One Day in Perast, Montenegro
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 making Perast an ideal for a day trip.
How to get to Perast
Perast is accessible by road or by water. The cheapest way to travel from Kotor to Perast is by local, public bus but as the bus passes through residential areas it can get very busy especially during rush hour. The bus journey takes around 45 minutes depending on traffic congestion levels.
It is a straightforward drive to Perast from Kotor with the main road hugging the shoreline. However, as the majority of Perast is pedestrian access only, you must leave your car at one of the small, fee-paying car parks at either end of the small town.
We opted to travel to Perast via a scenic boat trip from Kotor harbour. Despite visiting in high season, we purchased our tickets on the day of travel buying directly from the operator at Kotors’ old town harbour.
Booking directly (and at the last minute) rather than booking in advance online, saved us around 50 Euros. There are countless boat trips on offer at Kotor harbour so there is stiff competition for clients and you will find yourself offered discounts without having to ask for them.
There are numerous tours and types of boats on offer so make sure you know which type of boat you want and exactly what you are booking.
Boats range from noisy, cramped, alcohol-fuelled party boats, to thrilling, very bumpy, sun-exposed speedboats. We decided we wanted to maximise our time on the water and to get some elusive shade from the hot summer sun so we opted for a slow, canopy covered passenger boat. The scenic journey took around 45 minutes.
Travelling by boat to Perast makes you realise how enormous the Bay of Kotor is – the sense of proportion you experience from being on the water is very different to the one you gain from sightseeing on land.
The Bay of Kotor is huge, much wider and longer than it appears from 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 Perast by boat – you can not come to the Bay of Kotor and not go on a boat trip!
Our Lady Of The Rocks
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 Bay of Kotor.
If you travel to Perast by car or by bus it is a cheap, short journey by taxi boat from the centre or Perast across the Bay to the islands.
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 must 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 for our very short visit, we decided not to enter and spent our limited visiting time wandering the tiny island enjoying the views.
Top tip – there is a free public toilet on the tiny island. Use it before visiting Perast!
If you have enjoyed challenging hiking in Kotor, you will savour the easier, gently winding streets of Perast.
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.
The prominent Church of St. Nicholas on the main street is the most popular church to visit and many visitors start their trip at this location. You can climb the bell tower for 1 Euro for expansive views of the pretty town and scenic bay.
Perast is very compact and will only take a few hours to fully explore at a sedate pace. But within this short visit, you can see sixteen Baroque palaces and nineteen churches!
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 the history of Perast; 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 narrow main street is not permitted in the summer months.
There is a tiny town beach with an obligatory beach bar playing music but it was too crowded for us to find any space in the height of summer and also felt a little out of character to the peaceful town which it bordered.
We much preferred wandering the back streets, trying pomegranate wine and sampling a variety of ice cream flavours! The most enjoyable aspect of Perast for our family was how quiet it was compared to busy Kotor.
Best enjoyed out of high season, Perast is a perfect day trip if you are visiting the stunning Bay Of Kotor.