Best Things to do In Budva in One Day – An Itinerary and Quick Travel Guide
Budva was one of the towns in the Balkans that surprised me – I liked it much better than I expected. I knew Kotor is a beautiful town and had it on my itinerary, but Budva was not on that list at the beginning.
If you plan to visit Montenegro, then Budva would make a nice stop – whether you visit for one day or two, this town has its share of things to offer.
So, now you might be wondering about what to do and see in Budva, where to go, and about the best attractions – and those are very legitimate questions as I had no idea about Budva until a few days before my arrival.
So, here are the best things to do in Budva, plus some more travel tips (including where to stay).
Budva is a small, but busy, town on the Adriatic Coast and its history dates back about three thousand years. It is located in between Kotor and Bar, on a small peninsula, and is well known as a party and beach destination.
While this sounds appealing to many, I avoid party hotspots most of the time (especially when traveling with my little dog), and so I was even more surprised I liked Budva.
To be fair though, I did not party and did not spend much time on the beach – because Budva has much more to offer.
The town has a beautiful old town, mentioned in the historical records as the “Town of Illyria” more than two-and-a-half thousand years ago, with historic buildings, city walls, and more.
BUDVA TRAVEL TIPS
Budva is a very small town, and while I have never been to Monaco, it reminds me a bit of it. The old town is probably the busiest place – so make sure you wear comfy shoes. If you want to spend time at the beach, bring your swimming clothes with you.
The weather is mild – I was unlucky and had two rainy days (out of the three I stayed there) – but normally, May or June is great for visiting, as well as September.
It is busy, but not as busy as in July and August when the tourists flock to Budva to enjoy some beach time.
However, if you want to spend most of your time at the beach, then the summer months are probably the best time to visit.
If you arrive by car, I would suggest booking your accommodation just outside the old town (free parking is available about 1 km outside of the town center) and walking to the old town. By car, it is also very easy to get to Sveti Stefan.
However, you can also get to Sveti Stefan by bus – it is quite easy and affordable.
If you want to spend time at the beach, you can stay here for days and days. If you do not visit Budva for a beach vacation, I suggest planning in one day for the old town of Budva and then some time for Sveti Stefan.
So, one or two days in Budva should be enough. However, Budva also makes a good base from which to get around and visit nearby places, like Kotor, Perast, or Lake Skadar.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN BUDVA – WHERE TO GO AND WHAT TO SEE
Stari Grad – Old Town
The Old Town is surrounded by medieval walls, with a fortress, towers, and gates. Over the centuries, it has been damaged several times – the most severe damage happened in an earthquake in 1667, but there was another bad one in 1979 that destroyed parts of the old town.
The old town is a lovely representation of an old, European town – cute and charming, but surely not as impressive as Dubrovnik.
However, this is a place you must see in Budva.
There are narrow cobblestone streets, lovely houses, and many shops, restaurants, piazzas, and small squares that also house many landmarks of Budva, including the Church of Santa Maria in Punta, and the Catholic Cathedral Sveti Ivan.
You can visit the churches and then take a break afterward in the open-air theater that is located in between them. If you are lucky, you might have musicians playing nice music while you enjoy great views of the Adriatic Sea and parts of the old town.
I love great views, what about you? If you are also a fan of nice scenery (especially if you do not have to hike/climb many stairs), then visiting the Citadela in Budva is one of the top things to do.
The fortress, which was used for centuries as a defense stronghold of Budva, is located in the southern part of the old town. It was mentioned for the first time in written documents in 1425, and here is where the town walls start and end.
It is believed to be where the Acropolis was located during ancient times.
The entry fee is just a few euros, and for this, you can also visit the library that it houses (though there’s nothing spectacular there at first glance).
Old Town Walls
The city walls encompass the entire old town – in the northwest is the main tower (Gradenigo Tower) and then there is the tower known as Repeno in the northeast.
For a small entrance fee, you can walk around the city walls (however, it is not like a circle and you need to turn around at some points), which takes about 15-30 minutes. You have lovely views of the old town and also of the Adriatic Coast.
I am not sure whether I liked the views from the town walls or from the Citadel more – I suggest visiting both as it is just a 2-3€ entrance fee for each. But if you only want to visit one, then I recommend the Citadel (or maybe the town walls? Oh my, I really do not know…).
I might not enjoy drunk party people, but I do enjoy coffee with a nice view. If you want to have a drink/lunch/dinner, then the promenade outside the old town is the place to go in Budva.
The bustling promenade is lined with restaurants and cafes that come with views of the Adriatic Sea and the city walls (plus, you might see the super fancy and expensive yachts that are in the little harbor in front of the old town walls).
If you want to do a beach vacation, then Budva is a great place to visit. Even if you do not plan to spend a week at the beach, you can still chill and rest for a while at one of the numerous beaches you will find here.
One popular sandy beach is Mogren Beach, which is known as one of the best beaches in the Southern Adriatic.
St. Nikolas Island
If you want to explore a few places near Budva, then head to Ostrvo Sveti Nikola ili Skolj/St. Nicholas Island, a.k.a. Skolj, which you can find opposite the old town of Budva.
The island is about 2km long and it is not inhabited. It is a small, green island that is totally overgrown with typical Mediterranean vegetation and a perfect place to escape the crowds in Budva.
For some reason, which is honestly not very clear to me, Sveti Stefan is one of the most famous places in the country and an extremely popular place to visit near Budva.
Sveti Stefan was an island, but is now connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. It is known as one of the most luxurious resorts in the Balkans these days, and you will find the Villa Milcer there, which has 50 rooms, cottages, and suites on the island, and 8 grand suites.
You cannot visit Sveti Stefan if you are not an overnight guest or do not have a reservation for the restaurant on Sveti Stefan, but you can enjoy the views from above or walk down and spend time at the beach in front of Sveti Stefan.
As you can see, Budva has a bit more to offer than beaches and a wild party life – hopefully, you will enjoy Budva as much as I did and this quick guide has helped you plan your Budva trip!
If you visit more places in Montenegro, check out my Montenegro itinerary with more beautiful places to visit!