Perast is a picturesque coastal town located on the shores of the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. With its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and peaceful atmosphere, Perast is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Montenegro. The town’s history dates back to the 14th century when it was ruled by the Republic of Venice and became a thriving center of maritime trade. Over the centuries, it has been shaped by its Venetian, Byzantine, and Ottoman influences, and today it boasts a unique cultural and architectural heritage.
Perast is a great place to simply relax and take in the natural beauty of Montenegro. The town has a laid-back atmosphere and a charming old-world feel, with cobblestone streets, traditional stone houses, and plenty of small cafes and restaurants where visitors can enjoy local cuisine and drinks while soaking up the atmosphere. When I think of Montenegro, I think of Perast.
Perast, nestled beneath the Saint Elijah Hill, enjoys a strategic location on a cape separating the Bay of Risan and the Bay of Kotor, smaller bays within the grand Boka Kotorska Bay. The town overlooks the Verige strait, the narrowest part of Boka Bay, a location of significant strategic importance. The strait, named after the large chains that were once raised from both shorelines to prevent enemy boats from entering the bay, protected the wealth of the flourishing settlements of Morinj, Risan, Perast, and Kotor.
Today, Perast is a significant and popular tourist center in Montenegro. Right in the center of the Bay of Kotor, Perast faces its entrance and is positioned to receive the maximum sun throughout the year. The town, built by Medieval rulers and affluent Venetian sailors, consists of beautiful churches and palaces well-preserved under the Montenegrin sun.
Perast, named after the Illyrian tribe of Pirusta, is near two small islands in the Boka Bay: the natural Saint George Island, linked to numerous Medieval legends, and the man-made Gospa od Skrpjela or Our Lady of the Rock, built in the late 15th century. Both islands, with their surreal picturesque appearance, are rich with stories and hold fascinating attractions. Saint George Island, surrounded by sturdy stone walls and hidden by tall cypresses, houses a local graveyard where prominent locals are buried. The island’s current appearance dates back to the late 17th century. The inhabitants of Perast, from their strongholds on Saint George and Our Lady on the Rocks, guarded the strategically important Verige straits, where the maritime path to Kotor was most endangered.
Perast was part of the Venetian Albania Veneta province and was under Venice’s rule between 1420 and 1797. The city was developed amid conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and the Venetian Republic. It was during this period that the city’s sixteen Baroque palaces, seventeen Catholic churches, and two Orthodox churches were built. Most significant among these are the Saint Nicholas Church, the Chapel of the Virgin Mary, Saint John the Baptist Church, Saint Anne Church, Saint Mark Church, Saint Anthony Church, and the Holy Virgin Church. In front of the Saint Nicholas church are busts of three significant personalities of Perast – Admiral Matija Zmajević of the Russian Tsardom Navy, Marko Martinović, a maritime skills instructor for Tsar Peter the Great’s cadets, and Tripo Kokolj. The city also features nine defensive towers, the most important of which is the tower of the Holy Cross, built by the Venetian Republic’s navy in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Reasons to Visit Perast
- Historical and Cultural Sites: Perast is home to many historical and cultural sites that reflect its rich history. You can explore the town’s numerous palaces, churches, and other historical buildings, such as the Bujovic Palace and the St. Nicholas Church, or visit the Our Lady of the Rocks, a beautiful island with a church and museum that can be accessed by boat from Perast.
- Stunning Natural Beauty: Perast is located in one of the most beautiful bays in the world, the Bay of Kotor. Surrounded by mountains and crystal-clear waters, the town offers breathtaking views that are perfect for relaxation and taking in the natural beauty of Montenegro.
- Outdoor Activities: This is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. You can take a boat tour of the bay, go swimming or kayaking in the sea, hike the nearby hills for breathtaking views, or explore the neighboring towns of Kotor, Tivat, and Budva.
How to Get to Perast
Perast is easily accessible from both Tivat and Podgorica airports. The distance from Tivat airport is around 20 km, and it takes approximately 30 minutes by car. From Podgorica, it takes about 2 hours to get to Perast by car, and the distance is approximately 90 km. Additionally, there are bus services available from Kotor, which is about 12 km away from Perast.
Perast offers a variety of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. Here are three places we recommend:
- Hotel Conte: Escape to the enchanting town of Perast, where the timeless beauty of the sea meets the majestic cliffs of Mount Lovćen. Immerse yourself in the rich history and cultural heritage of this UNESCO World Heritage-listed destination. Nestled within this picturesque setting, the Conte Hotel and Restaurant awaits, a hidden gem lovingly restored by the esteemed Kasalica family. Step into a world of refined elegance as the old stone palaces and houses have been thoughtfully transformed, blending contemporary comforts with the authentic charm of indigenous architecture. Indulge in a truly captivating experience at Conte Hotel, where history, luxury, and warm Montenegrin hospitality converge.
- Apartments Villa Perast: This family-owned apartment complex offers comfortable accommodations and breathtaking sea views. Each apartment is equipped with a kitchenette and a private balcony.
- Heritage Grand Perast: Indulge in the luxurious rooms and suites, meticulously designed to provide comfort and elegance. Delight your taste buds with the exquisite dining options, where a fusion of local and international flavors awaits. Unwind and rejuvenate in the spa and wellness center, offering a range of treatments and therapies. Take in the breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea and mountains from the hotel’s terrace or enjoy a refreshing swim in the outdoor pool. With attentive service and a warm ambiance, Heritage Grand Perast ensures a truly remarkable and unforgettable experience for every guest.
5 Activities to Do in Perast
- Visit Our Lady of the Rocks: Take a boat tour to this beautiful island and explore the church and museum.
- Walk along the Seafront: Take a leisurely stroll along the town’s beautiful seafront promenade and enjoy the fresh sea air.
- Visit the Bujovic Palace: This beautiful 17th-century palace houses a museum with collections of old weapons, traditional costumes, and art.
- Climb the Hill of St. Ilija: Hike up to the top of the hill for stunning panoramic views of the bay and the surrounding mountains.
- Take a Boat Tour of the Bay: Book a boat tour and explore the beautiful Bay of Kotor from a different perspective.
Perast is a hidden gem in Montenegro that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, historical landmarks, and outdoor activities. The town’s rich cultural heritage and stunning architecture reflect its Venetian and Mediterranean influences, and there is much to discover for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts. Meanwhile, the beautiful surroundings, including the Bay of Kotor and nearby mountains, offer numerous opportunities for outdoor adventures and relaxation.
Whether you’re interested in exploring historical sites, enjoying outdoor activities, or simply relaxing in a beautiful setting, Perast has something to offer for everyone. With easy access from both Tivat and Podgorica airports, Perast is an ideal destination for a day trip or a longer stay. We hope this blog has provided you with some useful insights and inspiration for your next trip to Montenegro.