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Find the best things to see and do on a Montenegro day trip from Dubrovnik. Join a tour or create your own itinerary with these ideas!
Wondering if you can do a day trip from Dubrovnik to Montenegro?
Yes, you can!
Lying just south of Dubrovnik, Montenegro is the ideal day trip destination from Dubrovnik. You’ll find a wealth of beauty and experiences that are different to what you’ll find in Dubrovnik.
Rick Steves, in his excellent book Rick Steves’ Snapshot Dubrovnik, has a whole section dedicated to Montenegro and says “Rugged, scenic Montenegro, just south of Dubrovnik, is an emerging Mediterranean hotspot – especially the historic old town of Kotor – but deep in its mountains, you’ll find echoes of a bygone mountain kingdom.”
Just across the border, the stunning Bay of Kotor makes a fantastic day trip all on its own. If you want to add more, you can add in the gems of the Budva Riviera or a side trip into the heartland of Montenegro.
There are tours departing Dubrovnik every day year round, and if you have a rental car you can drive yourself across the border too.
Below, you’ll find all the information you need to find a great tour or plan your own Montenegro day trip from Dubrovnik.
The Bay of Kotor is the most popular destination on a Montenegro day trip from Dubrovnik. It's right across the border and this is where you’ll find some of Montenegro’s top attractions and most dramatic scenery.
In fact, the drive around the Bay of Kotor from Herceg Novi to Kotor is one of the most beautiful drives in Montenegro.
If you’d like to have a relaxed day, you can just spend your day in the Bay of Kotor. There’s more than enough to do here.
Top things to see and do in the Bay of Kotor:
If you want to stop for a swim in the bay, there are beaches in Dobrota just outside Kotor. You can also stop at Bajova Kula Beach, Pirate Beach in Perast, Morinj Beach (the water here is a bit colder because of freshwater springs in the area, but it’s a nice beach) or in Igalo, the last seaside area before you exit Montenegro.
If you’d like to fit a bit more in, you can also add in the Budva Riviera. In Budva you can visit the old town, swim on the riviera’s fantastic beaches and visit gorgeous Sveti Stefan.
Sveti Stefan is one of the most beautiful landmarks in Montenegro and it’s a magnificent place for a swim. You can throw down a towel or hire loungers on the pink pebble beach and swim in front of the islet with its 15th century buildings. You can also walk through Milocer to Pržno Beach.
It’s worth checking the estimated travel time on Google Maps before you set out from Kotor because there can be a lot of traffic on this route in July and August.
Top things to see and do on the Budva Riviera:
Njeguši village, in the hills above Kotor, is part of the historic heartland of Montenegro. It was here that Montenegro’s ruling families lived and it’s where Montenegro’s best prosciutto is made.
The drive from Kotor to Njeguši is an attraction in itself. It takes you up the ‘serpentine road’, a zig-zag road with 25 switchbacks that gives you fantastic views of the Bay of Kotor.
In Njeguši village you can visit the birthplace of Petar II Petrović Njegoš, who ruled Montenegro from 1830 to 1851. The house is a museum and shows you what a typical upper-class Montenegrin family home was like.
You can also visit Montenegro’s oldest restaurant, Kod Pera na Bukoviću, to try locally-made prosciutto, cheese, brandy and wine. You’ll also find lots of stalls in the village selling locally-made produce.
From Njeguši, you continue into Lovćen National Park, one of five national parks in Montenegro. You’ll get more great views and you can visit the Petar II Petrović Njegoš Mausoleum.
Top things to see and do in Njeguši and Lovćen National Park:
Montenegro Boat Trip to Kotor and Perast - this tour starts with a transfer across the border and then you transfer to Kotor by boat, which is the most scenic way to to see the Bay of Kotor. You have time to explore the town on your own (my guide to Kotor is a great help here) before boarding your boat to visit Our Lady of the Rocks and Perast.
Ancient Montenegro Day Trip from Dubrovnik - this tour stops in Perast and includes a boat trip from there to Our Lady of the Rocks and a tour through the island's church and museum. Then you travel by coach to Kotor, where you have a city tour before returning to Dubrovnik via the Kotor Bay Ferry.
Montenegro White-Water Rafting Day Trip from Dubrovnik - Montenegro's Tara Canyon is Europe's deepest canyon and one of the most spectacular and pristine areas of Montenegro. You can take a fun rafting trip through the canyon from Dubrovnik - a great way to escape crowds and see some of this region's most beautiful scenery.
Private Montenegro Day Trip with Boat Cruise - this tour takes you across the border and the first stop is in Perast. Then you hop in a boat and head to Our Lady of the Rocks before continuing in the boat to Kotor. You have a private guide to show you around Kotor or you can do something fun, like the Kotor Secret City Trail.
Yes, you can do a Montenegro day trip from Dubrovnik!
Dubrovnik is the southernmost town in Croatia and it’s so close to Montenegro that many visitors to Montenegro fly into Dubrovnik’s airport, Čilipi Airport.
Well, I may be biased, but I say yes, Montenegro is worth visiting from Dubrovnik.
While there are many similarities in two countries so close together (and that both used to be part of the same country, Yugoslavia) Montenegro still offers you a different experience and the scenery is very different.
Dubrovnik is undoubtedly a star on the tourism scene and it shows. The town is polished, sales people for tour operators and restaurants approach tourists throughout the town and souvenir mugs sell for €30 each.
Montenegro, in comparison, is more laid back. While Kotor certainly can be busy with cruise ship tour groups, the towns are less polished, very authentic and you’ll find Kotor significantly cheaper than Dubrovnik.
The scenery in the Bay of Kotor is also very different to Dubrovnik, which lies on the open sea. Kotor Bay’s towering mountains give it a more closed in and dramatic feel.
Montenegro lies a 40 minute drive south of Dubrovnik. The first town you come to after crossing the border is Herceg Novi, which is a good stop if you don’t have much time.
Most people head to Kotor on a Montenegro day trip from Dubrovnik. It takes around two hours to get to Kotor from Dubrovnik and the scenery as you travel around the bay is stunning.
Unfortunately, there’s no ferry connecting Dubrovnik and Montenegro. While that would be a wonderful way to travel, sea border control and customs can’t handle lots of traffic. If Montenegro joins the European Union and the border becomes unnecessary, there’s a good chance there’ll be a ferry joining the two.
Croatia is part of the European Union, but Montenegro is not so you’ll need to cross the border between countries on your Montenegro day trip from Dubrovnik.
There are two check points to pass through: the one exiting Croatia and the one entering Montenegro.
For most of the year this is a straightforward process that takes a few minutes at each check point. But the traffic at the border between Croatia and Montenegro gets very busy in July and August. The wait at the border in high season is often three hours, but it’s very unpredictable and sometimes you can get through in half an hour.
If you’re planning to do a Montenegro day trip from Dubrovnik in summer, leave as early in the morning as you can. You could save yourself a long wait by being at the border by 7am.
If you’re driving yourself with a rental car, you’ll need to make sure you’ve notified your rental car company and been issued with the paperwork you’ll need to cross the border into Montenegro.
Most group tours depart from Dubrovnik at 8am. They use the bus lanes at the checkpoints and tend to get through faster, so joining a tour is one of the easiest ways to enjoy a stress-free Montenegro day trip from Dubrovnik.
Remember how I said Croatia is in the EU but Montenegro isn’t?
Well, funnily enough, in Croatia the currency is HRK – Croatian kunas. And guess what it is in Montenegro…
Yup, you guessed it… euros!
So although Montenegro isn’t part of the EU, the currency is the euro and you’ll need a few in cash while you’re here.
You can pay for meals in restaurants and souvenirs in shops with banks cards, including credit cards. But you’ll need cash for entrance to attractions like St Tryphon’s Cathedral, San Giovanni Fortress and parking, if you’re driving. If you take a tour with a Montenegrin guide, it’s also good to have a few euros in cash to tip them with.
It’s best to buy some euros in Dubrovnik if you can so that you have them when you arrive. If you plan to stop in Perast on the way to Kotor, you’ll need cash for parking, the boat trip and entrance to Our Lady of the Rocks. You can’t pay for any of these by card and you’ll need cash on arrival to pay for parking.
If you can’t get euros in Dubrovnik, you can withdraw cash at an ATM on the way to Perast. The most convenient ATM is at Novi Mall, 4km (2.5mi) past the border. There are also ATMs in Perast and just inside the Sea Gate in Kotor old town.
You may need a visa to visit Montenegro.
Citizens of many countries can stay in Montenegro for 90 days without having to apply for a visa. Montenegro also accepts Schengen visas, so if you got one of these to visit Croatia you can also use it to enter Montenegro.
Yes, you can. There are several buses per day between Dubrovnik and Kotor and Dubrovnik and Herceg Novi. The return bus trip to Budva takes around 6 hours, so if you want to see Budva it’s best to do it on a tour.
You can find bus timetables on the Dubrovnik Bus Station and Kotor bus station websites, but I recommend asking directly at the bus stations to confirm because the online timetables can be out of date.
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