Budva Gay Travel
wolfyy’s Budva gay travel guide to hotels, things to do, nightlife, beaches & Montenegro gay travel tips.
The Gay Travel Experience: Budva, Montenegro
Just south of bustling Croatia is a paradise unexplored by many westerners. LGBT travel to Budva has not yet gained overwhelming popularity given the societal norms of the region.
However, Montenegro in general is a fantastic off-the-beaten-path gay travel destination. Traveling to Budva as well as the nearby town of Ulcinj is especially great for those seeking a unique experience.
Westerners may not know about Budva, but this beach town is frequented by Russian tourists and people from surrounding Baltic states. There is a pervasive Baltic/Russian culture mix here since the region was once part of the Soviet Union.
Local gay individuals tend to keep out of the public eye, but it’s not impossible to find them. Friendly gay locals are in the most common of places; it just takes a little practice to spot them.
Shortly after my visit to Budva, I met a local gay guy in south Montenegro before making my way toward the Albanian capital of Tirana. He was one of the most upbeat and bubbly guys I’ve ever met! Read more later in this guide for my story on him.
Is Montenegro Safe for Gay Travelers?
While in Montenegro, it is important for LGBTQ travelers to stay safe by avoiding public displays of affection. Homosexuality is legal in Montenegro, however, anti-gay sentiment is still prevalent.
Locals are not so comfortable with the idea of homosexuality. To avoid any stares, rude remarks, or other types of trouble, it’s best to keep your affection private. Read more at the end of this Budva gay travel guide for more about gay rights in Montenegro.
Gay Life in the Balkans: A Story
I was enlightened after spending time with a gay friend I met while in south Montenegro at a gay beach. This man who will remain nameless per his request is native to the Balkan region.
From his perspective, I learned the difference in how gay men lead their lives in this area of the world and their justification for doing so.
I have many friends who were born in the Balkans. Most of these gay individuals are not open with their sexuality, in part or in whole. They usually have a small network of gay friends and prefer to keep it that way. In my experience, they are not privy to tell their parents for fear of upsetting their normalcy of life.
From what they’ve told me, these Balkan-region gay men can lead happy lives without being open about their sexual preferences. Most err on the side of caution by omitting details about who they are to their family.
Some may not have the resources to uproot themselves from their hometowns to move on to a different life and some may simply desire not to do so. It surely is not an ideal situation, but this is often their reality.
Some westerners will surely have opposing opinions and viewpoints on this. However, it seems gay men in Montenegro, Albania, Croatia, and other countries in the region prefer to keep things private instead of disrupting their status quo.
Hotels & Where to Stay in Budva, Montenegro
The best place to stay in Budva is just outside the Old Town walls. This is the densest part of the city outside the Old Town.
Accommodations here also tend to be more modern. Plus, the area has great access to dinner restaurants, parties, and of course, Budva’s unofficial gay bar.
Budva vacation apartment rentals are my top recommendation though. Stay anywhere between south Gospostina and the Old Town. This is the best area of town.
I stayed in The Old Town Viewpoint Apartments, an apartment rental I found on Booking, and I wouldn’t have preferred anywhere else. The historic charm here is beautiful. For $80 USD per night, I booked a lovely renovated studio with a balcony.
The farther you go from the old town walls, everything becomes more spread out. So keep this in mind if you don’t plan on having a car or other means of transport.
Apartments Aqua is one of the most highly rated and gay-friendly Budva accommodations that are not too far from the old town. They’re nestled up on a hill that offers the best possible views of the city and coastline.
The luxurious rooftop pool is one of the best amenities at Apartment Aqua. I don’t think anything else in Budva can compare! Plus, rooms are modern, affordable, and full of natural light.
Boutique Hotel Vissi d’Arte is another option if you prefer an LGBT-friendly hotel. This hotel is undoubtedly luxury, one of the best 5-star hotels in Budva.
You can expect impeccable interior design, fantastic balcony views, and fine dining amongst other luxury perks. Hotel Vissi d’Arte is on the expensive side, but it’s definitely worth it if you have the budget.
More Budva Hotels I Recommend
Here are a few other fantastic hotels in Budva that are highly rated and perfectly located for exploring the city.
Things to Do in Budva for Gay Travelers
Most travelers head to Montenegro seeking the clear, blue Adriatic waters, you will surely find them in Budva! However, don’t be surprised that they are a bit cooler than the Mediterranean.
Mogren Beach is the most popular beach in Budva. On your walk to Mogren Beach, you will pass some gorgeous rock formations, perfect for those beautiful Instagram photos! Mogren Beach has bathrooms as well as a bar and restaurant to keep you full and happy.
Beach chair rentals will be packed quite tightly along the shore at Mogren beach. They cost between €5 and €10 per person, depending on where you sit.
Beaches in the main Budva area, including Mogren, are quite crowded. If you prefer seclusion, there are some other options for secluded gay beaches near Budva.
The beachfront directly in the center of town is not so great for swimming because it is quite small and does not have much open space to relax.
I spent only an hour here having a beer after arriving in Budva with my good friend Martin. It is more of a hangout area or spot to dip your feet in the water.
