Budva is a coastal town in Montenegro. It has around 10,000 inhabitants, and is a the center of the Budva municipality. The coastal area around Budva, called Budvanska rivijera, is the center of Montenegro ‘s tourism, and is well known for its sandy beaches, diverse nightlife, and beautiful examples of Mediterranean architecture. Budva is 2,500 years old, that makes it one of the oldest settlements on the coast of the Adriatic sea.
History of budva
There is vast archeological evidence that places Budva among the oldest urban settlements of the Adriatic coast, while numerous written testimonies provide historical facts dating back to the 5th century BC A legend tells that Budva was founded by Cadmus the Phoenician, a hero exiled out of Thebes , finding a shelter in this place for himself and his wife Harmonia. Two other civilizations also left innumerable traces: the Greek and the Roma. Upon the fall of the Roman empire and its division into east and west, the defensive barrier which separated the two powers happened to run across this area, subsequently making a lasting impact on the history and culture of this town.
In the Middle Ages, Budva was reigned by a succession of Doclean kings, Serbian and Zetan aristocrats, and the Venetians who ruled this town over 300 years. In the very turbulent years to come, Budva saw a change of several of its supreme rulers – Austria, France and Russia. A union of Boka Kotorska (and Budva) with Montenegro took place for a brief period ( 1813 – 1814 ), but from 1814 until 1918 Budva remained under Austrian Empire. After its decline in 1918, Budva came under Kingdom of Yugoslavia. World War II claimed many lives from the people of this area in the fight against fascist conquerors. Budva was finally liberated from Nazi rule on November 22 , 1944. A catastrophic earthquake struck Budva on April 15 , 1979. Much of old town was devastated, but today there is little evidence of the catastrophe – almost all the buildings were restored to their original form.
Old town of budva
The Old Town in Budva has many different tales and stories of its origin. Scholars and Historians believe it to be originally an island, which later joined the shore to form a sand isthmus. The Old Town, along with the city of Budva was said to have been discovered by a Greek sailor by the name of Boutoua. Eventually the Roman Empire took over the whole Montenegrin coast influencing it greatly. Much of the architecture in the Old Town is of Venetian origin. Doors, hinges, windows, balconies and many other small but noticeable things seem to hold Roman style. There are also three main churches in the old town.
“I have seen scenic beauties on all continents, but sunshine such as this I have seen nowhere.”
The first is St. Ivan’s which was built in the 7th century AD , second St. Mary’s of Punta dating from 840 and the third, The Holy Trinity, which was built in 1804. The Old Town is also famous for the earthquakes in suffered in 1979, where the whole town had to be rebuilt; it took 8 years (until 1987) for it to be completely finished.
Tourism in budva
Budva is a capital of Montenegrin tourism. With over 250,000 guests in 2005 summer season, which made over 1,600,000 overnight stays, it is by far most popular tourist destination in Montenegro. Either because of 11,310 m of sandy beaches in and around Budva, or for its vast cultural heritage and beautiful architecture, Budva is attracting more and more foreign tourists every year. Coupled with vibrant nightlife, it makes Budva attractive destination for everyone. Budva is popular among youth for its nightlife. Most visited places are open air clubs lined along the main pedestrian promenade, and few closed clubs that are opened after 01.00 AM (open air clubs are not allowed to play music after that time, because of the sound pollution regulations.)
Budva’s most famous beach is Mogren. Nestled in-between several large cliffs it is accessed by a 500m pathway from Budva’s Old town. Other beaches within official city limits include Ricardova glava (Richard’s Head), Pizana, Slovenska (Slav Beach), Guvance. Many other beaches are located just outside of Budva in smaller adjacent towns and villages such as Becici, Jaz, Trsteno, Maestral, Milocer, Sveti Stefan, Pržno and Kamenovo.
Climate of Budva
Budva has a typical Mediterranean climate, with warm summers and mild winters, and 97 sunny days in a year. Budva comes among the warmest Mediterranean towns with an average temperature of 8°C in January and 23,9°C in July. The average summertime temperature is 23,1°C and 9,3°C in the winter. The temperature of the sea reaches up to 24,7°C in the summer months, while it keeps between 18°C and 19°C in the autumn.
