Everybody has heard about Sveti Stefan. Even those who have never heard of Montenegro know about Sveti Stefan. If you enter these two words in any Internet search engine, you will get access to everything that has ever been written about one of the most luxurious summer resorts in the world. And there will be no confusion, since there is not another Sveti Stefan. It is enough just to say its name, because – Sveti Stefan is unique!
Sveti Stefan, one of Montenegro’s star attractions, a place that simply must be included in your itinerary. Located just to the south of Budva between Przno and Sveti Stefan villages makes it ideal for a short tour while visiting the Budva Riviera.
The romantic history of Sveti Stefan places its origins back to the 15th century, in the period when the Ottoman Empire ravaged the Adriatic Sea. During one of their campaigns, the Turks anchored their galleons next to the Jaz beach and headed to Kotor. The local population on hearing about this, gathered an army and took a shortcut to Kotor to help its citizens, and after defeating the Turks, went back and attacked their galleons and took great spoils from them.
They decided to use that gold to build, on an isle near the shore, a fortress with 12 houses, one for every local tribe Pastrovici. For nearly 300 years, it was a trade and transport centre for the Pastrovici and the seat of the Bankada – the tribal court of the Pastrovici.
The village was named after the church located on the highest point of the island, dedicated to the Saint Archdeacon Stefan who later became a protector of the town and the local inhabitants.
The island is also home to the churches of the Resurrection and St Alexander Nevsky.
Sveti Stefan had remained a fishing village for several centuries. The then famous Montenegrin artists Petar Lubarda and Milo Milunovic suggested to the communist authorities, back in the 1950s, that they should turn Sveti Stefan into a hotel.
The ambitious architectural design envisaged the preservation of the authentic littoral architecture, while heart of the town reflected both luxury and uniqueness.
The project was approved and the eviction of the domicile population began in 1950 in order to build a series of luxury suites and rooms in the old stone houses.
On 13 July 1960, the Day of the Uprising of the Montenegrin People, Sveti Stefan was officially opened, as a hotel town which would remain the most recognizable symbol of Montenegro on the global tourism map in the years and decades that followed.
A holiday on Sveti Stefan was not just the matter of money, but primarily a matter of style.
This was confirmed in 1972, when Sveti Stefan won the «Pomme d’Or» (French: Golden apple), prize for excellence in the tourism industry awarded by FIJET, the European association of professional travel writers and journalists.
From the 1960’s to the present day Sveti Stefan has been attracting many famous people. Richard Burton danced with Sophia Loren here while Orson Welles chatted with Burton’s wife a film star Elizabeth Taylor.
Among the celebrities and statesmen from all over the world who stayed on the island of Sveti Stefan are numerous: Queen of England Elisabeth II, Italian King Umberto II of Savoy, the English Princess Margaret, President of Italy Sandro Pertini, German Chancellors Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt, Prime Minister of Italy Giulio Andreotti, Helmut Schmidt, United States Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Soviet Marshals-Timoshenko, Grechko, Kirilenko, Jakubovski, Soviet astronauts led by Yuri Gagarin, members of royalty, numerous politicians and wealthy Arab Sheiks, novelists André Malraux, Alberto Moravia and Leonid Maximovich Leonov, Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, movie stars and other celebrities such as: Carlo Ponti, Doris Day, Marina Valdi, Geraldine Chaplin, Jane Birkin, Kirk Douglas, Sidney Poitier, Sergei Bandarchuk, Sylvester Stallone, Richard Widmark, Klaus Kinski, Jeremy Irons, Monica Vitti, Claudia Schifferand, Adriana Lima, Pamela Anderson, Vanessa Williams, Robert de Niro…famous athletes including one of the best known athletes of today, the Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho.
Renowned chess match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky took place at Sveti Stefan in 1992. An international indictment was launched on that occasion against Fischer for the violation of sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Famous tennis player Novak Djokovic got married here on 10 July 2014 – hiring out the entire island for his wedding party.
