Earth : Europe : Balkans : Montenegro : Budva Riviera : Budva
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 or Miločer.
There are as many as 35 beaches in the greater 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 seaside. As of the summer of 2009, the most notable of such developments includes a multi-storey building under construction directly outside the walls of old town that blocks what was once a stunning view of the beach, sea and sky from the stone paved area around old town, and greatly detracts from the beauty of the old town area.
Some tourists may find Budva disappointing and cheesy because of the over-crowded beaches filled with chairs, umbrellas and constantly thumping house music, the carnival atmosphere, the litter on the streets, beaches and inside of old town, and the excessively high prices in relation to quality for accommodation, drinks, food and taxi service.
Tivat Airport  is 8km away. The following airlines operate to/from Tivat Airport: Air Moldova (Chiṣinǎu, seasonal), Jat Airways (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 as of October 2008, London- Gatwick. Buses run between Podgorica and Budva year round and costs €6, and taxi from the Podgorica airport to Podgorica station is €15. Taxis from Podgorica station to Budva run €50 to €100. (Fix a price beforehand, do not just accept the meter!)
Dubrovnik airport (DBV) in Croatia is around 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. Buses are usually on schedule though the schedules vary from season to season, with more buses running during the summer. There is no good online source for the frequently changing schedules so it's best to call the bus station directly at +382 33 456 000.
The bus station is a 20 minute walk, or €5 or €3,2 or €1 taxi ride, depending on the taxi you hail, 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  run 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):
You can also get into Inter-City-Busses, for example Igalo-Bar etc.
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 space around the old town is almost impossible to find, and very expensive when you do.
A little tourist "train" use to operate between Budva and nearby Bečići through the main Budva promenade, however this ceased operation in 2009 when construction of a massive hotel was started at the very far end of the Budva promenade overlooking Slovenska beach.
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 insure the meter is set appropriately when starting - to avoid getting ripped off.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Another 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 EUR but a smaller banknote. He will also show you that in his wallet he only has 5 and 10 EUR banknotes, so there simply could not have been a 20 EUR 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.
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 insures the availability of 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.
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.