Last Updated February, 2020
Last year, when we were planning to live in Montenegro in winter, we didn’t know what to expect. “What the weather was going to be like? Was it going to snow? Or was it going to rain? How cold does Montenegro winter usually get?” Those were the questions we asked.
And then we went and figured it all out.
For many locals, winter season (or low season) in Montenegro starts when tourists leave and it ends right before they come. The timeframe for that is October through April.
Despite the fact that many travelers see Montenegro as a summer destination, this is not how it really is. Montenegro is a wonderful destination for any time of the year. Everything just depends on what you want to get out of your vacation in this country.
I would like to share a bit about our experience in Montenegro during the offseason. I hope my post will answer your questions and help you understand what to expect. Check more of my Montenegro posts since I am adding more and more content regularly.
Before I go into details, let’s talk about the weather for each month, starting with October and finishing with the weather in April.
Weather In Montenegro In Winter – (Low) Season, Month by Month
I can anticipate your question and answer that the coastal part of Montenegro in winter doesn’t get any snow. Mountainous regions do but the coast does not. However, do not expect it to be always sunny and bright near the sea since in winter it rains and rains a lot. In fact, it can rain continuously for a week or even a few.
Do not let it discourage you from traveling though. There are still many advantages to winter travel in Montenegro.
Weather in Montenegro in October
The coast of Montenegro in October sees Indian summer. Days are very warm but the evenings are getting cooler with each day. Last year, for instance, we were swimming and it totally felt like summer until October 10th. On the night of October 11th, there was a storm that cooled the sea overnight. Literally. The water got so freezing cold even though the sun was shining upon us again. Still, we felt that the fall was near.
Locals told us that each year October is that month when the temperature of the sea changes pretty quickly. Each year this change just happens on a different date. Perhaps in your case, the sea may be still warm all October long while the next year it will be cool by the second week. It depends on rain.
Overall, even if the sea is already cold, Montenegro weather in October is really nice. In the afternoon, even at the end of the month, it can be +24C degrees or more. You can wear sandals and shorts. But have warmer clothes for the night since the temperature drops significantly.
Tree leaves in the mountains not far from the coast start changing colors. Durmitor and Prokletije National Parks start seeing the first snow. If you go hiking in Lovcen National Park in October, you’ll witness an unbelievable foliage season. Check my post to see the enchanting forest.
Montenegro in November
At the beginning and middle of the month, the weather in Montenegro in November is still warm during the day but in the evening it gets pretty cold. This is the month for jeans, pants and long sleeves. When the sun goes down, you need a jacket.
If in October you still have a chance to swim and definitely sunbathe, in November there are more days when even sunbathing doesn’t feel that comfortable. With cold gusts of wind that sting the skin, not many people want to be near the water for too long. This is a wonderful time for excursions and road trips in the coastal part of Montenegro. Foliage is another reason to travel.
Zabljak and Kolasin may start a ski season but it depends on a year and how much snow they get.
By the end of the month, the sky is overcast and stormy. Winter is near, and you feel that.
Montenegro in December
The first month of winter in Montenegro has fewer and fewer sunny days. In early December, it is still possible to feel comfortable in a T-shirt and light clothes but I wouldn’t really count on that. The skies are heavy, it rains often near the sea and snows in the mountainous regions. Because of this, it can be cold in the rented apartment. Usually, buildings in Montenegro do not have any heating (except for the North,) so you may want to ask hosts if they are going to provide a heater.
At the end of the month, it just gets really cold. Montenegrins wear winter jackets and boots. You may want to wear warm tights or underpants because the weather gets that frigid and uncomfortable.
If I have to talk about the weather in the mountainous regions of Montenegro in December, note that it will be a real winter there. The coldest temperature is in Zabljak – during the daytime it stays around zero or a bit lower, at night it dips below zero to -10-15C degrees. In Kolasin, the weather is a little warmer. In the afternoon the air warms up to +2+3C degrees but at night frosts with the temperature of -10C degrees are usual.
Also, it snows a lot. On average there are up to 20 snowy days in December. Sometimes snow can fall for days without stopping and snowfalls can lead to road closures.
