In Serbian the town is known as Будва or Budva; in Italian and Latin as Budua; in Albanian as Budua and in ancient Greek as Bouthoe (Βουθόη).
Extensive archaeological evidence places Budva among the oldest urban settlements of the Adriatic coast. Substantial documentary evidence provides historical references dating back to the 5th century BC.
A legend recounts that Bouthoe (Βουθόη - Vouthoe) was founded by Cadmus, the founder of Thebes, Greece, when exiled out of Thebes, finding a shelter in this place for him and his wife, goddess Harmonia.
Greek colonization of Adriatic began in 4th century BC, when an Emporium was established on the site of Budva. In the 2nd century BC, the area of Budva became part of the Roman Empire. Upon the fall of the Empire and its division into east and west, the defensive barrier which separated the two powers happened to run across this area, subsequently making a lasting impact on the history and culture of this town.
In the 6th century, Budva was part of the Byzantine Empire, and in the following two centuries, Slavs and, to a lesser extent, Avars began to arrive in the area, mixing with the native Roman population. Budva bay was reportedly known as Avarorum sinus (Avar bay') during the Avar incursions. In 841, Budva was sacked by Muslim Saracens, who devastated the area.
In the early Middle Ages, Budva was reigned by a succession of Doclean kings, as well as Serbian and Zetan aristocrats.
Circa 1200, it became the see of a Roman Catholic Diocese of Budua, which lasted until 1828 and was nominally revived as a Latin titular bishopric. The Venetians ruled the town for nearly 400 years, from 1420 to 1797. Budva, called Budua in those centuries, was part of the Venetian Republic region of Albania Veneta and was fortified by powerful Venetian walls against Ottoman conquests. According to the historian Luigi Paulucci in his book "Le Bocche di Cattaro nel 1810" (The Bay of Kotor in 1810), most of the population spoke the Venetian language until the beginning of the 19th century. One of the most renowned theater librettists and composers, Cristoforo Ivanovich, was born in Venetian Budua.
With the fall of Republic of Venice in 1797, Budva came under the rule of the Habsburg Monarchy. During the Napoleonic Wars, Montenegrin forces allied with Russia took control over the city in 1806, only to relinquish the city to France in 1807. French rule lasted until 1813, when Budva (along with Boka Kotorska) was ceded to the Austrian Empire, which remained in control of the city for the next 100 years.
A union of Boka Kotorska (and Budva) with Montenegro took place for a brief period (1813–1814), but from 1814 until the end of World War I in 1918, Budva remained under Austria-Hungary. The southernmost fortress in the Austro-Hungarian empire, Fort Kosmač, was constructed nearby to guard the road from Budva to Cetinje. After the war, the Serbian army entered Budva after it was abandoned by Austrian forces and it came under the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
In 1941, with the beginning of World War II, Budva was annexed by the Kingdom of Italy. Budva was finally liberated from Axis rule on 22 November 1944 and incorporated in the Socialist Republic of Montenegro (which was a part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia).
A catastrophic earthquake struck Budva on 15 April 1979. Much of old town was devastated, but today there is little evidence of the catastrophe – almost all the buildings were restored to their original form.
Montenegro became an independent country in 2006, with Budva as its primary tourist destination.
The municipal parliament consists of 33 deputies elected directly for a five-year term. Following the last local election held on 16 October 2016, the ruling DPS lost its absolute majority, the new local government being formed by a coalition of opposition parties.
Budva is the administrative centre of Budva municipality, which includes the neighbouring towns of Bečići and Petrovac, and has a population of 19,218 (2011 census). The town itself has 13,338 inhabitants.
Ethnicity in 2011 (Municipality):
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 the 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 beneath the cliffs of the Spas hill, between cape Mogren and the Avala hotel. The beach is separated from the city by the slopes of Spas hill that plunge to the sea, and is only accessible by a 250m long narrow path along the cliffs. Other city beaches include the small Ričardova glava ("Richard's Head") and Pizana beaches, next to the Old Town, as well as the 1.6 km (1.0 mi) long Slovenska plaža (Slav beach), that makes up the most of the city's coast.
