Budva is the metropolis of the Montenegrin tourism, due to the numerous beaches that attract the tourists with their beauty, thus transforming this place into the most wanted tourist destination. Apart from the natural beauty of the coves, islands and beaches, Budva is rich in historic monuments as well. The old town lies on a small peninsula and represents a treasure chest of the cultural heritage. It is intersected with numerous streets and squares, with important buildings such as the Church of St. Trinity, the grave of the famous writer Stjepan Mitrov Ljubisa, the Church of St. Ivan, the Church of Our Lady and the Church of St. Sava. During the summer period it is transformed into the Theatre city, where numerous foreign and local plays are performed. In the old town you can visit various boutiques, cafs, restaurants and galleries. The monasteries of Stanjevici, Podostrog, Rezevici and Gradiste represent significant historic and religious monuments of Budva. Budva has the coast line of 21 km, with 17 beaches. It is one of the most beautiful coasts in the world and its beauty will not leave you indifferent.
History of Budva
Budva a modern town at the very edge of the Adriatic seashore - has a rich historic past. Ancient history goes back to the 5 th century BC. According to numerous legends, Budva was the first town of the Illyrians. Its first inhabitants were the King and Queen of the historically known city of Thebes King Cadmus and Queen Harmonia. Already in the 2 nd century BC, Budva fell under Roman rule. Trading had developed by that time and the inhabitants were also cultivating grapes and olives. After the destruction of the Roman Empire, a period of Byzantine rule began. The people of Budva began their fight against Byzantine rule in 535 AD and finally succeeded when the Serbian Nemanjic dynasty came to the Montenegrin coastline (1184-1186).
The strongest growth of Budva was experienced in the Middle Ages, during the rule of Tsar Dusan. Budva even had a Statute that decreed the living conditions in the Middle Ages. Budva fell under the rule of the Venetian Republic in 1442. Apart from the pressure of the Venetians, Turks also troubled the inhabitants of Budva. They frequently attacked Budva and surrounding places and fought with the Venetians; in fact, Budva was under attack from both sides of this war, right up to beginning of 18 th century. In 1807 Budva was occupied by the French and in 1813 fell under Austro-Hungarian occupation, which ruled it for the next 100 years. Destroyed and reduced to poverty under the Austro-Hungarian rule, Budva was now at the beginning of WWI in 1914. Freedom from the Austro-Hungarian Empire finally came in 1918. This was only a short-lived break though and at the beginning of WWII, in 1941, Italy occupied Budva and its surrounding area. Liberation from Nazi rule was celebrated in Budva on November 22, 1944.
Legend on Genesis of Budva
Budva and its inhabitants hold two mythical legends on the genesis of the name Budva. BUTHUA, BUTOBA, BUTUA today Budva is said to have derived its name from the most famous and authenticated story on the genesis of town's name, from the time of Stephanus of Byzantium from the 6 th century AD. It is written in the story of Philo of Byblos, from the 2 nd century AD, that the founding of Budva was connected to CADMUS, founder of the city of Thebes and mythical son of Phoenician King Agenor. Cadmus and his wife Harmonia were expelled from Thebes and in an oxen coach headed to the country of Enchilei (people of eels, the oldest known inhabitants of the region of Budva), where they founded a new city BOUTHOE Budva. According to this legend, Budva gained its name after the oxen (BOUS Greek for ox), that brought Cadmus and Harminia to Budva. According to other sources, Harmonia gave birth to a son, Illyrius. However, because of a murder that Cadmus had committed in his youth, punishment from the Gods was visited upon the couple and, according to the legend, Cadmus and Harmonia were turned into snakes.
Apart from tourism Budva is a town of culture. Not only because of its extremely valuable heritage but also due to the constant influence and mixing of different cultures from land and sea (Hellenics, Venetians, French, Austro-Hungarians, ), the cultural dimension of Budva always mingles through the social life of the town. Authentic monuments from ancient times even today vividly testify to its cultural heritage: numerous churches, monasteries, fortresses, The most attractive and oldest is the Old Town of Budva (Stari Grad), where the greatest numbers of monuments are located. Apart from the history and culture, its famous inhabitants carried the spirit of Budva through the centuries. Budva gave birth to many celebrities of paintbrush and pen. To mention a few: Todor Vukovic - painter from Maine, 15 th century, and Krsto Ivanovic writer of the chronicle of Budva, 17 th century.
