Festivals in Montenegro that will amaze you

Montenegro might be known as the smallest of Slavic countries, but in spite of that, it has more than enough space for all kinds of festivals. In fact, some of the most famous festivals in Europe are held precisely here, in one of the most stunning tourist countries in Europe. 

Our country hosts an array of different festivals, so if you’re already planned on visiting, you should definitely consider scheduling your visit during some of the festivals. Festive vibes make everyone feel radiant, therefore, we prepared a list of Montenegro festivals you should ponder on when deciding where this spring-summer season will take you.

#1 Fasinada festival in Perast - the longest running Montenegro festival

Date of event: Annually on July 22nd.

Location: Perast, Montenegro, particularly around the island of Our Lady of the Rocks.

Type of event: A traditional festival deeply rooted in maritime heritage and local customs.

Speaking of festivals, our list begins with a traditional one, and not just any traditional festival, but the longest running in the whole country. This Montenegro festival is known as Fasinada, and it has been going on for over 500 years in the town of Perast. The festival is celebrating the founding of the artificial islet and the monastery of the same name – Our Lady of the Rocks

The festival at sea is conceived of local convoys marching together towards the islet, with men from every family rowing their boat to the island, while women cheer them on from the shore. They are accompanied by the voices of acapella singers, but the unique trait of this festival is that the whole town gets to participate. 

The tradition of the festival states to throw a rock into the sea, just as once many rocks were thrown in order for the islet to be built and the church to be constructed on top of it.

#2 Sea Dance Festival Montenegro - famous Budva music festival

When it comes to the Sea Dance Festival Montenegro got a fraction of the well known EXIT festival held in Novi Sad each year. This is a top Montenegro music festival, the one that attracts over 80 thousand people from Europe and all over the world. It takes place in July every year delivering three days of pure musical euphoria.

The festival features some of the greatest artists and DJs on the planet, combined with local and up and coming musicians, all transmitting a unique dance vibe. It is celebrated on the Jaz Beach in Budva, making it even more memorable when you want to dance the day and night away.

Sea dance festival typically lasts for three days, starting on the last Friday of august. It has been active since 2014, attracting around 40,000 attendees in 2022, with a capacity of approximately 21,000 people. The Sea Dance Festival gained immediate acclaim after its first edition, being named the “Best Medium Sized European festival” at the European Festivals Awards in January 2015. This recognition led to collaborations with London-based media company AEI and its global brands for the festival’s second edition.

The Sea dance festival features various stages, including the Main stage with a 30,000 attendee capacity, “No Sleep” Stage, “Reggae” Stage, “Silent” Dance, “Latino” Stage, “Cinema”, and “CHILL Zone”. The “Dance Paradise Stage”, prominent in earlier editions, was replaced with the No Sleep Stage in 2017.

#3 Mimosa festival in Montenegro

In essence, the Mimosa Festival in Montenegro is a celebration of local culture, cuisine, and the coming of spring, marked by community participation, vibrant displays of mimosa flowers, and an array of musical and culinary delights.

The Mimosa Festival takes place in the first weekend of February each year, primarily in Herceg Novi, along with activities in nearby areas like Igalo and Baosici. It has been a tradition in Herceg Novi for over 50 years, having started in 1969.

This Montenegro festival celebrates the coming of vibrant and lively spring after a long and harsh winter. This is a highly cheerful festival, a real sight for the sore eyes with the yellow mimosa flowers literally invoking sunshine.

The festival starts with a parade of marching girls, followed by a band playing brass. Apart from the parade, the festival also has a quirky side that another parade brings out. This time it’s about creative costumes, something like a costume ball on the street. 

The gist of the festival is the celebration of a life reborn, with all of it’s positive and healthy aspects such as hope, happiness, laughter.

#4 Montenegro Film Festival in Herceg Novi

Montenegro Film Festival has been held for some 30 years now, stemming from Yugoslavia. Managing to keep its authenticity, it presents the best feature as well as documentary films from all over the world. It’s celebrated every August in Herceg Novi, with the town fully absorbing the atmosphere, transforming and reviving it. 

There are more than a few theatres for this matter, but the main theatre, and by far the most distinct, is located in the historic fortress also known as the Bloody Tower. Still, if you don’t want to be limited, there are plenty of other theatres in town, specially raised during the festival.

#5 Lake Fest Montenegro - a festival for all rock music lovers

Lake Fest is a three day rock music rhapsody taking place at Lake Krupac close to Nikšić.If you happen to be a die hard rock music fan, this is one of those festivals that should not be missed out. Lake Fest attracts over 20 thousand people every year, waiting to hear both international and local musicians, but what makes this festival the most memorable is the nearby forest camping. 

This festival attracts around 20,000 people over three nights. It’s particularly popular for performances by famous bands from the former Yugoslavia and the region, drawing a majority of the visitors on the first night​.

