The charming town of Kotor makes the perfect base to explore Montenegro, and even beyond. Plus, it’s a lovely destination in its own right. Read on to discover the best day trips from Kotor to add to your trip itinerary!
There are plenty of things to do in Kotor: it is arguably Montenegro’s most popular destination, with an atmospheric Old Town that is a joy to wander, plazas great for relaxing, and the Boka Bay, with all its beauty, just outside the gate to the Old Town.
But if you are planning a visit to Kotor, you’ll want to build in a few extra days in the town, to seize the opportunity to explore other parts of the Boka Bay, as well as the spectacular interior of Montenegro.
The Best Day Trips from Kotor
Montenegro is a small country, so it makes good sense to explore it from one base, so you’re not packing and unpacking every day or every couple of days. It’s easiest to get around Montenegro if you have a car, but if you don’t you can still see quite a bit using a combination of buses, boats, and guided tours.
Here, then, are the most amazing day trips you can do from Kotor!
Just a few short miles from Kotor along the Boka Bay is the lovely medieval town of Perast. Perast has a beautiful location, straight across from the Verige Strait, the picturesque narrowest point of Boka Bay.
Plus, the only two islets in the Bay are right off the coast of Perast. While you cannot disembark at the Island of Saint George, you can visit Our Lady of the Rocks.
The Church of Our Lady of the Rocks is beautiful, as is the ride to and from the shore of Perast. The island is actually man-made, with local fisherfolk throwing rocks in the Bay to build it up over the centuries. From the island, you get great views of Perast.
Aside from the visit to the island, wandering the little town of Perast is also fun. The waterfront promenade offers great views. Explore the many churches and palazzos in the Venetian town.
Getting from Kotor to Perast
Perast is only 7.5 miles from Kotor, and there are multiple ways to travel between the two towns.
If you have a car, you can drive from Kotor to Perast via the road that runs along the Boka Bay. It is a gorgeous drive, and should only take about 15 minutes in normal traffic.
But the road is one lane in each direction, and there’s traffic during the day, so allow about 30 minutes each way. You will find parking on either side of Perast, once you drive down the hill from the main road to the local waterfront road.
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If you want to travel from Kotor to Perast by public transport, you can take the local Blue Line bus. The journey takes about 30 minutes. In Perast, the bus stops right in front of St. Nicholas’ Church, so it’s super convenient. In season, the bus runs pretty regularly.
The regular buses from Kotor also pass by Perast, but the bus stop is on the main road above the town, so you will have to walk down to the town.
We took a taxi from Kotor to Perast, and it cost 20 Euros. We only opted for a taxi because it was raining the day we visited. Otherwise I would opt for a boat or the ferry!
In season, you can get from Kotor to Perast (and back) by ferry. The ferry was operating when we visited in mid-May. We took the ferry back to Kotor from Perast. The ride takes about 40 minutes, and you can snap beautiful photos of the scenery.
By Guided Tour
Consider this half-day private tour that combines Perast with a walking tour of Kotor. In Perast, you get some time in the town, plus the boat tour to Our Lady of the Rocks.You travel from Kotor to Perast and back by car or minivan.
Or check out this highly rated this 4-hour private tour that combines Perast and Kotor. In Perast, you will visit Our Lady of the Rocks by boat, and then spend some time exploring the town.
One of the oldest settlements on the eastern Adriatic, Budva makes for a great day trip from Kotor, especially if you are visiting in the summer and wish to enjoy some beach time.
Budva’s beautiful beaches are postcard worthy. Mogren Beach, just a stone’s throw from Old Town Budva, is one of the most gorgeous. Mogren Beach, and other Budva beaches, understandably get crowded in the summer.
If you prefer less lively beaches, you might want to take a boat trip out to Hawaii Island off the shore of Budva, where you’ll find less crowded but just as lovely beaches.
Old Town Budva is perfect for strolling, with its narrow alleys, pretty plazas, and charming churches. Don’t miss the Citadela: the views from the terraces are worth the entrance fee!
Getting from Kotor to Budva
Budva is about 14 miles from Kotor. You can visit Budva by car or by public transport.
If you have a car, you can drive from Kotor to Budva. In normal traffic, the drive should take about 30 minutes.
To get to Budva from Kotor using public transport, take the bus! The journey takes about 45 minutes each way. There are numerous departures in both directions every day.
The bus station in Budva is about a 20-minute walk from the Old Town.
By guided tour
This highly rated private tour combines a visit to Budva with a visit to Perast and a walking tour of Old Town Kotor. In Budva, the trip includes a guided walking tour of the Old Town.
#3 Boka Bay Boat Tour
Spending some time enjoying the beauty of the Boka Bay is a must when you visit Kotor. The surrounding scenery looks stunning from the water. A variety of boat tours are available, so you can pick one based on your interests and the time you have.
Check out this 8-hour cruise that has a fabulous itinerary: it includes a visit to the famous Blue Cave and Dobrec in the beautiful Luštica Bay, as well as the Church of Our Lady of the Rocks. You’ll view Mamula Fortress, the site of a former prison, from the water, and get the opportunity to swim in prime spots as well.
This popular 3-hour tour takes you to the Blue Cave, where you can swim, and the Church of Our Lady of the Rocks. You can view Mamula from the water on this cruise as well.
#4 Lovcen National Park
Lovcen National Park is home to some spectacular scenery as well as the Njegos Mausoleum, which is perched at the top of Jezerski Vrh, the lower of the two peaks of Mount Lovcen.
If you take the Kotor Serpentine route to Njeguši, you can stop at the little town to see the birthplace of Njegos and to sample the famous Njeguši ham and cheese. And the drive up the switchback road is just stunning.
Aside from taking in the views from the Njegos Mausoleum, which requires climbing 461 steps, there are trails at Lovcen National Park you can hike, although on a day trip that includes Njeguši and Cetinje, you likely won’t have time for much more than a short hike.
Cetinje, the old Montenegrin capital, is a short distance from the Njegos Mausoleum. It is a great place for lunch, unless you brought a picnic. You can wander the town, visit the monastery, and tour the tiny Court Church on Cipur.
Getting from Kotor to Lovcen National Park
Visiting Lovcen National Park is easiest if you have a car, because you can see and do a lot more on your day trip. We did a combined day trip to Lovcen National Park and Lake Skadar National Park. It was a long day, but perfectly doable with a car (or a guided tour).
The distance from Kotor to the Njegos Mausoleum, via the Kotor Serpentine, is about 22 miles. In normal traffic, and without stops, the drive should take about 60 minutes.
But you will want to stop at viewpoints, and at Njeguši, so allow yourself plenty of time. On the way back, you can drive from Cetinje to Kotor via Budva, and stop at the Sveti Stefan viewpoint, to snap photos of the picturesque resort island.
There is no direct bus from Kotor to Lovcen National Park. You can take the bus that goes up to Cetinje, and from Cetinje, take a taxi up to the mausoleum. I suggest negotiating a round trip taxi fare with wait time built in.
There are several departures each day between Kotor and Cetinje. The bus travels via Tivat and Budva to Cetinje, so you will not be able to catch the views along the switchback road.
By guided tour
Consider this highly rated group tour that takes you to both Lovcen National Park and Lake Skadar National Park. It is a long day, but you will see some incredible sights!
#5 Lake Skadar National Park
While you can visit Lovcen National Park and Lake Skadar National Park in one day, I would suggest allocating one day each, especially if you enjoy hiking and other outdoor activities.
Lake Skadar is the largest lake in southeast Europe and straddles Montenegro and Albania. It is home to an incredible number of birds, including the endangered Dalmatian Pelican, and several dozen types of fish. Bring your binoculars, or a zoom lens!
A boat tour on Lake Skadar is a must do. Boat tours leave from Virpazar, or from Rijeka Crnojevica. Look for one that takes you through the narrow vegetation lined waterways rather than just the open lake.
We didn’t go to Virpazar but Rijeka Crnojevica is a lovely little place, with a historic and extremely photogenic bridge, and a few restaurants lining the waterfront.
Getting from Kotor to Lake Skadar National Park
Visiting Lake Skadar National Park is easy if you have a car. You can also access the park via public transport or a guided tour.
The distance from Kotor to Rijeka Crnojevica is about 41 miles. In normal traffic, and without stops, the drive should take about one hour and 20 minutes.
From Kotor to Virpazar, the distance is about 40 miles, and the drive should take about one hour and 15 minutes in normal traffic.
There is no bus connection all the way to Rijeka Crnojevica from Kotor. Take the bus to Cetinje, and from there, take a taxi to and from Rijeka Crnojevica. The bus journey from Kotor to Cetinje is about one hour and 30 minutes.
To get by bus from Kotor to Virpazar, take a bus first to Petrovac, and then the bus that goes from Petrovac to Podgorica. The bus stops at Virpazar, but you can request the driver to let you off at the entrance to the park. The walk from Virpazar to the park entrance is about 0.5 mile.
The bus from Kotor to Petrovac takes about one hour and 15 minutes, and the bus from Petrovac to Podgorica takes one hour and 20 minutes.
You can take the bus from Kotor to Sutomore, a journey of about one hour and 30 minutes, and then the train from Sutomore to Virpazar, which only takes 12 minutes.