In the 18 th century the well-known count Stjepan Zanovic lived in Budva, enjoying, from early youth, an adventurous, careless and relaxed life-style. Another important inhabitant of Budva was the painter of rich art works, Anastas Bocaric, 17 th century. Educated in Athens, he dealt with sculpture, calligraphy and applied arts. At the same time he taught his brother, Spiro Bocaric, who was educated in Venice. He painted numerous portraits and landscapes. Undoubtedly the most famous man of Budva was a philosopher, writer and statesman who was renown even outside Montenegro, Stefan Mitrov Ljubisa, 19 th century. Even during his lifetime, he was proclaimed to be the best storywriter of that era. He became famous by gathering and documenting national habits and customs and thus saved the national language from oblivion.
Coming to the 20 th century, there are other renowned and famous public and scientific workers. As the most important we should mention the brothers Miroslav and Stevan Luketic. Miroslav Luketic PhD was a famous historian and writer of chronicles. His brother Stevan Luketic was a world famous sculptor. The painters Slobodan Slovinic and Jovan Ivanovic were born and lived in Budva.
The warm Adriatic Sea washes Budva, with a surrounding area of 122 square kilometres and 25 kilometres of coastline. The climate in Budva is typically Mediterranean, meaning mild winters and hot, mostly dry summers and an average of 2,300 hours of sunshine per year. Budva is not distinguished by large differences in temperature and this recommends it to tourists even more as a place for the ideal holiday. The bathing season starts in early May and lasts till mid November.
The Adriatic Sea is full of flora and fauna, including green, black and red algae. In the waters around Budva are many kinds of fish: gray mullet (lat. Mugil cephalus), dentex (lat. Dentex dentex), bamboo fish (lat. Sarpa salpa), granper (lat. Scorpaena scrofa), gilthead (lat. Sparus aurata) and even greater amberjack (lat. Seriola dumerini). Even on the sea floor there is an abundance of life: octopus, cuttlefish, squids, lobsters, mussel, oyster and date-shells, a real Noah's Ark.
With its fauna and flora Budva is similar to other coastal places, with palms, oleanders and mimosas. There are also wild and domestic pomegranates, fig, orange, tangerine, grapes, and olive-trees. Budva and its surrounding area is also an important producer of olives. Care for the olive tree has lasted for centuries and from ancient times it has been considered a holy tree as well as tree of peace. How much it was esteemed in the past is confirmed by historic evidence that a few centuries ago a young man could not get married unless he had planted 30 young olive trees. Along the beaches of Budva, the scent of pine and cypress trees spreads far and wide. Green and colourful, many rows of cypress and pine trees can be found all over Budva, attracting many visitors who enjoy the experience of resting in the hotel, town or forest parks. Besides swimming and the beach, the joy of a holiday in Budva is complemented by such places and you encounter them at almost every step. Budva is rich in fauna and in the parks you can often see squirrels, whilst the region is also populated by other wild life: weasel, otter, rabbit, marten, wild boar, fox, even fallow deer, as well as various kinds of birds: sea-gull, swallow, eagle, sparrow
Top 5 Places in Budva
Old Town (Stari Grad)
Old Town is the trademark of Budva. Originally built on an island, a sand isthmus developed between it and the main land and so it became a peninsula. Old Town Budva is a unique architectural and urban unit that was already mentioned as a settlement in ancient times. According to these sources, Budva is over 2,500 years old and one of the oldest urban centres around the Adriatic Sea. The walls of the Old Town were, and still are, as much of an attraction to residential homes as for tourists, who come to visit from the furthest parts of the world. They were built in the Middle Ages when this region was ruled by the Venetians.
The Old Town twice suffered from natural disasters when strong earthquakes struck, first in 1667 and again in 1979. On your first visit to the Old Town of Budva, you might think that you have entered a labyrinth, with lots of narrow streets, squares, walls and towers from the late Middle Ages. Today, the ground floors of many houses have been converted into art galleries, shops, cafes, boutiques, Within the Old Town is the city fortress, Citadela, dating from the 5 th 6 th century AD, which is now used as the summer stage for the famous Theatre City cultural festival. In the Old Town are also the churches of St. Ivan (a monumental three-nave basilica, built in the 7 th century AD), St. Mary's of Punta (the oldest building, dating from 840 AD) and the Holy Trinity (built in 1804).
