Island of Sveti Stefan: vacation tips
Sveti Stefan is a colorful landmark and the most expensive resort in Montenegro. Is it possible to get to Sveti Stefan for free? How to get to the miracle island from Budva and Tivat? We tell you about the beaches and hotel prices.
History of island Sveti Stefan
The unique island-hotel Sveti Stefan is connected to the mainland by a small isthmus. The first inhabitants appeared here in the 15th century. They built the temple of St. Stefan and fortifications, so they could defend the coast from Turkish incursions. In honor of the small church, the island got its name.
The Venetians turned Sveti Stefan into a real medieval town. In later times, on a small piece of land there was only a small fishing village.
In the 1950s, the Yugoslav leadership decided to preserve the old look of the houses and streets, but turn Sveti Stefan into a luxury resort. In 1970-1980s, royalty, the world political elite and show business stars loved to rest on the island.
The protracted war, which accompanied the process of Yugoslavia’s collapse, ruined the island resort. There was no money to restore Sveti Stefan, so in 2007 Montenegro leased the island for 30 years. Soon the hotel complex Aman Sveti Stefan opened here.
Today the island is still popular with wealthy clients. Guests are received on the luxury villas. They are equipped with all amenities, in the finishing rooms and halls used natural materials.
The island of Sveti Stefan is cozy and green. Neat houses are covered with ivy, and paved winding streets lead to picturesque courtyards. The island has all the necessary infrastructure – restaurants, cafes, pastry shop, hairdressers, shopping center, post office and bank. There are three preserved old churches – Transfiguration, St. Stephen and Alexander Nevsky.
Narrow streets on the island (Photo: Dave Pinter / flickr.com)
Hotels in Saint Stefan
OnlineTours – Tours to Sveti Stefan.
St. Stephen’s Island is the best of conditions, a secluded vacation with all the comforts of the seaside. The island is located 58 luxury apartments. In a single hotel complex Aman Sveti Stefan includes villa Miloćer, which is located in the park in front of the island. In high season, the night for two people costs from 890 euros.
Look for cheaper accommodation in the village of Sveti Stefan, on the beach. A double room in the Vukšić Apartment 4* costs 63 euros per night, in the Sana Apartment 4* – 83 euros, and in the More Apartment 4* – 43 euros.
Hotel Aman Sveti Stefan (Photo: Dave Pinter / flickr.com)
To the right of the isthmus that leads to Sveti Stefan island is the hotel’s private beach. It is covered with reddish sand. It costs 100 euros to rent a pair of sun loungers for outsiders. On the left is exactly the same quality public beach, which is available to all.
There are two excellent sandy beaches on the mainland. “Kralichina plaza” stretches for 120 m, and Milocer beach – for 300 m. It is surrounded by rare trees and shrubs of a wonderful botanical park. Recreation is truly royal – renting two sun loungers costs 120 euros.
Free beach on the left side of the island (Photo: wikimedia.ru / anjči)
How to get to Sveti Stefan
The island of Sveti Stefan in Montenegro is a closed territory. Outsiders are forbidden to enter! If you are determined to see this attraction on the Budva Riviera, here’s how to get to the island.
The first way is to book accommodation in Sveti Stefan. Be prepared to pay a tidy sum!
The second way is to book a table in any of the restaurants on the island. You can do this by phone, on the website or at the reception, which is located near the isthmus. Prices in institutions are high: appetizers – from 15 euros, main courses – 30-50 euros, and desserts – 15-30 euros.
The third option – come to the island with a tour. There are sightseeing tours every day. You will be guided through the streets of Sveti Stefan, told about its history and treated to a drink in one of the restaurants. Look for interesting author tours on Tripster.
A fourth option is to attend a free service at Sveti Stefan’s churches. Festive services are held several times a year: on the second day of Christmas, the second day of Easter, July 12, 2, 9 and 28 August. On these days, residents of the surrounding villages and tourists are allowed on the island freely. You will not be able to walk around, as there are guards everywhere, but you can see something on the way to the temples.
Sveti Stefan at night (Photo: luca.sartoni / flickr.com)
How to get to Sveti Stefan from Budva and Tivat
To get from Budva to Sveti Stefan by city bus costs 1.5 euros, and by cab 10-15 euros.
From the airport in Tivat to the island of Sveti Stefan is 33.5 km. For 4 euros you can get by bus. Buses go from the bus station in Tivat, which is 1 km from the airport. Buses come rarely – once every few hours. It’s more convenient to take a cab for 37 euros or order an individual transfer.
The best views of the island
Great photos of Sveti Stefan are obtained from the promenade, which is located on the mainland. St. Stefan also looks great from the viewpoints behind the Milocer Park and near the Adrovic Hotel.
St. Stefan Island (Photo: nakedst / flickr.com / License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Reviews of Sveti Stefan
The island of Sveti Stefan and clean sandy beaches with pink sand are loved by tourists. The only disappointment is the exorbitant prices.
Tatiana: “I noted the beauty. I took a video. In those parts there are many no less beautiful places. But it’s nice for someone to be able to spend a lot of money”.
Irina: “Holidays with my son. Everything is just great! Everywhere is clean and tidy and washed. Cleaning even on weekends and holidays. Linen is clean and snow-white. The terrace is comfortable, there is a place to sit in the evening or relax in the heat. We would very much like to come back here”.
St. Stefan travel guide
No one even imagined that an ordinary fishing village on a small island in Montenegro could one day turn into a luxury vacation spot. However, such a metamorphosis happened. And it happened to the island of St. Stefan. Now this place is a hallmark of Montenegro.
Fishermen’s houses have been restored so that their appearance has not lost its historical essence. And comfortable interiors of dwellings were made taking into account all modern requirements. With all these changes, the inhabitants of the country tried to preserve the original flavor of the island. The unique atmosphere of the resort is created by the curved streets and small squares with churches, bringing tourists back to the past. All the works were so successful that the island has become one of the favorite holiday destinations of the royal families of Great Britain and the Netherlands. However, not only princes and kings rest on this resort, there are also many ordinary tourists, who often live near the island.
The fortunate location of the island allows for excursions to any part of the country, as well as to the mountain massif of Durmitor, which is famous for its many clean lakes with spring water and mountain slopes covered with perennial trees. Not far from the island there is a medieval monastery Proskavica and a church carved into the rock. Even from the island, it is easy to get to the Royal Beach, though you can do it only by water. However, the excursion is worthwhile because the beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful… read full article
Where to stay in Saint Stefan?
The village of Sveti Stefan is essentially built on a hill, and therefore partly it is very similar to the resort of Herceg Novi. However, the prices of accommodation in this village is slightly higher than, for example, in the nearby resorts of Rafailovichi and Becici. Before you choose apartments for your vacation, you should consider their location, because your vacation may turn into a permanent descent to the sea, and then the climbing of many stairs.
St. Stephen has 80 buildings and 50 of them are villas. Here is the most expensive hotel on the Adriatic, called 21. In order to stay in the villa, you will have to participate in an auction, which essentially determines the cost of your stay.
Also very popular on the island and the apartment under the number “22”, because it is here stayed a huge number of stars, including Sophia Loren, Claudia Schiffer, the Beckhams, the famous Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya and the first Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
Last year the rate was about $8,000 a night per person with breakfast, and rooms had to be booked for at least three nights. However, in September prices are cut in half and the hotel is open until mid-October.
How to get there?
Since the nearest airports in Montenegro to the village of Sveti Stefan are in Tivat and Podgorica, then you essentially have to get there. The most convenient option is of course ordering a cab by Internet in advance. From Tivat transfer, if ordered in advance, will cost 25 euros, and from Podgorica, 36 euros. But of course it is better to do it beforehand, because at the airport after the arrival cab drivers can ask for much more.
As an option is quite possible to rent a car – the service will cost starting from 11 euros, so you can save on transportation and then be able to explore the country in a comfortable format. You can do it in advance also on the Internet and be sure to warn that the car was delivered directly to the airport. When transferring be sure to examine the car in detail.
Very often the owners of the accommodation that you booked in advance or selected for themselves, pick up their tourists directly from the airport. It turns out a little more expensive than, for example, ordering a cab, but much more convenient. Again, arrangements for this service must be made in advance.
If you arrive at the airport light, in principle, you can try to get to the local bus. The bus stop is located about one kilometer from the airport Tivat. However, you will have to walk a little bit in the heat and there is no direct bus, so you will have to change in Budva. The bus will drop you off in Sveti Stefan, right at the terminal, and… read completely.
Food and Drink
Sveti Stefan is a small island with a majestic castle near the town of Budva (about 16 kilometers) and when they talk about holidays in Sveti Stefan, they mostly mean the area around this island. But this is a minor introductory digression, because it will still be about what to eat and where to eat.
In general, the cuisine of Montenegro, and in particular the cuisine, cooked in St. Stefan, is typically Mediterranean, that is, very simple, but nevertheless nutritious and delicious. Mainly it is meat (lamb and beef), fish and surely a lot of vegetables, both fresh and stewed, cooked, fried.
There are no problems with cafes and restaurants on the waterfront and near the hotels in St. Stefan, there are plenty of them. Prices and cuisine, about the same so that you have to choose based on the convenient location and the level of service. We have for example chosen Drago restaurant that was close to our hotel. We liked it because of the fact that the child can have separate side dishes, portions of dishes and soups, purees.
As for the prices, they vary slightly depending on the level of the institution, but these variations are insignificant. To be clear, a delicious vegetable soup puree (a child for the first time pleased us with such an appetite) was 3 euros. Salads 3-5 euros. Meat, grilled or oven-baked fish, stuffed peppers, kebabs, etc., about 5-8 euros per serving. A side dish with the main course was almost always a gift.
What to see in Saint Stefan?
The resort town of Sveti Stefan is located in an ideal place to rest and start many interesting excursions in Montenegro. However, before going on long excursions, it’s worth exploring everything in the immediate vicinity. First of all, it is a magnificent coast and a huge park. Here, in the shade of the trees, you can have a great time. The quiet and salty air only contributes to this. On the island itself, there are several sites worthy of travelers’ attention. Despite the fact that most of the lodges are modern hotel rooms, there are still 3 beautiful medieval churches, the church of St. Stephen, Alexander Nevsky and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin between them. To get into the narrow streets, you have to be a visitor to the restaurant, located in one of the old houses. There is an art gallery, but only hotel guests can visit it. It is worth noting that the right side of the beach adjacent to the island and the spit belongs to this hotel. Sunbathe there can either guests or tourists who have paid an entrance fee of 50 euros. If you do not want to pay money, then you must go to the left side of the beach, it is a municipal beach.
A little above the village Milocer, according to the signs you can walk to the medieval monastery Praskvica. It stands on a hill. Near the monastery there is a spring, its water has an aroma of peach. This peculiarity gave the name to the monastery, as the word “praskvica” means “peach”.