I know it’s almost Christmas – which I’m very excited about – and you probably can’t remember what the sun feels like on your face (well, those of us in the northern hemisphere, anyway), but I’m going to go ahead and bring up the whole summer holiday thing. Not just any kind of summer holiday.
There, I said it. A lot of people hate them, but sometimes they’re necessary. Sure, their not exactly going to provide the adventure of a lifetime but if, like me, you needed a little rest and relaxation then they can be the perfect cure.
It’s all about choosing the right place, though.
You hear all these stories about teens heading out to hot places to drink, drink and, well, drink a bit more. You know the culprits – Malia, Magaluf and the likes. Sounds like my idea of hell and probably yours, too.
I’ll let you in on a secret. I may have found the perfect place for a relaxing beach holiday that doesn’t play host to rowdy teens and all-night booze binges.
Montenegro. In specific, Budva.
Now, when I first started telling people that I was going to Budva, I got the whole ‘Oh, isn’t that the party hotspot of Montenegro?’ And it might well be in the height of summer, but if you get there in the lull of September I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Here’s why.
The beaches are beautiful (and empty)
Budva doesn’t compromise on beauty. The beaches are set against a backdrop of mountains, with small islands dotted along the horizon (including an entire island that is a hotel where a snippet of Casino Royale was filmed). What’s more, you basically have the uninterrupted views to yourself and you can always, ALWAYS find a spot to lay down your towel.
It’s not just the beaches that are beautiful, though. Everywhere is. Lots of pretty mountains, cute villages, and sea views.
There is still a lot of culture
If, like me, you want to complement a beach holiday with a bit of culture, then Budva is ideal. In around an hours bus ride, you can get to Kotor Old Town, with its winding alleyways and abundance of churches, Kotor Bay, Montenegro’s postcard snapshot, and Cetinje, the old capital that now acts as a museum for the country, hosting numerous museums and galleries. But even if you don’t want to leave Budva, there’s the snaking, cobbled streets of the Old Town with local restaurants, quirky shops, and cool bars tucked away down a labyrinth of side streets.
Looking for a cheap break that doesn’t compromise on quality? Good. You can easily get a meal in Budva for €5 and a beer for €2. The accommodation is very reasonable, too. I managed to find an apartment that slept six for €500 a week.
My beach holidays tend to involve a lot of eating. In fact, it’s safe to say my days revolve around food, so I want to go somewhere that has a great cuisine. In Budva, I wasn’t disappointed. There’s lots of fish and hearty stews, and lots of beef and pork, as well as the standard schnitzel affair.
If these haven’t swayed you, then this will:
Bacon and eggs is called Bekendeks. How good is that?
How to get there
Flights to Podgorica (the capital) from the UK are pretty pricey. Instead, I booked a flights to and from Dubrovnik, Croatia, which are relatively cheap (I bought mine for £180 return) and then got an hour and a half transfer to Budva including a short ferry ride with spectacular views – a great introduction to the country. Transfers from Dubrovnik airport to your accommodation in Budva are around €20 per person each way.