Recently me and my girlfriend took a week off and headed over to Budva in Montenegro. We didn’t know too much about the town or the country itself but the excitement began to build when we read it was one of Metro’s “9 European holiday destination ideas you might not have thought of“! It’s also known as ‘Montenegrin Miami’.
What a place and what a country. It’s now a special place to me, the people are so friendly, the food amazing and even though we had to fly to Croatia then a 3 hour coach journey through to Montenegro, it was well worth it. (There is an airport in nearby Tivat but most flights from the UK are easier and more frequent.)
Anyway, I got back about a month ago now and when going through the photos I thought i’d put together this little travel guide for anyone interested in visiting, or looking for a more unique destination for some Summer sun. I honestly can’t recommend a place enough and will be going back visiting sometime, sooner the better.
The Old and New Towns of Budva
Budva is a beautiful little town on the Adriatic coast which really does have everything. It’s sort of split in to two sides, the old and new town, which both has it’s individual style. The old town comprises of little cobbled streets, boutique shops, bars and restaurants (which i’ll mention later) and the new town has a long stretch of beach with restaurants right the way along and further back lots of shops including a shopping centre, this sides a bit busier.
The first day we arrived it was a bit overcast and rained that night, but waking up the next day to blue skies and 35 degrees heat stopped any worries. We stayed at a hotel right next to the old town called Avala which I highly recommend. Just a few steps down and you’re in the old town, and 5 more minutes you’re in the new town, no need for taxis anywhere. It’s right on the beach front too.
The only place to start really is the food and drink, it’s SO cheap out there. In the evenings we’d go out for a 3 course meal with wine, expect it to be around €80 and it always came to around €35. After doing a bit of digging about on Trip Advisor, our favourite restaurant was Porto, a little Italian where you had to walk over this small bridge to get in to. It had character, the waiters were friendly (they were everywhere to be fair) and the pasta was amazing. I had the Arrabbiata which was delicious, why do Tomatoes taste so much better abroad?
Porto Restaurant, Budva
With Montenegro being just over the Adriatic Sea from Italy (Bari I think?) there’s a lot of Italian influences in the food. On every menu you’re sure to find prosciutto, homemade bruschetta (I got a little obsessed with this) and pizza, SO much pizza. There’s little shops everywhere selling slice of pizza for €1 and are open till late at night. You’ll find a lot of seafood restaurants too, with fisherman selling the days catches on the sea front. In terms of lunch time, there’s a juice bar (called Juice Bar) in the old town (top rated on Trip Advisor) that has THE BEST salads and smoothies. I noticed the portion sizes in Budva are massive, and with it being so cheap you definitely get your money’s worth.
The food in Budva is amazing!
Drinks. Everyone loves a bevvy on holiday and if you’re a fan of craft beers there’s surprisingly a decent choice in Budva. We stumbled upon a little bar under the trees in the old town (called Casper if you’re visiting) which had Bath Ales and some great German craft beers. This is where I discovered the german beer called ‘Sunday’ which i’m going to try seek out in England. The local lager there is Niksicko which is a crisp, refreshing taste which you can buy from the supermarkets for pretty cheap (about €1.50) so good to stock up for on the balcony. They’re also obsessed with Somersby Cider in Montenegro (mad right?) which you can buy from everywhere so we had a few bottles of the blueberry everyday.
Craft Beers, Casper Bar – Old Town, Budva
The nightlife in Budva is unreal. My favourite being the old town, with the above mentioned bar, Casper, playing funk & soul in to the early hours, along with 2 little bars in the narrow streets pumping out house tunes late on, called Jeff and Cafe Grecco, right next to each other. There’s a lot of hostels in the old town so these are popular spots where you probably won’t get a table, but the music great and so is the cocktails. If you want somewhere a bit quieter, just on the outside of the old town walls are nice cocktail bars with pretty much everything you could ask for. The warm breeze and sound of the sea is great wind down for the day.
In the new town it’s completely different. Along the front there’s these outdoor themed nightclubs playing EDM, one with a massive Eiffel Tower in the middle and one a pirate ship. Think student nights with cheap fishbowl cocktails, similar to Magaluf or Malia but on a smaller scale. We had one night out here but were shocked to find the music stopped at midnight where they escorted everyone to local underground nightclubs. We ended up in one called Club Sparta which was pretty mad, but the smoking indoors is a bit too much, good laugh though.
Budva, if you think of the place as a whole, is pretty big and stretches right round the cliffs. There’s two little islands that everyone talks about, one you can visit, the other you can visit if you’ve got a spare €1,200 a night (i’ll explain in a minute). The first, Sveti Nicola, is the island you can see from everywhere in Budva. It’s not far on a little taxi boat and although there’s not too much there it’s definitely worth a trip across for the hidden beaches and untouched beauty. You also get a great view of Budva from here. We paid €10 for a taxi boat across to find there’s a free one back and forth further down the beach, so keep an eye out for this.
Sveti Nicola, Budva
Now the other one. If you Google pictures of Budva this will be what you see. It’s called Sveti Stefan and is now owned by a hotel complex so the whole island is out of bounds unless you’re a member or have a restaurant reservation at one of the four choices on there. We tried this but whilst we were there an unnamed DJ has booked the whole island for 5 days so the picture below is as close as we got to seeing this. Been told it’s beautiful over there though (what you’d expect for €1,200 a night), in fact Novak Djokovic got married there a couple of years ago so not bad for some ey.
Sveti Stefan, Budva
I’m already planning on my next visit back to Budva, and definitely interested in checking out the local music festival, Sea Dance Festival, which was advertised everywhere with Andy C, My Nu Leng, Shy FX and more playing (I was gutted to leave 2 weeks earlier).
Look out for my posts in the next few weeks on other areas of Montenegro, but i’ll leave you for now with more photos. Thanks for reading.