12 Best Things to Do in Perast, Montenegro: Must-See Attractions

by Reyna
Fun things to do in Perast Montenegro
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The first time I visited Perast, I was amazed by its serene beauty and the timeless charm of its baroque architecture. Nestled on the shores of the Bay of Kotor, Perast feels like a page out of a history book, with its stone palaces and churches reflecting centuries of Venetian influence. Over the years, I’ve been drawn back to this coastal gem, each visit unveiling a deeper connection to its rich maritime past.

But Perast is more than just its historic buildings and scenic bay views. It’s a place where the Adriatic Sea meets the whispers of legends and tales from sailors of old. The narrow streets, lined with ancient stone houses, lead to hidden squares where locals share stories passed down through generations.

I’ve explored its maritime museum, sailed to the iconic Our Lady of the Rocks island, and savored local seafood delicacies at quaint waterfront restaurants. Each adventure, from watching the sunset behind the majestic mountains to discovering the intricate details of its baroque facades, has left an indelible mark on my heart.

For those eager to uncover the secrets of one of Montenegro’s most enchanting towns, I’ve crafted a guide to the best things to do in Perast. Drawing from my own experiences and insights from locals, this guide is your passport to experiencing Perast like never before. Let’s set sail! To help you make the most out of your next trip, here are my top 12 things to see and do in Perast.

The best things to do in Perast right now

Best Places to Visit in Perast

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Perast? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this charming vacation spot in Montenegro. So keep reading to discover all these unique Perast places to visit.

Are you looking to go swimming, kayaking, and hiking amid stunning natural landscapes? Or would you prefer to visit historical sites, savor local cuisine and relax in waterfront promenades? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Perast can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Perast that you should know about.

1. Our Lady of the Rocks

When you think of the best things to do in Perast, visiting the iconic Our Lady of the Rocks tops the list. This man-made island, with its picturesque church and museum, is steeped in history and local legends. According to tales, fishermen from Perast found an icon of the Virgin Mary on a rock here in 1452. To honor this discovery, they began dropping stones around the spot, eventually creating the island.

Today, visitors can take a short boat ride from Perast’s main square to reach the island. Once there, the church’s blue-domed roof and white facade greet you, standing in stark contrast to the deep blue waters of the Bay of Kotor. Inside, you’ll find a collection of 68 paintings by Tripo Kokolja, a famous Baroque artist from Perast. The museum next door offers insights into the island’s history and the town’s maritime past.

Our Lady of the Rocks also offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Bay of Kotor. As the sun sets, the island is bathed in a golden hue, providing a magical backdrop for photographs.

While it’s a popular spot, it never feels overly touristy. It’s a place where you can appreciate the blend of art, history, and nature, making it a must-visit when in Perast.

Placed aptly in the middle of the Bay of Kotor, Lady of the Rocks is a stunning man-made island worth a visit
Placed aptly in the middle of the Bay of Kotor, Lady of the Rocks is a stunning man-made island worth a visit

2. St. Nicholas Church

Perast is home to many historical landmarks, but none stand as tall and proud as the St. Nicholas Church. This imposing structure, with its bell tower reaching for the skies, is a beacon for its rich maritime past.

Constructed in the 17th century, the church has witnessed the ebb and flow of Perast’s fortunes. Its walls have echoed with prayers of sailors setting off on perilous journeys and the joyous hymns of their safe return. The church’s interior is adorned with intricate frescoes, silver votive tablets, and paintings. Each chronicles the town’s naval victories and its deep connection to the sea.

But it’s the bell tower that’s the true highlight for many visitors. Climbing its narrow staircase might be a bit of a challenge. However, the panoramic views from the top, encompassing Perast, the shimmering Bay of Kotor, and the rugged mountains, are truly unparalleled.

Adjacent to the church is a museum, a treasure trove of artifacts that delve into the town’s seafaring heritage. From tales of brave sailors to intricate ship models, it’s a fascinating journey through time.

