Partisans and God in the Bay of Kotor

My scout, Eoin, has boots on the ground in Montenegro…

He’s there tracking a mammoth Path of Progress on one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in the world.

In recent years, Montenegro has emerged as a new and super-stylish Riviera. This tiny country south of Croatia is home to exclusive resorts and ultra-luxe marinas. You’ll see mega-yachts and private jets. It’s been dubbed a new Monaco.

Now, as so often happens, the “ordinary rich” are coming to Montenegro too, following the flow of wealthy folks.

“Ordinary rich” is a term I use for professionals…small-business owners…computer scientists, bankers, lawyers, doctors…people who earn well and can move around to some degree. Most aren’t in the market for multi-million-dollar mansions or 5-star resorts. But they want luxury and exceptional resort-style amenities, and they want a perfect location…and they can pay for it.

Montenegro is seeing an influx of these folks, particularly around the stunning Bay of Kotor, the country’s most popular destination.

That represents a big investment opportunity, which is why I asked Eoin to follow up on my scouting there…


Ronan McMahon, Founder, Overseas Dream Home & Real Estate Trend Alert

P.S. If you have a question for Eoin while he’s scouting in Montenegro, click here to let him know.

Partisans and God in the Bay of Kotor

By Eoin Bassett

Some people find god in the desert.

Others look in their hearts.

But for the people of this rugged coastline I reckon god’s in the towering mountains overlooking the sea.

After a morning on the mountains, have lunch in one of the old Venetian towns on the seafront…fresh seafood washed down by the finest Istrian white wines.

I’m climbing the byroads around Vrmac mountain. Exploring. Wondering about the wildflowers, ancient olive trees, and the real estate opportunities so obviously here…

But I’ve been sidetracked by history…

I’ve found small Catholic chapels looking out to sea. They are tiny affairs, reminiscent of similar solemn sentinels I’ve seen in Spain’s Pyrenees. I guess when you’ve got vast natural splendor like the Bay of Kotor you don’t need a grand cathedral.

“The Bay is one of the most beautiful parts of our planet,” wrote Father Niko Luković. “As you enter from the open sea you feel like you are setting foot in a temple, worthy of no other vault than the sky itself.”

The chapel of St Ana, tucked into the mountains overlooking the sea with an ancient olive tree growing alongside.

Father Niko was a local. But the bay was discovered by fashionable foreign travelers long ago. Lord Byron said of it: “At the birth of our planet, the most beautiful encounter between the land and the sea must have happened at the coast of Montenegro.”

Hard to disagree. There is something lake-like and serene to the tranquil bays that make up this drowned river valley. The Luśtica Peninsula looms “like a guardship moored for eternity” at the entrance. Past it, one bay leads to another…and another…until you finally find yourself at the walled town of Kotor with its grand Venetian palaces and winding streets.

The church of St Tryphon in the walled town of Kotor.

This is a place of boats, yachts, and days on the water or close to it. But being on the mountain you get a better view. A spring shower has freshened the woodlands. The pine-scented air is pure and far below in the bay a ship silently glides into the ultra-luxe marina at Porto Montenegro.

Look hard enough at the vast green mountains here and you’ll make out the terracotta roofs and gray stone of old homesteads. Their windows have eyed the world for generations, long before this part of Europe attracted the jet-set and mega-wealthy.

How to reach these houses on foot is an enjoyable puzzle. Pure boots on the ground, walking the tracks and taking a chance as the road forks…

Which way now? Hmm…

The April weather is deliciously cool, a perfect spring morning for a hike.

I pause at a memorial to the partisans of World War II. The names on the monument match most of the graves in the chapel up the mountain…the Pocanics have lived on this mountain for a long time. Looks like they fought hard for it, too.

A memorial to partisans on the mountain. The people here are a hardy and independent bunch.

Beyond the birdsong I can hear the distant roar and clank of an excavator. The Path of Progress has well and truly rolled down the Dalmatian coast from Croatia. Here and there a new villa appears on the bend of the road…

A sea-view villa just built here in the hills…

I’ve also come across a few new complexes of holiday apartments, too. Land prices are rising…rental rates…property prices…

Germans, Dutch, French, Austrians…they drive here. The British mostly take a plane to the local airport at Tivat or to Dubrovnik just up the coast. The wealthy often come in yachts…or on private jets.

Three luxury marinas now host hundreds of yachts amid these serpentine bays. The travel press make comparisons to Monaco…to the French Riviera. Tourists are coming in their droves.

