Visiting Budva, Montenegro – The Ultimate Guide and Best Things To Do

Montenegro may be small but my god does it pack a punch. Even after spending 3 months in total there, I felt I could have happily stayed a lot longer.

One of my favourite places in Montenegro is, of course, Budva. Situated on the coast with the Adriatic Sea lapping against its beautiful beaches, it’s a super popular holiday destination for so many reasons and a great base if you want to travel Budva, Montengro.

Whether you’re looking for a luxury holiday, letting your hair down with its fantastic nightlife, or just exploring the area and using it as a base to reach other parts of the country, Budva somehow manages to tick off all of these boxes with great precision.

 

old town beach in budva montenegro

 

Where Is Budva?

You’ll find Budva, Montenegro sitting towards the end of a peninsula on the turquoise coloured waters of the Adriatic Sea. With over 21km of coastline, it serves up some of the most beautiful beaches on the Adriatic coast.

From wild, untouched beaches to tourist hotspots where every square meter of sand is covered with umbrellas and beds.

Budva, however, sites proud at one end, draped in history and culture, and an old town with fortified walls and large canons peering out towards the sea – reminiscent of how times once used to be along this dramatic coastline.

Montenegro is not a big country. It’s a shared characteristic much like the other Balkin countries in the area. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in history and character.

 

Budva Weather & Climate

In terms of the Budva weather, the best time to visit really depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re wanting to enjoy the beaches and water sports, then the summer months from June until September are ideal with an average temperature of around 26 degrees.

Budva weather often peeks at a stinking hot 35 degrees though in July and August. Just as well there are plenty of beaches to choose from close by!

 

budva montenegro weather and climate chart
climate-data.org

 

The water is at its warmest during these months, making swimming and enjoying all the activities on offer a whole lot more enjoyable.

Keep in mind though that this is also the busiest time of year. If you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, consider visiting in the shoulder months such as May and October.

You’ll still enjoy lovely Budva weather but with far fewer crowds. And if you happen to be there at the end or beginning of these months, you might even catch some warmer weather still.

 

Some History Of Budva, Montenegro

Budva has seen a lot of changes over the years. The first recorded history of Budva dates as far back as the Bronze Age where tribes settled in an area known as “The Hill”.

These days, you’ll find “The Hill” is now home to Old Town Budva – a UNESCO world heritage site and one of Montenegro’s most popular tourist attractions.

It was the Greeks, however, who really put Budva on the map when they founded a colony here in the fourth century BC and named it “Boudera”.

The Romans then arrived and changed the name to “Budvum” and it remained under Roman rule until the Slavic migrations of the sixth and seventh centuries when it became part of the Bulgarian Empire.

During the 13th century, Budva came under the rule of Venice where it remained for nearly 400 years until Napoleon arrived and conquered most of Europe – including Montenegro.

After a brief spell under French rule, Budva once again found itself back in Venetian hands until 1814 when Montenegro gained its independence.

 

old town at night in montenegro budva

 

In the early 1990s, Budva was shelled heavily during the Montenegrin War of Independence and much of Old Town Budva was destroyed.

Thankfully, it has since been rebuilt and now stands proud as one of Montenegro’s most popular tourist destinations.

Budva’s location has always been its biggest asset. Situated on the Adriatic coast, it has served as an important trading post for centuries.

It’s also been a key strategic location for many armies over the years due to its position on the coast. This is evident in the old town where you’ll find a large fortress complete with canons poking out towards the sea as I mentioned before.

These days, Budva is still an important trading post and its port is one of the busiest in Montenegro.

And from such a rich and diverse history, its had its influences from all over the place. From the Turkish, Austrians and Venetian political influences, all of this has resulted in a little beach town draped with incredible architecture and stunning monuments.

 

How To Get To Budva

The quickest way to get to Budva in Montenegro is by flying into Tivat Airport which sits just 22km away from the centre of Budva. You can also fly into Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, buts it’s further away from Budva at around 65km and will take over an hour to reach there by taxi.