In essence, a visit to St. Nicholas Church offers a deep dive into Perast’s soul, blending history, art, and breathtaking vistas.

St. Nicholas Church's beautiful domes and unique location in front of the mountains of Perast make it a top destination in Montenegro
St. Nicholas Church’s beautiful domes and unique location in front of the mountains of Perast make it a top destination in Montenegro

3. St. Anthony Church

St. Anthony Church stands as a testament to Perast’s rich history and deep-rooted faith. A bit removed from the town’s bustling center, this church offers visitors a more serene experience. As you approach, the stone facade and bell tower give a hint of its age and significance to the local community.

Inside, the church houses modest yet meaningful religious artifacts. The church’s architecture showcases a blend of Byzantine and Baroque styles. This is a testament to the diverse influences that have shaped Perast over the centuries. The walls echo stories of past generations, and the ambiance is one of reverence and reflection. The path leading up to the church is lined with the Stations of the Cross. This provides a spiritual journey even before you enter the main building.

But what many visitors find most compelling is the location. Positioned up on the hillside, the church grounds offer panoramic views of Perast and the shimmering Bay of Kotor. It’s an ideal spot to take a moment, breathe in the fresh air, and appreciate the blend of nature and history. For travelers seeking a mix of spirituality, history, and natural beauty, St. Anthony Church is a must-visit during their time in Perast.

St. Anthony Church is known for its tall bell tower and panoramic views of the Bay of Kotor
St. Anthony Church is known for its tall bell tower and panoramic views of the Bay of Kotor

4. Bujović Palace

In the heart of Perast, the Bujović Palace stands as a testament to the town’s golden era of prosperity and its ties to the Venetian Republic. Built in the late 17th century for the Bujović family, one of the most influential families in Perast, this palace is a prime example of Baroque architecture in the region.

The palace’s facade, adorned with intricate carvings and stonework, offers a hint of the opulence that lies within. As you step inside, you’re transported to a time when Perast was a bustling maritime hub. The rooms, with their high ceilings and ornate decorations, showcase the lavish lifestyle of the town’s elite.

While the Bujović family’s influence waned over the years, their legacy lives on in this palace. Today, it serves as a cultural center, hosting various events, exhibitions, and performances. The palace also offers stunning views of the Bay of Kotor, making it a favorite spot for both locals and tourists.

For those keen on delving into the aristocratic history of Perast, a visit to Bujović Palace is a must. It offers insights into the town’s cultural evolution. It’s a journey back in time, offering a unique perspective on the town’s rich heritage.

Bujović Palace takes visitors back in time with its rich history
Bujović Palace takes visitors back in time with its rich history

5. Pirate Bar

Perched right on the edge of the Bay of Kotor, the Pirate Bar offers a laid-back vibe that’s hard to find elsewhere in Perast. With its rustic wooden decor and hammocks, the bar exudes a cozy ambiance. The gentle sound of waves lapping at the shore makes it the perfect spot to unwind after a day of exploring.

Among the coolest things to do in Perast, grabbing a drink at this bar is a must. Whether you’re sipping on a local Montenegrin wine or enjoying a cold beer, the view is captivating. The bay has boats gently bobbing, and the mountains in the backdrop add to the charm. It’s a favorite haunt for both locals and travelers. This makes it a great place to strike up a conversation and learn more about the region.

The bar also serves up delicious local snacks, perfect for a light bite as the sun sets. It is also renowned for its signature cocktails, each crafted with a unique twist that pays homage to Perast’s maritime history. The bartenders, with their flair and expertise, often put on a show, mixing and shaking drinks to the delight of patrons. 

As night falls, the ambiance becomes even more enchanting, with soft lighting and occasional live music performances. For those seeking a mix of relaxation, great views, and a touch of local flavor, the Pirate Bar is a top pick.

