Walking around the top of the city walls is a must for any visitor to Budva.
When we found the entrance up near the citadel, the sign on the locked iron gate made it apparent that entry was no longer free as suggested by our guidebook. Enquiring at tourist information we learned that we could visit the walls every hour on the hour and that somebody would meet us by the entrance to collect our 1 euro admission fee and unlock the gate.
The path followed by the walls is roughly three sides of a rectangle, with the fourth taken up by the massive Fortress of St Mary (open in summer only). Along the first stretch the views were of St Nicholas Island, the Adriatic and the Montenegrin coastline to the south. The second side offers views of Budva’s marina and the new town nestled below the mountains. The final stretch is the least interesting, with views across the public carpark towards the Hotels Avala and Mogren.
The walls themselves are studded with turrets and bastions and chutes presumably designed for pouring hot tar and similarly unpleasant substances over the heads of anybody trying to force the city gates. The turrets and towers are all open to explore and it’s easy to imagine yourself as a defender of the city as you search the sea for pirates and invading armies through the narrow archery slits.
From all parts of the walls it’s also possible to look back into the old town itself. Glimpses into people’s backyards and along narrow lanes from above gave a sneak look into local life. In the summer, with the sheer number of tourists who apparently visit Budva, the residents no doubt feel a bit like animals in a zoo and turn their backs to the walls, but in the winter everybody’s laundry is in full view.
The views were marvellous and we had good fun climbing around and exploring every lookout and staircase. It must have been about 40 minutes before we approached the end of the walls and saw the same lady waiting patiently there to let us out. She had a little longer to wait because we were still enjoying the walls and I especially wanted to climb the final turret, which offered views again towards the sea, this time north towards the rocks and down over the palm-leaf umbrellas of the cafes on the town beach.
The beach cafés would be the perfect place to cool down with a beer if you’re treading the stones under the open summer skies or warm up with a coffee if you walked the walls in the windy winter, like we did.