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krisek Perast - A travel report by Krys
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Perast,  Montenegro - flag Montenegro
15511 readers

krisek's travel reports

Sleepy little stone town in Montenegro. Perast.

  11 votes
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Many visitors pass Perast, as it doesn't have famous sights and is practically tucked away from the main coastal highway. But it's really charming despite having a little posh vibe.

Two islands
Two islands
I didn't plan to spend too much time in Perast due to its size and my tight schedule. I selected it for the trip after seeing a few 'doctored' photographs. They featured the tall bell tower as if it was the town's cathedral and a couple small islets featuring small churches. These images lured me to take a slight detour from my route. The reality was slightly different than those images offered, nevertheless I was very glad that I managed to spend some time in this tiny place. The views of the Bay of Kotor were incredible, with the green rolling mountains dominating the skyline, standing tall over the crystal clear and blue surface of the sea.

The entire town seemed like an absolutely perfect place to escape the hassle and bustle of the civilisation and just relax, soak the tranquility and rub shoulders with the well-off owners of posh yachts and motor vehicles, whose price tag would give an average bread-eater a heart attack, and definitely requiring a mortgage deal. The atmosphere of Perast was almost surreal. I thought I was on a set of film plan.

Favourite spots:
Little chapel
Little chapel
I really loved the main avenue of the town running along the shore. It was lined with great mansions and little picturesque houses, some hiding little hotels and restaurants.

However, it were the numerous little chapels spread along the waterfront that created a very special image and ambiance of Perast. Many of them were a bit neglected but showing signs of growing interest to restore them. For the same reasons, most of them were closed for visitors, but the face-lifting (facade-lifting) in progress was already revealing how attractive they were.

Overall, I thought that Perast boasted a relatively large number of churches and chapels, given its small size. On the map posted on the waterfront, I noted the following places of worship: St Ivan Babtist, St Cross, St Mark's, St Nicholau's, St Ivan Evangelist, St Anton's, St Anna's, Church of Our Lady of Health.

What's really great:
The waterfront
The waterfront
Very positive signs of recovery and development, particularly at the waterfront, were what I liked the most. Montenegro had been the least developed country of the former Yugoslavia, my Slovene friends had been telling me, and as it is now a new country, I was very happy to see that things were turning for better so visibly. As I wandered around, I kept thinking how great and glamorous Perast should look in a couple of years, when all the restoration work is complete, and the wealthy visitors contribute to the profitability of the little cafes, restaurants and hotels in town. Or how great it will be to visit all the little chapels. And how great they might once be at Christmas!

The cathedral
The cathedral
Two islands (sounding like Basia's new song from her latest album!), one housing the church of St Dorda, the other Gospa of Škpjela, featured as Perast's main sights. Regular boats ran from the mainland to the islands, which seemed like one of the town's main sources of income. Also, since the work in progress with the churches on the continent kept those closed, tourism was concentrated on Dorda and Škpjela. The islands looked spectacular from the shore as the blue water of the sea shimmered slightly and the green mountains at the other side of the bay towered over the islands.

The cathedral, I think, whose bell tower dominated Perast's skyline, was open for visitors. It was interesting to see how it was decorated. I expected more over-the-top frescoes, sculptures, gold-plated chandeliers, etc. But the interior was more normal, well balanced and nicely cool compared to the temperatures outside.

The waterfront
The waterfront
I did not stay in Perast overnight. As I wandered around, though I noticed that right at the seafront there were at least three hotels, which were hiding behind their restaurants. All of them looked like really cosy places to stay, and the views from their windows over to the bay and the two islands must have been superb.

Also, it was obvious that many people rented apartments and rooms (sobe). I cannot comment on their value or quality, but given the fact that Perast was favoured by wealthier people wanting to escape the mass tourism-dominated Kotor, I'd suspect accommodation here would be more expensive. Also, there was much less competition than in the nearby Kotor.

The upper parts of the town
The upper parts of the town
There was no obvious nightlife scene in Perast. The only options were the cafes, but I was not sure how long would they stay open at night. It seemed to me that things were supposed to be quiet. It appeared to me that this what Perast wanted to be - a quiet, idyllic little place, away from mainstream tourism, partying, shopping, etc. By the way, I did not spot any fashion or souvenir shops around.

People, who wanted discos, clubs and casinos could take a short ride to Kotor, which offered plenty of that, including the Maximus Disco - a supermodern venue with latest equipment including environment control with computerised air-con. Several rooms, plus Lounge Bar, Pub Mediteraneo, and Piano Salon. But virtually all cafes and bars in Kotor played club and lounge music came 9pm.

The Nautilus Cafe
The Nautilus Cafe
There were a few cafes, two of which were built on concrete terraces right in the sea. They were near perfect places to sit down and sip coffees and wine. The cafes also served food and the immediate proximity of the sea provided a blissful cooling factor on hot days.

I also liked the Conte Nautilus Cafe right by the cathedral, whose bell tower was reflected in the cafe's glass table tops. The menu featured a range of coffees, liquor and desserts. I opted for iced coffee and a small bottle of water, and just sat down watching people go by and the white clouds reflecting in the table top as they passed in the sky. The armchairs were very comfortable and the palm trees lining the cathedral square offered shade.

The cafe also had a restaurant extended into the sea on terrace - please see below.

Parasols of the Conte Nautilus Restaurant
Parasols of the Conte Nautilus Restaurant
Although it felt almost as if the town was still in the making, or raising from the ashes like Phoenix, Perast's restaurants looked very solid, comfortable, and very, very civilised. The vast majority were situated at the seafront or along the waterfront street. When I visited, all of them mentioned below were busy, reasonably priced and had comprehensive menus, featuring local Balkan and Italian dishes - all coming in good size portions. The service was professional, the waiting staff spoke a number of languages, including English, or at least looked good and attentive from a distance in places, where I did not eat.

Right at the seafront, overlooking the Bay of Kotor and the mountains beyond, were: the Conte Nautilus Restaurant & Cafe; the Caffe Pizzeria Dardin; the Caffe Armonia; the Konoba Školji Restaurant; and the Konoba Milinović Restaurant.

Other recommendations:
Church in the upper town
Church in the upper town
Perast is situated between Herceg Novi and Kotor, just off the main road going around the Bay of Kotor. You have to make sure that the driver knows that you want to get off in Perast, otherwise, he might just pass right by it, like it almost happened to me. This is for the 'main line buses' running between main towns of Montenegro.

When I visited, there was also a bus line that ran into the Perast proper. It was the Blue Line Minibus, which ran to Kotor every half hour (€1, 20 minutes). It stopped at the Conte Nautilus Cafe at the front of the Cathedral. The line served Škaljari - Kotor - Perast - Risan - Morinj - Kostanjica, and stopped in Kotor, right by the old town's main gate.

There were also other small coaches running between Herceg Novi and Kotor via Perast, which looked more vintage, shall we say, and less safe.

The closest airport was Tivat (10' drive from Kotor) but it operated no regular international flights to the EU or other continents, only to the Balkans and charters.

Published on Sunday December 20th, 2009

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Tue, Dec 29 2009 - 11:07 PM rating by gloriajames

great report and great pics....esp loved the reflection pic on the table. 5*

Sun, Dec 20 2009 - 11:09 AM rating by pesu

Falling snow, - 5° outside, nice to sit in a warm room reading a fine summer report! ;-) Wonderful pictures, Krys!

Sun, Dec 20 2009 - 09:12 AM rating by jacko1

If I am able Krys I may look to Montenegro for a future holiday, your report makes it sound very appealing.

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