I’ve been writing a lot about Montenegro and surrounding countries lately – well, not so lately, my last blogpost was more than 2 weeks ago… Oops! I really need to get back on the blogging train – but I never wrote about Budva. The city I’m living in for already a little bit more than 3 months already and I haven’t even written one single letter about it. Not that Budva isn’t known, it’s one of the biggest tourist destinations in the region, if not the biggest of the whole country. Founded by one certain Greek hero named Cadmus, together with his wife, after having defeated a sacred dragon. No dragons anymore in Budva, but Cadmus got what he deserved, the Gods changed him into a snake for killing their beloved dragon-pet. And yes, there are still a certain amount of snakes living in the area, though I cannot say I have seen one closer than an hour driving from the city centre.
Strolling around the old town
There you have it, Budva’s main attraction, the old town. Completely rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in the 1970’s, the small walled old town holds a lot of charming streets, almost hidden bars and a lot of souvenir shops. One of my favorite things to do in the old town is visiting the museum called Citadela. Not for the fantastic collection – which collection? – but for the amazing view you have on the surroundings: the isle of Sveti Nikola, gloriously located in the sea, in front of the old city walls, offering slightly less populated beaches and a better temperature than almost 40-something degrees. Views on the old town itself, the terra-cotta roofs and walkable city walls. The mountains, those ever present mountains, embracing the city in a green hug. However, don’t forget the scorching heat in the height of summer, nor the flocks of tourists roaming those charming cobblestone streets, which can make a visit during in mid day a slightly little bit less pleasant.
Drinking a cold beer or a nice glass of red wine feels the best in one of the seats at Casper’s garden, served with a lively atmosphere and a good mix of locals and tourists. Though I prefer one bar, out of the very touristic old town: the Biker’s Bar, complete with live music every night – the guys are ever present and even though they’re local, I wouldn’t be surprised if their roots lay in Alabama, their soul must originate somewhere in the south of the USA -, cheap drinks and any sort of Biker decoration you can think about. Other nightlife is found on the top of the hill behind the old town, in the famous club called – how applicable – ‘Top Hill’. Dance the night away on almost deafening Balkan beats during a visit to one of the many bars along the promenade or a stop at the well-known club Trocadero.
Sun & Beaches
A walk along the promenade from Bečići to Budva already tells you everything: rows and rows of sunbeds in all shapes, colours and sizes. Throw some parasols and some red/white tanlines on top of it and the picture is complete, we find ourselves in a major tourist destination. There are better, but definitely worse places in the world to spend your holidays. The moment you take a look around you while floating on your pink inflatable mattress, the mountains towering over the sea will take your breath away. Fishes swimming around your feet and turquoise water as far as you can see. Scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing, jetskiing, name a watersport and you can do it in Budva. The temperatures of the water are perfect to refresh yourself after a burning hot walk in the old town, just don’t be thrifty on the sunscreen. Mogren beach is the perfect place to lay sunbathe, especially out of season. Secluded by beautiful rock formations and a bit hidden for the bigger crowd, it’s ideal to spend some spare hours. Others are Slovenska Plaža, the largest and most crowded beach – although you still manage to find a spot to put your towel down, don’t worry – and the beach on the island of Sveti Nikola, with numerous snorkeling and jumping spots. More quiet & untouched beaches are found along the way to Petrovac.
Even thought tourists are roaming the streets and crowding the beaches at the moment – hey, I make a living off of them too, I’m not complaining – I do like living here. It’s not always easy to find some authenticity and even beauty, but there are plenty of hidden gems. The abandoned ruins of an old restaurant – if it ever was a restaurant, just a wild guess – offering stunning views on both the old town as Mogren beach. Street art on a basketball field close to my office. The cracks in the pavement and unfinished concrete monstrosities, dotting the streets. Wild flowers and butterflies everywhere. The konoba Bocon restaurant, offering juicy hamburgers for a small price, served by the ever smiling owner. Shops in the most unusual places.
And then I’m also lucky Budva is the perfect base to explore the rest of the country. Yes, the north is a little bit further, but the borders on both sides of the country are reachable within two hours. The whole coastline is open for exploring, from the Bay of Kotor to the Balkanesque city of Ulcinj and the outskirts of the Ada Bojana isle. One of my favorite getaway places however is Lovćen National Park. But more about the stunning mountainviews in Lovćen in one of my next blogposts.