Perast is a wonderful ancient bay town with a rich maritime past. This jewell is located on the shores of the Bay of Kotor on the Adriatic Sea, a few kilometers from the Old town of Kotor.
The whole town of Perast is like a baroque museum. It is composed of dozens of harmoniously blended baroque palaces of exceptional beauty, churches and stone houses. The unique mosaic is completed with two stunning islands located nearby – St. George and Our Lady of the Rocks.
Situated between the steep mountains and the Adriatic Sea, Perast offers a unique blend of natural beauty and rich historical heritage.
Perast is, above all, a maritime city. In 1336, a shipyard was built in it, which operated until 1813. thanks to seafaring, it experienced its greatest prosperity in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the ships of this city sailed the world’s seas.
Throughout history, many have sought to conquer Perast. From the Byzantine Empire, the Venetians, the French, to the Austrian conquerors. each culture left a significant mark on this wonderful place. One can really feel the different spirits of the past as you walk through the city.
What is really interesting about Perast is that this is the town that only has one street, a long one that stretches along the sea. From it, the stairs lead to a height that leads in several parts to scattered houses.
The spaces between the houses are complemented by the tops of churches and palaces that alternately climb into the sky at their modest heights.
The city with only one street has 18 churches and 19 palaces. All of them are predominantly Baroque in style and were built during the 17th and 18th centuries. The largest church, and a symbol of Perast is the Church of St. Nicholas. The church was built in 1616 with a bell tower rises to 55 m.
There used to be 12 noble families living in the city, who built baroque palaces and churches. Perast is still proud of that heritage.
There are so many notable historical buildings in Perast that it’s hard to decide where to start. The largest of all villas is Smekja Castle, which has been renovated for several centuries. Of special interest for tourists is the villa Zmajevic, which is also called the castle Biskupija built in 1664. It is inscribed in a stone landscape and decorated with the family coat of arms.
To this day, many other palaces remain in Perast, such as the palaces of the Balović, Brajković-Martinović, Bronza, Vukašović and other families. Many of them are located on the main street of the city, which runs along the sea.
The most impressive of the palaces is probably the Bujović Palace. It s a wonderful example of Renaissance-Baroque architecture and a real gem for those interested in history.
According to the legend, the owner Vicko Bujović was very proud of the beauty of this palace.
When the builder stated that he could build a more beautiful one, Bujović threw him into the sea from the roof of the palace in a fit of rage.
These days the palace is the home to the the Museum of the City of Perast. The museum abounds in testimonies from the turbulent history of the city. It is open for visitors during the summer.
What to Do in Perast?
At first sight, Perast looks like frozen in time. But this doesn’t mean this town is not alive! There are several restaurants on the promenade where visitors can relax. The cuisine is mostly Mediterranean, with rich seafood offer, fitting to the spirit of the town.Civilization is not an empty word here: most restaurants accept cards, some have Wi-Fi.
Perast is a small town that attracts tourists primarily with its sights. It is very quiet and there are not many noisy bars like in other tourist spots. This city is the right choice if you want to enjoy solitude or with a limited number of people. During the summer, there is no car traffic on the promenade, so one feels completely secluded from the bustle of city life.
Right across the Perast there are two stunning islands – the natural island of St. George and the man-made island of Our Lady of the Rocks (Gospa od Skrpela). You can easily visit islands from Perast by small boats that you’ll always find on the town’s dock.
On July 22 every year, a solemn fiesta called Fashinada is held in Perast. On this day, all the inhabitants of Perast set out in their boats to circle around the island of Our Lady of the Rocks. In their boats, they carry stones gathered from the surrounding mountains to throw into the sea along the edges of the island. This is an old custom which celebrates the origin of the island with its holy church, and quite literally keeps it alive.
Accomodation in Perast
Perast is a great spot to visit for a day and witness the rich heritage and natural beauty it is endowed with. However, don’t be surprised if you suddenly get a desire to stay longer.
There are a couple of options for those looking for accommodation in Perast. This is a small town, literally stuck in the mountains, rooted in cliffs, so don’t expect to find a large number of hotels. However, like anywhere in Montenegro, you can find various forms of accommodation in the area. These include boutique hotels, villas by the sea, as well as more or less modest apartments. There is something for every budget.
Perast is quite easy to reach by read, no matter where you are staying in the area. From Kotor, it takes less than half an hour by car. However, if you are looking to make the trip more enjoyable, getting there by boat is the right thing to do. Limitless Speed Boat Kotor offers a speed boat tour which includes a visit to Perast as well as a tour of Our Lady of the Rocks.