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Budva Gay Travel

Classy Budva nightlife, stunning beaches, where to stay in Budva & Montenegro LGBT travel tips here in wolfyy’s Budva gay travel guide.

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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 is especially great for those seeking a unique experience.

gay beach Budva Montenegro
gay beach Budva Montenegro
Budva gay travel

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.

balkans gay life

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 friend in south Montenegro. 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.

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Is Montenegro Safe for Gay Travelers?

While in Montenegro, it is important for gay travelers to stay safe by avoiding public displays of affection. Locals are not so comfortable with the idea of homosexuality. To avoid any stares, rude remarks or other type of trouble, it’s best to keep your affection private.

budva Montenegro travel guide
Keep in mind homosexuality is legal in Montenegro. The anti-gay sentiment is still present however. 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 in while in south Montenegro at a gay beach that I’ll mention later on. This man who will remain nameless per his request, is native to the Balkan region. With 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.
renting cars in Montenegro
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 telling their parents in fear of upsetting their normalcy of life.
renting cars in Montenegro
balkans gay 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.

Budva gay traveler
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.

Where to Stay in Budva, Montenegro

The best place to stay in Budva is in the neighborhood outside the old town walls. This is the densest area of the city and best place to stay if you plan to get around on foot. There are many restaurants and shops close by that will certainly keep the traveler busy. Everything is more spread out the farther you get from the old town walls.
local restaurant with candles

Staying near the old town will make it easy to get into the historic area of the city for dinner, parties and of course, Budva’s unofficial gay bar. Accommodations anywhere between south Gospostina and the old town will be perfect. Here are Budva Airbnb rentals in the best area of town.

local restaurant with candles
Budva gay traveler

I stayed in a lovely Airbnb while visiting Budva. It was a renovated studio with a balcony and cost $80 per night. Budva is not the cheapest city given it is a vacation destination, but it isn’t prohibitively expensive either. 

Our Airbnb was in a complex of buildings that included many sets of stairs. If you want to avoid stairs or need something accessible, make sure to verify this with potential hosts.
Budva gay travel

If you’re headed to Montenegro, check flight fares and compare airlines with Vayama: International Travel Solved. They have an awesome interface and make it super easy to optimize your route.

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 surprised that they are bit cooler than the Mediterrranian.

Nude beach
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.
Budva gay traveler
best beaches Budva
best beaches Budva

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. Keep in mind that the beaches in the main Budva area, including Mogren, are quite crowded. If you prefer seclusion, keep reading and I will tell you where to find some awesome gay beaches near Budva.

The beachfront directly in the center of town is not so great because it is quite small and does not have enough 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

If you have a car, it’ll be quite easy to reach the gay beach nearest to Budva. Ratac is a small area along road M2.4, halfway between the towns of Budva and Ulcinj. When you reach Ratac, there is a triangular piece of coastline that juts out into the ocean.

Ratac gay beach Montenegro
Nude beach
Ratac gay beach Montenegro
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 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 sand beaches and cobblestone beaches on the island, so you can find whichever you prefer.

day trip from Budva Montenegro
Hawaii island Budva
day trip from Budva Montenegro

Visiting Sveti Nikola Island was one of my favorite days in Budva. My gay 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.

Hawaii island Budva
There is a public taxi boat that goes to Sveti Nikola Island for only €4 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. If you prefer a private taxi boat, it will cost closer to €20.

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
Konoba Portun
Local restaurant

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. Konoba Portun is not the cheapest, but it is well worth the price. The restaurant is located in the old city in and adorable narrow alleyway that you surely won’t forget.

Local restaurant

For breakfast or lunch near the beach, check out Astoria Restaurant. 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 skip it and stick to Astoria!

Another restaurant option is Starigrad Beach Restaurant. It’s a great place for drinks or a snack while the sun sets.

Budva Nightlife & Gay Bars

The unofficial Budva gay bar is Casper Bar. If any other gay travelers are in the area, you will find them at Casper Bar. While hanging out with my good friend Martin, we met a gay Swedish traveler at the bar and chatted for an hour or so.

There seemed to also be gay couples at the bar, however there were no public displays of affection for obvious reasons. It was a very warm and friendly environment.
Cocktail Bar
Budva gay scene
Cocktail Bar

The cocktails at Casper Bar are 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. Visit Casper Bar’s Instagram for more photos.

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Budva Gay Travel Tips

Remember while traveling around Budva as well as other Balkan cities like Tirana and Split, to be cautions about homosexual public displays of affection. 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.

Budva gay scene

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!

Budva nude beach
Montenegro surprisingly utilizes the Euro as the national currency. For Europeans, this makes things much simpler! 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.

Gay Rights in Montenegro

Montenegro has many protections for LGBT individuals in place. Workplace antidiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and laws prohibiting hate speech help to protect gay people. These laws were enacted back in 2010 as required Montenegro to be in the running to join the European Union. Same-sex sexual activity is also legal.

LGBT rights montenegro
The fight for same-sex couple equality continues in Montenegro. Only recently in 2019, the parliament of Montenegro blocked a bill to grant limited legal recognition to same-sex couples. It’s a good sign that a portion of the government is trying to do better by their LGBT citizens. Hopefully those opposing the laws will soon be defeated.
LGBT rights montenegro
Budva nude beach
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.
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Don’t miss out on a visit to Ulcinj. Read more in the wolfyy Ulcinj Gay Travel Guide.

Need more ideas for gay vacations? Explore wolfyy’s full list of gay travel destinations.

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