Kotor Montenegro is just one day trip that you should make from Dubrovnik. For us here at Wyld Family Travel we will tell you that Kotor is the most beautiful place in the whole of the Balkans with outstanding scenery everywhere you look.
Why should you visit
The Dubrovnik to Kotor drive is a 92-kilometre trip. Dubrovnik to Montenegro Border is only half that distance. This is a short distance but you should allow over 2 hours for the journey each way on a Dubrovnik Kotor trip.
You see Croatia and Montenegro are not part of the European Union and border controls are still in place. So whether you are on a bus from Dubrovnik to Kotor or driving to Kotor you will be stopped 4 times on your return journey.
You stop going out of Croatia then a few hundred meters along you stop going into Montenegro. They tell me this can be a long and irritating process in the summer months sometimes taking over an hour. We were lucky we visited in the winter and were through in 5 minutes.
It’s actually a bit amusing stopping at the border it is like going back in time to cold war days. A gruff looking man approaches your car, demands your passport, they whisk it away into an office or a booth only to return it a few minutes later with a stamp and your Dubrovnik Kotor journey resumes.
There are only 3 ways we can see that you can do the Dubrovnik to Kotor day trip.
- On an independent bus from Dubrovnik to Kotor return
- Hire a car and drive yourself
- Go on one of the many organized tours from Dubrovnik.
There is no Dubrovnik to Kotor Ferry or Dubrovnik to Kotor train. Each of the options will have its advantages and disadvantages but all will allow you to see the beauty of Kotor and the Fjord like bay you must travel around to reach Kotor.
Tour from Dubrovnik to Kotor
You will find a huge variety of day tours leaving from Dubrovnik. Some will be just Dubrovnik to Kotor, some will be Dubrovnik to The Bay of Kotor and some will be Dubrovnik to Montenegro. All will feature some sort of stop in Kotor. Many will feature Kotor and some of its surrounds. This will be good for people wanting a quick overview of this area of Montenegro.
What I will say is MAKE SURE any tour you book features a visit to the old towns of Kotor and Perast and a boat ride to the island of Our Lady of the Rocks. You can browse and book many of these tours with Get Your Guide right here.
Bus from Dubrovnik To Kotor
The driving distance from Dubrovnik to Kotor in Montenegro, following the most direct road, is about 94 km. The bus from Dubrovnik to Kotor departs several times every day. The number of departures varies depending on the time of year, but due to the border crossing travel time can be longer.
You will need to stop at both Croatia and Montenegro border. Your passports will be taken away for immigration to stamp and will be returned to you to continue your Dubrovnik to Kotor trip. This is because both countries are not part of the EU.
- It takes between 2-3 hours to drive the distance from Dubrovnik to Kotor by bus
- Delays at the border crossing can also impact the departure/arrival time for the Dubrovnik to Kotor Bus
- Bus Croatia is the main carrier for driving from Dubrovnik to Kotor by bus,
Dubrovnik’s main bus station (locally called Autobusni Kolodvor) is located right next to the main ferry terminal in Gruž harbour/suburb about 3 km from the Old Town. You can get a bus to the bus terminal for your Dubrovnik to Kotor bus connection from just outside the old town city walls. You can buy tickets at the Dubrovnik bus station. You can also purchase bus tickets online with Flix Bus.
We travelled by bus from Dubrovnik to Kotor and we found the bus to be comfortable and scenic. The Dubrovnik to Montenegro drive allows you to relax and enjoy the trip. You can check the schedule for departure times for the Dubrovnik to Kotor bus and make bookings at Go Euro. The bus option is the cheapest way to get to Kotor. Kotor Bus Station is located within easy walking distance to the center of town.
Dubrovnik to Kotor by car
The distance between Dubrovnik and Kotor is 94 kilometers. Renting a car will give you the most flexibility in driving from Dubrovnik to Kotor by car. It will allow you to have the option to explore beyond where the bus takes you. It especially allows you freedom from what the tour group have organized.
