Perast is a small, stylish town perfectly positioned on the edge of the Bay Of Kotor overlooking the narrowest part of the Bay, the Verige Strait, towards Herceg Novi and the Adriatic. It is an easy, short trip from old town Kotor.
How to get to Perast
Perast is accessible by road or by water. The bus is the cheapest way to travel from Kotor to Perast but it passes through residential areas it can get very busy. The bus takes around 45 minutes depending on congestion levels. It is a straightforward drive to Perast but the majority of the small town is pedestrian only so you must leave your car at one of the small, fee-paying car parks at either end of town.
We opted for a boat trip from Kotor harbour and although visiting in high season, we bought our tickets on the day direct from the operator at the harbour.
Booking directly and at the last minute – rather than booking in advance online – saved us around 50 Euros. There are a lot of boat trips on offer so there is stiff competition for clients at the harbour and you will find yourself offered discounts without having to ask for them. There are numerous tours and types of boats on offer – make sure you know which type of boat you want and what you are booking. Boats range from noisy, cramped, alcohol-fuelled party boats, to thrilling but very bumpy, sun-exposed speedboats or a sedate, calm ride on a slow boat. As we wanted to maximise our time on the water and to get some elusive shade from the hot summer sun, we opted for a slow, covered passenger boat.
Travelling by boat to Perast gives you a different sense of perspective of the Bay to the one you will gain from sightseeing on land. The Bay is huge, wider and longer than it seems from the land and yet it- and the picturesque villages hugging the shoreline – are dwarfed by the sheer limestone mountains surrounding the water on all sides. I would strongly recommend visiting by boat – you can not come to the Bay of Kotor and not go on a boat trip!
Things to do in Perast
Tours and boat trips to Perast include a visit to the tiny, artificially built island of Our Lady Of The Rocks, one of the two tiny islands lying opposite Perast in the middle of the Gulf. If you travel to Perast by car or by bus it is a cheap, short hop by taxi boat across the Bay to the islands.
The other island you can see is St. George and it is owned by the Catholic Church and is not open to visitors.
Most tours allow 15-30 minutes on the island which is plenty of time to explore – the island is so tiny you could see everything without moving from one spot if you chose to! The water is impossibly clear here and the views are postcard perfect.
You have to pay to enter the tiny church of Our Lady of the Rocks and when we visited in the height of summer, there was a large crowd jostling in front of the church doors trying to get in. Judging the crowd and considering the cost of five entrances fees, we decided not to enter. (Top tip – there is a free public toilet on the tiny island).
Perast town is a myriad of attractive buildings, huddled together in a tiny strip of land between the high mountains and the deep water that together constitute the Bay Of Kotor.
Exploring Perast is straightforward as the sixteen Baroque places and nineteen churches are all within a very compact area.
The prominent Church of St. Nicholas on the main street is the most popular church to visit; you can climb the bell tower for 1 Euro for expansive views of the pretty town and scenic bay.
The most enjoyable aspect of Perast for me was how quiet it was compared to Kotor so make sure you walk away from the crowds and the single, bustling main street to wander the winding, narrow, back passageways of Perast.
Wisteria and bougainvillea plants adorning the shuttered houses give the air a sweet, fragrant smell.
Relax in the shade under a canopy of grapevines whilst admiring the surrounding stone buildings and occasional ruin.
The diverse architecture reflects the different periods of Perasts’ history; the Venetian influence is particularly evident in the ornate, angular style of the buildings.
Perast is a clean and peaceful town to explore – driving along the narrow main street is not permitted in the summer months.
There is a tiny town beach with obligatory beach bar playing music; it was too crowded for us to find any space in the height of summer and felt a little out of character to the peaceful town which it bordered. We much preferred wandering the back streets, trying pomegranate wine and a myriad of ice cream flavours.
Best enjoyed out of high season, Perast is well worth visiting if you are in the Bay Of Kotor.