Lately, a number of cheap flights started operating to Podgorica (the capital) and to the Tivat airport, which is closest to Kotor and serves the other coastal towns, like Budva, Herceg Novi, etc.
Besides, if you don’t have a problem with a Schengen visa, you could fly into the Dubrovnik airport and get to Montenegro from there, as Herceg Novi is really close to this airport. There are buses running from Dubrovnik to Herceg Novi and to Kotor.
You can also travel from neighbouring countries by buses or mini-buses.
There are buses between Ulcinj and Shkoder in Albania. Then from Shkoder you can travel onwards to Tirana. When crossing the border with Albania on the bus, someone will take your passports, I didn’t wanna give mine, but there is just no other way. After a while they return with passports and the bus moves. When you arrive to Shkoder, the bus station is basically the buses and minibuses parked at the roadside.
Another way to travel on this route is by shared taxi. They will ask for a per person payment. On our way back to Montenegro from Albania, we apparently travelled on some sort of a holiday, so we found no bus. We had to negotiate with the taxi driver (there are plenty around the place, where the buses and mini-buses stop) and get a shared ride.
There are also bus connections between Herceg Novi and Mostar (as well as Trebinje) in Bosnia and Hercegovina. If you want to travel from Kotor to B&H, then you better not take the direct bus, which goes via Podgorica, but rather go to Herceg Novi first and take a bus from there.
Buses are the most common form of transportation. They run quite often inbetween the cities. Buses are operated by different companies, as they are not nationalized. Therefore, just don’t care, which company is it, find the one going to where you need.
If you are visiting the coastal towns, this will be your main form of transport as well. The prices range from 3 to 10 EUR depending on the length of your journey. It should be noted that you may have to add 1 EUR per piece of big luggage, but in our experience it depends on which company you end up with.
Buses are usually quite all right and often air-conditioned. They are very rarely full. I remember having to stand on the bus only once.
There is no need to book your bus journey in advance. We only bought our tix from Kotor to Podgorica just in case, when we arrived in Kotor. For all other journeys we bought tix on the spot before the journey and never had any problems. If you absolutely need to get to the airport or be somewhere at a specific time, still buy the tix in advance either at the bus station or online.
There is no official website for getting bus tickets online, given that the bus network is not centralized, and many different companies run them. However, this website https://busticket4.me/ is as official, as it can get for getting tix. I would still buy them on the spot. If you still purchase online, make sure to print your ticket, they hardly ever accept the mobile ticket. Btw. some bus stations may not accept an online ticket. I heard that they don’t in Ulcinj. We never tried using online tix, so can’t attest to this.
Our way of taking a bus was different depending on the city we were in. For instance, Kotor, Budva and other bigger cities have designated bus stations, from where you can take the relevant bus, the schedule, etc. In other smaller cities, like Sutomore, Petrovac, etc, you will have to go to the main road, find a spot, where the bus can stop and just hail one, when it is passing.
Bus schedules are not too easy to find online. This website seems to be working all right to check schedules https://waytomonte.com/en/-bus-schedule . But either way, buses run inbetween cities quite often from early morning (5 to 6 am) to quite late (8pm is the latest on bigger distances, but on smaller ones, you can even find buses at 10pm). So, you shouldn’t worry much about bus schedules, unless you need to find a bus at a very specific time and to a specific destination last minute.
There is basically no transport inside the cities. Only Podgorica has a bus network, but they are infrequent. Anyway, you won’t need any transport, unless you stay far from a bus station or a city center. As for other small cities, they are very much walkable and you definitely need not transport.
Another easy option to get around the country, especially if you want to visit less visited spots, would be to rent a car. The driving is not too crazy and it shouldn’t be extremely difficult for you to do this, if you know how to drive.
It should be noted that there is a railway network linking Podgorica with Bar, however, train system is not often used, it’s underfunded and not too reliable.
How to travel from Podgorica airport to Podgorica and other cities – from Podgorica airport you don’t have many options. You will have to go to Podgorica bus station and then get a bus to your destination from there. The airport is not directly served by public transport, however, if you are up for it you can walk to the train station, which is about a km away or to the main road to catch a bus to Podgorica. There are a couple of official taxi counters with fixed rates, while the taxis outside can end up cheaper. Either way, it would make 8-12 EUR, depending on your haggling skills.
How to travel from Tivat airport to Kotor – unfortunately, there are no public transport options. There are a number of taxis, which ask exorbitant prices. To Kotor it shouldn’t cost more than 10EUR. If they ask for more, just find another. I have also heard of taxi scams, some people have been asked exorbitant prices at the end of their journey and when they refused to pay, the taxi driver just drove off with their luggage.
How to get from bus stations to city centers – almost all city bus stations are 10-15 mins walk away from the city centers. In Kotor, it’s about 5 mins away, in Podgorica, about 10, we just walked to our accommodation. In Herceg Novi and Budva it’s also a short walk away, similarly in Bar and Petrovac. The only exception is Ulcinj, where we had to take a taxi from the station to the center, as it was a long walk with the luggage – over half an hour.