For those wanting to enjoy a relaxing drink by the water, few spots compare to the fun of Pirate Bar's coastal location
For those wanting to enjoy a relaxing drink by the water, few spots compare to the fun of Pirate Bar’s coastal location

6. St. Ilija Hill 

St. Ilija Hill is a must-visit when you’re in Perast. Rising above the town, this hill offers a vantage point that few other places can match. As you make your way up, you’ll be treated to increasingly expansive views of the town below, the Bay of Kotor, and the surrounding landscapes. The hike itself is moderate, with well-trodden paths guiding you to the top.

Once you reach the summit, the panoramic vistas are incredibly rewarding. You can spot the iconic Our Lady of the Rocks and Sveti Đorđe islands, as well as the serpentine coastline of Montenegro. It’s a great spot to snap some photos, have a picnic, or simply sit and enjoy the natural beauty of the region.

The hill is also home to diverse flora and fauna. As you ascend, you’ll notice the changing vegetation, from Mediterranean shrubs at the base to pine and oak trees higher up. Birdwatchers will be delighted with the variety of birds that can be spotted. From eagles soaring overhead to songbirds, they serenade from the treetops.

For those compiling a list of Perast things to do, adding St. Ilija Hill is a no-brainer. It’s an experience that combines a bit of physical activity with some of the best views you’ll find in the area. Plus, it’s a break from the more crowded spots, offering a moment of tranquility amidst your adventures.

St. Ilija Hill reveals the natural beauty of Perast from above
St. Ilija Hill reveals the natural beauty of Perast from above

7. Grgurina Palace

Nestled among Perast’s historic buildings, Grgurina Palace stands as a testament to the town’s maritime prowess. This 18th-century Baroque palace, once the residence of the Grgurina family, now houses the town’s Maritime Museum, offering a deep dive into Perast’s seafaring legacy.

The museum’s collection is a treasure trove of maritime artifacts. From detailed ship models to ancient navigational tools, the museum showcases maritime artifacts. Each exhibit tells a tale of adventure on the high seas. The walls are adorned with paintings and maps that chronicle significant naval expeditions and the challenges faced by Perast’s sailors.

One of the unique things to do in Perast is to explore the rooms of Grgurina Palace, where you can almost hear the whispers of sailors planning their next voyage. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, shedding light on various aspects of maritime history and culture.

Beyond its exhibits, the palace itself is an architectural marvel, with its ornate facade and beautifully preserved interiors. A visit to Grgurina Palace offers a blend of history, art, and architecture. It’s a must-see spot for anyone keen to delve deeper into Perast’s rich heritage.

For those looking for an enlightening history of Perast's maritime past, look no further than the breathtaking collection at Grgurina Palace
For those looking for an enlightening history of Perast’s maritime past, look no further than the breathtaking collection at Grgurina Palace

8. Sveti Đorđe Island

Floating serenely in the Bay of Kotor, Sveti Đorđe Island is a natural island that exudes an air of mystery and tranquility. Unlike its man-made counterpart, Our Lady of the Rocks, Sveti Đorđe is untouched by human hands, making it a haven for nature lovers.

The island is dominated by a 12th-century Benedictine monastery. With its stone walls and red-tiled roof, the monastery seems to grow organically from the island’s rocky terrain. Surrounding the monastery is a centuries-old cemetery, the final resting place for many of Perast’s notable figures.

While the island isn’t open to the public, its beauty can be admired from a distance. Many boat tours in Perast offer a close-up view of Sveti Đorđe. These tours allow visitors to capture its beauty and learn about its history. The silhouette of the monastery against the backdrop of the setting sun is a sight to behold.

For those seeking a peaceful escape, a boat ride around Sveti Đorđe Island is ideal. It offers a refreshing change of pace from the bustling tourist spots. This island is a reminder of the natural beauty and rich history that coexist harmoniously in Perast.

