We spent 6 days road tripping around Montenegro, and Budva and Sveti Stefan cities were definitely the highlights of our trip. Budva is not the capital, but it’s one of the most beautiful cities with its own medieval styled Old Town and beautiful beaches. Sveti Stefan is right next to Budva, it's a perfect spot for watching the sunset or the sunrise.
When is the best time to visit?
Budva is also the “party city” in Montenegro, the city can get really crowded and vibrant in high season (summer months: July- September). If you want to experience the calm town, we recommend you to come between March and May, when the weather is already nice, but the places aren’t full of tourist groups. Disadvantage of low season is that some restaurants, cafés or attractions might be closed, but the accommodations are cheaper as well. We visited Montenegro in April, and we loved to have the places for ourselves (only Kotor was still crowded, but let’s talk about that in our article about Kotor).
How to get to Budva?
If you’re planning to visit more places in Montenegro, it’s a good option to set up your base in Budva. Most of the National Parks and cities are close to Budva, you can reach everything from here within 1-2 hours (except the Durmitor National Park and Piva river). Budva is located on the Adriatic coast, you can reach it easily from Podgorica if you arrive there by plane.
We took a flight from Budapest to Podgorica, it’s very easy to find cheap flights from Central Europe to Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Croatia as well.
You can also visit Budva in a day trip from Croatia, Dubrovnik is very close.
You can also visit Budva if you’re coming from Albania or Bosnia by car, the roads are full of camper vans and rental cars.
In our trip, we came from Ulcinj, but you can also easily come from Podgorica, here you can watch both maps and take the one that is best for you:
Budva from Podgorica:
Budva from Ulcinj:
Looking for souvenirs in the Old Town of Budva
What To See in Budva?
Old Town of Budva
This beautiful Old Town is inside of a very typical medieval fortress. So we felt like going back in time. If you come by car, you have to park it outside of the Old Town in a parking lot. It usually costs 0,50-0,80 cents per hour, and remember to bring cash, preferably coins, because you definitely can’t pay by card.
The entrance is free, you just walk through one of the doors and you’re behind the walls in the Old Town. There’re a lot of stores and restaurants serving Montenegrin dishes, ice cream and very good coffee (usually strong Turkish coffee).
This city passed through the rules of a lot of empires, including the Greeks, the Roman empire, the Republic of Venice and the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. During all these different regimes, the city was constructed several times, but it always kept the Medieval style.
We recommend you to eat and drink outside of the Old Town, because the prices are unreasonably high inside the walls. In other parts of the city you can find restaurants with “normal” prices. (meaning: you can eat something outside of the center for 4-5 euros, while in the Old Town the same dish can be 15 euros.)
It’s also normal to find a lot of cats around the city, the Old Town is full of them as well. They are usually very friendly, you can pet them and give them some food as well.
The beach next to the Old Town with the “The Ballerina from Budva”
This sculpture is located very close to the Mogren beach, where you can also chill, swim and take a sunbath during the summer time. This beautiful statue is one of the most popular photo spots not just in Budva but in whole Montenegro! The stories of the origin of the statue are very fantastic. One of the legends is about a poor ballerina who crashed in the place, falling from a rock. Other one is about a story of the fiancé of a gymnast who was eaten by a shark, but the gymnast went to the beach every day, waiting for her fiancé to come back.
Although the most popular legend says that in the same spot on the rock, a young dancer waited for her sailor husband to come back every single day of her life until she died. Inspired by this story, the sculptor Gradimir Aleksich decided to create and install this beautiful statue.
There're lots of beaches in Budva, we visited the Mogren beach with the ballerina statue, and the Budva Riviera as well. You can also visit the Jaz beach, which is on the other side of the fortress.
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Eating in Budva
Outside of the Old Town you will be able to find a lot of cheap and even vegetarian and vegan options! We only ate once in a restaurant, because we always cooked in our apartment. The “Grape Cafe” is a beautiful and very cheap Russian restaurant with vegetarian options, it’s near to the center as well. It was not just delicious, but the personal was very kind and helpful, we totally recommend you to take your lunch here /not sponsored, we just liked the food :)/.
Sitting on the walls of the fortress in Budva
The restaurants and cafés outside of the Old Town are quite cheap, but if you’re traveling on a budget, the cheapest option is always buying some pasta, potatoes, rice, some vegetables, tomato sauce - and voilá, you can cook your own dinner at your hostel or apartment. Don’t forget to book a place with kitchen 🙂
Our favourite grocery stores in Budva:
IDEA, Aroma Market, Mega Market
Watching the fortress of Budva from Budva Riviera
Where to stay in Budva?
In Montenegro it’s very common that the locals rent rooms in their own houses. These are the cheapest accommodations as well, you can find them as “apartments” on the booking.com. It’s a great way to get to know the Montenegrin culture and experience the way how people live.
We stayed in the Djukic Apartment in a room with a double bed and we can recommend it in case you’re travelling on a budget.
Of course you can find hotels and backpacker hostels in Montenegro as well! Budva can get really crowded in high season, so make sure to book your accommodation on time. Take a look at all the offers here:
How to visit Sveti Stefan?
We drove to Sveti Stefan to watch the sunset at the end of the day. It’s a very small islet with a luxus resort on it, which actually was a fortress before. It takes approx. 15 minutes by car from Budva, you just have to drive right next to the sea on the highway. Sveti Stefan is definitely one of the highlights of the Montenegrin coastline.
In the 15th century the Ottoman Turks were on their way to conquer Kotor, when the locals decided to help their neighbours and attacked the ships of the Turks. With the gold of the Turks they built this town, a fortress and they dedicated their church to St. Stefan, that’s where the name comes from. The fortress was opened in 1960 as a hotel, and film stars and celebrities went to stay there.
What to do in Sveti Stefan?
You have to pay for parking, there is a parking lot right next to the beach, from there it’s just 2 minutes walk down to the beach. It’s a beautiful place for sunset and sunrise, the colours of the sky are beautiful behind the fortress.
Nowadays the islet with the fortress hotel resort is connected to the mainland with a bridge, and you can’t visit it without spending a night there (800 euros per night). What you can do is: swimming or taking a walk along the beach.
You can also visit the Milocer Park next to the beach.
When we visited Sveti Stefan it was low season, so you can’t see loungers on our photos. If you come in high season in the summer, you’re able to hire loungers on the beach on southern part, because that’s the public beach.
You can also look for a higher viewpoint, maybe drive up on the mountain to the church, or just drive up until you find the view you want. You can also book your accommodation right on the mountain so that you get the perfect view of the fortress right from your window 🙂
Eco Tips for Budva / Montenegro
- In Montenegro there are no regulations on disposable products, meaning that people will offer you plastic bags in grocery stores, bakeries, literally everywhere. The only thing you can do is bringing your own bags and saying no to plastic bag! When you buy fruits, just bring your own net bags, so that you don’t have to take the plastic bags. For sure people will be surprised, but hey, it’s a great opportunity to show them that there is an other way 🙂
- Collect trash! The beaches in Montenegro are going to be “trashy”, which means it’s good to bring a bag with you and collect some trash if you walk along the beaches in Sveti Stefan or Budva.
- If you come in high season, in the summer, don’t forget to use eco friendly sunscreen. Especially if you go to swim, it’s important to use a sunscreen that is ocean and coral reef safe, which means that the ingredients are not dangerous to marine life.
We hope you guys enjoyed our quick guide to Budva! If you have any questions or suggestions, let us know in the comments below!