Montenegro is not just for the summer months, and here is proof. Here is a fabulous list of things to do while traveling in winter in Montenegro.
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. Countless destinations are made for winter, and several within the Balkans too.
Have you considered traveling to Montenegro during the winter months? If not, this is a destination you should add to your winter wish list!
So, Why Should You Visit Montenegro During The Colder Months Of The Year?
Montenegro in winter is 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 Christmas on the horizon. Montenegro is a cheaper option than other winter destinations, allowing you to see more and do more for less! You can quickly grab a cheap flight (or drive from Croatia) and accommodation, and once you’re there, food isn’t costly either.
Fewer crowds mean more to see: It’s far easier to explore a place when groups are far more infrequent, and during the winter months, most people are tucked up at home and not out exploring cities far afield! Some of the country’s biggest tourist attractions will have a handful of people inside! That means more space to roam and more time to see what’s in front of you without having to pass it all too quickly.
A more authentic way of life: When the crowds are less, you’ll see a more authentic way of life wherever you go in Montenegro, which means actual 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. Sitting and sharing a bottle of wine in relative peace and quiet is also a great idea!
Plenty of Insta-worthy photos: When fewer people are 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 go to Montenegro in winter, but you’ve probably got one question on your mind: what is the Montenegro winter weather like? You’ll probably think it will be freezing simply because the word ‘winter’ comes into the equation, but you might be pleasantly surprised.
Let’s check out each winter month to give you an idea of what you can expect and what to pack!
Montenegro In November
The beginning of November can be very mild and feel a little like the end of summer is still hanging on. You’ll see plentiful blue skies, and while the evenings are a little chilly, it’s undoubtedly an excellent time for walking around and exploring. However, as November progresses, you’ll notice a change as winter shows up at the party.
You’re probably not going to spend 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. Winter storms are likely towards the end of November, and you’ll notice more rain than before. 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, plenty of (chilly) blue sky days remain. If you head into the mountains, you’ll see snow. As the end of December nears, you will want a very warm jacket and boots, as the temperatures are in single figures towards the New Year. 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, 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 January 2019, and though it rained the whole time, we still had a great time.
It’s an excellent time for walking and heading out (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 you will likely 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 think you can ditch the coat just yet! The start of February is a continuation of the end of January. However, you’ll notice slight warming as you move throughout the month. You’ll see that the sunsets are 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.
Visiting Montenegro in February requires some preparation and proper packing. It’s challenging to know what to expect weather-wise, so pack a little of everything and go with layers to be on the safe side!
Road Tripping Is Easy In Montenegro In Winter
In January, we packed up the kids and took Grandma along for a week-long road trip from Zadar, Croatia, to Montenegro. Because there is no summer traffic, you can drive easily, 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:
- Tivat: Enjoy a fancy tea in the Porto Montenegro Resort complex
- Budva: We wandered around without a care in the world
Things To Do In Montenegro During Winter
Of course, you can do many of the things you would do in summer (like this extensive list of ideas), apart from sunbathing, but without the crowds. However, we suggest you also check out these fun wintertime activities in Montenegro.
1. Skiing Or Snowboarding
If you love winter sports, Montenegro treats you with several mountainous areas covering 30 km of skiing fun. Several resorts, such as Zabljak and Kolasin, are very popular with skiers and snowboarders during winter in Montenegro.
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. There are 22 ski lifts in Montenegro – so not massive, but 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!
2. Take A Luxurious Off-Peak Resort Style Vacay
While in Montenegro, we stayed at The Chedi Luštica Bay Montenegro, 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 seaside village – and not a brand new 5-star resort.
You’ll undoubtedly have heard the name ‘Chedi’ – the global hospitality and entertainment brand with luxurious Chedi Hotels in the Swiss Alps in Muscat, Oman, and Andermatt. And, they’ve spared no detail or expense in their newest hotel – The Chedi in Luštica Bay- 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 that 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.
Of course, there are many other spas and upscale hotels to choose from.
3. Tara River Canyon
This is the deepest of Europe’s canyons and is ideal for nature spotting, wildlife, photography, and rafting during the summer. Tara Canyon has an icy glisten in the winter, with snow and breathtaking scenery.
The Tara River Canyon is also known as the Tara River Gorge and is part of Durmitor National Park. This destination will take your breath away and certainly fill up your camera memory card!
It is possible to hike in the canyon, but check weather conditions and ask locals about the conditions to ensure it is safe.
4. Go Wine Tasting
Even more so than Rakija, Montenegro locals will boast about having some of the best wines in the world. From their innovative vranac wine to locally produced classic wines such as merlots and chardonnays, Montenegro people take their wine scene seriously.
With great vineyards all over the country, there seems to be a sophisticated and original selection of wines wherever you are. You are almost obliged to take at least one wine tasting tour while in the country. My favorite while tasting was the Krstač variety.
Most tours you can go on will provide you with knowledge of the harvesting process, regional background, and even a history of the local family who owns the vineyard and winery. It is an all-around educational experience with some delightful surprises for your taste buds.
5. Mount Lovcen
If the weather isn’t too snowy or icy, it’s 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 want to check out views and feel a little energetic, head to Lake Peak and climb up the 400 steps, which take you to old buildings and an altitude of around 1660 meters.
6. Enjoy Kotor In Peace
Exploring and enjoying Kotor in peace and quiet during the summer is almost impossible. 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, sat, and drank coffee with the locals. You can establish an easy convo with the locals and shop in the small boutiques and gift stores.
7. Lake Skadar
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, go fishing, walk, hike, enjoy photography opportunities, and, of course, enjoy delicious local food at one of the many small restaurants on the banks and surrounding area.
Again, Lake Skadar is crowded during the summer months, and the cooler weather allows you to enjoy the changing beauty in greater detail without having to elbow your way around for a little personal space!
8. Go Hiking
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 trails, which means you won’t get lost, and most of them will give you amazing views and a chance to take in your surroundings.
Javorovaco Peak is a very popular route, too, and one that will show you the best of the snowy or icy weather around you. This is part of the country’s ski area, and they do night hikes, too, which are lit by huge floodlights and allow you to see everything slightly differently!
9. Explore Montenegro’s Famous Cities
As you can see, Montenegro is not just for the summer months; this is just a handful of things you can expect to enjoy while in Montenegro in winter!