Rewind the tape just a decade, and there was nothing here. Okay, “nothing” is a little bit of an exaggeration, but nothing in the way of construction. There were trees, rocks, hills, bugs, the occasional whisper, the sound of the sea and little else. For some reason, one that we aren’t going to question, it was decided that this isolated slice of uninhabited magic would be transformed into a luxury resort, a standalone community, delicately sliced off the coast of Italy and transported to Montenegro. Fast forward to today, and that is precisely what you have; only the words don’t really do it any justice.
Luštica Bay is delightful precisely because it has no pretensions about what it is. This isn’t about embracing Montenegrin history and marrying it to modern travel demands. It isn’t about tapping into an ethereal idea of Njegoš, rebellion and autonomy. No, it is luxury tourism. Resort tourism. A place to forget the stresses of the world and find some inner peace. There isn’t a local community to embrace. Sure, there is a supermarket, but it closes at four in the afternoon. Luštica Bay isn’t about complexities; it is about sleeping, eating, shopping and relaxing. Don’t overthink it. Just stroll out to the lighthouse, sit for a coffee at one of the many restaurants and cafes, and peruse the items in one of the shops. Above all else, relax.
What to see and do in Lustica Bay
Luštica Bay isn’t the sort of place you visit for an action-packed getaway filled with history, culture and exploration. How can it be? It is a modern resort, constructed out of rock with the expressed aim of providing relaxation and restoration. It doesn’t have the intricate history of Herceg Novi, Tivat or Kotor, where different powers have taken charge and left their stamp on local life. This place isn’t about museums, galleries, stories and memories, at least not old ones. It has no icons, no heroes, no thrilling tales of revolution and rebellion. If you want those things, go elsewhere.
What Luštica Bay does have is unrivalled tranquillity, a serenity unmatched along the Montenegrin coast. It also has recreation options, with more being developed as time passes. Luštica Bay Golf Course is designed by none other than nine-time-major-winner Gary Player, the South African icon who remains the only non-American golfer to win the grand slam. Work continues on the course, which promises to play a central role in Luštica Bay’s tourism offer moving forward. With the much-publicised issues plaguing the development of golf on Croatia’s Adriatic Coast, there is no reason why Luštica Bay can’t vault itself to the forefront of golfing tourism in this part of the world. Watch this space. Or maybe you could say “fore!” As far as golf jokes go, that one is pretty loose.
As you might expect from a place defined by its relationship to the sea, Luštica Bay offers a broad range of water-based activities. Diving is particularly popular, with intrepid explorers whisked off to explore the fascinating wreck of the Tihany freight ship, which sank near Mamula Island in 1917. If diving deep to discover shipwrecks isn’t your thing, paddle boarding, kayaking, and sailing are also available, as is a good old-fashioned swim in the water. Luštica Bay is defined by its relaxing atmosphere, but there are plenty of ways to get the blood flowing.
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Where to eat and shop in Lustica Bay
Looking to enjoy Luštica Bay at its most serene? Pull up a chair at The Spot, order a coffee, and let the surroundings do the work. Luštica Bay has an excellent array of food and drink options, particularly impressive when you consider how small and isolated the area is, with everywhere offering something very much of its own. The Spot mentioned above is the main restaurant of The Chedi Hotel and follows the same line of quality, with excellent brunch options accentuated by a broad range of Asian cuisine at night. If you want to eat under The Chedi’s umbrella but fancy something a little more comforting, The Rok serves delicious burgers next to the hotel’s private beach.
Elsewhere, 21 Restaurant is Luštica Bay’s seafood jewel, a fabulous restaurant that makes the most of its setting to serve freshly caught fish dishes that touch on traditional recipes through modern techniques and technology. Špilja is another fantastic fish-centric spot that marries delicious fish, shellfish and shrimp with gorgeous views and unbeatable service. Luča focuses more on traditional Montenegrin dishes, perfect for hungry visitors looking for fine dining but not necessarily of the aquatic variety, while Villa Cesare brings the tastes of Italy into this marvellous Montenegrin setting.
Luštica Bay doesn’t have a massive range of bars and cafes, but that shouldn’t be a huge shock. Instead, what it does have more than does the job, with the coffee at Java Caffe as good as anywhere else on the Montenegrin coast. Finally, Popov Pub is the place for a nightcap.
In between all of the eating and drinking, Luštica Bay has a handful of shops for those looking to splash even more cash. Being a small village carved out of a rocky enclave, visitors shouldn’t expect shopping mall range and breadth of choice, but there are a few shops here dealing in high-range apparel and design, along with a beauty salon, grocery store, kiosk and real estate agents. You could easily spend a lifetime here, after all.
Where to stay at Lustica Bay
To cut a long story short, The Chedi is one of the best hotels in Montenegro and the wider region. Nowhere defines the majesty of Luštica Bay quite like its flagship hotel, a five-star experience in every possible way with spectacular service allied to exquisite rooms, gorgeous food, a fantastic spa and all the bells and whistles one could need. The Chedi is the sort of hotel worth going out of your way to experience and could arguably function as the main pull for the area as a whole. It perfectly complements its surroundings. Needless to say, we are fans. If you aren’t looking to stay in one of Montenegro’s most impressive hotels, Luštica Bay has a range of rental options dotted around the village.
In many ways, Luštica Bay is straight out of a dream. It isn’t unique in being a resort development in these parts, but Luštica Bay succeeds where many others fall short. Anyone searching for tranquillity and serenity in Montenegro should be circling Luštica Bay in permanent marker, booking nights at The Chedi and getting ready to devour delicious fresh fish while gazing out at the reassuringly present lighthouse. If five-star magic exists in Montenegro, it exists here.