There seems to be some conjecture about the border crossing card that some rental companies issue or don’t issue with your rental car. The border crossing card allows you to take the car out of Croatia.
Some unscrupulous companies are known to charge an extra $90-150 USD for a cross-border card. The short answer is no you don’t need to pay extra. Both Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina are included in the green card system that your car rental insurance company supply for travel within Croatia. You can read more about it on the website of the National Green Card Bureau.
Know your rights and avoid being scammed into paying extra. Driving from Dubrovnik to Kotor is rather picturesque as you wind your way along the coast and the shores of Kotor Bay. Stops at places along the way such as Herceg Novi are only possible if your driving from Dubrovnik to Kotor.
Driving from Dubrovnik to Kotor Bay is made very easy when you book your hire car on the Rentalcars website
Sights to see on your Dubrovnik Kotor day trip
Any day trip to Kotor should include the following sites that we visited on our trip.
Our Lady of the Rocks
Our Lady of the Rocks is one of 2 small islands that sit in the UNESCO World Heritage Kotor Bay on the coast of Montenegro. The island is one of the most famous sights in the Bay of Kotor. What makes Our Lady of the Rocks so interesting, besides its location in one of the most beautiful spots in the world is that it is the home to a legend associated with the Virgin Mary.
The tale goes two sailors one with an injured leg crashed on a rock and found a statue of the Virgin Mary. They took this as a sign and were able to get to shore safely carrying the Virgin Mary. The next day the injured sailor’s leg was healed and the Virgin statue was gone. They saw this as a miracle and vowed to make some sort of monument on the spot where they found the Virgin Mary.
Over the centuries rocks were thrown into the water, ships were sunk until an island was created. Church of Gospa od Skrpjela as it is called in Montenegro is the dominant feature on the island in Kotor Bay. It is practically the only thing on the island besides a small storage and maintenance shed.
Inside the church, you will find a beautiful marble altar that was crafted in Genoa and shipped to the church in 1796. On the ceilings and walls, there are 68 canvas pictures of the Virgin Mary depicting her life. There is also a museum housed in the church.
Dubrovnik to Kotor day trip things to see: Kotor Fortress
Let me start by saying that the view from Kotor Fortress is amazing, maybe the best in all of Europe. Secondly, I will tell you its 1500 steps to the castle and the only way there is by foot. A quick rundown on Kotor Fortress. There has been a fortification on the site since the time of Christ. In the 6th century, the emperor Justinian I took control of the site and built the fortress.
The fortress remained pretty much unchanged over the next 800 years until 1420. The rulers at this time The Republic of Cattaro finally gave in to Venetian control. Under the Venetians, the Fortress was upgraded and the Mountain fortifications were constructed to look like as you see it today.
We will say it was not an easy climb but you are rewarded every time you stop with an every expanding ever more beautiful view. As you get closer to the stop top, you’ll see a sign on the walls pointing to your left to the Chapel of St Ivan. This is where the magic begins, an Alice in Wonderland moment was upon us.
There is a hole in the fortifications wall leading to what can only be described as a step back in time, into the land from another time, into Alice in Wonderland I heard it described as. You will find remains of an 11th-century building and an old rundown chapel still standing with fading frescos on the ceiling.
There are few things as rewarding as reaching Kotor Fortress. The final few steps to the highest perch that allows you the picture perfect view. A view that is breathtaking at the least and awe-inspiring for all who make it.
[button link=”https://wyldfamilytravel.com/climbing-kotor-fortress/” type=”big” color=”green”] For a full account of our climb to Kotor Castle click here![/button]
On a day trip from Dubrovnik to Kotor visit, Kotor Old Town
Kotor Old town is a winding labyrinth of streets and squares surrounded by the defence walls facing the bay. Mountains acting as barriers lie behind the old town. Unlike most old towns that have one large central square, Kotor old town has many small squares with narrow streets leading in all directions. You will find restaurants, shops, cafe’s, hotels and hostels.
