Land of the Black Mountain
Montenegro is one of the most popular day trips from Dubrovnik, and for good reason!
Due to Dubrovnik’s position in the southern part of Croatia, it’s quite easy to pop over the border further south into Montenegro.
With its breathtaking mountains surrounding the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro lives up to its name, „Black Mountain“.
Kotor has been a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1979 due to its stunning scenery and gorgeous architecture stretching back to the Middle Ages.
Visiting Montenegro is definitely something to do while staying in Dubrovnik as it provides a trip to a whole new country. The climate and nature are somewhat similar but the history and culture are very different so we highly recommend visiting it!
FUN FACT: Montenegrins are known to be so lazy that the country holds its own Lazy Olympics. Their life’s mottos are: “Love your bed as you love yourself” and “If you have the urge to work, sit down, wait and you’ll see it will pass.”
Keep reading for a suggested itinerary, travel tips and everything you need to know when traveling from Dubrovnik to Montenegro.
Montenegro is a small country in southeastern Europe, on the coast of the Balkans. It is located southeastern of Croatia.
How Far Is Montenegro From Dubrovnik
The driving distance from Dubrovnik to Montenegro border is 40.5 km (25 miles), which equals about 45 minutes’ drive.
The main border crossing between Croatia and Montenegro lies on the Adriatic Highway, Debeli Brijeg on the Montenegrin side and Karasovići on the Croatian side.
Important Info Before You Travel
Where To Go In Montenegro
Most popular places to visit in Montenegro are Perast, Kotor and Budva. Keep reading to find out what to in each of those cities!
Perast & Our Lady Of The Rocks
The highlight of the Bay of Kotor is the village of Perast, the oldest village in the region, with its beautiful Baroque architecture.
This idyllic tiny seaside town with stunning scenery is located just 20 minutes by car from popular Kotor.
While it’s still busy and touristy, it’s quiet, smaller and has a more relaxed vibe than Kotor. The center of town is all pedestrian-only.
You will need only an hour to explore the entire town, including the time to climb up the stairs for views over the bay and the city below.
This postcard-pretty town is known for two picturesque islands that sit in front of it: St. George and Our Lady of the Rocks.
Unlike Our Lady of the Rocks, St. George is a natural island, which houses a Benedictine monastery and a large cemetery, earning the local nickname ‘Island of the Dead’.
The island is also known as “The island of the dead captains”, as the legend goes one French soldier was shooting a cannon towards Perast, hit the house of his beloved girl and killed her. Unfortunately, the island is prohibited to visitors.
If you are going to Our Lady of the Rocks, you’ll pass by this island so you can have nice photos from the boat.
The other island is Our Lady of the Rocks, a man-made island with a small church and a museum. Visiting Our Lady of the Rocks Island is the most popular activity to do in Perast.
You can easily get there by a taxi boat that runs regularly every 20 min. If you’re visiting Perast during low season you’ll need to negotiate a pick-up time. The boat ride only takes 10 minutes.
Return boat ticket costs 5€ (kids pay half price). Church entrance is free, the museum entrance is 1€.
It is a very unique and cool place to visit, surrounded by stunning scenery, but you don’t need more than 20 minutes here since there isn’t much to do on the island.
According to the legend, local fishermen discovered an icon of the Virgin Mary in the water on a reef. This finding encouraged believers to visit the reef and drop stones into the water where the icon had appeared. Over time, the ritual became so popular that entire ships were loaded with rocks and sunk into the sea on the spot of the discovery. Over the years the islet was formed.
After 20 minutes drive from Perast, you will reach Kotor, a well preserved medieval walled town set on the beautiful Bay of Kotor which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Since Kotor is a small town, much smaller than Dubrovnik, you can see all the main sites during a day trip.
What to do in Kotor?
Explore the Old Town
One of the best things to do in Kotor is simply to wander around the beautiful streets of the Old Town. You’ll find cafes, restaurants, souvenirs shops and piazzas. Photo opportunities of the architecture are everywhere. It feels like in the old movies you may have seen, tall walls and life on every corner.
There are many churches inside the walls. Besides the Cathedral of St. Tryphon, don’t skip Saint Luke’s church on the lovely Piazza Greca square.
Just like the rest of the Balkans, Montenegro has a vibrant cafe culture which can be seen by the numerous cafes packed with people. Find some nice cafe, order an espresso coffee and relax while people watching. You’ll easily fall into the local mood.
Kotor Fortress (Castle of San Giovanni)
The next must-do thing in Kotor is the hike to the Fortress. The view from the top is unbelievable.
Situated above the city, you’ll have to walk up 1350 steps to the fortress (but who counts).
If you’re fit, it’ll take you around 40 minutes to hike to the top. If you’re unfit, there are several forts and towers on the way up where you can stop for a break with a view.
Yes, there are a lot of uneven and slippery steps but well worth the trek #yolo!
PROS: you’ll have amazing photos for Instagram or to brag about to your family later. Lots of stairs are great exercise for your legs and bum.
