Kate in Montenegro

an australian in the western balkans

Public Transport in Montenegro

Having lived in Montenegro without a car for a couple of years (for me, everyone is driving on the wrong side of the road), I’ve taken public transport literally all over the country.

The trains and buses are pretty basic but are inexpensive, surprisingly frequent and usually on time. However, using them can be tricky without these few simple tips that will make your journeys around the country much, much easier.

Inter-City Buses in Montenegro

One of the upsides to living in Podgorica is the easy access to the rest of the country by bus – there are dozens of buses a day to all corners of the country, the ticket office staff speak English, and there is a computer screen telling you the time of arrivals and departures and even which platform your bus leaves from.

This is the pinnacle of bus station quality in Montenegro, and they get more and more basic from there (ranging from sheds with out of date printed timetables to benches outside to unmarked stops under trees on the side of the highway). 

But don’t judge the bus system on the bus stations – with the very comprehensive bus schedule website, Busticket4.me, you can get around with ease. I’ve used this website to plan out trips all over the country and have never found the times or information to be wrong.

You can buy a ticket for your destination at the bigger stations (Podgorica, Kotor, Budva) but in smaller places you’ll just buy a ticket from the driver. Beware though that they won’t stop selling tickets even if seats are full; if you’re not fast to get on the bus you could end up sitting on your backpack in the aisle, or standing for the whole journey.

I also wouldn’t recommend buying tickets online for any journey unless you’re leaving from Budva or Podgorica. You will most likely need to exchange your home printed ticket at the ticket window for your real ticket (and pay a fee for the privilege) and in smaller places it might not even be accepted as a ticket. 

Also, there’s zero capability to scan a mobile ticket anywhere.

Local Buses in Montenegro

There are also local bus lines in popular regions, such as around Kotor and Boka Bay, and along the Budva coast. 

The Blue Line covers the area from Herceg Novi to Kotor and Tivat, passing through Dobrota, Perast, Risan and other popular stops. The Blue Line website is only in Montenegrin but has timetables.

The Mediteran Expres runs from Budva to Petrovac, passing through Bećići, Sveti Stefan and other stops on the coast. It also goes the other direction form Budva to Jaz and Ploče beaches. It doesn’t have a dedicated website but the Budva Tourist Office has the timetable (plus times are printed at the actual bus stops).

Trains in Montenegro

I love taking trains and gazing out the window for hours. As there are not a lot of train lines in the Balkans, I was excited to discover that there are two train lines in Montenegro: Bar to Bijelo Polje (which also extends onto Belgrade), and Podgorica to Nikšić.

The Bar to Podgorica section has the most trains with departures and arrivals almost every hour. It stops at a bunch of small stations like the airport, Vranjina and Virpazar, and costs 2.40 euro for the full journey. I’ve taken the Bar line train a million times, mostly to and from Podgorica to Sutomore, and the views going past Lake Skadar are stunning and worth the trip on their own.

The full Bar to Bijelo Polje service, also stopping in Kolašin and Mojkovac, runs four times a day, mostly early in the morning and late at night. 

This line also runs the Bar to Belgrade train, which leaves once a day in the evening from Bar. It also stops at the main stations in Sutomore, Podgorica, Kolašin and Bijelo Polje, and costs 21 euro for second class. I’m told it has spectacular views along the way, but in current times it is only a night train.

A train line also runs from Podgorica to Nikšić, stopping in Danilovgrad, for 2.80 euro for the journey. This only runs four times a day compared to the half-hourly buses to Nikšić, but hey, it’s a train!

The train information and timetable site is at zcg-prevoz.me

Even small stations usually have a ticket desk, but if you run out of time or there isn’t one – don’t worry, you can buy a ticket from the conductor on the train without an extra charge or fine.

While the timetable is pretty reliable, the trains themselves do vary a lot in quality. Some are a time travel trip back to the sixties with their outdated compartments and windows that are stuck shut. Others are surprisingly modern with bicycle racks and open, modern carriages. It’s a lottery which one you’ll get, however. 

Enjoy your travels around Montenegro! Send me a message if you need any further info on getting public transport around the place. 

44 Comments
  1. Adriana

    Hello Kate,
    Thank you so much for your detailed information on public transportation 🙂

    I have experience driving most of my life on the right side and I’m planning to go around Montenegro for about 9 days. Do you think it’s worth renting a car or it will be easy enough traveling around with trains and buses?

    Thank you so much for your reply!

    Kind regards,
    Adriana

  2. Kate

    Hi Adriana, the trains and buses work well between the major towns and the coast, but if you plan to visit the north or explore the national parks then it’s best to have a car. However, driving here is pretty crazy so I’d only recommend it if you are a confident driver!

