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Old 22-01-2019, 06:50   #1
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Location: Tivat, Montenegro
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Greetings from Montenegro

Hello all! I grew up travelling, and always near water, which brought me into sailing dinghies as a child and occasionally working off scuba diving boats as an adult. A while back I decided I didn't really feel like ever settling down in one place, so I retrained in IT so I could work remotely from anywhere, just so I could move aboard a boat. The first step was getting RYA Day Skipper certified, and I recently did a refresher in Croatia to boost my confidence.

Well, it all worked - now I have my own IT business with a full-time remote client, so I could start looking at yachts! As a result I moved to Montenegro, and recently bought a 28-footer on the basis of "start small, start now" - got a great price on a well-found vessel as the registration had lapsed and the seller was desperate to use the berth for another boat. (thread on registration questions here!) it'll be great for getting more practise on the Bay of Kotor once the minor refits are done. I dream of trading up for next year and heading to the tropics with my first mate/girlfriend.

It's a pleasure to be here, I've been lurking occasionally for years and this is a great resource. I'm sure I'll have many more questions later on, but I hope I can contribute as well!

Thanks and happy sailing!
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Old 22-01-2019, 09:25   #2
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Re: Greetings from Montenegro

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Toffe.
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Old 11-02-2019, 22:52   #3
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Re: Greetings from Montenegro

Hey Toffe!

Very cool to hear about someone in Montenegro. Can you tell us a little about living there?

A friend is in Herceg Novi but it doesn't sound like my cup of tea..

I've been reading articles, blogs, looking at photos, watching videos and finding anything else I can - from what I can tell Prčanj or Muo will be a good fit for me.

I've read the biggest hangup is the language - it's really difficult to learn, but otherwise it's an incredible place to live...

https://montenegroguides.co/life/liv...o-as-an-expat/

Do you agree? Can I get away with English? Will I be ripped off left right and center if I do?

I'm planning to visit later this year. All going well I may switch my residency to Montenegro, possibly buy a small place to store some stuff and as summer house.
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Old 12-02-2019, 03:00   #4
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Re: Greetings from Montenegro

Greetings, tackleandtax!

So, about living here... There were many reasons for me to come here, but the biggest were cheap cost of living and the opportunity to gain confidence sailing a yacht (as opposed to the dinghies of my youth) on the bay of Kotor - big enough that you get the full sailing experience with all kinds of weather, but being a bay, there's no actual danger. It's also ridiculously beautiful. I spent most of my life in 3rd world countries, so I have no patience for 1st world problems. Montenegro is great for me, it has Mediterranean quality of life, minimal state presence, and just enough chaos to keep things interesting. I do intend to move on in a year or two, but that's not because there's anything i dislike about Montenegro, it's just because I want to sail around the world.

For your specific questions and comments:
  • I've only ever driven through Herceg Novi by bus. I don't like cities anymore except for tourism. Tivat is more than enough for me, about 14K I think. I'm just outside Tivat in Seljanovo.
  • Prcanj or Muo are quite nice, though it rains too much there. They're not very protected for boats - Muo's "marina" is essentially a town quay, locals looked at me like I was crazy when I asked if that was an option for mooring long-term. Both places are a nightmare to get to by land in the summer months, as the coastal road is too narrow and the tunnel to Kotor is insufficient for the amount of traffic it gets. You often need over an hour to move 5 kms by car. There's a shortcut to Prcanj over the mountains, but even most taxi drivers don't know it. The Kotor region in general is colder and gets more rain than the Tivat area. Tivat also has less traffic problems and better weather - I prefer it. If you're set on Kotor province, maybe somewhere around Perast instead of along the Kotor-Tivat road? Better weather, and far less busy as it's on the Kotor-Herceg Novi road instead.
  • The language is no biggie. Compared to other Slavic languages it's easy, but virtually everyone you will meet speaks English so I haven't needed to learn much. I don't even know any expats here, but my Montenegrin buddies all want to practise their (already fairly fluent!) English.
  • I have no concerns about getting ripped off, and all over the world I find it's more about how you behave rather than what language you speak. In general everyone is just really relaxed, I think the only crime here is the various mafias - but the Montenegrin and Albanian mafias only care about smuggling stuff overseas, while the Russian mafia comes here on holiday and don't mix business and pleasure, so I don't worry about crime at all.

