Budva is a coastal tourist resort in Montenegro. It is often called "Montenegrin Miami", because it is the most crowded and most popular tourist resort in Montenegro, with beaches and vibrant nightlife.
Budva is on the central part of Montenegrin coast, called "Budvanska Rivijera". It has developed around a small peninsula, on which the old town is situated. It is by far most visited destination in Montenegro, attracting mostly domestic, Russian, Serbian and other Eastern European tourists with an old town, bars and nightclubs, and beaches mostly consisting of small rocks. It is base for mass tourism, while in its near vicinity there are luxury resorts such as Sveti Stefan and Miločer.
There are as many as 35 beaches in the Budva area, mostly rock and a little sand (8 beaches are marked with blue flags).
During the summer in particular, the day and night-life offers opportunities to enjoy theatre plays and performances, music events and entertainment programs.
Many nightclubs use go-go dancers to attract customers, and families might be offended by the open display of almost-naked girls in the street. There is mainly one street, the main promenade, where all the action happens.
Budva appears to be undergoing poorly planned, unchecked growth with towering unattractive apartment buildings and hotels being built wherever there is open space - which unfortunately includes building directly on the beach.
Some tourists may find Budva disappointing and cheesy because of the over-crowded beaches filled with chairs, umbrellas and loud music in some places. Prices for food and accommodation are also well above what can be found in less popular resorts.
The old town is adjacent to the marina, where the wealthy come to moor their luxury yachts. The old town is small but beautiful, with restaurants and boutiques selling luxury goods at high prices.
- Tivat Airport is 20km away. The following airlines operate to/from Tivat Airport: Air Moldova (Chiṣinǎu, seasonal), Air Serbia (Belgrade), KrasAir (Moscow-Domodedovo), Montenegro Airlines (Belgrade, Copenhagen, London-Gatwick, Moscow-Domodedovo, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Pristina, Rome-Fiumicino, Skopje, St Petersburg), Moskovia Airlines (Moscow-Domodedovo), Rossiya (St Petersburg), S7 Airlines (Moscow-Domodedovo), Transaero Airlines (Moscow-Domodedovo)
- Podgorica Airport is 65km away, and has flights throughout the year to Belgrade, Budapest, Zurich, Frankfurt, Ljubljana, Paris, Rome, Vienna and London- Gatwick. Buses run between Podgorica and Budva year round and cost €6, and a taxi from the Podgorica airport to Podgorica station costs €15. Taxis from Podgorica station to Budva cost €40 to €100. (Book online or fix a price beforehand, do not just accept the meter!)
- Dubrovnik Airport (DBV) in Dubrovnik, Croatia is 80km away from Budva, and maintains flights to many European destinations throughout the year, providing a good alternative to the Montenegrin airports. A taxi to Budva will cost €90.
Budva is very well connected by bus with cities within Montenegro and major cities in neighboring countries. Check the online bus schedule. Buses are usually on schedule though the schedules vary from season to season, with more buses running during the summer. +382 33 456 000.
The bus station is a 20 minute walk from the old town.
- Buses to Sarajevo run daily at 8:10 (Balkan Express minibus) and the journey takes about 7 hours, stopping at Podgorica and other cities. €16.5 one-way. To Belgrade, there are around 4-5 buses a day and the trip takes 12 hours (27€).
- Buses to Herceg Novi (and vice-versa) run daily approximately every 30 minutes. The journey takes 1.5 hours and costs around €6 one-way.
- Buses to Dubrovnik continuing to Split run 3 times a week. There are daily buses during the summer in the morning (check current bus schedule for accurate time) which can get full quickly so arrive early to get a ticket. The journey takes around 3 hours. There is a spectacular view from the bus during this route.
