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Catriona's Montenegro affair

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Montenegro's west coast is on the Adriatic Sea and it borders five other countries: Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania.

Catriona Rowntree put her hand up for Getaway's first visit to the small country with a population of less than 700,000. It has withstood centuries of conquests and more recently tourism suffered greatly from Yugoslavia's civil war in the 1990s. It has emerged as the second-newest country in the world, declaring independence from Serbia in 2006, and tourism is once again looking healthy. It is touted as Europe's next hot spot.

With guide Slaja Tomanovic, Catriona set out on her discovery tour.

Boat ride from Perast

Perast is a beautiful old World Hertitage-protected village dating back centuries and steeped in maritime history. It's one of the most beautiful examples of baroque architecture anywhere. It has one main street with several churches. Montenegro is a very religious country and its faith has been tested again and again.

On the way they passed Our Lady of Rocks, a manmade reef of sunken ships. Locals built a votive chapel and blue-domed church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, which seems to float on the gulf's calm waters. Built in 1630, it is occasionally used for services. The artwork, ceiling and murals took one painter more than a decade to complete.

A keeper's lodge has been turned into a museum devoted to deliverance from perils at sea.

Stari Mlini

The former mill built in the 16th century sits on top of a wild river and views of the winding bay are grand. In the 1770s, Stari Mlini was a family-operated flour mill serving Kotor. Three-hundred years later another family preserved the mill and turned it into a fairytale restaurant. It offers casual fine dining and there is the option of arriving by road or by sea. They specialise in trout farmed on site, wild Adriatic seafood, prosciutto, octopus and squid-ink risotto.


If you visit just one place in Montenegro, Kotor should be it. It's Montenegro's national icon and described as southern Europe's most spectacular fjord. Kotor is one of the best-preserved and most beautiful medieval towns in the Mediterranean.

The walled town is a maze of cobbled streets and centuries of history. Rugged mountains plummeting to the Adriatic and beautiful thick Mediterranean vegetation make the beauty meter tick.

Locals are extremely proud of their Cathedral of St Tryphon built in 1166. The stunning example of Roman architecture contains a treasury of artefacts and it's older than Paris' Notre Dame.

Every weekday at the entrance to the old town you will find local markets, and for a pleasant change, they aren't the place for touristy souvenirs. It's where the Montenegrins shop.

It has shops and boutiques selling clothing and footwear of renowned European and world designers, particularly Italian. There are also interesting shops selling jewellery, books, antiques, beauty salons, cafes, pizzerias and pastry shops. It's a great place to wander.

The second entrance to the old town takes you to the Kotor bazaar. It began forever ago for the exchange and barter of goods and merchandise. Today it markets fruit, vegetables and fish, but you will see some other little shops.

Sveti Stefan

"At the moment of the creation of our planet," Lord Byron wrote, "the most beautiful merging of land and sea occurred at the Montenegrin seaside." Since the 15th century to the 1950s the tiny island housed a small fishing community. Then it became a haunt of the rich and famous. Right now it's closed — and has been for a couple of years — for construction by a hotel group.

It will reopen in the middle of 2011 and the Aman Group will have three hotels, two villas, spa, restaurants, shops, sport facilities and nightclubs.

Hotel Azimut

The nautical word "azimuth" has its origin in Arabic meaning "the right way" and this is definitely the right way to enjoy a luxurious boutique hotel in the heart of Sveti Stefan.

The hotel has 16 rooms and you can choose from a double, double luxe or apartment. Rooms are modern and have a living room and the highlight is definitely the private terrace with stunning views of Stefi Stefan.

Check out the spa and wellness centre, indoor pool with ocean views, Turkish bath, sauna and jacuzzi. If you crave a serene, Zen-like atmosphere then indulge in one of their luxurious massages, which will heal you from the inside out.

The hotel has a private beach and accessories are free so you'll always have a sunbed and umbrella to laze under. The restaurant has a spectacular view of Sveti Stefan and their wine list is impressive. For cooler months there's a winter terrace with a library and halls for playing bridge cards and billiards.


Montenegro in south-eastern Europe, about two hours from Dubrovnik.


