Montenegro: The Balkan Secret
The Balkan region, more specifically the former Yugoslavia, established itself as a popular naturist destination as long ago as the 1950’s and remained so until the 1990’s when tourism was impacted by the conflict in the region and the demise of Yugoslavia as a single state. As the new states of Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Slovenia and Serbia-Montenegro re-gained popularity with tourists, naturists, looking for something a little different also began to re-discover the delights the region has to offer.
Commercial pressures have forced many traditional naturist resorts, particularly in northern Croatia, to become more mainstream and textile oriented. Fortunately, the post conflict improvements to the Croatian road network and an increase in budget airline routes to Dubrovnik have enabled tourists to venture south of Croatia to another jewel of the Balkan region, Montenegro.
In May 2006, by national referendum, Montenegro became a fully independent, internationally recognised state. The result is that Montenegro now has much greater control over it’s investment in infrastructure, its tourist industry and protection of its wild beauty. Montenegro was also largely untouched by the Balkan conflict and there is far less evidence of the social scars & resentment occasionally seen in other areas of the region. Montenegro recognises the importance of tourism to their national economy and many visitors find its people warm and welcoming. These factors and more make it a very attractive destination for tourists willing to venture south of Croatia.
So, are naturist tourists welcome in Montenegro? Steve & Denise, proprietors of “Camp Full Monte” a new clothing optional eco-campsite close to the Montenegro border with Croatia, provided some answers. “We found attitudes to naturism are not so different from anywhere else in Europe” explained Steve. “Although not commonplace, there are official and unofficial designated naturist areas and naturism rarely gets a negative reaction from locals. As always, there are those who don’t want to be confronted by public nudity but in the main it seems to be accepted as the right of the individual to be naked on private resorts or in designated public areas.”
So why start a naturist business and why Montenegro? “We discovered Montenegro just before it gained independence. We were ready to give up our high stress life in the UK and dreamt of establishing a naturist lifestyle business in warmer climes. A friend, who had been living and working in the region for some years, suggested that we visit him in Montenegro. He had recently bought a property and land for less than the price of a used car and regaled us with his description of the outstanding natural beauty and the friendly, easy going nature of the Montenegrin people.” They decided to visit to see Montenegro for themselves and fell in love with the country. “Montenegro promotes itself as an Eco-state, with very little heavy industry and a population of around 700,000 the emerging state is keen to preserve the wild beauty of the country. Our idea was to find a remote piece of land that was close enough to a tourism centre so our visitors could enjoy the best of both worlds. The site we chose was completely “off-grid”. No mains power, water or sewage so we have had to utilise alternative technologies to solve some of these problems. The real plus is that these technologies are also ecologically friendly. To preserve water we installed modern composting toilets, airflush urinals and an ingenious grey water recycling system. We harness as much of the sun’s energy as possible, all our hot water is solar heated and much of the grounds lighting is solar powered as is the ventilation system for our compost toilets. During the build we attempted to use reclaimed or recycled material wherever possible. As far as we know we are the first tourist facility in Montenegro with such eco-credentials”.
Are there many opportunities for naturism in Montenegro? Traditionally the main naturist destination in Montenegro is Ada Bojana, an island on the southernmost border of Montenegro. It has long sandy beaches and there is a naturist resort offering accommodation. There are rumours that this resort is up for sale and Steve & Denise are hoping that new owners will bring the much needed modernisation and improvement of the resort. “We also hope new management at Ada Bojana will continue offering naturist facilities as our camp site is an ideal stop over point for naturists travelling to the south of Montenegro” said Denise. In any event there are other opportunities for Naturism in Montenegro. The Hotel Riviera in Njivice across the stunning Boka Bay from the old city of Herceg Novi has a section of publicly accessible beach dedicated to use by naturists. In addition there are a number of secluded areas of the rocky coastline which can only be accessed by boat and they are perfect for those wanting to develop their all over tan away from the crowds. “We know a number of boat skippers who don’t seem to mind if their customers get naked whilst chartering their boats. So even if you never choose to go on land a very pleasant day can be had out on the bay in a boat” explained Steve. Further South, on the Adriatic coast there are a number of naturist designated beaches most notably one at the southern section of Jaz beach near the town of Budva.
It is clear that Montenegro has a bright future as a naturist destination and since gaining independence in 2006 the speed of change has been dramatic. Steve and Denise have said they would be happy to give further advice and information to anyone wanting to visit the area. They can be contacted via their website www.full-monte.com or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.