If you’re wondering when would be the best time to visit Montenegro, the right answer is probably anytime. Still, it all really depends on what kind of visit or vacation you are looking for. The capital of Montenegro, Podgorica and cities like Niksic and Cetinje for me are best to visit in spring/autumn. This is when there is no summer rush with all the tourists heading out to the sea, and the temperature does not go as low as in the wintertime. I mean, it’s not that fun sightseeing when it’s minus 5 outside with hard rain and the wind. So, April, May, September, and October would be my personal recommendation to visit the beautiful mountains and not the seaside cities in Montenegro.
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Beach and Summer Time
Since Montenegro has a magnificent seaside, many tourists come here for summer vacation. More than 80% per cent of tourists visit the country in the summertime. Cities like Budva, Herceg Novi, and Ulcinj reach total capacity during summer. Most of the hotels and apartments are booked months in advance. The beaches are filled with people, and so much stuff is going on, from local events to music festivals and carnivals. Elderly people planning a more relaxed vacation and want a little bit of privacy without the summer rush usually head out to the seaside in early June or the start of September. This is the best time to get some peace and quiet. The weather is usually fine and if you are looking for a more relaxed stay in one of the significant seaside cities, this time of year would be the best choice. In winter, there are primarily locals in these cities. In recent years based on some travel research, the number of people spending a winter weekend here has increased.
Best time to visit Montenegro: Winter
Every December at the beautiful Skadarsko Jezero there is a festival called “Festival Vina I Ukljeve“. Wine drinking and eating fish are included at this celebration of Skadarsko Jezero. The other interesting festival in the coastal region is “Maslinijada”, an olive festival held every year in Bar. Fresh olives, traditional clothing, and olive oil make this event exciting and worth seeing for tourists and local residents.
The famous New Year celebration in Budva is undoubtedly one of the best events during the winter and attracts many people. Also, there is the Guitar Festival in Bar, a gathering of musicians from all over the country; a must-see event for all music lovers.
The traditional winter festival in Kotor, which is also a costume ball, is the most visited event in this region during the winter. It lasts for a week and has a perfect music program besides the entertainment part of the festival. In Herceg Novi, there is the famous “Dani Mimoze” festival. Here it is all about the flowers, although there is a music program and a wine/food part of the event.
Best time to visit Montenegro: Spring
“Dani Kamelie” in Kotor is probably the best-known festival this time of year. Flower exhibits, art presentations and theatre plays are some of the key features. There is an old story about the flower Camelie; it was brought to Montenegro in 1870 by an Old Japanese captain as a present to his wife.
Tivat is home to the “Crnogorski Festival Plesa” (= Montenegrin dance festival). It is a world championship in different dancing categories and lasts for 6 days. There are a lot of foreign contestants entering the event each year, and this festival has put Kotor on the world map when it comes to dancing festivals. There is also “Kostanjada” in April, a festival dedicated to chestnuts in Stoliv. Visitors can enjoy fried and boiled chestnuts and some homemade local sweets. The festival also has a sports program and a hiking expedition.
“Gadjanje Kokota” is a traditional game held every year in Perast. The game goes back to the Turkish Empire. It celebrates the victory of the Montenegrin people over their rulers at the time. The rules are pretty simple. The contestant needs to shoot a rooster that has set sail 300 meters from the shore with an air gun. The winner of the game needs to treat other people with wine. This is the tradition, the legend says. He gets a towel where the date and year of his victory are carved as a reward.
Best time to visit Montenegro: Summer
During summertime, the number of festivals in Montenegro increases. It is no wonder since more and more tourists are coming for a summer vacation every year. One of my favourites for summer festivals in June is the “Festival Podvodnog Filma” in Kotor. This is a film festival that shows only movies shot under the sea. This is what makes “Festival Podvodnog Filma” so unique and original. Also, “Tivatske Letnje Fešte” is an outdoor festival held throughout the summer starting in June in Tivat. It is basically a big beach party where people celebrate and present Montenegrin culture. Local wine and domestic cuisine are an essential part of this event.
Last year I visited a couple of social events/gatherings during my stay in Montenegro. Undoubtedly the most authentic experience was “Ribarska Fešta” in the small fisherman village of Muo. Traditional music playing in the background and dining with fresh fish and seafood with locals is truly an unforgettable experience. I would suggest this small gathering to everyone who plans to visit Montenegro in July. Besides big music festivals in Budva and Herceg Novi, “Festival Pozorista za Decu” is held each year at the beginning of July in Kotor. Kid’s theatre plays can be pretty interesting to watch, and therefore it is a shame to miss out on such a fantastic event if you are in the area.
For all cinema lovers, the “Hercegnovski Filmski Festival” is a perfect opportunity to witness the first international film festival in the country. There is also a lovely jazz festival in Petrovac in August and “Bokeljska Noc” in Kotor. During the “Bokejlska Noc” small boats get decorated with lights and sail out on the open sea.
Best time to visit Montenegro: Fall
During September, you can check out the “Eko Festival” in Herceg Novi. It is about promoting an ecological lifestyle and has a lot of healthy outdoor sports and recreational activities. A couple of days later, the “Hercegnovski Strip Festival” is held in the same city. It is a comic festival. Although Montenegro does not have a rich comic strip history, it is about time to introduce the works of its local artists to the world.
End of the season and not much really going on at this time. This is when local residents finally have time to rest after the summer season.
“Medjunarodni Tv Festival” is held every year in Bar. It was started back in 1995 and showed Tv achievements and creations from authors worldwide.