Everything You Need To Know About Budva

Planning to visit Budva? Here is all you need to know about Montenegro's idyllic town
Panoramic view of Budva Montenegro
Panoramic view of Budva MontenegroCANES YURIY/Wikimedia Commons

Turquoise blue waters wash the sun-bathed pebbly beaches, the thick grand walls of a past dating back centuries, and a lively buzz emanating from the seaside beach clubs - Budva is where all your holiday dreams come true. Located just 100 km from Montenegro's capital Podgorica and along the shores of the Adriatic Sea, this quaint town has earned the reputation of being just the perfect destination where you can party it up, unwind or even satiate the history buff in you. 

Budva, Montenegro
Budva, MontenegroShutterstock

While Budva is known for its eclectic nightlife, it boasts a fascinating history behind its name and even how it came to be. The 2,500-year-old, first documented by Greeks in the 5th century BCE and then home to the Illyrian tribes, was colonised by the Greek empire in the 4th century BCE. However, the Greek rule ended with the Romans taking over till the empire's eventual split in 395 CE. Traces of these empires find repose in the many magnificent structures dotting the town. 

However, its history also witnessed another chapter when the Byzantine Empire rebuilt all of it after it was ruined in a catastrophic earthquake in the 6th century CE. In the following centuries, Slavs and Avars settled with the native Roman population in the town. The restored peace proved fleeting when the Muslim Saracens sacked Budva in the 9th century until the Byzantines drove them out.

Dancer of Budva sculpture.
Dancer of Budva sculpture.Shutterstock.com

Budva's significance in the Middle Ages was also augmented by the Docleans and Serbians settling here, soon succeeded by the first Bulgarian empire and Zetan aristocrats, and the Venetian republic from 1420-1797. 

What To See In Budva

With such an entangled history, Budva's heritage has been enriched by several influences and cultures - all of which stand proudly as imposing buildings with intricate edifices across the Old Town, earning its mention in UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. 

Ulcinj, Montenegro
Ulcinj, MontenegroShutterstock

Days in Budva are long, but it seldom feels so with so much to do, see, and eat. There's enough to excite every kind of traveller - the ones with a knack for history, those with a palate for the sublime, and everybody with love for the sun, sand and the sea. Here are some of our top picks of things to explore on your trip to this charming town 

Stari Grad or Old Town: Marbled streets, massive stone walls, and structures of the Roman era - the Old Town is a prime attraction that perfectly reflects its dynamic past. While a stroll around the city walls is enough to make you feel like you've been transported to another era, there are many spots you must check on your walk around town. The most notable are the ruins of Villa Urbana, Njegoseva Street, and the church of Saint John. Some museums and galleries also give you a glimpse of the past - the must-visit is the Ethnographic Museum and Gallery of Modern Art. Even though this is the oldest part of the town, many happening bars, unique souvenir shops and elegant boutique hotels have popped up and are hidden behind the centuries-old walls. 

The isle of Svet Nikola in Budva
The isle of Svet Nikola in BudvaAlexander Granholm/Flickr

Sveti Nikola: Even though Sveti Nikola is a taxi boat away from Budva's shore, this island, with its clear blue waters and rocky beaches, is every visitor's favourite escape. Located at the exact centre of the Adriatic, Sveti Nikola can be seen from Budva's every vantage point. While that makes for a stunning view, it only gets exponentially better when surrounded by blue on all sides. A perfect day on this island involves diving deep into the ocean or simply lying on the shore and under the sun. 

Mogren Beach: In Budva, running out of beaches to sun-bathing is easy. But if there's one you must hit, it is this blue flag beach. Its most distinctive part is the view it offers of the famous Ballerina statue that has become a symbol of Budva. 

The Information

Getting There

The easiest way to reach Budva is to book a flight to the airport at Tivat (20 km away) or Podgorica (65 km away). Dubrovnik airport in Cilipi is another option, located 75 km away. It is advised to pre-book your transfer to the airport. Also, do note that Indian passport holders must hold a valid visa issued by the Montenegro government authorities. 

Where To Stay

In Budva, an idyllic Montenegrin town, a wide array of exquisite accommodations awaits, from charming boutique hotels hidden in the old town's narrow alleys to enchanting resorts offering captivating sea-facing vistas. One such retreat is Dukley Resort (From €200 Website) , a sanctuary of opulence conveniently situated only 1.5 km from the lively city centre and a short distance from the glistening shores of Dukley Beach, Becici Beach, and Slovenska Beach. 

Montenegro smoked ham
Montenegro smoked hamShutterstock

What To Eat and Drink

Budva's history comes through in its delicious food culture, too, with Turkish and Levant flavours influencing most of what makes traditional Montenegrin cuisine. At the same time, its position right by the Adriatic makes seafood a popular choice across most restaurants and cafes. However, the otherwise sleepy town comes alive as the sun sets, with nightclubs and bars pulling in crowds of all ages. 

What To Shop

While the many attractions and lovely beaches fill your days in Budva, shopping makes for a compelling addition to the list of things to do while you're there. You can find anything you want with both high street and local shopping options. 

TQ Plaza is a popular shopping complex for those searching for well-known brands. But if you want an authentic experience of the way of life here, head to the many non-descript flea markets selling handmade souvenirs around the Old Town. And if you fall in love with the food here, you can also take home a local ingredient from Zelena Pjaca (Green Market), known as Budva's food centre. 

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Traveller