Budva and Kotor, Montenegro
Experience Adriatic sea vistas and Montenegrin charm
An idyllic, seaside retreat
The beach town of Budva is ¾ surrounded by water. Budva’s Old Town, also known as St. Stefan (Sveti Stefan), is connected to mainland by a sliver of a road. Everything you want to see in Budva you can see in a day, but if you love the beach and partying, I suggest adding in a couple extra days as this is definitely the best place in Montenegro for nightlife.
Relive history wandering through Kotor
Kotor is an ancient city filled with history, overlooking the Bay of Kotor, which funnels into the Adriatic Sea. The main Cathedral of Saint Tryphon has a museum upstairs that houses gilded, old texts and intricate church objects, well worth a visit to feel a sense of how influential Christianity has been to the town.
The Yolk Knows: The jewelry stores in Budva may look super fancy, but some have a section that isn't composed of precious metals. I snagged two high-quality rings for 5 euros each- a steal!
Walking from the bus station to Old Town Budva is only 15 minutes, if you're slow. Don't listen to anyone who tries to tell you to take a taxi. The buses, while on Balkan time so you never quite know when they will arrive, are quite convenient to take. You can bus from Budva to Kotor in under an hour, making both a doable day trip depending on which of the two your base is.
Perast (15 euros) from Kotor, not only does it save you time and planning effort, but you get to feel the wind and breeze in your hair and the waves bursting at your toes, rather than some Montenegrin's sweaty armpit on the bus.
Don’t miss Our Lady of the Rocks, a Roman Catholic Church on an artificial, man-made islet. According to legend, the islet was made over the centuries by local seamen who kept an ancient oath after finding the icon of Madonna and Child. After every successful voyage, they laid a rock in the Bay until the islet emerged. The custom of throwing rocks into the sea is actually still thriving today, every year on the sunset of July 22nd, locals take their boats and throw rocks into the sea to widen the island’s service, an event called fasinada. The other islet is the lesser visited St. George’s island, or Sveti Dorde.
Eats & Noms
Budva Juice Bar offers great value and tasty vegetarian options. The bread in their brie & cranberry sandwich is so delicious, toasted, crumbly warm it practically melts in your mouth while still maintaining a good amount of firmness so your sandwich doesn’t fall apart. In Kotor, two euro pizza slices at Pizza Pronto will keep you full. Kotor doesn’t offer too many great deals or culinary treats. Our hostel, Old Town Hostel, was in a fabulous location and looked like it belongs in Game of Thrones, served breakfast and dinner for an addition 6 euros, a decent deal.
Take a Dip
The best public beach is the Old Town Beach to the left of the island. Here you can swim through crystal clear water close to the side of the fortress, with one of the best views of St. Stefan. You may be tempted to take a trip to the little island jutting out that locals call ‘Hawaii,’ however there is really nothing special to do there or to see, so my recommendation is to skip the tourist trap!
Find the Best Views
Don’t miss visiting the Budva Fortress (Citadel) for the gorgeous view of all the sun-baked, orange roofs with the mountainous backdrop that help Budva’s landscape look so unique.
In Kotor, the two-three hour hike up San Giovanni’s Fortress is well worth the effort. You will be rewarded with stunning views of the Church of Our Lady of Health against the backdrop of the bay. And best of all its priced at an affordable 2.50 euros. Try to go closer to sunset to eliminate the heat and catch a breathtaking view of the setting sun.
In Perast, don’t miss the 150 step climb up to the top of the St. Nikola Church Belltower.