Budva Bay, Montenegro: Rugged mountains, perfect beaches and a truly regal experience

Tiffany Daneff explores the wonders of this regal isle, rich in history and architecture.

For the best place from which to explore the rugged, mountainous coastline and crystal-clear Adriatic waters of Budva, head to the island of Sveti Stefan. Leased from the Montenegrin government for about 40 years, this rocky outcrop topped with a medieval village is now run by the exclusive Aman hotel group. Back in the day, Sophia Loren used to stay here and her converted cottage is the only one with its own pool – but who needs a pool when you can call a speedboat from room service?

Queen?s Beach in front of Villa Milocer Aman Sveti Stefan luxury hotel in Przno, Montenegro

Queen’s Beach in front of Villa Milocer Aman Sveti Stefan luxury hotel in Przno, Montenegro

Two minutes after your request, you’ll be picked up from the island’s jetty and whisked across, Bond style, to a private beach where Novak Djokovic held his wedding in 2014. There’s much more than merely beaches, too: Budva – lying on the fault lines between the Ottoman and Venetian empires – is rich in history and architecture.

What to do

Rent a boat, take a picnic and explore the endless empty coves or walk into the hills along ancient paths through woods of Serbian oak. Climb the vertiginous mountain walls of the UNESCO heritage city, Kotor, for unparalleled views of mill-pond blue waters in the famous Adriatic fjord below.

Big bend of river Rijeka Crnojevica, Lake Skadar National Park, Scutari, Crna Gora, Montenegro

Big bend of river Rijeka Crnojevica, Lake Skadar National Park, Scutari, Crna Gora, Montenegro

Taste the local wines: Aman Sveti Stefan organises trips to the family-owned organic Radevic Estate, which produces Vranac, a delicious red. Visit Skadar Lake National Park, home to 280 species of bird.

Where to eat

Relax and watch the sunset over Budva with cocktails and nibbles, followed by dinner at the Arva Restaurant on Sveti Stefan, or walk across the causeway to Nobu.

Kotor, The Old Town.

A 10-minute stroll away, in the village of Przno, is Lola, a seaside restaurant.

Where to stay

Wake up to the sound of waves lapping against the rocks below one of 50 beautifully restored rooms and cottages at Aman Sveti Stefan. In winter (when the island is closed), guests stay cosy at Villa Milocer, which has fires in every room.

AMSS, Aman spa relaxation terrace

Swimming off Queen’s Beach, perhaps the finest on the Adriatic coast, is as close as it gets to Paradise and is only open to hotel guests; the pink-sand lagoon was the favourite of the Queen Consort of Yugoslavia. A key element of the Aman experience is the spa; there’s also Pilates, yoga and a gym.

The view from Villa Miloer

The view from Villa Miloer

Rooms at Aman Sveti Stefan, www.aman.com, start at €883 (about £760), including taxes, service charges and breakfast for two. Transfers to and from Tivat Airport, about 30 minutes away, are €97 (about £83) each way per vehicle, including taxes and charges.