CONS: there are no cons! You’re here only once so just do it!
There is no free access! Most likely you will hear somewhere that there is a way to get into a fortress for free, but don’t raise your hopes – there isn’t. So don’t bother taking the „free access route“ to the castle, the Montenegrin guy is waiting at the top to tell you to go down and pay a ticket. This is not what you want to hear having walked for 45 minutes all uphill.
So be warned, pay the €8 and take the official route.
The entrance fee is 8€ per person (kids can go for free).
Rip off or not, I don’t want to get into it, let’s just say that Montenegrins have to make a living somehow.
Hours: 8 am – 8 pm, 7 days a week (during the summer months it’s good to start before 8 am to beat the heat).
Known for its beaches and nightlife, Budva aka “Montenegrin Miami” is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Montenegro.
Located only 23 kilometers (14 miles) from Kotor, or 30 minutes drive, Budva is a good destination if you want to spend a few days relaxing on a beach and soaking up the sun.
Depending on what time of year you visit Budva your experience will be different. During summer Budva turns into a wild party scene with vibrant nightlife, beach parties and festivals. During autumn it turns into a small charming mystique town.
It is smaller than Kotor, but that is part of its charm. Over 2500 years old, Budva is one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic Sea. It is still quite cheap for such a tourist place.
What to do in Budva?
One of the main things to do in Budva is to explore its charming and historical Old Town. It has been cautiously restored and would be more interesting unless you’ve just come from Dubrovnik.
The best way to discover the Old Town is to simply wander the streets. Within the walls, you’ll find cute little shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.
There are several churches to visit in the largest square including the Church of the Holy Trinity and the Church of St Ivan, both worth checking out. Close by you’ll also find the town’s oldest church, St. Mary’s in Punta, which dates back to 804.
Visit the Citadel to get the best views of Budva Old Town.
For just 3.50€ you can have spectacular views of the Old Town, nearby hills and coastline.
Citadel (or the medieval city-fortress of Saint Mary) was originally built to protect Budva from attacks from the sea.
Now it is home to a small library and a small Museum of Old Ships (inside the citadel) as well as some outdoor areas from where you can see the surrounding area.
Explore and enjoy the beaches
Budva Riviera is known for its pebble-sandy beaches.
The closest beach to the town is Greco beach, but it’s not the nicest beach in the area and it’s better if you look elsewhere. It’s popular because of its convenient location and it gets crowded during peak season.
One of the best beaches in Budva is Mogren beach, a sandy beach located a 10-minute walk from the Old Town.
Sveti Stefan Island (Saint Stephen)
Sveti Stefan is a small islet and 5-star hotel resort, 10 kilometers (5.5 miles) southeast of Budva. The resort is known commercially as Aman Sveti Stefan and it is a 5-star franchise of the international group of Aman Resorts.
The resort in total contains 50 rooms, cottages, and suites on the island, and 8 grand suites at the Villa Miločer.
If you want to see something fun, watch the people continuously try to stroll into the resort and getting turned away by security.
There is a beach in front of the Sveti Stefan where you can swim for free and take the view from the water.
You can get to Sveti Stefan either by bus or by taxi. The bus departs from Budva and it costs 2€ per person. The schedule changes seasonally. The taxi costs around 15€ and the ride takes 20 minutes.
How To Get From Dubrovnik To Montenegro
There are 3 ways how to get from Dubrovnik to Montenegro:
- With an organized day-trip tour
- By bus
- By car
You will need to stop at both Croatia and Montenegro border. Your passports will be scanned and you will get a stamp (new stamp yay!).
If you plan to visit Montenegro just for a day, the best option is to take an organized tour. Traveling by bus means you probably won’t have as much time as you’d like in Montenegro, especially if you have any delays in crossing the border. If you plan to spend more than one day in Montenegro, traveling by bus or car are both good options.
Dubrovnik To Montenegro Day-Trip (Organized Tour)
If you want to visit Montenegro just for a day on a day trip from Dubrovnik, without staying there overnight, then your best option is to take an organized tour.
This is a wonderful opportunity to visit Montenegro’s most popular and beautiful sites in just one day.
If you want to relax and enjoy your holiday without thinking about buses and delays, this is the easiest option with the least amount of thinking.
There are plenty of tour companies offering daily day trips from Dubrovnik to Montenegro with different itineraries and price inclusive. But one destination is the same for all tours and that is Kotor.
Most of the tour companies offer a pick-up and drop off from your accommodation place and an English speaking tour guide who will give you all information during your trip.
There are 4 options when doing a day trip to Montenegro:
- Visit Kotor and Perast but skip Budva
- Visit Kotor and Budva but skip Perast
- Day trip with a coach ride into Montenegro and a boat cruise through the Bay of Kotor
- Take a private tour and customize the entire trip
Private tours are perfect if you’re traveling in a group and would prefer to have your own pace during your trip. Prices start from 300€ per group of up to 8 people, with the cost increasing if you have a larger number in your group.
