Budva on the southern coast of Montenegro with its beautiful bays is primarily a popular holiday destination for swimming holidays in Montenegro. But behind the historic walls of the old town there are also some architectural gems that are definitely worth discovering!
Budva is one of the most important tourist towns in Montenegro, not least because of its beautiful beaches. Due to the predominantly Serbian guests, Budva is also jokingly referred to as "Belgrade's house beach", but in the meantime Russian holidaymakers are also increasingly finding their way to dreamlike Budva. The tourist offer is correspondingly large.
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"Base camp" Budva
Budva's location and well-developed infrastructure make it the ideal starting point for exploring Montenegro. Apart from the Montenegrin Adriatic coast, the sinfully expensive hotel island of Sveti Stefan, the historic old town of Bar, Lake Skadar, the Bay of Kotor, Podgorica via Cetinje or the monastery of Ostrog are all good destinations. Only the mountains of the hinterland are too far for a day trip.
Old Town of Budva
Budva is ancient. According to mythology, Budva was founded over 2,500 years ago by Kadmos, son of the Phoenician king Agenor, after he was banished from Thebes. An ancient cemetery has been uncovered between the city walls and the mountains, with graves dating from the 4th to the 6th century. Parts of the site now form the interior of the Caffe2Millenium.
In 1979, Budva was badly damaged by a devastating earthquake, but was rebuilt true to the original and is now a listed building. The façades therefore do not look quite so antique.
The historic centre of Budva is one of the most beautiful old towns in Montenegro. Budva's narrow streets often become too small for the crowds that stroll between mini-markets and cafés to the individual sights. Most of them are located in the east of the old town, but the rest of the old town is also worth exploring with its winding little streets.
City walls and citadel
Today's city walls date from the Middle Ages, the oldest and now lowest parts were built by the Phoenicians, the rest by the Venetians and Austrians.
The most important part of the city's fortifications is the citadel on the hill. Its present appearance also comes from the Austrians, who even added their own small bakery for self-sufficiency. The small church of Sveti Marija, whose frescoes can be found today in the west and north walls of the citadel, had to make way for this.
In addition to the wonderful view, a café and a restaurant are among the citadel's current offerings. In summer, open-air events are often held here.
Sveti Troica Church
The church of Sveti Troica is enthroned on the largest square in the old town, directly under the citadel. The Orthodox church of the Holy Trinity was completed in 1804 and stands out with its red and white patterned brickwork.
Churches of Sveti Marija in Punta and Sveti Sava
A little further towards the sea is the picturesque church ensemble of Sveti Marija in Punta, the oldest church in Budva with a distinctive round tower, and Sveti Sava, which has often been passed around between Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.
Sveti Ivan Church
The steeple, however, which towers unmistakably above the brick-red roofs of Budva's old town, belongs to the 15th-century church of Sveti Ivan, simply called "katedrala" by the locals.
While the tower dates from 1876, floor mosaics dating back to the 6th century have been found inside the church. According to legend, the church houses a priceless icon of Our Lady with the Child Jesus, said to have been made by the evangelist Luke.
There is still plenty to see outside the city walls as well. In the mountains around Budva, scattered as if by chance, are the remains of fortresses and monasteries, including the former imperial and royal fortress of Mogren on Mount Spas, built by the Austrians in 1860, or the Podostrog Monastery, which can be reached by a 3km walk.
In the summer months, the beaches around Budva are usually hopelessly overcrowded. Free places on the beach then have to be searched for with great difficulty, and parking spaces are scarce anyway. Nevertheless, you should pay a visit to the beautiful beaches of Budva.
Similar to the island of Lokrum off the Croatian city of Dubrovnik, the rocky island of Sveti Nikola, inhabited only by a lighthouse keeper, rises out of the water off Budva. The one kilometre to the island can be covered by swimming or by one of the boats that leave Budva several times a day for the three small beaches on Sveti Nikola.
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