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Perast, Montenegro is an idyllic seaside village filled with fanciful tales, ancient architecture, stunning scenery and two incredibly quaint offshore islands. With it’s peaceful surroundings and a handful of things to do in Perast, it is a perfect day trip from Kotor – or other nearby towns.
Why Visit Perast, Montenegro
Perast, Montenegro is as pretty as a postcard. Travelers visiting Perast swoon at the scene.
A cluster of uniform stone buildings sit stacked on the foothill of Mount St. Elijah with the remains of the Fortress of the Holy Cross at the top. Seaview cafes spill out onto piers. Small fishing boats float on crystal clear water. A soaring bell tower stands out against the backdrop of towering mountain peaks, and it seems slightly too tall for the small village that is home to only about 250 residents.
Occupied since the Neolithic age, Perast grew into a humble fishing village in Medieval times. However, it was during the Venetian period (mostly during the 18th century) that the community flourished. Opulent palaces and Catholic churches were built in the grandiose Baroque style – a feature that remains today and attracts many tourists to Perast.
5 Things To Do in Perast, Montenegro
Visitors can easily cover all of the sights in Perast in just a couple of hours – but the charming lanes and beautiful landscapes beg for more attention. To cover all of the top things to do in Perast – and allow time to take in the atmosphere, we suggest allowing at least four hours in the village.
Our top recommendations for what to do in Perast are to ramble through the picturesque lanes, hop aboard a boat to visit the most famous island on the Bay of Kotor and savor the scene from a waterfront café.
#1 Visit the Perast Islands
Two islands sit just off the Perast shoreline in Kotor Bay: St. George and Our Lady of the Rocks.
St. George (Ostrvo Sveti Dorde) is a natural island featuring tall evergreens and a lone structure, the St. George Benedictine Monastery, which dates to the 12th century. A small cemetery on the island is the burial site of some of the region’s more notable families. St. George Island is prohibited to visitors, so you can only pass by on a boat.
Our Lady of the Rocks (Gospa od Skrpjela)
The Our Lady of the Rocks Island is a man-made islet, boasting a Catholic church and an intriguing legend. Visiting the artificial island is one of the top Perast things to do.
According to the tale, in 1452, two fishermen discovered a barely exposed icon of the Virgin Mary in the water. The epic finding encouraged believers to visit the area and drop stones into the water where the icon had appeared.
Over the centuries, the popularity of the ritual grew to the point where entire ships were loaded with rocks and sunk into the sea on the very spot of the discovery. All of the stones, rocks and sunken ships created an island.
In 1632, the Our Lady of the Rocks Church was built on the island. It is centered on the exact location where the icon appeared. Attached to the church is a small museum – and there is also a gift shop on the island.
Fun Fact: The July 22 Fasinada Festival celebrates the legend of how the island came to be. A procession of barges and boats sail out to the island where people can drop their rocks and stones into the Bay of Kotor.
Visiting Our Lady of the Rocks Church in Perast
During our first visit to Montenegro the church was closed, due to it being the off-season. Even then, however, the boat trip out to the island was worth it for the views alone.
On a return summer trip to Montenegro, we revisited the island on a Boka Bay Boat Tour…and this time, the famous Perast church was open. The interior is extravagantly decorated with a beautiful Baroque altar, frescoes on the ceilings and walls covered with metal plates engraved with prayers from seafarers. To the left of the altar, above the doorway, dried wedding bouquets decorate the head of the door.
The church is free to enter, but it does get crowded in the high season so there may be a wait to enter.
In addition to the church, visitors can pay a small fee to enter the Lady of Our Rocks Museum, which features a small collection of paintings, model ships and stamps. There is also a gift shop on the island for visitors who want to pick up a souvenir (or ice cream!).
How To Get To Our Lady of the Rocks: Bout Tour
Visitors are transported to the small island by taxi boat, but you can negotiate with locals for a private ride, too. Proper attire is required (shorts and t-shirts are fine, but not bathing suits) and must be worn before stepping foot on the island.
