Perast in Montenegro is one of the small towns in the winding Bay of Kotor. The Kotor Bay goes 28 km into the mainland. The length of the coastline is 105.7 km. And the entrance to the Kotor Bay is almost 3 km wide.
On a dry and sunny day, we started our journey from Tivat and drove towards the north. Kotor Bay is the southernmost fjord in Europe. Pretty waterside villages dotted along the rocky coastline. The main road along the coast is very narrow but very scenic. We paused at a mussel farm near the Holiday Home Nautica to grasp the scenery. After captured the stunning scene, we arrived at Perast after a short drive.
However, if we took a boat tour instead, we would have enjoyed the iconic Bay views. The stunning backdrop of the imposing cliffs that plummet to a narrow inlet of the sparkling Adriatic Sea is just unique. There are several remote towns and villages along the Kotor Bay. But Perast is the most beautiful town in the Kotor Bay Area.
A brief history of Perast
Throughout the centuries, many empires battled for the control of the city. Perast used to belong to the Byzantine Empire, medieval Serbia, Venetian Republic of Venice, and Hungary. Later, the French occupied Perast from 1807 to 1814, and then the Austrian ruled until 1918. In the 18th century, under the Venetian Republic, Perast became a prosperous shipbuilding town. At the time, it had as many as four active shipyards. But today, only a few hundred people still live there.
Catholic churches and Orthodox churches
Many churches and palaces are signs of Perast’s heydays. The city’s sixteen Baroque palaces were from the heydays. During the same period, the constructions of its seventeen Catholic churches and two Orthodox churches also took place. The old city did not have a defensive wall, but instead, it had nine defensive towers. These fortifications were constructed by the navy of the Venetian Republic in the 15th and 16th centuries. However, not all of them are left today.
Secret Narrow Alleys
We tried to make a round walk in the old town, but it was impossible to do so. Some narrow alleys lead to nowhere. Sometimes, we even ended up in a private orchard. We randomly walked up the stone stairs and had a glimpse at the waterfront, surprisingly.
Our Lady of the Rocks
We found our way out of the narrow alleys and walked back to the waterfront. From there, we saw a very picturesque church, whose name is 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 stone in the bay. Over the centuries, the island gradually emerged from the sea.
The first stop of the 3-hour boat tour is Our Lady of the Rocks. The boat tour will pass through the Verige Straits and along with the Herceg Novi Rivera. On the way back to Kotor, you will stop in the caves the army used for hiding submarines.
St. George island
Next to the Lady of the Rocks is St. George Monastery Island, which is related to a local sad love story. During the French occupation, a small garrison was placed on the island. One of the officers fell in love with a local girl from Perast. Unfortunately, during a cannon fight, instead of hitting the fort of St Cross (Sv. Križ/Krst) on the hill above, it hit the house below and killed 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 waterfront
Most restaurants in Perast are at the waterfront. The beautifully laid tables were waiting for the guests. And, the neatly dressed waiters smiled at us when we approached the restaurants. But they didn’t border us or tried to win us as their guests. We felt very comfortable with 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 restaurants had no single guest. The lonely tables and the idyllic mirrored water scenes have left in my memory forever.
Back to Tivat by Kamenari-Lepetane ferry
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, and soon arrived at the 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, so we joined other passengers and stood on the deck to catch the bay views. It only took a few minutes from Lepetane back to Tivat.
Some tours from Kotor, Dubrovnik, and Podgorica include the visit of Perast. Wether you are a cruise passenger, or have a stopover in the Capital of Montenegro, you could have a chance to explore Perast easily.
Perast is small but has a handful of accommodations. In the summer time, this area is very busy. Try to find a good offer well ahead at the following platform. Some of the hotels in the centre are:
How to reach Perast
Buses run from Podgorica and Dubrovnik to Perast. The nearest airport is Tivat, and you can call a taxi to Perast.