How to Get to Montenegro: The Ultimate Guide

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Whether you’re traveling from Canada, the USA, or other parts of Europe, Montenegro has many ways to enter the country. From international flights to various airports to scenic drives across neighboring countries, and even by train or boat, there are plenty of ways to reach this beautiful destination.

This guide will walk you through the best routes and travel tips to ensure your journey to Montenegro is smooth and stress-free.

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How to Get to Montenegro Overview

By Air: Fly into Tivat Airport (TIV) or Podgorica Airport (TGD) (BOTH IN MONTENEGRO) via connecting flights from major European hubs. Or fly into Dubrovnik Airport (DBV) and take a transfer across the boarder.

By Car: Drive into Montenegro from neighboring countries such as Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Albania.

By Bus: International bus services connect Montenegro with major cities in neighboring countries like Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Albania.

By Train: The Bar-Belgrade railway connects Montenegro with Serbia, offering scenic views through the mountains. Trains run from Belgrade to Bar, with stops in Podgorica and other Montenegrin towns.

By Boat: Regular ferry services operate between Montenegro and Italy (e.g., Bar to Bari), and Montenegro is also a popular stop for Mediterranean cruises.

Montenegro by Flight

When flying into Montenegro, you have three main options: Dubrovnik, Tivat, and Podgorica.

Dubrovnik (DBV)

Dubrovnik, Croatia, is a popular entry point for Montenegro. I often recommend this route for its scenic drive along the Adriatic coast. From Dubrovnik Airport, it’s about a 1.5-hour drive to the Montenegro border. Just remember to check if you need a visa for Croatia if you’re flying into Dubrovnik.

Tivat (TIV)

Tivat Airport is perfect if you’re heading to the Bay of Kotor or the coastal towns of Budva and Sveti Stefan. It’s a small but busy airport, especially during summer. I’ve found Tivat to be the most convenient option for visitors staying the Bay of Kotor / Budva.

Podgorica (TGD)

Podgorica, Montenegro’s capital’s airport, is ideal if you’re exploring Montenegro’s interior or heading to Lake Skadar. Flights here tend to be less crowded, and it’s a good gateway for both coastal and inland adventures.

Airport Transfer Options

From Dubrovnik Airport (DBV)

Bus: From Dubrovnik Airport, shuttle buses run to Dubrovnik’s main bus station, from where you can catch a bus to various Montenegrin destinations. The bus ride to Kotor takes about 2-3 hours, including a border crossing, and costs around €15-€20.

Taxi: Taxi from Dubrovnik Airport to the Montenegro border costs about €50-€70. Once across the border, you can take a local taxi to your final destination. It’s a bit more complex and honestly not an option I highly recommend.

Private Transfer: Private transfers are the most seamless option. They handle the border crossing efficiently and take you directly to your hotel. Prices range from €90-€150 depending on your destination in Montenegro. It’s a bit pricier, but the convenience is worth it, especially if traveling in a group.

From Tivat Airport (TIV)

Bus: Buses from Tivat Airport connect to major cities like Kotor, Budva, and Herceg Novi. They are a cost-effective option, but schedules can be less frequent. The journey to Kotor takes about 30 minutes, and to Budva, it’s around 40 minutes.

Taxi: Taxis are readily available outside the terminal. The ride to Kotor costs approximately €15-€20, while Budva is around €25-€30. I’ve found it useful to agree on a fare before starting the journey to avoid surprises.

Private Transfer: For a hassle-free experience, consider booking a private transfer in advance. Companies like Montenegro Transfer or Welcome Pickups offer door-to-door service. This is particularly convenient if you have a lot of luggage or prefer a more comfortable ride.

From Podgorica Airport (TGD)

Bus: Buses from Podgorica Airport to the city center are frequent and cost around €2. From the city center, you can catch buses to other parts of Montenegro. The bus ride to Budva takes about 1.5 hours and costs approximately €7.

Taxi: Taxis from Podgorica Airport to the city center cost around €12-€15. For other destinations, like Kotor or Budva, expect to pay between €50-€100. It’s a good idea to use official airport taxis or pre-book a reliable service.

Private Transfer: Private transfers from Podgorica Airport offer a comfortable and direct way to reach your destination. Companies like Terrae Car or Montenegro Shuttle offer competitive rates and excellent service. A ride to Budva or Kotor typically costs around €50-€80.

Choosing the Right Option:

🚌 Bus: Best for budget travelers and those with light luggage.
🚕 Taxi: Good for mid-budget travelers looking for a quick and direct route – however, the prices can get very high if traffic is bad.
🚙 Private Transfer: Ideal for groups, families, or those preferring comfort and convenience.

Montenegro by Car

Montenegro by Car

Traveling to Montenegro by car offers flexibility and the opportunity to explore the stunning landscapes at your own pace. Here’s what you need to know about driving into Montenegro and the border crossing process.