David and Victoria Beckham found the resort so nice they visited twice – they vacationed here two summers in a row with their kids.
A small medieval town on a rocky island, surrounded by the azure sea connected to the land by a narrow sand isthmus, an exquisite natural environment and today is an exclusive summer resort.
The Singapore based luxury resort company Aman Resorts in 2007 has leased Sveti Stefan for a 30 year period along with Milocer and Queen’s Beach resorts.
The island was subsequently closed and extensive renovations began. In late 2008, Aman opened Villa Milocer, a former residence of the Queen Marija Karadjordjevic while the hotel-town Sveti Stefan was finally re-opened and relaunched in 2010 with a concert by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli.
The guests of Aman Resorts, which now includes hotel Sveti Stefan on the island and Villa Milocer on the mainland in Montenegro (and soon the hotel Kraljicina plaza on the mainland), are high-end clients – they do not want publicity, but desire peace.
Only 58 rooms and suites are available in hotel Sveti Stefan and Villa Milocer.
There are few that can resist the charm of the narrow streets and picturesque squares, churches and elegant houses built in typical Mediterranean style, as well as the comfortable accommodation offered by this high-class hotel. It’s a beautiful but exclusive resort and the hotel is priced from 800,00 € per night.
Guests can arrive at the hotel via the resort’s private helicopter, luxury cars, or speedboat.
Luckily, non-millionaires can enjoy the area’s beauty as well. The township on the coast, facing the island, bears the same name and is accessible to the general public. A narrow causeway connects the island to the mainland.
The beach north of the island in the direction of Milocer Park is also part of Aman Resort and costs 100,00 € per day to hire sunshade and 2 sunbeds.
The south beach is free for the public. You can hire sunshade and sunbeds here starting from 15,00 € for two sunbeds and an sunshade. Sveti Stefan beach is a phenomenal place to spend the afternoon. Facing the historic island, this beach is downright stunning.
Restaurants in Sveti Stefan offer its guests a diverse menu suitable for every occasion, and every pocket whether it is a relaxing breakfast, lunch or dinner, or intimate celebrations, birthdays and weddings.
From Sveti Stefan beach, a pleasant walking path leads north to the park Milocer and Przno village.
A garden of exotic trees and flowers, this green flowery oasis in the heart of the most exclusive tourist zone of Sveti Stefan and Milocer, has been developing for decades around hotel «Milocer» (today Villa Milocer), which was erected 80 years ago as a royal summer residence for the Yugoslav dynasty of Karadjordjevic.
Along with the local Mediterranean vegetation and flowers, can be found Lebanese cedar, eucalyptus, tropical mimosa, loquat, cactus, agave, phytophthora… and it has all been for decades a must see for the tourists and visitors from distant countries.
The beautiful beaches and some of most beautiful little coves on the Mediterranean – Milocerska beach (King’s beach) and Kraljicina beach (Queen’s beach), are located just in front of the park.
All visitors can smell the of the pine forest, olive groves and cypresses, in a beautiful park full of exotic vegetation, in the rose colored sand and in the stories of a queen the used to dream her seaside dreams here.
In all of the beauty of art-deco, a stone Villa Milocer is reflected, a bit narcissistically, in the crystal clear water of a hidden cove.
A relaxing walk through the Milocer park leads to another small lovely place.
Przno village is home to another incredible beach (this beach partially belongs to the hotel «Maestral») and a selection of superb restaurants.
The settlement originated on the site of a fishing village, which is distinctly felt in the architecture of the buildings.
This is a very small resort village, which is located in a secluded cove. It has a 350 m beach surrounded by an olive grove. In small restaurants and cozy cafes you will be offered delicious seafood dishes.
This is an ideal place to go for pre-or after-dinner strolls. The sunsets can be truly phenomenal.
Video: Sveti Stefan, Milocer Park and Przno village
Video: Aman Sveti Stefan luxury hotel in Montenegro