Budva is on the central part of Montenegrin coast, called “Budvanska Rivijera”. It has developed around a small peninsula, on which the old town is situated. It is by far most visited destination in Montenegro, attracting mostly domestic, Russian, Serbian and other Eastern European tourists with an old town, bars and nightclubs, and beaches mostly consisting of small rocks. It is base for mass tourism, while in its near vicinity there are luxury resorts such as Sveti Stefan and Miločer.
There are as many as 35 beaches in the Budva area, mostly rock and a little sand (8 beaches are marked with blue flags).
During the summer in particular, the day and night-life offers opportunities to enjoy theater plays and performances, music events and entertainment programs.
Many nightclubs use go-go dancers to attract customers, and families might be offended by the open display of almost-naked girls in the street. There is mainly one street, the main promenade, where all the action happens.
Budva appears to be undergoing poorly planned, unchecked growth with towering unattractive apartment buildings and hotels being built wherever there is open space – which unfortunately includes building directly on the beach.
Some tourists may find Budva disappointing and cheesy because of the over-crowded beaches filled with chairs, umbrellas and loud music in some places. Prices for food and accommodation are also well above what can be found in less popular resorts.
The old town is adjacent to the marina, where the wealthy come to moor their luxury yachts. The old town is small but beautiful, with restaurants and boutiques selling luxury goods at high prices.
Many would say that Budva is “colourful” because of the majority of buildings that have a distinct variety of colours. Since Budva is a city that is more focused toward new age architecture, much like Miami, the city outside its old town, does not hold many historical sights.
In the near vicinity of the town of Budva there are exclusive resorts such as town-hotel Sveti Stefan and Milocer, places frequented by various celebrities as well as local businessmen and politicians. Entrance costs for the Citadel are 2 euro’s a person but the city walls are for free.
The Montenegrins’, Serbs’ and Croats’ languages are all mutually intelligible and derived from Serbo-Croat. The dialect and the vocabulary of the local people are heavily influenced by Italian. Locals usually speak and understand Italian, Russian and English.
- Tivat Airport is 20km away. The following airlines operate to/from Tivat Airport: Air Moldova (Chiṣinǎu, seasonal), Air Serbia (Belgrade), KrasAir (Moscow-Domodedovo), Montenegro Airlines (Belgrade, Copenhagen, London-Gatwick, Moscow-Domodedovo, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Pristina, Rome-Fiumicino, Skopje, St Petersburg), Moskovia Airlines (Moscow-Domodedovo), Rossiya (St Petersburg), S7 Airlines (Moscow-Domodedovo), Transaero Airlines (Moscow-Domodedovo).
- Podgorica Airport is 65km away, and has flights throughout the year to Belgrade, Budapest, Zurich, Frankfurt, Ljubljana, Paris, Rome, Vienna and London- Gatwick. Buses run between Podgorica and Budva year round and cost €6, and a taxi from the Podgorica airport to Podgorica station costs €15. Taxis from Podgorica station to Budva cost €50 to €100. (Fix a price beforehand, do not just accept the meter!)
- Dubrovnik Airport (DBV) in Dubrovnik, Croatia is 80km away from Budva, and maintains flights to many European destinations throughout the year, providing a good alternative to the Montenegrin airports. A taxi to Budva will cost €90.
Budva is very well connected by bus with cities within Montenegro and major cities in neighboring countries. Check the online bus schedule. Buses are usually on schedule though the schedules vary from season to season, with more buses running during the summer. +382 33 456 000.
The bus station is a 20 minute walk from the old town.
- Buses from Skopje operate 3 times a week, take around 12 hours, leave at 8pm, stopping at Podgorica and cost around 17€. Check schedule at Skopje Autobuska Stanica.
- Buses to Sarajevo run daily at 8:10 (Balkan Express minibus) and the journey takes about 7 hours, stopping at Podgorica and other cities. €16.5 one-way. To Belgrade, there are around 4-5 buses a day and the trip takes 12 hours (27€).