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Montenegro Weather in January
January is one of the most gloomy months along the Montenegro coast. The temperature during the day doesn’t drop below +10C degrees but rains and strong winds are frequent.
The northern part of the country though often sees sunny days which are so pleasant not only for skiing or snowboarding but also for hiking in the snow. Of course, the latter should be done only with a professional guide.
Zabljak and Kolasin are not the only places where to go in January in Montenegro. This month is great for visiting the country’s outstanding sights, such as the Ostroh and Cetinje monasteries, Mount Lovcen, and the snowy canyon of Tara River.
Visiting the coastal cities is a great idea too. They are practically deserted and look completely different than in summer.
Montenegro in February
It depends. If shortly, the weather along the coast in February in Montenegro is rainy, rainy and rainy.
The days are getting longer but you can’t tell what time of the day it is. Because of the sky, which on a daily basis gets covered with heavy clouds, it is difficult to have a sense of time. In the morning, the afternoon or evening is equally gray. Those moments when the sun shows up are perceived as a heavenly gift.
Mountainous regions still have cold sunny weather with occasional snowfalls which is perfect for skiing.
If you are not into snow and cold and look only to explore coastal cities, go on a few hikes and see the fjords, February may be a bit tricky. I am not saying that you won’t be able to enjoy this time in Montenegro but you definitely have to be ready to stay indoors due to lingering rain.
Montenegro Weather in March
March in Montenegro is still rainy, but there are more sunny days and it gets already noticeably warmer than in February.
On the coast, it feels comfortable during the day when wearing a light jacket. Evenings still stay chilly. With each new week, the weather becomes sunnier and warmer. Mountains still have a lot of snow.
March is a beautiful season since the natural world is waking up, first flowers are blooming and birds are singing. The sea gets calmer and starts appearing more and more like a turquoise blue.
If you are traveling during this time of the year, be ready for sandstorms. It turns out that at the beginning of spring, southern winds bring sand from Africa to Montenegro (unexpected.) This is why on a sandstorm day, it is best not to go outside.
Strong gusts of winds are still very common for Montenegro in March.
Weather in Montenegro in April
April in Montenegro is one of the most beautiful months, despite the fact that at the beginning of the month it may still rain. Everything around is blooming (not just flowers) and it’s getting warmer with every new day. During the day in Budva or Kotor, the temperature is already +18+20C degrees. The evenings are cool but pleasant.
In Budva, Kotor, Tivat, Petrovac and Bar summer cafes start their season. Towns don’t look deserted anymore, however, they stay quiet. Crowds of tourists are yet to come.
In the afternoon you can walk wearing only a T-shirt and not be cold while in the evening you probably need a warmer top or sweatshirt.
April is that time of the year when the hiking season in Montenegro starts and tour operators resume their work. If you happen to visit, definitely go to Perast. This beautiful colorful town, which gets flooded with tourists in summer months, stays quiet in April while cafes are open and you can rent a boat to visit Lady of the Rocks and Saint George islands and be the only person there.
Kotor Bay is also changing – the slopes of the fjords, which in winter seemed lifeless, suddenly become greener, and the water in the bay sparkles with new colors in the sun. In April, Montenegro is extremely beautiful!
Montenegro Accommodation in Winter: Important Things to Know And Where to Stay
When it comes to accommodation during the winter travel in Montenegro, there are a few nuances to know.
First of all, prices for all hotels and apartments drop significantly. So if you want to experience luxury on a budget, it’s a great time to do that. We, for instance, when lived in Budva, stayed a few times in boutique hotels paying a fraction of what the price usually is in summer. Like this beautiful luxurious hotel in Kotor was less than €80 per night when in summer the price is usually doubled.
However, what you need to remember when looking to book a hotel or rent a flat in Montenegro anywhere along the coast is that buildings do not have any central heating. More than that, old 4 and 5-story houses are heated with wood and due to constant rains in the winter, mold is common. Even in new elite homes.
So, when checking Airbnb listings, make sure the flat has heating. Hotels usually have ACs in each room but not everyone likes to sleep under the AC, so double-check the hotel’s description of heating. For more details about which city to choose as your base, take a look at my post on where to stay in Montenegro.
Among all the places we stayed in and visited, I would like to share a few of our favorite picks which are great especially for winter travel in Montenegro:
HOTEL MONTE ROSA IN LOVCEN NATIONAL PARK – one of our favorite hotels in Lovcen. If you don’t feel like going far from the coast but still want to experience snow and true winter wonderland, go to this park. This boutique hotel is quiet and has gorgeous views of the mountains, pool, restaurant and bar with a spacious terrace. As many times as we visited Lovcen and visited this property, as many times it was amazing.
APARTMENT PALATA BIZANTI IN KOTOR: Fresh and clean one-bedroom apartment in a historical place in the city center of Kotor. In winter, it is warm and dry. The flat is clean, has a kitchenette, washing machine, new air conditioner and is close to a grocery store, restaurants, and all main activities. The price is very reasonable. Check it out, the flat is really nice.
RESIDENCE PORTOFINO IN MUO: If you’ll be driving a car in Montenegro, I highly recommend choosing to stay not in Kotor but in a small cute village Muo in Kotor Bay on the opposite side. Being on the very bank of the bay, this residence offers sweeping views of the fjord, Kotor, and Dobrota. Rooms are always clean and dry. In summer, the requirement is to book for a min of two nights and the price is more than €100 per night. While in winter, the stay costs less or around €50 per night.
MAJESTIC HOTEL BUDVA: Five-star boutique hotel with nice and incredibly clean rooms, great bar and restaurant. It is perfectly located down being a few meters from Old Town, beach and marina.
INSPIRATION APARTMENT BUDVA: Our friends stayed in this flat in Budva and we thought it was so charming. If you are an Airbnb person, definitely take a look. The flat is sparkling clean, has free parking, heating and mind-blowing views of Budva Riviera.
5 Particularly Cool Things To Do in Montenegro in Winter
Go Skiing in One of Montenegro Ski Resorts
Montenegro’s climate creates excellent conditions for everyone who loves to ski. The main ski centers of the country, as I mentioned earlier, are in Kolasin and in Zabljak. Both towns are located on the territory of national reserves (such as Biogradska Gora and Durmitor), which guarantees high and long tracks where you can ski or snowboard. By the way, these two places make the list of the cheapest ski resorts in Europe.
However, skiing is not the only reason to visit one of these places. They look so magical with all the snow and frost. You can just book a stay in a chalet or apartment and enjoy winter walks and fresh mountain air while staying for a few days. The developed infrastructure will allow you to eat daily in the national Montenegrin restaurants, use the ski lifts, hire an English-speaking instructor, book a ride on snowmobiles and take a steam bath in a real classic bathhouse.
Go Sightseeing in That Part Where It’s Warm
If for some reason you are not interested to go to Montenegro mountains, then visit the coast. It offers so much for sightseeing. A nice bonus will be no lines and free admission to many places wherein summer you are supposed to pay. Like Kotor Wall or Lovcen National Park, for example.
Be sure to visit the Old Town of Budva and Kotor, Porto Montenegro in Tivat with its gorgeous hotel (where you can stop by for lunch or a drink), ancient fortresses in Herceg Novi or ancient monasteries located in the mountains like Ostrog and Podmaine in Budva.
For a better experience, I advise you to rent a car and explore Montenegro by vehicle. Or go see neighboring countries like Bosnia, Serbia, Albania or Croatia. Getting in and out will be easy and quick since there will be no lines on the border.
By the way, for the car rental, I recommend checking my post with all the details on what to know before renting a car in Montenegro. For car rentals, we personally use EasyRentCars and Skyscanner. We always compare prices and choose the best deal.
Indulge in Fine Montenegrin Cuisine
Contrary to popular belief, life in Montenegro in winter does not stop. Yes, some cafes and restaurants on the promenade and Old Towns close for the winter season but a lot still stay open. You can fully enjoy decent service, low prices and the lack of lines in those places where they are inevitable in the summer.
Many people know that Montenegro is a gourmet paradise but only in winter you usually understand the full meaning of this expression.
