Montenegro is becoming more and more popular for families with children. It is a safe and pleasant country. Many families decide to rent a car for their holiday. For this reason I have decided to give some advice to those who want to travel to Montenegro with children.
What time of year is it best to visit Montenegro with children?
This is probably the question that is asked most frequently. The answer is simple. For 45 days a year, from mid-July to September, everything is crowded, and there is no peace on the beaches. It is difficult to park your car, the traffic is heavy, accommodation and facilities are rather pricey and everything tends to be booked up. For this reason it is best to avoid these months.
The best time of year to visit is in June and September. It is usually warm and not crowded, so is the best time to visit Montenegro with children. September is even better, because the sea is warmer by the end of the season.
May and October might be chilly, but not always.This varies yearly. Sometimes the weather is good enough to swim or sometimes the summer starts in June and ends by September. Sunbathing in May and September is sometimes possible.
Average weather stats for various resorts and seasons can be found at ‘Weather in Montenegro’.
When visiting Montenegro with kids, please remember that it is not exactly a beach country. The beaches are rather small with lots of tourists and there is virtually no sand. The sea temperature always changes but rarely exceeds 25°C. Compared with the sea in Turkey and Egypt, the Adriatic is rather cool.. The shore and the seafloor are pebbly. Much of the coastline is naturally like this. Any sand in Montenegro is imported, except for a few southern beaches. Mostly the beaches are pebbly.
Therefore, if you are keen on spending all of your time on the beach with your children, it might be good to consider another country as an option. Montenegro is beautiful, but its beauty is its nature, cities and people, not its beaches.
For those who still want to think about visiting Montenegro for a beach trip with children, there are a few points to note.
- It is better to swim in special shoes that will stay on at any time. These might be Crocs or similar shoes or rubberized sandals. Any of these can be bought in advance as well as at the beach (usually widely available).
- Children should not stay in the water for a long time, because it is relatively cool. Think about some beach activities beside swimming. Beach playgrounds are not very common and can be rather small.
- The radiation from the sun in Montenegro packs quite a punch. Children can get sunstroke and sunburn after 15-20 minutes in the sun. Please plan your beach holiday so to increase the time spent in the sun gradually, day by day. Always avoid the sun at noon. The same applies to adults too.
- Some children become unwell soon after they arrive on holiday with a high temperature and mild symptoms of food poisoning. These can be the effects of acclimatisation, sunstroke or sea water intake. When swimming, children often drink salt water. Stay vigilant and find out where the nearest medical centre is. Be sure to consult your family doctor about possible options and what you need to do. Most importantly, be prepared and do not panic. As a rule, children tend to get well in 1-2 days and spend the rest of the holiday happy.
More on beaches in a separate article — ‘Beaches of Montenegro’.
Montenegrin cuisine has not been adapted to suit modern children’s’ tastes. It is mostly grilled meat, pasta and pizza. Usually, restaurants and cafes do not have a special menu for children. The most suitable items on a regular menu are chorba (thick broth-based soup), boiled potatoes, veggies, pasta and pizza.
Supermarkets offer a variety of packaged food for young children and babies. The most popular manufacturer is Hipp.
Staple foods like buckwheat, oatmeal or tomato juice are found rarely, and you will not find condensed milk or cottage cheese at all (similar soft cheeses are available, though). Meanwhile, quality fruits and vegetables, fresh meat, various juices, breads, and pastries are always plentiful.
To summarise: the cuisine might seem very diverse, but it is healthy with many varieties of fresh and delicious produce.
Insurance is usually necessary for any trip to Montenegro. The insurance certificate is a must-have for your the whole stay (a copy would be even better). In case of an accident, you will need to consult the insurance provider and the healthcare specialists on your mobile. Please top-up your mobile account in advance or get a local SIM.
Be sure to read any documentation related to health insurance. Take the papers on the plane and read them during the flight. There will not be any time to read the small print if there is an accident.
If you decide to visit Montenegro without an insurance policy, please do find out where the nearest hospital or accident and emergency department is. In the event of an accident, it is easier to get there by car on your own (even with a taxi or a rented car) than wait for an ambulance. Hospital-owned ambulances are rare, so it might be a long wait. If you do not have any acute symptoms, the ambulance service may even terminate your call. However if you arrive at the hospital, the care will be quite comprehensive. Montenegrin doctors are humane and warm-hearted, especially if children are involved.
If you need medication, it is important to be aware that most kinds of medication in Montenegro bear different brand names. If you provide the chemist with the Latin name (it is always in the prescription or medication guide), you will probably be given an alternative.
Anyway, we hope that your stay in Montenegro with children will be free of any emergencies.
Children in Montenegro
Montenegrins’ attitude towards children in general can be summarised as really special. If a family with a small child gets on a taxi, the driver will slow down and avoid any road bumps. Montenegrins smile at children, pat them, give them small gifts or simply chat with them. Restaurants and hotels in Montenegro always pay special attention to children. This is all a winning formula if you are here on holiday with children.
Montenegro holidays with kids
Below is a comparison of the most popular resorts. I have tried to evaluate all the major factors that are important for a stay with children.
I looked at the following areas.
- Beaches. It does not make a lot of sense to judge beaches by the number of people, because, as we said before, during the high season all the beaches are overcrowded, and there are always a few spots during the rest of the time. That is why we considered what the beach is made of (sand being the best, stones and pebbles the worst), water access (flat and shallow being the best), and infrastructure (WC, showers, cafes, shops, playgrounds).
- Terrain. In Montenegro, the coast is a thin line between the mountains and the sea. Many resorts literally reside on a steep slope, this is not convenient with a pushchair so we preferred resorts with flat terrain.
- Food and markets. We evaluated the variety and the number of shops, stores and markets. Walking distance from hotels and villas was an factor. Of course, if you rent a car during your stay in Montenegro, walking is out of question most of the time.
- Healthcare facilities. Availability of healthcare at the resort. Medical facilities in Montenegro are sometimes missing in smaller villages and towns. Fully fledged hospitals exist only in the largest cities.
- Walking routes. A walk in Montenegro usually implies a promenade on a quay, which are ubiquitous. Sometimes it might be crowded and noisy. Mountain terrain often means there are no large parks, wide streets, boulevards or avenues. For example, in Budva the quay is the only place where you can take a walk with a small child or a pushchair. Meanwhile, Tivat has three parks with lanes, pathways, and tall trees.
- Theme parks and entertainment. Many resorts are visited by traveling carnivals during the summer. There are also playgrounds. A recent trend at the larger beaches is to have an inflatable floating playground for children. Meanwhile, smaller villages might not have any of these activities on offer.
- Level of activity. It is a measure of the resort’s character. Of course, it is highly subjective. You can rent an apartment in a calm neighborhood in Budva and visit only remote beaches, so Budva will appear calm and relaxed. Nevertheless, I have tried to be unbiased in my estimations, if that is at all possible.
|Resorts:||Tivat||Bar||Budva||Petrovac||Sutomore||Becici||Herczeg Novi||Kotor||Sveti Stefan||Dobra Voda||Ulcinj||Velika Plaza|
|Food and markets||5||5||5||5||5||3||3||4||2||2||4||1|
|Places for walking (besides the seaside)||5||4||2||3||3||1||3||2||3||1||2||1|
|Tranquility (no crowds, clean, quiet)||4||3||2||4||3||3||4||4||5||4||1||3|