10 best things to do in Budva Old Town

Budva stands as a beacon for travelers, nestled along the picturesque Adriatic Sea, halfway up Montenegro’s stunning coastline. This coastal town, celebrated as one of the country’s most beloved seaside resorts, offers a mosaic of experiences catering to a wide array of interests. From pristine urban beaches that beckon sun-seekers to the vibrant nightlife that pulses in its modern quarters, Budva has carved out a niche for every type of visitor.

For families like ours, the historical heart of Budva Old Town unveiled a different kind of allure, with its idyllic walled city resting on a peninsula. Dive deeper into this blog for practical advice and a guide to the 10 best beaches and best things to do in Budva.

Read more: Don’t miss our guide to the ultimate Montenegro road trip, complete with insider tips and a meticulously planned itinerary.

Ballerina Budva Montenegro

How to get to Budva in Montenegro

Positioned between the renowned Bay of Kotor to the north and the serene Lake Skadar to the south, Budva’s geographical charm is undeniable.

The town is a harmonious blend of the new and the old. The Stari Grad or Old Town, a captivating historical quarter, is encircled by ancient walls on a scenic peninsula. Though compact, its charm and distinctive character are immense.

A stone’s throw to the east lies New Budva, alive with the hum of restaurants, bars, discos, and cafes, and serving as the heartbeat of Budva’s famed nightlife. The marina, a bridge between these two worlds, adds to the town’s picturesque setting.

Budva Marina

Where to stay in Budva

Choosing the best places to stay in Budva hinges on your visit’s purpose. If the historical narrative of the Old Town enchants you, opting for accommodation within or near the Stari Grad would be wise. Nightlife enthusiasts, however, might find their rhythm in the newer parts of town. Though these areas are a short walk from each other, they offer distinct atmospheres, ensuring your stay aligns with your expectations.


Recommended hotels and hostels in Budva:

#1 Villa Boutique Hotel: Nestled in the heart of Stari Grad, this hotel is a fusion of elegance and tradition, offering stylish rooms with some boasting harbor views. Guests laud its prime location and the warm hospitality of its staff.

#2 Freedom Hostel Budvac: The only hostel in the Old Town that consistently receives glowing reviews. It features dormitories and common areas that are both modern and inviting.

#3 Splendid Conference & Spa Resort: Situated on Bečići Beach, this luxurious resort offers a private beach, a spa complete with a heated indoor pool, saunas, hot tubs, steam rooms, an on-site restaurant, and an outdoor pool for an indulgent getaway.

#4 Boutique Hotel Vissi d’Arte: Inspired by opera and art, this luxury boutique hotel boasts spectacular sea views and sits near Budva Marina, perfectly located between the old and new parts of town.

#5 Beatrix Suites: Enjoy the best of Old Town Budva at this guest house, where simplicity meets modern comfort. Rooms come with rave reviews, and breakfast is included, ensuring a pleasant start to your day.

Budva Montenegro

The 10 best things to do in Budva

#1 Stari Grad, Budva’s Old Town

At the heart of Budva’s charm lies the Stari Grad, a picturesque ensemble that stands as the city’s crowning jewel. This ancient city center, with its labyrinth of narrow alleys, cobblestone pathways, medieval edifices, and time-honored signage, exudes a rich, atmospheric allure. Despite the modern intrusions of air conditioning units, souvenir stands, and billboards that somewhat mar the old-world aesthetic, the essence of what once was a fortified town shines through, offering a glimpse into its historic grandeur.

Stari Grad Budva Montenegro

#2 The Walk to Mogren Beach

Among the myriad stunning beaches dotting the Budva coastline, Mogren Beach stands out not only for its breathtaking beauty but also for the captivating journey it promises. Embarking from Budva, a scenic trail unfurls from Plaza Ricardova city beach, hugging the rugged coastline.

As you navigate this narrow path, bordered by impressive cliffs, the route offers a touch of adventure, enhanced by the graceful presence of a ballerina statue – the Ballerina of Budva, an iconic landmark. This short walk is as much about the picturesque vistas of the old town, framed by its ancient walls, as it is about the destination. Remember to cast a glance backward during your trek to fully appreciate the panoramic splendor of Budva’s historical heartland.

#3 The Holy Trinity Church

The spotlight usually falls on the majestic main cathedral, yet in Budva, it’s the Holy Trinity Church that captures the imagination with its understated elegance. Nestled beside the cathedral, this church may appear unassuming from the outside, but its interior tells a different story.

Step inside to be enveloped in a world of vivid frescoes adorning walls and ceilings, a stark contrast to the austere interiors characteristic of many historic churches. This kaleidoscope of color and artistry makes the Holy Trinity Church a must-visit, offering a silent invitation to explore and absorb its beauty in a moment of quiet reflection.

Holy Trinity Church Budvac

#4 The Citadel and City Walls

Budva’s ancient heart is encircled by imposing walls that have withstood the test of time, with the citadel perched at its zenith, offering a tangible connection to the city’s medieval past. The Fortress of St. Mary, dating back to the 15th century, stands as a testament to Budva’s strategic importance, once serving as a bulwark against seafaring invaders. Today, it breathes new life as a venue for cultural festivities and a museum, inviting visitors to traverse history.

A walk along parts of the city walls reveals a different facet of Budva’s charm. Although access may be limited, the segments that welcome visitors promise unique vantage points and intriguing sights, such as the ingenious fisherman who, undeterred by the towering walls, has found a way to continue his craft, symbolizing the enduring human spirit that permeates this historic town.

Budva Montenegro

#5 Island Sveti Stefan

Sveti Stefan, undeniably the jewel in Montenegro’s crown, offers a picturesque spectacle that’s hard to miss when you’re in the vicinity of Budva. This small, yet profoundly captivating island is linked to the mainland by a slender isthmus, painting a scene straight out of a fairy tale.

