The Bay of Kotor is sprinkled with idyllic towns and villages but Perast might just steal the prize for “best in show”. This picture-perfect old town, just a 15 minute drive from Kotor, combines mountains, sea, and historic charm, making this a must-stop destination on any visit to Montenegro.
There isn’t a whole lot of sightseeing to be done here, but that’s the beauty of Perast. This is the sort of place where sitting back with a cold beer or gelato, admiring the magical scenery should be your top priority – and if you have time for the other bits, then wonderful! Here’s some ideas for how to spend a day in one of the prettiest places in Europe.
Take a boat-trip to Our Lady of the Rocks
Perast’s star attraction is Our Lady of the Rocks – a beautiful Catholic church located on an island, just 5 minutes off-shore. Boats run regularly back and forth to the island for €5 return. No need to pre-book – just purchase your tickets from one of the local tour operators along the waterfront.
Once you’re on the island, you can spend some time exploring the church and museum for a small fee (€1.50) but the real showstopper has to be the incredible views, back towards Perast and the Bay of Kotor.
While you’re visiting Our Lady of the Rocks, you’ll spot a second mysterious island; the islet of Saint George (or Sveti Đorđe). Nope, this isn’t a hideaway for the rich and famous – this island is home to a beautiful Benedictine monastery and historic cemetery, known to locals as the “city of the dead”. Tourists aren’t allowed to visit the island itself, but you can snap some great shots and get a sense of its mystical past, as you sail by.
Wander around the Old Town
Perast’s perfectly-preserved old town is every photographer’s dream. Narrow streets lined with cobblestone buildings, and plazas dotted with historic churches and palaces, gives the impression that the whole town has been magically frozen in time. With the exception of a few waterfront bars and restaurants, this sleepy old town is largely void of tourist shops and tacky bars and its authentic charm is still – thankfully – very much in tact.
Take in the views from St Nikola Church
In the heart of the old town, you’ll find St Nikola Church – the largest church in Perast. There are 17 churches in this teeny tiny town, but what makes this one so special, is its 17th century bell-tower, which visitors can climb. The million dollar view which greets you at the top will only cost you a Euro, so there’s no excuse not to make the climb!
Relax along the waterfront
You can’t leave Perast without spending some time along the waterfront, admiring the spectacular views that surround you, left right and centre. There’s something oh so magical about the Bay of Kotor, with its towering black mountains and deep blue waters and, from here, you’ll get the best seat in the house. So grab yourself a gelato, find a bench, annnnnnnd relax.
However you choose to spend your time in Perast, you’ll be sure to fall in love with this little slice of paradise in the Bay of Kotor. Exploring Croatia as well? Take a look at my 24-hour guide to Dubrovnik for top tips of what to see and do on your city break.