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Regions and climate of Montenegro

The Montenegrin coastline is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world. It is a very narrow band separated from the inland by high karst mountains - Rumija (1,595 m), Sutorman (1,180 m), Orjen (1,895 m) and Lovcen (1,749 m). It is the widest in Boka, being about 10 km, while in Pastrovici the width is less than 2 km. The coastline is rather well indented.There are many gulfs, such as (Budva and Bar) as well as bays (Petrovac, Lucice, Buljarica, Canj, Ulcinj). The most beautiful by far, is the magnificent Gulf of Boka, situated between the peninsulas of Lustica and Prevlaka, and composed of four smaller, connected bays (Hercegnovski, Tivatski, Risanski and Kotorski). Cut deep into the mainland, intersected by small backwater channels and narrow passages it is one of the most beautiful gulfs and one of the most southern in the whole of Europe.

The towns of Herceg-Novi, Kotor, Tivat, Budva, Bar and Ulcinj are situated at the seaside along the coastline. Budva with Sveti Stefan and Petrovac is the central part of the seaside, also known as the Riviera of sandy beaches. This area, according to the famous geographer, Jovan Cvijic, is one of the most beautiful maritime regions with hidden, discreet bays, with clean sand and gravel, with exuberant flora - a sun soaked land.

The valley in middle Montenegro (Sub-Mediterranean region) spreads between Gatacko polje and Skadar Lake and further towards the southeast through the river Bojana, it opens to the Adriatic Sea. It is composed of separate relief entities Golija and Duga with an altitude of 750-1,000 metres, Niksicko polje 600-660 metres, Donja Zeta (Bjelopavlicka plain) 40-60 metres, and the Podgorica-Skadar basin (Zetska plain and Skadar Lake) 6-67 meters. Apart from the Zeta, this plain is also intersected by the riverbeds of Moraca, Ribnica, Cijevna... In Zeta Plain, the valley of the Zeta River and Niksicko polje the population density is the highest in the country. The two largest towns are also situated here - Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, and Niksic.

The geographical position and favourable natural conditions enabled life for man in the area of middle Montenegro from ancient times, and this is confirmed by numerous archaeological sites. The area of Middle Montenegro is divided between the municipalities of Niksic, Cetinje, Danilovgrad and Podgorica; the smaller part belongs to the areas of Bar and Kolasin municipalities.

The region of high mountains and plateaus encompasses a surface of 3,125 square meters, in five municipalities: Pluzine, Zabljak, Savnik, Mojkovac and Kolasin. The total number of settlements in that area is 117.

The borderline between the Region of high mountains and karst plateaus and Middle Montenegro follows the topographical border between the confluence of the Adriatic and the Black Sea (Golija, Vojnik, Lola, Babin zub, Zijovo, Prokletije). Towards the northeast, it follows the topographical border of the drainage of Tara River. The ranges of high mountains, plateaus and canyons, exquisite in their beauty and grandiosity are the main natural characteristics of the region. Many of its distinctive features make this region a unique oasis of natural beauty in Europe. Two ranges of high mountains dominate the region. The first, borderline range to the middle region is composed of the mountains Golija, Vojnik, Lola, Moracke and Zijovo.

The other and highest range being the Dinaric mountains consist of the mountains Volujak, Maglic, Bioc, Ljubisnja, Durmitor, Sinjajevina, Bjelasica, Komovi, Visitor and Prokletije.

This region of high mountains and plateaus is the area of springs and most of the important rivers belonging to the confluence of the Black Sea in Montenegro. Besides an abundance of springs in this area, there are also numerous mountain lakes ("mountain eyes") of glacier origin.

The North Region, which encompasses the areas of municipalities in the utmost north (Pljevlja, Bijelo Polje, Berane, Andrijevica, Plav, Rozaje), spreads in a northwest-southeast direction and is about 140 km long and up to 35 km wide.

River valleys are dominant in the region, while high mountains are mainly situated in the bordering areas towards Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Albania. Between the confluences, there are foothills, plateaus and lone mountain ridges. The basic difference between this region and all other regions in Montenegro is the absence of karst relief forms, which make the whole area milder, with milder relief forms.

Although Montenegro belongs to the Mediterranean climatic region, both major and many minor regions have a specific climate.The basic divisions into climatic zones are; the coastal zone - conspicuous characteristics of Mediterranean climate: sub Mediterranean zone includes Podgorica/Skadar basin, Bjelopavlicka Plain and Niksicko polje; the zone of the mountain sub region with extremely cold and long winters, and the zone of changed moderate continental climate (the north east areas, Pljevlja, and Rozaje). Nevertheless, like the winds, the influences alternate and intermingle, so many regions have their own microclimate, and considerable differences in altitude (from 0 - 2,524 m) follow similar differences in temperature.

To illustrate: in January, for example, the temperature in Budva is about 8C°, in Podgorica, it is a few degrees lower, in Zabljak it might fall down to -24C0. On the other hand, in July, it is 35C° in Budva, 39C° in Podgorica, and in Zabljak one can enjoy at refreshing 18C° At night, the differences in temperature are even greater.