Note: Many Perast boat tours from Kotor, Herceg Novi and Dubrovnik include a visit to the island. We talk more about boat tours to Perast at the end of the article.
#2 Tour Perast Churches, Palaces and Museums
For a town of its size, there is an astounding number of palaces and churches in Perast. Discovering the village on foot is one of the amazing things to do in Perast.
We recommend starting your stroll along the waterfront Riva – but make sure to navigate your way to the parallel street that is one street back from the sea, as well.
Churches in Perast
Visitors can find more then 10 churches within the 1-kilometer-long Old Town. The most prominent church in Perast is St. Nicholas (Sveti Nikola). The church has origins that date to the 1500s, but it was in 1691 that the 55-meter-tall bell tower was built.
If the church is open, it is well-worth a look inside. It is free to visit the church, but the small church museum requires a ticket. Visitors are also permitted to climb the church bell tower for a small fee.
Pro Tip: Nearby Kotor is also known for an abundance of churches! Find out more in our blog post: The 10 Best Churches in Kotor.
Of the many palaces in Perast, Montenego that were built during Venetian rule, there are 16 that still stand today.
The most well-preserved Perast palace is the Bujovic Palace, which was the posh residence of Captain Visko Bujovic – complete with stone Venetian lions.
The Smekja Palace, the Viskovic Palace and the Bronza Palace are other palaces that you will pass while walking the length of the Perast Riva. Each palace is marked with a plaque, with the name and year it was built.
The only museum in Perast is the Maritime Museum (Muzej Grada Perasta). Housed in the above-mentioned Bujovic Palace, the museum displays artifacts, weaponry and exhibits that share the history of Perast. A small fee is required to tour the Perast Maritime Museum.
#3 Lounge at the Perast, Montenegro Beach
On the north end of the village (past the Maritime Museum) is a small Perast, Montenegro beach where visitors can swim and relax near the water.
Sun loungers are available – and can be rented for the day. The beach offers an excellent view of the offshore islands and the beachfront Pirate Bar is a favorite choice for food and drinks.
#4 Eat at Perast Restaurants
Travelers visiting Perast should allow enough time in their itinerary to enjoy a seaside drink or classic meal. We are highlighting a few of the best places to eat in Perast.
Armonia is a top choice for dining in Perast – as the terrace offers impeccable views and the food is excellent.
For a divine pizza go to Bocalibre – it’s one of the top seaside restaurants in Perast, Montenegro and their pizzas are phenomenal!
Sijavoga is an intimate Perast restaurant with a sea view that offers a slightly more interesting menu, including Cuban fare.
For seafood, check out Djardin. Also on the Perast waterfront, recommended dishes include black riositto, grilled octopus and of course fresh fish!
#5 Shop for Local Montenegro Products
Perast, Montenegro is a heavily visited tourist town and, as such, many of the shops that line the Riva sell postcards, ice cream and souvenirs. There are a few shops, however, that sell local products – and we highly recommend stopping by to see what products are made locally.
Located right on the Riva, near the Maritime Museum, Shop Mandolin offers a variety of local food products – from refreshing juices to delicious wine to tasty cheese to specialty chocolate. They even offer samples!
Perast, Montenegro Map Of Sights
Use this link to Google Maps for an online, interactive version of our Perast Map.
Tips for Planning your Trip to Perast
Now that you know the best things to do in Perast, Montenegro, we have a few tips that will help you plan your trip.
While we are featuring top tips for planning your time in Perast and Montenegro, we recommend reading our Guide to Planning a Trip to Europe for things to know if you are traveling abroad.
Planning a trip is a big chore – and you need to stay organized! Use our helpful Printable Travel Planner to stay on top of all the pertinent details of your travels!
Where is Perast, Montenegro?
The first thing you need to know about planning your trip is where Perast is!
Perast is one of the many small historic towns that dot the coast along the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. That said, Perast has a notable location directly across from the Verige Strait.
The Bay of Kotor, or Boka Bay, is the largest bay along the Adriatic Sea and Europe’s southernmost fjord. The dramatic mountains plunge into the deep, tranquil waters of the bay.
