16 Best Things to Do in Budva, Montenegro

Discover the best things to do in Budva, Montenegro, below, between visits to sun-drenched beaches and strolls around the enchanting Old Town.

Nestled along Montenegro’s premier slice of the Adriatic Sea is the coastal town of Budva. Known as the Budva Riviera, this region is famous for its postcard-perfect beaches, lively and historical Old Town, bustling nightlife, and epic adventure opportunities.

Compared to the neighboring town of Kotor, with its UNESCO-listed old town and dramatic mountain backdrop, Budva offers a coastal alternative better suited for travelers seeking a blend of sun-soaked beaches, lively nightlife, and coastal and water activities.

Budva has continued to lure me back ever since my first visit and I’m constantly finding more things to do (as well as some great hidden gems lately). So, I’ve rounded up the cream of the crop to craft this extensive travel guide to prepare you for your visit.

Olly gasparOlly gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler & adventure photographer for 6 years with 700+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.

1. Explore Stari Grad, the Charming Old Town of Budva

Budva’s most popular tourist hub and a haven for keen historians, the incredibly beautiful Old Town is a natural starting point for any trip, but particularly for first-time visitors. The Old Town dates to the Middle Ages, placing Budva among the region’s oldest settlements.

Every corner feels like it’s from the pages of a fairytale, with narrow streets and stone-clad buildings that always make me feel like a mini Dubrovnik.

Today, the Old Town, known locally as Stari Grad, is packed with some of Budva’s best restaurants, quirky souvenir shops, and inviting cafes. While many buildings have been reconstructed following the earthquake in 1979, and the addition of modern establishments, the long-standing streets of the Old Town have seamlessly retained their old-world allure.

Did you know? According to the Balkan Heritage Field School, Budva may be one of the oldest urban settlements on the Adriatic coast, with evidence suggesting that Illyrian tribes settled here in the prehistoric era over 2,500 years ago!

2. Swim in the Clear Waters at Mogren Beach

The spectacular Mogren Beach is tucked away just west of Budva’s Old Town. This beautiful place has become one of Budva’s most popular tourist destinations thanks to its glass-like waters and imposing rock surroundings.

This beach is made up of two sandy beaches, Mogren I and Mogren II, connected by a tunnel through the rock,

While I tend to steer clear of such well-known beaches for fear of the sandy shores being flooded with people, Mogren is cut off from the rest of the town with just a small walkway connecting it to the city walls that allows it to hold on to its authenticity.

If you’re visiting on a budget, bring your towel and head to a shaded patch to avoid paying for the ever-increasing sun lounger fees!

3. Catch a Glimpse of the Iconic Sveti Stefan

Lying less than 15 minutes south of Budva is a Montenegrin town called Sveti Stefan, which is famously home to the lavish Aman Sveti Stefan resort that sits on a tiny island connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of sand called an isthmus.

Although the grounds and island itself are exclusive to hotel guests, you have to make a short trip here and capture some photos of the stunning orange-roofed complex from one of the nearby viewpoints. My favorite is right by the bus stop above the island, pinned as “Bus station Budva-Sv.Stefan” on Google Maps.

If you fancy a closer look, wander down to the town’s namesake beach, open to the public and free to enter.

4. Visit Lovćen National Park

One of my favorite areas regions close to Budva is the incredible Lovćen National Park which is famous for its mountain peaks and historical mausoleum where you can learn about Petar II Petrović-Njegoš, a revered Montenegrin prince-bishop, poet, and philosopher and get stunning views over the whole country!

While I rented a car and drove to the park, it is possible to book a convenient day trip to featuring a ride on the cable car, a drive on the famous serpentine road, Njegusi village, and a 1-hour walking tour of Cetinje to explore the Cetinje Monastery.

5. Take a Water Taxi to Sveti Nikola Island

Nicknamed Hawaii Island due to its shimmering blue waters, Sveti Nikola is an uninhabited island that happens to be Montenegro’s largest. Boasting some jaw-dropping scenery and secluded sandy beaches, I was astounded to find how few people make the quick trip here.

A must for snorkelers, the water along the shores of Sveti Nikola is crystal-clear and teeming with colorful fish and striking underwater landscapes.

The island and its ethereal beaches are reachable by just a 30-minute taxi from Budva’s public dock, and return tickets come in at less than €10.

6. Unwind at Jaz Beach

If Mogren Beach is a little too crowded for you, make the 10-minute journey out of town and spend the day at Jaz Beach.

Though it lacks some of the appeal and magic of its smaller counterpart, it more than makes up for it with its mesmerizing vistas, soft sands, and top-notch facilities. Those of you looking for some tranquility can escape to the quiet corners, while the thrill-seekers have a plethora of watersports to keep them entertained.

