Budva, set in the middle of the coast of the Adriatic Sea in Montenegro, it’s the center of tourism. Here is a list of things to do in Budva.
Filled with restaurants, bars, clubs, and shops, there are plenty of things to do in Budva. After all, this is Montenegro’s most popular destination for beach holidays and home to some of our favorite luxury hotels in the country!
Geography And Climate Of Budva
Located on a peninsula that juts out into the Adriatic’s azure waters, Budva, with its fortified city walls and long, rich history, is historically one of the most important towns on the coast of the Balkans. Besides the peninsula, the local geography also features several islands and a bay.
The coast around Budva is no less than 21 kilometers (13 miles) long and has 17 beautiful beaches.
The combination of this many beaches and a downright superb climate is why this is Montenegro’s tourism epicenter.
The town enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate. With warm to hot summers, mild, comfortable winters, and no fewer than 230 days of sunshine, Budva is the perfect destination for a beach vacation.
History Of Budva
This area, however, is not only about the best beaches in Budva. The town’s well-filled history and its architecture are well worth exploring, too.
Strong archaeological evidence (see “things to do” below) tells us that Budva is one of the Adriatic’s oldest human settlements. It’s been inhabited since as early as the 5th century BC. Greek colonization of the area started in the 4th century BC, and in the 2nd century BC, the area was incorporated into the ever-expanding Roman Empire.
After the fall of the once-mighty Roman Empire, Budva was ruled by various foreign empires, including the Byzantines, the Serbians, the Venetians, and the Habsburgs. After the collapse of Yugoslavia, Montenegro became independent in 2006. Budva quickly grew into the new country’s premier tourist destination.
Nowadays, Budva is somewhat of a cultural treasure chest. From Turkish to Austrian and Venetian influences, its various cultural and political influences have resulted in a town with stunning architecture and many monuments.
Because of its phenomenal beaches and magnificent harbor, Budva has been a tourist destination since the 1930s. Beach tourism in the area began with the arrival of the very first foreign tourists—affluent Czechs. The town remains a hugely popular beach destination in this part of Europe, visited by more than 650,000 tourists every year (which accounts for about 44% of all tourist visits in Montenegro, just in this small coastal town).
It’s grown into a modern, well-established town featuring beaches, cultural attractions, and fantastic nightlife. People visiting Montenegro nowadays will typically spend at least a day in Budva. Especially its vibrant party scene sets it apart from other tourist hotspots in the region, such as the Bay of Kotor and Dubrovnik.
Best Things To Do In Budva
Stari Grad – The Old Town
The absolute star of all Budva attractions is Stari Grad, or the Old Town in English. A miniature version of Dubrovnik and one of the oldest towns along the Adriatic Sea coast (2,500 years old and counting!), this historic town is surrounded by fortified walls. It is home to cobbled streets and beautiful buildings. You can walk the town walls and visit historical sites such as the Citadel and numerous striking churches.
Exploring the Old Town of Budva is among the top things to do in Montenegro. The best Budva sightseeing happens here and nowhere else! It’s busy from early in the morning to well into the night and is a great place to eat and shop.
As mentioned, when in Old Town, the Citadel is a historical place you’ll want to explore. The fortress is located on the highest point of Old Town, and while construction started in the 9th century, most of the remaining structure was built in the 15th century.
Today, the Citadel is home to a library, museum, and restaurant. The restaurant overlooks the water, so it’s a popular spot for dinner. Art and theater performances are also held on the Citadel grounds during summer.
Walk The Town Walls
Walk on the city walls for a truly unique view of Old Town and the sea. The cost to do so is 2 Euros, and you will find the entrance to walk the wall in two locations – near the Citadel and on the other side of Old Town.
If you want to visit a museum in Budva, the Archaeological Museum is a superb choice. Encompassing three floors, this fascinating history museum retraces the complicated history of Budva in various exhibits. This is one of the best places to visit in Budva if you want to learn more about this ancient region’s culture and history.
Spend A Day At The Beach
If you ask people what to do in Budva Montenegro, almost everyone will say, “Go to the beaches.” the Budva Riviera, as this region is called, is home to nearly twenty beaches. It’s one of the absolute top beach destinations in the Balkans.
In the peak summer months, the Budva beaches are packed with sunbathers and dotted with beach towels, and the town’s harbor is filled with shiny yachts. This is one of the places where Europe’s rich and famous head to and shows off their wealth and success—it’s a popular destination among wealthy Russians and Ukrainians.
Budva is the busiest town on the Montenegrin coast. After the sun has gone down at night, the seaside bars scrawl with young partiers, temptingly clothed women, and rich men. If you’re looking for a historic city to hit the beach and party the night away, this is where you should go.
A little off the beaten path, the Podmaine Monastery is a less-often-mentioned attraction in Budva. A prominent family built the 15th-century Serbian Orthodox monastery, featuring two churches decorated with beautiful frescoes. It’s a great place to discover spirituality in this part of Montenegro.
If you are traveling as a family, your kids will love Aquapark Budva. There’s something for everyone here: pools, waterslides, kid’s attractions, restaurants, and bars.
The park is located on Mount Topolis and is open during summer. You can buy full-day and half-day passes depending on how long you want to stay.
The Ballerina Statue
Also known as the “Gymnast of Budva,” this bronze statue of a girl dancing can be found on the rocks by Mongren Beach. With both the Old Town and the sea in the background, this statue makes for some lovely photos and has become an icon of the city.
Gradimir Aleksić, a sculptor from Belgrade, created the sculpture. The myth behind the dancer’s story is that she fell in love with a sailor who sailed off to make money for the couple to live off. She would wait by the sea for him each day, but he never returned, until sadly, one day, he was found dead by the rocks she now stands on.
Party At Top Hill
If you’re ready for a night of techno music, head to Topliš Hill, overlooking Budva, to this famous club. Known throughout Europe as the place to be, the club hosts famous DJs and can accommodate up to 5000 guests.
The club is open during July and August.
The island of Sveti Nikola lies only a kilometer from the Budva waterfront. This rocky island is home to a sheer cliff that rises 121 above the Adriatic waters. At the same time, other parts are home to wonderful sandy beaches, including three large beaches and numerous smaller ones.
The only permanent inhabitants of this wonderful island are deer, but there are a few human-made facilities. There is, for example, a restaurant, a small harbor, a concrete waterfront, and restrooms. Nicknamed “Hawaii Island,” it makes for a great day trip from Budva, especially after a quieter beach day.
Boats are available to transport visitors to this stunning island.
Five kilometers (three miles) to the south of Budva lies Sveti Stefan. This unbelievably picturesque town is set on a peninsula and features 15th-century terracotta-roofed buildings. The whole town is now a luxury resort, but you can admire it from the mainland beach.
This photogenic town is one of the best day trips from Budva. You don’t even have to drive to get to Sveti Stefan from Budva! A seaside promenade between both places runs alongside beautiful beaches and through tiny coastal villages. On the way, you’ll find plenty of excellent swimming and sunbathing spots, great restaurants with sea views, and various places where you can enjoy the sunset.
Budva offers many outdoor activities like many other tourist destinations in Montenegro, including Lake Skadar, Durmitor National Park, and the Bay of Kotor. It may be, first and foremost, a hip and trendy seaside town, but adventure is always around the corner.
There are many different outdoor pursuits to quench your thirst for adventure, from hiking and cycling to diving, rafting, paragliding, and bungee jumping. The town is home to many tour operators and dive centers that offer excursions of all kinds.
If you want an alternative to the beach, head out on the water or immerse yourself in the region’s beautiful nature. Particularly the nearby Brajiči Hills, which are basically behind Budva, are a popular paragliding starting point.
Where To Eat & Drink In Budva
Casper Bar & Coffee Roastery
In the middle of Old Town, this is an excellent stop for a glass of wine, craft beers, cocktails, and coffee drinks.
Enjoy your drinks in the outdoor courtyard while listening to DJs with chilled-out beats.
If you love seafood, this is the place for you. This airy waterfront restaurant serves up some of the city’s best local fish and seafood dishes. The grilled meat entrees and the extensive wine and cocktail list are also highly recommended.
Knoba Stari Grad
Old Town charm is on the menu here! This rustic setting is perfect for dining on traditional Montenegrin cuisine alongside specialty seafood dishes.
Restaurant & Beach Bar Azzurro
For a fancy night out on a terrace overlooking the sea, Restaurant & Beach Bar Azzurro is an excellent choice. The restaurant is on Becici Beach and offers a variety of food choices, from pizza and pasta to seafood and Mediterranean dishes.
Where To Stay In Budva
How To Get To Budva
Two major highways serve Budva. The E80 runs along the Adriatic Sea coast and connects Budva with Kotor in the north and Ulcinj in the south. The M2.3 is an inland highway running from Budva to the capital city of Podgorica.