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Find out why Tivat has become one of Montenegro's most popular destinations and the best things to see and do while you're there.
The seaside town of Tivat in the Bay of Kotor was once the summer residence of the Illyrian queen, Teuta. But it wasn't until a 1979 earthquake brought down large parts of Kotor that many people started to live in Tivat. When Kotor became largely uninhabitable after the earthquake, the Yugoslav government erected dozens of apartment buildings in Tivat for people to live in and Tivat became a real town.
However, without a pretty old town like Kotor or many beaches, Tivat never had much to entice tourists. That is until Peter Munk, a Canadian gold magnate, arrived with ambitious plans to build Porto Montenegro marina and turn Tivat into a world-leading destination for super yachts.
Since Porto Montenegro's opening, Tivat has been transformed from a grey town of Yugoslav-era apartment buildings to the world's home of relaxed luxury, dubbed 'flip-flop luxury', and a buzzing expat hub. And it's become one of the most popular places in the Bay of Kotor.
Here are some of the reasons why Tivat is so popular:
Although its relatively short history means there aren't a lot of historical attractions in Tivat, there are still plenty of things to do here. And it's proximity to other popular destinations, good restaurants and nightlife make it an excellent base for a stay in the Bay of Kotor.
Porto Montenegro is the only platinum-rated marina in the world and one of the most popular destinations in the Bay of Kotor. The marina lies next to Tivat center and is like an extension of the town. It's open to everyone and you can walk in from the seaside promenade or park in the Porto Montenegro car park.
The marina is full of yachts and taking a stroll along the jetties will give you a peek at some of the most expensive and luxurious yachts in the world. Jetty One is reserved for the biggest yachts and is easily identifiable by the giant red- and white-painted crane, a nod to the site's past as a shipyard.
You'll also find a selection of high-end stores and restaurants in Porto Montenegro village. Al Posto Giusto and One offer casual waterside meals, while the Regent Porto Montenegro's Dining Room offers five star dining. The Clubhouse is a favorite meeting place for drinks and to watch a game.
With its central location and beautiful surroundings, Porto Montenegro is also a great place to stay in Tivat. The Regent Porto Montenegro is a stunning five star hotel overlooking the marina, and you can rent apartments in the village.
The naval heritage museum is hidden out of the main village in Porto Montenegro, but it's well worth visiting.
Porto Montenegro used to be called the Arsenal, one of the largest naval bases on the Adriatic, founded by the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1889. The museum now houses over 300 exhibits of the area's naval history.
There's even a restored Yugoslav submarine on site. The P-821 Hero was launched in 1967 and during its 23 year career sailed 46, 659 nautical miles, submersed 901 times and spent 726 days at sea.
Opening Hours: 9am - 4pm Monday - Friday, 1pm - 5pm Saturdays, closed Sundays
P-821 Submarine Tour: €5
Tip: One of the best playgrounds in Tivat is right next to the Naval Heritage Museum. The other is in Magnolia Square. This one is a bit out of the way so it's not nearly as busy as the Magnolia Square one and it's great for little ones from 2 years up.
If it's hot, save this one for early in the morning or in the evening because it's not shaded. The Magnolia Square playground is always under cover.
Tivat has a long promenade which takes you all they way from the town marina to the ferry in Lepetane. This is a great place for a scenic stroll.
I recommend starting on the waterfront, walking through Porto Montenegro and along the promenade until the road meets up with the main Adriatic highway in Donja Lastva.
This path will take you through Seljanovo and Donja Lastva. Donja Lastva is particularly scenic with old stone buildings and Sveti Roko church. There are plenty of places to stop for a drink or snack along the way. Hotel Carrubba has a particularly nice waterfront terrace where they serve drinks and meals.
Tivat Bay's sheltered waters are the perfect place to enjoy water sports. The shape of the bay protects Tivat from swells from the Adriatic Sea, so the sea is always calm here. There are also three islands in Tivat Bay: The Island of Flowers; St Marko and the island church of Our Lady of Mercy, and Solila Nature Reserve, which make Tivat Bay an excellent place to explore.
Stand up paddle boarding is a fun way to explore Tivat Bay. It's easy to learn and you can stop to swim whenever you like. You can hire stand up paddle boards or combine stand up paddling with a cycling on the self-guided Kotor and Tivat by SUP and Cycle tour.
Although it takes place outside of Tivat, the Blue Cave Kayak and Snorkel Adventure departs from Kotor and Tivat and is one of the most popular tours on the coast of Montenegro.
