I’m reposting the best bits and pieces from Canadian McLean’s magazine and UK’s The Independent about some tiny Adriatic hotspot that’s been trying to break into the scene since its independence in 2006.
With the deepest fjord in the Mediterranean, the bay of Kotor is one of the few still-rustic locales that can accommodate both full-size cruise ships and the international elite’s expanding fleet of super-yachts, many of which require $200,000 for fuel tank fill-ups (marina fuel in Montenegro is sold duty-free).
Uniquely for a sovereign state, Montenegro has no currency of its own. All transactions are conducted in Euros though it is not in the EU or the Eurozone. This convenience has made it a magnet for Russian oligarchs, and for people who want to disguise the source of their wealth, such as Irish drug barons.
The marinas of southern France and Italy were designed a generation ago, when a yacht longer than about 100ft was pretty rare even in a millionaires’ playground. As more of these superyachts came off the production lines, Europe’s billionaires were in danger of having to wander the Mediterranean with nowhere to dock until a group of entrepreneurs decided to create Porto Montenegro, in the Bay of Kotor, which will have the capacity to service 650 yachts.
In addition to tax breaks, the country offers heartbreaking scenery. The incongruity of these monolithic floating energy-guzzlers transposed on such unspoiled natural beauty provides a visual metaphor of the extraordinary transition gripping one of the world’s youngest and smallest democracies.