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krisek Budva - A travel report by Krys
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Budva,  Montenegro - flag Montenegro
16158 readers

krisek's travel reports

Summer resort with an old city for a gem. Budva.

  7 votes
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Budva was not particularly famous for its monuments or sights. It was more associated with its status of summer beach destination. However, the old town was so charming, despite the downpour.

Beach seen from the Citadel
Beach seen from the Citadel
Budva welcomed me with so much rain that it could be mistaken for the tropics. It bucketted continuously for hours. On such a day, walking about the city trying to discover its qualities was a challenge. However, the old town, complete with a castle and a couple of really nice churches, and, predictably, a maze of narrow stone alleys, had so much charm that weather affected it only slightly. Sitting in a cafe under a large umbrella listening to thunders growling and the raindrops banging on the canopy, the pavement and windows was really atmospheric!

The beaches of Budva were empty that day. Well, people were missing, but the equipment; parasols, deck chairs, mattresses, sunbeds; were all there waiting for the sun to come out and call in the sunbathers. They had to wait until 5pm for it. And when the sun came out, the shiny pavements of the old town reflected the visitors squeezing in the narrow lanes, and the colourful window shutters. But the joy lasted 1 hour only. The clouds came back and the rain followed a few hours later. Torrential rain, I must add.

Had the old town been less attractive, it would have been little reason to come to Budva on a rainy day, actually. The new town had nothing special to offer. When it stopped raining and the hot sunrays dried my shirt, my trousers, my bag, my hair, but not my feet, I was happier. Much happier! I even started contemplating of going back to Sveti Stefan to take some photos, despite the entire island being closed. But before I could make up my mind, the sun hid behind a thick layer of dark cloud. So, I decided to try to explore more of the city.

Favourite spots:
Two churches, view from the Citadel
Two churches, view from the Citadel
The old town, surrounded by thick stone walls was definitely my favourite place in Budva. The old part was really small, and could be explored in an hour or so, depending how many stops one made in shops, cafes, the citadel and the small church. It was also possible to climb part of the the walls, but due to rain, I had to tun back as I did not have appropriate rubber footwear to take me through ankle high waters that accumulated on several sections of the ramparts.

Within this tiny old town, I liked the cluster of palm trees on the square with the two churches and the castle, aka citadel. They looked almost as if their position was carefully engineered by a perfectionist landscape designer. Very unexpected.

What's really great:
The Citadel
The Citadel
Now, I should say what I did not like about Budva. It was the concrete blocks rising right next to the old town city walls. From certain point of view, it might be a positive sign that the nation did not hang to their past and moved forward, embracing what the 21st century had for them in the terms of progress or forms of architecture. I was just wondering whether these massive grey concrete structures had to be erected in such a close vicinity of this lovely old town.

What I liked was the relaxed atmosphere in Budva. It was obvious that people had come here to unwind. No-one showed any stress. It was all about lounging in armchairs, sofas or sunbeds, sipping drinks, reading books, listening to the music, taking a dip in the sea and fooling around. Special concrete piers had been even built stretching out to the sea from the beaches for the lads to jump into the deeper water!

The cathedral
The cathedral
The Citadel, which must have been recently restored situated amongst partially ruined walls on the edge of the Old Town (€2), offered good views of the beaches and the old town. It was also housing an expensive restaurant and a rather posh cafe (Le Chateau). There was not much to see inside the citadel, if just to climb the highest point in the old town, apart from the spear of the cathedral, and check a couple of nice views into the sea, the old town beach and the roofs of the old houses.

The Monastir Podmanig by the citadel, the small one of the two churches there, was frequently visited by tourists. It was painted inside quite meticulously.

Hotel Fontana, room no.2
Hotel Fontana, room no.2
Hotel Mogren by the old town charged €63.50 for a single room. It was somewhat modern, but the personnel had strange attitude. It seemed to be geared towards little caring business people rather than independent backpackers. And the decor was unimpressive.

The famous Hotel Aleksandar was €32 per single in a very resort-like environment with central pool inside a courtyard but it was far from the old town, far from all the action, at the end of the town leading out to Sveti Stefan.