There are numerous airlines that fly here all year round from all over Europe, including budget airlines, so finding a flight isn’t difficult.

Once you’re in Montenegro, getting around is relatively easy. There are plenty of buses and taxis, and the roads are in good condition and makes for a smooth ride.

 

How to get To Budva From Tivat Airport

if you’re landing in Tivat, you can choose to take a taxi or a bus for your trip to Budva, Montenegro. A taxi is of course faster and comes without the extra fuss, and you can pick one up from outside the airport for around €20 for the 20-minute journey.

Sometimes it’s best to book these in advance since I did hear of some taxis charging unknowing tourists quite a lot more for the short trip. The best way to do this is to contact your hotel or Airbnb and ask them to book one for you. This way you won’t end up paying ‘tourist prices’ either and will make your trip to Budva a lot less stressful.

If you wanted to take a bus, you’ll have to head to the bus station from the airport. It’s 1.5km down a straight road which might be quite tough in the heat if you’re not one to travel light and costs around €2.

 

map of tivat airport and bus station

 

You can book your bus in advance using a service like checkmybus.com, or you can just head there on the day, pay at the kiosk there and hop on the next available bus.

The trip to Budva by bus can take between 25 – 50 minutes depending on the bus you get. Some will take short detours through other towns along the way and it’s just down to luck what time your flight gets in and what the next bus service is like.

The bus drops you off at the main bus station on Budva which is pretty central to most places. There are always taxis waiting around the bus station though so if you’re not within walking distance to your hotel then you can just hop in one of these taxis

What I would suggest though is, if you need to take a taxi to the bus station from the airport, and then your hotel or apartment is another taxi ride away from the main bus station in Budva, then you may just as well take a taxi the whole way, door to door.

 

How To Get To Budva From Podgorica

A taxi from Podgorica to Budva costs around €50 for the 65km trip and takes a little over an hour to get you there. Same as Tivat, there are plenty of taxis waiting outside, and again, it might be worth contacting your hotel or apartment in advance and asking them to book a taxi for you.

There are also buses that run the same journey and cost around €2-4, and you can book these at the kiosk at the bus station or again using a service like checkmybus.com.

The bus journey to Budva takes approx 1 hour and 10 minutes, but again, some of these take small detours and so can take an extra 10 or 20 minutes to get you to Budva. It’s the luck of the draw on this one I’m afraid.

 

Ultimate Budva Guide – Best Things To Do In Budva, Montenegro

If you’re ready to travel to Budva, you’ll be pleased to know it has plenty on offer with 20 beaches along the Budva Riviera and its beautiful, Mediterranean climate, but it is also a great place to base yourself to explore the rest of Montenegro further. It’s within close proximity to Kotor, which is an absolute must-see.

And because Montenegro is still relatively undiscovered by tourists, it’s relatively cheap too. It’s not quite as cheap as its neighbouring Saranda, Albania or Serbia, but it’s close behind and still considerably cheaper than its northern neighbour – Croatia.

So if you’re looking for a beautiful, affordable and friendly place to holiday, then you’re looking at the right place. Let’s get to it.

 

stari grad old town budva montenegro

 

1. Stari Grad (Old Town)

The first and most obvious place to start is the old town, or Stari Grad. This is the historic centre of Budva and is where you’ll find most of the tourist attractions. It’s also where a lot of the nightlife happens so if you’re looking for a good drinking spot then this is definitely the place to be.

The old town is situated on a small peninsula and is completely surrounded by walls. It’s a pedestrian-only zone so you’ll have to leave your car or bike outside.

Once you’re inside, you’ll find plenty of restaurants, cafes, and bars, as well as some museums and galleries. The streets are narrow and winding so it’s easy to get lost, but that’s all part of the fun.

Make sure you climb up to the fortress for some incredible views over the old town and out to the Adriatic Sea. And if you’re there in July, then you’ll be able to catch one of the many open-air concerts that are held inside the fortress walls.

Old Town Budva is a must-see when in Montenegro.

