The town of Tivat, situated in the Bay of Kotor, has never been a particularly attractive tourist destination. As it does not have a picturesque old town, it was in stark contrast with the charming medieval settlements and ancient fishing villages in its immediate surroundings.
But things have changed in the last few years. Thanks to the new super-yacht marina of Porto Montenegro, Tivat is gradually becoming part of the international jet-set family. From a grey town without significant sights, it has become a popular tourist destination – and what is even more important, an attractive place of residence for expats and foreign investors.
Here are 10 reasons why Tivat has gained its position among the top seaside resorts on the Montenegrin Coast:
- Tivat has a nice and sunny position, in the middle of the picturesque Bay of Kotor.
- It is close to the most important tourist centers of Budva and Kotor.
- Tivat airport is just a few kilometers from the town.
- The town center is rather small and you can easily walk around and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere.
- Porto Montenegro is a great place for shopping, but you can also find the finest restaurants here, e.g. Al Posto Giusto and Murano Restaurant (Regent Hotel), one of the winners of the Wild Beauty Award 2018.
- One of the advantages of Tivat is that the town is also lively off-season.
- You will find plenty of pubs, bars, open-air terraces and restaurants along the ‘Pine’ promenade and waterfront.
- The town offers plenty of possibilities for those who love sports and recreation: water skiing, mountain biking, canyoning, paddling, hiking…
- There are several nice beaches in the surroundings (Plavi Horizonti, Seljanovo, Oblatno).
- Nature lovers will be excited to explore the Solila Nature Reserve, make a walk along the Vrmac Ridge or visit the three islands in front of Tivat’s coastline.
- Culture and history lovers can visit the Naval Heritage Museum and Buća Summer Cottage.
Tivat – a strange name. Where does it come from? It is said that the town got its name by the Illyrian queen Teuta, who built her summer cottages here, after she had fled for the Romans from Skadar Lake to Risan in the Bay of Kotor. Other sources state that Tivat got its name by the Christian saint Theodosius, but it is most probable that the name Tivat comes from the Celtic word “teuto”, which means ‘town’.
I’ll mention 5 attractions in Tivat, although there is much more to see.
- Porto Montenegro
I still remember my first visit to Porto Montenegro in 2011. At that time, a part of the marina and the magnificent swimming pool (photo 1) were already finished, but many apartment buildings and hotels were demonstrated as maquettes only. Although I was then rather reluctant about the future of this complex, it turned out to be one of the best tourist investments in Montenegro in the last decades. This glamorous settlement now includes apartment buildings, a ‘lifestyle village’ of fancy boutiques, bars, restaurants and leisure facilities, a museum, hotel and berths for 450 yachts (to be expanded to 850). Upon completion, it will create a vibrant coastal community of waterfront residences, hotels and restaurants… Porto Montenegro was developed by the Canadian businessman Peter Munk, who used the infrastructure of a former Yugoslav naval facility to build a glamorous marina. Although it was made for super yachts and rich billionaires, today it is a major tourist attraction for everyone who wants to live his dream and feel like a rich person. In 2016, Porto Montenegro was acquired by the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD).
- Naval Heritage Museum
The naval heritage museum is located within the Porto Montenegro complex. The former naval facility purchased by Peter Munk was called Arsenal and it was one of the largest naval bases on the Adriatic. This museum now houses over 300 exhibits of the area’s naval history. Children like to visit the restored Yugoslav submarine P-821 Hero.
- Buća Summer Cottage
In the town center you will find Buća Summer Cottage. The complex was built in the 15th century by the noble Buća family from Kotor. It is a fortified enclosure surrounded by a stone wall and it has its own Catholic chapel. Today it is a museum with ethnographic exhibitions and a gallery of contemporary local artists, while the garden serves as summer stage.
- Pine waterfront and promenade
A very nice place downtown is ‘Pine’, the waterfront square with dozens of big palms and a series of pubs with open-air terraces. This is a perfect place to relax and watch the sunset! If you are lucky, you can see the naval training ship ‘Jadran’ along the quay. It was constructed for the former Yugoslavia’s navy and is now owned by the navy of Montenegro. An attractive promenade leads from the town center through Seljanovo and Donja Lastva to the main road. The walk along the sea and through the villages, with plenty of pubs where you can have a drink and relax, is highly recommended.
- Yugoslav Consulate
A very interesting place for tourists – not far from the Pine Promenade – is the ‘Consulate of the Socialistic Federative Republic of Yugoslavia’, which is a museum of memories from the period 1945-1989. In this ‘Consulate’ you can see flags, state symbols, uniforms of the former president of SFRJ Josip Broz Tito, and in front of the Consulate there is one of the more prestigious vehicles in which Tito was driven from the 1960’s. Worth a visit!
The surroundings of Tivat are very attractive for nature lovers.
- Visit the former saltpans of Tivat, now transformed into Solila nature reserve, a great place for bird watching.
- The Vrmac ridge is a fantastic place for a walking or hiking tour. You can take a longer trail via the old village of Gornja Lastva, but a shorter walk along the ridge, with great views of the Bay of Kotor, is more suitable for families.
- A last tip: visit the islands in front of the coast. You can take a boat taxi to Sveti Marko, a mysterious green island, once an exclusive facility leased by the French club ‘Mediterranee’. Or explore the Island of Flowers (Ostrvo cvijeća), also known as Prevlaka. It is connected with the mainland by a narrow isthmus and it is inhabited by about a hundred people. The smallest island is Our Lady of Mercy or Školj, with a Franciscan monastery and a church built in the 15th
I could tell you much more about the beauties of Tivat and surroundings, but I am sure you will discover them by yourselves. Enjoy the youngest tourist resort on the Montenegrin Coast, also during the winter!