Old Town Budva in Montenegro – Best Sights
One of the few cities in Montenegro, which perfectly preserved not just architectural monuments, but a whole complex of ancient sights. Budva’s Old Town has an incredible atmosphere of antiquity, and the concentration of tourists coming to see its sites is one of the highest in all of Montenegro.
Budva Old Town is an incredible open-air museum. These are the words of admiration voiced by local tourists. There is an enchanting atmosphere here that makes you want to feel like a hero of the time. Budva’s Old Town has a concentration of amazing ancient sights, unique in their design, preserving the history of the distant past.
About Old Town Budva
Judging by the archeological excavations, the first settlement here was formed as far back as the V century B.C., and up to the XX century life was concentrated within the limits of the Old Town. And this despite the small area, which can be bypassed in just half an hour.
Hotels in Budva Old Town are few and far between and offer expensive accommodation. It is more convenient and profitable to settle in a new part of the city, not far from the complex, and go on excursions. Accommodation is available for any budget – from rooms and hostels to rooms in luxury five-star hotels of well-known European networks. However, for the comfort of high quality in the latter you have to pay a pretty penny, especially in July and August, when prices for housing grow by 2 times.
For those who like shopping on a European scale it is better to go to the nearest Bar or Podgorica. Stores in the old town of Budva are exclusively souvenir, but for many it’s a real treasury of exclusive things. In them you can buy national prsut, local wines, decorative items, Montenegrin headdresses, semi-precious belts made by Budvan masters.
10 Best Sights of Budva Old Town
You might think you can’t get around them all in a day, but that’s just for a detailed tour. A big plus is that all attractions are located within the Old Town of Budva. If you do not have time to dwell on each in detail – you have planned a busy tour of the country, then it is quite possible to walk around them all in a day.
Here are 10 of the best sights of the Old Town of Budva, which are worth visiting in Montenegro. The fortress walls, the Citadel, historic cathedrals and temples, ancient gates and museums – the trip promises to be fascinating.
St. Mary’s Fortress or Citadel
The old stone fishes in Budva’s Old Town, which you may have already seen on the Montenegrin internet photos, are on the wall of the St. Mary’s Citadel-Fortress. The citadel was built in the XIV century and was temporarily the royal residence of the Principality of Zeta. Throughout its existence the fortress protected the city from foreign invaders. There you can also visit the Maritime Museum and Library, where you can see ancient exhibits such as tableware, weapons, models of ships, ancient maps and books.
The fortress walls of the Old City
The main defense and the most stunning structure of the Old Town of Budva, the full panorama of which can be seen on the map. Powerful 45-meter high fortress walls completely encircle the entire Old Town of Budva. There are 3 passages on the walls. There are loopholes, gun ports and watchtowers along them. Some of them were built in the IX century, and after a major earthquake the Venetians erected them again in the XVII century. Going to the observation deck by the fortress walls, you can enjoy an incredible panorama of the entire city.
St. John the Baptist Cathedral and Bell Tower
The Gothic-style Catholic cathedral was built in the 17th century on the site of an ancient 7th-century church. On its territory there is the highest bell tower in the city, and inside the temple there is the miraculous Budva icon of the Virgin Mary with the Child. According to legend, it was painted by St. Luke himself. There are other valuable relics in the Cathedral: icons of St. Peter and St. Paul, chapels, the altar of rich marble, the figure of John the Baptist in a mosaic of Murano glass. Regular services are held in the Cathedral.
Church of the Holy Trinity
The famous church was built in the nineteenth century in the style of Byzantine temples. While in Budva Old Town one does not need to ask passers-by where it is located, as the church can be found in the very center – on the church square, next to the Citadel. Just above the entrance to the shrine you can see the first mosaic, depicting the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Inside the church is richly decorated, with the centerpiece being the iconostasis made by Greek iconographers of the 19th century. At the entrance to the church is the tombstone of Stefan Ljubiš, a renowned politician and writer from Budva.
Church of St. Mary
The oldest Catholic church in Old Budva, built back in the 8th century, is one of the 8 shrines in Montenegro associated with the Virgin Mary. She acts as the patron saint of the city. The Church of St. Mary is located in the fortress wall itself, on the southwestern outskirts of the city. The unique architecture – irregular rectangular shape of the building, unusual in design windows, and the main entrance is on the side left side – is attractive. Services are not held in the church, the temple is used as a gallery.
A small square in the center of the old town of Budva, in Montenegro, where you can make an impressive photo as a memory near a real artifact of antiquity – a Roman altar. After the strongest earthquake in Montenegro, the stone was found on the excavations. Its estimated age was 20 centuries! Despite the significant damage from time, the inscription “Vincia Pavlina” can still be clearly distinguished on the surface of the stone. Scientists have suggested that it was a wine sacrifice to make a sacrifice to the gods of the time.
