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Budva Holidays

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Tivat holidays

Montenegro's Adriatic centrepiece

Framed by pine-speckled mountains that slope down into the Adriatic Sea, much of Budva’s appeal is rooted in its spectacular setting. It boasts several of Montenegro’s finest beaches, ranging between bustling, bar-lined stretches along the main promenade, Slovenska Plaza, and more secluded, rugged beaches sandwiched between towering cliffs a little further out of town. Together with its pulsating summer nightlife scene, abundance of bars and restaurants and proximity to Tivat Airport (a half-hour taxi ride away), it’s no wonder that Budva has become the bustling centrepiece of Montenegro’s 295km-long coastline.

Over 2500 years of history

Archaeological evidence indicates that Budva is one of the oldest settlements along the Adriatic coast, dating back over 2,500 years. As such, it has been continually shaped by a multitude of civilizations, all of whom left their mark on the town’s cultural and architectural heritage. Amid the array of modern constructions hastily put together to keep up with the town’s rapid growth in popularity in recent years, by far the most attractive part of Budva today remains its walled Old Town (Stari Grad). It occupies a small, rocky outcrop jutting into the sea, packed with beautifully preserved Venetian-era architecture – think cream-coloured stone houses with terracotta roofs, and a twisting maze of cobblestone streets leading into palm tree-lined courtyards that feel almost frozen in time.

Day trip central

As one of Europe’s smallest countries, Montenegro massively punches above its weight in terms of both natural and cultural splendour, with spectacular mountain scenery, idyllic beaches and charming towns in abundance. Although you’ll find no shortage of things to see and do in Budva itself, it also makes an ideal base for exploring other parts of the country. For instance, you could easily spend a day in Kotor and Perast, two of the most picturesque towns along the Bay of Kotor – an awe-inspiring, fjord-like inlet that carves its way from the mountains out to sea. Alternatively, you could take a water taxi down the coast to Petrovac and Sveti Stefan, head inland to Lake Skadar (the largest lake in the Balkans) or Lovcen National Park, or even tick off another country by taking a day trip to Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina or Albania.

Your Budva questions, answered

It takes roughly two hours and 40 minutes to fly from London Gatwick to Tivat Airport, and around three hours from Manchester. From Tivat, it’s around a 30-minute drive to Budva. 
It all depends how much you enjoy spending time on the beach and whether you also fancy fitting in a day trip or two while you’re there. If you’re quite happy taking it easy, wandering around the Old Town, hopping between bars and soaking up the sun, you could have a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing holiday just in Budva itself. However, if you also want to visit towns such as Kotor and Perast, or you fancy visiting Lake Skadar or Lovcen National Park, it’s well worth setting aside a couple of days as part of your trip to experience a bit more of what Montenegro has to offer. 
Even beyond the tiny Old Town, Budva is a very walkable place, and most of the bars, restaurants and beaches are clustered together in a fairly compact area. If you’re planning on getting out of town, taxis and buses are the two main forms of transport – the former being the most convenient choice for shorter trips, and the latter the more budget-friendly option. To get to some of the other nearby coastal towns, such as Sveti Stefan and Petrovac, a water taxi is another viable and fun alternative. You’ll find plenty of boats heading to these places from Slovenska Plaza. 
June to August is when Budva is at its liveliest, and the temperatures are at their hottest – typically in the high 20s and early 30s during the day, and not far below 20°C at night. As this is prime time for swimming, sunbathing, partying and dining outside, it’s also unsurprisingly the busiest time of the year, so some of the beaches can get rather crowded. May and September are great times to visit as they’re just outside of peak summer season, but the weather is usually still very pleasant and everything tends to be significantly quieter. 
Although Montenegro isn’t part of the EU, it uses the Euro. It’s a very good idea to take some with you to avoid excessive transaction fees at local cash machines. 
The official language of Montenegro is Montenegrin, although other closely related variations of Serbo-Croat (Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian) are also widely spoken. Although most road signs, building signs and restaurant menus are written in the Latin alphabet, you’ll notice that the Cyrillic script is frequently used as well. Generally, you won’t struggle getting by in English. 
 
