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The Ultimate Guide to Budva (2024)

The town of Budva is one of Montenegro’s most visited destinations for travelers and tourists alike, and it’s easy to see why. In many ways, this jewel of the Adriatic perfectly encapsulated the unique appeal that draws hundreds of thousands of people to the Balkan peninsula every year. This guide will make sure you know what you need to see, stay and do when you are in the Miami of Montenegro. Just like Miami, Budva is a popular tourist destination known for its sunny weather, trendy bars and clubs, and lively atmosphere.

Budva, Montenegro – Credit Alexander Nadrilyanski

From its beaches to its historic stone walls, and from its bars to the surrounding mountains – what’s not to love?

Where is Budva?

Budva is located in the Adriatic Sea, on the Montenegrin coast. It is situated in the Gulf of Kotor, around 25km (15 miles) south of the capital city of Podgorica.

Budva: Know before you go

✈️ Airport: Tivat (code: TIV)

⏰ Time Zone: Central European Standard Time (GMT+1)

 Currency: Euro

 Language: The official language of Montenegro is Montenegrin. Other languages commonly spoken in Podgorica include Serbian, Bosnian, Albanian and Croatian.

 Visa: Those with passports from Australia, Canada, the EU, UK and US can travel to Montenegro without a visa and remain there for up to 90 days. Please click here for more details about your own country

 Electricity Socket: The most common type of electricity socket used in Montenegro is the standard two-pin European socket, which uses 220-240 volts at a 50Hz frequency.

 SIM Card: Wondering, Do I need a SIM card for Montenegro? The answer is yes, and read our blog post on what the best way is for tourists.

What Is Budva Famous For?

The origin of Budva’s name is not entirely clear, but there are a few theories. One theory suggests that the name “Budva” comes from the ancient Greek word “Bouthoe,” which means “bottom of the bay.” Another theory suggests that the name comes from the Slavic word “budim,” which means “to awaken” or “to guard.”

Part of what makes Budva so significant is the fact that it’s considered to be the site of one of the oldest urban settlements on the Adriatic coastline – dating back to Greek colonization in the 4th century BC.

The historical importance of the town is still clearly visible in the ancient ruins that surround it, and the Venetian Old Town which proudly juts out into the sea.

Budva Old Town
Budva Old Town – Credit jas_hristina

Now, though, it is far from old-fashioned. Over the years, Budva has turned into a thriving, bustling hub of activity. Its universal appeal has led to the town becoming incredibly popular and, throughout the summer, it’s alive almost 24/7 with food, drink, and dancing.

What is the best time to visit Budva?

The ideal period to take a trip to Budva is between May and September, with the highest demand occurring during the European school holiday season of July and August. For those not restricted by school holidays, June and September provide excellent travel conditions.

What To Do In Budva

Visit the Island of Sveti Stefan

The Island of Sveti Stefan is a picturesque island just off the coast of Budva. It used to be a fishing village, but now it’s an upscale resort with a luxurious hotel and boasts a Nobu – often the home of Hollywood royalty. You can visit the island and take a walk around its beautiful streets, but keep in mind that access to the hotel is restricted. However, there are public beaches that you can access.

Relax on the beach

The stunning sandy beaches of Budva are perhaps the biggest reason why people flock to this remarkable little location. Sand stretches across the entire waterfront, from the Marina to Budva viewpoint (which gives an amazing view of the town, particularly at night).

beach Budva
Relax on the beach in Budva – Credit Liabaciumac

This is far more than just one beach where you can soak up the sun, however.

Mogren Beach is a popular spot for families, while Jaz Beach is known for its music festivals. Slovenska Beach is great for water sports, and Bečići Beach is the longest beach in the area. If you do go to Mogren, then it is definitely worth going to have a photo next to the Ballerina Statue – one of the best snaps of Budva. Milocer Beach near Sveti Stefan is also a nice relaxing beach with an amazing backdrop of the island.

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Enjoy the nightlife

Thanks in part to the high numbers of visitors that Budva receives, it has become famous for its dazzling nightlife.