A unique gate opening from the city directly to the sea coast. The arch and the doorway are made of stone and are part of an ancient fortress wall. The doors are made of massive wooden planks held together by iron rails. Many historians believe that the Eastern Gate of Budva used to be used by fishermen to quickly get to their boats and get to work. You don’t have to ask passers-by in Budva Old Town where the landmark is located, because you can find it next to the Prince English pub, on the outdoor terrace. The pub can also be called a landmark, because only here and in three other places in Montenegro you can order and taste delicious Guinness.
Among the museums of Budva, perhaps the most visited is the Archaeological Museum. The museum with historical exhibits opened its doors in 2003 for all those interested in Montenegrin history. Its walls hold archeological and ethnographic collections. They are located on four floors: on the first – lapidarium with ancient stone slabs, on the second and third – ancient utensils and household items, personal items of the Romans, Greeks and Byzantines, on the fourth – ethnographic collection, telling about the life of Montenegrins. It is interesting that most of the exhibits were found and brought to the museum excavations after the devastating earthquake in 1979.
Church of St. Sava
One of the oldest churches and one of the smallest in Montenegro. It was built in the XI century and is dedicated to St. Sava, the founder of the Orthodox Church in Serbia. According to legend, the saint made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem from this very church. Inside you can see well preserved frescoes of the XII century. For about 8 centuries Orthodox services were held there. After the conquest by the Venetians, Catholic masses were added to the Orthodox services. Together with the Church of St. Mary, the Church of St. Sava is the only preserved structure built on the ruins of the ancient monastery.
Next to the archaeological museum in the summer there is an antiques market, where local collectors and not only sell rare jewelry, coins, household items.
The sights in Budva’s Old Town are incredible. Even the fact that this is one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic coast, encourages thousands of tourists from all over the world to come here every year. Just a few towns in Montenegro, including the Old Town of Budva, offer the chance to get into the incredible atmosphere of antiquity, which is interesting and very curious for visitors.
If you are going to Montenegro for the first time, tour operator “Open Balkans” advises to be sure to visit this incredible Old Town Budva and walk through all its ten sights. We assure you that after this trip you will want to explore all corners of the country. Enjoy traveling around Montenegro, find your favorite place and head to it.
Bell at the walls of the Old Town
This site can’t be called a historical landmark, but it’s often the starting point for a tour of the city’s old streets. Bell, despite its impressive size, can be easily lifted by several people. The thing is that it is not made of real metal, but of ordinary painted foam plastic.
This is a legacy of the American film company “Columbia Pictures”, which filmed in the 60’s, near Budva, the movie “Viking Ships”. After filming, the prop bell was erected on a pedestal. Since then, most tourists can not miss the opportunity not to be photographed against its background.
Ruins of a Christian basilica
According to sources, the Christian basilica was erected as early as the Roman period, in the V century. The existence of such a large temple at that time demonstrates that the Old Town of Budva was the center of religious and cultural life in Montenegro. Only its foundations have survived to this day and can be seen on the city’s Church Square.
The ancient Roman necropolis of V century BC construction would probably never have been discovered if not for the construction of Avala Hotel. While excavating the excavation for the future hotel builders stumbled upon ancient stones. Archaeologists confirmed that these were the ruins of an ancient Roman necropolis.
The construction of the hotel could not be stopped and the foundations of the necropolis are still under the hotel. The well-preserved tomb wall and tombstone had to be moved to an area near the square. Valuable artifacts in the form of gold and silver jewelry, dishes and vases were moved to the city museum.
Statue of the Ballerina of Budva
On the map of the Old Town of Budva, you probably won’t find the famous symbol of the city. But if you go out to the coastal cliffs, you can see the graceful monument, which the city authorities erected in honor of love and fidelity. Legend tells of a certain ballerina, who in the past, on the site of the sculpture installed, was waiting for her lover from a long voyage. Nowadays, all tourists in Montenegro necessarily stop near the statue of “Ballerina from Budva”, in the Old Town, to make a commemorative photo.
The Monastery of Pidmaine or Podostrog is located at the foot of the mountain Ostrog, near the village of Maine, which gave its two names. This orthodox monastery, situated 2.5 km from the Old Town of Budva, is one of the most important sights in the long history of Montenegro. It is within its walls Petar II Petrovic Njegosha wrote his outstanding work, which is considered a national artifact of Montenegrin literature.
The monastery, according to some sources, was founded during the reign of the Nemanjic family, between the XIV and XVI centuries. At one time it served as the summer residence of the Metropolitans of Montenegro. And under Vladyka Daniil a full complex of the monastery was formed – a small stone church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, stone bridge, monastery house and mills. Podmaine monastery is not hard to find. Go to the end of the street of the Old Town of Budva Mains Way, and then climb to the top of the hill, where the monastery is located.