From the Adriatic Sea, a channel opens into an expansive Bay of Kotor; on the north side of the bay is a narrow passage – only 250 meters across – called the Verige Strait that leads into an equally large body of water and directly to Perast.
The city of Kotor is hidden in the furthest southern alcove of the inner bay, providing the town with natural protection from weather and invaders (for a time in history, it was a much coveted position). A coastline road winds around the Bay of Kotor, covering the 106 km of shoreline.
How To Get to Perast
While Perast, Montenegro seems wildly remote, it is actually easily accessible from many nearby destinations.
How To Get From Kotor to Perast
For visitors coming from Kotor, getting to Perast, Montenegro is fairly simple. The two cities are just 12 km apart – and the journey by bus or car takes about 30 minutes along the main road.
Kotor Perast Bus
We first visited Perast when we were staying for a few weeks in Kotor. For our day trip from Kotor to Perast, we utilized the convenient local public bus operated by Bus Line. The Kotor to Perast Bus ticket cost €1 and we made the trip in about 25 minutes.
The Blue Line buses depart from the main Kotor bus station at least every hour, and even more frequently in the peak summertime. We hopped on a Blue Line bus at the stop in front of the Kotor fresh market. To find an official Kotor bus timetable, we recommend going to the bus station.
In Perast, we were dropped off on the main square along the waterfront. Not all buses take the lower road though; if they don’t, then the driver will stop at the top of the town on the main road. To come back, we picked up the Perast to Kotor bus in the same place we were dropped off. Although, we were told buses will not always come through Perast town; especially in high season.
Travel To Perast, Montenegro by Car or Taxi
Self-driving to Perast from Kotor is straightforward – simply take the shoreline road north. It is not advisable to drive into Perast, as there is only one road and parking spots are limited.
Instead, there are two parking lots where visitors can park – one on the south end of town and one on the north end. The north parking lot is preferable, as it is usually less crowded and closer to the main promenade.
Taxi: Kotor to Perast
A taxi between Perast and Kotor will cost about $25 – and takes just about as long as the bus.
Kotor Open Tour: Hop On Hop Off Bus
The Hop On Hop Off Bus is another easy way to get to Perast from Kotor. Visitors can book their 1-day unlimited ride ticket in advance online. In addition to Perast, the bus makes stops at Risan (to visit mosaics) and Bajova Kula Beach and includes a Kotor walking tour upon returning.
Kotor to Perast Boat
Kotor visitors also have the option to take a boat to see the top sights in Perast – like this affordable boat cruise that includes visiting Lady of the Rocks Island, a submarine base and the Montenegro Blue Cave. Reserve your seat!
Getting from Dubrovnik to Perast
There are two ways to get from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Perast, Montenegro: Bus or Boat Tour. We recommend travelers visit Perast on a day trip with an organized tour – as the bus takes too long, may require a switch and can get delayed at the border crossing.
Joining a day tour – like one of these popular tours – is a more efficient way to see more of the Bay of Kotor.
How To Get from Herceg Novi to Perast
Getting from Herceg Novi to Perast, Montenegro is as simple as hopping on a bus. The ride takes almost 40 minutes – but it is one of the most scenic drives in Montenegro!
Visitors can also opt to take one of the organized boat trips that departs from the Herceg Novi Marina – like the one we took with Petar Boats. Most full-day boat trips include multiple destinations, including Perast, Lady of the Rocks, Kotor and a swimming spot. Ours even included fried fish snacks, watermelon slices and, of course, a shot of rakija!
Top Tip: Read more about all the Best Things To Do in Herceg Novi!
Flying to Perast, Montenegro
Travelers flying to the Bay of Kotor can opt to fly into the Dubrovnik Airport in Croatia or the Podgorica or Tivat Airports in Montenegro. Public transport is available from all 3 airports, although routes may require switches depending on the season. It is possible to rent a car – but use our Tips for Rental Cars to make sure you get the best price.
