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Framed by pine-speckled mountains that slope down into the Adriatic Sea, much of Budva’s appeal is rooted in its spectacular setting. It boasts several of Montenegro’s finest beaches, ranging between bustling, bar-lined stretches along the main promenade, Slovenska Plaza, and more secluded, rugged beaches sandwiched between towering cliffs a little further out of town. Together with its pulsating summer nightlife scene, abundance of bars and restaurants and proximity to Tivat Airport (a half-hour taxi ride away), it’s no wonder that Budva has become the bustling centrepiece of Montenegro’s 295km-long coastline.
Archaeological evidence indicates that Budva is one of the oldest settlements along the Adriatic coast, dating back over 2,500 years. As such, it has been continually shaped by a multitude of civilizations, all of whom left their mark on the town’s cultural and architectural heritage. Amid the array of modern constructions hastily put together to keep up with the town’s rapid growth in popularity in recent years, by far the most attractive part of Budva today remains its walled Old Town (Stari Grad). It occupies a small, rocky outcrop jutting into the sea, packed with beautifully preserved Venetian-era architecture – think cream-coloured stone houses with terracotta roofs, and a twisting maze of cobblestone streets leading into palm tree-lined courtyards that feel almost frozen in time.
As one of Europe’s smallest countries, Montenegro massively punches above its weight in terms of both natural and cultural splendour, with spectacular mountain scenery, idyllic beaches and charming towns in abundance. Although you’ll find no shortage of things to see and do in Budva itself, it also makes an ideal base for exploring other parts of the country. For instance, you could easily spend a day in Kotor and Perast, two of the most picturesque towns along the Bay of Kotor – an awe-inspiring, fjord-like inlet that carves its way from the mountains out to sea. Alternatively, you could take a water taxi down the coast to Petrovac and Sveti Stefan, head inland to Lake Skadar (the largest lake in the Balkans) or Lovcen National Park, or even tick off another country by taking a day trip to Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina or Albania.