Ulcinj Gay Travel
Explore the gay Montenegro you never knew existed. Discover Ulcinj nightlife, ancient ruins, gay beaches, & more.
The Gay Travel Experience: Ulcinj, Montenegro
Many Albanians and Serbians head to the Ulcinj region for holidays. Compared to nearby Budva, a beach town farther north, Ulcinj has more of a local Montenegrin feel and less Russian influence.
There is also a ton of history to be found in the Ulcinj old town. Plus, there are barely any tourists here!
Local gay guys 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.
On a day trip south of Ulcinj, I met a local gay guy who frequents Montenegro. He was one of the most upbeat and bubbly guys I’ve ever met! Read more in this guide for my story on him!
Is Montenegro Gay Travel Safe?
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 types of trouble, it’s best to keep your affection private.
Keep in mind homosexuality is legal in Montenegro. The anti-gay sentiment is still present, however. Read more at the end of this Ulcinj 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 staying in Ulcinj. 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 telling their parents in 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.
Gay Ulcinj: Hotels & Where to Stay
Most travelers choose to stay in the Ulcinj old town center. Instead, my good friend Martin and I chose a location that is much more secluded.
Buzuku Apartments Mediterraneo
We stayed at Buzuku Apartments Mediterraneo, a spacious ApartHotel outside central Ulcinj. The property is located in a secluded area only accessible via a one-lane, hilly road from the old town center.
Although the hotel wasn’t the most opulent, I truly loved how much space we had in the rooms, as well as the enormous balcony overlooking the coast.
Our stay included a free parking spot, superb daily breakfasts, an enormous traditional apartment, and a private beach. If you choose to stay at Mediterraneo, note that it is still perfectly walkable from the Ulcinj old town.
Hotel Pirate Old Town
Hotel Pirate Old Town is another fantastic option for a more luxurious Ulcinj hotel. I had a late lunch at Hotel Pirate Old Town and saw some of the hotel’s building. Their stellar attention to detail and the central location make it unbeatable.
More Ulcinj Hotels & Apartments
Here are a few other fantastic hotels and local apartment rentals in Ulcinj that are highly rated and perfectly located for exploring the city.
Things To Do In Ulcinj
Ulcinj has beautiful waterfront promenades that stretch from the old town past the Jadran Peninsula. There is a lot to see here, from hidden restaurants to historical ruins.
I recommend taking a long walk and exploring everything along the waterfront. I found this to be most enjoyable after the hottest part of the day before the sunset. It was quite hot in July!
Mala Plaza is the main tourist area of Ulcinj. You can find some souvenir shops, a pharmacy, quick food and proper restaurants here. Mala Plaza is best after sunset. After dark, it’s the place to be as the Ulcinj bars and clubs come to life.
The Ulcinj Museum visit is a fantastic opportunity to see some ancient ruins. The historic buildings and little pathways are awesome! I think the photos speak for themselves. Plus, there were basically no other tourists!
The art exhibits in the Ulcinj Museum are not so impressive, but walking around the historic stone walls and observing the architecture was what made the visit worthwhile. Entry is €2, payable by cash only.
South Montenegro Gay Beaches
You will need to have access to a car to reach the Ulcinj gay and nudist beaches. If you’re able, I recommend renting a vehicle while in Montenegro anyway!
Montenegro's Gay & Nudist Beach
Here you’ll find a small parking lot and a steep path down to two rocky alcoves. Ratac gay beach is also a nudist beach, so you will find the 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 dudes hanging around.
Ada Bojana Nudist Beach
A second gay beach option is Bojana Island. There is a huge nudist beach and nudist resort called Ada Bojana on the western tip of Bojana Island. On the beach in front of the resort, it is actually mandatory to be completely naked.
The Ada Bojana Resort Beach takes being nude in front of their property very seriously! If you enter with clothing on, they will ask you to immediately leave the beach and can be quite aggressive about it. Remember, people are paying to stay in this resort for a reason.
Ada Bojana brings me such nostalgia, as I met a wonderful gay friend at this beach. While spending a day in the sun with my friend Martin, we noticed an adorable man running over the burning hot sand toward the shower area.
I must admit…I was in awe at how gorgeous he was! Martin agreed. To my surprise, Martin comes walking back from the ocean fifteen minutes later conversing with this same guy!
Long story short, we made a new friend, he grabbed his things to sit with us on the beach and we then spent the entire next day together up until Martin and I had to head to the airport.
He told us his story about being gay in Montenegro and Serbia and it was lovely getting to know him. I felt so lucky to meet such an open and friendly guy.
Other Beaches for Ulcinj Gay Travelers
There is a beach right directly in Mala Plaza, but I do not recommend going here. I found this beach to be filled with garbage as I walked by one afternoon. Instead, continue walking past Mala Plaza until you reach a place called Far Beach.
Far Beach is a relaxing beach club built into the mountainside. Martin and I walked into this place and were allowed to sit on the decks along the rocky shoreline.
Ibiza Beach Club is also just a bit further down the road, however, I did not visit. If you don’t feel like visiting sandy coastline, then maybe these beach clubs will be more your style.
Eat at Restaurant Barakuda if you make the trip out to Bojana Island. Barakuda is a stunning waterfront seafood spot.
My friend Martin and I, along with our new friend we met on the beach, shared some freshly fried fish and octopus salad. It’s not cheap, but you’re paying for the locally caught fish and the serene view.
The antipasti at the Hotel Pirate restaurant was spectacularly good. Definitely make a pit stop here as you walk the seaside of the old town. It’s great for cocktails too.
I had dinner at Restoran Manhattan Steakhouse one night in the Mala Plaza beach area. It was very good traditional Western food! The owner is a local who actually lived and had his own restaurant in New York City for many years. He was quirky and super fun to talk with.
You probably didn’t know that Ulcinj has an enormous and rowdy nightlife scene! As soon as the sky turns dark, partygoers flood the Mala Plaza waterfront ready to enjoy the night.
Music blares from bars and clubs, engulfing the clamor of bar patrons. This area is easily reachable from the main Ulcinj town center.
Plan B Pub had the best music in my opinion. Most of the bars in this area are playing popular western hits. I was really surprised at how vibrant these Ulcinj bars are!
Ulcinj Gay Travel Tips
At bars in Montenegro, it is common to receive little individual receipts for every drink you order. Waiters expect you to keep these on the table, and they count them at the end to compile your total order. I made the mistake of using these as napkins one time!
Montenegro is cheaper than Croatia since there are fewer western tourists in the beach towns. On the other hand, the country is not extremely inexpensive either.
If you end up going to Bojana Island and plan to still be there after sunset, make sure to bring mosquito repellent.
This area is adjacent to an enormous protected woodland that is just across the Albanian border. This means tons of mosquitoes are ready to bite you up as soon as the sun goes down!
Montenegro Gay Rights
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.
I also suggest a visit to the nearby Albanian city of Tirana!
See wolfyy’s complete collection of gay travel guides for more gay destination ideas around the world.