Budva is a coastal resort town in Montenegro. It is located along the coast of the Adriatic Sea in an area known as the Budva Riviera. This is one of the main tourist destinations in Montenegro, but it is also a town with a long history. Its impressive city wall dates back to the Middle Ages and is just one of the attractions here. There are also plenty of long sandy beaches with impressive mountains in the background. With a population of around 13.000 inhabitants, this is the 8th largest town in the country, just behind Cetinje, but far from the size of the capital Podgorica.
Our Visit to Budva
We visited Budva in 2018 when spending a weekend in Podgorica. We went on a day trip to the coast to enjoy the city as well as a few other sights along the road.
A Short History
It is estimated that the history of Budva goes back 2.500 years. The city has had many rulers. This was once a part of the state of Illyria, followed by Greek colonization before it became a part of the Roman Empire. The Byzantine Empire replaced the Roman Empire. In the Middle Ages, the Venetians ruled the city, and the city wall was built to defend the city from Ottoman attacks. The Ottomans could only hold the city for a few years in the 1570s. After 400 years of Venetian rule, the city became a part of the Habsburg Empire in 1797, which was followed by France in 1807, and then the city eventually became a part of Austria-Hungary in 1813.
The city remained a part of Austria-Hungary up until the First World War. After the war, the city became a part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The Second World War included an occupation by Italy in 1941 and it would take until 1944 before the city was liberated. Following the war, it became a part of the newly formed Socialist Republic of Montenegro, which was a part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
It was eventually not wars that would play the most devastating role in Budva’s history. That title can probably be awarded to the earthquake of 1979. Large parts of the historical town of Budva were destroyed in the quake. The city has since been restored and became a part of an independent Montenegro in 2006.
Things to Do and See
It is the Old Town of Budva that is the main sight and a must-see when visiting the city. The waterfront of the city does have many resort hotels, but there are also restaurants and cafés to discover. Do remember that there is a lot more to discover here than only the area of the Old Town. There are long sandy beaches, but the city also spreads out islands.
The Old Town has several impressive sights, such as the Citadel and the Church of Saint Ivan. But this is also where you find the small narrow streets. Walking along these historical streets is a must when visiting the city and a perfect way to take in some of that historical atmosphere. Walk through the gate and don’t get lost in the maze.
The Citadel is in the Old Town and was earlier known as the Castle of Saint Mary. It dates back to the Middle Ages and its fortifications have been extended on several occasions. It gained its current appearance during the rule of Austria-Hungary. Its most distinctive feature is probably the high sea-facing wall with its towers. It is possible to walk on top of the wall to get a view of the Adriatic Sea.
Church of Saint Ivan
The Church of Saint Ivan is the church in the old town which’s belfry is a part of the skyline of the city. The first church here is estimated to have dated back to the 7th century. Many alterations were ordered for the church over the centuries. The current church dates back to the 17th century. The belfry was built in the mid-19th century
Church of the Holy Trinity
The Church of the Holy Trinity is another church in the Old Town. The church was built in 1804 and its style separates it from the nearby Church of Saint Ivan.
Plaža Ričardova Glava
Plaža Ričardova Glava is a beach right at the walls of the Old Town. It is a small commercialized beach filled with sunbeds and parasols. There is, however, an impressive view of the Old Town to be found here, especially from the pier. For swimming there is a pedestrian path leading to the larger Mogren Beach.
Dukley Marina is where you will find both normal boats, but also luxury yachts. For non-boat visitors, the waterfront still offers a nice promenade with the possibility to see some of these magnificent yachts or just enjoy the view of the Adriatic Sea.
How to Get to Budva
- Flights: The nearest airport is Tivat Airport (TIV), which is around 17 kilometers to the northwest. Another option is Podgorica Airport (TGD) a bit further away.
- Car: Budva lies along the coast and the road E80 between Kotor and Petrovac. Inland the road M2.3 leads towards Cetinje and Podgorica.