We didn’t have much planned for our time in Montenegro, but we definitely wanted to go to Budva.
Patrick spent several holidays here with his parents as a child. We went through old photo albums beforehand and looked for pictures so that we could perhaps discover one or two places later.
We got into the rental car quite early and set off in the direction of Budva.
What we knew about Budva before…
Budva is one of the oldest places on the Adriatic. Originally, the place was on an island. Today it is connected to the mainland by a sandbank.
From 1918 to 2003 Budva belonged to Yugoslavia, today the city is in Montenegro.
In 1979, there was a severe earthquake in this region. The city was almost completely destroyed. There were still plans in Austrian archives that made it possible to reconstruct the old town in the Venetian style.
Budva was then and still is today a seaside resort.
What awaited us in Budva…
We drive down a serpentine road towards the sea. From up here you have a great view of the coastline, so we stop to get a first impression of the region.
Of course the region has changed over the years. But still, we are surprised that the change is so extreme. On the coast, one hotel complex has been built next to the other. The bay near Budva in particular looks more like a big city than a cosy seaside resort. It is a pity that the beauty of the coast has been built over so much.
Somewhat shocked, we continue downhill to the coast. The traffic increases more and more and almost resembles Berlin rush hour. Finding a parking space proves to be similarly difficult. Parking bans, hotel car parks and parking zones try to counteract wild parking. We discover a paid car park of a hotel, which is also open to non-residents. With a bit of luck, we get one of the last free spaces.
First we go to the coast to have a look at the beach. This turns out to be not so easy. On both sides of the promenade are amusement attractions, restaurants and stalls. On the barely visible beach, people lie close together on paid sunbeds. Loud music is blaring everywhere – it reminds me of Mallorca’s party beaches during the season. If you want to party, you’ll find it here, but peace and quiet and relaxation are not to be found. To be honest, we are put off and try to leave this part of the coast quickly.
The old town of Budva…
We arrive at the thick walls of the old town of Budva. Through a gate we enter the narrow streets of the old town. The alleys have charm. They are narrow, shady and you don’t notice that much was once destroyed here. There are shops and restaurants in the houses, and often flats on the upper floors. It is also quite crowded here, but I don’t find it as unpleasant as on the waterfront. Sure, you have to dodge guided tour groups now and then, who run almost recklessly after their guide. But in which city visited by tourists is that not the case?
If you want to take it a little easier, you should take a tour of the city wall. For an entrance fee of €2 (as of 2018), you can walk along a narrow path for about a kilometre. From here you have a beautiful view towards the coast and at some points you can also see into the narrow alleys of the old town. The path is not a circular walk, you have to walk back to the starting point!
You can also get a taste of culture in the old town:
- the citadel, once a refuge from attackers, is now a library and restaurant.
- the church of St. John the Baptist from the 17th century, with the highest bell tower in Budva
- the archaeological museum
- the Church of the Trinity with its beautiful frescoes
If we had known how much Budva has developed into a tourist metropolis, we would have saved ourselves the visit. The old town is beautiful, but in my opinion it is not worth the visit just for that.
The visit with its wistful look back to childhood proved disappointing for us.