Budva, Montenegro

While you, dear readers, were enjoying your New Year Day holiday (or nursing hangovers as the case may be), we were toiling away in the Aegean coast town of Budva, Montenegro for the betterment of travel blogdom. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.

You see, the weather–overcast and cold–wasn’t particularly nice on New Year’s Day in Montenegro. Where, oh where, is my violin and ladder? Cold and wet is less-than-ideal for visiting a beach resort. But we did it, because we are generous souls. We endured such hardships so that we can report back to you that Budva is a fine place to visit. Just come on a nice sunny summer day. But then again you might have trouble finding a spot to lay your body on Budva’s beaches. And you might not be able to hear yourself think.

Budva is a cross between Dubrovnik and Ibiza. For our European resort deficient American readers, that’s like a cross between Boston and South Beach. Or perhaps Washington, DC and Las Vegas. Well, there may not be a very good blending analogy for Americans because we Americans don’t usually pay attention to UNESCO World Heritage Site designations such as Dubrovnik. And most Americans don’t understand that Ibiza is a Spanish island full of techno dance halls and discotheques that literally jump, bump, and thump nonstop from late May until early September with drunk shoulder-to-shoulder Euro twenty-somethings.

Sea view from citadela, Budva, Montenegro

Beach view from citadela, Budva, Montenegro

Whether Americans realize it or not, the Statue of Liberty is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so imagine this: every square inch of Liberty Island given over to nightclubs with names like Squirm or Outer Space or Surge or Syndrome. Then, when it is warm, add about a million barely clothed drunk young people gyrating under Lady Liberty to songs that sound like rhythmic beeping and chirping. Hopefully that helps paint the picture.

If you like Dubrovnik’s medieval streets and alleys and walled fortress with splendid sea views but need an Ibizan nightlife, head down the coast a bit to Budva. The Stari Grad (old town) is as well preserved but smaller and more compact, and the walks and alleys turn and twist in an exciting way that Dubrovnik’s do not. It’s not possible to get entirely lost, but it’s immensely fun to try. And when (if) you immerge through a little portal to the south and west you’ll find a small, rocky beach hemmed in tidily with Budva’s nightlife. To the north you’ll find a harbor jam-packed with yachts and fishing dinghies alike and a bayside promenade with more nightclubs (or their derelict seasonal remains if you visit in off season as we did) lining the water for the mile or so of beach curving off to the east.

Dining under medieval arch in Stari Grad (Old Town), Budva, Montenegro

If techno-music nightclubs aren’t your thing, Budva is still worth a visit, just stick with the Stari Grad area for a day’s worth of exploring and a memorable lunch under a picturesque stone arch. Spring the couple of Euros for access to the Citadela for a walk along the medieval fortress walls, but be sure to have plenty of camera memory for photos. And if you happen to come on New Year’s Day, mingled with the bumpy-thumpy music might just be a bit of opera.

Priganice in Budva, Montenegro
“Priganice”, our deep-fried doughy New Year Day, 2016 indulgence

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