How to get there: You will find the old town at the western tip of the bay.

 

mogren beach in budva montenegro

 

2. Mogren Beach

Mogren Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Budva and is situated just a short walk from the old town. It’s made up of two small beaches that are separated by a large rock formation, hence its name – Mogren (meaning ‘ear’ in Montenegrin).

This is my favourite Budva beach in Montenegro and well deserves a day of chilling and relaxing around the turquoise waters and white sandy beach.

The smaller beach to the south is where most people tend to congregate as it has a few beach bars and restaurants. This is the perfect spot to relax with a refreshing cocktail in hand and soak up the Montenegrin sun.

If you’re looking for a more secluded spot, then head to the north beach, called Mogren 2, which is usually a little quieter. You’ll cross to the end of Mogrin 1 and see a little walkthrough between the rocks. You would be surprised how many visitors never realise there is a second, more secluded beach just out of sight around the corner.

They’re both great places to go for a swim and they’re actually some of the only sandy beaches in Budva since most of the other beaches in the area are pebble beaches.

You’ll find sunbeds and umbrellas on both, but there is also plenty of space at the end of the beach to bring your own and not have to pay.

How to get there: Walk towards the Old Town beach (Plaza Ricardova Glava) and continue west where you will walk for 5 minutes around the cliff face to these secluded gems.

 

budva montenegro cannon

 

3. Archaeological Museum, Budva

The Archaeological Museum in Budva is one of the most important museums in Montenegro. It’s located inside the old town walls, sprawled over 3 floors, and houses a collection of over 20,000 artefacts that have been found in the region.

The museum covers the history of Budva from prehistoric times right up to the Middle Ages. There are some incredible Roman artefacts on display, including a statue of the Roman god Neptune that was found in the nearby town of Risan.

If you’re interested in history or archaeology, then this is definitely a place you should visit. It’s small enough to see everything in an hour or two so it’s perfect if you only have limited time in Budva, Montenegro.

How to get there: Walk to the Old Town where it is located inside the walls sitting towards the rear.

Opening Hours: Summer: 9am – 10pm, closed Mondays. Other months: 8am – 8pm. Saturdays and Sundays: 2pm – 10pm.

Entry Fee: €2 for adults, €1 for children.

 

4. Podmaine Monastery

The Podmaine Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery that is located 2km from the beach, sitting up the hill at the back of Budva. It’s one of the most important religious sites in Montenegro and is definitely worth a visit.

The monastery was founded in the 13th century and has been through a lot of changes over the years. It was even turned into a mosque for a period of time during the Ottoman occupation.

Nowadays, it’s a functioning monastery and you’ll often see monks going about their daily business. It’s open to visitors and you can even go inside the church to see the beautiful frescoes that adorn the walls.

The monastery is located in a peaceful setting, surrounded by olive groves, and is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the old town for a while and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

How to reach there: It’s a 17-minute walk from the main bus station or a 35-minute walk from the old town. You can also take a short 5-minute taxi up the hill.

 

sveti stefan island montenegro

 

5. Sveti Stefan Day Trip

Sveti Stefan makes for a perfect day from Budva, Montenegro. It is a small island just under 10km south along the coast of Budva. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country and it’s easy to see why.

The island sits in one of the most idyllic peninsulas I think I have ever seen, with the buildings and their terracotta roofs dating back to the 15th-century. Sveti Stefan and its picturesque location simply ozzes with charm and character, and its photogenic appeal cries out to everyone.

The island itself is home to a luxury hotel (where prices start at a whopping €700 per night!) and is exclusive only to guests, unfortunately. If a photograph from the outside just isn’t enough though and you still want to get inside, you can book a meal at the hotel restaurant where you’ll also get access to explore inside the little island’s walls.

I did also hear they have ‘unadvertised tours’ of the island that costs €25 each, but if it was me, I would just book a table at the restaurant there and get my island pass that way.

There are plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas to relax on, with wildly varying price tags. An umbrella and sunbed set on the north side will set you back €80, whereas on the south side you can get a set for the day for €15. Or, of course, you can just throw your towel down on the sand and enjoy it for free.