Where To Stay in Perast
Visitors who decide to stay in Perast, Montenegro will have a choice of apartments, guesthouses and hotels. We are highlighting a few of the best places to stay in Perast for visitors who opt to stay the night.
Before you make your reservation, however, be sure to read our Tips for Booking the Best Hotels!
Conte Hotel in Perast
The town center Conte Hotel gets rave reviews! Why travelers favor the Perast, Montenegro hotel is the ideal location and exceptional service. Check rates and availability for your stay!
Heritage Grand Perast Hotel
Formerly the Iberostar Heritage Grand Perast, the hotel on Marka Marinovica is a 5-star gem in the city. The Heritage Grand Hotel, which is housed in a historic palace (but features all the modern amenities), boasts world-class hospitality and exquisite gastronomy. Check availability!
Leon Coronato Heritage Hotel
With luxurious rooms that feature elegant touches and character that are on point with the building’s royal history, the Leon Coronato Hotel in Perast is a fantastic place to stay. Travelers have an option of rooms – including a 2-bedroom suite. Check rates!
Guests looking for holiday apartments and vacation rentals have plenty of options, too! Before you book with Airbnb, you will want to read our Top Tips for Airbnb Guests.
Travel Tips for your Trip to Perast
Now that you know what to do in Perast, Montenegro, we have a few travel tips that will help make your trip more enjoyable.
When is the Best Time to Visit Perast?
Perast, Montenegro is extremely seasonal. Summer season is the peak travel season in the small village – and it is packed with tourists.
In the autumn, the crowds thin substantially, but it is usually still warm enough for a swim in the sea. In winter, the Perast, Montenegro weather is crisp and cool; tourists vacate the town, leaving the few visitors that do come to mingle with the locals (but most attractions are closed). Spring can be pleasant…or rainy – with some restaurants and attractions open.
What To Expect in Perast during the High Season
Travelers who go to Perast in the summer season will likely encounter crowds and tour groups. Because of the influx of summertime tourists, the town can feel a little overrun as boats and buses come and go.
That said, all of the shops, restaurants and attractions are open in the summer. Furthermore, summer is the best time to enjoy the beach and boat trips on the Kotor Bay.
What To Expect in the Off Season in Perast
Outside of the summer season, what to see in Perast amounts to little more than the town itself. Most of the Perast sights are closed, as are many restaurants.
That said, we found it to be quite peaceful in February – and lingered in Perast until the late afternoon. There were no other tourists around and even the locals seemed rather quiet, almost as if we had the entire place to ourselves.
After taking our boat ride to the island, we slowly strolled along the shore from one end of Perast to the other, watching fisherman tend to their boats. We settled in at a seaside table at the only open café on the shore. While locals sipped their coffee, we braved the potent homemade grappa. We admired our natural surroundings, feeling as if we had been let in on a secret that few others knew!
What You Will Need for Your Perast Trip
In addition to our tips for what to do in Perast and when to go, we have a few suggestions for things you will want to pack for your trip.
If you are taking a day trip to Perast from Kotor (or any other location, for that matter!), be sure to bring plenty of water. Collapsible water bottles are great for travelers, as they don’t take up so much room in your luggage.
Perast is picture-perfect…and you will want to capture the true beauty of the city with a good travel camera. We use a DSLR Canon Rebel with an 18-135mm lens because it takes quality photos, is easy to use and is a great budget camera for travelers.
Montenegro Travel Insurance
There are no two ways around it: Trip insurance is essential! Not only does travel insurance cover inconveniences – like lost luggage – but it is imperative if you get sick or injured while traveling. Check the affordable rates at World Nomads.
Kotor, Montenegro Tips
The city of Kotor is a favorite destination on the Bay of Kotor. Visitors spending time in Kotor can use our detailed guides and travel resources to help plan their trip. We feature top Kotor activities in our blog post, The Best Things To Do In Kotor.
Looking for more day trips from Kotor? Check out our guide to nearby Budva, Montenegro!
We Want To Know: Have you been to Perast, Montenegro? What are your favorite things to do in Perast? Tell us in the comments!
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