8 adventurous activities to try in Budva, Montenegro
The Budva Riviera stretches for 22 miles (35 km) across one of Europe's most secret shores. Tourism barely existed a decade ago, which means the coastline's 15 beaches remain sandy, secluded, and great for outdoor sports.
In the town's historic heart, one can organise anything from a kitesurfing tour to a snorkelling trip to the uninhabited island in the bay. Hiring a helicopter, a speedboat or even a mountain bike will grant access to the four national parks on Budva's doorstep. It's adventure - made easy. On top of that, you can book a great value holiday to Budva with Thomson, making it even more affordable and accessible from the UK. Keep reading to discover the many activities you can try on your holiday to Budva.
1. Play Robinson Crusoe on Sveti Nikola
Not for nothing do locals call the island bobbing in Budva bay 'Hawaii'. Sveti Nikola, to use its proper name, is a sand-ringed island mountain that rises 400ft (121m) into the sky. Pack a pair of hiking boots on the 15-minute boat hop from Budva, and follow the trail of rabbits, butterflies and roe deer into the pine-thatched interior.
Three tranquil beaches - catered for by a spaghetti stand and a beach bar - are beset with Adriatic shallows stocked with darting fish. Alas, those wanting to bed down under the stars will have to sail elsewhere. Sveti Nikola is completely uninhabited and day-trippers are obliged to return on the sunset ferry home.
2. Helicopter tour to the snow
Choppers are a bonafide mode of transport in mountainous Montenegro. At Tivat Airport, a 15-mile (25 km) ride from Budva, visitors can take a bargain flight to sights off-limits to regular tourists. These include the snow-capped ranges of the Durmitor National Park, plus the blissful blue of Lake Skadar, the Balkan's largest body of water.
Tours scoot so low over the country's 183-mile long (294 km) coastline that you can snap friends and family in your hotel swimming pool. Bear in mind that some sightseeing trips are flown by Robinson R22 helicopters, which are tiny two-seat bubbles with plastic windows. It's pulse-raising, to say the least.
3. Speedboat past the beaches
With a hired speedboat from Budva's yacht-strewn marina, Montenegro's entire coast is up for grabs. For €100 a day sailors can seek the secret beaches of silken sandy Bečići Plaža and buzzing Mala Plaža. The price even includes a skipper who will captain your twin-engine open deck boat.
For €1,500 you can net a three berth yacht with swim platforms and a top speed of 30 knots. A GoPro camera is highly recommended, especially as boats can navigate near the disused submarine pens that still litter the Montenegro coast.
4. Mountain bike descent in the Lovćen National Park
Montenegro's Lovćen National Park hosts black bears, golden eagles and 85 species of butterfly. It also contains one fiendishly curvy road that sears seaward, cutting 28 switchbacks from 3,300ft (1,000m) to sea level in a matter of miles.
The park service rents mountain bikes for the buttock-clenching descent, as do tour shops in Budva. Not white-knuckle enough? Lovćen's adventure park has numerous treetop parkour trails that wind up to 50ft (15m) above the ground.
5. Dive Budva's hidden depths
The Montenegrin seabed is littered with remains of empires. Its ocean floor boasts two dozen shipwrecks dating from the Venetian occupation to World War Two, plus more Roman amphorae than a maritime museum. Budva's main scuba operators concentrate on the rocky drop-offs near Sveti Nikola, where bream and mullet cavort in Poseidon grass. Swim-through tunnels lead to caves where amberjack lay in wait. Budva's final watery attractions are the underwater statues sunk by local sculptor Elvir Adrović, which can be observed on the seabed with a scuba guide.
6. Raft through Europe's second largest canyon
The day trip from Budva to the Tara Canyon is the stuff of legend. The Tara River valley winds for 51 miles (82 km) past waterfalls, sand beaches and overhanging vegetation. Rafting trips are more soft adventure than white water. Although rafters navigate the steepest area, which contains some 20 of the river's 50 rapids, a series of Ottoman bridges, Orthodox monasteries and an old Roman road also make the route a sightseer's delight.
7. Kitesurf on a secret island
Thirty minutes south of Budva sits the virgin island of Ada Bojana. It's a geographical anomaly where a river swishes around a sand-ringed island carpeted with olive trees. Adriatic breezes wash the shoreline with steady 15-knot winds, perfect for beginners to kitesurf atop the mirror calm seas.
Just don't ride too far from the kitesurf school; the island's northern tip is a popular naturist retreat. If kitesurfing doesn't float your boat, kick back on the sun loungers instead. Ada Bojana's sandy beach also offers beach volley, hiking and sunset discos.
8. Sail out of a billion dollar marina
Porto Montenegro, a short drive from Budva, is Europe's largest superyacht marina. It's a decadent Elysium where magnums of Champagne are chugged for breakfast, and yacht rental can cost up to a million euros per week.
For a sip of such elegance - at a shade cheaper - the marina runs official sailing days with a professional skipper for €550 for the entire boat. The price includes lunch on board, sailing theory, and an afternoon race back to port in the swish sailing yacht. Too pricey? Bag a glass of prosecco in Porto Montenegro instead, then ruffle your hair to look like you just stepped off a yacht.
Whether you plan on sampling the millionaire lifestyle, tackling the rapids or peddling in the national park, check out the latest deals on holidays to Budva with Thomson, which depart from both regional and major airports across the UK, including London Gatwick, Doncaster Sheffield, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Belfast, and more. You can also see what the weather in Budva is like, and when we think is the best time to go to take your pick from this array of adventurous activities.
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