Budva & Cetinje: Not Winter Towns

As the title of this post states, my overriding impression of Budva, a coastal city in Montenegro, is that it’s basically a summer place. In late December there’s very little to do or see – it’s a place that’s all about the beach and the water.

Budva has a small, walled old town of narrow alleys and white stone, but in December it’s virtually empty. Many of the shops and restaurants were closed, and those that were open were predictably overpriced. The bottom line is that in poor weather, there’s very little to ‘do’.

I’d booked two nights at Mojo Budva Hostel, a small place with welcoming owners and clean tiled rooms at the price of €7 per night for a bed in a two person dormitory – breakfast included. It’s about halfway between the bus station and the old town in a residential street, and it was nice and close to the biggest and best-stocked supermarket I’d seen in a long time. At least I’d be able to cook something tasty!

Having arrived in the morning, I spent the first day in Budva wandering through the old town and sitting up on the top of the very small and unimpressive citadel overlooking the ocean. The view far exceeded the building itself. Like Kotor, and like Dubrovnik, the old walled town is white with terracotta roofs, making for a beautiful combination of colours against the deep blue hues of the water.

My second day in Budva I decided to head to the nearby town of Cetinje which was somewhat disappointing. Like Budva it felt somewhat lifeless, although I did appreciate the colourfully painted houses and the Christmas decorations. Sights to see in Cetinje include a couple of monasteries and tombs, which turned out to be lacklustre and a little disappointing. In summer, when the town is awake, it may be a different story. Almost every shop there was closed, as were all the restaurants. To be fair it was a Sunday, so in part this may not be surprising. Perhaps I’d have had a different experience had I visited during the week; perhaps not. During summer, Cetinje may be a quiet place to relax away from the party town that Budva becomes.

Overall, I found Budva and Cetinje to be nothing special, and wouldn’t particularly urge anyone to travel there during winter. In summer however, it’s apparently a completely different kettle of fish. Alas, one of the problems with travelling in the longer term is that you can’t be everywhere at the perfect time. Sometimes you’ll find an absolute gem out-of-season; other times you’ll be reminded that there’s a very good reason that people go somewhere at a certain time of year. I’d suggest that Budva falls into the latter category there!

But, wouldn’t you know, I still took a whole bunch of photos.

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2 responses to “Budva & Cetinje: Not Winter Towns

  1. You still managed to take beautiful photos. I’ve never been to the Montenegrin coast in winter but I have a few friends who would go there (usually to Herceg Novi) only in winter, when there would be no tourists. I guess it is easier to do when you have your own place and do not depend on local shops. I’m sorry your Crna Gora experience was not as good as it could have been.

    • It would definitely be easier with your own place, or your own transport. I’d love to go back there – it was beautiful, just devoid of things to do. I’ll go back someday when the weather’s better – maybe not the height of Summer when it’s packed with people, but when it’s warm enough to take advantage of everything the area has to offer!

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