Montenegro is one of my favorite countries in all of Europe. This small Balkan country is often overlooked and a lot of people I talk to admit they have never heard of it. However, Montenegro is one of the most beautiful places in the world, with crystal clear waters and medieval villages and beaches backed by majestic mountains.
Budva is a port city on the Adriatic Sea and its fairly close proximity to Tivat Airport makes it a popular vacation spot. The city is only a 30-minute drive from the airport and has many beautiful beaches as well as a picturesque old town full of restaurants.
I highly recommend a Budva stop on your Montenegro itinerary, especially if you want a relaxing beach break.
Let’s have a look at the best things to do in Budva, Montenegro:
Best things to do in Budva
Walk around the old city
The Old Town of Budva (Altstadt) is over 2,500 years old, so it definitely deserves its title! The city is incredibly beautiful, with a maze of narrow streets and squares.
With its many restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops, the Old Town is a great place to visit for dinner or to do some shopping for souvenirs.
See the statue of the famous ballerina Budva
Budva Ballerina Statue, also known as “The Gymnast from Budva”, is a bronze statue of a girl frozen in the middle of a dance, created by Belgrade sculptor Gradimir Aleksic. She stands on a rock guarding Mungren Beach, with the old town and the Adriatic Sea in the background. The statue has become a symbol of Budva and makes some beautiful pictures.
The statue appears to have been inspired by a local legend about a girl who was betrothed to a sailor. He sailed away to earn money for the two of them to live together but he never came back. She spent years waiting for him, watching the sea every morning in the hope that he would come back. Unfortunately one day he was found dead on the rock where the statue now stands.
Discover the castle castle
At the highest point in the Old Town, you’ll find Budva’s Citadel Castle, which was built to protect Budva from attacks. The construction of the castle began at the beginning of the 9th century, but the buildings you see today date mainly from the 15th century.
The Citadel was used as an army barracks during World War II and today is home to the city’s museum as well as a restaurant and library.
The restaurant has chairs and tables overlooking the water – it’s a very romantic place, so try to book a reservation or show up hoping you’ll be lucky. In the summer months, the castle also hosts the Grad Theater, an arts festival that offers theater performances and concerts.
hit the beach
The Budva coastline is known as The Budva Riviera and it reminds me a bit of the French Riviera. The main beaches in and around the city are Old Town Beach, Beach Greco, Slovenska Plaza, and Mogren Beach. Beach Greco and Slovenska Plaza have the longest stretches of sand and get very crowded during the summer.
To get to Mogren, you have to take a walk that winds around the cliff – usually less crowded and backed by rugged inclines. This was my personal favorite but it’s too narrow to run out of space.
If you head east along the coast towards Sveti Stefan you will discover Becici Beach, Kamenovo Beach and Przno Beach. If you have a week in Budva, you can easily go to the beach and try a different beach every day.
Take a boat to Hawaii
This was my favorite thing in Budva! There are boats that will take you to Sveti Nikola, which is also known as “Hawaii” because of the tropical turquoise blue color of the surrounding ocean. The island looks like it’s part of a James Bond movie, with tall, sheer cliffs flying over the beaches.
The beaches are pebbly and the current can be strong, so be sure to bring some water shoes so you don’t hurt your feet!
Walking along the Corniche
Hotel Budva Riviera has a promenade that runs all the way from the Old Town to Sveti Stefan. A walk along the promenade will take you to Slovenska Plaža, Zavala Cape, Bečići Beach, Kamenovo Beach, Pržno and Sveti Stefan. Bring your camera and a bathing suit so you can stop for a swim along the way.
Tonight’s party away at Top Hill
Top Hill is the most famous club in Montenegro and is known throughout Europe. Over the years, the club has attracted famous DJs such as Fatboy Slim, Eric Prydz and Roger Sanchez. The club is located on Topliš hill overlooking the city of Budva, and has a capacity of about 5,000 club-goers. It’s only open in July and August, so if you arrive early in the season it will likely be closed. If you love techno music, this is definitely the place to go.
Enjoy a romantic dinner
Budva has many restaurants where you can enjoy a romantic dinner. For a delicious seafood dinner, try one of the restaurants located along the waterfront. Gedran is the most famous and well known, serving grilled fish, seafood and meat right on the water. I have eaten here many times and the experience has always been magical.
Another favourite, Hemingway Bar & Restaurant offers live music, cocktails, and a varied menu that includes salads, burgers, steaks, fish, pastas, and risottos.
In the Old Town, visit Stari Grad, a restaurant serving traditional Montenegrin and seafood cuisine in a rustic setting.
Another great option is Restoran Rivijera, which serves octopus, grilled prawns, and other seafood dishes. The restaurant has a nice patio with blue and white tablecloths.