Routes and Border Crossings

From Croatia:

  • Main Crossing Point: Debeli Brijeg
    • Route: Dubrovnik (Croatia) to Herceg Novi (Montenegro)
    • Distance: Approximately 40 kilometers from Dubrovnik to the border.
    • Highlights: The route takes you along the beautiful Adriatic coastline, offering stunning sea views.

From Bosnia and Herzegovina:

  • Main Crossing Points: Šćepan Polje (near Foča) and Ilino Brdo (near Trebinje)
    • Route: Sarajevo (Bosnia) to Podgorica (Montenegro) via Šćepan Polje
    • Distance: Approximately 220 kilometers from Sarajevo to Podgorica.
    • Highlights: This scenic route takes you through mountainous terrain and the picturesque Drina River valley.

From Serbia:

  • Main Crossing Point: Dobrakovo
    • Route: Belgrade (Serbia) to Bijelo Polje (Montenegro)
    • Distance: Approximately 300 kilometers from Belgrade to the border.
    • Highlights: Enjoy the journey through the stunning landscapes of the Dinaric Alps and the Lim River valley.

Border Crossing Process

  • Documentation: Ensure you have a valid passport, driver’s license, vehicle registration, and Green Card insurance (international motor insurance card).
  • Border Control: At the border, you’ll undergo a standard check. Have your documents ready for inspection.
  • Fees: Some border crossings may charge a small fee for entry, especially if you are bringing a vehicle.
  • Waiting Times: Border wait times can vary, especially during peak tourist seasons. Plan for potential delays.

Driving Tips in Montenegro

  • Road Conditions: Montenegro’s roads can be narrow and winding, particularly in rural areas and mountain regions. Drive carefully and be prepared for sudden changes in weather conditions.
  • Speed Limits: Adhere to local speed limits, which are typically 50 km/h in urban areas, 80 km/h on open roads, and 100-120 km/h on highways.
  • Tolls: There are some toll roads, so keep small change handy.
  • Parking: Parking in cities like Kotor, Budva, and Podgorica can be challenging. Use designated parking areas and avoid illegal parking to prevent fines.

Montenegro by Bus

Traveling to and around Montenegro by bus is a convenient and budget-friendly option. The country has a well-developed network of bus routes connecting major cities, towns, and neighboring countries. Here’s what you need to know about getting to Montenegro by bus and traveling within the country.

International Bus Routes to Montenegro

From Croatia:

  • Route: Dubrovnik to Kotor/Podgorica
  • Travel Time: Approximately 2-3 hours to Kotor, 4-5 hours to Podgorica
  • Highlights: Enjoy scenic coastal views and pass through charming towns like Herceg Novi.

From Bosnia and Herzegovina:

  • Route: Sarajevo to Podgorica
  • Travel Time: Approximately 6-7 hours
  • Highlights: Travel through picturesque mountainous regions and the scenic Durmitor National Park.

From Serbia:

  • Route: Belgrade to Podgorica/Budva
  • Travel Time: Approximately 10-12 hours
  • Highlights: Pass through beautiful landscapes, including the Tara River Canyon and mountainous terrain.

From Albania:

  • Route: Tirana to Podgorica/Ulcinj
  • Travel Time: Approximately 3-4 hours
  • Highlights: Experience the diverse landscapes of both Albania and Montenegro.

Major Bus Stations in Montenegro

  • Podgorica Bus Station (Podgorica Autobuska Stanica)
  • Budva Bus Station (Budva Autobuska Stanica)
  • Kotor Bus Station (Kotor Autobuska Stanica)

Bus Travel within Montenegro

  • Routes and Services: Buses connect major cities like Podgorica, Budva, Kotor, and Herceg Novi, as well as smaller towns and tourist spots. The frequency of buses varies, with more frequent services during the summer tourist season.
  • Comfort and Amenities: Buses in Montenegro range from basic to modern. Many long-distance buses offer comfortable seating, air conditioning, and sometimes Wi-Fi.
  • Ticketing: Tickets can be purchased at bus stations, online, or directly from the bus driver. It’s recommended to buy tickets in advance, especially during peak travel times.

Benefits of Traveling by Bus

  • Cost-Effective: Bus travel is one of the most affordable ways to get around Montenegro.
  • Scenic Views: Enjoy the picturesque landscapes without the stress of driving. Bus routes often traverse scenic coastal roads, mountain passes, and rural areas.
  • Accessibility: Buses reach destinations that might be less accessible by other means of transportation, allowing you to explore off-the-beaten-path locations.

Tips for Bus Travel

  • Plan Ahead: Check bus schedules in advance, as some routes may have limited services, especially outside of peak tourist seasons.
  • Pack Essentials: Bring water, snacks, and entertainment for longer journeys. Some buses may make rest stops, but it’s good to be prepared.
  • Local Currency: Have some local currency (Euros) for purchasing tickets and any incidentals during the trip.

Montenegro by Train

Montenegro by Train

Traveling to and within Montenegro by train is a scenic and leisurely option that allows you to experience the country’s diverse landscapes. Montenegro’s rail network may not be extensive, but it offers some of the most breathtaking train journeys in Europe.

