Drive into Budva and you will understand why this is by far the most popular destination in Montenegro in summer. It is packed to the rafters. And definitely feels that way. Clearly many pick Budva for their summer holidays (especially popular with the Russians according to Petar), but it felt just too oversized for us.
Blessed with long stretches of beaches, it has much to offer including a night life second to none in Montenegro. However, extensive tourism development seem to have squeezed the charm out of this city. We were only there for a day and it felt just like home during peak hour traffic! Lots and lots of cars, traffic jams and of course, finding a park is next to impossible. The city (and infrastructure) is clearly groaning under the weight of tourism.
Nevertheless, there are still bright spots and the old town is one of them. We spent much of our time in Budva walking the cobbled streets of the Stari Grad before taking some respite from the heat with drinks along the Budva Marina.
Then if you have disposable income (lots of it), you can get away from it all at nearby Sveti Stefan. This village islet dates back to the 15th century with many a celebrity visiting here in the 70’s and 80’s. Today, it is a private resort and sadly, no longer open to the public unless you are a guest of the resort.
Even then, you can be unlucky and get trumped by tennis champion Novak Djokovic who booked out the entire island for his wedding.This happened just the day before we were there so we missed all the fanfare.
For everyone else, you can access the beach for a fee (50 euros) and only up to a point, after which vigilant guards are stationed to prevent anyone from wandering onto the island.
After Budva, heading back to Kotor was like returning to an oasis. Sure it may not stand up to its glitzy sibling, but it at least makes you feel like you’re on holiday.