- In the summer, Olimpia Express runs reasonably-priced shuttle buses from just outside old town to Jaz beach (every 2-3 hours), Petrovac (every 2 hours for €2 one-way), and Sveti Stefan (every 30 minutes or less for €1.50 one-way):
Budva can be reached by car using the coast road, which is in good condition. Travelling from Dubrovnik, this can take less than 2 hours depending on traffic. A short €5 ferry journey saves the drive around the bay of Kotor.
If you came to Budva with your own car, use it inside the city only when you have to. Traffic is terribly congested during the summer, and parking spaces around the old town are almost impossible to find, and very expensive when you do.
Taxis are abundant in Budva, but are not cheap - a ride anywhere within Budva will cost you around €5 - and prices vary depending on which taxi company you happen to get. Try to choose a taxi that has a rate card displayed and a meter visible on the dash - and then watch to ensure the meter is set appropriately when starting - to avoid getting ripped off. Halo Taxi charges on the higher (rip off) end and Joker Taxi charges on the lower (fair) end. Taxi drivers are also known to lie to tourists about public bus service such as operating times and stop locations.
There are many tourist boats that dock in Budva harbor which offer rides to nearby beaches, Sv. Nikola island, or one-day trips to various destinations on Montenegrin coast, but these are also expensive. Unlike other seaside cities, there are no €1 water taxis here.
- Stari Grad (Old Town), (on the peninsula in Budva center). The old town of Budva lies on a little island that was linked to the land by a sandbar and in time turned into a peninsula. It is surrounded by ramparts originating from the XV century including a medieval fortification system with city gates, defense walls and towers. The Old Town consists of narrow streets and alleys and small squares with precious monuments of different Mediterranean cultures that have marked the development of this town. You can enter in Old Town from one of five entrance doors.
- Budva Citadel, (Southern part of old town). Reconstructed after earthquake.
Dancing girl statue, Budva
- Dancing Girl Statue, (Outside the Old Town on your way to Mogren beach). A statue of a topless girl doing the dancer's pose (yoga). Some people say that this is a statue of a young girl who drowned here but others say that this is just an ordinary statue. This is a good place to take pictures with a panorama of Old Town in back.
- Museum of the Town of Budva / Archaeology Museum, Petra I Petrovića 11, Stari grad, ☎ 382 33 453 308, . Houses Budva historical items.
- Mogren Beach, (near the old town citadel). crowded beach but nice water. Don't stop at the first stretch of beach, now designated Mogren 1, necessarily, continue around the sunbathers to the far end and through the coves to Mogren 2. The music from Mogren 1 is ever so mute there. If you're really adventurous continue around the perimeter of the small bay to what is referred to as shark's rock, which daredevils jump off of. Be aware that due to the trees and nearby cliff the afternoon shade covers the far half of Mogren 2 earlier than the rest.
- Church of Saint John. Seat of the Budva bishopric till 1828. In 1867 the belfry was added to the north side of the church and it still exists. Among preserved monuments the most important ones are the icon “Madonna in Punta” and the rich archives and library. Among its holdings is the Chronicle of Budva most comprehensive source of data and events in Budva between 1796 and 1842. Operating church.
- Church of Holy Trinity. single nave construction with a dome. It was built in 1804 and modeled on one of two churches of the Podostrog monastery. In front of Church you can see tomb of famous writer and politician Stjepan Mitrov Ljubisa. Church is parish church and its operating.
- Church of Saint Sava. This is a small single nave church whose dimensions are 5 x 3 m. It is supposed to have been built during the 14th century. During the Venetian and Austrian occupations the most valuable possessions of this church disappeared. Today there is almost no trace of its old icons, frescoes and sculptures. It’s not operating.
- Boat trip around Boka Kotorska (Kotor Bay). This one day tour (09:00 to 19:00) takes you by bus from Budva and makes a tour of the picturesque Bay of Kotor by boat, with stops to Herceg Novi, Zanjice, Our Lady of the Rocks and Kotor. The guide speaks fluently English and gives many details through good loudspeakers. A good lunch can be taken on the boat (10-15€). The departure hours are strictly respected. 25 euros.