It’s so nice to go to some local restaurant, order delicious meat, fresh vegetables, fortified wine, have a bite of Negush cheese and drink a cup of coffee. Large cafes and restaurants are usually open all year round, and they are all equipped with heat lamps (tables on the streets) and fireplaces (indoors). These are incredibly cozy and comfortable establishments, and the cost of dishes will be about 1/3 lower than in the high summer season.
Go Wine Tasting
If you love wine, winter is the time to go for wine tastings in Montenegro. This tiny Balkan country is considered the birthplace of the Vranac grape, from which a delicious red wine of the same name is made.
There are a few places around the country where you can taste wine. Some of the most popular are the wineries of Podgorica: Vucinic-Zenta and Buk. They regularly offer excursions where tourists can learn about the history of winemaking in Montenegro, taste wines and traditional dishes. Also very popular is the huge winery 13 Jul-Plantaze Vineyard, Europe’s biggest vineyard. It includes a train ride through the vineyards with information about the production of wines.
Go Fishing in Montenegro
If you are a fishing enthusiast, Montenegro is the right place to go to. It has excellent conditions for fishing and a huge variety of fishing spots.
More than forty species of fish and other inhabitants (small shark, tuna, sea eel, mackerel, moray eel, etc.) live in the Adriatic sea, lakes in the northern and central parts of the country and in fast and clean mountain rivers. Even at the piers, next to the beaches, you can easily catch some fish.
Winter though suits better for lake fishing. The best lakes to fish in Montenegro are Skadar, Biograd and Pivsky lakes. They are popular not only among tourists but also among local professional fishermen. In these lakes you can catch herring, salmon, and carp. For fishing on the lake, you don’t necessarily need to rent a boat, you can fish directly from the bridge.
In winter, ice fishing on the lakes of the Durmitor National Park and other nature reserves is very popular too.
What Can You Expect From Montenegro in Winter?
It Is Definitely Going To Be Quiet But Not Too Quiet
While small beach towns look and feel pretty empty, bigger ones are full of life. Budva, Kotor, Bar, Tivat, Herceg-Novi, and Uljcin have some events (especially around the holidays), competitions and festivals.
A lot of cafes and restaurants actually operate year-round, hotel and apartment owners are happy to rent out their homes at off-season prices, and numerous cultural events keep everyone busy during the day.
For example, some of the following festivals take place in winter in Montenegro:
– Festival of Wine and Bleak in Virpazar (in January);
– Mimosa Festival in Herceg Novi (in February);
– Camellia Festival in Stoliv (February);
– Winter Kotor Carnival (February);
– Bokeljska Night in Tivat (February)
Besides festivals, there are numerous winter activities in Zabljak and Kolasin, sports competitions, souvenir and food fairs, private film screenings, concerts of Balkan performers, etc.
Everything Will Be Way Cheaper
Winter in Montenegro is the time when prices are at its lowest. This applies to the full range of services, from apartments and car rental to the cost of food in stores.
Renting an apartment costs two and sometimes three times cheaper than during the summer. Prices for car rent drop from $40-$50 per day to $30-$40 per week. Winter is also a good time for individual tours and renting a private boat. In high season they usually cost a fortune while in winter they are very affordable.
Therefore, if you are looking to save some money, come to Montenegro in the winter and enjoy a wonderful vacation not spending much.
Do Not Plan to Buy Winter Clothes in Montenegro, Bring It With You
I don’t know why we didn’t pack winter clothes with us when going to Montenegro to spend the winter there. Why in the world did we assume that winters are not cold? I have no clue. But when the weather got colder in November and we started to run around with hopes to find nice stylish jackets and boots, we found a very limited offer. And that offer was unreasonably expensive.
We lived in Budva which had only one tiny mall TQ Plaza and a few shops scattered throughout the town. The average price for a female winter jacket there (super basic one like this one) was 400 euros. A pair of winter boots was starting at 700 euros.
The only place, in my opinion, where you can buy really nice clothes at a decent price is Podgorica. But if you don’t want to be spending part of your vacation shopping, take all the clothes from home that you may need in Montenegro.
Are you looking for more winter content? Take a look at the following posts, they may help you plan your travel itineraries: