Despite being famous as an aspiring party destination of this part of the Mediterranean, there is certainly a lot more to things to do in Budva other than just disco lights and nightclubs.
Situated on one of Europe’s most beautiful coastlines, with its long and rich history as well as its grandiose architecture, Budva is, without any doubt, one of the tourist capitals of Montenegro.
Blessed with a harmonious mix of the stunning nature and impressive cultural heritage, Budva is definitely the right place for a dreamy Adriatic coastline getaway.
15 Best Things to Do in Budva
Travel back in time inside Budva’s Old Town
Dating back to the 5th century BC, the Old Town is Budva’s primary landmark with its immense historical, cultural, and architectural value. The ancient Old Town architecture reflects its long and tumultuous history, as Budva used to be a part of Ancient Rome, the Venetian Republic, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Getting lost in the narrow passages exploring the hidden treasures of this charming part of the town may feel a bit like time travel. It is possibly the best way to understand why Budva is one of the most attractive destinations on the Adriatic sea coastline.
The Old Town of Budva, which is a UNESCO-protected area, is home to numerous cultural monuments and attractions, churches, a grand fortress, art galleries, as well as authentic restaurants, open bars, cafes and adorable little courtyards that make this place look even more magical.
Take a glimpse at Budva’s panorama
On the edge of the Old Town settlement stands the unwavering and proud Fortress of St. Mary in Budva, better known as the Citadel fortress.
The turbulent history of the fortress goes back to the 15th century when, according to the historical sources, it was utilized as a bastion whose main purpose was to store the ammunition and repel the attacks coming from the sea. Today, it represents a settlement of an enormous cultural and historical significance for both Budva and Montenegro.
Each year the fortress hosts plenty of events including numerous art festivals, exhibitions, and music concerts. Within the area of the fortress, there are museums and restaurants, as well as the observation point with a breathtaking panoramic view of the entire Budva. Entrance to the fortress costs 2 euros.
The last thing to do after touring this magnificent building is to make a wish while rubbing the symbol of Budva – two fish engraved into the wall of the fortress. According to local legend, this unofficial symbol of Budva represents two young people whose love was forbidden; as a result, they decided to jump together into the sea.
Address: Citadela Fortress, Budva, Montenegro
Get your mandatory dose of vitamin D in a hidden paradise
The hidden pearl of Budva’s shore and one of the most beautiful beaches in Montenegro is situated only a hundred meters away from the Old Town city walls. Mogren Beach is an isolated beach surrounded by scenic caves and colossal rocks on one side and the sky blue Adriatic Sea on the other one.
Despite being only a few minutes’ walk away from the Old Town area, rich and dense vegetation gives it a sense of wilderness and inaccessibility. Reaching the beach is possible only through the narrow pedestrian passage and that’s probably why spending time here will feel very intimate and calming.
Strike a pose or two with Budva’s most famous ballerina
Halfway between the Old Town and Mogren Beach emerges one of the most popular tourist attractions in Budva, the statue of the naked dancer called “The Ballerina from Budva.”
There are quite a few legends about who this girl was; whichever you to choose to believe in, you won’t be wrong. The sculptor Gradimir Aleksich, who created the bronze statue, was fascinated by the story of the girl dancer who was in love with the sailor from Budva.
According the legend, every time the sailor took upon a long trip, the girl waited at the exact same spot for her sailor to come back home. While waiting for him to arrive, she’d dance and stare into horizon, hoping for her man to return. One time she waited and danced, but her sailor never came back to her. The statue symbolizes her loyalty and fidelity.
Nowadays, taking memory-worthy photos with Budva’s favorite ballerina is basically mandatory when visiting Budva.
Address: 37 Primorskog bataljona, Budva, Montenegro
Catch sight of the most the beautiful church in the town
The magnificent construction of the Church of the Holy Trinity is located in the heart of the Old Town ramparts, surrounded by the impressive palm trees.
