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How to get from Montenegro to Croatia and back. Tips for crossing the border, webcams, options via Bosnia, and crossing the border by sea.

Crossing the border from Montenegro to Croatia

The main border crossing between Croatia and Montenegro lies on the Adriatic Highway between Dubrovnik and Herceg Novi. Debeli Brijeg is on the Montenegrin side and Karasovići is on the Croatian side.

While things run smoothly most of the year, this border crossing gets VERY busy in the peak of a good season, and you are advised to either avoid, if possible, or make sure you have left plenty of time if you are catching a flight.

There is also a second, much smaller border crossing between the two countries at Kobila – Vitaljina. The border crossing was recently closed for a complete reconstruction of the infrastructure, and then again closed on several occasions during 2020 to help fight the pandemic. So, if you’re planning to go to that border crossing, it’s probably worth checking in advance to make sure it’s open. One place where you can check is the HAK interactive map.

2021 Reality – Epidemiological Measures

Croatia is in the EU, while Montenegro is not, and neither of them are within the Schengen space. That has informed a lot of decisions on passing the Croatian-Montenegro border in the last year. The measures on both Croatian and Montenegrin side have changed frequently, and at the moment of this writing they are:

  • You can enter Montenegro freely, without any limitations, if you’re a resident of any of the EU countries, or many other countries on their green list. If you’re a resident of a “orange list country” (which includes Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia and the USA), you will have to present a PCR or antibodies test.
  • All foreign citizens can enter Croatia from Montenegro with a negative PCR test for COVID-19, not older than 48 hours (or self-isolate for 14 days). In addition to the test, the non-EU residents need to need to provide a valid reason for entry.

This info is current at time of writing (Feb 2021) and will be updated periodically. For the latest news, please refer to COVID-19 in Croatia Travel Update or get an answer in real time from the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community (you will need to download the app).

Useful border crossing options from Croatia to Montenegro via Bosnia

Rather than fight your way through the main border crossing at the height of summer, I do encourage you to check out some border options via a third country, Bosnia and Hercegovina. And while this advice is absolutely valid and golden during “normal times” (remember those?), things will probably be further complicated during the COVID-19 fighting times. It’s probably best not to do this currently, unless you’re sure you have all the paperwork and a lot of nerves. Besides, there probably won’t be that much of a queue on the Croatia-Montenegro borders anyway.

I realise that having to go to a third country to cross a border may seem a little strange, but this is the Balkans baby, and anything goes.

The two border crossings between BiH and Montenegro are MUCH smaller, more remote and consequently attract much less traffic. They are the only ones I use during the summer.

In fact, I would even go as far as to say that the very best way to drive from Split to Montenegro would be via Bosnia. You will miss the Croatian bit of the Adriatic coast entirely. The first view of the Boka Bay will be all the more magnificent after the stress-free inland drive!

Simply head for the town of Trebinje is Rebublika Srpska, and then make your choice. You can drive to Herceg Novi or towards Nikšić a little further north. Be aware that the Herceg Novi crossing comes with a 3 euro road toll.

This is especially funny if you drive from Herceg Novi to the border. The ‘road’ to the border goes through some very tiny back streets as you leave Herceg Novi, and the thought that you are on the road to an international border – and having to pay a road tax – is laughable.

Car insurance and the Croatian-Montenegrin border

If you are renting a car in Croatia and plan to visit Montenegro, make sure that the car is insured. Car insurance is obviously mandatory in Montenegro, but it is not always covered by insurance schemes.

If you are looking to buy insurance, then you must do so at the main crossing at Debeli Brijeg. Coverage starts at 15 euro for 15 days – the latest prices are below and on this link.

There insurance coverage is one major caveat in traveling to Montenegro through Bosnia. You can only buy car insurance at the main Croatian crossing at Debeli Brijeg. If you need car insurance for Montenegro, then you need to arrange it either in advance or buy it at Debeli Brijeg.

I found this out the hard way when trying to cross the more northern border near
Nikšić several years ago. After a long discussion, the border guards agreed to call an insurance broker in Nikšić, who brought the required insurance by taxi from
Nikšić. It was not cheap…

Public transport and transfers from Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik Airport

The proximity of Dubrovnik Airport to Montenegro makes it an ideal entry point in many respects. With an enviable number of flights throughout the year, many tourists to Montenegro use Dubrovnik as their entry point.

Additionally, Dubrovnik is a very popular day trip from Montenegro. All you need to know about getting from Dubrovnik Airport to Montenegro.

The good news is that there is a dedicated bus lane through the main border, so waiting times in the season should not be extreme. Here is the timetable connecting Kotor, Tivat and Herceg Novi to Dubrovnik.

Looking for a fast, reliable and trouble-free transfer to or from Montenegro? Contact TC transfer partner Adriatic Transfers for your one-stop solution.

Crossing from Croatia to Montenegro by sea

The Adriatic, of course, is a major sailing destination. The arrival of Porto Montenegro opened the doors for the super yachts, and this has also contributed to an increase in tourist maritime traffic between the two countries.

If you’re planning to visit Montenegro by yacht (unfortunately there is no public sea transport from Croatia to Montenegro, and organized sea trips all include same Debeli Brijeg border crossing by bus), consider ports of Kotor, Tivat (Porto Montenegro) or Zelenika.

The coastguard clearance procedure is standard: be ready to provide information on vessel name and owner’s name, vessel length, radio call-sign, flag and registered port, destination as well as last port of call. For detailed information on arrival to ports, taxes and tariffs see following links:

Yacht Agent

Porto Montenegro

Port of Kotor

Port of Dubrovnik

Helicopter from Dubrovnik to Tivat and Podgorica

The quickest transfer between the two countries is by helicopter. Private helicopter transfers are available (as well as panorama flights) from Dubrovnik Airport to both Tivat and Podgorica. Border formalities are dealt with at the airport terminals. If you would like to book a helicopter transfer, please contact us at [email protected] Subject Helicopter.

How much time do I need to get from Montenegro to Dubrovnik Airport?

It is the eternal question on tourists’ lips during the season – just how much time is needed to cross the border to make the flight from Dubrovnik Airport?

Out of season, there is no problem whatsoever, and border waiting times are very short. At this time of year, the journey from the ferry to the airport is less than one hour. In summer, however…

Summer waiting times outside the peak times of July and August tend to be no more than 20 minutes, but in peak season, it could be hours. Literally… and I fondly recall a 6-hour-wait at the border coming back from Albania several years ago.

My experience is that queues are much shorter in the very early morning. If that is not an attractive option for you, then consider taking a longer drive through one of the smaller borders via Bosnia. Or go the night before and enjoy the charms of Dubrovnik to be sure.

If you are travelling by bus, unfortunately the main border crossing is your only option.

Border webcams at the borders from Croatia to Montenegro

Modern technology has made trip planning considerably easier in recent years. So too on the main border crossing from Montenegro to Croatia. A webcam operated by the Croatian Road Association gives an idea of the queues, and you can check out the latest situation.