- Arriving to Budva
- Vibes in Budva
- Best places to see in Budva Montenegro
- Old Town Budva: Altstadt
- St. Nicholas Island: Sveti Nikola
- Mogren Beach
- Jaz Beach
- Sveti Stefan
- Budva Recommendations
Arriving to Budva
When I first arrived in Montenegro, which was something like my 20th country in a span of a year, I booked a flat for a weekend in Budva. This was my second visit to Budva and one to remember for a lifetime. Here is where I met my good friend Can, a cool guy from Turkey if you can’t tell from the name spelling. Can is pronounced John in English. Just as I’ve heard and experienced many times, he treated me proper Turkish style. Being raised in USA, where we are a bit more independent and less emotional, this was exactly my vibe and needs in that moment.
After getting settled in Budva after only a weekend, I took off for a week to Kotor. Kotor is a coastal city located on Kotor Bay about 20 kilometers from Budva. It’s a quick trip to another beautiful region of Montenegro where buses operate multiple times per day between these two cities. After a week in Kotor, I returned to Budva with much anticipated good vibes. This was the beginning of my month in paradise. The weather was beginning to warm and tourist crowds were light as summer season was still several weeks away. John was the host of the flats which I rented from the week prior. He is partially the reason I returned and stayed so long upon return from Kotor. We interacted daily, drank tea, gin, talked about life, relationships, our hopes and dreams and ate lots of burek. Life was good, I didn’t have specific plans for the weeks to come so I stayed put in Budva. Glad I did!
My daily routine in Budva
Now, I was settled in Budva. Time to find my daily routine. This is about the time I started to get serious in my blog, which you are reading now, thanks! By the way, I have a small business in Texas which covers my travel expenses and requires little of my time each day due to the amazing team assembled back home. I get this question often, how do you travel so much and what do you do for work? There’s the answer. Another question I hear often: Where is your favorite place you’ve traveled? I hear this daily. I am yet to have an answer as every place has been special in its own way. This is why I continue on. With an open mind, you can enjoy any and every place you visit, promise. So, go!
Here’s a quick summary of what a typical day looked like for me. Wake up, quick coffee, if I have the desire to make it, shower, grab my laptop, backpack and take off on my bike. Burek and coffee likely on my mind. Minutes from the beach, minutes from the old town and miles of shoreline to explore on foot or bike. Back in Texas, I was accustomed to hitting the trails often so it was quite refreshing to have access to a trail bike again. Back to food. The burek is amazing. Have you tried before? If not it’s a scandal.
Burek is something everyone must have plenty of in order for life to be fulfilled. There is one place I often hit up called Good Food after a local, and now dear friend gave me the best shout out. Thanks, Sanja! Initially, before learning the local feels, I was simply eating at the first place I found near the sea. Bad idea. Locals will guide you to the most amazing spots so make friends.
I had this scenario while in Budva, I needed to replace my Airpods. Apparently, I wore them down quite a bit, c’mon Apple. A look at the bright-side, this was quite a reward for me. I visited three places in search of something I could put in my ears for tunes. The third spot offered much more than a new pair of headphones. Here is where I met Sanja. Sanja is highly overqualified for this position and she has amazing plans for her future, some involve traveling! I am hoping to be on a waitlist with her some day in the future for therapy so hold a spot for me, girl.
Sanja and I shared laughs, travel stories and simply great conversation so we decided to meet for coffee later in the week. From there, we decided to explore even further, later taking a day trip to Perast, a nearby old town village located on the Bay of Kotor. Here, we met with some of her friends and walked the beautiful cozy village. We keep in touch to this day and I hope to catch up with her again soon, somewhere in this world.
Vibes in Budva
On my bike each day, I road from my apartment to the beach and took any errands as needed, often forgetting I needed them in the first place. You will forget many of your natural worries when you find your place in this world, whether temporary or long-term. I would explore nearly every day of the week, looking for anything and everything from swimming holes, pretty views, work spots, restaurants, new friends and locals to chat up. A lot going on in this small city which just happened to include a beautiful coastline. Paradise, right? For me, yes. Laid back, friendly people, sunshine, good food, amazing friends and good vibes all around.
