Sveti Stefan – Sveti Stefan, Montenegro - Atlas Obscura
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Sveti Stefan, Montenegro

Sveti Stefan

This exclusive resort has completely covered a tiny Balkan island in a 5-star warren of guest rooms. 

The Sveti Stefan resort is crammed on a tiny little offshore speck of land that once held an itty-bitty village, having converted the cram of historic buildings into exclusive lodging for its guests. 

The little island off of the Montenegro coast is only a little over a mile around making space on the isle a hot commodity. Originally a coastal defense was established on the land which eventually grew into a small village that was home to around 400 citizens, who built houses on every available inch of the island making it look as though they might fall right off the edge into the Adriatic. When the country came under communist rule plans were made to turn the area into a tourist spot and the villagers were relocated to the mainland by the government in order to make room for the new resort. A thin isthmus was built to connect the island to the mainland and all of the old houses were converted into singular lodgings, and the Sveti Stefan (which is the name of the resort, not the island) was born. 

The vacation spot had its ups and downs over the years, losing much of its luster during the 1990s in the face of government turmoil. However by the 2000s it was refurbished and once again brought up to an exclusive 5-star standard by the Aman hotel group. 

Today the resort is a beautiful little secret island that is off limits to anyone who is not a guest. It may have been converted into a place of leisure, but the Sveti Stefan is still a fortress of sorts, only now it simply protects elitism.

Know Before You Go

While traveling North/South through Croatia, this island sits at the end of a road cutting through Croatia, giving Bosnia access to the coast. One may not disembark a vehicle and set foot on land here as it is not Croatia but a foreign country.