However, majority of the beaches of Budva Riviera are outside the city itself. Jaz Beach is a long and spacious beach west of Budva, its hinterland serving as a popular concert and festival venue, as well as a campground. Bečići resort town, with its long sandy beach, is situated south-east of the city, separated from Budva by the Zavala peninsula.
Further to the south, numerous small beaches and towns, make up the more high end and exclusive part of Budva Riviera. This is especially true for the famous Sveti Stefan town, but also for other smaller Paštrovići settlements in the area, that once were unassuming fishing villages. The area of Sveti Stefan and Pržno, including Miločer resort with its park and secluded beaches, is considered the most exclusive area of the Montenegrin coast.
The town of Petrovac and the undeveloped Buljarica field occupy the very south of the Budva municipality.
Sveti Nikola Island is located opposite of Old Town, 1 kilometre (0.6 miles) across the Budva bay. It is a mostly undeveloped island with some beautiful beaches. Well connected to the mainland with water bus, it is a popular excursion site for tourists visiting Budva.
Budva is well known regionally as the capital of nightlife of the eastern Adriatic. The first discothèques in Budva started to emerge during the 1980s, as hotel-attached dance clubs. However, the clubbing scene mushroomed in 1990s, with numerous open-air clubs opening along the Budva sea promenade. This trend continued into the 2000s, with Old Town and its promenade hosting a large number of bars, pubs and restaurants, and two big clubs, Top Hill and Trocadero, dominating the clubbing scene.
Budva is home to the Adriatic Fair (Jadranski sajam), the only specialized exhibition venue in Montenegro. It hosts numerous trade fairs throughout the year, including the only auto show in Montenegro, held annually in autumn.
Gambling tourism is also popular in Budva, as many hotels have attached casinos. Maestral hotel and casino in Pržno are particularly popular among international gamblers, but other large hotels have also attracted players from European countries. The 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale is partly set in the eponymous casino in the fictional Montenegrin Hotel Splendide, thus giving a boost to Budva's profile as a gambling destination.
Budva marina, nestled to the north of the Old Town city walls, contributes to the image of Budva as a nautical tourism destination. Luxury yachts dominate marina berths during the summer, overshadowing small fishing vessels owned by the locals. Budva marina was host to periodic boat shows, but in recent years it has been losing primacy to the larger and more luxurious Porto Montenegro. Budva was the host of the Class 1 World Powerboat Championship Grand prix in May 2008.
Among the cultural events and establishments in the city, the annual cultural event Theatre City (Budva Grad Teatar) is of particular importance. Founded in 1987, and held in July and August every year, this festival transforms the entire Old Town into an open-air venue for a programme of theatre, musical, literary and visual art events and performances.
Another popular event in Budva was the Pjesma Mediterana ("Song of the Mediterranean"), annual pop musical festival, held in Budva from 1992 to 2010. Its format was similar to that of Sanremo Music Festival, featuring a competition of previously unreleased songs. The song contest attracted popular performers from the EX Yugoslavia region. However, the festival was cancelled in 2011 due to lack of funds, and has not been renewed since.
In 2014, the Sea Dance Festival was organized at Budva's Jaz Beach for the first time. A spin-off of the popular Exit festival, Sea Dance is set to be an annual event. Jaz Beach rose to prominence as a popular concert and festival venue with The Rolling Stones concert held on 9 July 2007. The show was part of their A Bigger Bang Tour and attracted a crowd of some 35,000 spectators, twice the population of Budva town itself. Madonna staged a show at the same venue on 25 September 2008, while Lenny Kravitz and Armand Van Helden performed at Jaz beach during the "Live Fest" in August 2008, along with Goran Bregović, Dino Merlin and Zdravko Čolić.
Budva Carnival is a three day long festive event in Budva, happening annually during late April or early May. It has been organized every year since 2003, and although a recent carnival, it has attracted significant regional attention. Budva, together with nearby Kotor, was host to the Federation of European Carnival Cities (FECC) World Carnival City Congress in May 2009.
Budva city museum is one of the prominent cultural institutions in the city, featuring permanent archaeological and ethnographic exhibits. Stefan Mitrov Ljubiša memorial home is another significant institution, honoring the legacy of the famous native of Budva.
