All you need to know about visiting Kotor and Perast in one day
After spending a few days in the beautiful city of Dubrovnik, I decided to spend my last day in Kotor and Perast in Montenegro. The Eastern European country is a beautiful getaway.
For several years now, this corner of Europe has highly attracted me. In Montenegro, I found unexpected beauty in every corner. For me, it was a trip full of love. Here is the story of this road trip.
History of Montenegro
Montenegro was one of the six states making up the Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia proclaimed in 1945. Yugoslavia means South Slavic; Yugoslavia existed from 1918 to 1991.
After the independence of Slovenia and Croatia in 1992 and following the referendum held in Montenegro, Serbia and Montenegro decided to form the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the absence of the other four states.
However, the civil war broke out. In 2003, the two countries’ federation was renamed the State Community of Serbia and Montenegro.
On May 21st, 2006, the referendum on the independence of Montenegro was held. 55.5% of the citizens of Montenegro wanted to break away from Serbia.
On June 3rd, 2006, the independence of Montenegro was proclaimed, and the United Nations recognized Montenegro as the 192nd state.
4 reasons to visit Montenegro
1) A country full of challenges
This small country is full of challenges! You can thrill while rafting in the Tara rapids, visit the Vrmac tracks or the Durmitor trails on mountain bikes, or even climb the Crna Glava in the Bjelasica massif.
On the coast, dare dive deep into an underwater cave, in a seaweed meadow, or snorkel near the rocks.
As for kitesurfing in Montenegro, it will make you fly above the waves of Velika Plaža and Ada Bojana.
2) Numerous beautiful orthodox monasteries
Montenegro houses numerous isolated and unspoiled orthodox monasteries in the country. They represent great cultural wealth and offer a real tranquillity moment.
Some of them are set on an islet such as (Vavedenje monastery of Beška) or perched on top of a hill (monastery of Savina, Podlastva, Gradište). The orthodox monasteries in Montenegro are known for their surprising diversity, just like the wonders they protect.
3) Incredibly delicious food
Montenegro offers several succulent culinary specialities, such as Kotor-style mussels that you can enjoy on a terrace or smoked eel that you can enjoy on the shores of Lake Skadar.
Everywhere, Njeguši ham accompanies appetizers, while mountain lamb stews simmer for hours before melting in your mouth.
4) Tramping on the summits
In Montenegro’s national parks, hiking trails are well marked. You’ll be delighted by the walks in Durmitor National Park, Lovćen National Park and Biogradska Gora National Park.
My itinerary in Montenegro
To head to Kotor in Montenegro. I chose a tour that includes a visit to Kotor’s old town; the walls of Kotor, the lady of the rocks island and the historical village of Perast.
The journey was conducted by Bus, we arrived at 8.00 am in the morning. Bear in mind that once at the border, you must provide immigration officials with your passport and the following information: Full name, date of birth, passport number and passport nationality.
After the border check, we went for a photo/coffee break at the Blue Kotor Bay Premium Spa Resort. The resort is located near Kotor’s beach area; it is also close to Flowers’ Islanders.
The Blue Kotor Resort offers a panoramic view of Kotor Bay and the mountains lake. Just grab your camera and take pictures worthy of being published in the best travel magazines.
After this short break, I arrived in Kotor, where I spent 3 hours discovering the Old Town of Kotor, the walls of Kotor, St Mary Church and the lady of remedy church.
The Old Town of Kotor
I started my journey in Kotor by visiting the Old Town of Kotor. It is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in this part of the Mediterranean. It has preserved its original form typical of towns between the 12th and 14th centuries.
The narrow streets and squares’ asymmetrical structure, combined with the many valuable monuments of medieval architecture, contributed to Kotor being placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The cultural heritage of this city is enriched by the unique architectural styles and the surrounding atmosphere. The Kotor fortification system, which protects it from the sea, is actually a wall 4.5 km long and 20 m high and 15 m wide.
Kotor’s old town is a charming place rightly famous for its Venetian-style architecture, like most of the coasts of Dalmatia and Montenegro.
Kotor’s Old Town exceptional value is embodied in the architecture’s quality in its fortified and open city, its stone houses, palaces and monastic complexes.
Although Kotor’s Old Town was seriously damaged by the earthquake of 1979, the main monuments and historic urban areas have been restored under UNESCO’s auspices. They have retained their architectural, urban and historical authenticity.