Now, I had my logistics in place for all of my needs. For work, I often chose the Mogren hotel, located steps from the Old Town. It was quiet inside, even as large crowds frequently passed by. Food and coffee were sufficient, but no Burek! It’s ok, I already consumed my morning portion. It’s amazing how little we need when true happiness is discovered. Go find it!
As you can imagine, distraction from work was real but remember, I had a bike. Never was I more than ten minutes from my flat, or any place I desired to go within city limits. Moving around with flexibility was a non-issue. Distractions were welcomed and often indulged upon. I felt as if I could settle back into work quite easily wherever the latest distraction or spontaneous adventure led me. When I refer to work, I am referring to this website and blog, along with other social media tasks which apparently blogging requires!
Once the sun began to fall each day, I would take off for a view or nap on the beach soliciting all of my new friends to join. Often times, they did. We would walk to Mogren Fortress. A journey to the fortress requires a pass by Mogren Beach and Old Town Budva. This cozy city, with seaside views, old town feels and social vibes, has many things to offer. Soak it all in and let the feelings flow, you’ll certainly have the time of your life if you are modest in your adventure. Needless to say, solo travel is alive and well in Budva.
Places to visit: Budva Montenegro
i. Old Town Budva (Altstadt)
Dating back 2500 years, Budva is wrapped in history and today presents itself as an adventurers’ paradise. Once an island, attached to the mainland by a small stretch of sand, Old Town Budva has now grown into a sandy peninsula. The fortified walls are a popular attraction in Budva which completely encircle this ancient Old Town. The wall stretches far out into the sea as the Old Town is literally the edge of the peninsula. Destroyed by Earthquakes multiple times, the Old Town walls first demolished in the 17th century but rebuilt soon after by the Venetians, who ruled the area at the time. Again in 1979, an Earthquake leveled the Old Town Walls along with many buildings within the walls but most have since been restored representing the look from centuries ago.
The Old Town has many attractions which include its aforementioned fortified walls along with cobble stone streets, medieval churches and buildings and is scattered with restaurants cafes and pubs for your enjoyment. All of this accompanied with a relaxed atmosphere and beautiful views. On the western side of the old town along Plaža Ričardova Glava, or Ričardo Glava Beach, you’ll enjoy ancient feels as water and waves crash against the cultured and ageless fortified walls of the old town. Enjoy a coffee or meal at one of the cafes or take a peaceful midnight walk where glow from the old town clock tower guide your way.
ii. St. Nicholas Island (Sveti Nikola)
Located about one kilometer from Budva Old Town, St. Nicholas Island is an uninhabited island stretching roughly two kilometers in length and viewable from nearly any location along the coast within Budva. To repeat myself, the views are spectacular. This island is a special part of the city vibe simply due to the spectacular views from the shoreline.
Often referred to as “Hawaii” in local tourism, Saint Nicholas Island island can be reached just about any time of day by multiple private boats, ferries and cutters. You will find option for transport at the pier near Old Town Budva by approaching a private boatman awaiting your arrival in his private boat or by locating a kiosk. During high season, or popular months for tourism, you’ll likely see signs displaying the word “Hawaii” and here is another option for transport to the island featuring crystal clear waters and three beaches stretching a total of 800 meter.
