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Just because the winter months are almost upon us, that doesn’t mean you have to halt your travel plans and stay at home, huddled up until the warmer weather arrives once more. There are countless destinations that are literally made for winter and several within the Balkans too.
Have you considered traveling to Montenegro during the winter months? If not, it’s somewhere you should definitely add to your winter wish-list!
So, Why Should You Visit Montenegro During The Colder Months Of The Year?
- It’s a cheap place to travel when money is low: Let’s be honest, everyone’s a little short on cash after the end of summer, and with Christmas on the horizon. Montenegro is a cheaper option compared to some other winter destinations and it allows you to see more and do more for less! You can easily grab a cheap flight (or drive from Croatia) and accommodation and once you’re there, food isn’t particularly expensive either.
- Less crowds means more to see: It’s far easier to explore a place when crowds are far less, and during the winter months, most people are tucked up at home and not out exploring cities far afield! That means more space for you to roam and more time to spend really seeing what’s in front of you, without having to pass by it all too quickly. Some of the country’s biggest tourist attractions will just have a handful of people inside!
- A more authentic way of life: When the crowds are less, you’ll get to see a more authentic way of life wherever you go in Montenegro and that means real travel, authentic travel. You’ll also have more time to enjoy the food, which is something to behold! There are still loads of restaurants open ready to fill you up and keep you warm. It’s also a great idea to sit and share a bottle of wine in relative peace and quiet!
- Plenty of insta-worthy photos: When there are fewer people milling around, you’ll be able to grab plenty of Insta-worthy snaps to make everyone back home super-jealous!
Weather In Montenegro In Winter
You’ve read why you should g to Montenegro in winter,, but you’ve probably got one question on your mind – what is the weather like? You’ll probably think it’s going to be freezing, simply because the word ‘winter’ comes into the equation, but you might actually be pleasantly surprised.
Let’s check out each winter month to give you an idea of what you can expect and, of course, what to pack!
Montenegro In November
The beginning of November can be very mild indeed and can feel like a little like the end of summer is still hanging on. You’ll see plentiful blue skies and whilst the evenings are a little chilly, it’s certainly a great time for walking around and exploring. However, as November progresses, you’ll notice a change as winter is really starting to show up to the party.
You’re probably not going to be spending too much time around the beach, unless you’re wearing a jacket and jeans, and the wind can be biting at certain times, especially if there is a storm on the horizon. Towards the end of November, winter storms are quite likely and you’ll notice more rain than previously. Despite that, heading around the country at this time is ideal.
Montenegro In December
December sees winter picking up the reins and the coastal areas start to see more in the way of grey skies and rain. Despite that, there are still plenty of (chilly) blue sky days too. If you head into the mountains, you’ll see snow. As the end of December nears, towards the new Year, you will want a very warm jacket and boots, as temperatures in the single figures. Evening figures can be in the minuses, especially in the mountains.
If you’re heading to Zabljak for a spot of snow, you’re in luck, as there is usually plenty of the white stuff at this time of the year! The same can be said for Kolasin, which is a tiny bit warmer than Zabljak.
If you’re attempting to drive around Montenegro during December, be aware that snow and road closures can be a problem and you must have winter tires on your car.
Montenegro In January
The first month of the year is usually the most depressing of all of the winter months – though I was there in Januray 2019, and though it rained the whole time, we still had a great time.
It’s a great time for walking and heading out (just take your brolly with you!) for a spot of fresh air.
Temperatures hover around the 10-degree mark at the most, so warm clothes are a must and it’s quite likely you will see wind and rain at some stage. Despite that, there are plenty of sunny but chilly days, especially in the north.
Montenegro In February
February is when spring starts to show signs of turning up, but don’t be thinking you can ditch the coat just yet! The start of February is a continuation of the end of January, however as you move throughout the month, you’ll notice a slight warming. You’ll see that the sunsets a little later too, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be rain or even snow, which is still likely to fall in the mountains.
February tends to be the month when you’re not sure what to expect weather-wise, so simply pack a little of everything and go with layers, to be on the safe side!
