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Dubrovnik to Kotor for a day trip while staying in Dubrovnik

Coming from Split into Dubrovnik we will have a rental car. We will stay three nights in Dubrovnik. However, we would like to make a day trip to Kotor. What do we do with the car while in Dubrovnik since it doesn't seem a good idea to take it into the city. Do we leave it in a public garage where there are few spaces for $75 a day and then use it to drive to Kotor the next day? Or should we ditch the car and use public transportation? Is Kotor the most obvious day trip from Dubrovnik?

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
3080 posts

Options:

  1. Ditch the car when you get to Dubrovnik so you won't have to park it. Stay near or in the old town, so you can easily walk in. Then rent a car just for a day....hire a driver for the day.

  2. Stay somewhere outside of the old town like Lapad or Cavtat where you can park the car more affordably and take a local bus into Dubrovnik.

I've done it both ways. I really recommend staying close to or in the old town, though, because Dubrovnik is really so wonderful at night when not so crowded with tourists.

I wouldn't take public transit to Kotor, because in my opinion, the journey is the destination! The city of Kotor is OK, but the scenery around the bay is the real reason to go. (And a stop in Perast and elsewhere.) You'll miss that from a bus window. I stopped numerous times on the drive around to take pictures, etc.

Posted by David
Seattle, WA, USA
3111 posts

Agree - Option 1. Stay in the old center - that's what you came all that way to experience, and it's best when the day trippers are gone, so you don't want to be one of them. Just rent a car for the day when you go to Kotor. Easy to do. We arranged our day-trip car rental through the owner of the apartment where we stayed in Dubrovnik.

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
9891 posts

I didn't feel I missed the view of the Bay of Kotor by taking a bus. Quite the contrary: If I had driven myself, I'd have needed to keep my eyes on the road. I wasn't able to stop while admiring the view, though.

Posted by adi
10 posts

If it ws me I'd be tempted to head off to one of the small islands as a day trip instead - Kotor is nice, but just a big city compared to Korcula or even Lopud. Plus you get the view of Dubrovnik from the water when you return, which is worth seeing in itself! :)

Posted by kmkwoo
Massachusetts, USA
43 posts

I apologize for hijacking this thread but I will be in the same situation. We will be in Dubrovnik for 3 days in April, and one of those days we want to rent a car for a day trip around the Bay of Kotor. We are renting an apartment in the Old Town.

David, we could probably arrange our day-trip car rental through the owner of our apartment. But I have a question. We would choose the day for our day trip based on the weather. We wouldn't want to do this if it is raining. Do you know how easy it would be to rent a car for the day at the last minute, once we have a weather report? Is that what you did?

Thanks!

Posted by James E.
USA
8092 posts

Remember, with car rentals and border crossings, Croatia is EU, Montenegro is not. I have no idea what the impact of that is. We hired a car and driver and didn't worry about it. I do remember a check point and some papers and passports going back and forth. The rental company might have restrictions ... or not. Worth verifying. And I would rather spend a night in a place like Perast and 2 nights in Dubrovnik.

Posted by David
Seattle, WA, USA
3111 posts

David, we could probably arrange our day-trip car rental through the owner of our apartment. But I have a question. We would choose the day for our day trip based on the weather. We wouldn't want to do this if it is raining. Do you know how easy it would be to rent a car for the day at the last minute, once we have a weather report? Is that what you did?

Yes, that was exactly what we did. When we checked in to our apartment, we mentioned to our host that we might want to rent a car in the next day or two for a day trip to Kotor. She said she knew someone. We told her we would let her know later that afternoon if we wanted it for the next day, and she told us she would check with the car guy. We spent the day sightseeing there in Dubrovnik, we checked the weather forecast for the next day (also checked to see if there was a cruise ship on Kotor the next day!). Weather forecast looked mixed. Cruise ship forecast looked great (ie, none listed). That tipped the scale for me. That afternoon, we called her and said we wanted to do the car the next morning; she said the car guy would be ready. Meet her downstairs at 7 am the next morning. We did. She walked us through the old town gate and to her friend with the car. We met, signed some paperwork, exchanged info, chatted for a few minutes, off we went. Easy and simple.

The drive to Kotor was lovely, we stopped a few times along the way to take pictures and stretch. When we got to Kotor itself, a black cloud moved in and the sky split open - it rained hard for 30 minutes. During that time, we sat in the car, worrying. Then the rain stopped, we parked, hopped out, and started exploring. No cruise ship in sight. The sun came out. We had pasta for lunch, as I recalled (best Italian food I've ever had was in Croatia...). After lunch, we started climbing the walls (literally). We spent the day there, late afternoon we drove back to Dubrovnik, called our host while inbound, and met the car owner at the pre-arranged time and place. It was easy.

Just be up front with the arrangements, ask if you can let them know the afternoon before, and watch the weather. If it looks mixed, be prepared to give it a try. Especially if there are no cruise ships in Kotor that day!

Hope that helps.

Posted by kmkwoo
Massachusetts, USA
43 posts

Thank you to James and David.
James, do you remember what the car and driver cost?
David, it sounds like the car you rented was not from a car rental agency, such as Hertz, etc?
Thanks.
Karen

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
3080 posts

Remember, with car rentals and border crossings, Croatia is EU, Montenegro is not. I have no idea what the impact of that is.

The impact is that you are driving out of the EU, and that changes the insurance requirements. The rental car need the correct insurance card to get through the border crossing. They checked my insurance card for sure when I crossed! And the renter will most likely pay an extra fee for driving the car out of Croatia. This fee varies by the car company.

When I crossed the border from Croatia to Montenegro, I used the "Konfin" border crossing, which is a little detour to a smaller border crossing that tour buses can't use. So it doesn't get so backed up. Off season, it might not be worth doing. I drove it in May, and there was only one car in front of me. I still had to wait five minutes after that car left because the guard had to stop and make a phone call before passing me through.