Best time to visit Montenegro

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Montenegro is a small coastal country in Southern Europe, where the weather varies between the different seasons. It’s a beautiful country to visit in the summer months, with warm temperatures and lengths of beaches to explore. The winter in Montenegro can be cold and wet, particularly in the mountain regions. Before booking, take time to research the best time to visit Montenegro for your holiday.

Montenegro weather and climate

Despite its size, Montenegro's climate is diverse. This is because of the different altitudes across the region. The Dinaric Mountains, also known as the Dinarides, serve as a natural barrier between the Mediterranean region and the climatic conditions in the east.

Weather on the Montenegro coast

The climate on the Montenegrin coast is typically Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and moderately cold winter months. The maximum temperatures in summer reach an average of 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. During the winter the temperatures drop to mild lows of between 4 and 11 degrees. Most of the annual precipitation falls during this time but snow is rare.

The coastline is narrow and bordered by a steep mountain range to the east. The cold brisk Bora winds often blow from this mountain range and can occur frequently in autumn, as well as the rest of the year.

In the other parts of Montenegro, you will find a different climate. The Dinaric Mountains with altitudes of over 2,000 metres above sea level form a clear climate divide. The Mediterranean climate dominates to the west, while the temperate continental climate to the east.

Weather in the Dinaric Alps

The weather in the Dinaric Alps can be extremely climactic. The winds are loaded with moisture over the Mediterranean Sea, which is deposited over the Dinarides. This can result in enormous amounts of precipitation on the slopes and across the region.

This area is also allegedly home to one of the rainiest places in Europe, Crkvice.

At an altitude of 940 metres above sea level, there is an average blanket of snow in the region over 70 days. It also rains here frequently in summer, with annual rainfall reaching almost 5,000mm.

Weather in Podgorica

Montenegro’s capital has a reputation for being one of Europe’s wettest cities. With rainfall even in the driest summer months, Podgorica has a large average amount of precipitation.

The plain around the capital Podgorica is characterised by hot, dry(ish) summers and cold winters with snow.

When is the best time to visit Montenegro?

The optimal time to visit Montenegro falls roughly between April and September. The country lies in southern Europe with a coast on the Balkans, so Montenegro weather is frequently warm and sunny.

Montenegro's climate follows two distinct patterns: the coastal region has typically Mediterranean weather, with hot summers and mild winters.

The interior of the country, however, has a sub-alpine climate, typified by warm summers and freezing winters. During the winter, temperatures can drop to as low as -15 °C or -20 °C degrees, with heavy rainfall that often manifests as snow.

The Montenegrin coast is a pleasant place to be at any time of the year, but it can get uncomfortably crowded in July and August. During this time, temperatures and tourists reach their peak. Accommodation is also at its most expensive during this period, with rates almost doubling in some places.

June and September are widely regarded as the optimum months for a visit when the sunshine is virtually guaranteed, and there's far less pressure on facilities. Some hotels close between late October and early April, but you may well be able to take advantage of excellent rates from those that remain open.

When to visit Montenegro in winter

Still fairly undiscovered, Montenegro is a brilliant winter holiday destination if you are keen to escape the crowds.

For a laid-back Christmas without the hustle and bustle of last-minute shopping, it is perhaps the best time to travel to Montenegro. We also recommend the New year's eve festivities in the capital, as Montenegrins love to party.

Visit the interior of the country for almost guaranteed snow. Or visit the coastal town of Kotor which is stunning throughout the year.

Visiting Montenegro in December — February

Average winter temperates on the Montenegro coast are around 10 °C. This is a pleasant temperature for exploring the picturesque old towns and villages. During the winter, these towns are returned to the locals once the cruise ships cease.

Inland, Kolašin is the unrivalled favourite of Montenegro's snow scene. At this time of year, it's transformed from a quiet summer retreat in the forests to a lively ski resort. Kolašin 1450 is the largest ski resort in Montenegro's and is popular with locals who head there on weekend trips to stay in brvnare, traditional mountain huts and indulge in plenty of world-class skiing. After a day on the pistes, visitors love a steaming bowl of hearty pasulj and some shots of hot rakija, the best-loved spirit of the Balkans'. Other activities include relaxing in the hot tubs, getting a massage or swimming.

When to visit Montenegro in spring

Spring is a wonderful time to visit Montenegro, despite a lot of rain, both on the coast and inland. It's charming as the countryside is verdant and blooming, and the seaside resorts start to come to life before the high season.

