If there is one location that rivals Ostrog Monastery as the enduring symbol of Montenegro, it is Sveti Stefan. The small islet and its fortified medieval town have occupied this scenic spot along the Adriatic sea since the 15th century. While the town is now an exclusive luxury resort, limiting visitors to those who have deep pockets to dish out for one of the 50 some odd hotel rooms, the beach surrounding the islet is actually the best spot to admire the town and spend the day.
Budva: Worthy of a Short Stay
As you most likely can’t afford to stay on the island itself, you will end up staying in Budva which is located about six kilometers away. This is a pumping resort town with plenty of high rises and a sprawling center while multi million dollar yachts sit tied off along the shoreline. The town also has a fortified medieval section much like Kotor’s which juts out along the the coastline. To be honest, the only reason you need to stay in Budva is for the easy access to Sveti Stefan. Due to this, you only need two nights in the town, one full day to check out Sveti Stefan, and the other to explore the old town of Budva. Otherwise, spend the rest of your time in the Bay of Kotor, you will not regret it.
The highlight of Budva is the citadel that stands boldly in front of the entire old town and modern city of Budva. It only costs 2.5 euros to get in and the views of the bay and town are phenomenal. Try to get here around an hour before sunset to watch the town, sky, and sea, change colors as the sun begins to go down.
Walking around the old town that surrounds the Citadel is also worth a stroll, although it is not as nice as Kotor’s. Like Kotor, cats own the streets here. We counted ten at one point all within one view.
Getting to and from Sveti Stefan will only set you back 4 euros a person. There are frequent buses that leave from Budva’s bus station in the center of town. The ride to the small town is a highlight within itself as you ride high along the coast overlooking the ocean and eventually looking down at Sveti Stefan itself. When you get off the bus, the lookout just a short ways back is the most stunning view of Sveti that you will have all day.
From the road, you will need to follow the signs that lead to the stairways that make their way down to the sea. After trying out both sides of beach that face the famous islet, we preferred the southern beaches as they were more scenic and provided a much better view of Sveti Stefan. While in the wintertime you can take a tour of the island, it costs 20 euros a person and only lasts a half hour. Not feeling the need to step foot on the island, we ended up being very content relaxing along the beach, climbing the nearby rocks and just taking in the setting the surrounded us all day.
Despite it being January, we were lucky enough to have a warm day when we visited here. The sun was out making for a very relaxing and refreshing day. If you plan on spending time here and are on a tight budget, it is best to pack your own lunch before you leave. Food options are limited and expensive around Sveti Stefan.
A Day Filled with Sunshine and Views
While there is not much to this small islet, the surrounding sea, the high cliffs immediately behind it, and the orange topped roofs contained within the confines of the village walls are truly unique and can be found in very few places in the world. While a day here is more than enough time, it will most certainly be a day well spent, and a memorable one at that.