Montenegro, a tiny country in southeastern Europe, is an emerging luxury destination.
About 64 millionaires live in the country, which is about the same size as Connecticut.
It recently launched a program allowing wealthy foreigners to obtain a Montenegro passport if they invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in the country.
It’s also one of the top destinations for billionaires in 2019.
Montenegro is an attractive port for yacht owners, largely thanks to Porto Montenegro, which can fit 450 superyachts and includes luxury shopping and restaurants.
Montenegro, a Balkan country on the Adriatic Sea, may be an unlikely luxury destination but its picturesque coastline, luxury hotels, and popularity among yacht owners have made people take notice of what’s been called “the next French Riviera.”
The tiny European country, which is about the size of Connecticut, is home to about 64 millionaires. And a new program is aiming to lure in even more millionaires by letting them invest at least $291,000 in the country in order to get a Montenegro passport.
Montenegro, which recently built two massive yacht ports that include luxury residences, hotels, and shopping, has also been compared to Monaco.
The Balkan country was named one of the top destinations billionaires are traveling to in 2019 in a recent report by Business Insider and luxury travel agency Original Travel.
Millionaires in Montenegro can get free 24-hour servicing for the yachts, stay in luxurious hotels like the Regent Porto Montenegro and the island-resort of Sveti Stefan, and reap the benefits of exclusive Owners Clubs and Yacht Clubs.
Here’s what it’s like living in Montenegro as a millionaire.
As a yachting hotspot with striking scenery, Montenegro is emerging as a luxury destination, with some calling it “the next French Riviera.”
“In fact, it’s not just the unspoiled terrain, ample sunlight, and hospitable locals that have made Montenegro an exciting travel destination but also a bevy of newly renovated and built luxury hotels and restaurants, which have caused some to call Montenegro the next French Riviera,” Nick Mafi wrote in Architectural Digest in 2018.
The tiny country, which is about the size of Connecticut, is bordered by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania, and the Adriatic Sea.
It has about 182 miles of coastline on the Adriatic Sea.
Montenegro has also been compared to Monaco, a parallel that’s not necessarily embraced. “In my opinion, Monaco has lost its soul — there’s no real atmosphere there anymore,” says Kai Dieckmann, the general manager of the Regent Porto Montenegro, a five-star property in Boka Bay. “But in Montenegro, we have natural beauty, incredible food and wine that are both locally grown, and friendly people.”
Dieckmann told Architectural Digest that Montenegro doesn’t need Monaco’s tax benefits to attract visitors.
And it opens its doors to foreign millionaires as well. Montenegro is one of several countries where wealthy immigrants can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest in the country and obtain a passport in return.
In October, Montenegro started a program that lets up to 2,000 wealthy individuals who invest at least €250,000, or $291,000, in one of the government’s development projects, to obtain a Montenegro passport.
“A record 26% of global UHNWIs will begin to plan for emigration this year, and to help them a record number of countries will offer citizenship and residency through investment schemes, with Moldova and Montenegro the latest to offer themselves as wealth havens,” Liam Bailey, Knight Frank’s Global Head of Research, wrote in the consultancy firm’s 2019 Wealth Report.
Montenegro joined countries like Greece, New Zealand, the UK, and Malta that have similar programs for buying citizenship or residency.
Each applicant for a Montenegro passport will also have to pay an application fee of up to €100,000, about $112,000.
It’s an attractive port for yacht owners not only aesthetically but also because it has free 24-hour yacht service and a tax and duty-free fuel station.
Porto Montenegro describes itself as “an exclusive marina and yachting paradise” with waterfront residences, restaurants, luxury shopping and hotels, and upscale events.
The waterfront development’s shopping center includes luxury brands Dior, Rolex, Burberry, Balenciaga, and many more.
One of Porto Montenegro’s most luxurious hotels is the Regent Porto Montenegro, which has 87 rooms that can be rented through the hotel, while 62 others were made to be purchased.
The Regent Porto Montenegro was the first five-star property in Boka Bay, where Porto Montenegro is located. “Investors have swooned over property” in the Regent, according to Architectural Digest.
A three-bedroom in the Regent Residences is listed for €2.5 million, or about $2.8 million.
Buyers of these luxury residences get membership to the Owners Club and the Yacht Club, which offer access to a sports club, a fitness center, a tennis club, a 64-meter outdoor swimming pool, a private member’s lounge, a nightclub, and restaurant.
Porto Montenegro even has an international school for its permanent residents.
Following in Porto Montenegro’s footsteps is Lustica Bay, a megadevelopment that has cost more than $1 billion, making it the largest tourist investment in the history of Montenegro. It will eventually include seven luxury hotels, two marinas, a new village, and a golf course.
In February the project was awarded the Best European Property Development award at the Luxury Network International Awards in Dubai.
“As with its predecessor, Porto Montenegro, Lustica Bay is slowly raising the profile of Montenegro on the global luxury tourism map,” Paul Bradbury wrote in Total Montenegro News.
The site will have shops, restaurants, cafés, sporting facilities, and even schools and medical centers. Essentially, Ludica Bay will be an entirely new town.
The website describes the hotel as “a private enclave” within Lustica Bay, which offers “a wealth of world-class residential and lifestyle facilities” and will be “a new Montenegrin coastal haven offering peace, healthy living and modern luxury for those who seek life as it should be.”
Nightly rates start at about $270.
In addition to the luxury hotels, Lustica Bay will have townhouses, villas, condos, and apartments.
Lustica Bay touts Montenegro’s tax system as “one of the most attractive in Europe,” with a “flat-rate income tax and a corporate income tax rate set at 9%.”
The restored stone buildings house 50 rooms, cottages, and suites, and nightly rates start at about $990.
The 80-acre hotel estate has three pools, Turkish baths, a yoga pavilion, and several fine-dining restaurants.
And in the Bay of Kotor, a four-bedroom luxury villa with a three-car garage and a terrace with direct sea access is going for $1.4 million.
But prices and demand are going up as foreign buyers take notice of Montenegro. Some of the country’s most prestigious addresses are on the island of Sveti Stefan, where you can get a five-bedroom luxury villa with five levels of living space, a two-car garage, a fitness center, a sauna and pool, and a terrace, for about $3.3 million.
These international buyers have been attracted by new-construction homes “based on European standard expectations,” Leila Calic, director of Resido Montenegro, a real-estate agency and consultancy, told The New York Times.
“The market is more and more offering luxury properties, and at prices still attractive in comparison with the French coast, for example, or even Spain seaside locations,” Calic said.
The picturesque Bay of Kotor, with its dramatic cliffs and sparkling blue waters, is a particularly attractive location for foreign home buyers.
Local real-estate agents told The New York Times that between 80% and 90% of sales in Montenegro go to international buyers.