Montenegrin cuisine varies between regions, so the kind of dishes you’ll see on the menu in coastal towns are rather different from the heavier, hearty specialities eaten in the more remote, mountainous parts of the country. When eating out in Budva, you’ll come across a lot of grilled fish and other fresh seafood, as well as plenty of pasta and rice-based dishes such as squid ink risotto. Njegusi prosciutto (dry-cured ham), cevapi (rustic Balkan sausages made from ground beef, and sometimes pork and lamb) and burek (filo pastry pie filled with minced meat, cheese and potatoes) are other traditional Montenegrin delicacies worth trying. 
When it comes to eating and drinking out, Montenegro is one of Europe’s more affordable destinations – even more so than Croatia, for the most part. There are exceptions, of course, and it all depends on what kind of restaurants and bars you choose to visit. In Budva, prices tend to be slightly higher at establishments along the main waterfront promenade and in the Old Town as these are the most desirable places to be. As a rough guide, you can expect to pay in the region of €3-4 for a beer (and considerably less if you venture away from the main seafront area). 

Three tips for a top trip

Drink local

If you’re into your beer, you’ve come to the right place. Although you’ll find all the usual international brands in Budva, the classic Montenegrin lager, Nikšićko, is truly excellent – crisp, malty, and wonderfully refreshing when served ice cold. It’s invariably much better value than the imported beers, too. Montenegro also produces some of Europe’s finest wines (particularly Vranac – a richly aromatic red variety), which you’ll find on the menu in almost every bar and restaurant.

Take Euros with you

It’s well worth exchanging currency before your trip so you have Euros to take with you, as many ATMs in Montenegro charge extortionate transaction fees and don’t offer favourable exchange rates when withdrawing cash. This way, you’ll end up saving yourself a fair bit of money (and hassle).

Beat the crowds


If you’re visiting in peak season and you’re planning on hitting the beach, it’s a smart idea to get down relatively early to secure a prime spot – and a lounge bed, if you fancy – before the crowds arrive. Due to their proximity to the town centre, Slovenska Plaza, Mogren Beach and Ricardova Glava Plaza tend to get the busiest. If you’d prefer somewhere with a bit more space, Jaz Beach and Becici Beach are great alternatives a few kilometres out of town.

Best things to see and do in Budva

Explore the Old Town

Your first port of call when exploring Budva should certainly be the Old Town, which, despite its relatively tiny size, offers a surprising amount of places to eat, drink, shop and generally get a feel for the town’s cultural heritage. As soon as you enter via one of five gates, you’ll immediately sense a totally different ambience to the modern part of Budva, and as it’s so compact and completely pedestrianised, it’s a really laid-back, easy place to explore. For the best views overlooking the Old Town as well as a fascinating insight into its origins, be sure to check out the medieval citadel. 

Visit Sveti Nikola

Just a kilometre or so off the coast of Budva lies Sveti Nikola, Montenegro’s largest island, almost entirely blanketed in dense forest roamed by deer and wild rabbits. Around its coastline are several pebbled beaches which tend to be a little quieter and have a wilder feel than those on the mainland. The water here is a particularly vibrant, tropical shade of turquoise, which, along with some great snorkelling spots, has earned it the nickname ‘Hawaii’. To get there, take a taxi boat from Slovenska Plaza – it’s around a 10-minute journey, with a return ride typically costing around €5.

Hit the beach

Montenegro might not have quite the reputation as neighbours Croatia or Albania as a beach destination, but it does have plenty of gems along its Adriatic coastline – and many of them are in or around Budva. The most accessible from the town centre is Slovenska Plaza, which runs 1.6km along the main waterfront, while Mogren, just a short walk from the Old Town, consists of two sheltered beaches connected by a narrow tunnel between towering cliffs, both of which are prime swimming spots thanks to the calm, clear water. For somewhere more open and spacious, consider taking a taxi or bus to Jaz Beach, just a couple of kilometres out of town. Bear in mind that most beaches here are pebbly rather than sandy.