Dubrovnik to Kotor: Visit Montenegro on a day trip from Croatia
Located in Montenegro, Kotor can easily be visited on a day trip from Dubrovnik, Croatia. It is situated in the stunning Kotor Bay, which is often called Europe’s southernmost fjord, but in reality, it is a ria (submerged river canyon).
And if you’ve got the time, I highly recommend adding Perast to your travel plan as well. It is a small, picturesque town on the outskirts of the same bay.
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How to travel from Dubrovnik to Kotor
The easiest way to visit is by personal car or rental. The journey to Kotor takes about 2 hours and it’s quite scenic. Perast is just a 20-minute drive away from Kotor and you can either stop by on your way back to Dubrovnik or visit on a boat tour.
If you get a rental from Croatia make sure to tell them that you intend to take the car out of the country and into Montenegro. They will provide you with the appropriate documents (the Green card). Most rental companies will also charge a cross-border fee. If you choose to travel by personal car, check if your car’s insurance covers Montenegro.
By private transfer or bus
If you don’t want to drive yourself, then you can get a private transfer or travel by bus. Check buscroatia.com‘s website for bus timetables. There are also guided tours to Montenegro that you can choose from.
Regardless of the transport option you use, I recommend trying to get to Kotor as early as possible if you’re visiting during the summer months, because it can get very hot.
There are also several tours from Dubrovnik that you can opt for. Here are a few:
- Full-Day Group Tour of Montenegro Coast: guided tour in Montenegro that includes a Perast visit and free time in Kotor.
- Montenegro Day Trip with Boat Cruise: includes hotel pickup, time in both Perast and Kotor, sightseeing cruise in Kotor bay, and guide.
- From Dubrovnik to Montenegro: Kotor & Budva: includes a visit to Kotor, followed by a tour of Budva’s walled Old Town.
Make sure you bring the appropriate travel documents with you. Since Montenegro is not part of the EU for the time being, check the official travel conditions for your country to see if you can enter with an ID or if you need a passport.
Even if you can enter with only your ID, but you also have a passport, I’d recommend just bringing it with you to avoid any potential hassle. Besides, you’ll get an additional stamp on it :D.
Parking in Montenegro
If you’re driving you don’t really need to worry about parking as there are quite a few options in both locations. However, you might want to check the reviews for the parking lots beforehand.
Parking in Kotor
There are several parking options near the old town. We left our car at the first one we saw which was the one at Dobrota, near the water. It’s an outdoor parking lot, quite big, and costs 3eur/h. They don’t accept cards.
We later saw that there were a few bad reviews on Google for this parking lot, but we didn’t encounter any problems.
Parking in Perast
There are parking lots at either end of the village. Since it was quite full, we parked at the one that’s right at the junction with the main road, towards Dubrovnik.
There are quite a few bad reviews for this parking lot as well and this time I have to agree with them. As we were discussing payment with one of the guys there, another one simply sat on the car next to ours and then rested his shoe on the front wing of our rental.
When he realized it was our car he did say sorry, but it seemed like a common occurrence. Thankfully we had full insurance, so we didn’t have to really worry about scratches, but it’s something to bear in mind.
They also gave us an option to get a combo ticket: parking with a boat trip to the Our Lady of the Rocks which is Perast’s main attraction. We passed and only paid for the parking, but when we got to the village, we actually found out that the trip was offered cheaper there.
The difference was not a big deal, but I really don’t like it when people are trying to fool me.
Things to do in Kotor on a day trip
Explore Kotor Old Town
The Old Town is the main attraction of Kotor and it’s a really charming place. Get your camera ready, because I guarantee you’ll want to capture every little corner. It is one of the best-preserved medieval old towns in the Adriatic and a Unesco World Heritage Site.
The best thing to do here is to get lost in the narrow, maze-like alleys and let yourself be transported back in time. When you get tired, stop at one of the cafes in the squares, get a refreshment, and people-watch.
Hike up to Kotor fortress for a stunning panorama of Kotor Bay
The hike is pretty popular despite the fact that it’s no easy feat. This is due to the beautiful views of Kotor Bay that it offers. To climb you need to pay a fee of 8 euros.
If you visit in summer, I wouldn’t really recommend climbing mid-day, better to do it in the morning when it’s a bit cooler or later, in the evening. And don’t forget to take plenty of water with you.
Take a boat tour
There are quite a few boat tours offered and it can be a wonderful way to explore the Bay. I really liked the Kotor-Lady of the Rocks-Perast-Kotor option which included 40 minutes panoramic sightseeing boat ride, a 20 minutes visit to the Lady of the Rock, and 30 minutes in Perast for 15 euros.
But as it was getting pretty late we decided it’s better to stop at Perast on our way back to Dubrovnik.
Things to do in Perast on a day trip
Explore Perast’s Old Town and waterfront
A tiny, yet charming village, Perast sits on a slope right on the edge of the Kotor Bay. Its waterfront offers stunning views of the bay and of the two little islands in the middle of it. The best thing to do is to take it all in and enjoy the views.
Climb the Bell Tower
For a small fee, you can climb Perast’s 55-meter tall bell tower and enjoy a nice panorama above the bay and the old town. Be careful as you climb, because the staircase is very steep and narrow.
Ride a boat to Our Lady of the Rocks
By far the most popular attraction of Perast, Our Lady of the Rocks is a small artificial island that’s home to a church and a small museum. Boats leave regularly for the island, directly from the waterfront of the village. The ride currently costs 5 euros per person.
Right next to Our Lady of the Rocks is another island, this time natural, called the Island of Saint George. It houses a monastery, but it can’t be visited. The boats will however circle it so you can observe it from afar.
You might have noticed that even though Montenegro is not part of the EU at the moment, all the prices I listed are in euros. That’s because they adopted the Euro as their de facto domestic currency.
So while you don’t have to worry about exchanging money in a lesser-used currency just for a day trip, I do recommend bringing some cash with you as even most restaurants only accept payment by cash.
Kotor and Perast day trip from Dubrovnik: Conclusion
I hope you’ve found all the information you needed for planning your own trip to Kotor and Perast, but if you’ve got any questions, feel free to post them in the comments below!