Nestled along the picturesque Adriatic coastline, Budva in Montenegro is a gem waiting to be discovered. With its charming Old Town, stunning beaches, and vibrant nightlife, this coastal town offers an array of activities for all types of travellers. Whether you’re a history buff seeking ancient ruins or an adventure enthusiast craving water sports and hiking trails, Budva has something for everyone. In our article, we will explore the top things to do in Budva, ensuring that your visit to this Mediterranean paradise is nothing short of unforgettable. We hope you enjoy this Budva itinerary.
After being in Kotor Montenegro for a week we decided that we needed to see more of Montenegro, a country that had impressed us so much so far. We had read that Budva situated on the Budva Riviera had the nickname of “Montenegrin Miami” and was the most crowded and popular tourist destination in Montenegro. Summer in Budva can be very crowded. Choose your timing right to visit.
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Do You Need a Visa For Montenegro
Montenegró sits between the 2 coastal Balkan countries of Albania and Bosnia Herzegovina and has inland borders with Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo. The capital is Podgorica.
Where is Budva located?
Budva is located on the coast just south of Tivat.
Budva is home to 17 beaches and boasts a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm to hot summers.
A stunning rocky coastline with azure blue seas greeted us 20 minutes after leaving Kotor. We could see in the distance parts of the Stari Grad (Old Town) but what were all those cranes doing and those modern concrete hotels and apartment blocks blocking the views to the Stari Grad?
Luckily, we had given our taxi driver from Kotor the contact number for the owner of the ‘Apartment Old Town View’, he had to call a couple of times to find out the directions. There was no way that we would have found it on our own with our distinct lack of the local language.
You can check availability here for the Apartment Old Town View.
The Apartment was newly renovated with amazing views over to the harbour to the left of the Stari Grad and a balcony that beckoned for cold beers to be enjoyed on. A pathway in front of the building led down to the Stari Grad just a 5-minute walk away, but we could not see the famous Church Tower due to the concrete monsters.
After settling into a new location we like to wander out and explore. Leaving the Old Town for a later adventure we turned left and followed the pathway past the marina and onto the Budva beach.
What a shock!
Budva beach was packed, sunbeds lined up row after row, no space in between and umbrellas precariously positioned to shade the loungers from the hot afternoon sun. Loud music blared out from speakers every few yards, and cheap bars and takeaway food outlets fought for the tourists’ euros. Normally, by now we would have taken some photos, but there was just not anything worth taking. You could say that we were a little more than shocked!
Did we have a Plan B? No.
We had booked for 5 nights and then we were due in Dubrovnik. On our return, we found the local green market and 3 supermarkets that were all in walking distance from our apartment, at least we had a choice and variety for self-catering.
Sometimes, it just takes a night or two to settle into a new location. The view from the balcony over the marina was stunning, especially at sunrise as the sun rose to the left of the building. The sun set behind us and more concrete buildings blocked this view, but at this time of the night, the harbour was busy with small charter boats returning and the action more than compensated for the lack of a sunset.
Places to Visit in Budva
Church of St Sava The Anointed Budva
Constructed during the 12th Century the Church sits proudly on the water’s edge of the Stari Grad. When Budva was under the Venetian reign the Church held both Catholic and Orthodox services. Recent renovations have uncovered remnants of ancient frescos on the church’s walls.
The Orthodox population of Budva supported by the Bishop of Montenegro requested the construction of the Church after the demise of the Venetian reign during 1797, it was completed in 1804. The bell loft contains 3 bells and a dome.
Originally constructed in the 7th Century the Church of St John is one of the oldest churches on the Budva Riviera. In 1667 it was damaged by an earthquake that struck the area. In 1828 it became a cathedral. The Church’s Bell Tower dominates the Stari Grad and the Church itself is the tallest building in the Old Town.
On the way to one of the nicest beaches in Budva, the pathway passes a statue of a topless girl doing a yoga pose. Some say it is a statue of a girl who drowned here and others say it is just a statue. What do you think? Whatever anyone thinks it is a great location to take a photo of the Walls of the Stari Grad.
The beaches to the right of the Stari Grad are so much nicer than those we mentioned before to the left of the marina. A 5-minute walk along the pathway past the Dancing Girl Statue you will arrive at Mogren Beach 1 which can be quite busy during the height of the summer. If you continue further along you will reach Mogren Beach 2 – a much quieter and more sedate area to relax and swim. At least we have come across one of the nicest beaches in Budva Montenegro here.
Visit the Budva Archaeological Museum
18th and 19th centuries artefacts that were used by the Montenegran people as well as Greek and Roman objects found during excavations.