Budva at Night - Credit Mustictoyshop
Budva at Night – Credit Mustictoyshop

There are bars all along the Slovenska Plaža, party beaches that play host to open-air gigs, and a hilltop club (creatively named “Top Hill”) a short drive to the north. Emporio Club, a trendy and luxurious club in the heart of Budva that plays a mix of electronic and commercial music; and Trocadero Club, a well-known club located on the beach that offers a unique party experience with a mix of music genres. Other popular clubs in Budva include Opera Club, which has an elegant interior and plays a mix of electronic and commercial music, and Discoteque Torine, an open-air nightclub known for its lively atmosphere and live performances by local and international artists. Even the Old Town has a number of exciting locales, from the Casper jazz bar with live music every evening to late-night pizza at Stara Budva.

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Montenegro Tours

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Some bars we can recommend is The Old Fisherman’s Pub, well-loved for its rustic charm and selection of authentic drinks, including Niksicko beer. Beer-Bike Club, on the other hand, appeals to rock and roll enthusiasts with its unique atmosphere and wide selection of great beers. For those seeking a more sophisticated experience, Hemingway Bar offers an elegant setting to enjoy traditional wines and cocktails, making it a hotspot for young urban individuals. These venues contribute to Budva’s reputation as a lively city, full of unforgettable nightlife experiences. To read more about the best bars in Budva to go to, read our article here.

If you are in Budva and there for a short time, read our one day itinerary which will provide you a list of Budva hidden gems.

Experience the history and culture

From museums and galleries to ancient buildings, there are all kinds of cultural and historical places to see and activities to enjoy. Forst Mogren is a short walk west of the town or you can take a quick drive to the imposing ruins of Fort Kosmač.

Of course, Budva Old Town is an experience that you just can’t miss. You can walk around its charming streets and pebbled courtyards for hours and, for just under 5 euros, you can even get take a look inside Budva Citadel.

Budva has a unique tradition of building stone houses without the use of cement or mortar. The technique, called “dry stone walling,” involves fitting together large, irregularly shaped stones to form sturdy structures – like some form of ancient Jenga. Many of the old houses in Budva were built using this technique, and it is still practiced by some craftsmen today giving the town a unique look.

The Maritime Museum is located in the heart of the Old Town and offers a fascinating insight into Budva’s seafaring history. You can see a collection of model ships, old maps, and artifacts from ancient times. The museum is open from Monday to Saturday, from 10 am to 5 pm, and the entrance fee is €3.

If you’re lucky enough to be there in the summer, Theatre City is one of the most renowned cultural festivals in the entire region, visited by more than 15,000 people every year. During the festival, every square and piazza in Budva Old Town comes alive with the arts, and passersby can even join in the fun.

Go Hiking

If you love nature and the outdoors, Budva has plenty of hiking trails to explore. The nearby Durmitor National Park offers breathtaking scenery, and you can hike to the highest peak, Bobotov Kuk. The trail is not easy, but the views are worth it.

If you are here for a longer time, feel free to read our Ultimate 7 day Itinerary for Montenegro and experience the best that Montenegro has to offer.

Places To Stay Budva

Thanks to the huge number of visitors that the town sees every year, Budva is overflowing with places to stay. You have every kind of option under the Adriatic sun – from elegant villas and exclusive resorts to charming hotels and quirky bed and breakfasts.

If the hunt for the right spot seems a little daunting then don’t worry. We’ve scouted out some of the best places to stay in Budva right now. Take a look and start dreaming about where you’re going to rest your head when you’re out there.

1) Best for Families: Hotel Splendid / Avala Resorts

Nestled in the quaint town of Bečići, Hotel Splendid Conference and Spa Resort stands as a testament to grandeur and luxury. Opened in 2006, it proudly holds the title of the first five-star establishment along the Eastern Adriatic. The hotel’s imposing structure and old-world charm captivate guests upon arrival. Its spacious lobby, adorned with a sprawling café and chic shops, exudes an air of classic elegance.

Rooms at Hotel Splendid
Rooms at Hotel Splendid

With 322 Superior rooms, various suites, and a Presidential suite, Hotel Splendid marries comfort with functionality, each room offering a serene escape with stunning views of the cerulean sea. Culinary delights abound in its restaurants and bars, serving an eclectic mix of local and international flavors. The hotel’s extensive spa center, the largest in Montenegro, offers a sanctuary of relaxation and rejuvenation. Whether it’s for a family vacation or a business conference, Hotel Splendid seamlessly blends its historical allure with modern luxury, making every stay an unforgettable experience.

