Perast, the beautiful coastal town in Montenegro, enchanted us from the first moment. A spectacular mountain backdrop on the horizon, a pleasant flair in the old town, pretty sights, a cozy promenade for an evening stroll – all this and much more awaits you in Perast.
Perast is located in the Bay of Kotor – the fjord-like bay in Montenegro, parts of which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site . Happily! Because of this, building mistakes in Perast, in contrast to elsewhere in Montenegro, are kept within limits.
Perhaps you are planning a trip to Montenegro and would also like to make a stopover in Perast? In this blog article we show you the most beautiful sights and highlights in Perast and share our personal tips.
1. Perast in Montenegro: First Travel Tips & FAQs
Worth knowing about Perast
- Perast is a small coastal town in the famous Bay of Kotor. In contrast to Kotor, Perast is much more tranquil. (If only because fortunately no cruise ships can dock in Perast.)
- Perast is built on a slope . The coastal road runs above, below the traffic-calmed promenade. And in between: Steep, labyrinthine staircases and old houses. There are no street names in this part of Perast.
- The old town (especially the promenade) presents itself quite spruced up. Historic baroque palaces and a number of buildings worth seeing can be found here.
- Probably the most famous sight and one of the most popular photo motifs in Perast is the tiny offshore island of Maria vom Felsen with its church. (In fact, there are actually two offshore islands, but more on that in a moment.)
For whom is a holiday in Perast suitable?
One notices pretty quickly: Perast is more the home of upscale tourism. This is reflected, for example, in the price level for hotels and restaurants. Many couples (of all ages) and families vacation in Perast.
In between, of course, there are also a lot of day visitors, because Perast is a popular destination (e.g. from Kotor). In the evening, when peace has returned, strolling along the promenade is particularly recommended.
Important to know: Swimming is mainly done on the two public beach sections to the west and east of the old town (gravel/stone). In general, the beaches of Perast are certainly not among the most beautiful in Montenegro.
If sunbathing right by the sea is important to you, you should consider booking one of the few (and expensive) hotels on the water. Some have private, mostly paved sections of beach.
How many days should I plan for Perast?
Would you like to take a road trip across Montenegro and use Perast as a stopover? Then we would recommend a stay of two to three nights . This gives you enough time to visit the most important sights (there aren’t many) and you can also relax a little.
If you want to vacation in Perast for a longer period of time , that is of course also possible. Of all the coastal towns in Montenegro, we liked Perast the best. The place is perfect for a relaxing holiday.
2. Sights in Perast: Our tips
The most important information in advance: Perast is a total work of art. Of course there are individual sights that stand out in particular, but in our eyes it is actually the cozy flair of this charming, spruced-up old town that makes Perast so special.
Don’t worry, by the way: Perast is tiny. Apart from the fact that you have to put up with a short climb for some sights (we remind you: Perast is built on a slope), the place can be explored really quickly. You don’t really need much more than half a day (or a day at most) to visit all the highlights.
Shore promenade & old town
Let’s start with the heart of the old town of Perast: the waterfront. This runs right on the water and is about a kilometer long from the east to the west end of Perast.
There are several sights or buildings worth seeing along the promenade, including the many palaces for which Perast is so well known. The most famous palace is the Bujović Palace (“Palača Bujović”), which now houses the City Museum. From this point you also have what we think is the most beautiful view of Perast in the direction of the church tower with the mighty mountains behind. Postcard motive!
Also worth seeing is the Smekja Palace, which makes a pretty photo motif with the church of Sveti Marko next door. Otherwise there are many cafes, restaurants and hotels along the promenade.
Incidentally, the promenade is traffic-calmed. (Only selected cars are allowed to enter.) So nothing stands in the way of a relaxed stroll. In the late afternoon, before sunset, we found a walk most atmospheric.
Narrow stairs start everywhere directly behind the promenade and lead upwards almost like a labyrinth . Here you pass ancient stone houses, many of which are used as accommodation. Because most of Perast’s major attractions are down by the water, you’ll likely be traversing this part of Perast to get to your accommodation. (Another exception is the Perast Viewpoint – but we’ll get to that later.)
Boat trip to Maria from the Rock island
A sight that you should not miss when staying in Perast is the offshore island called Maria vom Felsen (“Gospa od Škrpjela”).
This can only be reached by boat . Boats to the island depart at very regular intervals from the western part of the waterfront. The crossing takes only a few minutes and costs 5 euros per person (return).
On the drive to the island you not only enjoy a fantastic view back towards Perast, but you can also take a look at the second offshore island as you drive past: Sveti Đorđe . However, this island is not accessible to visitors. It houses a Benedictine monastery and a cemetery.
Arrived on the island of Maria vom Felsen, you will soon realize how tiny it is. We definitely recommend visiting the church (2 euros per person). In addition to the church interior, you can also visit a small museum on the upper floor. After the tour, a small viewing terrace with a pretty view awaits you.
View from the bell tower of the Church of Saint Nicholas (Saint Nicholas)
The main church of Perast is dedicated to Saint Nicholas. Its bell tower, visible from afar , can be climbed. Once at the top, a fantastic view in all directions awaits you .
