Beautiful city of Kotor in Montenegro can be reached with an easy drive from Dubrovnik, Croatia. We had an amazing day trip from Dubrovnik to Kotor by a rental car. Here is the information about the drive, border crossing, road conditions and things to do in Kotor and around for the ones who want to have a similar road trip from Dubrovnik to Kotor.
Can you cross the borders in Croatia with a rental car?
In order to cross the international borders with a rental car, you need an international car insurance known as “green card”. You can get a green card from the car rentals during renting your car. At our case, some companies charged green cards as a fixed total price, others offered green cards per day. We opted in for a daily charged green card and crossed Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina borders without an issue.
Renting a car in Dubrovnik
There are many car rental companies in Dubrovnik, both international known brands and local ones. From our past car rental experiences we know that renting the cars previously online is always cheaper than renting one from the actual offices. This was proved once more when we saw the prices in car rentals in Dubrovnik.
We rented our car from Sixt since it had more affordable prices. They had a base renting price and you needed to add all the insurances you want to get to that price. As a precaution we got a few more insurances for the rental, eventually they upgraded our car.
What documents do I need to rent a car in Croatia?
You should be older than 18 and should have a valid driving license for at least two years. You don’t need an international driving license if your regular one is written with Latin letters. Also, you would need a personal ID like a passport and a credit card (not debit card) to be able to rent a car. Drivers below 22 and above 70 years old can be charged for extra fee.
How are the road conditions in Croatia and Montenegro?
All the roads we drove through were at great condition. They were all newly asphalted and well maintained. Mostly, we drove through two lane roads with very few cars around. Only the traffic in Dubrovnik city center and Kotor city center was quite crowded.
Is it easy to drive from Dubrovnik to Montenegro?
The drive from Dubrovnik to Kotor, Montenegro is incredibly easy. For us, the only thing we were hesitant about this trip was crossing the border between Croatia and Montenegro. But, at the end we saw that there was nothing to worry about that either.
Our day trip from Dubrovnik to Kotor
I am adding trip durations and border crossing durations below, to give an idea about the distances and help you to plan your own day trip from Dubrovnik to Kotor.
Trip from Dubrovnik to Montenegro border
Trip Duration: 20 minutes
As soon as we got out of Dubrovnik city center, we were surrounded by an incredible natural beauty. Tall trees, green hills were all around. Everything was so pristine and untouched. After a short drive through well maintained roads, we reached Montenegro border.
Crossing Croatia – Montenegro border
Crossing Duration: 45 minutes
From our previous land border crossing experiences from Turkey to Bulgaria, we knew that it could take quite long. Hence, the most unknown part of this trip was how long would the crossings take. In this case, we crossed Croatian border easily in just five minutes. But, when we reached to Montenegrin side of the border, we realized that the crossing won’t be as fast. The line of waiting cars got longer and longer. We had to wait for forty minutes for the same work of just checking and stamping the passports at this side of the border.
Trip from Montenegro border to Kotor
Trip Duration: 1 hour 50 minutes
Montenegro was so beautiful! We drove through Dalmatian coast of Montenegro. There were quaint towns and villages with very few people around. The coast of this part of Montenegro was so pristine, no big resorts or huge hotels at all. There were only a few people enjoying the great weather of mid September and crystal clean waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
We drove around Bay of Kotor, surrounded by rugged cliffs, rocky mountains and crystal clean calm waters of the southernmost part of Dalmatia. Tens of mussel farms were scattered in the clean waters here and there throughout the bay. We passed by little towns, villages and some rocky beaches where a few people were sunbathing.
Bay of Kotor is often called Europe’s southernmost fjord. In fact, it is not really a fjord but certainly looks like one. In addition, the hue of the pristine Adriatic Sea here is unbelievable with its turquoise blue green hint! The Bay, along with Kotor Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Kotor Old Town, Montenegro
When we arrived in Kotor, the first things we noticed were the giant cruise ships docked at the port. So, we were ready to meet some crowds, but luckily, it still wasn’t extremely crowded. We parked our car and started exploring the old town on foot.
Things to do in Kotor
1. Explore Kotor Old Town
Kotor Old Town, really surprised us. I was expecting a quaint little town with a few historical buildings, but I found a much better and prettier place. All of the town was well preserved and beautifully restored. Gorgeous stone buildings were spread along the cobbled streets. Churches like, St. Nicholas’ Church, St. Tryphon’s Cathedral and St. Luka’s Church were adding to the character and architecture of the historical town. Cafes and restaurants were settled on the cute streets and the lovely piazzas of the old town. All was so beautiful to eyes!
2. Climb to San Giovanni Fortress
After we enjoyed the beauty of the old town, it was time for an intense hike and some breathtaking views! San Giovanni Fortress sits just at the top of the old town. You need to climb up some steep paths to reach to the top, but the view is definitely worth it. The fjordy view of Bay of Kotor, beautiful architecture of old town, all is so incredible!
3. Enjoy a great Dalmatian meal
After a beautiful day in Kotor, we were ready to try some Dalmatian cuisine. We sat on the tables set outside of a TripAdvisor awarded restaurant and enjoyed our meal with some delightful old town vibes. A local cheese board and a glass of white wine was great after the long day. Black risotto is a must in Dalmatian cuisine. Certainly we tried it, along with mussel stew and some shrimps. Not bad for a start to Dalmatian cuisine!
Popular stops on your way back to Dubrovnik
Perast: Perast is a charming old town with a beautiful architecture on the coast of Bay of Kotor. It is just 12km outside Kotor, on your way back to Dubrovnik.
Our Lady of the Rocks: You can visit the tiny islet with the church on it, by boarding a boat from Perast.
After a little more strolling and exploring, it was time to head back to our rental car and hit the road. Actually, instead of going all the way back to Dubrovnik, we decided to make a giant detour and visit city of Mostar in Bosnia Herzegovina.
If visiting Mostar is in your itinerary as well, check out my blog post:
How to get from Kotor to Mostar by car?