If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, try Restaurant & Beach Bar Azzurro, which has a large terrace full of tables overlooking the bay.
walking on walls
One of the best things to do in Budva is to walk the city walls. There is an entrance near the castle and there is also another entrance on the other side of the old town. Visitors only have to pay €2 as entrance fee. Walking along the walls will allow you to see the streets of the old city from above, as well as views of the Adriatic Sea.
Visit Sveti Stefan
While you’re in Budva, be sure to take a taxi along the coast to Sveti Stefan, a small island home to Montenegro’s most famous (and famous) hotel. The ride takes about 15 minutes and is well worth it.
Rooms at this ultra-luxury hotel start at around €700 ($780) per night, so unless you’re wealthy and can afford to buy a room, you just want to visit for the day.
The island dates back to the 15th century, and it began as a fortified village built to defend against the Turks. By the 19th century, it was a small fishing village with a population of about 400 people. The population declined by the 20th century, so the communist Yugoslav authorities removed what was left of the population and turned it into a hotel used by the world’s most powerful elites.
In the 1970s, the hotel was frequented by the likes of Princess Margaret, Sylvester Stallone and Sophia Loren, but declined by the 1990s. Eventually, Sveti Stefan was renovated and restored by Aman Resorts, which restored it to its former glory.
You can only visit the hotel unless you are staying there or if you have made a reservation at the restaurant. However, you can still enjoy the views and relax on the pink sands of Sveti Stefan Beach, which is open to the public.
Kick off at Aquapark Budva
Opened in 2016, Aquapark Buva is the largest water park in Montenegro. What is really cool about this water park is that it is located on Mount Topolis, so the views are unbelievable. The huge complex covers an area of 41,800 square meters, and includes several swimming pools and water slides, as well as many attractions for children. In case you get hungry, there is a restaurant and three bars on site.
Visit Bodmin Abbey
This 15th-century Serbian Orthodox monastery is located on a hillside on the edge of Budva. It houses two churches – the smaller one was built sometime in the 15th century and the larger one in 1747. It’s a quiet and relaxing setting, with beautiful views of the bay. It is located near an ideal vantage point for taking pictures of Budva from above.
If you want to do something more adventurous, try paragliding with Budva Paragliding. The company offers tandem flights with a variety of routes across Budva, Sveti Stefan, Hawaii and Pechi.
Have a drink at Casper Bar
Casper Bar is located in the Old Town, and has been in operation since 1991. It is the best bar in Budva and focuses on the quality of sound and drinks. There is a patio with outdoor seating and the ambiance is very relaxing. Best of all, the bar welcomes DJs who play cool house music.
Budva Frequently Asked Questions Answered
Is Budva worth a visit?
Yes, Budva is definitely worth a visit. Budva Riviera is amazing so if you are a beach lover you will really enjoy it here. In the summer the city comes alive and the atmosphere is really fun. The beaches and restaurants are filled with tourists and there is a vibrant nightlife scene. Budva is also known for its massive outdoor nightclub, Top Hill, which attracts DJs from all over the world.
Which is better Budva or Kotor?
Budva and Kotor are completely different but both are worth a visit. The Old Town of Kotor is much larger and more impressive than Budva, with plenty of things to see and do.
Kotor is located on the gorgeous fjord-like bay of Kotor, but there are only a few small pebbly beaches scattered around the bay. Budva is located on the Adriatic coast, with access to many beaches.
If you love nightlife, Budva is the best option for you as it is home to a huge club as well as many beach clubs and bars. Kotor is generally quieter at night. If you are a history buff you might prefer Kotor, but if you are a beach lover, you might prefer Budva.
Is Budva expensive?
Budva is not necessarily cheap but it is generally cheaper than major cities in the United States and some other countries in Europe.
Montenegro’s currency is the euro. Local beer costs around 2.50€ while imported beer costs around 3.50€. The number of appetizers in a restaurant usually ranges from 10 to 25 euros depending on what you order.
In July, expect to pay between €60-€150 per night for a room. Luxury hotels cost between €200 and €500 per night for a room. Keep in mind that prices tend to be higher in the high season, especially in July and August.
What is Budva famous for?
Budva is famous for its medieval old town and the Statue of the Ballerina, also known as the Statue of the Gymnast from Budva. Budva Riviera is dotted with beautiful beaches and is home to one of the most exclusive island resorts in the world, Sveti Stefan.
How many days in Budva?
If you are a sun lover, you can easily spend a week in Budva sunbathing on the beach and dining outside. However, if you are the type to catch ants on the beach, I suggest spending about 2-3 days max here and then exploring other places like Kotor, Skadar Lake and Durmitor National Park.
last word …
Budva is a great place to visit if you are looking for a summer beach holiday in Europe. With stunning beaches and crystal clear waters that you can see right below, it is definitely one of the best destinations in Montenegro. This country is one of the most beautiful and most beautiful places in the world, so I recommend combining Budva with a trip to Kotor as well.