Be aware that ATMs (locally referred to as Bancomats) in Budva are rare in the old town, but plentiful outside of its walls.
Old town is packed primarily with little boutiques, such as Prestige, selling costume made dresses. There are other boutiques selling everything from expensive shoes to clothing and jewellery, but ALWAYS beware of counterfeited variants of world famous brands.
The main Budva promenade has a long string of stands with very cheap - in quality, not always in price - clothing, sunglasses, souvenirs, etc.
Friendly service in Budva shops is not the norm. Service people usually do not smile or make eye contact and are often brusque; however, this is slowly changing.
There is a wide choice of places to eat at in Budva. In old town you will find almost anything: from pizza-places, bakeries to seafood and Chinese restaurants. Across the harbor, at the very coast, there are some premium fresh seafood restaurants, notably "Jadran" and "Donna".
Along the entire promenade there are many fast food places, offering barbecue, giros, pancakes, slices of pizza, icecream...with affordable prices. A McDonalds seasonal restaurant is open on the promenade during the summer.
- Demižana, Slovenska Obala 3, ☎ +382 33 455 028. fish restaurant.
- Hong Kong, Vuka Karadžića 1, ☎ +382 33 452-725. Chinese food.
- Jadran, Slovenska Obala 10, ☎ +382 33 451-028. A family restaurant since 1976. Specialties from the sea prepared in a local way. Complete meat offer as well as the Italian cuisine. Restaurant has 3 terraces each with a special ambience.
- Maša, Gradska luka bb, ☎ +382 33 453-777.
- O Sole Mio, Slovenska obala 15 (near the Old Town), ☎ +382 (0)86 457 713, . Huge pizzas but overpriced.
- Porat (Rafailovici), Pastrovska Ulica and Becicka Plaza (Follow Pastrovska Ulica down to the Adriatic. Porat Restauant is on the left.), ☎ + 382.(0)33.471.145. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner-Late dinner. Exquisite seafood restaurant, with equally delicious meatier alternatives, complimented by a well-chosen wine list, surrounded by beautiful gardens and a gorgeous view of the Adriatic.
- Porto, ☎ +382 69 025-850. fish restaurant.
- Restaurant Kangaroo, Jadranski Put bb E65, ☎ 382 (0)33 458 65, . This restaurant is located on Jadranski Put and not in the very touristic area next to the Slovenska beach. However, if you want to enjoy a very good meal at a decent price this is the place to go. The restaurant has a very nice terrace and serves both traditional local cuisine and seafood dishes.
Budva is full of cafes, bars and nightclubs. During the high season it is hard to find a place to sit. Espresso will cost from €1 to €1.50. Coke and other soft drinks and juices will cost from €1.50 up to €3.50. Local beer costs an average of €2.50 and mixed drinks can go from €7 and up.
Bars are allowed to play music until 1AM, when the crowds move to some of the nightclubs.
Always ask for a bill, as they must provide it by law. If you don't - it's likely that they'll overcharge your drinks, especially if they see you are a foreigner!
A form of tourist scam in Budva bars and restaurants is that you give the waiter, for example, a €20 EUR banknote and expect him to bring back the change in a while. He does not, and when you ask him to come over, he will tell you that you did not give him €20, but a smaller banknote. He will also show you that in his wallet he only has €5 and €10 banknotes, so there simply could not have been a €20 banknote on your table. To avoid this, your only solution is to say out loud the amount of money when you are giving it and if you are in a group, make sure the others see and hear this as well. Try to learn the numbers in local language as saying the amount in English does not help you much - the waiter will pretend he does not understand.
- Chest O'Shea's Irish Pub, Stari Grad (30 meters into the old town from the marina), ☎ +38269579468, . Good Guinness, live sports and friendly English speaking staff.
- Rabello, Jadranski put, ☎ +382 67 355-555.