- Buses to Herceg Novi (and vice-versa) run daily approximately every 30 minutes. The journey takes 1.5 hours and costs around €6 one-way.
- Buses to Dubrovnik continuing to Split run 3 times a week. There are daily buses during the summer in the morning (check current bus schedule for accurate time) which can get full quickly so arrive early to get a ticket. The journey takes around 3 hours. There is a spectacular view from the bus during this route.
- In the summer, Olimpia Express runs reasonably-priced shuttle buses from just outside old town to Jaz beach (every 2-3 hours), Petrovac (every 2 hours for €2 one-way), and Sveti Stefan (every 30 minutes or less for €1.50 one-way):
Budva can be reached by car using the coast road, which is in good condition. Traveling from Dubrovnik, this can take less than 2 hours depending on traffic. A short €5 ferry journey saves the drive around the bay of Kotor.
If you came to Budva with your own car, use it inside the city only when you have to. Traffic is terribly congested during the summer, and parking spaces around the old town are almost impossible to find, and very expensive when you do.
Taxis are abundant in Budva, but are not cheap – a ride anywhere within Budva will cost you around €5 – and prices vary depending on which taxi company you happen to get. Try to choose a taxi that has a rate card displayed and a meter visible on the dash – and then watch to insure the meter is set appropriately when starting – to avoid getting ripped off.
There are many tourist boats that dock in Budva harbor which offer rides to nearby beaches, Sv. Nikola island, or one-day trips to various destinations on Montenegrin coast, but these are also expensive. Unlike other seaside cities, there are no €1 water taxis here.
- Old Town (on the peninsula in Budva center). — The old town of Budva lies on a little island that was linked to the land by a sandbar and in time turned into a peninsula. It is surrounded by ramparts originating from the XV century including a medieval fortification system with city gates, defense walls and towers. The Old Town consists of narrow streets and alleys and small squares with precious monuments of different Mediterranean cultures that have marked the development of this town. You can enter in the Old Town from one of five entrance doors.
- Budva Citadel (Southern part of old town). — Reconstructed after earthquake.
- Dancing Girl Statue(Outside the Old Town on your way to Mogren beach). — A statue of a topless girl doing the dancer’s pose (yoga). Some people say that this is a statue of a young girl who drowned here but others say that this is just an ordinary statue. This is a good place to take pictures with a panorama of Old Town in back.
Museum of the Town of Budva / Archaeology Museum — Petra I Petrovića 11, Stari grad, 382 33 453 308, Houses Budva historical items.
Mogren beach (near the old town citadel). — Crowded beach but nice water. Don’t stop at the first stretch of beach, now designated Mogren I, necessarily, continue around the sunbathers to the far end and through the coves to Mogren II. The music from Mogren I is ever so mute there. If you’re really adventurous continue around the perimeter of the small bay to what is referred to as shark’s rock, which daredevils jump off of. Be aware that due to the trees and nearby cliff the afternoon shade covers the far half of Mogren II earlier than the rest.
- Church of Saint John —Seat of the Budva bishopric till 1828. In 1867 the belfry was added to the north side of the church and it still exists. Among preserved monuments the most important ones are the icon “Madonna in Punta” and the rich archives and library. Among its holdings is the Chronicle of Budva most comprehensive source of data and events in Budva between 1796 and 1842. Operating church.
- Church of Holy Trinity — Single nave construction with a dome. It was built in 1804 and modeled on one of two churches of the Podostrog monastery. In front of Church you can see tomb of famous writer and politician Stjepan Mitrov Ljubisa. Church is parish church and its operating.
- Church of Saint Sava — This is a small single nave church whose dimensions are 5 x 3 m. It is supposed to have been built during the 14th century. During the Venetian and Austrian occupations the most valuable possessions of this church disappeared. Today there is almost no trace of its old icons, frescoes and sculptures. It’s not operating.
- Boat trip around Boka Kotorska. — The Boka Kotorska/Bay of Kotor is often referred as Europe’s most southern fjord. Also it’s listed as one of the ten most beautiful bay’s in the world.
