There are many people in the world who fell in love with Montenegro precisely because of the Bay of Kotor. The boom in the purchase of real estate in this country among foreigners, which has been going on for two decades, also owes much to this southernmost fjord of incredible beauty at any time of the year or day. At the same time, the bay itself consists of several bays, which received their names from the names of the largest settlements located on the shores. These are Herceg Novi, Tivat, Kotor and Risan.
“The city of a thousand steps” – this is what Herceg Novi is called, because it is located in a valley at the foot of Mount Orjen, due to which there are many steep paths and stairs. He also has another name – “Botanical Garden of Montenegro”, which he received for the many vegetation and relict trees on his territory. That is why there are so many festivals dedicated to flowers and trees.
Two fortresses have survived in Herceg Novi, the temple of the Archangel Michael and the Savina monastery, built in the 17th century. This city is the most Serbian of all on the Montenegrin coast, since many residents of Belgrade have a summer house by the sea here. Herceg Novi can also be called a Russian city, but not so much because of the buyers of local real estate, but because our emigrants, led by officers of the Russian army, who were forced to leave Russia after the 1917 coup, found their second home here.
Due to its unique geographical location – Herceg Novi borders Croatia – the distance to the airports in Tivat and Dubrovnik is the same 30 km. This opens up additional travel and work opportunities for local residents. Moving around Montenegro towards Tivat, in addition to the Adriatic highway, which runs along the entire Boko-Kotor Bay, from Herceg Novi you can significantly “cut” the path on the Kamenari-Lepetane ferry crossing through the narrowest part of the bay – the picturesque Verige Strait.
Tivat received the status of a city later than all other cities in the Bay of Kotor – only at the end of the 19th century, when the Naval Arsenal was built here for the ships of the Austro-Hungarian fleet, which in the days of Yugoslavia became the repair base of the national Navy. The city itself and its surroundings are interesting for many attractions: the islands of Micholska Prevlaka (Island of Flowers) and St. Mark, as well as one of the best beaches in the country, Plavi Horizonti. Also in the city there is a botanical garden with exotic plants, which became such thanks to the fact that local sailors brought them from their overseas travels.
This city has become the real trendsetter of the modern real estate market in the country. In the 2000s, when the developers of the Montenegrin coast began to massively develop the land, Budva “got” most of all – the houses were built in a chaotic manner, sometimes without observing the rules regarding the number of storeys and the quality of materials. Therefore, if you come there in season, you can contemplate how congested the seaside capital is, and from an architectural point of view, it is a mixture of all possible styles, far from harmony, all year round. Tivat was much more fortunate: when mass construction began on the territory of this city, the approach here was already more structural, requirements for the construction of residential complexes had already increased, restrictions were growing, and then quality. Today, Canadian businessman Peter Munch has built Porto Montenegro, the most luxurious superyacht marina on the Adriatic on the site of the Marine Arsenal shipyard. As a result, it is Tivat that today has become the city with the most expensive real estate in Montenegro.
Another key city in the Bay of Kotor, which is known primarily for the fact that its old part of the buildings from the times of the Venetian Empire, was included by UNESCO in the List of World Cultural Heritage Sites. Also, many buildings of that period have survived directly by the sea, some of which today are one of the most exclusive offers on the country’s real estate market. Therefore, even today, you can buy a historic stone house here, but with the condition of preserving the facade and layout of the building.
Today Kotor is a large seaport, cultural and tourist center that attracts tourists from all over the world. International cruise ships make sure to stop here for a couple of days. The rich history of the city, which can still be clearly seen in its architecture today, inspires many foreigners to move to this particular part of Montenegro. In the evenings in the summer heat it is especially good here – in Kotor the sun quickly sets behind the mountain, so at this time the temperature can be several degrees lower than in other resorts of the country. The overhanging mountains and cliffs add additional charm to the city, where there are many hiking trails for walkers.
If the first three city-regions located on the territory of the Bay of Kotor are well known to many – both in the world of tourism and in real estate, then the farthest part of it is a little in the shade, since it is not yet so well known among foreigners, but not less beautiful. Risan, like Herceg Novi, is located in a valley at the foot of Mount Orien, but on the other side of it. If you look at the map, you can see that the city is located in the most remote part of the northwestern Boka. If you stand there on the shore, you will not see the horizon line, which, like a theater curtain, is obscured by the mountains, practically joining in the Verige Strait.
This city is the oldest in the bay, the first mentions of it begin in the 4th century BC. Risan was named after the Illyrian tribe of Rizoniti and was the center of maritime crafts and trade for the Illyrian state, which occupied the western part of the Balkan Peninsula, which later became a province of the Roman Empire. And today you can see the mosaics of that time, the abandoned palace of the 18th century and the magnificent Church of Peter and Paul. The city itself is quite small – about 2000 people live here permanently. From a tourist point of view, Risan is not yet as famous as other large settlements of the bay, there are still abandoned buildings, but the infrastructure has already begun to develop. But very soon this period will most likely end, because in the last couple of years they have taken seriously the city – they have begun to improve it, interesting projects have appeared on the real estate market, and it is also planned to build a marina.
Perast is the most picturesque town in the Risan Bay, which can sometimes even be seen in Hollywood films with Brad Pitt and Pierce Brosnan (Black Side of the Sun, November Man). It is a place steeped in history, the golden age of which began during the Venetian domination, when it had four shipyards. Perast, like the neighboring towns, was the residence of sailors. At the end of the 17th century, Montenegrin Marko Martinovic opened a nautical school here, where Peter I soon sent Russian noblemen to study.
Not far from Risan and Perast there are two islands that are the symbols of these regions. Closed for visiting is the island of St. George, on which the Benedictine abbey rises, and next to it – Gospa od Shkrpela (“The Mother of God on the Rock”). This is the only man-made island of the Adriatic that was built on top of a reef after in 1452 two sailors from Perast found an icon of the Mother of God on it, which healed one of them from an illness, after which the image became especially revered, which was placed in a temple erected on this place. For centuries, the church received gifts from wealthy townspeople and ship captains and is now not only a temple, but also a treasury and an art gallery. There are 68 oil paintings here. On the walls of the church, you can see 2500 gold and silver “vow” plates, which the inhabitants of Boka Kotorska Bay donated to the church “in fulfillment of this vow” for deliverance from various disasters.
Real estate prices
You can buy a small studio in Risan and Herceg Novi for 40,000 euros. One-bedroom apartments in these cities will cost from 60,000 euros and more. For 400,000 euros you can buy a two-storey house with a 500-year history. In Perast, apartments with one bedroom will cost 200,000 euros, with two – 300,000 euros, at home – from 400,000 euros and more. In Kotor, for 60,000 – 70,000 euros, you can buy a one-bedroom apartment in a low-rise new building, 1-2 km from the sea. Apartments of the same size, but located by the sea and overlooking the Bay of Kotor, will cost from 100,000 euros. Prices for small houses start from 200,000 – 250,000 euros, but if we are talking about the Old Town, then it will already be 350,000 euros and more. Tivat is currently the most expensive region for buying real estate in Montenegro, where the price per square meter is no longer less than 2000 euros.
Thank you for your help in preparing the material:
Anton Shamarin, managing partner of Value.One
Irina Rasskazova, manager of ANTAREX Montenegro