- Ričardova Glava - Richard's Head.
There are a variety of bars and clubs to go out in Budva. There are many outdoor bars and cafes just located outside the walls outside of Stari Grad. Most play loud club style music.
- Caffe Greco, (Stari Grad). no cover charge and DJ'd music
- Caffe Jef, (Stari Grad). no cover charge and DJ'd music
- Torine, (Bečići). folk music
- Miracle Lounge, Hill Topliš, . DJ'd music, entrance fee until 1AM, special guests perform often. Works only during summer.
Accommodation in Budva is abundant, and varies from renting a room for €10-15 to handsomely priced five-star hotels.
There are big differences in prices of accommodation - not only between types of accommodation but for same accommodation during different times of the year. For example, a hostel-like room that rents for €7 per person/per night during the off-season can rent for €20 and up per person/per night during July and August.
There are 84, mostly three- and four-star hotels (capacity of over 13,000 beds), about 100 private villas and bed and breakfast inns and private accommodation (60,000 beds) of various options.
During the summer it is easy just to come to the bus station and find local people offering rooms. Be aware, though, that there is a problem with water in Budva, and you should confirm that the accommodation you choose has running water.
The prices range from €7 to €15 for a person/night/private room, with the cheaper rooms requiring a shared bathroom and/or kitchen.
- Freedom Hostel Budva, Cara Dusana 21, Old Town, ☎ +382 67 523 496 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Open whole year. Dorms and also private rooms. Very friendly staff, great atmosphere in the common rooms and on the balcony, and a convenient location. Dorm bed: €10 to €13, depending on the month.
- Sun Hostel Budva, Ferona bb, (email@example.com), . Open whole year.Dorms and also private rooms. Dorm bed: €10 to €18, depending on the month.
- Saki Apartmani, IV Proleterska BB (A 5 minute walk to Slovenska Beach), ☎ 382 (0) 67368065 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Very clean, laundry service (€5 per load), free wifi, location is a little bit far away for the old town, bus station, and the nicer beaches. Ran by Saki and his family who are very helpful and welcoming. Dorm and private rooms ranging from €12-€39/night.
- Avala Resort & Villas, Mediteranska 2, Budva, ☎ +382 33 441-000, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Luxury resort only meters away from historical center of Budva. 207 rooms and suites, 67 luxury villas.
- Bip Besko-Bau, Veljka Vlahovića 2, ☎ +382 33 458-322 (email@example.com). 105 beds. Basic. Single: From €15.
- Blue Star. Single: From €57.
- Fineso, ☎ +382 33 454-120, . 45 beds. Single: From €15.
- Hotel Mogren, Slovenska Obala (in front the Old City and distanced 50 meters from the sea), ☎ +382 (33) 451 102, . checkout: noon. Three star hotel with 100 beds. Single €40-70, double €60-90.
- Hotel Villa Montenegro, .
- Max Prestige, ☎ +382 33 458-330, . Doubles: From €43 to €77.
- Hotel Splendid, 85315 Becici, ☎ +382 33 773 777, . 5 star hotel.
Don't worry about being connected - the entirety of the Stari Grad is covered by free municipal WiFi that works reasonably well. In the area of the Marina you can also pick up free WiFi.
As always on public WiFi, be cautious about entering in sensitive information (banking info, email passwords) as you never know who is on the other side of the connection. A private VPN is a safe way to protect your information.
It's rather easy to buy a sim card with local number and some inexpensive 3g internet plans. As of July 2016 it costs 3,5€ with 3€ balance covering 2,99€ tarif of 1,5Gb for 7 days.
Be ready to show your passport or register it later.
View of Sveti Stefan with Budva and Becici in the distance
- Nearby beaches: Bečići, Miločer, Pržno, Kamenovo
- Ulcinj - Several buses leaving early morning around 7, schedule changes frequently so inquire at the bus station for specifics.