Visiting Montenegro between March and May

The months between March and May are an ideal time for a beach holiday before the soaring temperatures and crowds of summer. The water temperatures in March, April and May are between 15 and 20 °C - which is warm enough for brave swimmers.

In March, depending on the region, it rains from 11 (Podgorica) to 13 days (Herceg Novi), in April around 12 days and in May from 9 (Podgorica) to 10 days (Herceg Novi).

From March to May, the sun shines on average between 0 and 8 hours a day. May is the sunniest time of year in Herceg Novi, with less sun in Podgorica in March.

When to visit Montenegro in summer

The summer months are hot, dry, and very sunny. The warmest months are July and August. As the best time to travel to Montenegro, we especially recommend the summer months.

Visiting Montenegro in June - August

The peak season falls in the summer months of July and August when many hotels are fully booked well in advance, due to the school summer holidays. Those who aren't affected by the school holidays will find optimal holiday conditions in June and September.

The water temperatures on the Adriatic Sea usually pass the 20 degrees mark at the beginning of May and are felt to be pleasantly warm by the end of May at the latest.

When to visit Montenegro in autumn

Rainfall increases significantly from late autumn to the beginning of spring, but the temperatures on the coast remain mild even in the depths of winter.

Visiting Montenegro in September - November

During September and October, the Mediterranean sea continues to offer pleasant water temperatures for a beach holiday. You can usually still enjoy a visit to the coast until the beginning of November.

The season generally ends by the end of October with cooler temperatures and increasing rainfall. The capital, whilst rainy, still offers visitors plenty of activities and festivals during this time.

Festivals in Montenegro

Public holidays

Montenegro also has a wide variety of public holidays and festivals. Different holidays are celebrated depending on the region and location, but there are also uniform days across the country.

Religious affiliation also plays a crucial role. Orthodox Christians often celebrate the day of Saint Sava (January 27th). This is one of the highest holidays of the year, and it is marked with the whole family. If the patron saint of the corresponding family is different, the employee is granted this other day as a holiday. In this respect, the holidays in Montenegro are sometimes quite individual and family-oriented.

In contrast to the relatively small Christmas (which is celebrated on January 7 and 8), the Orthodox also celebrate their Easter festively. Of course, the Catholics also celebrate Easter, Christmas and Assumption.

Carnival is also a famous festival. The Muslims living in the country celebrate the end of the fasting month of Ramadan and Mevlud, the birthday of Mohammed.

Regional and national events and holidays take place throughout the year. It is always an excellent opportunity to mingle with the Montenegrin population and get to know the locals. In summer, of course, there is always something going on, especially in the holiday resorts. In the winter months, there are also numerous festivals in winter sports resorts such as Zabljak or Kolasin.

The Mimosa Festival

The floral festival honouring the mimosa was established in Herceg-Novi in 1969. It has been designed and built as a tourist winter event that fills the city with numerous cultural and sporting activities, the inevitable celebrations of fish, wine and music, masked balls and carnival parades.

In addition to public holidays, there are also many musical events. The spectrum ranges from folklore, ethno-pop, pop and techno as well as folk music. The Montenegrins are both artistic and spirited. In this respect, celebrations in Crna Gora are always an experience.

Calendar of Festivals in Montenegro

January / February

The Mimosa Festival in Herceg Novi

February

Carnival in the Bay of Kotor with many carnival events and masked balls

March

Camellia Days in Kotor Bay with the choosing of Miss Camellia

April

Alternative theatre festival, Podgorica

May

Freeclimber Montenegro Cup in Niksic and Kotor, carnival on the Budva Riviera

June

Mediterranean singing festival (Pjesma Mediterana) in Budva, folklore festival, and a pop festival

July

Fishermen's procession (Fasinada) in Perast to the church island of Frau vom Felsen, sailing regattas on the Blue Lake in Plav, the international theatre festival in Budva

August

Summer Carnival in Kotor, Montenegro Film Festival Herceg Novi, Techno and House Festival Entrance in Rose, Folklore Festival (Cetinje)

October

Podgorica International City Marathon, Chestnut Festival (Stoliv), Dan Siruna Festival (Budva)

November

Rijeka Bazaar

December

Wine and Ukeleitage (Dani Vina e Ukleve) in Virpazar, olive festival (bar), New Year's Eve celebrations in the larger cities (among others in Podgorica, Kotor, Herceg Novi and Kolasin)

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Rough Guides Editors
9/16/2020
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