Getting to Jaz Beach is super simple, as you’ll have the choice between a short taxi ride or taking the public bus from the Budva bus station followed by a quick walk.

Mogren fortress and jaz beach in the background, montenegroMogren fortress and jaz beach in the background, montenegroMogren fortress and jaz beach in the background, montenegro
View of Jaz Beach from Mogren Fortress
Blue lagoon near jaz beach in budvaBlue lagoon near jaz beach in budvaBlue lagoon near jaz beach in budva
Don’t miss this secret “Blue Lagoon” beach on the way to Jaz Beach

7. Marvel at the Church of Sveti Ivan

Budva’s most esteemed Catholic church, Sveti Ivan, or Saint Ivan, has become an emblem of the town and is believed to have been overlooking its streets since the 7th century, although its current form mainly dates back to the later medieval period, with renovations over the centuries.

I had spotted the soaring bell tower from the moment I touched down in Budva and knew I’d be blown away by its longevity and fusion of architectural styles. What I didn’t expect were the extraordinary mosaics that catch your eye as you step inside!

Travel tip: There is no admission fee, making the Sveti Ivan Church one of the best free things to do in Budva, Montenegro.

8. Go Back in Time to the Budva Citadel

The Budva Citadel is a former fortress that’s been perched along the town’s coastline since the Middle Ages. Encompassing the Church of Sveti Ivan, the Holy Trinity Church, and several defense towers, this castle has seen the town undergo invasions from the Venetians in the 15th century and later by the Ottomans.

Be sure to stop by the Museum of the City of Budva while you’re here, and try to time your visit for the late afternoon. Soaking up the beautiful views of the blue seas from here while the sun went down was a highlight of my first trip to Budva and a spot I know I’ll come back to soon.

Tip: You must pay an entrance fee of €4.50 to access the citadel walls. This is worth every cent in my opinion!

9. Cool off at Aquapark Budva

If you’re looking for things to do in Budva with kids, then you’ll be happy to find out that the ones and grown-ups alike will have the best of times at Aquapark Budva. This is a waterpark just a 5-minute drive from Budva’s Old Town and features exhilarating water activities for all ages.

As much as I love an adrenaline rush, I don’t tend to add water parks to my travel itineraries. However, this is one of the most popular family activities and since it’s located on top of a hill above town, you’ll get some of the best views of the coast from here!

Entrance Fee: Aquapark Budva charges €29 for adults and €20 for children under 1.4m, with free entry for those kids under 3. Options include full-day and half-day tickets. Open daily from 11 am to 6 pm.

10. Party Until the Early Hours at Top Hill

A great place to party when the summer months roll in, Top Hill is Budva’s go-to hotspot for late-night revelry and music from international DJs. Though I initially figured this spot was a run-of-the-mill nightclub, it turned out to be more of an open-air concert venue with incredible views over the town. 

As you might expect from somewhere with such unique selling points, a night here doesn’t come cheap, with drinks costing upwards of €6 and taxi fares increasing into the night. Still, this is much more affordable than neighboring Croatia or the Italian beach bars across the Adriatic.

11. Get Your Adrenaline Pumping With a Paragliding Experience

Take to the skies and cruise above Budva’s glistening waters and quaint Old Town with a thrilling paragliding experience.

Admittedly, I didn’t do this activity on my trip, but it’s highly rated by other travelers on Tripadvisor and Viator and commonly up there with some of the best things to do in Budva for adventure travelers!

12. Catch the Sunset at Plaza Ricardova Glava

A bustling beach just steps from Budva’s Old Town, Plaza Ricardova Glava is a wonderful sunset spot, and I spent a few evenings there and it’s still one of my favorite spots in town to catch the sunset.

With the romantic architecture serving as the perfect backdrop and the sound of the waves crashing against the pebbles lining the shore, few parts of the town could top Plaza Ricardova Glava for me.

13. Take a Day Trip to Kotor

Undoubtedly, the most popular destination for a day trip from Budva is a visit to Montenegro’s most famous destination, the city of Kotor.

Nestled amongst fjord-like landscapes and blessed with some of the most surreal scenery in the Balkans, I would encourage any first-timers to pencil in some time exploring the Bay of Kotor, from its old town to its epic ladder hike. To get to Kotor, you can book a day trip or rent a car (very cheap in Montenegro, starting at around 30 euros per day).

Also, be sure to add the San Giovanni Fortress, Kotor’s Old Town, and a boat tour of the famous blue caves to your must-see list. For more experiences, check out my guide to the best Kotor tours & day trips.

14. See Budva From a New Perspective With a Kayak Tour

Try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking and hit the water with this three-hour guided tour.

Not only is this an amazing way to admire the city’s Old Town and best beaches from afar, but it’s also one of the best things to do in Budva for anyone keen to stay active and get in the water during their trip.

