WHAT TO DO IN BUDVA: A short guide for your summer vacation
Montenegro has been on the mainstream tourist trail since around 2006, when the James Bond movie Casino Royale shot this previously lesser-known destination to fame. From that moment, tourists went “All In”.
As it turns out, the movie barely showed Montenegro after all, with many scenes depicting this country, actually being filmed in the Caribbean. Nonetheless, I’ve wanted to visit for some time and couldn’t wait to see Budva.We started in Budva, probably the most well-known tourist town in Montenegro.
Read on to find out more about what to do in Budva on your summer vacation.
Is Budva worth visiting?
For your summer vacation, Budva is well worth visiting.
Budva is predominately a tourist town and one with many contrasts. The Old Town (Stari Grad) is a maze of quaint streets, with bars and restaurants entwined. Follow the beach and you’ll find a promenade filled with restaurant after restaurant, some jut out into the sea and are reminiscent traditional Greek Tavernas, others are adorned with pleather sofas and are trying to emulate Ibiza beach clubs.
Budva is at once “showy“, with cocktail bars, nightclubs and clothes stores and also “unpretentious“, with families, children’s playgrounds, takeaway pizza, kebab and ice-cream. I think there’s something for everyone here and certainly there are enough beaches for everyone. Despite being bustling, I don’t feel that Budva is too crowded, indeed it is ready, willing and able to house the crowds.
What to do in Budva
Budva Old Town
I love the old town in Budva. Its streets are enchanting, and it offers much needed rest bite from the sun and the beach. Wind your way around whilst exploring souvenir shops, picking up an ice-cream or taking a perch at one of the many coffee shops or bars. The Old Town in Budva is one of the top things to see in Budva.
It’s a delight to wander around in the daytime, but really comes alive at night.
Key sights to see in the Old Town are:
- Budva Citadel (tickets required)
- Saint Ivan Church (free to enter)
- Holy Trinity Church (free to enter)
- Ruins of Roman Era Necropolis
- Old Town City Walls (2 Euros to enter)
Visit the Beach: Beaches in Budva
Budva is all about the beaches and you’ll be spoilt for choice. Even in busy season, there is plenty of room to park a towel and plenty of available loungers and parasols.
Top Swimming Spots:
- Slovenska Plaza Beach – the main stretch around Budva, calm sea, plenty of space and tonnes of bars and restaurants.
- Mogren Beach – walk a little further beyond the Old Town and you’ll reach Mogren Beach. A little busier than the main beach in town, but worth if you prefer coves.
- Plaza Ricardova Glava (my favourite!) – this is a tiny cove just behind the city wall of the Old Town. There’s a ladder at the end of the wall where you can lower yourself gently into the clear water and swim surrounded by swarms of tiny fish.
What excursions can you do in Budva?
There are so many options for day trips or excursions heading out of Budva. If you are looking for this, then head to the promenade and speak to one of the vendors there. Top suggestions:
- Stand Up Paddle Boarding or Kayaking – boards can be hired for around 10 Euros Per Hour. There are also trips available, such as this great kayak trip which visits caves.
- Boat cruises – you can book these locally, or arrange in advance here.
- Taxi Boat to Hawaii – This is the colloquial name for Sveti Nikola island which is a short hop from Budva (you can see it from the beach). It costs 5 Euros each way and you can stay on the Island for as long as you want. Restaurants and bars on the Island currently have very bad reviews, so I’d suggest taking your own snacks and drinks!
Best time of year to visit Budva
Budva has a Mediterranean climate – summer runs from May until October, with temperatures lingering around 25C in the shoulder months. Winter is mild and spring pleasant. I’m visiting in September; I’ve had one day of stormy weather but otherwise it’s been around 28C during the day with evenings growing cool. The weather in Budva is perfect for sun-bathing or sight seeing.
What to eat and drink in Budva?
Best restaurants in Budva
Montenegro has an eclectic cuisine, even more so in Budva as it caters to tourists. There are Asian restaurants, Sushi Places, Italian and more.
