Budva Gay Travel
Budva nightlife, stunning beaches, where to stay & Montenegro LGBT travel tips, all here in wolfyy’s Budva gay travel guide.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 most convenient if you plan to get around on foot. I loved walking around this area every day…there’s such a charming vibe. There are restaurants and shops all around that will certainly keep you busy, too.
Everything is more spread out the farther you get from the old town walls, so I recommend that you stay closer to the center, even though you might find better deals on accommodations further away.
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 this best area of town. I stayed in this area and wouldn’t have preferred anywhere else.
I stayed in a lovely renovated studio with a balcony and cost $80 per night. The location truly couldn’t be beat. Additionally, Budva is not the cheapest city given it is a vacation destination, but it isn’t prohibitively expensive either.
If you’re headed to Montenegro, I suggest comparing airlines with Skyscanner. They have an awesome interface and make it super easy to optimize your route. Plus, they offer flexible ticket options in light of the pandemic.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
Restaurants in Budva
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Authentic Gay Travel
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.
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.