Though I’m more fond of kayaking, I spotted a group doing the same tour by stand-up paddle boarding, and it looked like an absolute blast!

15. Spend the Day at Durmitor National Park

Good news, if you want to explore one of the most beautiful regions of Montenegro, you can on a day trip from Budva! Durmitor National Park is a stellar national park with plenty to offer hikers and lovers of the outdoors. While it’s on the other side of the country (yeah, it’s small) these mountains are just two hours inland from Budva.

I’m consistently dumbfounded by how under-the-radar Durmitor National Park is. As well as being the home of Montenegro’s highest point, Bobotov Kuk, it’s also where you’ll find Europe’s deepest canyon, the Tara River Gorge, and the tranquil Black Lake.

For those of you keen to check out the superb hiking trails and outdoor activities available, consider getting a little off the beaten path and spending a few nights camping at the park.

16. Check out the Idyllic Town of Herceg Novi

Montenegro is packed full of little-known towns that I’m convinced will take off in the coming years, so I suggest getting to Herceg Novi while it’s still somewhat of a hidden gem.

Slightly further north than Kotor, Herceg Novi is less than a 90-minute drive from Budva. I instantly fell in love with the cliffside setting, grand fortress, and historic Savina Monastery.

Combined with a stop in Kotor, Herveg Novi makes for quite the day trip.

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Historic military installtions dot the coast near Herceg Novi

Where to Stay in Budva

For first-time visitors, staying in Budva Old Town offers a historic experience with easy access to beaches, landmarks, and dining. Alternatively, you can check out the Slovenska Beach area for a more modern option with a variety of hotels and apartments close to the seafront and nightlife.

Read: Where to Stay in Budva

1. Dukley Hotel & Resort

The perfect 5-star choice for those wanting ultimate relaxation and luxurious hospitality. Boasting a private beach and rooftop infinity pool.

2. La Villa Boutique Hotel

A great choice for families or those traveling in a small group. Situated in an ideal location in the old town close to many bars and cafes. It features immaculate living spaces and spectacular sea views.

3. Freedom Hostel

If meeting people on a rooftop with epic sea views is your thing then you need to put Freedom Hostel on the top of your list. Offering large communal areas and a karaoke machine this hostel screams FUN.

What Is The Best Way To Get To Budva?

For most visitors, the most straightforward way to get to Budva is to fly to Tivat Airport, which is conveniently situated just a 25-minute drive from the center of town. You can get a taxi from the airport that will cost around €25.

However, many travelers exploring the Balkans will visit Budva from Dubrovnik. This is exactly what I did the first time I visited Montenegro since the Croatian city has a wider range of connections to other European cities. From Dubrovnik, you can take the 2.5-hour bus journey to Budva. I recommend checking BusBud for tickets. I paid roughly 26 euros but the price changes depending on the season.

Also, if you’re planning to visit Budva as part of an extended trip around Montenegro, you’ll find that the town is accessible in under 30 minutes from popular places like Kotor via the impressive Vrmac tunnel.

Budva Travel FAQs

Is Budva Worth Visiting?

Offering an enviable location, fascinating historical sites, and ample opportunities for adventure and downtime, Budva is well worth visiting and among the best places to explore along the Adriatic Coast. Plus, Budva is a much more affordable destination than neighboring places in the Balkans.

What Is the Best Time of Year to Visit Budva?

May, June, and September are the best months of the year to visit Budva. The high season falls between July and August, and temperatures can become uncomfortably hot during these months. As a result, the weather tends to be much more pleasant outside of this time, and you’ll also notice fewer crowds.

How Many Days Should I Spend in Budva?

Although you can pack many of the top things to do in Budva in 2 or 3 days, I recommend spending around 4 to 5 days here to explore the town at a more relaxed pace and venture out from the main streets and tourist areas.

What Are the Must-Visit Attractions in Budva?

If you’re tight for time, be sure to add the Old Town, Budva Citadel, and Mogren Beach to the top of your agenda. There are many more must-dos and hidden gems on this list, take a look for yourself!

Is It Easy to Get around Budva Without a Car?

Many of the best things to do in Budva are within walking distance of each other, and the local bus system is reliable and reasonably priced, meaning you can easily explore Budva without a car. That being said, renting a car may be worth considering if you’re keen to explore other parts of the country during your visit.

What Currency Is Used in Budva?

Despite not being a European Union member, Montenegro has adopted the euro as their de facto currency.

There you have it! Your complete guide to the best things to see in Budva, Montenegro and all my top travel tips, whether you’re the adventurous type, a sun worshipper, or a culture connoisseur.

Got any additions or updates? Let me know in the comments so I can keep this guide fresh. I answer every comment. Before you head off and explore the Balkans, here are some more travel guides you’ll enjoy.