Keep in mind that this tour is 12 hours long.
Dubrovnik To Montenegro Bus
There are several daily departures from Dubrovnik to popular places in Montenegro, with more departures during the high season.
Most popular ones are listed below:
Dubrovnik to Perast: 01:45h
Dubrovnik to Kotor: 02h
Dubrovnik to Budva: 03:05h
These are the best-case scenario times which bus companies advertise since there is a border crossing which can create delays, so there is no guarantee when you will actually get to your destination.
It’s quite common for delays at the border crossing to impact the departure time for Dubrovnik to Montenegro bus! For example, if the bus arriving from Kotor has a 2h delay, you’ll have to wait for an extra 2h for your bus to depart and that could mess up your plans. So keep that in mind!
All buses depart from the Dubrovnik main bus station, which is located in Gruž, right next to the ferry port, 3 km (1.8 miles) from Pile Gate in Old Town.
The bus ticket to the Dubrovnik main bus station costs 15KN (2€) per person. Multiple buses are running there regularly.
Traveling from Dubrovnik to Montenegro by bus is only worth it if you plan to spend more than a day there. Otherwise, avoid it unless you’re desperate!
If you really must go by bus, leave as early as possible to give yourself enough time in Montenegro. The last thing you want to do is leave too late, get stuck on the border and spend the entire day on the bus.
Dubrovnik to Perast
The driving distance from Dubrovnik to Perast, following the fastest route, is 80 km (50 miles), which equals about 2h drive.
The fastest bus has a travel time of 01:30h, and the longest one has a travel time of 02:30h. Due to the border crossing travel time can be longer.
A one-way bus ticket from Dubrovnik to Perast costs between 15€ and 20€.
Dubrovnik to Kotor
The driving distance from Dubrovnik to Kotor, following the fastest route, is 93 km (58 miles), which equals about 01:50h drive.
There are several daily bus departures from Dubrovnik to Kotor.
The fastest bus has a travel time of 01:50h, and the longest one has a travel time of 03:45h. Due to the border crossing travel time can be longer.
A one-way ticket from Dubrovnik to Kotor costs between 15€ and 18€.
You can check out Dubrovnik to Kotor bus timetable.
Dubrovnik to Budva
The driving distance from Dubrovnik to Budva, following the fastest route, is 93 km (58 miles), which equals about 02:30h drive.
The fastest bus has a travel time of 02:30h, and the longest one has a travel time of 04:20h.
A one-way ticket from Dubrovnik to Budva costs between 18€ and 20€.
It’s better reached doing an organized tour, rather than spending 6 hours (return) on a public bus where you’re left with only a few hours in the town.
Rent A Car
Whether you’re visiting for a day or a week, renting a car is an easy option to get from Dubrovnik to Montenegro and gives you more flexibility than traveling by bus.
The roads in both Croatia and Montenegro are in good condition, and the drive between the two is incredibly scenic.
BUT, there’s always a but…
If you plan to travel one-way from Dubrovnik to Kotor then you will have to pay a one-way fee for dropping off the car in a different location. These fees can be very expensive, sometimes costing up to 350€. To avoid this fee you have to return the car to Dubrovnik instead of leaving it in Montenegro.
To rent a car outside of Croatia, you must have a green card, which proves that the car is insured to travel in other countries. All cars insured in Croatia automatically have this for most of the vehicles, but some rental car companies still try to charge tourists extra for it. Before booking a rental car be sure to confirm with the company whether this is provided, or to read the full rental terms to make sure they won’t try to charge you extra when you pick up the car.
There are plenty of rental car places in Dubrovnik and at the airport. The average price is 50€ per rental.
Tip: On the way back from Montenegro you can take the ferry across the Bay of Kotor, which will save you around 30 km drive, and cross your fingers other visitors from Dubrovnik didn’t decide to call it a day the same time you did.
Dubrovnik To Kotor By Ferry
There is NO Dubrovnik to Kotor ferry!
If you see tours such as „Bay of Kotor Montenegro Full Day Boat Cruise from Dubrovnik“ on any travel platform, please read the tour description before booking a tour, as the title is misleading. It’s not really a boat trip from Dubrovnik to Montenegro, it’s actually a coach drive from Dubrovnik to Kotor and then a boat ride from Perast to Kotor, then drive back to Dubrovnik.
There is not going be any ferry between these two countries anytime in the near future as crossing borders is just a mess.
However, there is a private boat from Dubrovnik or Cavtat to Kotor, at an “affordable” price of 3000€ for a day-trip.
Dubrovnik To Kotor By Train
There is NO Dubrovnik to Kotor train.
Dubrovnik To Montenegro By Plane
It is possible to fly from Dubrovnik to Montenegro. However, airports in Montenegro are located in Podgorica and Tivat which aren’t very popular cities. The majority of people want to visit Kotor and Budva which don’t have airports.
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