There is a range of skippered and bareback boats available for hire from Tivat. You can hire a boat for a few hours through to your entire stay. Whip around the Bay of Kotor and see all the sights in the most fun way to travel!
You can also join the popular Boka Bay Day Cruise which is one of the most fun and relaxing ways to experience the Bay of Kotor. The tour takes you to two of the bay's top attractions: Our Lady of the Rocks and the Blue Cave and you have ample time to swim in the bay's warm, clear waters.
Tivat is close to the Bay of Kotor's most famous road - the Serpentine Road. The road that leads from the Bay of Kotor to Lovćen National Park has 25 switchbacks and offers stunning views of the Bay.
The Epic 25 Turns Bike Descent with Best Views of Kotor Bay tour is a popular bike tour that takes you from the top of the Serpentine Road down into Kotor. Another popular bike tour, The "See Everything" Giant E-Bike Tour, offers a guided tour around the Bay of Kotor and up to Goražda Fortress, an abandoned Austro-Hungarian fortress that overlooks the whole Bay of Kotor (read more about Goražda below).
In Radanovići, on Luštica Peninsula, the Luštica Bay development has a golf driving range and also offers archery. You can make bookings at their sales office next to Hotel Pine in on the waterfront in Tivat.
In the center of town, you can't miss the old stone walls and tower of the Buća Gallery. This building was the summer residence of a noble family from Kotor called Buća.
The building was built in the 15th century and now serves as Tivat's museum. Inside you'll find ethnographic exhibitions showing the lifestyle and culture of the Bay of Kotor and Tivat. Exhibitions inside the former residential building show work from contemporary local artists.
Opening hours: 8am - 2pm, 6pm - 11pm
One of the interesting spots off the tourist radar is an old Austro-Hungarian fortress called Goražda which lies on the top of hill between Tivat and Kotor. From here you can see both towns.
The fortress is built into the mountain and you can explore the abandoned rooms - you might want to keep a torch handy for this as there's no lighting. At the very top you’ll see the old iron dome which housed a giant gun that was tour used to defend either part of the Bay of Kotor.
If you have a rental car (I recommend Localrent.com) you can drive yourself up to Goražda. There is also an e-bike tour that takes you up there and includes biking around the Bay of Kotor.
Address: Fortress Goražda, Škaljari
A little further along the same range, you’ll find another abandoned fortress on Vrmac hill. This is a popular spot for walks and mountain biking and you’ll find marked trails here.
One of the popular routes takes you down from Vrmac ridge to the village of Gornja Lastva and back up again. There’s also a shorter, circular route you can do in about an hour. Both walks will afford you breathtaking views of both sides of Kotor Bay.
Solila used to be salt pans and the area has been turned into a nature reserve. There's a walking path through the reserve and there are elevated lookouts where you can get a good view of the reserve and Tivat Bay.
This is a neat place for families and it's free! Bring binoculars to make the most of your trip here.
Address: Solila - Special Nature Reserve
Tivat's waterfront is mostly concrete, so there is just one beach in the center of the town. You can swim from the waterfront anywhere in town, but if you want a beach head south and you'll find beaches in Seljanovo and Donja Lastva. Most beaches in the Bay of Kotor are a mixture of pebble and sand. Only Waikiki Beach Resort has a large sandy beach.
Popular Tivat beaches:
Tip: Beaches in Montenegro are typically rented. This means they can charge for loungers, umbrellas and some other services like restaurants, changing areas, toilets etc available. But they're also required to leave a percentage of the beach free where people can use the beach without paying. So wherever you see a beach, you can use the free space for free, you don't have to pay for loungers.
Luštica Peninsula has some beautiful beaches and at only 15 minutes from Tivat, it's worth driving over for a beach day.
Blue Horizons(Plavi Horizonti) a big sandy bay that's ideal for a beach day and families with small children. The water is very shallow and is still only waist-deep 50m off shore, so your children can easily play here without getting out of their depth. The sandy bottom and shore is also easy on little feet.
You can hire loungers and umbrellas or bring your own. You can also hire shaded cabanas with food and drink service if you want to really relax on the beach.
There are walking paths either side of the bay, but be aware these are favorite spots with nudists who like to sunbathe on the rocky outcrops.
There's an onsite restaurant where you can get meals, ice cream and drinks. There's also a large parking lot which costs €3 for the day.
