I'm doing the RS Adriatic tour next April/May finishing in Dubrovnik. My plan is to stay an extra 2 nights in Dubrovnik to include a day trip to Kotor and anything else I'd like to see. I would then like to go from Dubrovnik to Budapest where I plan to stay for 10 days in Hungary. What is the best way to get to Budapest from Dubrovnik?
One option: there are direct flights a few days a week on Wizz Air from Podgorica, Montenegro to Budapest. So instead of a day trip to Kotor, maybe spend a few nights there and from there get a transfer to the airport in Podgorica.
Flying is the best way and Andrew's suggestion is a great one. To research other flight options, start with the Rome2rio website but keep in mind that the information there isn't always totally accurate. You'll want to do some additional research using the airlines' own websites, including Wizz Air's.
thanks for your replies. What is the best way to get from Kotor to Podgorica, Bus or driver? and is that road safe? Wizzair from Podgorica is a much cheaper option than any other airline from Dubrovnik but they have terrible reviews. Do you think they would be ok?
A private driver is always going to be faster than a bus and more expensive. You have to weigh those factors for yourself. Montenegro is a beautiful country. Either trip should be very pretty. I always feel safe on public buses, but I try to avoid taking them after it gets dark. It's impossible not to notice that practically every time you read about a horrible bus tragedy--in the US or in Europe--it happened late at night. I suspect driver sleepiness is a major factor. I really have no idea whether a private transfer would be safer than a bus, though I tend to go with the bus, on the theory that a careless bus driver may get fired.
I think the bus goes through Cetinje. That road yields magnificent views on the way to Kotor; I don't know what it's like in the opposite direction, but it is extremely curvy. If you are nervous about such things, you should go the private-driver route and insist that he take the route that starts by heading south along the coast, which apparently isn't a great deal slower.
Thanks for the info. I'll plan a few days in Kotor and do day trips, then make my way to Podgorica for the flight. Am I able to wait until after I arrive in Kotor to choose my mode of travel and the route to Podgorica?
I am unwilling to make guarantees about availability of inter-city transportation close to the travel date, but I can tell you that I rarely buy bus tickets more than one day ahead of time except for international buses, and even then I don't buy terribly far in advance. I have spent a huge amount of time in Europe since 2015 and taken a lot of buses. In all that time I have run into only one problem: I arrived at the Bilbao (Spain) bus station from the west, expecting to buy a ticket for a bus heading farther east about an hour later and found the desired bus was already sold out. I had to wait an extra 60 or 90 minutes for the next bus.
I have, however, observed other buses listed as "Full" on the day of travel when I was researching schedules. I have no way of knowing how much earlier the last tickets had been sold. That's why I cannot promise what your experience will be. April/May is not high season by any stretch; that's good news for you. But that may well mean a reduction in the number of buses making the Kotor-Podogorica run; that's bad news.
There seem to be an awful lot of bus companies running buses along that route. My instinct is that some of those popping up on Internet searches may not be regular public buses. Perhaps some bus tours are included.
I heartily recommend that you follow my practice of making Get Outbound Bus Schedule your first task upon arrival in Kotor. Only the information you obtain from the bus station counts. Since bus-station employees are rather unlikely to speak English, prepare yourself for a creative conversation. Block-print KOTOR > PODORICA on a piece of paper, along with the date in European format (DD-MM-YYYY) and the approximate time you want to depart in 24-hour format (0830 for 8:30 AM, 1500 for 3 PM). Show the paper to the employee, raise your eyebrows in an inquiring manner and smile. It works for me; it should work for you. Now, how you communicate that you are just looking for information rather than wanting to buy a ticket at that moment (if that is the case), I am not so sure. Some tourist offices in the Balkans were kind enough to pick up the phone and call the local bus station to get that kind of information for me, but you can't expect that to happen if the office is busy.
