Budva and its posh brother, Sveti Stefan


You will always come across Budva and Sveti Stefan in tourist guides for Macedonia. But are they worth seeing?

Budva

Why should I go to Budva and Sveti Stefan?

While not our top pick on Montenegro (read our post on Kotor), Budva and Sveti Stefan are a must-see. The undisputed party capital of Montenegro, Budva is a real party hard place with world class clubs and Sveti Stefan is not doing worse either. However, if you’re into partying here, hurry up before rich kids flooding the place will pump the prices us even more! Apart from this, Sveti Stefan is an undeniable historical and architectural Montenegrin jewel, while 6km down the road Budva is teeming with life, some dramatic mountainous landscapes and a lot of places to hang out in. And really, you can’t go home and tell your friends you haven’t seen those two places!

How do I get there?

We were a bit baffled by the high transportation costs for a bus (though we might have been a bit biased after crossing from Albania) so we hitch hiked. If you come from Albania, there is a regular bus service between Shkoder (and while you’re at it spend couple of days there, looks impressive!) and Ulcinj, some 42km over the border, in Montenegro. To be fair, hitch hiking was the best choice – we saved some money and got there fast. The road took us through Bar and Petrovac, finally making it to Budva some 65km later. So you can try taking a bus (timetables might not be convenient) or just make a nice, big, clear hitch hiking sign and hit the road! If you come from Kotor/Herceg Novi, there are regular buses at reasonable prices.

Where do I sleep overnight?

Budva is probably THE place in Montenegro for guesthouses, hotels and hostels. Come high season and you’ll have to pay at least 14-15 euros for a hostel bed. If you’re not alone, then just go in the city and check out signs with “zimmer frei” or “free rooms” or “camere” or “apartmani”. We found a private room in one of those places for 20 euros, outside the Zrtava Fasizma street (a circular), in a quiet neighbourhood filled with guesthouses and hostels.

Where do I eat and drink?

It can be quite pricy to eat out in Budva, but if cooking your own stuff is not your thing then try to avoid downtown. Taste of Asia seems to be a popular choice, though if you’d rather eat something local, try Konoba Bocun. Whatever you do though, don’t think you’ll match the prices at Sveti Stefan – the whole island is actually a 5 star hotel where you need to pay for a tour (yes, 20 euros for half hour).

What we liked/What we didn’t like 

(+) The landscapes are great, as it is all over the Montenegrin coast

(+) Sveti Stefan is impressive, even if you don’t go in

(-) Budva is extremely touristy and crowded – also quite pricy

(-) The old town in Budva is very small and extremely commercial (not to mention it was actually rebuild so not the original)

(-) A big disappointment were the rates to visit Sveti Stefan. Also, the beach there was private and funny enough, you had to pay different rates depending on where your chair was located

Where do I go next?

Go to Kotor, our top pick for Montenegro! If you’re heading to Albania, then you can check our posts on Berat, Osum Canyon, the 50m deep karst hole at the Blue Eye near Sarande and Ksamil, the beautiful village beach resort. And as usual, we also have tips for you on how to cross the border to/from Greece.

Sveti Stefan, the posh neighbour
Sveti Stefan, the posh neighbourhood
An old fisherman by the (recently rebuilt) walls of Budva's Old Town
An old fisherman by the (recently rebuilt) walls of Budva’s Old Town
Sveti Stefan, the Montenegrin version of Mont Sain-Michel
Sveti Stefan, the Montenegrin version of Mont Sain-Michel
Budva seen from the beach of Sveti Stefan
Budva seen from the beach of Sveti Stefan
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