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Day trip from Kotor, Montenegro to Shkoder, Albania

Hi,
We plan on spending 3 days, 2 nights around Kotor. One day we would like to find a day tour to Shkoder in Albania. We don't want to drive. I've found buses from Kotor to Shkoder, but no day tour. It's a long trip so would be nice to be on a bus tour.

How much time is needed to see Kotor including the Old Town, and the Lady of the Rock? Can we see enough of Kotor and Old Town if we walk? Any suggestions for lodging? We like B & B or homes rather than larger hotels. If we have another 1/2 day any suggestions of what to see?
Thank you for your time and information, we truly appreciate it!
Ann

Posted by
17896 posts

Kotor is very small. Something between half a day and a full day (if you're a shopper, for example) of wandering around should be sufficient. Walking up the wall is a workout and would take time. Otherwise, the town is easily walked. I walked back and forth to the bus station, but you might prefer to grab a taxi if you are headed out that way.

It's worth poking around on the internet to find information on cruise-ship schedules, because the town is much more pleasant when there's no monster ship in port. If possible, choose to stay in Kotor on a day without a heavy cruise load and take a side trip on the other day to dodge the hordes.

The No. 1 thing to see in the area is the Bay of Kotor, but if you have arrived from Dubrovnik, you will already have seen it. Many people like the little town of Perast (from which you take the boat out to the church). I didn't find it all that interesting, but an hour or so walking around before or after going out to the church would be pleasant. I preferred Herceg-Novi, which is a bit farther from Kotor.

Heading south instead of north, you have Budva (which I felt was rather similar to Kotor) and--farther away--the town of Ulcinj, whose historic district feels Turkish. I also liked the former capital of Cetinje, for a look at non-coastal Montenegro. The road between Cetinje and Kotor is very twisty-turny. All of the places I've mentioned are accessible by public bus, but I can't guarantee they're all workable as day-trips from Kotor. I visited Ulcinj while I was staying in Podgorica (which itself is not a recommended destination).

I've read good things about Montenegro's national parks but wasn't able to visit any due to lack of bus service. I mention them in case you run into a bus-tour option.

I haven't been to Albania and don't remember seeing advertisements for Kotor-to-Shkoder bus tours, but my trip was 4 years ago and there may be something available now. It's possible that a private tour could be arranged at reasonable cost. If you don't find anything online, you might check with the Kotor tourist office.

Posted by
17 posts

Hello,
Thank you for you time and information. Have you driven a car in Montenegro and/or Albania? If yes, what conditions are the roads and how the border crossing for Americans? If you have rented a car can you cross the border? What rental car company did you use.
Thanks again, I truly appreciate your time and help.
Ann

Posted by
17 posts

Hi,
Thank you again for your time and information. It helps so much to talk to our travelers about their experiences and advice.
Have a great weekend!!
Ann

Posted by
99 posts

We drove through Kosovo and Albania to get to Kotor last year. We started our trip from Skopje, Macedonia, with our own car. The roads and bridges in Kosovo are still being built, and we had to drive through city or village streets, mountain roads too. Driving through Albania, the roads seem fine, with the occasional change in google maps where they forget to update the map when a road is being under construction. Because it was in the peak of the season, waiting at the borders ended up longer than we anticipated, maybe 20-30 minutes, and on the way back, the border Montenegro-Albania was a disorder, there was no order and cars were jumping in lanes in front of you. No traffic culture whatsoever.

Shkoder doesn't seem far away from Kotor, so you will be able to spend half a day there.
You could easily spend 6 hours in Kotor, to visit the Old Town, the village of Perast and Our Lady of the Rock. (They are close by)
You can definitely see a lot of things in Kotor if you decide to walk. You would need a ride only to go to the above mentioned islands.
There are a lot of Airbnb, private accommodation from booking.com. It is hard to find a big hotel in Kotor.

Hope this helps. Have fun!

Posted by
4218 posts

Have you driven a car in Montenegro and/or Albania? If yes, what conditions are the roads and how the border crossing for Americans? If you have rented a car can you cross the border? What rental car company did you use.

My family and I spent two weeks in Kotor this August, we had a car that we rented from Enterprise at Tivat airport. No issues with the car or Enterprise, it's a well respected company that I've used frequently in the UK with no problems. The roads that I drove on in Montenegro were, for the most part, perfectly acceptable, no different to many of the roads I've driven in the US. The smaller roads can be in a poorer condition. We didn't drive to Albania, we were intending to drive to Bosnia however the traffic was so bad at that time of year that the villa pool was such a better attraction however we did pay a €20 surcharge to Enterprise to facilitate the paperwork required to take the car into Bosnia when we picked the car up.

Kotor Old Town can be seen in 1/2 a day (unless you're really interested in every nook and cranny). We dipped into it over a number of days, popping in for lunch or dinner but the constant stream of monstrous cruise ships (we had three non cruise ship days over a two week period) meant the town was flooded with tourists and incredibly overcrowded.

We liked Perast, yes it is very small but it has a nice selection of waterfront restaurants and Our Lady of The Rock can be reached by a small private boat in a few minutes. We also took a boat tour from our villa in Muo (opposite Kotor Old Town across the water) around the bay, it took 20 minutes to reach Our lady of The Rock so not sure where the previous poster got 1.5 hours from (this was a cruiser not a speedboat).

Posted by
12155 posts

You didnt say where you were coming from, but assuming croatia, stop in Perast for Our Lady and lunch in Perast, then stop for a few hours in Kotor, then move on to Budva for two nights. Shoulder is a bit of a stretch with so little time but Stari Bar and Ulcinj are worth the effort for a long dat trip. Would help to know where you are coming from and going to in making any sort of a firm suggestion. For instance, if you are flying out of Podgorica, spend one night in Budva and one in Ulcinj. And you are coming from Dubrovnik, skip Kotor as it's just a small Dubrovnik, complete with crowds. As cheap as Montenegro is, I would hire aguide/car: I did and it was money well spent.

Since you seem to like the offbeat, look at Sarajevo. Sitting here now, real nice.

Posted by
194 posts

We were just in Kotor last week, and pretty much covered the town in a couple of hours. It's fun just to wander around -- there aren't any 'must see' spots. We didn't climb the wall, having done that in Dubrovnik and not being hikers. We contacted Miro & Sons, per the RS book and were very happy with the service. We had a full day personalized tour including Kotor, Perast, Budva, Cetinje and other spots with a driver and a guide for a reasonable price. Working with them was easy by email and they might be able to put something together for you. I don't know if they go beyond Montenegro, but I'd give them a shout.