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the pinnacle of bus station quality in Montenegro, and they get more and more basic from there (ranging from sheds with out of date printed timetables to benches outside to unmarked stops under trees on the side of the highway).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.
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!
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!
Hello Kate, do buses run relatively normally on Sundays or with a limited service? Thanks, Andrew
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?
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
Hi Andrew, yes buses run normally on Sundays.
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.
Hi Barbara, I recommend booking a taxi through redtaxi.me to meet you at the airport and take you to Sveti Stefan.
I’m going to Bijela in October 2023 – are there buses along the coast to nearby towns?
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.
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?
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.
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!
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!
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!
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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).
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! 🙂
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
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.