Now is the time to visit Kotor old town before the lure of tourism drives the original business out. Soon to be replaced with souvenir shops that service the cruise lines that pull into the port of Kotor. In the summer months, the port of Kotor is kept busy daily with ships coming and going.
Kotor cathedral is one of the highlights of the old town in Kotor. Officially known as St Tryphon cathedral it was consecrated way back in 1166. St Tryphon cathedral is one of only 2 cathedrals in Montenegro. The Cathedral of Kotor is dedicated to St. Tryphon, who became the patron Saint of the ancient town.
According to legend, the body of St Tryphon was brought here by Venetian merchants because they were forced to seek shelter in the Bay of Kotor due to bad weather. The citizens of Kotor decided to buy the remains of St Tryphon and make him the patron saint of Kotor.
The inside of the cathedral contains fresco painted by Greek masters in the 14th century. A collection of religious relics are on display in the small museum on the second floor of this Papal Basilica. The highlight of the collection is the hand of St Tryphon. Its housed in a glove made from silver.
Tanjga The best of Kotor Restaurants.
If you only get to eat in Kotor at one place make sure it the amazing Tanjga restaurant. It is located just 100 meters away from the south gate entrance to the Kotor Old town. We were greeted by the owner a larger than life character big in stature, big in voice. Seizing on our indecisiveness he said to leave it me I will bring you food. We sat down and waited.
We were presented with a massive platter full of what can only be described as a party for your taste buds. It had meats of lamb, beef, pork and chicken. Adorned with amazing roast potatoes that cook in a rotisserie and collect flavor from the drippings off the meat. Fresh tomatoes and vegetables make this a meal many will be unable to finish. We can’t speak highly enough of Tanjga. It is certainly one of the best Kotor Restaurants. Don’t be fooled into eating in the old town eat at Restaurant Tanjga.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a Dubrovnik to Kotor train:?
There is no direct train route between these two destinations
Is there a Dubrovnik to Kotor Ferry:?
The only ferry from Montenegro runs to Bari in Italy
Can i get a private transfer between Dubrovnik and Kotor?
A transfer between these 2 destinations will cost you from $150 USD upwards. Click here for options
Getting to Dubrovnik
- Dubrovnik is the 10th biggest city in Croatia.
- Dubrovnik Airport is serviced by some of the top Airlines such as Lufthansa, British Airways, Austrian Airways and Air Serbia just to name a few. We recommend MOMONDO for your flight searches. Dubrovnik Airport is located 15.5km for Dubrovnik City Centre. Book your airport transfer here!
- The bus from Dubrovnik airport stops at Pile Gate in front of Old Town Dubrovnik, then continues to Main Bus Station in Gruž Port.
- Book a bus to Dubrovnik from domestic and international locations
- Rent a car on arrival at Dubrovnik Airport with Auto Europe
Getting around Dubrovnik
- All the areas of Dubrovnik are conveniently linked by buses that run according to the timetable, anywhere from every 10 minutes to every half hour. Many buses begin running at about 5.00 in the morning and pick up their last passengers after midnight.
Where to stay in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik has a large range of accommodation options from hotels to apartments and hostels. Search the map below for great options.
We hope this article from us here at Wyld Family Travel has you inspired to visit Kotor in Montenegro. There are so many things to do in and around Kotor that will have singles, couples and families entertained for your family stay on the Bay of Kotor. For more amazing ideas on where to holiday in Montenegro click through to our Montenegro Destination Guide page for more brilliant family travel inspiration
More travel inspiration for your trip to Montenegro
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Co-founder and SEO editor here at Wyld Family Travel. Bec has travelled to over 45 countries across 3 continents and is a travel with kids advocate. When Bec is not planning travel, she is creating content for our family travel blog or doing local community services work. You can find all of Bec’s detailed travel guides here on Wyld Family travel and on other popular websites such as Lonely Planet.