Experience the enchanting charm of the winter holidays in Montenegro, from snowy mountain peaks to charming historic cities in Montenegro’s coastal region. Swap your typical winter routine for thrilling ski adventures, fascinating coastal walks and heartwarming New Year traditions, in true Montenegrin style.


The Adriatic Riviera’s historic towns

A Montenegrin coastal winter retreat allows you to soak up the heavenly sea views and explore historic coastal towns, including Kotor, Perast, Risan, Herceg Novi, Budva, Bar and Ulcinj. Witness the legacy of Montenegro’s Venetian era (1420-1797), and the influence of Rome, Serbia, Hungary and the Ottoman Empire.

Kotor: Montenegro’s ‘Little Venice’

The Bay of Kotor is one of Montenegro’s most cherished regions – and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the most beautiful places in Europe, the deep blue ‘Boka Kotorska’ or ‘Boka Bay’ is ringed by majestic green mountains, with historic fortresses and extraordinary waterfront towns, many with their own Stari Grad (‘Old Town’).

One of the most significant is Kotor. Walk atop the stone city walls (built by the Venetians) around the Stari Grad and stroll through the winding cobbled streets to see breathtaking architecture, including the Cathedral of Saint Tryphonedral, one of just two Catholic cathedrals in Montenegro.

Hike the steep trail up to the medieval Kotor Fortress, also known as Sveti Ivan Fortress (St Ivan’s) and be rewarded with breathtaking views. You’ll note the Venetian influence everywhere in Kotor, but instead of crowds of tourists, you’ll find a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, as friendly locals encourage you to join the winter celebrations.

Head north along the bay to find Perast, ‘The Pearl of Venetian Baroque’. Stroll along the waterfront and climb the bell tower (1691) of the Church of St. Nicholas Church (1616) for unforgettable views of the surrounding islands and striking mountains across the bay. Head up a magnificent outdoor staircase to discover the hillside Zmajević Palace (also known as Bishop’s Palace), completed in 1664, and one of the most imposing ‘Captain’s Palaces’ on Kotor Bay. Just offshore, you’ll spy Our Lady of the Rocks, a tiny island with a church dedicated to Mary, the patron saint of fishermen. This island has an air of intrigue – book a private boat tour to discover more.


A little farther along the coast is Risan, the oldest settlement on the Bay of Kotor, and an important trading port during the Roman Empire. Visit the open-air museum to see historic Roman mosaics, discovered in the remains of a nobleman’s house. Visit Manastir Banja, a picturesque monastery built on the remains of a 12th-century monastery and (legend says) ancient Roman baths.

You’ll find Herceg Novi at the northwestern edge of Kotor Bay, at the foot of Mount Orjen. This town is famous for beaches and for staircases leading to a Medieval city, home to three fortresses: Spanish, Ottoman and Bosnian. Book a taxi (or walk) up to the Spanish fortress, then make your way down the steps, past beautiful churches and plazas to the waterside promenade, home to delightful restaurants.

The Budva Riviera and Old Town

The town of Budva (just south of Boka Bay and the Lustica Peninsula) has been called “The Miami of Montenegro”, thanks to sandy beaches and lively nightlife. You’ll also find distinctive historic treasures in the medieval Stari Grad. Explore the 15th-century Citadel Fortress and walk atop the Venetian city walls, (some dating to the 9th century) for stellar views of the sea and Sveti Nikola Island. Inside the Citadel, there’s a town museum, as well as terraced gates and the remains of the 9th-century church. In the evening, folks gather nearby to enjoy dinner or a relaxing drink.

The ”Old Bar” (Stari Bar) & Ulcinj

Bar (just south of Budva) is a modern port city (Novi Bar) with a charming old town, Stari Bar. Stari Bar is the largest and the most important medieval archaeological site in the Balkans. You’ll see the Stari Bar Fortress, Citadel ‘Tatarovica’, ramparts, a 13th-century monastery, 14th-century churches, a distinctive clock tower and an impressive 17th-century aqueduct. Around the site, restaurants serve local delicacies such as grilled octopus and Ottoman-inspired stuffed aubergine dishes. Stari Bar is famous for its ancient olive trees, including local landmark Stara Maslina – The Old Olive Tree – rumoured to be over 2,000 years old.

South of Bar is Ulcinj, one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic coast, founded in the 5th century BC. This charming town features an Old Town, sandy beaches, beautiful streets, and tempting gastronomy. The Sailors’ Mosque is an important waterfront landmark that once served as a lighthouse. At the Hotel Palata Venezia, you’ll spot a sculpture of Spanish writer Cervantes, who was held in Ulcinj by local pirates for five years.

Skiing Adventures in Kolašin and Zabljak

Montenegro is 90% mountainous and becomes a beautiful winter wonderland, with snow-covered slopes for skiing, tree skiing, freestyle, moguls, off-piste terrain and snowboarding. The Montenegro ski resorts are ever more popular, as people discover the pleasures of pristine slopes far less crowded and expensive than the Alps. The après-ski has become more tempting too, with new hotels, luxury apartments and ski chalets.


Interested in Kolasin skiing? As one of the best winter destinations in SE Europe, the Kolašin ski resort (Kolašin 1450 and ​Kolašin 1600) offers 45km of slopes for skiing and snowboarding, with 7 lifts ferrying guests to the powdery heights. This laid-back ski resort offers a warm welcome and family-friendly skiing. Close to the Biogradska Gora National Park, Kolašin provides startlingly beautiful views from the peaks. You’ll also find restaurants and cafés offering local Montenegrin delicacies, plus bars and nightclubs at the base of the mountain.

