Budva, Montenegro is the second most popular tourist attraction on the coast of Montenegro – after the Bay of Kotor (second place) and before Ulcinj (third place).
On our trip through the Balkans, we took a bus from Dubrovnik to Budva, cruising through Kotor along the way.
We didn’t know what to expect from Budva in October. However, we enjoyed our two night stay, ate great food, and explored a picturesque bay in a part of the world I knew little about.
Here are our top 5 must see things to do and see in Budva, Montenegro.
5) Take a Boat Tour of the Bay
Budva is a tourist destination because of the bay. While you’re in Budva, take a boat tour of the bay.
Some of the best sights include:
- Sveti Nikola Island – A nice island with a beach in the middle of the bay that many boat tours stop at, nicknamed “Hawaii Island” for its pretty beaches
- Sveti Stefan – A historic walled island connected to the coast by a causeway, now operating as a luxury resort.
You can take a general boat tour and do a loop of the bay, stopping briefly at Sveti Nikola Island. Boat tours leave from the harbor area.
We visited in shoulder season, so there was only one boat tour available. But it was worth the cheap cost of admission.
4) Walk Through Budva’s Beautiful, Historic, Walled Old Town
Budva has a beautiful, historic, and well-maintained Old Town.
It’s surrounded by a massive wall, giving the Old Town a nice medieval feel.
On a map, Old Town doesn’t look huge, but it’s easy to get lost in the web of alleyways.
If you’re a backpacker, you may stay in Old Town: two of Budva’s most popular backpacker hostels are in Old Town Budva.
3) Explore the Citadela Fortress
The Citadela Fortress lies at the tip of Old Town Budva. You buy a ticket, walk the walls, and get some of the best views of Budva and surrounding islands.
It’s easy to see why they built a fortress in this part of Budva. You get 270 degree views of the harbor and bay.
According to the official website, the Citadela Fortress is one of the most significant fortification objects from the Middle Ages on the Montenegro Coast, which doesn’t seem like that competitive of a category – but it’s still super cool to visit.
If you love old Balkan books, then Citadela Budva also contains a valuable collection of books and maps dedicated to the Balkans. We were more into the pretty coastal views, but to each their own.
2) Eat Local Seafood
Budva has plenty of great, local seafood restaurants. Walk along the harbor and pick any one that looks busy.
Sure, you could look at reviews. But we had great luck in the Balkans by just picking the busiest restaurant wherever we went – especially going in offseason.
(Restaurant Porto, Jadran, Coco Bar, and Obala are all along the bay and have good, well-rated seafood)
Oh, and several people recommended Merkur Restaurant to us, especially if you’re looking for traditional Montenegrin food.
1) Chill at a Beach
Budva has several local beaches. They’re not big, and they were crowded even in October when we visited, but they’re a great place to swim in the Mediterranean / Adriatic.
- Mogren Beach is easy to walk to and close to most hotels.
- Beach Greco is the main beach in the center of town, and it’s easy to get to and chill at (and surrounded by cafes and restaurants)
- Slovenska Plaza is a beach at the far end of the bay, and it’s just a continuation of the rest of the bay (but is a solid place to chill and watch the sunset)
- Pizana Beach is a small beach in the Old Town under the city walls
- Plaza Ricardova Glava is a beachfront surrounded by old city walls on one side and a fancy resort on the other, and it’s a great place to watch the sunset
Other Things to Do and Must See Sights in Budva, Montenegro
We kept ourselves sufficiently entertained in 1.5 days in Budva, Montenegro (2 nights). Other things to do in and around Budva include:
Watch the Sunset from the Beach: Most of Budva’s beaches face towards the south or southwest, making them less than ideal for sunset. However, there are no bad sunsets on a sunny day in Budva. Pick a beach, grab a bottle of wine and a picnic, and enjoy. We took our picnic to Plaza Ricardova Glava, an area with fancy restaurants and an open, public beach.
Jaz Battery, Fort Mogren: We didn’t go here because we needed a vehicle, but it’s a pretty fortress just outside of Budva along the coast. You’re higher along the cliff than you are in Budva.
Take a Photo of the Budva Dancing Girl: There’s a statue called the “Budva Dancing Girl.” It’s a great photo spot – even if her sensitive areas have been visibly tainted by years of groping tourists.
Walk the Seawall as Far As You Can Go: Budva, like Vancouver, has a seawall. Keep walking past the Budva Dancing Girl to get to a hidden beach. You can keep walking along the beach a little further until you get to a viewpoint.
Chill on the Budva Riviera: You don’t need to do anything in Budva. It’s a summer vacation destination. You can chill on the Budva Riviera, have a server bring you cheap drinks all day, and watch the day disappear over Sveti Nikola Island.
Where to Stay in Budva, Montenegro
We stayed at an Airbnb in Budva and loved it. It was a separate apartment in an old, family home. The owner welcomed us with homemade rakija (which happened a lot in the Balkans), and he even drove us to and from the bus station.
You have plenty of options for places to stay in Budva:
- Hotels – Budva is busy in the summer, and there are dozens of hotels to address demand; most hotels are closer to the water
- Airbnbs – There weren’t too many options when we visited, but we ended up picking a great place for a great price in the heart of a cool, residential area a 10 minute walk from the tourist area
- Hostels – Budva has several hostels, including two hostels in Old Town Budva
Where to Eat and Drink in Budva
There are no breweries in Budva, but there are plenty of nice bars, restaurants, and cafes.
Check out any of the top-rated restaurants you see in Old Town Budva or along the harbor / bay. You’ll pay higher, tourist prices – but you’re still in Montenegro, so prices aren’t bad.
Budva also has a few quality clubs. Top Hill has some surprisingly big names and can hold up to 5,000 people (and it has a jacuzzi bar). If you’re into nightlife, then you’ll find Budva punches above its weight class.
Final Word: Budva is Worth Visiting!
We loved our two nights in Budva, Montenegro.
It feels like it should be a busier resort town – and it’s well-known among eastern Europeans as a beach destination.
But Budva remains much less-discovered than neighbors like Dubrovnik and Kotor, which are increasingly swollen with cruise ship crowds.