The crowning jewel of Sveti Đorđe Island is its beautiful 12th century Benedictine monastery surrounded by azure waters
The crowning jewel of Sveti Đorđe Island is its beautiful 12th century Benedictine monastery surrounded by azure waters

9. Perast Museum

Tucked away in a beautifully restored Venetian Gothic palace, the Perast Museum offers visitors a comprehensive look into the town’s storied past. From its early days as a humble fishing village, the museum captures part of Perast’s story. Its rise as a naval powerhouse is also depicted, showcasing the essence of Perast’s rich history.

The exhibits are meticulously curated, showcasing a range of artifacts. From ancient coins and pottery to documents, they trace the town’s evolution over the centuries. Detailed dioramas depict scenes from daily life. This gives visitors a sense of what it was like to live in Perast during different eras.

One of the highlights of the museum is its collection of old photographs. These black and white images, some dating back to the 19th century, offer a candid glimpse into the lives of Perast’s residents. From fishermen mending their nets to grand celebrations in the town square, these photos are a window to a bygone era.

For travelers keen on understanding the cultural and historical fabric of Perast, a visit to the museum is indispensable. It’s not just about artifacts and exhibits; it’s about stories, memories, and a deep connection to a place that has withstood the test of time.

Perast Museum takes visitors on a fun journey back in time through its meticulously curated collections
Perast Museum takes visitors on a fun journey back in time through its meticulously curated collections

10. The Waterfront of Perast

The waterfront of Perast, stretching along the serene Bay of Kotor, is a living tapestry of history and culture. Starting from the northern end, near Visković Palace, you’re immediately greeted by the grandeur of Venetian architecture. This palace, with its ornate stone balcony, stands as a testament to the Visković family’s influence in the 18th century.

As you continue your stroll, the Balović Palace comes into view. Its robust stone facade and arched windows are iconic, often captured in paintings and photographs of Perast. Nearby cafes, like Café Admiral, offer the perfect spot to sip on a Montenegrin coffee while gazing out at the bay’s shimmering waters.

Midway along the promenade, the Bronza Palace showcases a blend of Renaissance and Baroque styles, a nod to Perast’s cosmopolitan past. Further down, the imposing Zmajević Palace, with its grand entrance and coat of arms, marks the southern end of the waterfront.

Among the best things to do in Perast, exploring these architectural gems along the waterfront showcases the town’s maritime and aristocratic legacy. It’s not just a walk; it’s a journey through time.

Perast's waterfront is the perfect location to explore the city's stunning architectural wonders
Perast’s waterfront is the perfect location to explore the city’s stunning architectural wonders

11. Smekja Palace

If you’re wandering the streets of Perast, you can’t miss the Smekja Palace. Built by the Smekja family in the 18th century, this place screams history. It’s not just another old building; it’s a symbol of Perast’s golden days when the town was a hub for sailors and traders.

From the outside, the palace showcases its Baroque style. With its detailed carvings and family crest, it gives you a hint of the wealth and power the Smekjas once had. While you can’t go inside, just standing in front of it is an experience. You can almost hear the echoes of the lavish parties and important meetings that took place behind those walls.

The architecture of the palace is not just a display of wealth but also a testament to the craftsmanship of the era. The intricate stonework is a testament to the palace’s beauty. The ornate balconies and beautifully crafted windows reflect the attention to detail and the artistry of the craftsmen who worked on it.

For a small town, Perast has a lot of stories to tell, and the Smekja Palace is one of its main characters. So, take a moment, snap a photo, and let your imagination run wild. Think about the sailors, the aristocrats, and the everyday people who once walked these streets. It’s places like this that make travel so fascinating.

Smekja Palace's baroque style architecture and waterfront location makes it one of the most picturesque locations in Perast
Smekja Palace’s baroque style architecture and waterfront location makes it one of the most picturesque locations in Perast

12. Zmajević Palace

In the heart of Perast, the Zmajević Palace stands as a silent testament to the town’s aristocratic past. Constructed in the 17th century, this palace was the residence of the Zmajević family, one of the most influential clans in the region. With its grand facade and ornate balconies, it’s hard to walk by without taking a second look.