Originally a fortified village dating back centuries, it was designed to be a sanctuary for its inhabitants. Today, the medieval charm of Sveti Stefan, with its labyrinthine alleyways and historic architecture, has transitioned into an exclusive haven for the elite. Since the 1940s, this island has drawn celebrities and royalty to its luxurious embrace, and in 2007 it was transformed into a private resort that epitomizes exclusivity.

While the island itself has become limited only to its hotel guests, the allure of Sveti Stefan remains undeniable. For those eager to catch a glimpse of this luxurious retreat without checking in, tours are available for €20, offering a rare peek into its storied lanes and chapels. Moreover, the beaches adjacent to the island and the panoramic viewpoint near St. Sava Church offer splendid views that ensure a visit to Sveti Stefan is memorable, even from a distance.

Sveti Stefan Montenegro

#6 The Sunset at Fort Mogren

While Budva’s city walls and Ricardova Glava beach offer beautiful sunset vistas, the true spectacle unfolds atop the cliffs at Fort Mogren. Adjacent to the old town, this ancient fortress, now in ruins, hints at a past filled with tales of defense and valor.

Its prime location is a magnet for those seeking the perfect sunset, where the dying light bathes Budva in a warm, amber hue, creating a photographer’s paradise. Positioned with the setting sun at your back, the scene of the historic town aglow with the evening light is simply breathtaking. With benches strategically placed to face this magnificent view, it’s an invitation to immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of the moment. Don’t forget to glance over your shoulder occasionally, as the sun dipping into the Montenegrin coastline offers a spectacle of its own.

For early risers, the sunrise from Fort Mogren is equally mesmerizing, illuminating the old town in a gentle glow, making it a picturesque start to the day, despite the lively local nightlife.

#7 Casper Specialty

Nestled in the heart of Stari Grad, Casper Specialty stands out as the pinnacle of cool and trendy hotspots in Budva. Its outdoor setting, shaded by lush trees, provides a serene haven from the summer heat, offering a perfect spot to unwind. Even during our visit in October, the shaded seating areas offer a comfortable retreat.

For coffee aficionados like Sebastiaan, Casper Specialty is a paradise, boasting the finest coffee in Budva with a selection of beans and brewing techniques that promise a superior cup. The breakfast menu, with meals around €5, provides a delightful start to the day.

As the day progresses, Casper Specialty transforms into a vibrant hub for cocktails, specialty beers, and delicious bites, eventually turning up the volume for those looking to dance the night away. While Budva’s new town is renowned for its nightlife, Casper offers a charming alternative within the ancient walls of the old town.

#8 Budva Marina

Budva’s allure as a sought-after coastal destination is significantly enhanced by its stunning marina, strategically positioned between the old and new town. This harbor, capable of accommodating magnificent sailing and luxury yachts, has played a pivotal role in attracting an affluent clientele to Budva, contributing to its evolution into a modern resort city famed for its dynamic nightlife.

Today, the marina serves as a feast for the eyes, offering visitors the chance to admire an array of spectacular vessels, particularly during the summer peak season. The marina not only symbolizes Budva’s maritime heritage but also its status as a premier destination for those seeking the quintessential Montenegrin coastal experience.

Budva Marina

#9 The Roman Ruins

Budva’s rich tapestry of history isn’t just about medieval tales; it reaches back to the Roman era, leaving indelible marks across the city. Nestled within the bustling heart of Budva, amidst the shade of a towering palm tree, lies the remnants of a Roman villa, a silent witness to the city’s ancient past. Yet, the most striking of these historical fragments lie just beyond the city’s gates—the remnants of an ancient Necropolis.

Unearthed unexpectedly during the 1930s construction of a hotel, these relics now bask in the open air, offering a glimpse into centuries past. While the site may appear modest at first glance, history enthusiasts will find the informational board at the Roman and Greek Necropolis a valuable resource, bringing the stories of ancient rites and traditions vividly to life. Many artifacts discovered within these tombs have found a new home in the Budva Archaeological Museum, providing a deeper understanding of the city’s historical significance.

Roman ruins Budvac

#10 The Best Beaches in Budva

Budva’s reputation as a premier beach destination in Montenegro is well-earned. Positioned along the Adriatic Sea, its shores invite visitors to bask in the sun and enjoy the crystal-clear waters for much of the year. Even in the cooler month of October when we visited, the allure of the sea remains irresistible to many, including Sebastiaan, who couldn’t help but plunge into the refreshing waters.

The city boasts several expansive beaches adjacent to its new town, including Greco Beach and Slovenska Plaža, offering easy access to sun-seekers. Near the historic heart, the Stari Grad, smaller yet charming beaches like Pizana and the larger Plaža Ričardova Glava nestle against the ancient city walls. However, for a truly memorable experience, a stroll to Mogren Beach is highly recommended. This journey, marked by a distinctive ballerina statue and scenic cliffside paths, leads to a beach divided into two enchanting sections by a rugged cliff, connected by a quaint bridge.

Venturing beyond Budva, numerous other beaches await exploration, easily accessible by car. Bečići Beach, to the east, stretches invitingly. There are even more secluded spots found between it and the picturesque islet of Sveti Stefan. Jaz Beach, to the west of Budva, is another must-visit, known for its music festivals and appealing to beach enthusiasts with its mix of sand and pebble stretches.

Another exquisite beach destination is the island of Sveti Nikola, just a short boat ride from Budva. Dubbed the ‘Hawaii of Montenegro’ for its turquoise waters, this island paradise offers not just pristine beaches but also a church and dining facilities. While adventurous souls might consider walking across a sandy ridge at low tide to reach the island, it’s a journey best undertaken with caution or guidance.

Beach Budva Montenegro