Lake fest features a unique camping area in the same woods as the stage. The camping is free, with only a small residence tax for foreign visitors. The campsite includes bars and offers food and drinks at lower prices than other festival spots.

You can choose to camp the whole time on the lakeside during the festival, or you can go to the campsite and have a drink, either way it will be an experience to remember. Apart from camping, you can also check out the eco workshops, if that’s something that might interest you.

#6 Bokeljska noc festival - Kotor festival tradition

Bokeljska noć is one of those must-see occurrences, a traditional Kotor festival featuring dozens of beautifully decorated boats and floats. Don’t get us wrong, this festival is not a parade, in fact, it’s a competition. All of these exquisitely decorated furnished sea vehicles compete against each other for a valuable prize. 

Apart from cheering for their favorite colourful boat, people are also attracted to this festival for the unique vibe it commands. Everyone tends to be cheerful, full of enthusiasm, marking a true celebration of life, far more important than any competition.

A similar event has been held in Porto Montenegro superyacht marina recently, in April, a supreme regatta of design boats where visitors and admirers could witness the latest luxury design, an event that brings together business and passion for sailing.

 

#7 Budva carnival - a unique experience

The carnival is held annually from May 1st to May 3rd. Everyone in Montenegro during this period is invited to participate in the festivities on the streets of Budva.

Budva carnival is a three-day festival filled with unique costume parties, radiant parades and open air theatre shows – all of which makes this festival a unique experience. As we mentioned, It takes place annually in May, with the carnival being contained out of a few fractions – parade, theatre and competition. 

This is particularly interesting for children, with special puppet shows and masked balls, and many other activities and competitions aimed at the youngest contestants.

The Budva Carnival is a dynamic and inclusive event that combines traditional Montenegrin culture with contemporary entertainment, making it a must-visit for those interested in experiencing the unique vibrancy of Montenegro’s festivals.

#8 International Fashion Festival in Porto Montenegro

This is one of the Montenegro festivals unlike any other. It’s a fashion festival taking place in Porto’s center stage in the Synchro building, welcoming some of the world’s most prestigious fashion designers. This festival hosts spectacular fashion shows, vignettes, followed by a series of events such as cocktail nights, exclusive parties and much more.

If you’re into fashion and latest trends, this Montenegro festival is a must-see event, more so because you’ll see and meet many international fashion icons, models as well as celebrities from the region.

#9 Jazz festival Petrovac

The Petrovac Jazz Fest, set in the picturesque city of Petrovac in Montenegro, is an annual celebration of jazz music, renowned for its unique ambience and stunning coastal setting. 

Jazz festival is a must-attend event for jazz enthusiasts, featuring a mix of well-known musicians and emerging talent. The festival is known for its vibrant atmosphere and a wide array of excellent musicians.

Over the years, the festival has hosted incredible jazz musicians like Uros Peric, Zdenka Kovacicek, Daphna Levy, and the Budapest Jazz Orchestra. It’s celebrated for presenting a variety of musical genres, including blues, fusion, and classic jazz. Each performance is distinct, with musicians focusing on technical skill or emotional expression, enhancing the festival’s prestige and drawing jazz fans globally​​.

The Petrovac Jazz Fest is not just about music,  it’s an environmentally friendly and family-oriented event. It offers a range of activities beyond the musical performances. Adults can enjoy wine tasting, while children can engage in workshops and playground activities. 

The festival also promotes sustainability with eco-friendly practices like using biodegradable cups and organising beach clean-ups. Additionally, visitors can enjoy regional cuisine at the food market and purchase handmade goods at the craft market.

#10 Kotor Art festival

The Kotor Art Festival is a prestigious cultural event held annually in Kotor, Montenegro, during July and August. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, this festival has become a vital expression of Montenegrin cultural identity. It brings together a diverse range of artists and musicians from over 100 countries.

This festival spans various genres and forms of artistic expression, including classical music, theater, and visual arts, set against the stunning backdrop of Kotor’s medieval architecture and breathtaking natural scenery. The Kotor Art Festival not only showcases international and local talent but also fosters cultural exchange and understanding, making it a significant event in the cultural calendar of Montenegro and the wider region.

With its eclectic mix of performances and exhibitions, the Kotor Art Festival offers something for every art enthusiast and provides a platform for emerging artists to display their work alongside established names. This event not only enriches the cultural life of Kotor but also attracts visitors and art lovers from around the globe, contributing to the cultural tourism of Montenegro.

This was our list of Montenegro festivals we truly believe you should check out once you are in Montenegro, even if just for the weekend in Montenegro. The good news is that if you’re staying at our Porto Montenegro holiday apartments, most of the festival spots are just a short drive or yacht charter away!

Afterall, Boka Kotorska is the epicentre of the dynamic spirit of Montenegro, especially in spring and summer, so be sure to schedule your trip and experience our sunny Mediterranean vibes on the coast of Adriatic!

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