It’s been a long time since I have visited the Budva Riviera. A day trip to the coast on a beautiful sunny day in February was a good occasion to see what is going on there. The Budva Riviera is a 35 km long strip along the Adriatic Coast with 12.5 km of beaches and it is generally considered to be the most important tourist area of Montenegro.
We first visited Petrovac. What a disappointment! I had always believed that high-rise buildings would be banned from this quiet resort, but now things turned out to be different. Directly on the sea shore, a huge building is under construction: the Riviera Crystal Hotel (30,000 square meters). But this is not the only one. I also saw another construction site nearby: an 11 floor apartment building. Who will buy all these apartments? Do people understand that the beautiful red sandy beach of Petrovac – with a length of 600 meters – is far too small for all those tourists? What about the infrastructure, parking possibilities?
The Budva Riviera looks quite different from a panorama viewpoint. Taking the narrow asphalt road to Čelobrdo, above the Praskvica monastery, we soon arrived on the top of the hill, near the end of Jegor’s path. Here we enjoyed a breathtaking view of the Riviera, in particular of Sveti Stefan and Miločer, still unspoilt by concrete blocks!
The walk along the promenade from Rafailovići to the Splendid Hotel in Bečići was relaxing, although there are many new construction sites. In my opinion, the situation in Rafailovići is critical: no space to park your car, no space on the narrow streets, no space on the beach … just concrete structures, higher and higher!
And of course, our last destination was Budva itself. Spring was already in the air and mimosa trees were flowering everywhere. Many people were walking through the narrow streets of the old town, enjoying the beautiful weekend. The pubs and terraces on the Ričardova Glava beach were full with relaxed people. But one hundred meters further, things are different…
Dozens of building permits have been issued by the Municipality of Budva and the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, although it is claimed that there are around one thousand apartments in Budva that were constructed previously and were not sold because of the economic crisis. In spite of warnings from a number of citizens who want to stop building along the Budva Riviera, construction will continue.
In the very center of Budva, 30 m from Slovenska Plaža and around 100 m from the old town, is the construction site of a complex composed of five buildings (with seven and 13 floors respectively) with a total surface of 18,000 square meters. Another 11 floor apartment building will be constructed near the Avala Hotel. And what about the huge hotel “Tre canne” close to the Adriatic Fair? What about the famous Zavala complex?
I think that the national and local administration have lost control over what is built within the Municipality of Budva. The increase in high-rise buildings has brought negative change to the visual and physical characteristics of the Budva Riviera, destroying the natural environment.
I know that it is necessary to develop tourism in Montenegro. But I also know that many countries have regretted to have allowed high-rise building in their tourist resorts. Nowadays, many tourist places around the world allow buildings up to four stories only. Structures from four to eight stories are allowed in suburban environments. And existing high-rise buildings near the coast are often DEMOLISHED (example: Mallorca)!
The new building boom on the Budva Riviera will cause significant visual pollution and gradually destroy the still stunning scenery. Is it really necessary to allow greedy developers to spoil the beautiful Montenegrin Coast, in particular the Budva Riviera? And finally, I will not publish photos of the ugly construction sites – I want you to see the beautiful places. Fortunately, there are (still) so many of them!