Budva occupies a significant place in the history of the cinema of Montenegro, as it was home to the Zeta Film, the Montenegrin primary motion picture company from the Yugoslav era. The now-defunct company has produced numerous Yugoslav movies, including pictures by the famous Montenegrin director Živko Nikolić. Zeta Film was privatized in 2004, and its building was converted to a nightclub, leaving Budva without a single movie theater for a decade. On May 30, 2015, a brand new four screen multiplex cinema opened in TQ Plaza shopping mall.
The city has occasionally provided the backdrop for international movie productions. The 1964 movie The Long Ships was shot in and around Budva, and the prop from the movie, a large 4m tall cracked bell, has been permanently displayed in front of the Old Town walls, becoming one of the local landmarks. Recently, Budva has been the setting and the filming location of the locally produced, and regionally very popular TV series Budva na pjenu od mora (Budva, on the sea foam).
Budva has two elementary schools and one high school. In 2009, city administration founded Knowledge Academy (Akademija Znanja), an institution envisioned to act as a university center and introduce higher education to Budva. The Knowledge Academy building, situated in the Rozino neighbourhood of Budva, is currently home to Budva city library and private Business and Tourism faculty, and serves as the center of higher education of the municipality.
FK Mogren is the most popular football club in Budva, and the sports club with longest tradition in the city. Founded in 1920, it competes in Montenegrin First League, winning the championship in 2008-09 and 2010-11. The club also won the Montenegrin Cup of 2008. Stadion Lugovi, the home ground of FK Mogren, will probably be relocated in the near future, as it is situated on a very valuable land lot, right next to the Slovenska beach.
OFK Petrovac, from the eponymous town, is another significant football team from the Budva municipality.
Another popular sport in Budva is volleyball, with Budvanska Rivijera volleyball team being successful in domestic and international competition. Mediteranski sportski centar ("Mediterranean sports center") is the main indoor sport venue of Budva, and is the home of Budvanska Riviera volleyball team and RK Budvanska Rivijera handball team.
Water polo is a very popular sport in Budva, as on the rest of the Montenegrin coast. VK Budva is the city's water polo team, competing in the regional Adriatic Water Polo League.
Budva is the hometown and residence of Nikola Sjekloća, one of the most successful Montenegrin boxers.
Paragliding is a popular summer activity in Budva. Steep 700m high hills provide perfect setting and stunning vistas for paragliders, with the hamlet of Brajići being the usual launching point.
Budva is connected to inland Montenegro by two-laned highways. There are two ways to reach Budva from Podgorica – either through Cetinje, or through the Sozina tunnel (opened 2005). Either way, Podgorica, the capital and main road junction in Montenegro, is around 60 km (37 mi) away.
Budva is connected to the rest of the coastal towns of Montenegro by the Adriatic Highway, which extends from Ulcinj in the far south to Herceg Novi in the north, and on to Croatia.
Tivat Airport is 20 km (12 mi) away. There are regular flights to Belgrade and Moscow throughout the year, and dozens of seasonal and charter flights land daily at the airport during the summer season. Podgorica Airport is 65 km (40 mi) away, and it has regular flights to a number of European destinations throughout the year.
Urban transport consists of Mediteran Express buses, which operate between Budva city center and Sveti Stefan. This line services a large portion of the Budva urban core, as well as some small towns between Budva and Sveti Stefan. The frequency of this line is high during the summer months, and it is very popular among tourists.
The closest train station is Sutomore. This stop on Belgrade–Bar railway is some 30 km (19 mi) away from Budva city center.
Budva has a typical Mediterranean climate, with warm summers and mild winters, and 230 sunny days in a year. Budva has the typical Mediterranean rainfall pattern, which results in wetter winters and drier summers. Daytime highs in the summer range from 24 to 32 °C (75 to 90 °F) and from 8 to 14 °C (46 to 57 °F) during the winter months. The mean summertime temperature is 25 °C (77.0 °F) and 9.3 °C (48.7 °F) in the winter. The temperature of the sea reaches up to 25 °C (77.0 °F) in the summer months, while it keeps between 17 °C (63 °F) and 20 °C (68 °F) in the autumn.
Budva is twinned with: