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Mesmerized by the Luxurious Sveti Stefan | Luxury Travel in the Balkans | Balkan Travel | Top Destinations to Visit in the Balkans | Amazing Cities to Visit in the Balkans | Best Places to go in Montenegro | Where to go in Montenegro | Sveti Stefan Private Beach | Sveti Stefan Islet | Balkan Summer Destinations | Where to go in the Balkans in Summer | #SvetiStefan #Montenegro #Balkans #BalkanTravel #Europe -  California Globetrotter

Ever dreamed of rubbing elbows with the rich and famous? Ever dreamed of laying on a private beach completely to yourself, without any screaming children, obnoxious tourists or loud cars? Ya, me too! Does a place even exist?

Yes. Yes, it does, my friend!

Located along the Budva Riveria just 20 minutes from Budva, stretching out into the Adriatic Sea, is the unbelievably stunning, “pinch me, is this even for real?” islet known as Sveti Stefan. Incredibly popular between the 1960s and 80s as a playground for the elite and people like Doris Day and Princess Margaret, even Oprah have stayed here. Today, it still has that ideal peaceful tranquility we all dream of and this was our one and only splurge during our 2 week Balkan road trip! This was honestly the number one destination to visit in the Balkans!

Want to visit already? PIN IT FOR LATER!!

Mesmerized by the Luxurious Sveti Stefan - Luxury Beach - Luxury Hotel - Private Beach - Private Island Adriatic Sea - Budva Riviera - California Globetrotter

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How to AVOID Looking Like a Tourist in Europe

Previously an island, the population began to dwindle and by 1954 there were only 20 people still living there. So, it was connected to the mainland and became a hotel. It would later be renovated and turned into a 5-star luxury hotel owned by Aman Resorts in 2007 and is the jewel of the Budva Riveria.

The tiny islet’s history dates as far back to the 15th Century, which naturally comes with a legend as to how it came to be. As the story goes, the Ottoman Turks were trying to expand their reach throughout the Adriatic Sea. They had planned to attack Kotor, but locals from the area banded together to help their neighbors. As history would have it, they won, ran the Turks off and took all the goods. The locals decided to build a fortress on a little islet for each of the 12 local tribes, which included a church dedicated to St. Stephan who was the town’s protector, hence the name.

Surrounding the island are two beaches, depending on what you expect to get out of your visit. The beach to the right is incredibly swanky with cushiony beach chairs, a sun umbrella and a small table for your ice cold water. Sit back and relax and enjoy the view of the island, soak up the sun and the peace and quite or play in the water without a care in the world. If you’re looking for the perfect summer destination in the Balkans, this was it!

There’s only one catch. You have to pay a hefty price of 100 for a set of sun chairs for this little slice of heaven, away from the crowds. For that price you can rub elbows with the rich and famous, wear your big sunglasses and hide from imaginary paparazzi. Have no fear, there’s strict beach security at all times to stop any potential paparazzi snoopers out there from snapping your picture!

Did I? You betcha! I was on my honeymoon after all!

How’d it feel? Luxurious! Absolutely unreal! I still look back on my photos to make sure it really happened, that we really were there. It was a big expense, one we weren’t sure if we were going to make. But once there, there was no way we could pass up this opportunity. We spent a good portion of the day lounging on the beach, completely to ourselves not including the exquisite customer service, unwinding from our busy first days of our honeymoon all the while snacking on complimentary watermelon! Don’t mind if I do!

Before we left after spending half a day being lazy, the beach attendants were kind enough to offer to take our picture to capture our memorable afternoon on this luxurious beach that we had entirely to ourselves as it was only the beginning of summer. I could imagine in the coming weeks between mid-June to August or September is the peak tourist season.

Can’t afford to cash out the big bucks but still want to have some quality beach time?

Have no fear, to the left of the island is a beach open to the public for a small, more affordable price of 15-30 depending on whether you want sun chairs, an umbrella or both. As it was a bit more crowded and loud, we opted for the more peaceful private beach.

Feel like checking out the island? Think again!

The island is so exclusive, you can not even stroll around it to check out many of the cottages and suites on the island without paying a hefty price of a minimum of 800 per night to stay at the hotel. You’ll just have to settle with admiring the island from a distance or….

You can, however, find other ways in which to get on the island. Near the entrance of the island is a small security office, and here, you can find a menu for The Taverna, a restaurant on the island. If you make a reservation for lunch/dinner, you will be escorted on to the island. Lunch has been said to cost around 60 for two.

Address: Aman Resort Sv. Stefan.
Phone: +382 33 420 000
Email: amansvetistefan@amanresorts.com

And no, we didn’t make a reservation on the island for a meal as we had already shelled out some big bucks for the beach. My husband’s wallet was sealed shut for the remainder of the day! **heavy sigh** Laying on the private beach was my one and only big splurge on the entire honeymoon and I’d say it was worth every.single.penny! It was honestly one of the most amazing cities to visit in the Balkans!

Want to enjoy a view of the island from above? I’ve gotcha covered!

Towards the top of the hill, on the main road, is Hotel Adrović & Restaurant ⭐⭐⭐with the most stunning view over the island and the surrounding turquoise blue waters. While we did not stay here, we did have lunch here. They offer some of the freshest seafood in town and the view is just to die for! Not only that, but the service was impeccable here!

I’m still dreaming! how can anything be so STUNNING? This can’t be real, can it?

You’ll find parking just on the opposite side of the road specifically for the hotel, for free.

Getting to Sveti Stefan

By car, the drive is about 15 minutes from Budva and roughly a half hour from Kotor. You’ll drive through the town and come to a parking lot which costs 2 per hour. If you plan to spend the whole day here, consider eating at Olive which offers free parking if you spend at least 20 .

What surprised us

You’ll have no problem getting around at Sveti Stefan during your entire visit. Everyone spoke perfect English and were incredibly accommodating. You’ll need to pay in cash for your private beach experience, and as we lacked just 5€ because we were under the impression the beach would cost only 80€, so while my husband went to the bank, I was escorted to the beach and called a “lady” (whether or not my husband chooses to believe I am one). There are changing rooms on the beach as well as showers.

We were surprised that we were given complimentary ice cold waters as well as slices of watermelon throughout our afternoon. Anything we needed or wanted, the beach attendants jumped to it. Not accustomed to this, I felt a little awkward having to ask them to move my lounge chair as the sun moved. Needless to say, the service was exquisite and we tipped them for making our experience so enjoyable. I guess you get what you pay for! 

Looking for more practical information on Montenegro? Grab a copy of this Lonely Planet Travel Guide which we found incredibly useful on our trip and has something for everyone from outdoor activities to historical sites along the Montenegrin coastline!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I might make a little extra spending money, at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own and these products/services have been found useful during our travels and come highly recommended to you from yours truly!

Road & Driving Conditions in Montenegro:

  1. You will be driving on mostly one lane back roads (if coming from Bosnia-Herzegovina).
  2. As you’ll be driving on a single lane road, overtaking can be quite difficult in such dangerous conditions. DO NOT try to overtake unless you have a clear view!
  3. The average driving speed on the one lane roads is around 50kmp as you’ll be mostly driving through small villages, therefore, PLAN FOR EXTRA DRIVING TIME.
  4. DO NOT SPEED! The Montenegrin Police Force were visible every few miles, actively pulling people over for speeding and for whatever other reasons.
  5. Street lights flash green before turning red, therefore, flashing green lights does not mean you have plenty of time to go through the light!
  6. Tunnels have no internal structure with no lights or ventilation. Turn your lights on!
  7. Prepare yourself for potholed roads quite often during your drive, and drive slowly! Last thing you want it to pop a tire in the middle of no where with no sign of help anywhere!
  8. Always have a full take! When you’re near the coastal towns, there are plenty of gas stations, but up in the mountains and smaller villages, you’ll have a harder time.
  9.  Use a GPS Navigation system to get you anywhere in Montenegro, but set your preferances to stick to main roads! But just in case, as many roads have no yet been mapped out yet, we bought a map book of Europe.
  10. Crossing the border from Bosnia into Montenegro can take 30 minutes – 1hr (in low season). I can imagine after May, lines may take longer.
  11. You must show your car insurance papers, car registration and passports!! If you’re renting a car, check with your car rental company.
  12. It’s also recommended to have an international driving license (for this entire road trip) although not necessary (except for Albania and Kosovo).
  13. If you are going to drive from Montenegro to Macedonia, avoid  driving via Podgorica as the roads are terrible (confirmed by our hotel). Instead, you’ll need to drive through Albania via Lac. You will definitely need to show your international driving license here.

Dangers on the Road

  1. It is a common occurrence to see cows and other livestock walking along the road. Try not to speed around corners because they may be just around the bend.
  2. Stay on all main roads!!! Do not wander off on to dirt paths or off the side of the road.
  3. Keep an eye out for local farmers driving on the road with a horse/donkey buggies. For obvious reasons, they don’t go very fast, so do not overtake unless you have a clear path!
  4. Montenegrins like to tailgate and overtake at the first (unsafe) chance they get, putting both themselves and yourselves at risk of practically causes an accident. Slow down and let them pass.

Day Trips for Montenegro:

The PERFECT 2 Week Balkan Road Trip

An Introduction to Kotor

Discover Budva

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Replies to Mesmerized by the Luxurious Sveti Stefan, Montenegro

  1. This is a wonderful post. I do not think I have read something so complete revolving around the island. I want to go so bad. I suspect all those chairs will be taken during summer. So, the timing was excellent. Those views from above are a killer. I am already dreaming of being close to this island. #wanderfulwednesday

  2. To die for! The perfect honeymoon destination indeed and well worth the wait. I wouldn’t mind checking this out. I promise to leave the kids at home 🙂 Thanks for joining #FarawayFiles

  3. Wonderful! This is a beach experience I made have treated myself too as well – although I wouldn’t have left a tip at that price (but that’s more of a cultural difference between Brits and Americans, I suspect!) It looks fabulous – as it should. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    1. Welll I felt a little obligated after I had to ask to move the chairs more in the shade of the umbrella as the sun moved. They were quite heavy, but they guys were friendly and even offered to take our picture

  4. I hate children’s noise and crowds of tourists on vacation so this is actually perfect!! There’s lots of secluded beaches in Scandinavia but of course, the weather rarely is warm enough to actually enjoy them 😉

  5. Wow! Yes expensive, but definitely agree for your honeymoon you definitely have to splurge. I think I would probably go for lunch at the restaurant, definitely a splurge too. Sveti Stefan does look amazing though. #TheWeeklyPostcard.

  6. I’m so in love with this place after reading your post, I’ve heard the island was so exclusive, expensive and often fully booked… but it all looks so amazing, these blue waters and views from the hotel!!! So great this place has filled your honeymoon with many special and unforgettable moments! #feetdotravel

  7. Wow, how amazing. Sounds like a dream experience. “You get what you pay for” indeed! I would still be happy to dine on the island or chill on the non-exclusive beach. Congratulations on your wedding!

  8. Sveti Stefan does look like the stuff that dreams are made of, no wonder it has been a favourite haunt of the rich and famous. An idyllic location to getaway too and just bask in the tranquility

  9. This was such a beautiful trip for you, Lolo! I will never forget my honeymoon, although it was 40 years ago. We saw Sveti Stefan only from a distance. It was a little overcast when we went there in May and we didn’t want to go down to the beach. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  10. Wow, what an amazing day you had! The views alone would have made the trip worth it, but then the beach and fancy service! So so fun! #theweeklypostcard

  11. We’re already scheming ways to come up with 800Euro a night! That was a great experience on the beach, but now we’re super curious about the island. Maybe we will just dish out for lunch instead, but wow – we love that occasional taste of the glamorous life. We’ll play Doris Day and Tyrone Power for a day…my dinner jacket is ready and waiting! Gotta say, as much as we enjoy your stories around Germany, we’ve been loving Montenegro! #TheWeeklyPostcard

  12. I’m not going to pay a 100€ for a couple of sun chairs to rub shoulders with the rich of this world, haha, never ever. Everyone has other priorities and that’s good so. I really enjoy your pictures from this corner of the world which I’ve never visited as yet. Montenegro on a tight budget 😉

  13. Coming from Perth in Australia where we don’t pay a cent to sit on the beach – albeit that there are no laylounges and you hve to bring your own brolley. I don’t think I could justify the price even with the cold water and watermelon. But it does look beautiful and an experience I’m sure you won’t forget.

  14. Sveti Stefan really is an incredible sight and so glad you got to see it on your trip. Choosing the private beach is definitely a nice treat. I’d love to one day stay on the island.

  15. I’m visiting Montenegro this winter, I had Budva and Kotor on my list but hadn’t heard of Sveti Stefan. The Island is so picturesque, I may try stay on the hotel as I’ll be there in off season, I could get a deal. It’s good English is spoken there, I was a little worried about there being no English spoken.

  16. If it’s your honeymoon, you are definitely allowed to splurge. When we went on ours, my then-new husband declared that it would be the nicest trip we would ever go on. Now that we’ve been married 25 years, I can luckily say that he was wrong, LOL. I love the view from the private beach. It definitely seems fit for royalty. #WkendTravelInspiration

  17. I have heard a lot of positive things about Montenegro so it has definitely been brought to my attention, and your stunning photos have whetted my appetite even more! Thank you for sharing with us! #feetdotravel

  18. I absolutely love Montenegro and the Budva area. We visited Sveti Stefan last year when in Budva for a festival and it was a great day out despite the only day when it rained during our stay! So no beach time but we did get to explore and also went to a monastery a bit down the road from where you had lunch and got those amazing views! Didn’t know you can eat at the restaurant there – good to know for next time!

  19. Wow this place looks gorgeous!! I have not been to Montenegro but I have heard great things about it! This is a very detailed post for when I do visit!

  20. I can definitely see how Sveti Stefan is heaven on earth! With those beautiful beaches and turquoise waters, it looks like paradise. Over a year ago, I did a 1-week road trip through the Balkans and stopped by Sveti Stefan to take photos. It was amazing in late winter, but looks even more magical in the summer! I have to go back.

  21. This place is gorgeous but of course you had to make things (i.e. my wanderlust) worse by telling me all about its history and how to enjoy it for less….arghhh. Very informative and useful post!

  22. I have never been to Montenegro but it is definitely something I’d like to do. I love this guide and the photo of the island from Hotel Adrovic is so beautiful. It makes me want to book my tickets right away 😉

  23. I, too, am mesmerized by this beautiful place. I had no idea it was so awesome lol we are planning to go while gallivanting around Europe! Can’t wait!

  24. wow you are right, this place looks incredible! If Oprah stayed there, well I mean come on! haha definitely one for the bucket list 🙂 your photos are dreamy

  25. Wow this is a lot of money for some sun decks haha! I bet it felt special. I am totally for the privacy and no screaming kids though! I love the views of the island too and how amazing that it never used to be connected to the main land. Montenegro is definitely on my list and looks like in need to start saving for this kind of luxury!

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