I have never used a private transfer, so I really, really, have no idea how far in advance that would need to be arranged. It's not a horrendous distance from Kotor to Podgorica. There will be no issue with the driver being able to make the return trip the same day, so I'd guess a lot of regular taxi drivers would be willing to do this. I assume there would be no restrictions on a Kotor taxi taking a passenger to Podgorica, but I don't know that for a fact. However, it only makes sense to make arrangements for such a transfer as soon as you decide you want to travel that way, and when. The tourist office should be able to tell you how to arrange that sort of transportation.
I've made the flight from Podgorica to Budapest a few times. I would skip Kotor, just a small equally crowded Dubrovnik. I would go to Budva for a night or two (I love Budva). Closer to the airport too. Another option is Dubrovnik to Belgrade, spend a night or two, then Belgrade to Budapest The only hitch to any of this is the flights don't go every day. Podgorica to Budapest I think is only twice a week, but it's under $70.
I use Google Flights as you can enter the filter:
Dubrovnik, nonstop, Europe and see all the options; but you have to check every day of the week. Do the same with Tivat and Podgorica and Budapest.
I checked. The direct flight on Wizzair is Tuesday and Saturday. The rate is 18 to 65 euro depending on how far in advance you book and your luggage. I traveled Budapest to Sarajevo a few weeks ago on Wizzair. About 35 euro including a checked bag ... but I purchased the ticket way in advance.
my goodness, so many options. Thanks James, I had thought of Belgrade too, by train, but thought I might be backtracking since I'll be going to Mostar on the tour, however I didn't think of flying there. I had heard Kotor might be a bit disappointing after being in Dubrovnik.
I've been to Kotor and it just wasn't worth the time after Dubrovnik; although the drive along the bay and the towns along the way are worth the time. If someone had never been to Dubrovnik, Kotor would be different. Budva has some of the charm of both, but with an interesting and accessible city adjacent. Good offshore fishing too. Podgorica (formerly Titograd) isn't much from a sightseeing point of view, but to get a glimpse of a society it isn't bad. Since the flight out is early in the morning I usually spend the night there before the flight.
Belgrade is great if you are young and into music and clubs. Its also okay for a full day and night if you are into 20th century history; pretty fascinating actually. Best done with a guide.
Budapest is spectacular on every count (but no fishing)
thanks acraven for all the great bus tips! I'll be sure and use them. Budva sounds wonderful James and it makes sense to stay there on the way to Podgorica. As for Belgrade, I love music but am not so young anymore or into clubbing! However, it would still be worth a visit. I use google flights which is great. I thought as I was so close to Montenegro I should try and see some of it, however maybe I could save that for another trip.
Montenegro is beautiful and has a lot of interesting towns. It wouldn't be a mistake to postpone it until you can spend a bit more time there. The one thing is that--as far as I could tell--the national parks are not accessible by public transportation.
I'm slightly disappointed in James E. I was really looking forward to him explaining the best way to get to BP from Dub is by private jet or private helicopter.
Maybe next time. :)
Edited to add: To be fair to James, his answers are pretty good!
Peter, that would indeed be the "best" way. I mistakenly assumed since it was out of my price range that it might be out of the price range of the OP. If not, I can recommend a private charter service in the area. BUT, one of the advantages of Eastern Europe is that you can do a little bit better on things like transportation and not spend more than it costs to go to Western Europe. And, yes, when I traveled from Dubrovnik to Podgorica I hired a driver. And yes, when I spent a week traveling around Montenegro fishing in the mountains, I did hire a driver. On the days he was used he cost 70 euro for a nice Audi A6, and I probably over paid. As it is noted above, public transportation to the parks in Montenegro is problematic; but as a result, few tourists other than those from Montenegro. Beautiful, beautiful country.
I'm thinking about flying straight from Dub to Buda so I can spend more time in the other countries further north. I realise I can't avoid a stopover if I fly with Easy Jet, LOT, Brussel air, Smartwings, Norwegian. What are these airlines like to travel with? Which are the better ones?