Renting a Car in Kotor, Montenegro – The Complete Guide

Situated along the picturesque Bay of Kotor, the town of Kotor provides visitors with a charming medieval atmosphere surrounded by natural beauty. While Kotor itself is compact and walkable, having a rental car opens opportunities to freely explore the stunning surrounding region at your own pace.

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about renting a car in Kotor and cruising around Montenegro in your set of rental wheels.

Should You Rent a Car in Kotor?

Renting a car in Kotor offers distinct advantages for travelers looking to make the most of their Montenegrin holiday:

  • Freedom to cruise along the bay and coastline on your schedule
  • Easy day trips to charming seaside towns like Budva, Perast, and Herceg Novi  
  • Access to mountain villages, wineries, and historic sites inland 
  • Avoid reliance on public transportation or packaged group tours

For travelers spending at least several days in Kotor, having your rental car is highly recommended to appreciate the diversity of landscapes and attractions in Montenegro.

Which Areas Near Kotor Are Best Explored by Rental Car?

Some top sites and towns worth dedicating a day trip to from Kotor include:

Bay of Kotor – Drive the loop along the bay’s perimeter to take in seaside vistas, quaint villages, and medieval fortresses. Don’t miss photo stops in Risan, Perast, and Morinj.

Budva – Just an hour north of Kotor, Budva is Montenegro’s most popular resort town with buzzing nightlife and beaches galore.

Lovćen National Park – Ascend into the mountains to this pristine park offering stunning panoramas from viewpoints like the Njeguši road. Don’t miss the Mausoleum of Petar II Petrović Njegoš.

Cetinje – Montenegro’s old royal capital set in a valley is filled with intriguing historical sites like the Biljarda Palace and Cetinje Monastery.

Ostrog Monastery – This 17th-century cliffside monastery is one of the country’s most significant religious sites, located about 2 hours north of Kotor.


How to Rent a Car in Kotor

Booking a rental car in Kotor is generally quick and straightforward. You’ll have the option to reserve online directly via major international rental brands, through OTAs like or Kayak, or using on-site rental agencies upon arrival. For the best rates and selection, booking at least 2-4 weeks in advance is recommended. You can pick up your rental car right at the Tivat Airport, just 20km outside Kotor.

Major Car Rental Companies in Kotor 

International brands operating in Kotor include Hertz, Sixt, Europcar, Budget, National, and more. Local agencies like Unirent and Montenegro Rent-A-Car also offer competitive rental prices. Shop around for deals across providers. Opt for well-known brands if you want peace of mind or loyalty perks.

Purchase Rental Car Insurance 

Collision damage waiver (CDW) and theft protection insurance are highly recommended when renting a car in Montenegro, as your policy may not extend coverage. This protects you from large out-of-pocket costs if the car gets damaged or stolen. Expect to pay $15-30 extra per day for this essential insurance.

Get an Automatic Transmission

Roads in Montenegro are mostly narrow and winding, so opting for automatic over manual transmission makes driving easier and less stressful. Just take care of steep inclines and use lower gears. Automatics cost only $5-20 more per day typically.

Strategize Pick Up and Drop Off

Booking round-trip to pick up and drop off your Kotor rental car at Tivat Airport streamlines logistics, though one-way rentals between cities are possible for a fee. For early departing flights, arrange a drop box option so you can return the car anytime.

Documents Needed to Rent a Car in Kotor

To pick up your reserved rental car, present your valid driver’s license from your home country, passport, credit card for payment, and printed voucher if you pre-paid online. Some rental agencies may require an International Driving Permit (IDP) along with your domestic license.

Inspect the Rental Car Thoroughly 

Before driving off the rental lot, do a thorough walk-around to check for any pre-existing damage. Note dents, scratches, or low tire pressure and point out any issues to the agent before taking possession. This protects you from any unfair accusations when returning the car.

Return the Car with a Full Tank

Avoid expensive refueling fees by returning your rental car with the gas tank filled to the same level as when you picked it up. Fill up right before dropping it off. Policies vary, but pricing is often inflated compared to local gas stations.

Returning the Car

Give yourself ample time and aim to return your rental car during the agency’s staffed hours. Review closing procedures so you know where to park and drop keys, and can get your receipt. Thoroughly clean out your belongings too!

Renting a Car in Kotor with Kids

From car seats to entertainment, renting a car with kids in tow brings its own set of considerations. Here are some tips for smooth family car rental experiences in Kotor:

Car Seats

In Montenegro, child car seats are legally required for all children under age 12 and under 1.5 meters (4’11”) tall. When renting a car, car seats are your responsibility. Here are the main options:

– Rent from a rental agency – Reserve an infant, convertible, or booster seat upfront for €5-15 per day. Limited supply; book early.

– Bring your own – The easiest option if you already own suitable safe seats. Just pack and install them properly.

– Purchase locally – Budget around €100-150 per seat if buying new at retailers like Deca or DM.

Regardless of how you obtain them, use regulated seats meeting the UN ECE R44 safety standard. 

LATCH Equipped Models

Most modern rental cars should be equipped with ISOFIX/LATCH anchors to properly install infant or convertible seats using the latch system rather than seat belts alone. Always verify this before booking a rental car or bringing your seat.

Vehicles for Families

Carry strollers, bags, and other kid gear comfortably by reserving a mid-size sedan or van rather than the smallest economy car. Minivans like the Volkswagen Touran are optimal for fitting 2-3 car seats and luggage while maintaining cabin comfort.

Driving Tips

Adjust to Montenegro’s narrow, winding roads by driving cautiously below speed limits, keeping space between vehicles, and avoiding tailgating. Point out interesting sights to keep kids engaged. Travel early or late in the day to minimize antsy moments. Bring snacks, tablets or books to stay content on longer drives. With the right preparation, seeing Montenegro’s beauty by rental car as a family is smooth sailing!