Be aware that ATMs (locally referred to as Bancomats) in Budva are rare in the old town, but plentiful outside of its walls.
Old town is packed primarily with little boutiques, such as Prestige, selling costume made dresses. There are other boutiques selling everything from expensive shoes to clothing and jewellery, but ALWAYS beware of counterfeited variants of world famous brands.
The main Budva promenade has a long string of stands with very cheap – in quality, not always in price – clothing, sunglasses, souvenirs, etc.
Friendly service in Budva shops is not the norm. Service people usually do not smile or make eye contact and are often brusque; however, this is slowly changing.
There is a wide choice of places to eat at in Budva. In old town you will find almost anything: from pizza-places, bakeries to seafood and Chinese restaurants. Across the harbor, at the very coast, there are some premium fresh seafood restaurants, notably “Jadran” and “Donna”.
Along the entire promenade there are many fast food places, offering barbecue, giros, pancakes, slices of pizza, ice cream…with affordable prices. A McDonald’s seasonal restaurant is open on the promenade during the summer.
- Demižana — Slovenska Obala 3, +382 33 455 028. fish restaurant.
- Hong Kong — Vuka Karadžića 1, +382 33 452-725. Chinese food.
- Jadran — Slovenska Obala 10, +382 33 451-028. A family restaurant since 1976. Specialties from the sea prepared in a local way. Complete meat offer as well as the Italian cuisine. Restaurant has 3 terraces each with a special ambience.
- Maša — Gradska luka bb, +382 33 453-777.
- O Sole Mio — Slovenska obala 15 (near the Old Town), +382 (0)86 457 713, Huge pizzas but a little bit overpriced.
- Pizzaria Big Blue
- Porat (Rafailovici) — Pastrovska Ulica and Becicka Plaza (Follow Pastrovska Ulica down to the Adriatic. Porat Restauant is on the left.), + 382.(0)33.471.145. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner-Late dinner. Exquisite seafood restaurant, with equally delicious meatier alternatives, complimented by a well-chosen wine list, surrounded by beautiful gardens and a gorgeous view of the Adriatic.
- Porto — +382 69 025-850. fish restaurant.
- Restaurant Kangaroo — Jadranski Put bb E65, 382 (0)33 458 65, . This restaurant is located on Jadranski Put and not in the very touristic area next to the Slovenska beach. However, if you want to enjoy a very good meal at a decent price this is the place to go. The restaurant has a very nice terrace and serves both traditional local cuisine and seafood dishes.
Budva is full of cafes, bars and nightclubs. During the high season it is hard to find a place to sit. Espresso will cost from €1 to €1.50. Coke and other soft drinks and juices will cost from €1.50 up to €3.50. Local beer costs an average of €2.50 and mixed drinks can go from €7 and up.
Bars are allowed to play music until 1AM, when the crowds move to some of the nightclubs.
Always ask for a bill, as they must provide it by law. If you don’t – it’s likely that they’ll overcharge your drinks, especially if they see you are a foreigner.
A form of tourist scam in Budva bars and restaurants is that you give the waiter, for example, a €20 EUR banknote and expect him to bring back the change in a while. He does not, and when you ask him to come over, he will tell you that you did not give him €20, but a smaller banknote. He will also show you that in his wallet he only has €5 and €10 banknotes, so there simply could not have been a €20 banknote on your table. To avoid this, your only solution is to say out loud the amount of money when you are giving it and if you are in a group, make sure the others see and hear this as well. Try to learn the numbers in local language as saying the amount in English does not help you much – the waiter will pretend he does not understand. Espresso will cost from €1.00. Coke and other soft drinks and juices will cost from €1.00 up to €2.00.
You should also try out famous Montenegrin wines, “Vranac”, “Pro Corde”, “Krstac”, “Cabernet”, “Chardonnay” and “Nikšićko” beer. Montenegrin brandy, called “rakija” is good choice to “warm up” before going out in the evening, especially grape brandy “Montenegrin loza”, “Prvijenac” or “Kruna”.
