Budva in August is a little chaotic. The beaches, the promenades, the old town are all slammed with holiday goers soaking up the Budva Riviera. The chaos continues into the wee morning hours as revelers head out to beachside clubs for booze and bubble bath raves.
Ok, so this doesn’t exactly sound like our kind of travel, but believe us when we say the Montenegrin coastline is a gorgeous combination of rough-hewn cliffs sculpted by white pebbly beaches and clear Adriatic water. Despite being packed like sardines on the beach, the beach is exactly where you want to be during the intense August heat.
When we found out it was possible to walk (hike) seven kilometers down the coast from Budva to the private resort of Sveti Stefan and pass seven stunning bays lined with cliché Mediterranean beach bars and cafes serving up crunchy calamari and savory cevapi (savory sausages), it was game on.
A short skip north of Budva’s Stari Grad (old town) lie two pebbly beaches known as Morgen 1 and Morgen 2. Like most Montenegrin beaches, Morgen 1 and 2 have everything from bars to beach loungers to banana boats. Expect to lie shoulder to shoulder on Morgen’s white pebbled beaches. The path here passes by the graceful bronze ‘Budva Dancer’ statue where you must snap an iconic Budva vacation pic.
But we digress. The route to Sveti Stefan starts by walking south along Budva Bay and its promenade of restaurants, water taxis and beach clubs. Known as Slovenska Plaza the beach is quite long and unappealing for our tastes, so we suggest continuing south where you will walk into a pedestrian tunnel underneath the massive Duckley Gardens apartment complex.
Emerging from the tunnel you will need to veer right to reach the beach boardwalk. Becici beach (also called Rafailovici) is a long sandy beach with a dramatically more laid back scene than nearby Budva.
The south end of the beach is filled with cafes. Here we stopped for our second lunch of the day. Sitting in the shade at one of the many cozy cafes and beach bars is requisite for escaping the heat and loading up on ice-cold beverages. Along the point of the bay we stopped for one of many swims at an uncrowded pebble beach with a unique island made from layered rock. Perhaps you notice the routine: walk, swim, find some shade, drink, eat, repeat.
The next beach over is Kamenovo, a smaller sandy beach with light blue water. The scene here is a little bit more glamorous, the clubs are spaced more generously and the air is filled with a lighter house-techno thump. At the far end of the beach one of the clubs has a pier that is perfect for taking a quick refreshing plunge into the Adriatic.
To continue south from here you must hike up the stairs to the highway. Follow highway south a hundred or so meters (yes it’s a little unnerving with buses whizzing by) then veer right down a paved path to Przno.
Entering the little bay of Przno it’s hard to believe that the packed beach party scene of Budva is only a couple of miles away. Przno is the demarcation line where the disco nightclub scene gives way to a more laid back and scenic Montenegrin beach life.
Przno’s small sandy beach is backed by a handful of charming restaurants. Offshore a small rocky islet with a crumbling old building beckons for cliff jumpers to take a leap into the crystal clear sea. We highly recommend stopping here for another cold beverage and just sit and stare at the gorgeous view.
Continue south by walking up through the old stone buildings entering a pine forest.
Walking down the hill from Przno you will enter the first private beach that is part of the Aman Resorts and off limits to non-paying guests. Surrounded by cypress and olive trees the beach was a favorite of the wife of former Yugoslavian King Alexander Karadjordjevic.
Next to Queen’s Beach lies Milocer Beach that was the getaway for the Yugoslavian King. The King’s residence is now a private hotel and use of the beaches here are exclusively for hotel guests. Only the path through the beautiful pine forest is public. Peer through the trees and catch a glimpse of the ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’.
South from King’s Beach the pine trees part affording amazing views of Sveti Stefan, an exclusive resort operated by Aman Resorts. Sveti Stefan is an island connected to the mainland by a thin isthmus of sand. There are two pink sandy beaches on either side of this causeway. The north beach is for hotel guests and those willing to shell out 80 Euros for a beach lounger. The south beach is public.
Sveti Stefan is one of Montenegros top beaches and part of the country’s cultural heritage. In the 1500’s the island was used as a fortress to repel foreign invaders. By the mid-1900’s the residents were removed and the island converted into luxury resort for royalty and movie stars. During the 1980’s-90’s the changing geopolitical situation caused the luxury resort scene to dry up. The island has since been leased by luxury hotel group Aman Resorts who have been leasing the island and nearby residence at Milocer.
Ironically the island fortress that once repelled Turks and pirates now seems to guard the world’s elite from, well, the rest of Montenegro’s beach going populace, ourselves included.