Hotel Splendid
Hotel Splendid Views

Another solid recommendation is the Avala Resorts and Villas. Just a stone’s throw from the picturesque Stari Grad, it’s a haven where families can immerse themselves in the city’s vibrant history while enjoying the comforts of modern amenities.

Avala Resorts & Villas

The resort, grand in its scale with over 300 rooms, offers a variety of accommodations, ensuring a perfect fit for families of any size. Each room, from the cozy standard to the lavish suites, is a blend of minimalist elegance and comfort, ideal for families seeking both style and functionality. The real gem, however, is the breathtaking view of Budva’s Old Town from the balconies, turning every glance out the window into a moment of awe.

For the little ones and adults alike, the resort’s pools and spa facilities offer a slice of relaxation and fun. And when it comes to dining, the breakfast buffet is a feast that caters to all tastes, ensuring that every family member starts their day in the most delightful way. Avala Resort and Villas, with its unique blend of scenic beauty, comfort, and family-friendly amenities, is more than just a stay – it’s an experience that captures the essence of Budva for families

Read our Review: Avala Resorts & Villas

2) Best for Couples: Apartments Trifunovic Old Town

Address: Vranjak, Budva Old Town, 85310 Budva, Montenegro

If you want to take your partner to stay in a beautiful and historic location, then you couldn’t find somewhere better than the Trifunovic apartments. They are situated right in the center of Budva’s old town, overlooked by its iconic bell tower.

Each apartment is a luxurious one-bedroom with a private kitchen for you to use as and when you please – and they come with all the conveniences you could ask for.

One of the most appealing things that Trifunovic has to offer is the quiet-secluded central courtyard/garden which is a perfect oasis within the stunning old town setting.

3) Off the Beaten Track: Boutique Hotel Vissi d’Arte

Address: 10 Mediteranska, 85310 Budva, Montenegro

For something a little different that has a real touch of class and an artistic flair to it, the Hotel Vissi d’Arte is truly a remarkable stay. Lovingly designed around the themes of opera and the arts, it’s the sort of place you would expect to see the rich and famous luxuriating by the pool.

Vissi d’Arte is right next door to the Dukley Marina and Budva city center, so you couldn’t be closer to the action, and they take care of all the fine details for you.

Every aspect of the building is like stepping into a high-end gallery, yet it still has just the level of warmth and comfort that you will be looking for after a long day at the beach.

Can you recommend day trips from Budva?

Kotor – a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site with its picturesque old town, fascinating Venetian architecture and cobblestone streets.

Cetinje – a charming old city with a rich cultural heritage, containing the oldest university in Montenegro and the Royal Palace.

Sveti Stefan – the iconic island resort located off Budva’s coast, with stunning beaches and a luxurious atmosphere.

Ostrog Monastery – a sacred pilgrimage site, located high up in the mountains, with amazing views and incredible architecture.

Biogradska Gora National Park – a beautiful and diverse park with lush forests, crystal-clear lakes and many hiking trails.

Is Budva Worth Visiting?

In conclusion, Budva and its surrounding areas, also known as the Budva Riviera, offer some of the best places to visit in Montenegro. One of the highlights of the area is the stunning Sveti Nikola Island, which boasts a beautiful beach and crystal-clear waters. Meanwhile, the historic Old Budva, also known as Stari Grad, is a must-visit destination that is full of narrow streets and surrounded by impressive city walls.

Budva guide
Budva – credit Spivacore

Budva is also known as the “Montenegrin Miami” due to its lively nightlife scene and beautiful beaches that line the Adriatic Coast. A visit to the Aman Sveti Stefan resort, located just a short distance from Budva, offers a glimpse of luxury and indulgence, making it one of the best places to stay in the area.

Beautiful views of Budva
Beautiful views of Budva

But there’s more to Budva than just its beaches and nightlife. The Boka Bay region is home to some of the most picturesque landscapes in Montenegro, while the Budva City Walls offer breathtaking views of the town and its surroundings. Whether you’re interested in history, and culture, or simply enjoying the Mediterranean lifestyle, Budva has something for everyone.

So, if you’re looking for a destination that combines history, culture, natural beauty, and modern-day entertainment, Budva and the Budva Riviera should definitely be on your travel list. Don’t miss the chance to explore this beautiful part of Montenegro!

Take the trip and find out why this little town is known as the “Miami of Montenegro”.

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