  3. Andrew Stanton

    Hello Kate, do buses run relatively normally on Sundays or with a limited service? Thanks, Andrew

  4. Prash Nirmalarajah

    We are planning a trip to Montenegro via Podgorica along with Ulcinj and Kotor. We want to do road trip using public transport for the best experience.

    Can you please recommend the best scenic routes in the local bus /train journey across the country?

    Many thanks

  5. BARBARA AGLIOTI

    Dear Kate,
    I kindly ask your help to find the better solution to get in sveti stefan from the airport
    I’ll be out the podgorica airport at 18. what i can do at that time?
    The leaze solution is take a taxi

  6. Kate

    Hi Andrew, yes buses run normally on Sundays.

  7. Kate

    Hi Prash, there are many scenic bus and train trips! Just to mention a few favourites… Kotor to Podgorica by bus, Herceg Novi to Kotor by bus, and Podgorica to Kolasin by train.

  8. Kate

    Hi Barbara, I recommend booking a taxi through redtaxi.me to meet you at the airport and take you to Sveti Stefan.

  9. Anthony Walsh

    Hi Kate,
    I’m going to Bijela in October 2023 – are there buses along the coast to nearby towns?

    Tony

  10. Kate

    Hi Anthony! Yes, there are. You can take the Blue Line local bus along that section of the coast, or inter-town buses to Kotor and beyond.

  11. Sebastian

    Hello Kate!
    Thanks for your tips! I’m going to Kotor in a few days and I can’t find a bus from Kotor to Perast on the web, maybe I’m wrong, could you tell me if it’s possible to go from Perast by bus from Kotor?

    Thanks again!

  12. Kate

    Hi Sebastian, you can take the Blue Line bus from Kotor to Perast. There is a stop outside the walls of Kotor near the green market and the bus goes every hour.

  13. Emma

    Hi Kate, I am flying into Tivat and my hotel is in Ulcinj. I wanted to see if there was a way to use a bus to get down to Ulcinj, or would a taxi be best? Also, if I wanted to stop and explore another coastal town on my way to Ulcinj, which one would you choose? Thanks!

  14. Kate

    Hi Emma, there’s no direct bus from Tivat to Ulcinj so you will need to go Tivat-Budva and then Budva-Ulcinj – and personally I would take a taxi. If you want to make another stop I would explore Kotor or go to Stari Bar further down the coast near Ulcinj – or both!

  15. Gerald Stephens

    Hi Kate,
    Your website is great, so much information for those wanting to visit Montenegro. I’m planning on travelling from Podgorica to Peja (Kosovo) in April, do you have any information on bus service websites or timetables? Thanks!

  16. Lindsay

    My friend and I are staying near Skadar Lake in September. Should I hire a car from Airport or can we get around by bus?

  17. Lou

    Is there companies doing bus tours day trips to the national park? We want to travel around but not by car! Will use public transport where poss.

  18. Kate

    Hi Gerald, there is no direct bus from Podgorica to Peja. You can travel from Podgorica to Prizren in Kosovo daily (timetables are at http://www.busticket4.me) and from there you can probably find a local bus.

    Hi Lindsay, buses are very scarce around Skadar Lake so I would recommend hiring a car.

    Hi Lou, there are some great tourist day trips from Kotor to the rest of Montenegro, including the national parks. Check out 360 Monte for details.

  19. Cathy

    Hi Kate – great website! I want to travel by bus from Kotor to Tirana in mid May. Would you recommend booking in advance on busticket4.me or just going to the bus station a day or two before I want to travel? Would prefer rather than just turning up – but would an online ticket be accepted? Thanks!

  20. Kate

    Hi Cathy, May isn’t the busy season so just go to the bus station the day before to buy your tickets. You’ll need to print a ticket if bought online (and take it to the ticket counter at the station to pay some extra fees before you can use it), so there’s no real advantage to buying online.

  21. Cathy

    Thanks Kate!

  22. Cathy

    Hi Kate, I think we will now be travelling to Tirana from Budva in mid May. Do you know anything about Old Town Travel (based in Kotor I think). They have a direct bus to Tirana from Kotor stopping in Budva among other places, and it’s available to book online. Do you know if it’s reliable? Many thanks!

  23. Kate

    Hi Cathy, I’d suggest contacting Old Town Travel directly to make sure they will be definitely be operating the bus service that early in the season. I’ve had trouble in May in previous years, as many transfer services won’t run without a certain number of bookings (or booking out the whole bus).