- Chest O’Shea’s Irish Pub — Stari Grad (30 meters into the old town from the marina), +38269579468, Good Guinness, live sports and friendly English speaking staff.
- Garden Cafe
- Rabello — Jadranski put, +382 67 355-555.
- Ričardova Glava – Richard’s Head
There are a variety of bars and clubs to go out in Budva. There are many outdoor bars and cafes just located outside the walls outside of Stari Grad. Most play loud club style music.
- Caffe Greco — (Stari Grad). no cover charge and DJ’d music.
- Maine — Folk music.
- Torine(Bečići) — Folk music.
- Miracle Lounge(Hill Topliš) — DJ’d music, entrance fee until 1AM, special guests perform often. Works only during summer.
Montenegro is generally a safe country, and this region is no exception to that. Still, be aware of beggars and pickpockets especially in the old town.
Accommodation in Budva is abundant, and varies from renting a room for €10-15 to handsomely priced five-star hotels.
There are big differences in prices of accommodation – not only between types of accommodation but for same accommodation during different times of the year. For example, a hostel-like room that rents for €7 per person/per night during the off-season can rent for €20 and up per person/per night during July and August.
There are 84, mostly three- and four-star hotels (capacity of over 13,000 beds), about 100 private villas and bed and breakfast inns and private accommodation (60,000 beds) of various options.
During the summer it is easy just to come to the bus station and find local people offering rooms. Be aware, though, that there is a problem with water in Budva, and you should confirm that the accommodation you choose has running water.
The prices range from €7 to €15 for a person/night/private room, with the cheaper rooms requiring a shared bathroom and/or kitchen.
- Freedom Hostel Budva — Cara Dusana 21, Old Town, +382 67 523 496 (email@example.com). Open whole year. Dorms and also private rooms. Very friendly staff, great atmosphere in the common rooms and on the balcony, and a convenient location. Dorm bed: €10 to €13, depending on the month.
- Sun Hostel Budva — Ferona bb, (firstname.lastname@example.org), Open whole year.Dorms and also private rooms. Dorm bed: €10 to €18, depending on the month.
- Saki Apartmani — IV Proleterska BB (A 5 minute walk to Slovenska Beach), 382 (0) 67368065 (email@example.com), Very clean, laundry service (€5 per load), free wifi, location is a little bit far away for the old town, bus station, and the nicer beaches. Ran by Saki and his family who are very helpful and welcoming. Dorm and private rooms ranging from €12-€39/night.
- Avala Resort & Villas — Mediteranska 2, Budva, +382 33 441-000, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Luxury resort only meters away from historical center of Budva. 207 rooms and suites, 67 luxury villas.
- Bip Besko-Bau — Veljka Vlahovića 2, +382 33 458-322 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 105 beds. Basic. Single: From €15.
- Blue Star — Single: From €57.
- Hotel Astoria — 4 star hotel Astoria enjoys a charming location in the main street of the Old town of Budva. As the first and the only hotel situated in the Old town.
- Hotel Mogren — Slovenska Obala (in front the Old City and distanced 50 meters from the sea), +382 (33) 451 102, checkout: noon. Three star hotel with 100 beds. Single €40-70, double €60-90.
- Hotel Slovenska Plaža — Slovenska Plaza is a Mediterranean-style tourist village set directly on the Adriatic coast in Budva. A short 50-metre walk through a park will get you to the beach. Offering outdoor pools and tennis courts.
- Max Prestige — +382 33 458-330, Doubles: From €43 to €77.
- Hotel Splendid — 85315 Becici, +382 33 773 777, 5-star hotel Splendid Spa Resort is set directly on a long sandy beach in the heart of Bečići, just 2 km from Budva’s Old Town. Supreme spa area with heated indoor pools, saunas, hot tubs and steam baths with Swarovski crystals is at guests’ disposal.
- Hotel Villa Montenegro — Located in the most prestigious area of Montenegrin coast, guests can admire fantastic views of the adriatic sea and Montenegro most famous post card, the Sveti Stefan island.
