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Montenegro: Sveti Stefan

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Sveti Stefan | Montenegro | Europe

[Visited: August 2009]

When our bus made a stop and we looked down, our jaws dropped. Below us, in the tranquil waters of the Adriatic sea, we saw an island so magnificent we could not take our eyes away. We soon realized this must be Sveti Stefan, the famous destination for many world renowned guests like Sophia Loren, Queen Elizabeth II, and Marilyn Monroe. When the bus continued its ride to the west, we were convinced we had to come back. The next morning, we were looking down on Sveti Stefan again, and this time, took a long time to simply enjoy the view. The early morning light had just arrived on the red roofs of this island village, and the translucent waters around the island were so clear we could count the pebbles on the seabed.

Picture of Sveti Stefan (Montenegro): Sveti Stefan seen from a distance in the early morning

We walked down, and like a cat stalling its final attack on its prey, we first went for a walk on the beach to see Sveti Stefan from a different angle. Only then did we return to the causeway that connects the mainland to the island. We were happy to see very few people around, and were looking forward to finally explore the island itself. Our delusion was therefore big when we arrived at the entrance: a closed gate. Sveti Stefan appeared to be under reconstruction, and will remain closed. When it will finally open again, it will once again have been converted to a luxury accommodation, and it remains to be seen if the village will open its gate to the occasional visitor. Little could the original fishermen in the 15th century have anticipated that their island would once become so inaccessible. But then again, this island was deserted by the fishermen in the 1950s, after which a group of architects and artists decided to save it, and convert it into something unique. As a side-effect of the demise of Yugoslavia, Sveti Stefan lost its appeal in the 1990s, before it was bought by a luxury resort operator.

Picture of Sveti Stefan (Montenegro): Sveti Stefan: a pearl on the Montenegrin coast

Despite our deception, we lingered around Sveti Stefan for a while. While sitting on a wall near the entrance, we soon discovered the hiding place of the big key of the lock on the gate, and considered sneaking in when they were gone. But then we realized that fantasizing about the village from the outside also had some appeal, and we retreated to the beach right in front of the former fishing village, that was turned into an exclusive luxury hotel in the 1950s. Swimming in the crystal clear and calm waters meant swimming with an incredibly beautiful backdrop. It was just a pity that the very unfriendly and aggressive staff of the adjacent beach destroyed the atmosphere so much, that it sent people packing. Walking away from Sveti Stefan gave offered even more amazing views of this wonderful place.

Picture of Sveti Stefan (Montenegro): Houses overgrown by plants on Sveti Stefan
Picture of Sveti Stefan (Montenegro): Beach leading up to Sveti Stefan
Picture of Sveti Stefan (Montenegro): Walkway to Sveti Stefan in the early morning
Picture of Sveti Stefan (Montenegro): One end of Sveti Stefan
Picture of Sveti Stefan (Montenegro): Sveti Stefan surrounded by the Adriatic sea seen from a distance
Picture of Sveti Stefan (Montenegro): Wall effectively protecting Sveti Stefan from visitors
Picture of Sveti Stefan (Montenegro): Boats in the small bay off Sveti Stefan

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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