Among the unique things to do in Perast, exploring the exterior of Zmajević Palace is a must. While the interiors remain private, the palace’s architecture offers a window into the opulence of the era. The family crest, prominently displayed above the main entrance, speaks volumes about the Zmajevićs’ stature in Perast’s social hierarchy.

The intricate carvings on the palace’s facade depict scenes from mythology and maritime adventures, hinting at the family’s seafaring legacy. These carvings, along with the ornate ironwork, are prominent on the balconies. They showcase the craftsmanship of the period and highlight the family’s desire to leave a lasting legacy.

Nearby, local cafes provide the perfect spot to sit back and imagine the kind of events that this palace might have hosted. From grand balls to political gatherings, the Zmajević Palace has seen it all. Today, it stands as a reminder of a bygone era, urging travelers to delve deeper into Perast’s rich tapestry of history.

 Zmajević Palace's seaside arches display a quaint charm
Zmajević Palace’s seaside arches display a quaint charm

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Perast

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Perast? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Perast:

Why is Perast a must-visit destination in Montenegro?

Perast stands out as one of the best-preserved towns on the Adriatic coast. It’s part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor. Unlike other towns, Perast opens directly onto the water, showcasing Venetian-era palaces, squares, and churches. The town’s rich history, combined with its unique culture and serene ambiance, makes it a top pick among travelers.

What’s the best time to visit Perast?

While summer is the peak season, it’s also the busiest. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds but still enjoy pleasant weather, consider visiting during the spring or autumn shoulder seasons. Visiting in June or July also offers the chance to experience Perast’s vibrant summer festivals.

Are there any unique culinary treats to try in Perast?

Absolutely! When in Perast, don’t miss out on the Peraška torta, a delicious cake made with ground almonds and flavored with lemon and vanilla. This local specialty has a rich history and is a favorite among both locals and visitors.

Is Perast Montenegro worth visiting?

Absolutely! Perast is a gem on the Adriatic coast, boasting well-preserved Venetian architecture and a rich history. It’s less crowded than other tourist spots, offering a tranquil escape. With its stunning views, historic churches, and charming streets, Perast provides a unique and authentic Montenegrin experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Few charms compare to that of Perast's quaint streets
Few charms compare to that of Perast’s quaint streets

How much time should one spend in Perast?

Though Perast is compact and can be explored on foot in a couple of hours, it’s recommended to spend at least one night. As day visitors depart in the late afternoon, the town becomes even more tranquil, offering a unique experience of its beauty and charm.

What’s the best way to get to Perast?

Perast is easily accessible by car, being just a 20-minute drive from Kotor. There are parking options available in town. If you’re not driving, the Blue Line bus service offers a convenient way to travel from Kotor to Perast. Taxis are also an option, with a one-way trip from Kotor costing around €10.

Which is better, Kotor or Perast?

It’s like comparing apples to oranges. Kotor is larger, bustling with activity, and surrounded by impressive fortifications. It offers a lively atmosphere with its many shops, restaurants, and nightlife. Perast, on the other hand, is quieter and more intimate, exuding old-world charm with its baroque architecture and serene bay views. Both have their unique appeal, so it really depends on what you’re looking for. If you can, visit both to get the full Montenegrin coastal experience.

Closing Thoughts on Exploring Perast

Perast captures the essence of Montenegro’s coastal charm. Nestled between majestic mountains and the shimmering sea, this town offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. While many travelers gravitate towards the bustling hubs, those who choose Perast discover a tranquil haven where time seems to stand still.

The narrow streets echo with stories of the past, friendly locals greet you with genuine warmth, and the gentle lapping of the bay’s waters invites moments of reflection. For anyone seeking an authentic Montenegrin experience, away from the crowds and deep into the heart of the country’s heritage, Perast beckons. It stands as a testament that the most memorable travel experiences often come from the paths less traveled.

The best things to do in Perast for all types of travelers
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