The hotel-town of Sveti Stefan is today best known as a jet-setter's summer residence. Connected to the main land by a sand isthmus, such islands are very rare and called "tombolo". The famous Pastrovici tribe used this location in the 15 th century to defend itself against their enemies and even today gun openings and guns remind one of those times. The interior of the hotel-town is made up of narrow, winding streets. There are small picturesque squares, three churches and the hotel apartments are in elegant houses of Mediterranean style.
Sveti Stefan today breathes with a spirit of the summer residence for elite tourists and those seeking the exotic. When, at the end of the 1940's, a decision was made to turn the island into a tourist facility, Sveti Stefan started writing a new chapter in its long history. Its fame, up to the present, comes from its illustrious visitors, such as actors, singers, scientists and the presidents of many of the countries of the world. At Sveti Stefan, visitors have included the British Princess Margaret, former Italian King Umberto II Savoy and famous actors Sophia Loren, Carlo Bruin, Kirk Douglas, Doris Day, Geraldine Chaplin, Sidney Poitier, Richard Widmark, Sylvester Stallone, Jeremy Irons the list goes on. Famous writers Andre Marlow and Albert Moravia, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, celebrated Chess Grandmaster Robert Fischer and one of the world's beautiful women, top model Claudia Schaeffer. Most of the mentioned crowned heads stayed in the famous villa 118, which is part of the town-hotel complex Sveti Stefan. The price of accommodation for this exclusive villa is negotiable, by bargaining with the lodger and a starting price of around 1,500 EUR per day.
In 1972 Sveti Stefan received the Golden Apple prize for being the most exclusive summer residence in the world. In close vicinity is Hotel Milocer, once the summer residence of the King. Today, Hotel Milocer is completely surrounded by a pine forest, with marvelous parks made of colonnades of pine trees, neatly kept smaller parks with colourful flowers, two beaches and footpaths that lead along a small hill overlooking the town-hotel Sveti Stefan. Having lunch or dinner in the gardens of Hotel Milocer, with its refined white stoned walls, is an especially charming experience. Such natural surrounding have made the neighbourhood around Hotel Milocer an ideal location for tourists with a more refined taste. It is the perfect place for lovers enjoying a break in this quiet area, disturbed only by the chirping of birds or the hubbub of bathers.
Island St. Nikola
The attractive island of Sveti Nikola is popularly called 'Hawaii near Budva' and is another one of the many attractions of the Budva coast. According to some sources the island was once connected to the town with an isthmus called 'tunja'. The easiest way to arrive on the island's beaches or its many bays is by taxi-boat or dinghy. Once you reach your destination, clear transparent seas await you with the blue skies, sunrays and the scents and tastes of the Mediterranean. Day trips to the island offer bathing or exploring depending on your own preference, with the simplest being just to enjoy the sea, the peace and the Mediterranean atmosphere. Today, part of the island is private property but there is a new restaurant, two well kept beaches and the building of a marina is planned. The island is full of wild life: fallow deer, rabbits, deer, birds as well rare plants and is covered by thick conifers, pine and juniper forests. A large part of the island reminds one of the remotest regions of the world looking for a new Robinson Crusoe.
Once called Kastel Lastva, Petrovac is a small but pretty town by the sea, approximately half way between Budva and Bar. It was first mentioned as an inhabited place between the end of the 18 th and beginning of the 19 th century. The town, located on a sandy bay, is surrounded by a thick pine forests. Originally it was primarily a fishing village but the pine forests and olive groves, the warm clear sea and the beautiful beaches have made Petrovac a place to which visitors return year after year for their holidays. Lucice beach is full of visitors during the summer months but despite this popularity its attractiveness has remained largely unspoilt. The beach is only 500 metres south from the centre of town. Nightlife in the town runs mostly from the Petrovac promenade towards the hotel Rivijera. During the summer the cafes are full of young people enjoying the sounds of modern music and dance coming from the open terraces and disco clubs.
The City Museum of Budva is located in the heart of the Old Town. Although Budva's history dates back over 2.5 millennia, it has only had a museum for the past twenty years. The town museum offers visitors articles depicting Budva from the very beginning of its establishment up to the present. There are various artifacts with Hellenic marks, vases, jewelry, decorations, tools and silver as well as artifacts made of glass and clay with unusual shapes and designs. Silver cutlery and other pieces that lay undiscovered for years are now kept in the museum of Budva. These artifacts bear witness to the life and historic conditions of this part of the Mediterranean and the ethnic genesis from the mixture of many different cultures: Illyrians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Slavs and others.