Princess Margaret, Sofia Loren, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.
Montenegro - Porto Montenegro at night - photo by Corbis - .. .
The violence all but killed off the tourism industry. But in 2006, Montenegro gained independence from Serbia, and within a few years, suddenly became a viable holiday destination again, bursting back onto the scene in 2011 with an extravagant Rothschild party and his budget-busting investment.
But while the Rothschild billionaire's extravagant get-together may have helped to put this once quiet little corner of the Adriatic on the map among Europe's elite, Montenegro aims to be attainable for 'normal' sailing boats and their crews, too.
There's plenty of space. The marinas have 600 yacht berths and waters deep enough to accommodate the most super of superyachts. On shore it's a pleasure too. There are no gated communities - and the beaches, bars and al fresco restaurants are open to all.
Montenegro - Kotor Harbour - .. .
Kotor, once ruled by the Republic of Venice, is just one of the highlights and a UNESCO World Heritage Site Head around the Bay of Kotor and set anchor off the walled town of Kotor. Exploring is a delight. Grand mansions dot the cobbled lanes of the Stari Grad (old town), hinting at its aristocratic heritage, and quaint squares are dominated by crooked old churches. There is a distinct Venetian influence to the architecture.
While the small medieval town is sat right on the water, it is also surrounded on all sides by limestone cliffs, which make up the Boka Kotorska (Gulf of Kotor) - often referred to as Europe's southernmost fjord.
Then there's the old town of Budva, very well preserved old town, and Budva itself are very attractive for sailors who love the sandy beaches and great cafes and restaurants.
Montenegro - Budva - .. .
All coastal cities have their specific charm: Ulcinj (used to be a pirates town), Bar (town with great historical monuments, but also a modern marina, port…), Herceg Novi (rich with towers and beautiful architecture) and many more.
This is just a taste, so, when planning your next Mediterranean sailing holiday, keep Montenegro in mind!
Montenegro coastline map - .. .
by Lee Mylchreest
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12:05 PM Wed 5 Sep 2012GMT
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