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Best things to do in Budva, Montenegro

by Sam
View on the walk to Mogren Beach - one of the best things to do in Budva, Montenegro

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Known for its beaches and nightlife, Budva is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Montenegro. It’s a lovely spot with plenty of great things to do, whether it’s explore the narrow cobblestone streets of the Old Town, take day trips to nearby islands or simply enjoy the wonderful beaches. Located just 25 kilometres from Kotor, Budva is an easy and brilliant addition to any Montenegro itinerary if you want to see more of what the country has to offer. It’s a particularly good destination if you’re looking to spend a few days relaxing on a beach or want to soak up the sun poolside at your hotel. There’s more to it than that though, so make sure to read this guide to the best things to do in Budva, Montenegro!

Looking for the best accommodation options and hotels in Budva? Check out our guide to the top places to stay in Budva!

Things to do in Budva

Old Town

One of the main things to do in Budva is explore its quaint Old Town. Surrounded by stone walls, the town’s historic centre is extremely charming thanks to its narrow passageways and cobblestone streets. Situated directly by the Adriatic Sea, Budva Old Town’s picturesque location helps to make it even more special. The best way to discover the Old Town is to take the time to simply wander the streets and allow yourself to get lost amongst the stone-walled alleyways. 

Following two earthquakes in 1979 most of the Old Town was rebuilt and its streets are now home to numerous bars, restaurants and shops. There aren’t too many specific sites to see, but a nice spot to visit is Trg između crkava, which translates to the ‘square between the churches’. Here you will find a number of lovely churches including the Holy Trinity Church, St. Sava’s Church and St. John the Baptist’s Church. The latter, which is sometimes referred to as the St. Ivan Church, is the largest church in Budva. Nearby you are also able to see the town’s oldest church, St. Mary’s in Punta, which dates back to 804.  

If you want a good view of Budva Old Town then don’t miss the chance to visit the Citadel. Entrance costs €3.50 and allows you to get wonderful views of the town’s historic centre as well as the beautiful mountains and Adriatic coast surrounding it. 

Budva Old Town, Montenegro

Mogren beach

As one of the best beaches in Budva, Mogren beach is an essential spot to visit if you want to get your fill of sun, sea and sand! Located around a 10-minute walk from the Old Town, Mogren beach actually consists of two beaches – known as Mogren 1 and Mogren 2. The beaches are connected by a small tunnel in a cliff and have a bit of a mix between pebbles and sand. Despite this, both beaches are still great for soaking up the sun or going for a swim in the lovely turquoise water. During the peak summer months Mogren beach can get quite busy, but at other times of year it’s often relatively quiet. If you’re visiting during spring or autumn then it’s definitely worth heading to enjoy this lovely spot without the crowds.

If you’re the kind of person that loves a bit of adventure then Mogren beach is a great spot to give cliff jumping a go. There are few different spots to jump from, but the most popular is probably from what is known as Shark’s Rock cliff. This spot is found if you go beyond Mogren Beach 2 and it also provides some lovely views along the coast towards Budva. 

To get to Mogren Beach from Budva just follow the coastal pathway just outside the Old Town. It’s a lovely walk which passes Budva’s famous Ballerina statue and also provides great views of the Old Town, which means you can get some great photos. We think it’s worth doing the walk just for the views even if you aren’t too fussed about visiting the beach itself. Once you’ve reached the beach there are sun beds and parasols available to rent, but there still should be plenty of space to sunbathe if you don’t want to pay.

Visiting Mogren beach - one of the best things to do in Budva

Beaches in Budva

Budva is known for its beaches, so it’s likely you’ll end up spending at least a few hours of your time enjoying them. Greco beach is closest to the town and stretches for around a kilometre and a half along the coast. Although it’s not the nicest beach in the area, its convenient location means it’s quite popular and often gets crowded during peak season.

An alternative is to visit the nearby Becici beach, which is around 3 kilometres away from Budva Old Town. In our opinion Becici beach is nicer than Greco beach, so it’s worth going the extra distance for. It’s a bit of a walk to get to so you may want to take a bus if you can.