Greece & Mediterranean Travel Centre has a four-day Montenegro Experience tour available. It includes return transfers from Dubrovnik Airport, accommodation and full-day Montenegro tour starting at $459 per person twin share. They run year round.

Emirates has flights to Rome. Connections to Dubrovnik are available.

Airfares start from:

  • Perth $1701
  • Melbourne and Adelaide $1704
  • Sydney $1722
  • Brisbane $1728

Fares are for sale between June 24 and 28, 2010, for travel between October 1 and November 30, 2010.

Prices correct at June 24, 2010.

For further information

Ph: 1300 303 777

Greece & Mediterranean Travel Centre
Suite 2, 644 Botany Road
Alexandria 2015
Ph: (02) 9313 4633 or 1300 661 666
Fax: (02) 9313 4475

Stari Mlini
Ljuta bb, Dobrota
85330 Kotor
Ph: +382 32 333 555

Hotel Azimut
Sveti Stefan
Ph: +382 33 468 992 or +382 33 468 993

Visas: A passport is required but a visa is not necessary.

Electricity: 230V at 50 Hz.

Time zone: GMT +1.

Currency: The euro.

International dialling code: +382.


It is recommended travellers to Montenegro see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there are specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended and are best discussed with your doctor. For further information, visit

User comments
This is a message to the Serb from Adelaide. Shame on you! This is a travel show, it's about exploring beautiful places and who cares about politics and which country gets seen first. Your "what about us" attitude is pathetic. If you had watched the show you would've realised that Catriona went to Montenegro because it was recommended to her by one of the viewers. So if you had kindly suggested Serbia and explained what a beautiful country it is, instead of slapping around and being an idiot, maybe it would've stood a chance. However, I doubt it now, because you have just embarrassed the whole Serbian nation, who would wanna go there if people like you present us. And if you're wandering , I am a Serb too.
It is so sad to see serbian fanaticism alive and well after the ruthless carnage they carried out in Bosnia. I was disgusted to read comments of a deranged serbian above. We are talking tourism for god's sake... who cares whether Kosovo is or is not part of serbia? Anyhow, rest of the world says it is an independent country.... what's the significance of a few serbs saying it is not!!! Cheers
For some reason a place in Serbia (Kosovo) is a country according to this guide. And if you want to get ambushed then go right ahead to Albania. Montenegro is a poor country but for toursists its expensive, greece is a lot cheaper compared to montenegro.
You got your facts right.Well done
Since when is Montenegro so valuable to get onto this show before Serbia??? Does it have it's good sides...sure....but have you even looked into Serbia's??? One show would not be enough! Good to know you keep supporting all the other sides and always leave Serbs in the ditch! And for a show that gets into a nitty gritty of all countries you should have checked the facts about Kosovo!!! Or at least stay neutral and respect both sides which a travel show should do! This way you have disrespected all the Serbian victims that have died over centuries! Australia didn't even exist when the Serbs were fighting Turkish Empire. Check the history and learn something first before you go and disrespect someone and place yourselves politically!
Thank you for your wonderful show. I enjoyed it very much. This is just a suggestion. What about visiting Samobor in Croatia (its in Zagreb). It is a beautiful green town with plenty to do. How about visiting Korcula. Rovine. And how about visiting Slovenia a place called Lake Bohin. Dolenska region. Seaside towns in Slovenia Porto Roz and Pirhan. Many thanks for allowing me to suggest this. MaryB
Kosova became an independent country 2 years ago FYI =D
Catriona, I must recommend you going to Albania. it is such a wonderful place like Montenegro but with untouched beaches, ancient buildings and cities. I would go to Tirana, Berat, Shkoder and many other places. It has wonderful ancient buildings and lovely hotels. So hopefully you could go to Albania as it isn't touched and its a new becoming hot spot in Europe. It would be a wonderful experience to go to Albania. You must go !
Get your act together before you post somehting like this..Kosovo is not a conutry and it wil never be!!!!!!That is part of Serbia
As an Aussie expat, I lived in Montenegro for two years and can thoroughly recommend this lovely country for both it's historical buildings, awe inspiring scenery and Montenegrin hospitality.

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