Things To Do In Montenegro During Winter
Of course, you can do many of the things you would do in summer (like this big list of ideas), apart from sunbathing, but without the crowds. However, we suggest you also check out these fun wintertime activities in Montenegro:
Road Tripping Is Easy In Montenegro In Winter
We packed up the kids and took grandma along for a week-long road trip from Zadar, Croatia to Montenegro in January. Because there is no summer traffic, you can drive with ease, park even easier (and often pay nothing), and stop at small towns and villages to get a feel for the local, authentic way of life. One great stop we made was to Perast – totally insta-worthy!
Other places worth mentioning are:
Skiing or Snowboarding
If you love winter sports, Montenegro treats you with several mountainous areas covering 30 km of skiing fun. There are also several resorts like, Zabljak and Kolasin that are very popular with skiers and snowboarders in the wintertime.
If you want to differentiate between the two, Kolasin has more slopes than Zabljak, but the latter has a run of 2213 meters high, so it’s the highest out of the two. All up there are 22 ski lifts in Montenegro – so not massive, but definitely cheaper than Austria!
You don’t have to indulge in winter sports if you don’t want to, as the area is simply beautiful and ideal for a winter getaway with plentiful hot chocolate, views, and log fires!
Take a Luxurious Off-Peak Resort Style Vacay
While in Montenegro we stayed at The Chedi Luštica Bay Montenegro, located in Tivat.
I was initially expecting some shiny steel and grey hotel complex to greet me when we arrived – and, instead, what I saw below in the secluded bay was more reminiscent of a typical Adriatic sea-side village – and not a brand new 5-star resort.
You’ll no doubt have already heard the name ‘Chedi’ – it’s the global hospitality and entertainment brand which have luxurious Chedi Hotels in Muscat, Oman and Andermatt, in the Swiss Alps. And, they’ve spared no detail or expense in their newest hotel – The Chedi in Luštica Bay, which is merely the first of seven planned hotels along the bay.
Well, actually, The Chedi in Montenegro isn’t just any hotel, it’s part of a fully-packed complex which includes a striking marina, beachside area, a planned golf course (2020), two restaurants, shops, apartments, spa and wellness area, and entertainment facilities – all of them perfect for a winter vacay in Montenegro.
Tara River Canyon
This is the deepest of Europe’s canyons and it’s ideal for nature spotting, wildlife, photography and also rafting during the summer months. During the winter, Tara Canyon has an icy glisten to it, with snow and amazingly beautiful scenery to take in.
The Tara River Canyon, is also known as Tara River Gorge and is part of Durmitor National Park. This is one destination that really will take your breath away, and certainly fill up your camera memory card!
It is possible to hike in the canyon, however, do check weather conditions and ask locals about the conditions to ensure it is safe to do so.
If the weather isn’t too snowy or icy, it’s entirely possible to take a road trip up Mount Lovcen and enjoy the views. It’s a very scenic drive from Kotor and once you reach the top you’ll be able to check out a panorama that stretches right across the bay.
If you really want to check out views and you’re feeling a little energetic, head to Lake Peak and climb up the 400 steps which takes you to old buildings and an altitude of around 1660 meters.
Enjoy Kotor In Peace
During the summer months, it’s almost impossible to really explore and enjoy Kotor in peace and quiet. However, during the wintertime in Montenegro, it’s a different story. The Old Town is somewhere you need to explore slowly and thoroughly and the quieter months allow you to do just that.
While there, we walked through the alleyways and sat and drink a coffee just with the locals. You can strike up an easy convo with the locals and shop in the small boutiques and gift stores.
On the border with Albania, you will find the beautiful Lake Skadar which is packed with wildlife, particularly birds. If the weather is fine you can head out on a boat trip, walk, hike, enjoy photography opportunities and of course, enjoy delicious local food at one of the many small restaurants which sit on the banks and surrounding area.
Again, Lake Skadar is crowded during the summer months, and the cooler weather gives you the chance to enjoy the changing beauty in greater detail, without having to elbow your way around for a little personal space!
The winter months are ideal for donning your walking boots and heading out into the great outdoors! There are many trekking routes, with some of the most popular starting at Crno Jezera. These are marked routes which mean you’re not going to get lost and most of them will give you amazing views and a chance to really take in your surroundings.
Javorovaco Peak is a very popular route too and one which will show you the best of the snowy or icy weather around you. This is part of the ski area of the country and they do night hikes too, which are lit by huge floodlights and allow you to see everything slightly differently!
As you can see, Montenegro is not just for the summer months and this is just a handful of things you can expect to enjoy while in Montenegro at wintertime!