There are frequent train departures in both directions each day, and several bus departures in both directions everyday as well. If you plan to travel by public transport, this is likely your most convenient and quickest option.
By guided tour
Consider this highly rated group tour that takes you to both Lovcen National Park and Lake Skadar National Park. It is a great value, because you cover so many beautiful sights on this one tour!
#6 Durmitor National Park
Durmitor National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and renowned for its rugged beauty. If you wish to hike, or enjoy other adventure sports in the area, it’s probably better to plan on spending a couple of days here.
But Durmitor is doable as a day trip from Kotor if you just want to enjoy the scenery, and perhaps do a short walk or two. On a day trip, visit the famous Black Lake, where you can go for a walk and take lots of photos of the dark brooding waters.
You can also visit the historic Tara Canyon Bridge, where you can walk the length of the bridge and back, enjoying the magnificent views over the canyon, the blue Tara River far below, and the surrounding mountains. You can go ziplining here as well.
On the way, you can stop at Ostrog Monastery. The monastery is built into a cliff way up the mountainside. I couldn’t even begin to fathom how the structure was situated where it is! The detour takes about three hours, so if you’d prefer to spend more time at the national park, skip the monastery.
Getting from Kotor to Durmitor National Park
Žabljak is the town closest to Durmitor National Park, and it is 102 miles from Kotor. A car is super convenient for doing this day trip. If you do not want to drive, opt for a guided tour.
If you have a car, you can drive from Kotor to Durmitor National Park. In normal traffic, the drive to Žabljak should take about 2 hours and 30 minutes. It is just another couple of miles to the park entrance. There is paid parking by the entrance, and Black Lake is a short walk.
From Black Lake to the Tara Canyon Bridge, the distance is about 16 miles, and you can drive there in about 40 minutes in normal traffic. There is parking by the bridge as well, plus the bridge is open to vehicular traffic if you want to drive over it.
By Guided Tour
Check out this highly rated full day tour that covers Black Lake in Durmitor National Park, Tara Canyon, and the Ostrog Monastery. You get free time at both the bridge and the lake, plus several photo stops along the way. There is a small entrance fee to Black Lake.
There is a morning bus you can take from Kotor to Žabljak, the town closest to the park, and an evening bus back to Kotor. But I really do not recommend this, unless you have absolutely no other choice. The bus journey is long each way, just short of four hours, and you will have little time at the park.
If you plan to travel by bus, spending a night in Žabljak would be worthwhile, so you have plenty of time to explore the park. Check bus schedules closer to your date of visit, to confirm the schedule.
#7 Tara River Rafting Trip
If you love adventure sports, a Tara River rafting trip is a fun day tour to take from Kotor. The Tara River is about 91 miles in length, and creates the deepest canyon in Europe. The river is known for the spectacular scenery on either side, particularly within the canyon.
On the tour, you will travel to Šćepan Polje, where you will have breakfast before traveling to the start point of the rafting. Then you’ll enjoy whitewater rafting along the best rapids and have the opportunity to swim and take photos before returning to Šćepan Polje for lunch.
The rapids are classified as level 2 to 3, depending on the season. Read reviews and book your tour here!
#8 Bar and Ulcinj
Bar and Ulcinj lie south of Budva, along the Adriatic Coast, and are worth exploring if you have room in your itinerary. Ulcinj, in fact, is the southernmost city on the coast of Montenegro, just a few miles north of the border with Albania.
The town of Bar is located on the water, but Stari Bar (Old Town Bar) is in the hills a few miles inland. Stari Bar was abandoned following an earthquake in 1979 that destroyed the aqueduct supplying water. to the town.
Today there are shops and restaurants around the ruins of Stari Bar. Stari Bar is about 3 miles from the town of Bar. If you arrive by public transport, there are local buses that operate between Bar and Stari Bar, especially during the season. Or you can take a taxi.
Tour the ruins of the old fortress. Visit King Nikola’s Palace. Admire the Old Olive of Mirovica, said to be more than 2,000 years old! If you would like to spend some time at a sandy beach, drive to Sutomore, a few miles out of town.
In Ulcinj, you will find many long sandy beaches, as well as old olive groves and the island of Ada Bojana, created by the delta of the Bojana River. The town itself is one of the oldest settlements along the Adriatic Coast, with mosques as well as churches you can visit. Ulcinj is also home to a colony of flamingos!
Getting from Kotor to Bar and Ulcinj
Bar is about 38.5 miles from Kotor, and Ulcinj is about 54 miles from Kotor. You can visit Bar and Ulcinj by car or by public transport. If you visit by public transport, you may want to visit either Bar or Ulcinj, for a more laid back visit.