Feel free to drop me a line if you do come by the Kotor bay region later on!
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Old 12-02-2019, 04:10   #5
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Re: Greetings from Montenegro

Gawd I don't get jealous often but you got me a little green.... I spent a lot of years near montenegro, and a lot of months living in a 1977 VW van parked in a grove of fig trees in Stoliv.... paradise on earth. The aesthetic of that place, Kotor and the bay, is just beyond this world for me. Swimming every morning in that water like a mirror, always 5 degrees warmer than anything within 400 miles, eating figs breakfast lunch and dinner until my stomach was bursting, watching the storms roll off those cliffs. Wow, you a lucky dude!

Anyone who doesn't know about Boka Kotorska, dig it, and go sail there today
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Old 12-02-2019, 07:25   #6
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Re: Greetings from Montenegro

Hiya Sojourner, that's it exactly! Sounds like you had the perfect Montenegrin experience.

Apart from the figs, there's the best lemons I've ever tasted. Plus the local approach to cooking in general - "stuff it with cheese, wrap it in bacon"

Apropos of nothing, here are the 10 Montenegrin Commandments:

1. Man is born tired and lives to get a rest.

2. Love thy bed as you love thyself.

3. Rest during the day, so you can sleep at night.

4. Do not work – work kills.

5. If you see someone resting, help him out.

6. Work as little as you can, and convey all the work you can to another.

7. In shade is salvation – nobody died from resting.

8. Work earns illness – do not pass away young.

9. If you have an urge to work, sit down, wait and you’ll see it will pass.

10. When you see people eat and drink, approach them. When you see them work, withdraw yourself not to trouble them.

Truly a wise people.
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Old 19-02-2019, 11:07   #7
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Re: Greetings from Montenegro

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toffe View Post
Greetings, tackleandtax!

So, about living here... There were many reasons for me to come here, but the biggest were cheap cost of living and the opportunity to gain confidence sailing a yacht (as opposed to the dinghies of my youth) on the bay of Kotor - big enough that you get the full sailing experience with all kinds of weather, but being a bay, there's no actual danger. It's also ridiculously beautiful. I spent most of my life in 3rd world countries, so I have no patience for 1st world problems. Montenegro is great for me, it has Mediterranean quality of life, minimal state presence, and just enough chaos to keep things interesting. I do intend to move on in a year or two, but that's not because there's anything i dislike about Montenegro, it's just because I want to sail around the world.

For your specific questions and comments:
  • I've only ever driven through Herceg Novi by bus. I don't like cities anymore except for tourism. Tivat is more than enough for me, about 14K I think. I'm just outside Tivat in Seljanovo.
  • Prcanj or Muo are quite nice, though it rains too much there. They're not very protected for boats - Muo's "marina" is essentially a town quay, locals looked at me like I was crazy when I asked if that was an option for mooring long-term. Both places are a nightmare to get to by land in the summer months, as the coastal road is too narrow and the tunnel to Kotor is insufficient for the amount of traffic it gets. You often need over an hour to move 5 kms by car. There's a shortcut to Prcanj over the mountains, but even most taxi drivers don't know it. The Kotor region in general is colder and gets more rain than the Tivat area. Tivat also has less traffic problems and better weather - I prefer it. If you're set on Kotor province, maybe somewhere around Perast instead of along the Kotor-Tivat road? Better weather, and far less busy as it's on the Kotor-Herceg Novi road instead.
  • The language is no biggie. Compared to other Slavic languages it's easy, but virtually everyone you will meet speaks English so I haven't needed to learn much. I don't even know any expats here, but my Montenegrin buddies all want to practise their (already fairly fluent!) English.
  • I have no concerns about getting ripped off, and all over the world I find it's more about how you behave rather than what language you speak. In general everyone is just really relaxed, I think the only crime here is the various mafias - but the Montenegrin and Albanian mafias only care about smuggling stuff overseas, while the Russian mafia comes here on holiday and don't mix business and pleasure, so I don't worry about crime at all.

