Day 28-29: Budva/Sveti Stefan, Montenegro

by - August 31, 2011

“below us we could see Budva, a walled town on a round peninsula, a little white tortoise against the blue sea”

It was a two hour journey north from Ulcinj to the major tourist town of Budva, north up the coast on the cheap and reliable Montenegrin bus service.  As Budva is renowned for its beaches I have to admit that we didn’t do anything on the first day apart from swimming and eating on our first day, from our base at the Hippo Hostel on the edge of town.

Sveti Stefan, Montenegro
The next day we started by getting a bus on a short 20 minute journey back down the coast to the exclusive resort of Sveti Stefan.  The resort was one of the classiest in Europe during the Yugoslavian days with clients including Doris Day and Queen Elizabeth II, but seemed to be in a bit of a transition period when our Lonely Planet was published 3 years ago.  As a result we didn’t know how much we would be able to see.  The tiny island itself, connected to the mainland by a small narrow spit of land is amongst the most photographed places in the Balkans.  Unfortunately when we arrived, as dramatic as it was, it was clear that it was the island itself, rather than any specific buildings on it that, that was the hotel and access was for clients only.  To prove to you just how exclusive the whole place was, access to two of its beaches was available however it came at the price of 20 or 50 euros.  Having planned to spend our entire morning there we found that, as mere mortals, there was only enough for half an hour of photo taking before we turned round and headed back to Budva.

Budva Old Town

We hadn’t done any sightseeing in Budva itself so we spent our afternoon there with longer than we had expected.  The town is dominated by its large beach, covered with Russian and Ukranian sunbathers, but there is also a pretty walled old town that was built by the Venetians in their distinctively attractive style.  We paid to enter the citadel which essentially just allowed us onto the highest section of walls, from which we were able to get some great photos of the town and the bay.  A beach lies beside the castle walls and it is possible to swim here to get a sea view of the town.  We spent the rest of our afternoon here before turning back to the hostel, having a meal at a typical Balkan grillhouse on the way back.

The sea against Budva walls

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