If you have a car, you can drive from Kotor to Bar and Ulcinj. In normal traffic, the drive to Bar should take about 60 minutes, and the drive from Kotor to Ulcinj is about one hour and 30 minutes. The drive from Bar to Ulcinj is about 30 minutes.
To get from Kotor to Bar using public transport, take the bus! The quickest bus takes about one hour and 30 minutes, and the slowest takes 2 hours. There are a few departures every day, making a day trip feasible.
Buses also connect Kotor and Ulcinj, but you may not find direct connections convenient for a day trip all through the year. Instead, travel from Kotor to Bar, and then take another bus from Bar to Ulcinj, and vice versa on the return trip. There are frequent departures between Bar and Ulcinj everyday.
#9 Herceg Novi and Risan
Herceg Novi and Risan are two other towns on the Boka Bay that you can visit as a day trip from Kotor. If you are driving down to Kotor from Dubrovnik, these two towns lie on the route and are easily explored on the day you transfer if you start early.
At Risan, there’s really just one small exhibit of 2nd and 3rd century Roman mosaics to tour, so it’s a quick stop. But it is worth visiting, because the mosaics are quite well preserved.
The star attraction is a mosaic of Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep, in what was the bedroom of the villa. There are detailed informational panels that explain the history.
Herceg Novi is a larger town with many sights worth visiting. Climb to the top of the Kanli Kula Fortress for gorgeous views over the water. Wander the streets of the town: they are pretty! Walk the waterfront.
Visit the Church of Saint Michael the Archangel, and the Church of Saint Jerome. From the grounds of the Church of Saint Jerome, you get nice views of the bay.
The Savina Monastery, just outside the town, is also worth visiting, with its lovely views and terraced cemetery. If you arrived by public transport, take a taxi to the monastery and back.
Getting from Kotor to Herceg Novi and Risan
Herceg Novi is about 27 miles from Kotor, and Risan is about 11 miles from Kotor, on the way to Herceg Novi. You can visit both towns by car or by public transport.
If you have a car, you can drive from Kotor to Herceg Novi in a little over one hour in normal traffic. You can stop to see the Risan mosaics on your way there or back: there is a sign on the road, and parking in front of the museum.
At Herceg Novi, park in one of the parking lots at the waterfront and then walk up to the old town.
To get from Kotor to Herceg Novi using public transport, take the bus! The bus takes about one hour, and there are frequent departures each day in both directions. The buses stop in Risan as well.
It’s more common to do Kotor (and Budva) as a day trip or tour from Dubrovnik in neighboring Croatia. But there is no reason why you cannot visit Dubrovnik from Kotor for the day unless you already have Dubrovnik on your trip itinerary.
On a day trip to Dubrovnik, plan on spending most of your time in Old Town Dubrovnik. Walk the famous Dubrovnik town walls, or a part of the circuit, for sensational views.
Stroll Stradun, the marble-paved main street in the Old Town, and explore some side streets if steps aren’t an issue. Visit the Dubrovnik Cathedral and the Rector’s Palace.
Drive up to Mount Srd (or take the cable car) for panoramic views over the Old Town and the water. For the best photos, visit earlier in the day.
Take a boat tour out to Lokrum, the little island just off the shore. You can walk one of the trails, and snap photos of the peacocks that roam free on Lokrum.
Getting from Kotor to Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is about 56 miles from Kotor. You can visit Dubrovnik from Kotor by car or by bus, or opt for a guided tour. Remember to take your passport and other travel documents with you!
If you have a car, you can drive from Kotor to Dubrovnik in a little over two hours in normal traffic. There is a border crossing on this route, which could add a significant amount of travel time, depending on time of year and day.
At Dubrovnik Old Town, there are parking lots outside Pile Gate or Ploce Gate (the two main gates to Old Town Dubrovnik), where you can park.
To get from Kotor to Dubrovnik using public transport, take the bus! The travel time is about two hours and 30 minutes, and there are frequent departures each day in both directions.
The bus terminal in Dubrovnik is a little less than 2 miles from the Old Town. You can take a local bus, or a taxi, from the bus terminal to the Old Town.
By Guided Tour
For a convenient way to do a day trip to Dubrovnik without the need to drive, consider a tour. Check out this private tour option that will pick you up at your hotel and drop you off right at the gate to Old Town Dubrovnik, and vice versa on the way back.
So there you have it: 10 wonderful day trips from Kotor to add to your Montenegro itinerary! Have you done any of them? I would love to hear your thoughts if you have: comment below to respond!
And if you haven’t yet visited Kotor (or Montenegro), I hope you plan a trip soon to this spectacularly beautiful country. Exploring it via day trips from a comfortable base in Kotor is both easy and efficient, and there are so many wonderful things to do in Montenegro!
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Photo License Ulcinj CC BY-SA 3.0