Montenegro is getting more popular with tourists these days. And one of the most popular places in Montenegro is Budva. There are many stunning beaches as well as sights to visit. I made a list of top ten things to do in Budva to fully explore it, enjoy it, and get in touch with the local culture.
Budva is one of the oldest urban settlements on the Adriatic coast. For some time, it was under the rule of the Roman Empire and then later the Byzantine Empire. The city was devastated by Muslims and rebuilt by Slavs. It was under Venetian rule for another 400 years and then under the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Montenegro just became an independent country in 2006.
As you see, this land was influenced by different empires and cultures. The remains of those events are kept and preserved in the Budva Old Town that you can explore nowadays.
The old town reminds me of Italy. The narrow stone streets with small cute stores and cozy cafes are very romantic. You will need just an hour to explore it all. At the end of your wandering get yourself into an open café and enjoy a glass of Aperol Spritz or a cup of coffee. This is the perfect way to end your day of exploring.
Mogren beach is an isolated sandy beach with sunbeds. This beach is most unusual as it is surrounded by cliffs, dense forest, and caves. Mogren beach actually contains two parts that are split by a rocky outcropping.
The place is well maintained and not over crowded, although the beach is located 500 meters from the center of Budva. You can take a walking path around the rocks to get to this relaxing place.
There are a few places where you can buy drinks and snacks. And sunbeds are all over the beach, although they are not free. To use a set (two sunbeds and an umbrella) prepare to pay €10.
Sveti Nikola Island is a small island that is located opposite to the Budva old town. The whole island is just 2 kilometers long with a highest point (cliff) 121 meters above the sea level.
This island is a popular place for excursions from Budva. The island has three big sandy beaches and a few small ones around the island that you can reach only by boat.
The most famous beach on Sveti Nikola island is Hawaii beach. To get there you can go from any Budva beach by a boat or yacht. The cost of the ticket depends on the season and will be between €2 – €5. On arrival you don’t need to pay anything except for sunbeds if you want to use it (around €10 per set).
The island has a developed structure for what it is. There are a few bars and restaurants (the most popular is a seafood restaurant), showers, changing room and WC. I was surprised with the sports playground as well as the rescue services and medical station.
Saint Ivan (John) church is one of the oldest churches in the area. This is an active, cute little church in the center of Budva old town.
The Saint Ivan church was rebuilt a few times along with the bell tower. It is unlikely that the interior of the church will blow your mind away, nevertheless it is a well-preserved place that deserves a visit (free entry). Although there is a beautiful centrepiece inside – an old fresco that I really liked.
On one of the rocks on the coast of Budva there is a statue of a lonely girl in a graceful pose. This statue is well-known as “Ballerina from Budva” or “Gymnast from Budva”. However the bronze girl doesn’t have any clothes, so there is no way to tell if she is a ballerina or a gymnast.
The statue is dedicated to fidelity and loyalty. There is a legend about the girl ballerina (or gymnast) who was waiting for her fiancé on that very rock. Her fiancé died at the sea (many versions of why he died), but the girl never stopped waiting for him until she died. Inspired by this story and the girl’s fidelity a Montenegrin artist made a beautiful statue and the city placed it on the rock, so the girl would forever wait for her fiancé.
The statue of the gymnast is very popular nowadays and every tourist is getting a picture of it. It is located between Budva old town and Mogren beach. You can get a good shot from the walking path we talked about previously.
Plaža Ričardova Glava is a popular beach next to the old town’s wall. Ricardova Glava is the most famous beach, but it doesn’t look overcrowded. Perhaps because there are pebbles instead of sand and people rather would spend their time on Mogren beach or others further away.
The highlight of this beach is the city wall behind it. That is what makes it very unique indeed. The place is well maintained, there are sunbeds and umbrellas on the beach, and bars and cafes around it. The water is crystal clear, and the shore is very clean. Plaza Ricardova Glava is a nice place to end your day with a cold beer and hot pizza (at least for us).
Kotor is another incredible place you must visit in Montenegro. And luckily for you, you can organize a day trip there without any tour agency. To find out more check my article “Day Trip To Kotor | How To Spend A Perfect Day In Kotor, Montenegro.”
Kotor’s old town is way bigger than Budva, but because it is overcrowded with cruise tourists I prefer not staying there for long. Nevertheless, it was and still is (planning to revisit) number one on my bucket list for “What to do in Montenegro”.
Crkva Santa Maria is another church in the Budva old town that is worth your attention. It was built in 840 AD and the first school was opened in the monastery next to the church.
Nowadays the church has been turned into an art gallery and is sometimes used for classical concerts. Seeing the amazing façade which impresses everyone and visiting the art gallery inside is a good way to spend your afternoon.
Muzej Grada Budve is a museum with an archaeological and ethnographic collection which was gathered from the area around Budva. The museum was opened in 1962, but the biggest collection of artefacts in the Budva museum didn’t arrive until the earthquake in 1979. After the catastrophe archaeologists discovered more than 4000 objects.
To explore the museum of Budva, you need from one to two hours. The museum building is worth a visit itself, although the exhibitions were very interesting and educational.
Coming to any new country you should of course try the local cuisine. Food is a big part of local culture and cannot be overlooked. Since Montenegro was under the rule of so many different empires, local cuisine contains a large variety of flavours.
Here is a list of the must try dishes in Montenegro: