Painting Holiday in Montenegro with Artist Sally Fisher

“Ben and Emma were the perfect hosts! The villa was stunning, with amazing views…we’d highly recommend this holiday to anyone!”
James Ort, Artist & Co-Owner of the Phoenix Studio, June 2018

Montenegro painting holiday with an experienced art teacher

Departure date: 24th May 2020

This week-long painting holiday led by British artist Sally Fisher will bring you inspiration and art in abundance from your base at stunning Lake Skadar in Montenegro!

Your accommodation for the week is in two beautifully restored villa farmhouses in the secluded hill village of Zabes, by Virpazar, gateway to the lake and National Park. Here you will find landscapes and subjects galore on your doorstep as well as at the glorious Adriatic coast nearby. Mountains climb from the lush green valley in never-ending shades of grey, birds flit from the wooded hillside, while an ancient fortress and the lake also come into view.

‘Villa Miela’ acts as the group’s base for painting with its large outdoor studio and owner-hosts Ben & Emma on-hand to cater to the group’s needs. Daily art classes will take place here and also out on visits to some amazing locations in the National Park and nearby Adriatic Sea. For example, we visit Budva, an ancient walled Venetian port city rich with architecture and history.

Our itinerary also includes the chance to swim wild in waterfalls and the lake, the largest spread of freshwater in southern Europe at roughly 400 square kms in size.

This is a small group holiday for a maximum of ten people with all breakfasts and dinners included. It means you’ll get lots of personal attention from Sally as well as time to relax and enjoy your wondrous surroundings. In May, these are full to bursting with the vibrancy of nature!

Use the tabs above to see a detailed itinerary for this holiday and our gallery of photos. Places are strictly limited so get in touch asap to reserve your spot!


Sally Fisher is an experienced and qualified art tutor. She began teaching in 1998 at Camden’s Working Men’s college for men and women where taught Anatomy Life and Movement, Still Life in various media and Watercolour Summer School. She has taught at many art societies in London, Devon and Bucks, and has demonstrated for Golden Acrylics in London. She taught and exhibited sidely at Harbour House Art and Yoga Centre in Devon. Since 2012, Sally has been teaching Oils and Life Drawing at The Phoenix Studio in Towersey near Thames in Oxfordshire.

Sally  likes to make her classes informative, exploratory and practical, demonstrating techniques in various media. Each painting day will start around 10am with an ‘approach to drawing’ based around an exercise and a demonstration. This will take around an hour, followed by a break for tea/coffee and our departure to the day’s venue for sketching and painting.

Day 1
Arrival at Lake Skadar. Welcome and check-in to your accommodation – either Villa Miela or Badanj Village House – in the hill village of Zabes, Virpazar. Group welcome drinks and dinner at Villa Miela at 18.00.

Day 2
Our first painting lesson and sketching at Lake Skadar. Our first painting class is held after breakfast on Villa Miela’s deck, after which we will take a short walk to a nearby panoramic lake view for sketching. Gaze out over carpets of water lilies buzzing with birds, the luminous lake and its backdrop of mountains still wearing their caps of winter snow. Group dinner at Badanj Village House at 18.30. 

Day 3
To the northern shores. We depart at 10am to drive 50 minutes and reach a truly mesmerising location in the National Park – Pavlova Strana. One of Montenegro’s most famous vistas, this is where the majestic Crnojevic river curls perfectly towards the twin peaks of Vranjina. Lunch follows at a nearby restaurant, then on the drive back, we visit idyllic, mossy waterfalls  (short hike of 30 minutes down and then back up hill). Group dinner at Villa Miela at 19.00.

Day 4
Water lilies & monasteries. Our painting lesson begins at 10am at Villa Miela. In the afternoon, we will take a private cruise on Lake Skadar to experience its incredible natural beauty close-up. Our destination is the 15th century Kom monastery, still inhabited by monks today and with surviving frescoes and architecture. There will also be plenty of chances to swim wild in the lake for those who wish! Group dinner at Villa Miela at 18.30.