Hotel Fontana was close to the old town and the Slovene Beach, and charged €40 for double ensuite, including cooked breakfast. My room (#2) was good size, had a balcony with partial sea view, small TV with many English speaking channels (all mainstream news channels, and subtitled Discivery, etc), small shower/toilet room (provided towels and liquid soap only), and the bed was very comfortably firm. Annoyingly no credit cards were accepted when I visited owing to an implausibly broken machine!

Narrow lane inside the old town
Narrow lane inside the old town
Disco Trocadero by the restaurant O Sole Mio was the only in-your-face nightlife venue, and it did not look like I was going to like it.

The pedestrianised promenade running alongside the marina from the old city walls and then parallel to the Slovene Beach (Slovenska Plaža), was full of cheap eat stands, mainly grills and burgers, and cafes-cum-clubs, like the Maltez, the Ambiente, Bombo, Trocadero Boat, or Pallcetta (?). This is where nightlife concentrated, although many were closed on Sunday night. This was more of my cup of tea (hmm... cup of rhum), and they were all open-air!

Inside the walls of the old town, a few bars and pubs offered good alternative to the beach bars. There was an English pub 'The Prince', but the Casper Republica bar was cooler and played funky music. Many bars there were minute, with only a couple of tables or just a few of stools at the bar. Very cosy!

The beach outside the old town walls
The beach outside the old town walls
The classic hangout of old Budva was the Stari Grad Beach Bar. Positioned right in the pebbles of the beach, it had a number of qualities. First - they played the cool tunes of Vaya Con Dios; second - the waves rolling the pebbles on the beach gave classic sounds of a seaside; third - it allowed nice views of the old town's citadel and city walls, and people taking advantage of the afternoon sun, fourth - their draught lager was only €1.50 for a generous pint.

I went there to see the multiple lightnings battering the sea. It was incredible!! The citadel looked impossibly dramatic with the illuminated clouds behind it. And then the entire storm cloud appeared to drop on the beach in a split of a second. There are no words to describe it. The rain was not only horizontal. It was hitting in all possible directions. And the wind took the canopies and umbrellas in blink of an eye!

Hong Kong restaurant
Hong Kong restaurant
Caffe-Pizzeria Sambra - in the Old Town served typical Adriatic fare, mainly pastas (€5-€8) and pizzas (€5.50-€9). It had Irish Coffee (€3.50), local beers/soft drinks (up to€2) and served breakfast (€4) until 1pm. Their large pizza was about 11 inch and therefore I'd classify it as medium. But it was good. Their tea (€1.80) came in a small pot, a wedge of lemon, and a small pouch of honey! Nice touch, indeed. I ordered, in addition to my Irish Coffee (obligatory starter on a day like this), pizza diavola (€7.80) and tea, a local herb brandy Stomaklija (€1.80, 30ml), which was almost drinkable, but I was desperate for warming up drinks, hence the experimenting.

Strolling about Old Budva in the evening, could not decide whether I should have dinner or not, I gave in seeing relatively busy Hong Kong Chinese restaurant and ordered Ghungbao chicken (€6) with egg fried rice (€3). Just craving for something spicy.

Other recommendations:
The Citadel
The Citadel
Taxis to Sveti Stefan charged €10, and the trip could be done in about 15 minutes. Minibus shuttles to the island also operated, as I spotted one on the way, but I was not sure how frequent these were. Frequent coaches went to Tivat (€3.50, 30'), Kotor (€4, 45'), Herceg Novi (€5, 1h15' - if crossing the Bay of Kotor by ferry, 2h15' otherwise) and Podgorica. On most days of the week, morning (06:20 or 07:30) and/or sometimes afternoon coaches went to Dubrovnik in Croatia, and more frequently to Beograd in Serbia.

The bus drivers often forgot that they had had passengers to certain destinations, incl. Sveti Stefan, and one had to be very careful not to miss the stop! It happened to me twice, and I had to scream at them that they missed my stop, and had to let me out in the middle of the highway.

It seemed that everyone, regardless of age or gender, spoke English. Personnel at the coach stations (information desks, ticket desks, drivers), shops, hotels, restaurants, bars, taxis...

Published on Friday June 26th, 2009

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Sat, Jun 27 2009 - 08:18 AM rating by aufgehts

A completely charming town and I'm sure a surprising find for you!

Fri, Jun 26 2009 - 06:54 PM rating by jacko1

Once again Krys an excellent report with good detail, I have visited here and is as you say, minus the rain! well done! Tony.

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