Built at the end of the 18th-century after the downfall of the Venetian Republic, when Budva became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the church reflects Budva’s fruitful, multicultural, and multiethnic history. The
iconostasis of the church, painted by the Greek icon painters in the 19th century, has tremendous cultural and religious value.
Be sure to both admire the alluring beauty from the outside and the splendid work of art inside the most significant Orthodox Christian chapel in Budva!
Address: Trg od Crkava, Budva, Budva Municipality, Montenegro
Witness Budva’s magical art scene
While wandering through the narrow paths of the Old Town, you may stumble upon the Magic Yard Gallery. This authentic art gallery displays the artwork of local artists and is the perfect spot for all art lovers and admirers.
Right upon arrival, visitors are usually served rakija, the traditional Montenegrin spirit!
The gallery stocks a great variety of artwork where Balkan-inspired symbols and artistic influences prevail. The uniqueness of this place goes even further. Besides paintings, they also display handmade jewelry, ceramics, glassware, as well as textiles that can be bought for pretty reasonable prices.
After going through copious distinctive and often quirky art pieces, guests can take some rest and hydrate in a tiny, perfectly-nested courtyard and bar nearby.
Address: Iva Mikovica 2, Budva, Budva Municipality, Montenegro
Website: For more information, visit their Facebook page
Visit Budva’s only ‘cat cafe‘
The tourist favorite, Snack bar Vihor, surely adds to the Old Town’s charm!
This café and snack bar with cute, artistic interior and a sweet courtyard is Budva’s unofficial cat café. It provides food and shelter for a great number of cats inside the Old Town. The bar itself was named after one of the locals’ favorite cats!
Known for the amazing cocktails, reasonable prices, and friendly staff, Vihor is a wonderful spot to relax and take in all the beauty of the antique part of the town, with a background of purring cats!
Address: Iva Mikovica, Budva
Unwind at the ultimate chill-out zone
Tucked between the tall and narrow streets of the Old Town, surrounded by the ancient walls on one side and dense tree branches on the other one, Casper is the ideal chill spot for anyone finding themselves in Budva.
During the scorching summer days, the bar serves as an oasis, where you can escape the heat and enjoy the shade of the Old Town architecture while sipping your favorite drink.
Popular for its variety of high-quality craft beers, cocktails, and coffee blends, Casper bar accommodates everyone’s needs and preferences.
When the night comes, this outdoor bar frequently turns into a dance floor. The atmosphere gets cranked up with some of the hottest regional and Montenegrin DJs playing house, disco, and funk music rhythms.
Location: Cara Dusana 10, 85310 Budva
Website: More information on their Facebook Page
Go on a cruise around the largest Montenegrin island
Only a kilometer away from the shore stands the largest Montenegrin Island called Sveti Nikola.
A short and inexpensive boat ride to the island may easily be as enchanting as the island itself! On the way to the island, you’ll find yourself amazed by the sight of imposing, giant rocks emerging from the sea.
The beach on the island is named Hawaii, most likely due to the color of the sea reminiscent of the bright blue sea around the tropical islands in the Pacific Ocean.
Those with an adventurous spirit may also try taking a walk to the island instead of opting for a boat ride! Namely, there is a sandbar connecting the mainland with the island and during the low tide, it is absolutely possible to reach the island on foot. Whatever way you decide, visiting this unique island will most definitely be worth it.
Lay your eyes on Hollywood’s favorite resort
It takes only a quick drive a couple of miles outside of the city center to reach a trademark of Montenegrin coastline, the renowned Sveti Stefan islet.
Previously an island, Sveti Stefan is now connected to the mainland with a narrow tombolo and in 2009 it became a part of the luxurious hotel chains Aman Hotels and Resorts.
Throughout history, this now world-wide known tiny islet-resort had been used as shelter and protection from Ottoman Turks’ attacks on their quest to annex the Adriatic Sea territories.
