Welcome to Budva, a charming town on the Adriatic Sea in Montenegro. With a population of 19,218, Budva is the center of Budva Municipality and the heart of Montenegrin tourism. The coastal area around Budva, known as the Budva Riviera, is famous for its well-preserved medieval walled city, sandy beaches, and diverse nightlife. Budva is one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic coast, with a history dating back 2,500 years.
The town’s name, Budva, is derived from Proto-Albanian *bukta-, meaning soft or mild, which may refer to the climate of the place. Budva has a rich history, with extensive archaeological evidence placing it among the oldest urban settlements of the Adriatic coast. The town has been ruled by various empires and kingdoms, including the Byzantine Empire, the Venetian Republic, the Habsburg monarchy, and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Budva suffered extensive damage in a catastrophic earthquake in 1979, but today, there is little evidence of the catastrophe, and the town is a prime visitor attraction of Montenegro.
The Old Town of Budva is situated on a rocky peninsula, on the southern end of Budva field. The entire town is encircled with defensive stone walls, complete with towers, embrasures, fortified city gates, and a citadel. The fortifications of Budva are typical of the Medieval walled cities of the Adriatic, and the entire city within the walls is pedestrian-only. The town citadel is situated on the southern tip of the city, and the sea-facing 160m long ramparts of the citadel, complete with eastern and western towers, are intricately connected to the rest of the city walls. The Old Town suffered extensive damage in the 1979 earthquake, but repair and reconstruction took eight years, and today, it is packed with tourists during the summer months. Its narrow cobbled streets are lined with restaurants, cafes, pubs, and shops.
Although confined to the walls of the Old Town for most of its history, Budva started significant expansion into the adjacent Budva field in the 20th century, with the development of the tourism industry. Hotels started springing up near the Old Town and to the west of it, along the 1600m long Slovenska beach, including the landmark Avala hotel, the Mogren hotel, and the Slovenska plaža hotel complex. Development near the Old Town and along the longest city beach was done in a planned and sustainable manner, with parts of Budva built in the SFRY having all the characteristics of a well-organized resort town. Most of the hotels and facilities built during this period are situated to the south of the town’s main traffic artery, a portion of Adriatic Highway (E65/E80) that crosses the city parallel to the Slovenska plaža beach.
Tourism is the main driver of the economy of Budva. It is a significant tourist destination on the eastern Adriatic, and by far the most popular destination in Montenegro. During 2013, Budva recorded 668,931 tourist visits and 4,468,913 overnight stays, thus accounting for 44.8% of tourist visits to Montenegro and 47.5% of its overnight stays. Although Budva is notable for its long history and its well-preserved Old Town, it is not primarily known as a destination for sightseeing or cultural tourism. Unlike Kotor or Dubrovnik, Budva has an image of a crowded beach resort, with a lively and vibrant atmosphere and a very active nightlife. The Budva Riviera has some of the most attractive beaches of south Adriatic, and the most pleasant climate in Montenegro. Mogren beach is arguably the best known and most attractive of the Budva city beaches, nested.