Oblatno beach is home to Almara Beach Club. You can hire loungers or a day bed, orders snacks and drinks and frolic in the warm shallows. You can then continue the party on into the night with dinner in the upscale restaurant, cocktails and a dj that plays until late.
A small part of the beach can be used free of charge, but it fills up quickly in summer so you should arrive early or be prepared to pay for loungers.
This is another nice beach for children because it's sandy and shallow, however there can be a lot of wasps which are attracted to food and make it hard to relax completely, especially if you have children.
Thanks in part to the large number of foreigners either temporarily or permanently in Tivat, the town has a lively nightlife scene all year around. Because it's so compact you can easily go from one place to another on foot.
Most popular are Madame Coco, My Club and The Clubhouse and Platinum in Porto Montenegro. These are all easy walking distance from anywhere in town.
Tivat is a great place to base yourself during your stay in Montenegro. With its central location you can easily explore places like Kotor and Budva during the day. In the evenings you can walk to restaurants because the town is so compact.
Regent Porto Montenegro - this 5 star hotel lies is offers luxurious accommodation in Porto Montenegro, alongside Tivat center.
With beautiful views, a top-notch spa and world-class restaurants on your doorstep, the Regent is one of the best places to stay in Tivat.
Porto Montenegro Village - Porto Montenegro also has beautiful self-catering apartments in the village.
Each apartment has pool and gym access, and you can relax in home-like accommodation with Tivat center just 100m away.
Eco Hotel Carrubba - located on the seaside in picturesque Donja Lastva, 2km from Tivat, Eco Hotel Carrubba offers lovely boutique accommodation.
This is the ideal spot for a quiet seaside getaway while still being close to Tivat center.
Holiday Home Brinic - this seaside fisherman's cottage offers a complete getaway. Nestled in the sleepy village of Kakrc, 15 minutes from Tivat, the cottage sleeps 6 and promises the kind of summer holiday memories that are cherished for decades.
Villa Ava Kotor - this lovingly-restored stone cottage in the village of Kavač is a private getaway 10 minutes from Tivat center.
The cozy cottage has a private pool, two bedrooms and everything you need for a relaxing self-catered holiday.
Read More: Best Hotels in Tivat
Tivat, as Montenegro's home of 'flip flop luxury', has plenty of good eateries to choose from.
Right on the waterfront in the center of town, there’s a long stretch of restaurants and cafes. This is a popular spot to get a coffee and enjoy the sea views.
Porto Montenegro offers upmarket and casual dining that fits perfectly with the location. One has modern casual meals like seafood, risottos and meat dishes. Al Posto Giusto offers Italian-influenced meals like pizzas, pastas and salads. For high-end dining try Murano in Hotel Regent Porto Montenegro or Panorama Restaurant and Wine Bar overlooking the PMYC pool.
For local-style fare, Kalimanj Marina has two restaurants popular with locals:
Read More: Best Tivat Restaurants
Tivat airport is the only airport on the coast in Montenegro and is only 5km from Tivat center. It's ideal if you’re staying in Budva or the Bay of Kotor because you can easily get a transfer or rental car from the airport and be sipping a cocktail by the sea in less than an hour.
If you are planning to stay in the more mountainous north or further south in Bar or Ulcinj, Podgorica airport in the capital city would be a better airport to fly into.
Tivat airport has direct links to many European airports from May to October, but generally only links to Belgrade and Moscow in winter. The flight time from other European centers is only 2-3 hours. If you can't find flights to Tivat airport, Podgorica airport is a two hour drive from Tivat and Dubrovnik airport (in neighbouring Croatia) is also around two hours' drive, but you need to account for the border crossing which can be busy in summer.
Read More: Flights to Montenegro
Read More: Cheap Flights to Tivat
There are so many beautiful destinations in Montenegro and it's so easy to drive around that most visitors staying more than a couple of days hire a car.
With a rental car you can drive to Lake Skadar National Park to see pelicans on a boat cruise and visit a winery. You can head up to Lovćen National Park to try traditional prosciutto and get far-reaching views at the Petar Petrović Njegoš Mausoleum. And you can easily travel to Kotor and Budva from Tivat.
If you're thinking of hiring a car in Montenegro I recommend Localrent.com (formerly My Rentacar). They work with many small local companies to bring you honest and affordable car hire during your stay. Click here to see why Localrent.com has the best car hire in Montenegro.
With Localrent.com you can collect your car at Tivat airport as soon as you arrive or they can bring it to you.