In 1955, this islet was turned into a luxurious town-hotel. Since then, it has always been a place where some of the greatest celebrities in the world choose to have their perfect Adriatic Sea coastline hideaway. Sofia Loren once said about her stay on Sveti Stefan: “it is just as if I have returned to town from the most beautiful fairytale of my childhood.”
However, entering the gates to the resort is reserved only for the wealthy, for the opulent price of $800 per night! Despite that, a few hundred meters away on the mainland, anyone can enjoy this mesmerizing view of one of the most popular tourist attractions in the entirety of Montenegro.
Swing by the tiny romantic town of Petrovac
Among the plethora of sheltered bay beaches within the bounds of the Budva Riviera, you’ll most likely stumble across Petrovac, a little town in Budva municipality.
A wide range of beautiful beaches nestled between dense olive groves and pine forests undoubtedly label Petrovac as one of the most attractive places for having a peaceful and lazy seaside getaway.
Stroll down the long promenade along the beach and reach the Castello Fortress dating back to the Venetian Republic era and embrace this peaceful and romantic small Mediterranean town.
Take a closer glance at Islets of Katic and St. Nedelja
Two lonely miniature islets appear amid the open sea, a kilometer away from the Petrovac coast. The islets of Katic and St. Nedelja seem rather like two cliffs emerging from the sea. They are known as some of the most popular tourist attractions in this part of the Montenegrin shore.
As claimed by the local legend, after the shipwreck in the middle of a disastrous storm, a couple of sailors survived by finding shelter on St. Nedelja islet. In gratitude to God for saving their lives, sailors built a tiny chapel on the islet that’s now believed to be the protector of everyone sailing in these waters.
Thanks to their popularity, it certainly won’t be much of a hassle getting there as you may join the organized boat tours or rent a kayak, speedboat or even a paddleboat.
Observing these breathtaking wonders of the Adriatic sea up close will definitely remain etched in one’s memory for a very long time.
Experience Budva from the birds’ perspective
For those adrenaline-driven visitors, always asking for a bit more, paragliding over Budva is going to be once in a lifetime experience.
Budva Paragliding provides adventure seekers with a safe and well-instructed flight and the opportunity to get to know Budva from up to 1200 meters above sea level. High-resolution photos and videos of this extraordinary venture are both included in the price.
Experience a breath-stopping sunset
Right beside the main road, only a few kilometers away from downtown Budva, you can reach the perfect spot for admiring a picturesque sunset.
El Rey café-restaurant, located above the sheltered bay and one of the most attractive beaches named Jaz, is certainly a place for capturing the moment to enjoy a serene Adriatic sunset.
This place provides a perfect mixture of Mediterranean seafood and Montenegrin traditional cuisine to nibble on, best enjoyed while sipping a Montenegrin wine and watching the sun vanishing behind the horizon.
Address: Seoce Jadranski put, Budva 85310
Slide the day away at a waterpark with a breathtaking view
Positioned on the top of the hill amidst the dense forest vegetation, offering jaw-dropping views of Budva and its coastline, Aquapark Budva should certainly be on your itinerary while visiting this part of the Adriatic coast.
Unique on the Montenegrin seaside, this 41,800-square-meter complex offers a complete water entertainment experience for all water enthusiasts.
Aside from the pools, giant slides, rafting areas, and an amusement section for kids with over 50 attractions, the aqua park offers a wide range of additional facilities including restaurants and bars, accessory stores, photo booths, and massage areas.
With this being said, visitors seeking a more calm and relaxing time could as well do nothing and enjoy this incredible view from the cozy sunbeds, sipping their favorite drink!
Address: Topliški Put, Budva 85310, Montenegro
Website: Check here for admission costs, hours, and more information.
Where to Stay in Budva
Budget: If you’re staying in Budva on a backpacker’s budget, definitely check out Freedom Hostel 2, located in the Old Town. With an eclectic mix of modern and vintage elements, it’s aesthetically pleasing, budget-friendly, and best of all, it has an amazing location! Dorms and private rooms are available.