International Train Routes to Montenegro

From Serbia:

  • Route: Belgrade to Bar
  • Travel Time: Approximately 11-12 hours
  • Highlights: This is one of the most scenic train journeys in Europe, passing through the spectacular Dinaric Alps, crossing over 435 bridges, and traveling through 254 tunnels. The route offers stunning views of mountains, rivers, and canyons.

Train Travel within Montenegro

  • Routes and Services: The primary rail route in Montenegro is the Bar to Belgrade line, with stops in major towns like Podgorica and Bijelo Polje. There are also local services connecting Podgorica with Bar and Niksic.
  • Comfort and Amenities: Montenegrin trains vary in comfort. The international trains on the Belgrade-Bar route are equipped with comfortable seating, sleeping compartments, and dining cars. Local trains may have basic amenities but are generally clean and efficient.
  • Ticketing: Tickets can be purchased at train stations, online, or directly from the conductor on some routes. It’s advisable to book in advance for the Belgrade-Bar route, especially during peak travel times.

Tips for Train Travel

  • Plan Ahead: Check train schedules in advance and consider booking sleeping compartments for overnight journeys.
  • Pack Essentials: Bring snacks, water, and entertainment for longer trips, as on-board services can be limited.
  • Local Currency: Have some local currency (Euros) for purchasing tickets and any incidentals during the trip.

Montenegro by Boat

Traveling to Montenegro by boat is a unique and scenic way to experience the Adriatic coastline. With its stunning coastal towns and beautiful landscapes, Montenegro offers several options for those arriving by sea.

Here’s what you need to know about traveling to and exploring Montenegro by boat.

Arriving in Montenegro by Ferry

Montenegro is well-connected by ferry to several destinations in Italy and other parts of the Adriatic. The main ferry ports in Montenegro are Bar and Kotor.

Bar Ferry Port (Luka Bar)

  • Routes: Bar is the primary ferry port in Montenegro and connects to Bari and Ancona in Italy.
  • Travel Time:
    • Bar to Bari: Approximately 9-10 hours
    • Bar to Ancona: Approximately 18-20 hours (seasonal services)
  • Facilities: The port offers amenities such as ticket offices, waiting areas, restrooms, and nearby cafes and restaurants.

Kotor Ferry Port (Luka Kotor)

  • Routes: Kotor occasionally receives ferries and cruise ships, connecting with various Mediterranean destinations.
  • Travel Time: Varies depending on the destination.
  • Facilities: The port has basic facilities, including ticket offices and nearby tourist services.

Arriving in Montenegro by Cruise Ship

Montenegro is a popular stop for Mediterranean cruise itineraries. The main cruise port is Kotor, known for its picturesque bay and historic old town.

Kotor Cruise Port

  • Highlights: Kotor’s cruise port is situated in one of the most stunning bays in the world, offering spectacular views upon arrival. The port is a short walk from Kotor’s old town, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Facilities: The port is equipped with modern facilities, including customs and immigration services, tourist information centers, and shuttle services to nearby attractions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get to Montenegro from Canada?

Getting to Montenegro from Canada typically involves flying to one of Montenegro’s international airports via European hubs. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Book a Flight: Fly from major Canadian cities like Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal to European hubs such as Frankfurt, Paris, Istanbul, or Vienna.
  2. Connect to Montenegro: From the European hubs, take a connecting flight to one of Montenegro’s main airports:
    • Tivat Airport (TIV): Convenient for accessing coastal destinations like Kotor and Budva.
    • Podgorica Airport (TGD): Ideal for exploring central and northern Montenegro.
  3. Total Travel Time: The journey typically takes around 12-18 hours, depending on layovers and flight connections.

How do I get to Montenegro from USA?

Traveling to Montenegro from the USA involves similar steps, with connecting flights through major European hubs:

  1. Book a Flight: Fly from major US cities like New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago to European hubs such as Frankfurt, Paris, Istanbul, or Vienna.
  2. Connect to Montenegro: From the European hubs, take a connecting flight to Tivat Airport (TIV) or Podgorica Airport (TGD) in Montenegro.
  3. Total Travel Time: The journey usually takes about 12-20 hours, depending on layovers and flight connections.

Where do you fly to get to Montenegro?

You can fly to Montenegro directly into two main international airports:

  1. Tivat Airport (TIV): Located near the coast, it’s convenient for accessing popular coastal destinations such as Kotor, Budva, and Herceg Novi.
  2. Podgorica Airport (TGD): Located near the capital city, Podgorica, it’s ideal for exploring the central and northern regions of Montenegro.

Do Canadians need a visa to Montenegro?

No, Canadians do not need a visa to enter Montenegro for tourism, business, or transit purposes for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. However, ensure you have:

  • A valid passport with at least six months’ validity from the date of entry.
  • Proof of onward or return travel.
  • Proof of sufficient funds for the duration of your stay.

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