Feel free to drop me a line if you do come by the Kotor bay region later on!
Incredible info, thanks Toffee. Really helpful to know about the traffic too!

If I can get over there this year I'll definitely be in touch.
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Old 20-02-2019, 16:57   #8
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Re: Greetings from Montenegro

Hi Toffe

Thank you for sharing your experience and posting the beautiful pictures.

We are planning on visiting Montenegro this summer and also considering overwintering there in the water this year. During the winter, we would use our boat as a base for exploring the country inland. Can you help us with a few questions?

What is Porto Montenegro and Tivat like in the winter? Do restaurants and shops shut down like many European resort towns or is there enough local demand to keep all the necessities open?

Have you visited any of the new marinas such as PortoNovi and if so how do you think overwintering there will compare with PM?

Which international airport hub (Rome, London, Frankfurt...) has / will Tivat and neighbouring Dubrovnik have the most convenient connections to?

I hope your refits are going well and to see you in the water this summer.

Neziak
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Old Yesterday, 02:50   #9
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Re: Greetings from Montenegro

It's a pleasure to help, tackleandtax!

Hello Neziak, those amazing photos belong to Sojourner but I'm glad to share my experiences.

The biggest difference between Tivat in the summertime and wintertime is that in summer, the weather is amazing - sunny every day, I think it rained 5 times last summer. In the winter it's been far more rainy and I've even been driven to use a heater - so it's the tropics for me in a year or two! Tivat is a real town, albeit small, so the restaurants and shops all stay open except for repairs or a few weeks' vacation for Orthodox Christmas. It's the historical centre of Kotor which almost shuts down.

I have not been to PortoNovi, and I haven't even used any of the facilities at Porto Montenegro (except two cafes, when someone else was buying ) I'm berthed at the locals' sailing club, Delfin, which is equally practical but far more welcoming - I can put you in touch if you like. Everyone in or near Tivat is a sailor or related to one, so if you make an effort to participate in the local community, I think you'll be well treated no matter which marina you go to. I will say that I don't see any movement of boats in Porto Montenegro over the winter, but plenty of locals go out from Kalimanj or Delfin, and they also arranged a New Years' Regatta (couldn't take part as I noticed a busted pin supporting the boom the day before )

Airport hubs, this is a downside, flights have been expensive over winter but were really cheap during summer. Podgorica is the main international airport here, a two-hour drive and connected to many European cities and cheap flights to Turkey, Russia, and Ukraine I think. Tivat's airport also gets regular flights from Russia and Serbia, more in summer. Dubrovnik might actually be your best bet if you're coming from Europe as they get more volume overall, though in summer Podgorica might be just as good. I suppose Belgrade is the closest hub for Montenegro, though it's hardly enormous.

Refits are well underway, itching to get out on the water once it warms up a bit! Cheers!
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Old Yesterday, 09:18   #10
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Re: Greetings from Montenegro

Neziak from everything friends have told me, Podgorica is a good option for flights. I say good because there isn't a huge range but it's growing more and more.

This is an interesting tool for checking flights from a place: https://www.google.com/flights#flt=T...;sd:1;t:e;tt:o
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Old Yesterday, 10:40   #11
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Re: Greetings from Montenegro

Oh yeah, Google Flights is awesome. It also lets you select multiple origin airports. So here's an updated URL with Podgorica, Tivat, and Dubrovnik all selected:
https://www.google.com/flights#flt=T...;sd:1;t:e;tt:o
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Old Today, 15:03   #12
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Re: Greetings from Montenegro

Neat trick, I didn't know that one Toffe!
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Old Today, 20:51   #13
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Re: Greetings from Montenegro

Thank you for your advice. Google flights is really good. I did not know about it.

Toffe - I will send you a PM when I know when we'll be in Montenegro. Probably early to mid June for a few days on our way to Croatia. Our aim will be to check out the local berthing options for the winter and pick up duty free fuel. If you are around, I'd be delighted to meet and buy you a beer.
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