Walls of Kotor
I continued my journey by visiting the Walls of Kotor, located on the edge of a cove that extends from the sea to the interior. Stretching for 4.5 km around Kotor’s old town, the ramparts stretch out onto the slopes of St. John’s Hill.
Made of grey limestone, the walls of Kotor can be discovered on foot for lovely views of the red-roofed stone townhouses and the emerald waters of the Bay of Kotor.
In summer, Kotor’s walls are wonderfully illuminated at night and sparkle like a halo around the city.
St Mary Church
To discover the walls of Kotor, I started my walk from St. Mary Church. This church is located near the North Gate or the river.
Even if the church dates from 1221 and is in Romanesque style, the bell tower is more recent, dating from the end of the 18th century, and the scenes representing the life of the saint on the bronze doors are contemporary, made in 1985.
Inside St Mary Church, I was able to admire the remains of the frescoes of the ancient walls, painted by Greek masters, of which the signature of MANO is preserved on the sword of Saint Gabriel
This painting is located on the wall to the right of the entrance. On the left, under an altar, you will see a glass sarcophagus and the saint’s mummy. Her hands are visible on her chest, and the rest of her body is covered with a nun’s robe and her face with a mask.
St. Mary was born in 1493 and was a shepherdess who had strange visions. When she was 12, she left to live in Kotor to enter the Búca family’s service, and she converted to Catholicism, coming from an Orthodox family.
In 1515 she joined the Dominican order under the name of Hosanna.
St. Mary lived as an anchorite for over 50 years, locked in a cell where she was visited by the inhabitants of Kotor who sought advice and protection.
The Church of Our Lady of Remedy
Afterwards, I discovered the Church of Our Lady of Remedy, which is an Orthodox church. This church is perched on San Juan Mountain’s slopes, which dominates the eastern coast of ancient Kotor.
The history of this church dates from 1510. The rock and the staircase leading to the hill or to the church are difficult to access because, although it is about 180m above sea level, the whole road is zigzag and can be very difficult.
I was very impressed by the church’s vignette interior. After this quick visit, I went to Perast Village. It took me 30 mins to arrive there.
The village of Perast is the oldest of the Kotor Gorge and has arguably the most beautiful Baroque architecture in the region. Like the rest of the region, it has been shaken up throughout its history by various invasions and dominations. However, the course of its history is more peaceful.
Relatively isolated from other towns and villages in the region, Perast had less than 450 inhabitants in 1991. Therefore, it is a simple fishing village where it is good to stroll before going to enjoy its small beach.
However, the village obviously hides some historical secrets that are worth seeing.
Throughout its history, Perast has had its ups and downs. Venetian rule between the 15th and the 18th century is known as the city’s golden age.
The protection and successful defence of the city brought Perast citizens many privileges from the Republic of Venice.
They were often rewarded with land located in parts of Boka Bay. On the other hand, the navy played an important role in the lives of the Perast Village citizens. It was their main profession, which contributed a lot to the wealth and glory of the place.
After the domination of the Republic of Venice, Perast lost its original lustre. The coming to power of the Austro-Hungarians put an end to its golden age, and instead, Perast became a dark and desolate town.
Abandoned palaces and empty streets have made Perast a city of mysticism, silence and mystery.
Lady of the Rocks
Once in Perast, I took a ferry to visit the Islands and Church of Lady of the Rocks. The story began in the 15th century when two fisherman brothers found (by chance) on a rock an icon representing the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ.
Surprised by this discovery, they decide to take it home. Surprisingly, their seriously ill third brother began to heal. For the two brothers, there was no doubt; it could only be a miracle.
To thank the Virgin Mary, the siblings (helped by the region’s inhabitants) decided to build a Catholic church around the famous rock, that is to say, in the middle of the bay. However, they were first forced to build an island.
To do so, they started throwing large stones around the rock. The church and the island – which incidentally bear the same name – were completed and opened to pilgrims in 1630. Their construction lasted more than two centuries.
Concerning the Lady of the Rocks Church, it is an incredible church built in the middle of the water. It took tons of stones shipped by boat to build the church. I think the Lady of the Rocks Church is a remarkable attraction not to be missed under any circumstances.
Tradition has it that you need to bring a stone from your country to help the islet grow. While discovering the Lady of the Rocks Island, do not hesitate to admire the astonishing panoramic view of the village of Perast.
After this quick amazing discovery, I headed back to Dubrovnik from Perast. The journey took around 2h30. One thing is sure, I will remember this trip for a long time.