Mid-Range: For a 4-star experience for a 3-star price, check out the lovely Avanti Hotel & Spa, available for well under $100 USD per night even in the high season! It’s about 2 kilometers outside of Budva center, so you’ll probably want to take a taxi into the city, or it’s a 15-minute walk to Jaz Beach. However, in exchange for that, you get an absolutely gorgeously designed hotel, spa facilities like a sauna and pool, beautiful views from the balconies, and so much more.
Luxury: For the ultimate in luxury during your stay in Budva, check out the 5* Dukey Hotel & Spa. It has gorgeous landscaping, beautiful sea views, an infinity rooftop pool, and several fine dining and bar options. Rooms include modern home-away-from-home amenities such as a kitchen, dining area, bathrobes and slippers, flat-screen TVs, A/C, WiFi, and more. Best thing? Golf carts are available to transport you around the resort and boat transfers to Budva Old Town can be arranged!
What to Bring with You to Montenegro
If you’re planning a trip to Montenegro, you’ll want to pack all the normal essentials, but here are a few things we strongly recommend bringing that may not have crossed your mind. For more, check out our complete Montenegro packing list.
– A physical guidebook, in paper or on Kindle. We recommend the Lonely Planet Western Balkans which includes Montenegro but also Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Serbia. Blogs are great, but a combination of a blog and a guidebook is key to having the best access to information easily at your fingertips.
– A water bottle with a filter. While generally, the tap water in cities and towns in Montenegro is drinkable, especially in touristic towns such as in Kotor, Budva, and Zabljak, we generally recommend using a water bottle with a purifying filter regardless.
It’ll help to reduce your plastic consumption and ensure you won’t drink any funny-tasting water on your stomach that could make your trip unpleasant! We recommend the GRAYL water bottle – it filters water perfectly in an instant so that you can even drink from lakes, bad taps, etc.
– Motion sickness pills. Montenegrin bus and car rides can be winding and cause motion sickness! If you have a weak stomach as we do, save yourself and bring some non-drowsy motion sickness pills.
– Wet wipes, hand sanitizer, TP & other Balkan transit needs. Bathrooms at gas and bus/train stations in the Balkans can sometimes be… how can we say it?… not so well-stocked. Save yourself the disappointment and bring a mini-rescue pack of wet wipes & hand sanitizer.
– Travel safety items. We think Montenegro is very safe to travel, but at the same time, it never hurts to be prepared! Some people like to carry money belts, but neither Stephanie or I use these.
Instead, we both carry the same PacSafe anti-theft backpack. It has locking zippers, slash-proof construction with metal mesh hidden in the fabric, and tons of other smart security features — all while being cute and stylish enough to be our everyday bag. We recommend it highly for both male and female travelers, as it’s neutral enough to be unisex. We also strongly recommend travel insurance! Our recommendation is at the bottom of the post.
More Montenegro Travel Resources
Also visiting Kotor? Check out where to stay in Kotor.
If this will be one of your first trips in the Balkans, check out our massive list of things to know before traveling the Balkans as well as our Balkan bus, road trip, and itinerary guides.
Finally, if you’ll be headed to Montenegro as part of a larger trip around the Balkans, check out our Balkan currency guide which explains how money and tipping work in the different countries here.
Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!
Finally, make sure you always travel to Montenegro with a valid travel insurance policy. Montenegro is a very safe place to travel, but accidents or theft can easily ruin your trip if you don’t have the travel insurance coverage to recover the losses!
For travel insurance, I use World Nomads. I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.
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Nikola M. is a native Montenegrin, English teacher, and political scientist writing about a variety of social topics. He particularly takes pleasure in traveling, discovering new places, and exploring cultural differences in the process. He is passionate about animal rights and environmental protection. He also enjoys cinematography, discovering new music, and cooking.