  24. destiny

    Hi Kate! My boyfriend and I are travelling to Montenegro this June. We were wondering of the best way to get from Budva to Podgorica Airport, what do you suggest? We have seen that there is a bus from Budva to Podgorica but cannot seem to find any to the airport.
    Thanks so much! 🙂

  25. Federica

    Hi Kate,
    Thanks for this useful article. I’ll be in Montenegro next week until 2nd May. Are buses working as usual on 1st May?
    Thanks a lot

  26. Kate

    Hi destiny, there is no bus from Podgorica to the airport. You can take the bus from Budva to Podgorica, and then take a taxi to the airport for 7-8 euro.

    Hi Federica, buses should be running on the 1st of May but probably on a reduced schedule. I’d check at the bus station before the holiday to be sure.

  27. Nicola

    Hi
    My son and I are travelling to Montenegro in late June, what is the best way to get from Podgorica airport to Ucinij and then from Ucinij to kotor
    Many thanks

  28. Haesha

    Hi Kate . Really love your website very useful. My hotel is in Ulcinj and my partner and I would like to do a day trip on Kotor but I can’t find any buses online. Would a taxi be better or where can I find a bus?

  29. Kate

    Hi Haesha, there are 3-4 buses a day from Ulcinj to Kotor and the trip takes around three hours. For a day trip a taxi would probably be better as you won’t spend most of the day on the bus. If you do want to take the bus the timetable is at http://www.busticket4.me.

    Hi Nicola, with two people and luggage I’d take a taxi to Ulcinj from the airport in Podgorica.

  30. Luke Desira

    Hi Kate, really interested in travelling around Montenegro by bus but would like how to co-ordinate the schdule. For example to get to Zabljak village it seems long trip from Podgorica however from Kotor its less, what you suggest? Night train from Belgrade to Montenegro its comfortable enough to sleep in?

  31. Michele

    Thanks for Brilliant Article. There is so little info re transport in Montenegro.

  32. Alison

    Hi Kate
    Can you tell me if you can pay by card on the local buses or do you need to pay cash?

  33. Kate

    Hi Luke, it’s nearly an hour shorter by bus to Zabljak from Podgorica than from Kotor and the buses are much more frequent so I’d go from there. I haven’t taken the night train to Belgrade so can’t comment on that.

    Thanks Michele!

    Hi Alison, you will absolutely need cash for buses in Montenegro. Even at the main stations I don’t think they take cards.

  34. Sara

    Hi Kate, very useful tips! What would you suggest to visit for one week in Montenegro using public transport? Thank you!

  35. Kate

    Hi Sara, with only one week I’d start in Kotor, take a day trip on the bus to Herceg Novi, then take the bus down the coast to Ulcinj with a stop in Budva. If you still have extra time I’d also go to Žabljak in the north via Podgorica.

  36. Shivani

    Hi Kate, i was planning on traveling from Kotor to ulcinj then ulcinj to shkoder by bus, at the end of July/ august. As it is peak season do I need to book bus tickets online? Or can I just buy them there on the day? Thanks!

  37. Luke Desira

    hi 🙂 the inter-city buses have airconditon please..since this summer is very hot..and what about the night train belgrade to bar? is it comfortable the night train if i take first class? thanks

  38. Kate

    Hi Shivani, I’d suggest buying them the day before you plan to travel.

    Hi Luke, inter-city buses mostly have air-conditioning but it doesn’t always work very well so the buses can get pretty hot. I haven’t taken the night train to Belgrade, but I think first class definitely isn’t as luxurious as you’d expect in the rest of Europe. Take plenty of food and water and expect to be late.

  39. Godfrey

    Hi Kate,
    I am going to take the bus from Budva to Shkoder (Albania). I plan to purchase the ticket via http://www.busticket4.me. Since you mentioned that I may still need to pay a charge to exchange the home printed ticket to a real ticket, would you think it is OK to purchase the bus ticket at the bus station the day before I leave? I am a bit worried that the bus will be full.
    Thanks a lot!

  40. Carol

    Hi Kate, November and we are in Montenegro. Planning to take local Mo ntenegran train from Bar to Podgorica mid morning, is the scenery beautiful?

  41. Kate

    This is one of my favourite train trips – the views of Skadar Lake are wonderful!

  42. Kate

    Outside of peak season (July and August) it’s totally fine to buy a ticket the day before you travel.

  43. Shweta Joel

    Hi Kate I am planning to visit Durmitor for 4 days from Tirana in December so taking a bus from Tirana to Podgorica on 27th December and then train to Niksic and then Taxi but confused about date of going back between 30 or 31. Could you please confirm if buses and train run on 31st December normally or not on that route.

  44. Kate

    Buses and trains should run normally on the 31st December. You could also get the bus directly from Podgorica to Žabljak instead of taking the train to Nikšić, there are several departures daily.

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