One of the iconic sights of Montenegro’s coastline is Sveti Stefan beach and island – a small peninsula jutting out of the coastline just up the road from Budva, with fortress walls built around a collection of red tile-roofed buildings.
The island itself and the buildings on it are now privately owned by a luxury hotel group and not open to the public (unless you’re staying on the island hotel itself, at the cost apparently of about €800 per night!
Either side of the island is the perfectly curved Sveti Stefan beach with views over the island itself and the beautiful coastline beyond.
The beach to the right (as you look out to sea) of Sveti Stefan island is private and open only either to guests of the island hotel or people willing to pay €50 per person to access it.
From a viewing point at the side of the road above, you can see the luxury sun loungers and parasols spaced out on the well-manicured, golden shingle of the beach. A small handful of (presumably pretty rich) holiday-makers laying in the peace and quiet of the private beach.
The Sveti Stefan public beach is to the left of the island – there’s no entry fee, other than a pretty reasonable hourly parking fee.
While both beaches share the same stunning views over the unique island and surrounding coastline, and both have the same bright blue, impossibly clear water, you can tell the public side is a pretty different experience from the private side.
While there are no beaches you could possibly call “bad” around here, it wasn’t exactly brilliant. Rubbish littered the edge of the beach along with piles of what looked like discarded building materials and rubble.
It was absolutely packed and we found ourselves squashing in between people already here and the piled up rubble at the back of the beach.
As with every beach we visited in Montenegro, the sea itself at Sveti Stefan Beach was incredible – clear as can be, warm, blue and a welcome relief from the relentless summer sun and heat.
Most promotional stuff we’d seen and read about Montenegro before visiting had photos of Sveti Stefan and we felt it was a sight worth seeing, particularly as it was only about 40-minutes’ drive from where we stayed in Kotor.
But we didn’t end up staying long. The best experience of Sveti Stefan is probably to be had from the road that passes above, where you can stop off and take what are guaranteed to be some pretty stunning photos.
The actual Sveti Stefan public beach itself can be given a miss in our opinion. Though if you’re lucky enough to be able to stretch to using the private beach, you’re clearly going to have a much more memorable experience of the place!
Getting to Sveti Stefan Beach
- This Google Maps link will take you right to the car park on the public side of the beach: https://goo.gl/maps/aP7zVYA3xpG2