The Chalet Kolašin, a boutique hotel in the centre of town, promises the ultimate mountain paradise. A modern take on a traditional chalet, the hotel has just four suites (studio to 2-bedroom apartments). Guests can enjoy an hour’s private use of the spa every day, for leisurely soaks in the hydro-massage tub or mindful relaxation in the Finnish sauna or tepidarium. The Bianca Resort & Spa at Kolašin is a family-friendly hotel with a vast indoor pool, while Modern Mountain in Kolašin promises 4-star accommodation for ski-lovers.

Žabljak Savin Kuk is Montenegro’s most popular ski resort, nestled in the extraordinary landscapes of Durmitor National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As Montenegro’s highest town (1,456 metres), Žabljak offers exhilarating views of glacial lakes and mountains peaks. Žabljak winter activities include high-octane skiing, snowboarding, even snowshoeing. Relax with a glass of rakija by a roaring fire – or head to a lively bar or club. In warmer seasons, enjoy canyoning, trekking, Jeep tours and ATVs, but in winter, this is ski country. Just 5km from Žabljak is Savin Kuk, with exciting skiing, plus night skiing for true thrill-seekers. There are two lifts – the second may bring butterflies to your stomach on the steep ascent to the peak.

Winter Holidays – The Montenegrin Way

In Montenegro, you can celebrate Christmas twice: December 25th with Roman Catholics and 7th of January with the Eastern Orthodox Church – and in between, you get New Year’s Eve, the biggest celebration in the Montenegrin calendar. New Year celebrations are about good cheer and fun, with open-air concerts and events starting four days beforehand and dazzling fireworks lighting up the sky on New Year’s Eve. The mild climate along the Adriatic draws people to the coast to ring in the New Year.


For Catholics, the feast day of Epiphany (commemorating the Magi visit) happens on 6th of January, coinciding with Orthodox Christmas Eve (‘Badnji dan‘), so expect plenty of cheerful celebrations. On Badnji dan, people light a Badnjak (an oak branch, linked to solstice celebrations) and enjoy festive dinners with traditional priganice bread. Attend a public bonfire of Badnjaks, with music and festive mulled wine or rakija. On Orthodox Epiphany (19th January) catch an exuberant Epiphany Swim, as people gather to jump into a cold river or lake to retrieve a cross.

Winter Spa Retreats in Montenegro

Winter is the perfect time to refresh body and soul with a tranquil spa retreat. Give yourself time to reflect, recalibrate and ready yourself for the new year. You’ll find one of Montenegro’s top spas at The Chedi Hotel in idyllic Luštica Bay, overlooking a picturesque lighthouse and the Adriatic Sea. Indoors, The Chedi Hotel Spa welcomes guests with a stunning pool and sauna and luxurious treatments inspired by rituals from Bali, India and Tibet. Indulge in the Warm Spice Mud Wrap, with antioxidant seaweed infused with aromatic ginger and orange. Or try the Luscious Salt Glow, an invigorating body scrub with Dead Sea salt that hydrates, firms and refines the skin. This hotel provides the perfect base for adventures in Kotor Bay and beyond.

Winter Winery Tours

Wine tourism is surging in Montenegro, as large vintners, family-run wineries and boutique vineyards open their doors (and uncork their bottles) to welcome visitors from around the world. Experience Montenegro wine tasting tours for an authentic taste of winemaking traditions.

Montenegro is famous for Vranac, a full-bodied red wine with a hint of spice, that goes beautifully with Montenegrin delicacies such as Njeguši prosciutto, local cheeses, and Buzara, a seafood dish featuring fresh prawns, mussels, or octopus. The most common Montenegrin white wine is the crisp Krstač. Montenegrin wineries have also cultivated international grapes for centuries, and the local terroir lends distinctive flavour to the smoky local Cabernet Sauvignon and the fruity local Chardonnay with notes of vanilla.

Explore the vineyards and cellars of Plantaže, the largest vineyard in Europe, in the heart of Podgorica. Plantaže wines have won more than 800 prestigious awards, with autochthonous (indigenous) and international grape varieties. Book a premium wine tasting or a food and wine pairing featuring local specialities such asbeef prosciutto, Katunjanka cheese and local olives.

Visit the striking Lipovac Winery, on the scenic slopes above Lake Skadar, the largest privately owned winery in Montenegro. Wine has been made here since the 3rd century BC, according to archaeological excavations of clay amphoras. Taste their new Lipovac Tammuz wine (fermented and matured in similar amphoras) with an aroma of red fruits and violets and a peppery finish.

Winter on the Coast


Montenegro’s awe-inspiring coast is perfect for a cosy winter escape, with peaceful sea views and interesting nearby excursions. An apartment in Lustica Bay affords more space and comfort than a hotel, particularly if sharing with friends or family. Many apartments feature a private terrace overlooking the sea. The lively waterfront promenade welcomes you with charming restaurants and enchanting winter celebrations, the perfect setting for your New Year getaway.

This year, take a memorable winter journey to Montenegro and experience a unique culture with a warm welcome, a splash of adventure and blissful relaxation.