With the Adriatic Sea to the West and five surrounding countries to the East, Croatia is an excellent destination if you want to explore the Balkans. Croatia shares a border with Montenegro, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since my best friend and I were spending five days in Dubrovnik, a popular coastal city in Croatia, we decided that we would also tack on a day trip. Depending on where you are situated in the country, you can easily visit an offshore island or cross the border to explore a nearby country.
Searching for the best option, there were all sorts of day trips from Dubrovnik to choose from. Although we could have gone on a short ferry ride to explore the Island of Lokrum, we quickly settled on a Montenegro day trip instead.
If you’re visiting Dubrovnik and would like to visit other European cities on your trip, I highly recommend considering a road trip to the medieval city of Kotor in Montenegro. Less than two hours away from Dubrovnik by car (without including border crossing time) Montenegro is an easy day trip from Dubrovnik.
By the way, if you’re wondering, in Croatia and Montenegro you drive on the right side of the road just like you do in the USA.
From Dubrovnik to Kotor
Things To Know When Planning a Day Trip
Rent a car at Dubrovnik Airport
Although you can join a group tour or take a bus from Dubrovnik to Kotor, renting a car in Dubrovnik is the most convenient way to get around if you plan on going on day trips. However just know that there might be a long wait at pick-up since many other travelers rent cars from here as well.
How much does a car rental cost in Dubrovnik?
The total cost for my rental car from Car Rental 8 in Dubrovnik cost $88.86 USD. I rented a car for five days. At $17.77 USD per day, renting a car in Dubrovnik is affordable.
Diesel gas on the other hand is quite expensive. Half a tank of diesel gas for my compact rental car cost 207,31 HRK or $32.95 USD.
Auto Rental Collision Damage Insurance
Since my Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card offered a complimentary auto rental collision damage waiver, I declined getting extra collision damage insurance from my rental company.
If you don’t already know, Chase’s auto rental collision damage waiver reimburses damage for collisions and theft for most rentals.
Also, don’t forget to consider getting international travel insurance for Europe – coverage from basic essentials to medical emergencies.
Do you need to buy cross-border insurance?
Since we wanted to spend a day in Montenegro, we were offered cross-border insurance which cost 36 €. In retrospect this was a waste of money – take it from me, beware of the “cross-border card” scam.
Okay – so there’s a lot of debate regarding if you need to buy additional cross-border insurance when driving to Montenegro but to keep things simple, you do not need to buy cross-border insurance for trips to Bosnia and/or Montenegro.
You car rental company will try to sell you this “additional” cross-border insurance and they will act like it is necessary but here’s the thing, your car already comes with a green card which provides the minimum level of insurance needed to cross the border into Montenegro and Bosnia from Croatia. So when asked, feel free to ditch the additional cross-border insurance, it’s not necessary.
And if you end up actually needing additional insurance at the border, you can easily buy one for 15 €.
Driving from Dubrovnik to Kotor
From Dubrovnik to Kotor, you’ll cover 57 miles (92 kilometers) which will take you approximately two hours one way. With that being said, especially during the summer months, I recommend planning ahead and factoring in at least one hour to cross the border.
Nevertheless, don’t let traffic at the border deter you. The two hour drive from Dubrovnik to Kotor is one of the most scenic drives in the world.
To capture it all, Dubrovnik’s dramatic coastlines and Montenegro’s massive dark mountains, consider getting dash cameras at TadiBrothers to capture the unforgettable views.
Also since there are plenty of viewpoints along the way in both Montenegro and Croatia, feel free to stop on the side of the road, get some fresh air and enjoy the view! Here’s me doing just that!
Since Croatia and Montenegro are not part of the European Union, you will cross two borders on this route.
From Dubrovnik, first you’ll stop at the Croatian border and get a passport stamp exiting the country and then you’ll cross the Montenegro border and get another stamp for entering the country.
On your way back, the same thing happens in reverse.
So in total you will cross four borders on your Dubrovnik to Kotor trip.
The good news is that if you are traveling with a U.S. passport, you won’t need a visa to enter neither of these countries for up to 90 days.
During our scenic drive from Dubrovnik to Montenegro we stopped at a small pebble beach, wandered around the narrow streets of The Old Town of Kotor and we even trekked to the top of the ancient San Giovanni Fortress where we were rewarded with enchanting views of the medieval city and the sparkling Bay of Kotor. No wonder Montenegro continues to be one of the most popular day trips from Dubrovnik.
Danielle Desir is a financially savvy traveler, 5x author, and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast here.