Traveling from Dubrovnik to Montenegro by bus is much easier than you might expect! Croatia’s most popular city is only an hour from the border of Montenegro, but theses two places couldn’t be more different. There are many tour companies that offer one day trips with the most common being from Dubrovnik to Kotor, or Dubrovnik to Budva.
The only problem with these is that your time and agenda belongs to the group you’re traveling with. If you’re looking to add a little adventure to your next holiday we highly recommend taking the vacation into your own hands.
So how difficult is it, and how can you obtain the confusing Montenegro visa? Traveling from Dubrovnik’s main bus station, the trip takes just a few hours and then you’ll have the freedom to see and explore Montenegro on your own terms!
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Croatia Travel Inspiration
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- 5 Incredible Islands in Northern Croatia: Ferry Tips and Fun Itinerary
Why Start In Dubrovnik?
Interestingly enough, most people who live in Montenegro travel using the Dubrovnik international airport. It’s located about half way between Dubrovnik and the border of Montenegro. That means if you’re planning to visit Montenegro it really is the easiest option.
If you have time make sure to spend at least one night in Dubrovnik before heading off to see the neighboring country. From walking the city walls to jumping in the water from a hidden beach bar, there are countless things to fill your days in Dubrovnik!
- 15 Helpful Tips for Your First Visit to Historic Dubrovnik Croatia
- Dubrovnik City Walls: Epic Guide to the Best Stops & Viewpoints
- 5 Best Islands in Southern Croatia: Ferry Info, Tips, & Route Guide
Traveling from Dubrovnik to Montenegro by Bus
Pick Up: Dubrovnik Main Bus Station
First Stop: Dubrovnik to Herceg Novi, Montenegro – 1.5 hours
Second Stop: Dubrovnik to Kotor, Montenegro – 2 hours
Final Stop: Dubrovnik to Budva, Montenegro – 3.5 hours
Our Route: We traveled from Dubrovnik to Budva, taking the bus all the way to its final stop. From there were used public buses to visit Kotor and Herceg Novi over the course of one week. When traveling all the way to Budva we found that the time took an additional hour to what was on our ticket.
Bus Travel Tip: Once in Montenegro you can use the local bus system to connect you between the cities of Herceg Novi, Kotor, and Budva. Tickets are cheap and buses run every 1-2 hours.
How to Get from Dubrovnik to Montenegro Tips
You can buy the tickets online beforehand. However, what we didn’t realize is that they stop selling them 24 hours prior to departure. If you’re within the 24 hour window you have to go to the Dubrovnik main bus station to purchase them. Sounds easy right?
Well, the only problem is that the bus terminal is another 20 minute bus ride from Dubrovnik old town where we were staying. Not wanting to make the trip on our last night we decided to wake up early, get to the bus terminal, and cross our fingers that there was still room on the first bus.
We arrived almost two hours early at the Dubrovnik bus station and got one of the last tickets! Luckily, they weren’t sold out or we would have had to wait at the bus station for 5 hours until the next one. Make sure to buy your ticket in advance especially in the more popular summer months.
→ Buy Bus Tickets From Dubrovnik to Montenegro Online Here
Bus Travel Tip: If you’re traveling from Dubrovnik to Montenegro on a certain date and buy your ticket online you MUST to print them out. There was one person on our bus who didn’t have it printed, and the driver proceed to yell at him for the first hour of the trip. Don’t forget!
Getting to The Bus Station
From Dubrovnik old town there are buses that leave regularly. If you have any questions about the bus to the main bus station, how to get to the airport, or day trips, there is a conveniently located tourist information center to help.
Once you’re let off for the main bus station it is another 5 minute walk by foot. You can also jump in a cab which will cost 15-20 Euros for the quick ride.
→ Dubrovnik Old Town Bus Station Location
→ Main Bus Station Location
Starting the Journey from Dubrovnik to Montenegro
Calling it a madhouse would be somewhat of an understatement. To start, you can completely disregard the seat numbers on your ticket because everyone else will. If you’re storing your luggage under the bus you will also have to pay the driver a small fee. At the time we paid 15 Kuna for 2 bags.
The strange thing is that you’re not allowed to bring your larger luggage onto the bus. So make sure to have a few Kuna left over before leaving Croatia. When you get on your bus traveling from Dubrovnik to Montenegro try to sit in the seats to your left on your way to the back. The views down the entire coast of Croatia are stunning!
First Stop at the Croatian Border
The bus itself is nothing out of the ordinary for Europe, but the border crossing is a little strange. All the passports are collected off the bus as everyone waits.
This took about half hour of waiting before the the large stack of roughly 50 passports were handed back to the bus worker. As we continued to drive he shouted out the name of about 5 people before handing the pile back to a random passenger. She was a little surprised, but stepped up bravely and distributed the rest of the passports.
Second Stop at the Montenegro Border
What felt like the same moment that we got our passports back was followed by the bus immediately stopping again. This time it was at the Montenegro border crossing. They never told anyone to get off the bus.
Yet slowly there was confusion about if we all had to get off, or if some people were just trying to find a bathroom. Nope… You have to get off the bus! You can leave what you want onboard, but everyone exits and passes through border control (and deals with the Montenegro visa process) before you can get back on.
The Montenegro visa seems to cause confusion for many travelers. In the past it was required that every traveler registers with police or the tourist center within 24 hours of arriving in Montenegro. There is still a big sign at the border explaining that this must happen. Now this is still the case, but you should know the system has changed.
Hotel: If you are staying at a hotel this is now done electronically through them. This is why your passports and information is taken when you arrive. If you still have any questions about the Montenegro visa just simply ask your hosts to make sure they are registering you.
Airbnb or Guest Houses: If you’re renting a home or staying with friends or family you must register yourself. Simply go to the closest tourist center or police station within 24 hours of arriving. What happens if you don’t though? Worst-case scenario you’re facing a potential fine, and you could even be restricted from getting a Montenegro visa again!
Random Stop in Kotor
Everything was going smoothly until we got to Kotor where 80% of our bus got off. Kotor is one of the main tourist destinations in Montenegro, but we wanted to start our trip on the coast. Then we waited… And waited…. And waited some more!! For about an hour without a warning or heads up the bus literally just sat there.
In all honesty, it’s possible that an announcement was made just not in English. Either way, you should be prepared for this. Maybe when you stop in Kotor if you’re continuing to Budva ask how long of a break you have. You could also make Kotor your first stop before continuing on to the coast. Once we finally continued on, it was only another 30 minutes to Budva.
Recap of Traveling from Dubrovnik to Montenegro by Bus
-If you’re buying your ticket day of make sure to get to the Dubrovnik main bus station early!
-Print your boarding passes before getting on the bus.
-Save a few Croatian Kuna if you have big bags that you need stored underneath.
-Use the bathroom before leaving or you’ll be out of luck for hours.
-Try to sit on the left side while walking towards the back of the bus for the best views.
-Try not to freak out when your passport is taken…
-If traveling from Dubrovnik to Budva, double check if there is a stop in Kotor.
Have any questions on traveling from Dubrovnik to Montenegro, the best route, or the Montenegro visa process? Please let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay In Dubrovnik Croatia
Ultra Luxury – Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik – Get the luxury you’re used and all the amenities right on the doorstep of Dubrovnik old town. This Hilton branch has whatever you need for a relaxing time in Croatia, while still being close to all the action.
Fun Vacation – Scalini Palace – Set right in the heart of the city, Scalini Palace is the perfect spot for couples and travelers alike. Take in the view of the city from your balcony with a glass of wine, and enjoy every aspect the Pearl of the Adriatic has to offer.
Hostel Life – Hostel Angelina Old Town – As one of the only hostels within the city walls, you won’t find a better deal for this area. Angelina old town is also located only 600 meters from Banje beach.
For more places to stay in Dubrovnik Croatia you can explore the latest prices here!
Croatia Travel Planning
Croatia Guides: Korcula – One Day Hvar – 15 Bol Tips – Golden Horn Beach – Mali Losinj by Scooter – Northern Croatia Islands
Flights: We always find great flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. This way you can plan your trip around the cheapest and most direct routes.
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to rent vehicles on our travels. In Croatia, you can even take your car on the ferries so you have wheels for the different islands!
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. You can book a blue cave 5 islands tour from Split, go sea kayaking in Dubrovnik, or take a day trip to the famous Krka National Park.
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
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Good to know that traveling by bus is at least an option. I used to think you absolutely had to rent a car.
Yes! The trip was very easy and we liked not having to worry about a car. If we returned we would rent a car for a day or two once in Montenegro to see more of the country! Cheers 🙂