St. Nicholas Island is covered with thick vegetation, aside from the shoreline, so exploration in other areas of the island is quite difficult. Enjoy the beaches and beautiful waters. You’ll soak in all the feels. A good note, keep your transport ticket from Budva as the return guide may not remember you or perhaps you will locate a different courier for return, in which case you will be required to pay again. Locate the same guide or company which offered your transport, or simply bring cash and pay a second fare for return. The good news is transport tickets are relatively cheap running approximately $5 round trip.
iii. Mogren Beach
First, you’ll embrace upon your first stretch of beach which is Mogren 1. A walk to end of the Mogren 1 will bring you to a cave where you’ll be required to meander your way to the second beach, or Mogren 2. Here, you’ll wade through waist deep waters during high tide. Low tide presents an easier, and safer passage to Mogren 2. Whether or not you cross over to Mogren 2 or not, check out the cave as it’s another interesting place to see in Budva. Mogren 2 also offers an opportunity for cliff jumping. The leap here is about 15 meters high and is relatively safe. For your visit to Mogren beach, bring towels and anything else you’ll need for a day at the beach as shops here are limited primarily to drinks, food and sun bed rentals. About a 15-minute walk from the Old Town of Budva, this is a must-see beach while visiting Budva.
iv. Jaz Beach
Jaz Beach is located 2.5 km west of Budva and once held concerts by The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Lenny Kravitz and many other artists. Jaz Beach stretches roughly 2.5 kilometers in length making it one of the longer stretches of coastline in Budva and like Mogren Beach, is separated into two parts. The first part is more developed offering cafes, and restaurants, sunbed and watersport rentals. This first section is more suitable for families and those looking for a casual atmosphere. The second part is a bit more secluded and isolated. Here you will find less development, nudist friendly and privacy. Regardless of the section you choose to enjoy, Jaz Beach offer clear sea waters along the Adriatic, pebbled beaches and during summer months, ample sunshine.
Located under the Mogren Fortress, Jaz Beach now presents itself as a premier opportunity for touristic development as it is one of few areas along the Montenegrin coastline which remains underdeveloped. During my last visit here, I witnessed cranes and other machinery deep in the forest near Jaz Beach. In fact, so deep, I thought helicopters must have dropped the machinery in place but upon later discovery, there was a dirt road that led down from Mogren Fortress. Jaz Beach, like most in Budva and the region, is at the bottom of a cliff side so development here is quite difficult but would certainly be worthy of a visit for those who will experience. Personally, my preference is to touch as little of nature as possible but I also understand desire for individuals, capitalists, municipalities and governments to cash in on touristic development.
v. Sveti Stefan
Early records show Sveti Stefan settlement in the twelfth century. It later became a protectorate of the Republic of Venice which it accepted as sovereignty in order to defend themselves from the ottoman empire. The town was heavily destructed during the Fourth Ottoman-Venetian War in the late 16th century but rebuilt later on due to public outcry.
Centuries later, Yugoslav dictatorship converted the island into a luxury resort in the 1950’s and moved the remaining inhabitants to the mainland. A later project, Aman Sveti Stefan Resorts, refurbished the resort. The new resort opened to the public in 2009 where it still stands to this day. However, the resort closed in 2020 due to the Covid 19 Pandemic and remains closed to this day citing security concerns and conflict with government entities. There has been no public announcement for reopening but you can get a great view simply from the beach and also by walking across the bridge along Ivano Vidoni Beach.
As one can imagine, views here overlooking the Adriatic Sea are spectacular. There are many things to do in the area so taking a day trip from Budva is a great idea if you have the time. Ivano Vidoni Beach is a mixture of sand and stone offering a sunny summer day of fun. Milocher park is just minutes away offering great views of the beach, Island and nature so be sure to take a stroll through the park. In the summer months, there are plenty of activities for kids and families accompanies by several cafes and restaurants along and near the beach. Parking is available next to the park so you can bring your car without issue but you may have to pay as free parking is limited. Cost for parking is 2 Euro.
Budva Recommendations: Worry Free Holiday
From laundry and hygiene to cafes, nightlife and accommodations and rentals, check out some of my top Budva recommendations which you must consider when visiting! I’ve gathered these with first hand experience and lot’s of exploring!
Check out the Instagram highlights from my visits to Budva. Enjoy your visit and reach out with questions. Please like, and share with anyone you feel would enjoy the read, or a visit to Budva!