Don’t worry about being connected – the entirety of the Stari Grad is covered by free municipal WiFi that works reasonably well. In the area of the Marina you can also pick up free WiFi.
As always on public WiFi, be cautious about entering in sensitive information (banking info, email passwords) as you never know who is on the other side of the connection. A private VPN is a safe way to protect your information.
- Cetinje — the historical capital of Montenegro is located just under Mt Lovćen, the mountain overlooking the Boka Kotorska.
- Dubrovnik — the hub of Croatian tourism can be reached from Herceg Novi in less than 40 minutes north of the Boka Kotorska.
- Lovcen national park — Mount Lovćen rises from the borders of the Adriatic basin closing the long ang twisting bays of Boka Kotorska and making the hinterland to the coastal town of Kotor. The mountain has two imposing peaks, Štirovnik (1,749 m) and Jezerski vrh (1,657 m). The mountain slopes are rocky, with numerous fissures, pits and deep depressions giving its scenery a specific look. Standing on the border between two completely different natural wholes, the sea and the mainland, Lovćen is under the influence of both climates.
- Risan mosaic’s — visit the site of Roman ruins and some fairly well-preserved mosaic floors that had been in a Roman house during 2nd century A.D.
- Herceg Novi — take a walk on the 6km-long 5 Danica’s esplanade to meet with the rich and diverse history of the town.
- Perast — a well preserved village, built entirely in barroque style, a UNESCO World Natural and Historical Heritage Site. From Perast there is a boat ride to the man-made islet of Our Lady of the Rocks (Gospa od Škrpjela). Upon returning home safely, seamen dropped rocks and old boats filled with rocks in this place and gradually created the islet as the foundation for the church.
- Njegos Mausoleum — The mausoleum of Petar Petrovic Njegos built of limestone and granite can be found on top of Mount Lovcen. It was Njegos’s last wish, the greatest ruler of the Montenegrins who was a bishop and a poet at the same time to be buried there.
- Prcanj — small family-friendly place with great view of the Bay of Kotor.
- Tivat — a small town, quickly emerging into a major touristic, business and transport center. Located in the vicinity of the Tivat International Airport, in summer 2014 it became home of a luxury yacht marina called Porto Montenegro.
- Mamula — Guarding the entrance to the bay, is this prison island built by Austro-Hungarian general Lazar Mamula in mid 19th century. During the World War II, the fort was used as a prison by the Italians.
- The island of Gospa od Skrpjela — (Our Lady of the Rock). The Island Gospa od Skrpjela is one of two gorgeous islands in Kotor Bay, which are situated in the bay across from Perast (in the Kotor municipality). The other island, which also should be visited, is the Island Sveti Djordje (St. George). That island is also called “the island of the dead captains”, because according to a legend one French soldier, by shooting from cannon towards Perast, hit a house of his beloved girl and killed her. That legend was a motive for the master piece “The Island of the Dead” by the Switzerland painter Beklin. The Island Gospa od Skrpjela is an artificial island, made by seaman from Perast and Kotor, who on their big sail boats brought in large boulders. According to stories, fisherman from Perast, after a shipwreck near the island, found an icon of the Holy Mother of God with the Christ on a sea rock, so they vowed to build a church on the island. They built the church in 1630. As the island had to be maintained, seaman continued to bring in stones, so that tradition is alive even today. It is called Fasinada from Perast (July 22).
- Plava Spilja — A blue grotto in the bay. It is 5.7 nautical miles away from Herceg Novi. During the summer season, you can take private boats from Herceg Novi to Plava Spilja.
- Mount Orjen — Mount Orjen at 1,894 meters is the highest mountain on the Adriatic coastline and dominates the entrance to the Boka Kotorska and it’s surrounding.
- Skadarsko Jezero — Skadarsko Jezero is the largest freshwater lake in the Balkans, two thirds of which is in Montenegro and the remainder in Albania. It is surrounded by dramatic karst mountains and hosts a thrilling array of wildlife with more than 260 species of birds, traditional fishing villages, islet monasteries and pristine beaches. It has been a protected National Park since 1983 and was added, in 1996, to the World’s List of Wetlands of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention.