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Image: Deposit photos
A few years ago Tivat was a rather unattractive town in the Bay of Kotor.
The first time I went there I said 'Ugh. Who would want to live here? The Commie blocks (depressing, grey, Communist-era apartment blocks)! There's no old town! This is NOT a tourist destination.'
Fast forward a few years and Tivat has been transformed!
From a grey town with no attractions, it's become a fantastic destination to stay during your holiday in Montenegro. Here's why:
So let's dig deeper into Tivat...
Tivat is rumoured to be named after the Illyrian queen Teuta, who ruled part of Montenegro. She was attacked by the Romans in 229 B.C. and had to retreat from Lake Skadar to Risan in Kotor Bay and built herself a summer residence in Tivat.
The town is quite small and is based around the centre and waterfront. If you're staying in town, you can easily get around on foot and will only need a rental car if you're sightseeing.
Street parking is free throughout town, but if you can't find a space there’s also a large paid car park next to the waterfront and Porto Montenegro, so you can park there and walk to wherever you want to go.
Image: Deposit photos
Porto Montenegro is a must see in the Bay of Kotor. The marina is full of luxury yachts and taking a stroll along the jetties will give you a peek at some of the best yachts in the world.
The marina is especially pretty at night, so an evening stroll along the waterfront is a must if you're staying here.
Image: Porto Montenegro
There are several restaurants in Porto Montenegro that serve everything from 5 star dining to casual meals.
If you can't miss THE game while on holiday but you're accommodation doesn't have a channel playing it, head along to The Clubhouse where you'll be able to watch it with a beer... just like at home.
Crush Wine Station is the place to pick up a nice bottle of Montenegrin wine (Arhonto rose is our favourite) and Moritz Eis has fabulous natural ice creams.
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
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 all the way until the road meets up with the main Adriatic highway again.
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.
This stand up paddle tour is suitable for everyone from complete beginners to experienced paddlers.
The tour takes you around Sveti Marko island and the Island of Flowers in Tivat. You'll also pass Solila Nature Reserve.
There are lots of chances to swim and cool off while you explore.
On the airport side of Tivat there's a wake park where you can try your hand at waterskiing or wakeboarding using a stationary pulley.
They also have kayak rentals, paintball and beach soccer.
The wake park is generally a happening location all summer, with a beach bar on site and regular parties with guest djs.
Opening hours: 9am - 8pm daily, May - October.
Prices: 1 hour - €15, 2 hours - €25, day - €35.
Choose from 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!
Read More: Rent a Boat in Montenegro
Charter a skippered speedboat to take you wherever you like.
This boat fits up to 15 people and is perfect for larger groups wanting to see as much as possible in a short time.
It comes with snorkelling gear for 10 people and is fully covered by a bimini to protect you from the summer sun.
Read More: Private 2 Hour Speedboat Charter
This mountain bike tour is for intermediate or advanced riders.
The tour finishes with a transfer back to your start point.
Start point: Kotor, Tivat or Budva
Start time: 8am (1st June - 31st August), 9.30am all other times
Duration: 4 hours
Price: From €46 per person
Read More: Vrmac Ridge Mountain Bike Tour
This tour takes you down the stunning serpentine road from Njegusi to Kotor.
The tour starts with a transfer to Njegusi and a short tour of the village. Then it's on the bike for a beautiful ride down the serpentines, with plenty of stops for photos!
Start point: Kotor, Tivat or Budva
Start time: morning or afternoon
Duration: 4 hours
Price: From €72 per person
This tour starts in Kotor (with pick ups from Tivat and Budva available) and and takes around 6 hours in total.
The tour starts with an hour's hike to the start point before you spend around 2 hours descending through the canyon with ropes. Skurda is a dry canyon, so there's no swimming.
Read More: Skurda Canyon Tour
In Radanovici, on Lustica Peninsula, the Lustica 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.
If you're looking for a bit of family entertainment in the evening, you'll find a bowling centre on the road to Kotor (via the tunnel).
To get there take the main road towards the airport. Turn left at the roundabout, heading towards Kotor. The bowling alley is a large red and yellow building on your right.
In the centre of town, you can't miss the old stone walls and tower of the Buca Gallery. This building was the summer residence of a noble family from Kotor called Buca (Butcha).
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 Gorazda 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 could be used to defend either part of the Bay of Kotor.
Here's how to get there:
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 fully 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.
Read More: Vrmac Ridge
Read More: Guided Hike of Vrmac Ridge
Read More: Mountain Biking Vrmac Ridge
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 several lookouts you climb to get a good view of the reserve and bay.
This is a neat place for families and it's free! Bring binoculars to make the most of your trip here.
To get there, take the main road past the airport and turn right towards Lustica at the roundabout. You'll see a sign and gate for solila on your right.
Tivat, as Montenegro's home of 'flip flop luxury', has plenty of good eateries to choose from these days.
Right on the waterfront in the centre of town, there’s a long stretch of restaurants and cafes called Pine. This spot is a great place to get a coffee and a casual meal.
And Porto Montenegro offers upmarket and casual dining that fits perfectly with the location.
But I would recommend stepping off the main drag and trying some of the excellent local restaurants. Some of our favourites are:
Read More: Best Tivat Restaurants
There aren't any beaches in the centre of Tivat. You can swim from concrete pontoons in the centre of town, along the waterfront. But if you want to find a beach, you can find them along the coast towards Donja Lastva or around the bay towards Lustica Peninsula.
You should know: Beaches in Montenegro are typically rented. This means they have 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 any free space for free, you don't have to pay for loungers.
Seljanovo is the first area you come to after you pass through Porto Montenegro, when coming from town. There are beaches and cafes all along this stretch.
The most popular are by the lighthouse and I like Waikiki Beach. There's a restaurant, playground, fine pebble beach, comfortable loungers and massages. Everything you need for a relaxing beach day is onsite.
Reservations here are recommended: +382 (0)69 141 710 or [email protected]
Donja Lastva is a pretty hamlet after Seljanovo. There aren't any organised beaches here, except for the one that belongs to Carrubba Hotel.
The seafront is either concrete or dotted with small, pebble beaches which you can use freely.
10 minutes out of town in Solila Bay you'll find trendy Movida beach with its small marina. There's a restaurant on site and you can hire loungers and umbrellas.
Not just a daytime venue, at night Movida morphs into an open air party venue with bands, djs and dancefloors. A taxi ride here will cost you around €15 from Tivat or Kotor.
This is the place to go with small kids. It's a big, sandy, shallow bay that's ideal for a real day at the beach.
You can hire loungers and umbrellas or bring your own. There are walking paths either side of the bay, but be aware these are favourite spots with nudists who like to sunbathe on these rocky outcrops.
There's an onsite restaurant where you can get snacks, ice cream and drinks. Parking costs €2.
Oblatno beach is home to Almara Beach Club which is the place to be seen. Here 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 restaurant, cocktails and a dj that plays until late.
This is another nice beach for kids because it's sandy and shallow.
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.
Do you think Tivat could be the perfect place for your stay in Montenegro?
You can find some great hotels here. Of course there's the 5 star Regent Porto Montenegro, but there are also lots of other nice hotels with beaches, in the centre of town and with gorgeous Kotor Bay views.
Read More: Best Hotels in Tivat
Tivat airport is the only airport on the coast in Montenegro and is the most convenient if you’re planning to stay in Budva or the Bay of Kotor. 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 suit you better.
The airport has direct links to many European airports from May to October, but generally only links to Belgrade and Moscow in winter. Montenegro Airlines has flights from London-Gatwick direct (and return) on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The flight time is under three hours, so from the UK you can be lying on the beach in Montenegro in a jiffy!
Read More: Flights to Montenegro
Read More: Cheap Flights to Tivat
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