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Festivals and events in Montenegro

The smallest of the Slavic states has a lot of festivals under its belt, covering classical and modern music, sport and extreme sport competitions and spectacles, plus traditional carnivals.


Two of Montenegro's biggest festivals take place in February, with most events happening at the start of the year and throughout the summer. Read on for a selection of some of the biggest and best festivals and events in Montenegro.


Carnivals

The largest celebration in Montenegro is the Kotor Carnival, which takes place every February and attracts thousands of visitors.

It consists of a carnival with troupes and majorettes from all over Montenegro and other parts of the world, plus concerts, stalls selling local cuisine and a traditional masked ball.

In order to invite more tourists to enjoy the carnival, a similar one now also runs in August with parties and events in the streets and squares of Kotor.

Another February event is the Mimosa Festival, which has been held for nearly 50 years in Herceg Novi, near Kotor, to honour the Mimosa flower and the start of spring. Lasting for several weeks, it involves numerous fiestas, sports events, carnivals for both children and adults, as well as the travelling caravan of mimosa performers and musicians.

The Hercegnovski Zimski – or winter – salon also takes place alongside the Mimosa Festival, featuring exhibits and creative shows from fine art artists, sculptors, actors, and many other cultural artists.

Music festivals


Starting off with Montenegro's more recent offerings, Southern Soul Festival is a chilled out affair held in Ulcinj on the longest beach in Montenegro. This means that during the day you can kitesurf or doze off on the sand, while at night you're free to head to one of three stages for soul, jazz, funk, house and disco music from the likes of Gilles Petersen and live acts like Amp Fiddler. Held for four days in early July, there's also the option of a camping pass.

Just a couple of weeks' later, Sea Dance music festival is held on Jaz beach in Budva and is a livelier electronic music festival. The sister event to the long-running EXIT festival in Serbia, past acts have included Prodigy, Shy FX and Skrillex, while 2017 will see John Newman on the line-up.

On the more traditional side of things, Kotor hosts the Festival of young musicians of Montenegro in April, which is a chance to see students perform from music academies across the country. Over in Podgorica, the international music festival A Tempo promotes classical music for several days in the capital city.

Sports events

Across the summer months a number of interesting sporting events are held in Montenegro, starting with diving in in Podgorica's Moraca River in July. The spectacle of people diving from the capital's ancient Vezirov Bridge is watched over by large crowds.

Also in July, a hill car race has taken place since 1981 in Cetinje – just inland from Kotor. The 12-kilometre race passes over the mountainous Ivanova Korita area and rises to an altitude of 610 metres, so it may be best to find a viewing point lower down.

Bar is the venue for two sporting events in August. The Port Cup women's volleyball tournament sees teams from Montenegro and Serbia participate open-air, and a swimming marathon covers five kilometres across the bay to neighbouring Sutomore.

A more niche sporting challenge takes place over in Herceg Novi in September, in the form of the Adriatic Parachuting Cup, which is a great spectacle to watch.

Other events

If you've not had the chance to pick up any souvenirs or gifts yet on your holiday, the fair of Montenegrin souvenirs in Becici – near Budva – is the place to go. Held in April in the Hotel Tara, stalls sell Montenegrin cultural decorations and every kind of souvenir product you can think of.

July is when fashionistas from across Montenegro flock to Kotor for the International Fashion Festival. Big name fashion designers from Montenegro, Italy and further afield come to show off their latest creations, including the likes of Dolce & Gabanna, Prada, and Versace.

Then in August, one of the most vibrant celebrations of the year happens on Kotor's river. Boka night involves decorated and lit-up boats cruising to Kotor harbour, where the best decorated one is named. There are celebrations in Kotor's squares and fireworks to finish off the night.

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