So did Budva redeem itself?
The few sites mentioned above did allow Budva to redeem itself at first but as we wandered deeper inside the walls of the Stari Grad we grew more disappointed. The owner of our Apartment had informed us that Budva’s Old Town was so much better than Kotor’s. We disagree with him definitely on this point. Kotor is also a walled town, atmospheric and buzzing and impressively and has a stunning backdrop of large limestone mountains and a fort that is reached by climbing 1350 steps. The view is worth the uphill hike!
Once inside the walls, there were a plethora of souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants, it lacked the atmosphere of Kotor and felt tacky.
One final disappointment to top it all off – Sveti Stefan Montenegro
When you Google Budva one of the scenic shots is that of Sveti Stefan. An island with a small causeway leading to 5th-century red-roofed stone houses. It was quite easy to get to Budva town by bus for a few euros but when we Googled the bus timetable we uncovered something sinister. Not only sinister in history but sinister in this day and age. Originally the island sheltered the locals from the attacks from pirates and the forces of the Turks. Eventually, in 1954 the Communist Party removed the remaining 20 local inhabitants and 3 years later it was turned into an exclusive resort which was frequented by many famous people. During the Yugoslav Federation’s breakdown in the 1990s, it fell into decline.
In 2007 Aman Resorts from Singapore was successful in winning the lease and closed the island to all but its own exclusive guests. If you are not a guest the only way of getting onto the island is if you have booked a table at one of the Resort’s very expensive restaurants or you can hire a sunbed on one of the beaches at the entrance to the causeway for 50 euros per person per day. That is not a typo – 50 euros per day per sunbed. In 2022 the sun beds have gone up to Euros 80 per day!
When researching your accommodation you may want to consider whether you want to stay in the Stari Grad Budva or outside, whether you want a hotel or an apartment. There are a couple of supermarkets which cater well for those who want to stay in apartments just on the edge of the Budva Old Town, look for the Mega Market signage on Mainski.
For the latest best hotels in Budva:
Apartment Old Town– Budva
Hotel Budva – Slovenska Obala 23, Budva
Hotel Budva is set in the centre of Budva, right on the seaside promenade and just steps away from the sandy Slovenska Beach and Marina. It features an on-site restaurant, bar and wellness centre. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel.
Guest review: Everything was super, especially the location!!!
For more deals on hotels and a range of apartments in Budva:
Best Things to do in Budva
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Day Trip from Budva to Durmitor, Tara and the Ostrog Monastery
Taken from Get Your Guide website:
“Meet the beautiful coastline of Kotor Bay, before ascending to the high elevations of Durmitor Mountain. Admire the deepest canyon in Europe, the Tara River, and hike around Black Lake before visiting the greatest pilgrimage place in the Balkans.”
Good to know: We actually did this tour from Kotor. Such a fascinating day out and definitely worth it!
Budva: Kotor Bay and Fortresses Off-Road Tour
- Jeeping safari adventure on the hills above Kotor Bay.
- Tour of Austro-Hungarian fortresses, and panoramic spots with a view of the bay.
- Off-road adventure through untouched nature.
- Picnic at panoramic points above the bay
Where to eat in Budva:
There are a variety of restaurants, cafes and bars in Budva to suit all budgets and tastes.
Tripadvisor has listed Konaba Bocun as the top restaurant in Budva from travellers reviews and ratings. The restaurant is located at Ul. Mimoza 177, Budva.
Montenegro uses the Euro.
Getting In and Out of Budva
For a list of airports in Montenegro click here.
Tivat is the closest airport to Budva but there are not many flights, most people fly into Dubrovnik or into the capital Podgorica.
Cheap Flight Deals to Budva
For the best deals on flights click here
How to get from Dubrovnik to Budva
You can book a private car transfer from Dubrovnik to Budva for more information click here
Bus Croatia has a regular bus service from Dubrovnik for more information click here.
Bus from Podgorica to Budva takes 1 hour 20 minutes for 38 km.
Bus from Dubrovnik to Budva – 2 hours 32 minutes
Bus from Kotor to Budva – around 45 minutes
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In conclusion, Budva is a hidden gem on the Adriatic coast that offers an array of activities and attractions for every type of traveller. From exploring the historic Old Town to relaxing on pristine beaches, there is something for everyone in this charming destination. Whether you are seeking adventure, culture, or simply a tranquil getaway, Budva has it all. With its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant nightlife scene, it is no wonder that Budva continues to captivate visitors from around the world. So pack your bags and head to Budva for an unforgettable experience that will leave you longing to return again and again. Whether you have one day in Budva or a few days we hope you enjoy your visit.