Budva Gay Beaches
Reaching the gay beach nearest to Budva is probably only possible if you have a car.
Here along the roadway, you will find a small parking lot and a steep path down to two rocky alcoves. Ratac gay beach is also a nudist beach, so there will be your typical free-spirited people all around.
It’s not a very busy place, but it is where local gays in Montenegro hang out. I visited in July and there were more than a dozen hanging around.
Hawaii Beach (Sveti Nikola Island)
Take a taxi boat to Sveti Nikola Island for an awesome Budva day trip. The Island is also referred to as “Hawaii” and the main beach is called Hawaii Beach. Sveti Nikola is less crowded than the town shoreline and has much more open space.
There are both sandy beaches and cobblestone beaches on the island, so you can find whichever you prefer.
Visiting Sveti Nikola Island was one of my favorite days in Budva. My friend Martin and I hunted for a secluded spot and enjoyed the clear Budva sea. Get there earlier in the day, as the island closes down at sunset.
Public taxi boats run to Sveti Nikola Island for only 4 Euro round trip! The taxi boat is in the main port area. If you can’t find it, just ask any private boat driver along the promenade. Alternatively, a private taxi boat will cost closer to €20 Euro.
Day Trips from Budva
After exploring the city of Budva, there are plenty of fantastic neighboring areas that you should consider checking out.
Try a day cruise to Kotor’s Boka Bay to see the magical seaside landscapes and take a freeing swim in the Adriatic Sea.
Since you’re so close to the Albanian border, consider touring Shkoder as well as the Albanian capital of Tirana as part of a full-day Albania tour.
I haven’t been to Shkoder myself, but I do know this area is beautiful, as the city hugs Shkodra Lake.
Montenegro Gay Tours
Joining a Montenegro gay tour is a fantastic and easy way to explore the most beautiful parts of the country.
Alongside a group of other gay travelers, you can make a bunch of new friends and make the most of your travel experience. Plus, transportation, logistics, and all sorts of other details are taken care of for you.
Their Montenegro & Albania: Balkans Adventure gay tour is filled with adventure. Exploring untouched national parks, medieval cities, and famous local bays is absolutely beautiful.
Restaurants in Budva
Given that Budva is a tourist vacation destination, you must be judicious with the restaurants you choose. If you don’t take any of these recommendations below, be sure to at least read reviews on Google. The quality of food can vary drastically for similar prices.
Konoba Portun was my favorite restaurant in Budva. I had some amazing sesame-crusted grilled tuna. The house wine sufficed as it was local Montenegrin wine.
While the restaurant isn’t the cheapest, Konoba Portun is well worth the price. They’re located in the old city in an adorable narrow alleyway that you surely won’t forget.
Check out Astoria Restaurant for breakfast or lunch near the beach. They are part of the Astoria Hotel Budva. Interestingly, Astoria Restaurant is by far better than the café directly adjacent to it. That nearby restaurant that advertises Aperol Spritz is not very good, so I’d skip it.
Stari Grad Restaurant is another fantastic option, especially for seafood. It’s a pretty beachside spot for drinks or a snack while the sun sets.
Budva Gay Bars & Nightlife
Casper Bar is the unofficial Budva gay bar. If any other gay travelers are in the area, you will find them here. While hanging out with my good friend Martin, we met a gay Swedish traveler at the bar and chatted for an hour or so.
I spotted what seemed to be some gay couples at the bar, however, there were no public displays of affection for obvious reasons. It was a very warm and friendly environment.
The cocktails at Casper Bar are absolutely incredible. They have a custom menu and the staff will help you pick one suited to your taste.
We ended up laughing all night after ordering round after round of cocktails. You cannot leave Budva without spending an evening at Casper Bar for drinks.
Budva Gay Travel Tips
While Montenegro LGBT people have some protections, they’re by no means extensive. In this region of the world, LGBT individuals showing affection may attract negative attention.
At bars or pubs in Montenegro, it is common to receive tiny individual receipts for every drink you order. Waiters expect you to keep these on the table. They count them at the end to compile your total order. I made the mistake of using these as napkins one time!
Montenegro utilizes the Euro as the national currency. Overall, Montenegro is cheaper than Croatia since there are fewer western tourists flooding the beach towns. On the other hand, the country is not extremely inexpensive either.
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Gay Rights in Montenegro
Montenegro has many protections for LGBT individuals in place, including workplace anti-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and laws prohibiting hate speech help to protect gay people.
These laws were enacted back in 2010 as a requirement for Montenegro to be in the running to join the European Union. Same-sex sexual activity is also legal.
In 2020, the parliament of Montenegro made a huge step forward, formally recognizing same-sex unions. This gives the LGBT community many of the rights that come with marriage, but not all of them. The fight still continues!
Although some protections are in effect for gay citizens, a pervasive anti-gay sentiment is deeply ingrained in Montenegrin society. For this reason, most gay people in Montenegro keep their sexuality to themselves, dealing with this struggle in various ways.
The first Montenegro Gay Pride in 2013 was met with violent protests in the capital of Podgorica. It was a small stepping stone to increased visibility.