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Kosovo to Dubrovnik

I am planning a post-pandemic trip to the Balkans and am traveling north from Skopje, Macedonia to Pristina, Kosovo by bus. I am having a difficult time finding how to get from Pristina to Dubrovnik where a tour I am on begins.
The bus is a complicated overnight affair arriving at 3:00AM in Dubrovnik. Not crazy about traveling at night and arrival time.
Renting a car is also complicated and very expensive to do one way.
Flying is another long complicated itinerary and very pricey.
Has anyone done any of the above or can give me an insight as to a decent way to travel from Pristina to Dubrovnik?

Posted by
18119 posts

I haven't been to Pristina, but perhaps these tips will help:

  • Rome2Rio.com is a good first stop when you're seeking information on thorny transportation challenges. You absolutely cannot trust the specific information it provide about fares, frequencies and travel times, but it is usually accurate about the existence of routes and possible transfer points. If you keep clicking through the website, you should eventually get to the name of the bus company providing the service and (usually) a link to its website where you may be able to find the schedule. Unfortunately, a lot of routes are probably not running now or are running less frequently that usual, so the information you seek may not be available at this point. It's possible there may be additional options after the pandemic lifts, routes not currently shown on Rome2Rio.

  • It's often necessary, or at least easier, to travel between capital cities when crossing international borders by bus. It may work best to plan a connection and overnight stay in Podgorica, Montenegro. Montenegro is a beautiful country. It's quite possible the route in from Pristina is gorgeous. The scenery I passed through from Nis, Serbia, to Podgorica is lovely. Unfortunately, Podgorica itself is not one of Montenegro's nicest destinations.

  • It's my policy to trust a bus schedule only after I see it posted on the wall at the outbound bus station. Even then, you still have to be careful, because there may be important limiting information in the footnotes: Buses may not run on Sundays and holidays or even on Saturdays, or they may run only during school periods. During my 2015 trip through the Balkans, I often stopped in at a tourist office to ask about onward transportation. I noticed that the staffers usually didn't turn to the internet to find the answer; they picked up the telephone and called the bus station. I figured there was a reason for that.

  • I urge you not to plan this part of your itinerary tightly. Allow extra time--and I mean days rather than hours. If things go really well and you arrive in Montenegro (if that's your transfer point) early, there are lots of nice places to visit on the way to Dubrovnik. In normal times there are multiple buses per day between Podgorica and Kotor and multiple international buses between Kotor and Dubrovnik.

  • Border-crossing buses are relatively infrequent. Most of those I've taken have headed out nearly full. I always buy my outbound ticket as soon as I arrive at my transfer point, even if I'm spending the night there. These days, it may be possible to get tickets online a few days in advance.

This will be a great adventure; just allow time in case something doesn't go smoothly.

Posted by
4 posts

acraven, thank you for the awesome information! It is greatly appreciated! I will check out going through Podgorica. I would much prefer a day bus to see the country as we drive instead of doing it at night. For safety safe also since I am a solo female traveler. Probably safe anyway, but I usually do not venture out much past dark when I travel alone. One of my "rules".

Posted by
18119 posts

I'm also a solo female traveler, though probably less likely to attract unwanted attention due to my age. I've had no issues, but I haven't taken an overnight bus ride since 1972; even overnight in a rail couchette is miserable for me.

One thing I forgot to mention in my earlier post is that as of 2015 Croatian buses (and I think also Montenegrin buses) charged a small fee--roughly the equivalent of one euro--to stow a piece of luggage in the hold. So if the driver or his assistant holds out his hand, he's not looking for a tip; it's a legitimate fee.

Oh, and have some small coins for toilet attendants. Euros may work, but of course you'll pay considerably more if you don't have local coins. I mention this because I have traveled on dozens of European buses and am not sure any of them had a toilet the passengers could use. There was once a toilet, but the door was kept locked. The bus should stop every 2 hours or so for a toilet/smoke break.

Please report back on Skopje, Pristina and the logistics of the Skopje-Dubrovnik part of your trip after you return home. We have very, very few people asking about that area; I'd love to hear about how it went.

Posted by
5641 posts

Its been several years since I was there, but as far as a place to see and be in Kosovo, Prizren was much more interesting than Pristina despite its being the capital.

Posted by
12124 posts

I made a quick pass through Kosovo a few months ago. Really, really interesting place. Well worth the time. The problem with Dubrovnik is that it isnt well served by discount airlines. I have to go there twice in the Spring and I am not looking forward to it. I will be flying Turkish Air from Istanbul on one visit and Wizz air from Budapest on the next trip. Then hiring a car from Podgorica to Dubrovnik. Sorry, thats really no help to you. But when you figure it out ... ENJOY!

Posted by
4 posts

acraven, thank you for even more good and necessary advice! I will definitely report back after the trip, hopefully this year but it may be pressed to 2022. My best option from what I see now (that may change after the pandemic gets under control - hopefully) is from Skopje take the bus to Prizren, explore and spend the night. The next day take the day bus to Shkodër, Albania, spend the night and take the Croatia bus to Dubrovnik, also a day bus, the following day. I want to see the countryside as opposed to, like you said, having an uncomfortable night ride. I would arrive in Dubrovnik a day before my tour begins, so I still have an extra day to play with.

stan, yes Prizren looks like an excellent option for me as there is a direct bus from Skopje and the bus from Pristina to Shkodër, Albania goes through Prizren so I can pick it up there.

James E, yes, flying looks like a long, expensive and complicated affair that I will avoid. Plus, taking a bus lets me see the countryside and give me a "local" experience

Posted by
5641 posts

bailey in Prizren there is the ruins of an Ottoman fortress on a hilltop overlooking the town that has a great view. Skopje has more of a modern European city look to it. There are markers there in the center of town, for the location of the house Mother Teresa was born. Don't be fooled thinking that because Kosovo is a predominantly Muslim country, that it will be all subdued prayerful people hustling to the mosque all covered up. It was pretty wild and garish when I was there.

Posted by
6 posts

Hi, yeah 3 AM isn't the best arrival time, I get it. What about going from Pristina to a different town in Kosovo and then from there to Dubrovnik? Might be easier and you might see another cool place. Or, you can travel from Kosovo to Montenegro and this way it will be much easier to get to Dubrovnik, that I know for sure. Just check all of these options and I am sure you will find something that works for you. Best of luck and have a nice trip!

Posted by
2077 posts

In the past, I have hired private drivers in the Balkans. 3-5 years ago, they were not expensive, although more than the bus. You might find this approach OK. Go to the TI, and ask if there are tour guides.

Another approach is to go through Tirana. Longer, but since Kosovo and Albania are cousins ethnically, there is frequent travel.

Posted by
12124 posts

Paul-of-the-Frozen-North; I almost always use a driver One of the beauties of the region is that such things are within the budget.

Posted by
4 posts

Paul & James, thanks for the info and will check that out too. It seems a shame to fly when the area looks amazing to drive through. Public buses are great but I like to reserve ahead of time. Hiring a private driver from city to city is a great possibility!

Posted by
6 posts

You should consider a stop over somewhere in Montenegro. It will be easier to plan travelling from Kosovo to Montenegro. At least a couple of nights, you won't regret it. Then from Montenegro to Dubrovnik is as easy as it gets. This way you will avoid night hours travelling and experience one more country. Montenegro is one of the most beautiful places in the region!

Posted by
18119 posts

Just don't choose the capital, Podgorica, as your stopover point unless you have no choice (which might be the case if you're taking buses). It's not a bad place, but it's far from the most attractive spot in Montenegro.