One Day In Perast, Montenegro

Perast is a small, stylish town perfectly positioned on the Bay Of Kotor overlooking the narrowest part of the Bay, the Verige Strait, towards Herceg Novi and the Adriatic. It is an easy trip from old town Kotor. Perast 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.

Perast is accessible by road or by water and we opted for boat trip from Kotor harbour, choosing a sheltered, slow boat to maximise our time on the water. Getting our tickets from the harbour rather than booking in advance online saved around 50 Euros. There is a lot of competition for clients at the harbour and you will find yourself offered discounts without having to ask for them. There are numerous tours on offer but make sure you know which type of boat you are booking; a noisy, crammed party boat, a bumpy thrilling speedboat or a sedate, calm ride.

Travelling by boat to Perast gives you a different sense of perspective of the Bay to the one you 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. You can also travel by bus or car along the shoreline from Kotor to Perast. The bus is the cheapest way to travel but it passes through residential areas so can get very busy. 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.

Tours 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. (The other island, St. George, 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 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 five entrances fees, we decided not to enter.

Exploring Perast is simple as the sixteen Baroque places and nineteen churches are all within a 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 one Euro for expansive views of the pretty town and scenic bay. Head 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 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 as driving along the 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. 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 in the Bay Of Kotor.

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