How to travel from Croatia to Montenegro
So, if you’ve been following along, you will know that I am a huge fan of saving money and getting the most from every dollar I spend. This mentality extends to my travel plans as well. My time was up in Zagreb where I enjoyed my favorite Airbnb to date and it was time to move on to Montenegro. Here is how to get from Croatia to Montenegro.
Relative Location of Croatia to Montenegro
Croatia and Montenegro are separated by Bosnia and Herzegovina in all areas except one area at Croatia’s southern most part. The closest distance between the two countries is between Dubrovnik, Croatia and Hercegnovi, Montenegro on the Adriatic coast. Since Croatia is shaped like a backwards number seven with Bosnia taking up the negative space, Montenegro isn’t always the easiest place to get to if you don’t happen to be in Dubrovnik. If you want to see some of the most beautiful scenery in all of the Balkans then a visit to Montenegro is a must. Here are your options to travel from Zagreb, Croatia to Kotor, Montenegro.
Methods of Transportation between Croatia and Montenegro
If you are in Dubrovnik, take a bus straight to Kotor. Purchase your ticket at the bus station in Dubrovnik on a time table that fits your schedule. If you happen to be anywhere else in Croatia, you will want to use the train.
Full disclosure – this is my favorite method of travel and I am very thankful to the man in seat 61 for helping the planning process for this. Here is my suggested itinerary for transportation from Zagreb, Croatia, to Kotor, Montenegro. At the moment, you can not travel internationally via train through Bosnia Hertzagovnia due to issues with the rail line. So, while it will add a day to your travels, you will get to see more of the countryside. Plan on three days of travel.
Day One. International train from Zagreb to Belgrade, Serbia.
Purchase your ticket from the train station in Zagreb. You will be looking for the station “Beograd” for Belgrade. Numerous trains go daily so choose one that fits your schedule. This train ride is about 6 hours. You will need to purchase the ticket from the ticket counter in the Zagreb train station as the ticket machines only sell domestic train tickets. The ticket will run about $35 USD per person for first class. Take advantage of the Mlinar at the train station before you leave. The train is long and there isn’t a club car. You will want snacks and water.
In Belgrade, book a hotel for the evening. At about one mile from the train station, I would suggest the Raddison. It is honestly, the best Raddison I’ve ever stayed in. The rooms are great and you can enjoy the restaurant, gym, bar, or a wood fire in the lobby. I walked there from the train station, but if you have a lot of luggage make use of the taxis.
Day Two: Train from Belgrade to Podgorica, Montenegro.
From one capital to the next, this 10-12 hour train ride will be one of the prettiest you will see. If you are traveling in the winter, the short days will cause you to miss some of the major sites towards Podgorica, but you can always do a small one station day jaunt on the train during the daytime to catch the views. Again, pack a picnic. There isn’t a club car and it is a long day. Tickets are affordable at roughly $25 USD per person.
To get these tickets you will need to follow the directions that Man in seat 61 sets forth. You will need to email Mr. Popovic while you are still in Croatia. In your email to Mr. Popovic you will request to book your tickets from Belgrade to Podgorica. I went into this plan with a little skepticism, but it really worked out wonderfully. Mr. Popovic is top notch. He was very responsive, spoke excellent English so there wasn’t a language barrier, and he met us at our hotel to deliver the tickets the night of our arrival. EASY.
I feel it is necessary to make a note or two about Serbian trains. There are two factors about the train ride that I didn’t care for. I am told by some friends that I met on the train, that this is more of a “off-season” problem but be prepared none the less. Serbians are big smokers. Even though it is illegal to smoke on the train everyone will. Secondly, the restrooms have a high probably of having a “defect” thus making them unusable. To put it in perspective without becoming too graphic, I didn’t eat on train and my insides thanked me for my decision. But the views make it worth it even for my nervous stomach!!!!
In Podgorica, spend the night. Hilton just opened up a new hotel there and you can find it for a steal on hotels.com. I walked from the train station to the hotel. It is about half a mile. There are taxis at the train station and the ride would be about 2-3 Euro.
Day three: Bus to Kotor
The bus station is next to the train station and there are numerous buses departing daily. At seven Euro a person you can’t complain about the price. Sit on the left side of the bus and get your camera ready. The ride will take about two hours.
Your options are to fly out of Zagreb or Split in Croatia and into Podgorica or Tivat in Montenegro. Both options will require transport to Kotor but Tivat is extremely close to Kotor. This is your fastest option to get to Montenegro. It will also be expensive. At last check on Vayama, you will look at prices around the $350-$500 dollar mark per person. If you find a deal, by all means go for it, but you will miss the sights the overland travel offers.
Croatia to Montenegro – Tips and Tricks
One last tip when considering your travel plans from Croatia to Montenegro. The ability to exchange Serbian Dinar is slightly difficult. You will most likely have to get Serbian Dinar for your overnight in Belgrade. Do not take out more than you need. Due to my unfortunate math skills, I ended up withdrawing about $180.00 in Dinar and had about $170.00 left over when I left Serbia. In Podgorica, there was only one branch of one bank that would exchange the currency. Not a huge issue, but a hassle.
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