Day 5
Historic Budva and the Adriatic Sea. A later start today. At 1pm, we take a half hour ‘approach to drawing’ lesson at Villa Miela before heading off to visit the ancient walled stone city of Budva for sketching and then dinner. According to legend, Budva was first an Illyrian city dating back to the 5th century BC. A long-standing centre of arts and culture, Budva became Roman, then Venetian, from which period its current attractive form fates. Dinner is at nearby Sveti Stefan at a restaurant situated above one of Montenegro’s most picturesque and famous stretches of coastline.

Day 6
Medieval Godinje village. Our painting lesson this morning is at Villa Miela, after which we visit the nearby medieval hill village of Godinje for sketching and wine tasting. This hidden gem of ancient architecture is where the 14th century King Balsic, ruler of the Southern Slavs, placed his summer palace. Godinje breathes history with its fortified stone houses and warren of connected vaulted cellars, now largely abandoned except for a working winery which we will have the chance to visit to taste Montenegro’s native grape, Vranac. Dinner is at Badanj Village House at 18.30.

Day 7
Free day – a chance to do your own thing, relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings of the vivllage, paint a little more or explore more of Montenegro (a group visit to Kotor can be arranged on request). The group will reconvene for a convivial last dinner at Villa Miela with drinks and an exhibition of our works.

Day 8
Depart – check-out is at 10am.

Prices: £ 1,050 per person in a shared double or twin room / £1,195 per person for solo occupancy of a double or twin room

Price includes: daily painting lessons, 7 nights’ catered accommodation at Villa Miela or Badanj Village House, all breakfasts, all dinners, 5 excursions including one resaurant lunch and a wine-tasting, portable easel & seat, starter kit of paints, soft drinks, teas & coffees at Villa Miela.

Not included: flights, transfers, travel insurance, paint brushes, top-up paints (these are available to buy), canvasses or sketch pads (also available to buy) or alcohol except at the welcome dinner.

VILLA MIELA and BADANJ VILLAGE HOUSE

A beautifully renovated farmhouse with modern facilities, large terrace and 70 square foot outdoor deck, Villa Miela is the ideal base for guests on our Lake Skadar painting holidays. With panoramic views, a gorgeous plunge pool and a prime location offering easy access to the lake’s southern and northern shores as well as Virpazar, it’s the perfect place to stay. Make new friends as you share the beautifully renovated stone living spaces, gorgeous outdoor terrace, outdoor painting/chill deck, swimming pool and orchard gardens.

At a glance

Sleeps 8 with 2 double rooms, 1 twin and one bunk room, each with private bathroom

Swimming pool

Covered outdoor deck / art studio

Modern kitchen with all amenities

Free WIFI

Open-plan living room with TV, DVD player and library of books and films

Large terrace with gas barbecue, loungers, hammocks, boules court, swimming pool; incredible views over lake, valley and mountains

Extensive grounds with natural orchard and wild tortoises

Two minute drive or 20 minute walk from the lake shore, 30 minutes from the Adriatic coast

Free use of mountain bikes

Exposed stone details and wooden ceilings and floors add to the charm, with locally produced, handmade bedspreads and bathroom soaps also handmade from olive oil. Stunning views are offered up by each bedroom and the open-plan living area.

The modern kitchen comes equipped with washing-machine and dishwasher.

Staying at Villa Miela is recommended by top travel media such as the Lonely Planet and Bradt Guides to Montenegro, the Guardian and Daily Telegraph newspapers and National Geographic Traveller magazine.

Some guests in the group will be hosted at our neighbouring guesthouse, Badanj Village House, just 500m up the road from Villa Miela, and owned by legendary local raconteur and friend, Nenad Petranović. This beautifully restored farmhouse has all the usual comforts as well as an unexpected dash of style! Those guests staying here are of course also welcome to use Villa Miela’s facilities.

View of Virpazar