The turquoise water is crystal clear and perfect for swimming, or you can take a walk around the island which takes about 20 minutes.

 

sveti stefan beach in budva montenegro

 

If you want to visit Sveti Stefan, then it’s best to go early in the morning or later in the afternoon since it can get really busy during the day.

No trip to Budva would be complete without a day trip to Sveti Stefan, so don’t skip this one.

Pro Tip – If you’re pressed for time in Budva, you can take a boat trip from the pier in Budva and see Sveti Stefan and Sveti Island. The boat stops in the bay of Sveti Stefan for half an hour or so and then drops you off at Sveti Island where you can spend as long as you want. You can take any boat back to Budva after that, which is included with your ticket.

How to get there: Buses run from Budva to Sveti Stefan every 20 minutes during high season. It takes around 15-20 minutes and costs €2 each way.

You can also grab a private taxi boat from the old town, or book a group boat tour (which was my favourite as you get to meet lots of people).

If you have a car rental, then you can drive yourself down there in 15 minutes but be mindful that you will have to pay for parking which costs around €2 per hour.

 

6. Sveti Nikola Island

Sveti Nikola Island is a small island located just off the coast of Budva. It’s a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing, with 3 large sandy beaches and plenty of smaller ones

To reach the island you will have to take one of the boats that run regularly from Budva. Once you’re on the island, you’ll quickly discover that there aren’t any permanent residents on the island except for wild deer, so it’s lovely and peaceful and a great way to escape the bustling town of Budva for a day.

There’s a small church and monastery that are worth a visit, and a restaurant close to the boat jetty where you can grab food and drinks.

How to get there: Boats run every half an hour or so (depending on how busy it is) from the pier at Slovenska Plaza in Budva and costs around €3 each way.

 

view from perast in kotor montenegro

 

7. Day Trip To Kotor

The Bay of Kotor is an easy day trip from Budva and is one of the most popular things to do. Kotor is a UNESCO world heritage site and is often called the ‘Mediterranean fjord’, although it’s technically not a fjord as it was created by an earthquake!

The old town of Kotor is incredibly picturesque, with Venetian architecture, winding alleyways and a fortress that sits atop a hill looking down over the town.

If you’re arriving at the bus station, it’s a 5-10 minute walk to the old town at the southernmost point of the bay where you’ll first be greeted with towering, sweeping mountains encapsulating the whole bay.

Standing at the waterfront, the water sits incredibly still and gentle laps against the shoreline, inviting you in for a little dip in the heat of the day.

 

bay of kotor

 

Go and explore the old town and grab a coffee and snack from Forza coffee there. Let lost in the winding streets and don’t forget to explore the upper levels for some incredible views over the bay.

If you have the legs for it, you can climb up to the fortress for panoramic views over the town and bay. It will take you around 45-minutes and you’ll want to have a decent pair of shoes on your feet.

You can take a boat trip for the second part of the day and get out on the bay where you can explore Perast and the Island Of St George.

 

day trip to kotor from budva montenegro

 

Depending on what boat trip you book, the 3 hour plus tours will take you out of the bay and around to the blue cave which, as the name suggests, serves up picture-perfect photo opportunities of the iridescent blue that’s reflected throughout the cave. Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit so you can jump in for a swim!

Enjoy a late lunch at the old town of Perast, or head back to Kotor before taking the late bus back to Budva, Montenegro.

How to get there: The easiest way to get to Kotor from Budva is by taking a bus, which costs around €2 each way and takes around 50 minutes.

If you’re driving yourself then it’s best to park opposite the Kamelja Mall. Not the one directly outside the mall but the municipal car park on the opposite side of the road is better.

You won’t be able to park outside of the old town without the risk of getting towed away.

There are also boat cruises that run from Budva to Kotor and the 8-hour tour will take you into the bay but if you wanted to explore the old town there as well, make sure the tour mentions the stop-off otherwise you’ll likely only see it from the boat.

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