Perast is one of the small towns along the Kotor Bay. The Kotor Bay goes 28 km into the mainland. The total area of the Bay is 87.3 km2, length of the coastline is 105.7 km, and the entrance is almost 3 km wide. We went there by driving along the Kotor Bay. If we took a boat tour instead, we would be rewarded with iconic Bay views. The stunning backdrop of imposing cliffs that plummet to a narrow inlet of the sparkling Adriatic Sea is just unique. There are several remote towns and villages dotted along the Kotor Bay. And, Perast is the most beautiful town in the Kotor Bay Area.
Get to Perast via Kotor Bay
On a dry sunny day, we started our journey from Tivat and drove towards the north. Kotor Bay is the southernmost fjord in Europe. Pretty waterside villages dot along the rocky coastline. The main road along the coast is very narrow but very scenic. We were not able to find a place to stop until shortly before the road turning into the west, a place not far from Holiday Home Nautica where a mussel farm is located. We were totally attracted by the stunning scenery. Not far from the farm, on the west side, we arrived at Perast.
The history of Perast
Throughout the centuries, many empires battled for control of the city. It used to belong to the Byzantine Empire, medieval Serbia, Venetian Republic of Venice, and Hungary. Later, French-occupied Perast from 1807 to 1814 and Austrian ruled until 1918. In the 18th century under the Venetian Republic, Perast became a prosperous shipbuilding town. It had as many as four active shipyards, But now, only a few hundred people still live there.
Many churches and palaces are signs of its heydays. The city’s sixteen Baroque palaces were mostly built in its heyday. During the same period, its seventeen Catholic churches and two Orthodox churches were also built. The old city does not have a defensive wall, but instead, it has nine defensive towers, the most important of which is the tower of the Holy Cross. These were built by the navy of the Venetian Republic in the 15th and 16th centuries. Not all of them are left today.
We tried to have a round walk in the old town, but it was impossible to do so. Some narrow alleys lead to nowhere. Sometimes we ended up in a private orchard. Walked up the stone stairs, however, we could have a glimpse at f the waterfront.
Our Lady of the Rocks
Back to the waterfront, we saw a very picturesque church “Our Lady of the Rocks” standing on an island in the middle of the bay. The water surface of the bay looked calmly. With the perfect daylight, we were able to make some mirrored pictures. According to legend, the island was made by local seamen who kept an ancient oath after finding the icon of “Madonna and Child” on the rock in the sea on July 22, 1452. Upon returning from each successful voyage, they laid a rock in the bay. Over the centuries the island gradually emerged from the sea.
If you take a 3-hour boat tour, the first stop is Our Lady of the Rocks. The boat tour will pass through the Verige Straits and along the Herceg Novi Rivera. When the boat is of the bay, past Mamula Island, you will see a prison during WWII. Then you will head to the Lustica Peninsula and enjoy a half hour of swimming in the Blue Cave. On the way back to Kotor, you’ll stop in the caves the army used for hiding submarines. It you are interested in the tour, please click here to book in advance.
St. George island
Next to it is St. George Monastery island which is related to a local sad love story. During the French occupation (1813), a small garrison was placed on the island. One of the officers fell in love with a local girl from Perast. Unfortunately, during cannon fight instead of hitting the fort of St Cross (Sv. Križ/Krst) on the hill above, it hit the house below killing the girl inside. The officer spent the rest of his life on this island. He was buried beside his loved one at the end.
Restaurants at water front
Most restaurants are at the waterfront. Tables are nicely set up. Waiters were also dressed neatly. They smiled at us when we approached the restaurants. But they didn’t border us and tried to win us as their guests. We felt very comfortable for the atmosphere. These restaurants have the best views of the bay. Some of them offer a fine dining experience.
It was still too early for lunch. Therefore most had no single guest yet. The lonely tables and the idyllic mirrored water scenes have left in my memory forever.
The driving around Kotor Bay takes time due to speed limits. But it is not necessary to take the same road back to Tivat. We followed E65, passed Risan. Soon we saw Kamenari-Lepetane ferry port. The ferry runs across the narrowest part of the Bay of Kotor, the Verige Straits. And it docks in Kamenari on the Herceg Novi side and Lepetane on the Tivat side. You can find the detail about the ferry ticket here.
The ferry was quite big and could carry many cars as well. It was not so windy and most of the passengers stood on the deck to catch the bay views. So did we. It only took a few minutes from Lepetane back to Tivat.
Perast is part of many tours. You can take a boat tour to see Perast as well as the Kotor Bay. Please check the following tour operators for a reasonable tour:
Where to stay
Perast has apartments and hotels as well. In the summer time this area is very busy. Try to find a good offer well ahead at the following platform.