14 Feb 2021
Written By Mia K.

Guide to weather in Montenegro and things to consider

Montenegro is known for its beautiful weather, yet, you probably don’t know much more than that about the country. How hot can it get in summer? And how often does it rain?

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These may be questions you are asking yourself while planning your next trip. We will try to answer these in our short guide to the weather in Montenegro.
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General Considerations for Climate in Montenegro

Montenegro has a climate described in the scientific terms of « warm oceanic ». To sum up in a simple way: warm summers, mild and wet winters. However, even if Montenegro is a small country, the difference in altitude between the coastal, central areas and the highlands are so great that they influence the weather a great deal. The coast has relatively milder summers than the central areas of Montenegro, where the heat can really be scorching. The highlands in the North are characterized by a mountainous climate involving a moderately warm summer with cold nights, and a cold winter involving snowfall. Frost and snow seldom happen in the rest of the country.
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Here Comes the Sun

As the local saying goes « the sky is never as blue as above Montenegro » and indeed, with an average of almost 2500 sunshine hours per year (London, as a matter of comparison, gets 1000 sunny hours less) Montenegro has a very pleasant climate, perfect for a sunny holiday. The festival season generally stretches from mid-may to the end of September, and sometimes even later, when all conditions are there for a bit of Indian summer. 
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The warmest months of the year are, unsurprisingly, July and August, when the temperature can reach as high as 40-42°C (that is 104-108°F if you are from the other side of the pond). For those reading us who are coming from places where the weather is a little bit chillier, you might want to consider a few things: it is possible that the lifestyle and day schedule you have at home doesn’t quite fit Montenegro’s warmest season. 

The hottest hours of the day can actually get overwhelming and mildly dangerous if you plan any sustained physical activities. One more occasion to experience the country like a local: wake up early, hide in the shadow from noon to late afternoon (have a light lunch and take a nap if you feel like doing so), and go out for a walk when the heat finally recedes. Public sector workers have working hours reflecting this: starting work at 7 AM and finishing at 3 PM during summer.

You will see very few locals in the streets in the afternoon, however, similarly to most southern European cultures, locals go out en masse around 6-7 PM to enjoy a family walk or a drink on the terraces. Most houses and accommodation are equipped with AC which, here, is not a luxury but a necessity.

The Adriatic sea temperature ranges from a chilly 14°C (57°F) in winter to a pleasant 25°C (77°F) in summer, which is bliss on a very hot day. You definitely will get more than a bit of tan on the beach and we don’t want to sound boring, but be careful: more than one tourist has fallen asleep on the warm sand, to wake up later sunburnt and red like a lobster. Sunscreen is not optional here!

Summer in the Highlands of Montenegro

If you want to take a break from the heat, you should reach for Montenegro’s northern highlands. Summer heat is much more moderate there and rarely reaches above 25°C (77°F), which is a perfect temperature for hiking. It is as sunny as the rest of the country though, which means that a pair of good sunglasses and a nice layer of sunscreen on your skin are required if you are planning to go for a long walk. Always keep water at hand, and a warm sweater handy for the night: however hot it can get during the day, the night is always chilly when you’re over 1000 meters above sea level! It can even go below 0°C (32°F) which is something that you need to keep in mind if you are planning to camp.
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Autumn and winter in Montenegro: Goodbye blue skies? Not really.

You thought your hometown was rainy? Did you know that Podgorica is the wettest capital city in Europe? Yes, for real. As surprising as it may appear, the total amount of precipitations (rain) falling in Podgorica every year is almost three times as high as in London! But how is that possible, with Montenegro getting so many sunny hours? Well, it’s not that it rains often, but when it rains, it really rains. You probably haven’t heard of Crkvice, a tiny abandoned village between Montenegro and Bosnia, but it is famous for being the rainiest spot in the whole of Europe.
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Autumn is definitely the rainiest season of the year, with November and December being the wettest months. Impressive thunderstorms are also taking place in the early autumn. Luckily, the geology of Montenegro allows for quick absorption and dispersion of the water through a network of rivers and lakes, hence floods are extremely rare and barely recorded at all. You may see all this rain as a disadvantage but thanks to it, Montenegro never suffers any drought.
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Housing in the Montenegro Climate

An important thing to consider if you plan to live in Montenegro all-year-round is the insulation of your housing: many houses and apartments on the coast were built quickly and cheaply in order to accommodate tourists during the holiday season, and are disappointingly not-so suitable for winter stays. Check for traces of mould, especially in the bedroom and bathroom, which should always be fitted with a mechanical ventilation system if it does not have a window. Don’t hesitate to ask landlords or former tenants if they have had experience with all-year-round or winter stays in the past. That can spare you an unhealthy stay in a humid home or an overly expensive heating bill. The standard heating outfits are AC units (big energy spenders) or electrical oil-filled heaters. More expensive apartments can be fitted with underfloor heating.

Montenegro’s North: A Great Destination for Skiing

Just as we’ve mentioned earlier, Montenegro’s mountains can get quite chilly, even in the summer. But when winter comes, they literally get ice cold, with temperatures often going down to -10°C (14°F) or colder. That’s when the snowing begins, and these mountains get more than their fair share of it! Snow, mountains, slopes, yep, you get it, Montenegro is a well-known skiing destination in the Balkans. The mountain town of Kolasin is especially popular among locals and tourists, but Žabljak also offers sky centers. It is not recommended to ski outside of ski centers for obvious safety reasons. As you can see, Montenegro’s weather is as varied as its landscapes are.

Sunny beaches, snowy mountains; if you want to get a taste of all that at the same time, the best moment may be spring: May is usually quite warm on the coast, yet still fresh in the mountains. We wouldn’t try and stretch reality so much as to claim, in the same way as some guides do, that it’s both possible to ski and swim on the same day (you would have to be very, very lucky). But it is definitely possible to witness snowy mountain peaks and have a drink on a terrace next to the turquoise sea with only a light dress on, a few hours apart, which is already astonishing.
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In this short guide to Montenegro’s weather, we have tried to provide you with the most practical information gathered by locals, and we hope it will help you prepare your stay, or even help you solve the dilemma of what you should pack in your suitcase!
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