Kotor to Dubrovnik by bus – What to expect

This is the last of my Balkans by bus series, finishing things off with potentially one of the most popular routes in the area – Kotor to Dubrovnik!  Not only is Kotor a popular day trip from Croatia’s Dubrovnik, but a worthwhile place to start or end some time exploring beautiful Montenegro. 

My one week Montenegro itinerary

HOW TO BUY YOUR TICKET 

AT THE STATION

Tickets cost 17 euro from Kotor bus station, which is the easiest way to get a ticket. The ticket can be purchased in advance or just before you take the bus.

You can find the station on google maps using the translation ‘Autobuska Stanica Kotor.’  The bus station is really small and in the heart of town. I’d sometimes explain where to find the ticket office within a bustling bus station… but Kotor Stancica is super small. It’d be a talent to get lost in it. 🙂

If travelling during a busy season, I’d suggest picking up your ticket in advance – perhaps when you first arrive in Kotor depending on how much time you are spending in Montenegro. If you’re backpacking the Balkans in the off-season, you can rock up 15 minutes before departure and quickly nip into the ticket office to purchase one before boarding. (Though for peace of mind, it never hurts arriving 30 minutes early.)

ONLINE

Potentially a more popular option for those travelling over the busy Summer period.

It’s easy to buy tickets online, but you often need to print your online tickets in the Balkans. Check you have access to a printer – perhaps ask your accommodation or check for a nearby internet cafe – before purchasing an online ticket. I bought my ticket at the station shortly before my scheduled bus departure at 0830, since I had no printer access.

FURTHER NOTES…

COST OF LUGGAGE STORAGE

Luggage stowed is 1 euro per bag, paid in cash before boarding the bus.

HERCEG NOVI

The Kotor to Dubrovnik bus also stops at Herceg Novi at around 50 minutes after departing Kotor. If you are staying at Herceg Novi, you can buy your ticket online or directly at the ticket office as well. Our bus stopped for a few minutes here but no one got on or off.

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CAN YOU BE DENIED A SEAT IN HIGH-SEASON?

According to the website, you won’t be denied a seat if you bought a ticket. Although there are no reserved seat numbers, even in high-season, you should have no issues getting a seat if you buy in advance.

CAN YOU BUY A TICKET ON THE BUS?

I don’t think so. On many Balkans bus journeys, I was able to buy a ticket on the bus. At Autobuska Stanica Kotor, you will be directed to the ticket office to buy your ticket before boarding.

BORDER CROSSING

I took the 0830 bus from Kotor and we arrived at the border crossing into Croatia at 0950  – one hour, twenty minutes after departing Kotor.

First checkpoint (leaving Montenegro):

At the first checkpoint, we were asked to get off the bus. This was a unique experience for me, as throughout the Balkans I was able to stay on the bus at every other border crossing. All the passengers queued up outside a police booth, showed our passport one by one, and had it stamped. We then stood on the side of the road until everyone had completed the process.

I imagine this is a fairly quick process even if the bus is full… it’s the queues at the border that are going to delay you in high-season! On my November journey, it barely took ten minutes.

We then got back on the bus and drove for about two minutes…

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We followed the same procedure – lining up outside the police booth as the representatives checked our passports one by one. We then waited on the other side of the entry barrier before they let the bus through, and we all got back on the bus.

We had all boarded the bus and departed the second checkpoint by around 10:10.*

From the second checkpoint, it is only 30 minutes to Dubrovnik.

*I lied. The bus luggage door fell off going through the border and we were delayed for an hour. But it was chill haha and is unlikely to happen to you. 🙂

My last look at the Bay of Kotor and Montenegro…

A SCENIC BUS ROUTE

The journey begins with a scenic drive around the Bay of Kotor – a serene first or last look at Montenegro – before continuing past Herceg Novi and onwards to the border. After crossing the border, it’s only a short drive to Dubrovnik.

For the best scenic views, I recommend sitting on the left-hand side of the bus if travelling from Kotor to Dubrovnik.

In the opposite direction, Dubrovnik to Kotor, the best views will thus be on the right-hand side.

My first look at Croatia and Dubrovnik…

I HEARD TRAVELLING FROM KOTOR AND DUBROVNIK IS BETTER BY CAR! WHAT DO YOU THINK?

While I do understand why cars are recommended for Balkans travel, this particular border crossing is easy and comfortable by bus.

CROSSING BORDERS BY CAR IS EXPENSIVE!

But more to the point, my friend and I rented a car in Montenegro and dropped it off BEFORE taking the bus into Croatia. Because this dramatically lowered the cost of renting a car! 

When we searched estimate rental car costs between for two countries (Montenegro and either Albania or Croatia) the predicted daily cost was 50 USD. When I searched for just Montenegro, the daily cost was 15 USD! Ultimately we changed plans last minute to just travelling Montenegro with the exception of a day trip into Croatia by bus (since our flights were from Dubrovnik anyway).

TAKING THE BUS IS EASY IN THE BALKANS (AND FEELS SAFE)

As a solo traveller, I backpacked solely by bus for the first 3 weeks and found it easy. I also never felt unsafe as a solo female traveller. However, at times I found it frustrating as I couldn’t easily get into nature since the regular bus routes often only go between cities… 

COMPLETE GUIDE TO CAR VERSUS BUS TRAVEL IN THE BALKANS

WHAT ABOUT THE SCENERY?

People love road-tripping the Balkans so ultimately it’s your choice how you do it, but I didn’t think I missed anything on this particular route by taking the bus. Let’s just say that whilst this route is scenic, the nature from Kotor to Dubrovnik was one of the few times I DIDN’T ache to get outside and run around in nature!

BUT I HEARD THE DOOR SOMETIMES FALLS OF THE BUS?

Yeah, it happens, but what you gonna do? 🙂

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More information on backpacking the Balkans by bus…

How to get from Sarajevo to Belgrade by bus

A scenic bus journey between Mostar and Sarajevo (+ how it compares to the train)

Kotor to Dubrovnik by bus – What to expect

Getting from Prizren to Skopje by bus

Getting from Belgrade to Pristina by bus

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