But on this spring morning the hordes have yet to reveal themselves.

The high season is only beginning. I think this is a perfect place for Ronan’s “shoulder season” play. That is, own an apartment and rent it short term in high season. Enjoy it yourself on the cusp of the high season…just before and after, when the weather is nice, not too hot, the restaurants open and not too busy…the roads not clogged.

A home in the hills with a pool and olive trees…

Spring time in southern Europe means wildflowers and from the stone walls English stonecrop grows. Honeysuckle twines into the trees. Bluebells, yellow daffodil-like flowers and white asphodels line the track.

In classical times asphodels were planted on graves I think, to help the transition from life to Elysium. At one time I studied classical history and I know that this land is Illyria, famed for Queen Tueta who fought the Romans around here (and lost.)

It’s the legacies of the Austrian and Venetian empires that are most visible these days. In the refinement and the dining. The fortresses too. And the classic motorboats and the seafront stone villages put me in mind of the beautiful people from The Talented Mr. Ripley.

The modern equivalent are here. The world’s global rich. You can spend millions of dollars on an apartment in Porto Novi or Porto Montenegro…if you have it. Tomorrow I’ll tour Luśtica Bay, where to stay a night costs from €500 or €600. The coast’s first golf course is set to open here and starting prices are from €930,000.

The big brands luxury hotels have a firm foothold on this coast. They see the way things are going. You can stay in the Hyatt Regency…or One&Only…and pay thousands for a night.

I’m really here because lots of what Ronan calls “the ordinary rich” are following the flow of wealthy folks.

Those are the professionals, the doctors, bankers, lawyers, business owners…

In an increasingly uncertain world, full of foolishness and fear, people are coming here to smell the flowers and enjoy the natural splendor…

Smart people. They are not without opinions. They are however, living without too much worry. And now many of them can work remotely or hybrid remote.

In international and beautiful places, the high season gets longer…

By finding the right real estate, and buying it at the right price, it’s possible to own something sought after here. To make a handsome income from a desirable dream home. To lock in appreciation, too.

I’ll have a full report for Ronan soon.

Ronan says: Eoin’s in for a treat in Luśtica Bay. I stayed there in early September 2022. I loved it.

I’ve been glued to Eoin’s dispatches, to the dreamy photos and entertaining voice memos he’s been sharing in our various research groups. But something just happened that reminded me what serious business this is…

A photo I took during my scouting trip to Luśtica Bay in 2022. The marina there is stunning…

A price list just crossed my desk for a new project called Solar Midtown. It’s part of the Siempre Playa community by a developer called SIMCA, in the beach town of Playa del Carmen on Mexico’s Caribbean coast.

Back in 2017, members of my Real Estate Trend Alert group could buy one-bed condos in this community from under $160,000. Today in the new Solar Midtown building that’s part of the same community, similar-sized condos list for close to $600,000.

While our price back in the day was about $200 per square foot, today you could pay close to $700. Same location. Same strong developer, SIMCA. The condos in the new building do come fully furnished, so it’s not a complete apples-to-apples comparison, but you get the idea. RETA members got a sensational deal.

This is why we’re panning out across Mexico, Montenegro, Portugal… I have a scout, Oliver, in the Dominican Republic right now. Next week, another scout, Ciaran, hits the ground in Sicily. And the following week I’ll be back in northern Portugal and northern Spain.

We’re looking for the next Zona Dorada…

Back in 2017, I honed in on an area of Playa del Carmen that I called Zona Dorada, or the “Golden Zone.” Local brokers smugly sniggered. Back then it was a few overgrown barricaded up fields in the middle of Playa. I predicted macro and micro trends would make this the new chic neighbourhood in Playa del Carmen and that they best way to profit was to buy in a best-in-class community there from a best-in-class developer.

And so it played out. This is the site of the Siempre community. And the same brokers who sniggered at me when I predicted this area would explode are now pitching the investment case for the condos in Solar Midtown at $600,000. They could well be right…these condos could be a good investment. The project and developer are best in class. Playa del Carmen has legs. It will continue to grow.

Our place, though, is ahead. Unless you have a time machine back to 2017, join us in finding the next places, in Mexico, Montenegro, Portugal, the Dominican Republic, Italy, and beyond…

And if you have a question for Eoin while he’s boots on the ground in Montenegro, click here to share it with him now.

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