A small warning follows at this point: The ascent is very adventurous (and we have already conquered many church towers in the world). In some places, the stairs are in a somewhat questionable condition in terms of safety and, in addition, it can get very narrow at times. We would not recommend the ascent to older students or families with small children.
A cheap undertaking awaits you here: Admission is 1 euro. The opening times vary a bit depending on the time of year. When we visited in midsummer, the tower was open until 5pm. It’s worth checking beforehand!
Viewpoint in Perast
You can enjoy a beautiful view of Perast from the main street that runs above the town. By the way, the whole thing is just as romantic as it sounds: namely not at all. There is no real viewing terrace (only a small parking lot) and the passing cars don’t make it any better.
Of course, the view is still fantastic, no question about it. To get here, coming from the sea, you have to make your way up through the labyrinth of alleys. On Google Maps the point is referred to as “Perast viewpoint”. We have marked the spot for you on the map at the end of the article .
A little tip: Very close by (already within the old town) there is another viewpoint worth seeing, namely the viewing platform in front of the church “Rimokatolička Crkva Gospe od Ružarija”. You can already see the associated bell tower from above.
3. Eating & drinking in Perast: Our tips
The range of cafes and restaurants in Perast is rather manageable and relatively touristy. But don’t worry, we don’t mean that in a negative way. We ate really really well in Perast. Be prepared for a rather high price level for Montenegro . Here are two tips on where it tasted particularly good.
This restaurant is one of the “top dogs” in Perast and belongs to the dignified Hotel Conte of the same name . Here you eat really well (fish, meat, vegetarian and even vegan ).
The location right on the water is something special. But you can also sit “in the second row” in front of the small church. For a dinner for two (vegetarian) including drinks we paid about 50 euros. Here you can also try the well-known Perast cake – an almond and lemon cake.
Probably the best pizza far and wide is available in this friendly snack bar-like place. It is very nice to sit on a terrace under the shade of the trees overlooking the sea. In addition to pizza, there are also salads and very good coffee. Perfect for an informal lunch or dinner.
4. Our hotel tip for Perast
We present: Casa Vita Nova – probably the most beautiful hotel of our entire trip to Montenegro. The gigantic pool alone with a view of the Bay of Kotor is so fabulously beautiful that we still rave about it today.
A historic, lovingly renovated stone house awaits you here , which houses only six rooms. The rooms are all furnished very tastefully and to a high standard. There is definitely no lack of comfort here. There is also a small kitchen in each room. We made our breakfast here every day. If you want, you can alternatively have breakfast in the neighboring hotel.
Unique is the slightly elevated position and thus the view from the idyllic garden . A very special highlight is the pool. We tend to belong to the restless holiday type and are constantly on the go. Here we deliberately made an exception and just enjoyed it. Wow!
The only downside: The accommodation is in the middle of a slope – there is no road leading here, but you have to climb numerous stairs. We parked for free up along the main road at the height of the large pine tree. The hosts will pick you up from here. (Important: Contact them in good time before you arrive.) The way down the stairs to Casa Vita Nova is currently not signposted and difficult to find for those unfamiliar with the area. A little tip: From below (i.e. from the sea) the fastest way to the accommodation is via the stairs that start at the Bocalibre restaurant.
Our conclusion: Apart from the fact that the accommodation is very hidden and the ascent (or descent – depending on where you come from) can be a bit tedious in the heat, a wonderful jewel awaits you here. We would book again immediately!
You can book accommodation here: Casa Vita Nova
5. Arrival, parking & transport in Perast
Perast is located in Montenegro, not far from the borders with Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. We drove to Perast with our own car from Vienna. A stopover is definitely a good idea here, as the pure journey time is around 12 hours.
Important to know: If you are traveling with your own car, you should definitely have the green insurance card with you. This can be checked at the border. You can find more information and tips for driving in Montenegro in this blog article: Montenegro Road Trip.
Alternatively, it is possible to fly to Podgorica (capital of Montenegro) or Tivat (Boka Kotor Bay) and continue your journey from there with a rental car . We prefer to book our rental car with Sunny Cars .
Perast is traffic-calmed, which means: You can only drive into the old town in exceptional cases and usually have to park your car outside. (Quite apart from that, apart from the promenade in Perast, there are hardly any streets in Perast that you could master with a car anyway.)
There are paid parking spaces both east and west of the old town (price: approx. 5 euros per day). From here, small golf carts will take you into the old town for a fee and if required. If you arrive without luggage, you can do without it.
Alternatively, you can try your luck along the main road . There are always free parking spaces here, but sometimes you have to search a bit.
Once in Perast, there is practically only one means of transport: your own feet. While the waterfront is flat (this is where most of the sights are located), it rises steeply just behind it (this is where many accommodation and private homes are located). So if you live on the hill, you have to be prepared to cover a few meters of altitude every day.
6. Map: All sights and tips at a glance
To give you a better overview, we have drawn the most important sights and our tips for Perast on this interactive map. Important to know: In the labyrinth of alleys in the old town, route planning via Google Maps does not really work because many stairs/paths are not marked.
Our tip: You can easily download the map onto your smartphone by clicking on the rectangle in the top right-hand corner. We wish you a lot of fun planning your trip to Perast and of course, above all, a wonderful holiday!
Transparency: Affiliate links
This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!