If you are looking for the best beach in Budva though we recommend sticking with Mogren beach, as recommended above!

Sveti Stefan

The idyllic island of Sveti Stefan is one of the most iconic locations in Montenegro. Named as the most photographed site in the country, it’s incredibly picturesque thanks to the beautiful orange roofs of the 600 year old buildings and the stunning blue sea surrounding the island. Previously a fisherman’s village, Sveti Stefan has been restored and converted into an exclusive luxury resort known as the Aman Sveti Stefan.

Due to the exclusivity of the resort, access to the island is partially restricted. It’s only possible to visit Sveti Stefan if you’re staying at the resort, have a reservation at one of the resort’s restaurants or pay for a guided tour. Accommodation at the resort starts from around €800 per night, making it the most expensive option if you want to visit. Entrance to the island is free if you have a reservation at one of the restaurants, which can be arranged by contacting the resort directly.

Guided tours take place twice a day, at midday and 4pm, and cost €20 per person. Tickets to the tour cannot be booked in advance and are sold at the small brown building in front of the bridge that connects the mainland to the island. There is a limit of 10 people per tour, so it’s best to arrive early if you really want to visit the island. Although some other websites state that it’s only possible to visit the island if you’re staying at the resort, this isn’t the case.

Even if you don’t intend to go on the island itself, it’s still worth visiting. Sveti Stefan is only 10 kilometres away from Budva, and the views of the island are alone worth the trip. One of the best views of the island is from the rooftop bar/restaurant at Hotel Ardrovic, which you can reach on foot. There is also a car park there, which offers a similar view of the island.

Sveti Stefan - a great spot to visit on a day trip from Budva

As you face Sveti Stefan there is a public beach on your left hand side. This beach is free to use and sunbeds are available to rent for €10. The beach to the right hand side as you face the island is owned by Aman resorts and can only be accessed if you are staying at their property or pay €120 to rent a sunbed.

To the right of the beach owned by Aman resorts there is a footpath that leads up to some trees. If you follow this path you will get beautiful views of Sveti Stefan from another angle. Continue further along the path to find the lovely Milocer beach, which is a peaceful and beautiful spot. Unfortunately this beach is also one of the three beaches owned by the Aman resort. 

The cheapest and easiest way to get to Sveti Stefan from Budva is by bus. Buses run every half an hour and take just 15 minutes. Tickets are reasonable value and cost just €1.50 for a one-way journey. If you’re up for a challenge there is also a 9 kilometre coastal walk from Budva to Sveti Stefan that leads you past various beaches before reaching the island.

Sveti Stefan beach - a great day trip from Budva

Kotor

Around 25 kilometres away from Budva is one of the most popular destinations in Montenegro, the beautiful Old Town of Kotor. Located in the Bay of Kotor and surrounded by towering mountains, the scenery around the town is truly breathtaking. There are plenty of great things to do in Kotor, including enjoying incredible views from St. John’s Fortress, taking boat trips around the bay, walking along the city walls and more!

We personally recommend spending a few nights in Kotor so that you can see more of what the area has to offer, but if you don’t have the time then it’s possible to visit on a day trip from Budva. Buses run between the two towns every 20 minutes during the day, and the journey takes 30-45 minutes. Tickets start from just €2.50 one-way if bought online in advance, but if you want to store luggage there is an additional charge of €1 each way. If you do have chance to spend a few days visiting then make sure to check out our guide to the best places to stay in Kotor! Alternatively, if you only have time for a day trip then we recommend an early start to give yourself time to see as much as possible!

View of Kotor, Montenegro

Escape to the beaches in the south

If you want to find some quieter beaches to enjoy during your stay then head south. There are a number of towns not too far away that don’t have the same crowds found at the beaches in Budva. Some of the best towns to visit for beaches are Ulcinj, Petrovac and Bar. Ulcinj in particular is a great spot as there is a lovely long beach just to the south of the town. 

The easiest way to explore these beaches is to either rent a car or take the bus. If you decide to take the bus then make sure to check the schedules in advance by visiting the Busticket4.me website.

Island of St. Nicholas

Just one mile off the coast of Budva is the Island of St. Nicholas, which locals affectionately refer to as ‘Hawaii’. Also known as Sveti Nikola, the mainly uninhabited island is home to some lovely rocky beaches as well as fallow deer. The island is popular with both locals and tourists, largely thanks to the picturesque combination of the stunning blue sea and steep cliff faces. It’s well worth making the time to visit the island to enjoy its idyllic beaches for at least a couple of hours, if not a whole day, during your time in Budva. 

Getting to St. Nicholas Island is cheap and easy, with return boat trips available from Budva for just €3 per person. Boats run from Greco Beach just outside the Old Town, with the journey only taking around 15 minutes. The island has a restaurant and bar, so you can grab food and a few beers if you want. Sun beds are also available to rent, with it costing €10 for 2 beds and a parasol. 

St. Nicholas Island - a trip here is one of the best things to do in Budva

How to get to Budva

If you’re already in the country then the cheapest and easiest way to get to Budva is by bus. Buses run to the town from a number of places in Montenegro, with prices varying depending on how far away you’re coming from. Budva bus station is located around a 20-minute walk from the Old Town, so depending on where you’re staying you may want to take a taxi to your accommodation once you arrive. There are also some international bus services running to Budva, including from the Croatian city of Dubrovnik as well as the Albanian cities of Shkoder and Tirana. Click here to find the latest bus schedules and to book tickets to Budva!

The closest airport to Budva is Tivat airport, which is around 20 kilometres away. During the summer months it’s possible to get direct flights to Tivat airport from a number of places in Europe including London, Manchester and Paris. Unfortunately, outside of the summer months there are less direct flights to the airport and so you may need to catch a connecting flight or fly elsewhere and travel to Budva by public transport. If you’re flying into Tivat airport it’s best to try and pre-arrange a taxi to take you to Budva as the taxi drivers at the airport sometimes try to charge as much as €50. By arranging your taxi in advance you should be able to get the same journey for around €15-25. Annoyingly there is no bus that runs directly from the airport to Budva, which means if you want to travel by bus you will have to walk to the main road and catch a bus from there.

Another option is to rent a car and drive to Budva yourself. If you plan to rent a car then we recommend arranging it online through Rentalcars. You can use their website to compare rental prices in any major town or city in Montenegro and the nearby countries. To keep costs down it’s best to rent from and return to the same location, as one-way rentals often incur expensive one-way fees. If you rent a car from another country to drive to Budva then make sure you have been give a ‘green card’ (sometimes referred to as a ‘cross border card’) as this proves that the car is insured to be driven outside of the country of rental. Some companies may try to charge for this, but it should be included in the cost of renting the car so make sure to confirm it’s included before booking a rental car.

Click here to find great deals for renting a car in Budva!

View of Budva Old Town, Montenegro

Best time to visit Budva

The weather in Budva is at its best during July and August, with the potential for temperatures to exceed 35 degrees Celsius. If sunny weather is your main concern then these months are a great time to visit. It’s important to be aware that the main peak season in Budva runs from July to August, which means the town’s nightlife will be in full swing but it will also be fairly crowded. If you do plan to visit at this time of year then it’s important to book your accommodation in advance to avoid missing out. Click here to find some great accommodation deals in Budva on Booking.com!

In our opinion the best time to visit Budva is during the shoulder months of May, June, September and October. During these months the town is less busy than peak season, but the weather is still reasonably good. The weather is obviously better in June and September as they are closest to the main summer period. Another advantage of visiting at this time is that accommodation tends to be cheaper than during the peak season 

November to April is considered low season in Budva, so there aren’t too many tourists about during these months. Generally these months are more rainy and windy, but there can also be some nice days too if you get lucky.

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