Over more than half a millennium, people came to Tivat to relax.

Even in the middle of the 14th century, when Stefan Dusan proclaimed his Great Balkan Empire with himself as Tsar, his imperial treasurer, Nikola Buca, and Nikola’s diplomat brother Mihajlo Buca, sought a comfortable place on Kotor Bay away from the summer heat of the imperial capital of Skopje. Their fortified summer home remains today a major attraction in the middle of Tivat, perhaps Montenegro’s most important tourist destination.

What makes Tivat so noteworthy is the waterfront. Situated below the beautiful Mount Vrmac in the outer inlet of Kotor Bay, its scenic location has over time attracted monasteries and retreats, including those on the renowned Prevlavka Island, or the Isle of Flowers. At one time the site of the Monastery of the Archangel Michael, this special place was converted by the Interwar Yugoslav Kingdom into a private getaway for its navy personnel. Today, this paradise on earth is ideally situated near the growing action of Tivat’s future great attraction – Porto Montenegro.

Scheduled for completion in 2017, Porto Montenegro, a state-of-the-art marina designed by ReardonSmith Architects and funded by Hungarian-born Canadian mining tycoon Peter Munk, will include berths for 650 yachts, including 150 berths for super-yachts of up to 150 meters length. However, the onshore development is what makes this nautical tourism destination special. Five mixed-use buildings containing 130 luxury residences, 20 retail outlets, a full sports facility, club facilities, a 64-meter infinity pool, and the Lido Mar lounge bar already has been opened, and eventually the resort will also host a naval heritage museum and a 5-star boutique hotel. Its design respects the local architecture and Montenegro’s natural beauty while providing a balance between clarity and surprise.

Tivat was already an attractive destination on Kotor Bay when Munk, diversifying from his interests at Barrick Gold, began converting the Arsenal naval base into a yacht owner’s dream. The transformation that will result with the completed Porto Montenegro promises even greater things, such as the opening of a new 18-hole golf course near Tivat’s airport in the Grbalj Valley. Even today, though, this is an impressive destination, one worth seeing while everything is still new.