For Seafood, your best bet is one of the MANY restaurants along the promenade in Budva. Restaurant Olimp and Restaurant Jadran are both thriving spots for seafood that overlook the harbour and twinkle with candlelight in the evening. If you’re on a budget, look out for deals such as seafood risotto and a glass of wine for 9 Euros.
For Montenegrin cuisine, such as Black Risotto or Cevapi (sausages), if you want low-key you could opt for a restaurant further back in town, such as Restoran Tiffany or for a more romantic affair, try Konoba Portun on the edge of the old town in a quiet alleyway.
Food on the go: For food on the go in Budva, there are a number of options. The top three that I’d recommend:
- A large slice of pizza from the Old Town – lots of places, that will cost you about 2.50 Euros per slice.
- Kebab or Gyros, similar style to a more traditional Greek Souvlaki.
- Grab a “Burek” from one of the bakers in town – Burek is a filo pastry pie made with meat or cheese inside, a bit like a Greek Spanakopita. This is commonly eaten for breakfast in Montenegro, so head to the bakers before 10:00 if you want to get your hands on one. Cost around 30 cents per item.
Where to get drinks in Budva
- Coffee in Montenegro is strong and served black. Available pretty much anywhere for less than 2 Euros. If you’re a coffee connoisseur, try Casper Bar in the old town which has different roasts available. Slightly more expensive at 2.40 Euros for a Macchiato.
- Cocktails are definitely a thing in Budva and prices range from 6.50 Euros to 10 Euros.
- Beer – Local Montenegrin lager is made by Trabjesa brewery. It’ll cost around 80 cents in a supermarket, 1.50 Euros in a kiosk or 3.50 Euros in a bar.
- Wine – Italian, Crotian, Serbian and Montenegrin wines are readily available in bars and restaurants. The Italian imported wine tends to be more expensive. A glass of Montenegrin wine (which will actually be served in a small airplane style bottle) is 4.80 or 5.00 Euros as standard. Montenegrin Chardonnay is a good, dry style wine. Over dinner, you can get 1Litre of a similar wine for 14 Euros! The Red Vranac is the most drinkable grape, in my opinion, serve chilled and it’s got a similar soft fruity undertone to Montepulciano.
Where to stay in Budva
There are plenty of places on Airbnb and Booking.com. Ideally try to stay near to the Old Town, or failing that ideally you would want to be within 15 minutes of the coast and old town. That said, Budva isn’t big, so you can fairly easily get around.
Best hostels in Budva
A few recommendations below:
If you’re heading to Budva, here are three of the best hostels you can stay in:
- Freedom Hostel – this one has the best location as it’s right in the heart of Budva Old Town. A popular choice for backpackers, with a communal space and clean bedrooms.
- Villa Merci Budva – this place is more like a low-key hotel than a hostel. Great for couples exploring Budva on a budget.
- Montenegro Hostel B&B – is a super choice for backpackers looking for dorm space. The oldest hostel in Budva and the cheapest, with prices starting at 7 euros per night.
Best apartments in Budva
Apartments: If you want Old Town location, try Old Town Pearl Apartment or Airbnb has a number of others than are just outside the Old Town. I stayed about 10 minutes walk up the hill from the coast, my studio apartment was around 25 Euros per night and had a large terrace.
Tourist Tax when visiting Budva
Any town or city you stay in within Montenegro will require you to pay Tourist Tax. This is 1 Euro per day and must be paid within 24 hours. Most Hotels will arrange this for you, but should you stay in an Airbnb you may have to arrange this yourself. Between 0900 to 1700, you can pay this at the Tourist Information Office, after 1700 you can pay at the Post Office. You must do this within 24 hours, and you need to re-register in any new town or city in Montenegro. Take your passport or identity card. The tourist info in Budva is small, modern and efficient and I found the process very straight forward.
Want to read more about Montenegro?
- Is Budva a good place for nomads?
- A day hike from Budva to Kamenovo Bay
- 7 Pointers for arriving in Montenegro
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