How to Navigate Roads in Kotor

Driving in Montenegro requires caution and defensive habits, but a bit of preparation goes a long way. Follow these tips for a less stressful experience:

Get a Good Map or GPS

Quality navigation is essential to explore winding coastal and mountain roads. Use Google Maps or rent a GPS from your rental agency – around €5-10 per day. Offline maps still provide backup when cell service is spotty in rural areas.  

Watch for Wildlife

In rural areas, keep your eyes peeled for crossing animals like dogs, goats, and free-roaming cattle. Drive slowly and give any animals plenty of clearance. Honk if needed to encourage them to move safely out of the roadway.

Allow Passing

Montenegro’s mountain roads are mostly single-lane. Pull over where possible if faster locals are tailgating to let them pass safely. Don’t take it personally; it’s customary here.

Avoid Night Driving

Stick to daylight hours only if at all possible. Roads are very poorly lit at night, increasing danger. Drunk driving is also common during late night hours, so simply avoid driving at these times.

Brace for Rough Roads

Outside urban areas, roads are often in poor condition. Drive slowly and carefully watch for potholes, debris, or sudden elevation changes on narrow rural paths to protect your rental car from damage.

Read more: What Happens If You Damage A Rental Car Without Insurance

Paying Tolls in Montenegro

On main highways connecting cities like the Adriatic Highway (Jadranska Magistrala), you’ll pass through occasional toll booths. Costs range from €0.50 to €3.50 depending on road distance. Cash euro and credit cards are accepted. Your rental car will be outfitted with a toll transponder to make passage seamless.

Getting Gas/Petrol

Petrol stations are readily available even in small towns, typically marked with INA or Lukoil signage. Attendants provide full service, but make sure to settle your bill inside first rather than paying pump side. Cash or credit cards are accepted. Gas costs around €1.20-1.40 per litre.

Parking in Kotor

While street parking in Kotor’s world town is limited, there are several parking lots signposted around the perimeter with hourly and daily rates ranging from €0.50 to €5. Parking is generally easy and safe, but never leave valuables visibly in the car. For longer trips, ask your hotel if they offer secured parking options. Avoid any spots marked with residential permit signs.

Car Trouble and Accidents

Hopefully, your rental car serves you well, but it pays to be prepared if you encounter any mishaps on the road:

Car Breakdown?

First, move your car to a safe spot out of traffic. Use emergency flashers and place warning triangles behind the vehicle. Contact the rental agency or roadside assistance service through your insurance provider. For minor issues like flat tires, use your spare and replace them later. 

Car Accident?

If involved in an accident, remain at the scene and contact police immediately to file an official report, which your rental agency will require. Exchange info with other involved parties, documenting with photos. Report any injury or property damage. Comprehensive insurance should protect most losses. 

Avoid Scams

Criminals sometimes stage fake scenarios to take advantage of unsuspecting motorists. Be skeptical of:

– Flat tire helpers – Good Samaritans offering unsolicited help changing purportedly damaged tires. The goal is to steal items from your rental car while “helping”.

– Spilled liquid blackmail – Scammers pour liquid on your car and then demand payment for “damage”. Drive away and report the incident rather than succumbing. 

– Accident extortion – Crooks deliberately crash into or accuse you of hitting their vehicle and request immediate cash compensation. Insist on going through insurance channels legitimately.

What to See by Car in Kotor

A rental car opens up easy access to Kotor’s charming neighboring towns and must-see sites. Here are just some top highlights perfect for road-tripping:

Perast – Just 15 minutes from Kotor lies this lovely waterfront town, great for strolling the promenade. Don’t miss the striking islands of St. George and Our Lady of the Rocks.

Lovćen National Park – Take the drive up to Mt. Lovćen through steep switchbacks and forested slopes. Marvel at the vistas and tour the impressive Mausoleum of Petar II.

Budva – Soak up sun and sea in Montenegro’s premier beach destination just an hour from Kotor. Wander the atmospheric Old Town with a buzzing nightlife.

Sveti Stefan – Gaze upon this iconic island village connected to land by a narrow isthmus. Enjoy fresh seafood with your feet in the sand.

Cetinje – Explore Montenegro’s old capital in a valley below Mt. Lovćen, home to cultural sites like the National Museum and Biljarda Palace.

The freedom of cruising in a rental car lets you pack your Kotor holiday with diverse destinations and unforgettable scenery. With this comprehensive guide, you can hit the road in Montenegro with confidence. Where will your wheels take you?

Renting a car in Kotor – FAQ

Where can I rent a car in Kotor?

There are several car rental agencies located right in Kotor including Hertz, Sixt, and local companies like Montenegro Travel Service. The Kotor bus station also often has rental booths. You can also rent a car at the airports in Tivat and Podgorica and drive to Kotor.

What is the best way to get to Kotor from the airport?

The closest airport is Tivat which is about 20km from Kotor. You can take a taxi directly from Tivat airport to Kotor which takes about 20-30 minutes. Alternatively, renting a car at Tivat gives you maximum flexibility to explore the bay at your own pace.

What type of rental car do I need in Kotor?

Kotor’s Old Town has very narrow, pedestrian-only streets. If you are staying in the heart of Kotor, you do not need a rental car during your stay. Consider renting a small car like a sedan or compact to easily maneuver around the tight streets and limited parking. 4x4s are useful for exploring the mountain roads above Kotor.

Where can I park a rental car in Kotor?

Parking is very limited in the historic Old Town. There are public pay parking lots at the entrance to the Old Town which are the most convenient option. Other public lots are available but may require a bit more walking.