Montenegro: Places to Explore

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Perast

Tiny Perast is a peaceful bay-front village of semi-abandoned baroque stone villas set in gardens filled with fig trees and oleander. It was built by wealthy local sea captains during the 17th and 18th centuries, at a time when it was prosperous enough to have some 100 merchant ships navigating the oceans. In fact, Perast's naval skills were so respected that in the early 18th century, the Russian czar, Peter the Great, sent his young officers to study at the Perast Maritime Academy.

In the bay in front of Perast lie its main attractions: Sveti Djordje (St. George) and Gospa od Skrpjela (Our Lady of the Rock), a pair of tiny, charming islets, each topped with a church. As Perast has no beach to speak of, it isn't as set up for commercial tourism as its more beach-centric neighbors along the coast. But what it lacks in resort facilities, it amply makes up for with charming small hotels and apartments in tastefully refurbished, elegant old stone villas.

Each year on July 22, Perast celebrates the fasinada, a local festival honoring the folkloric origins of Our Lady of the Rock, with a ritual procession of boats carrying stones out to the island at sunset. The stones are dropped into the water around the island, protecting it from erosion by the sea for the coming year. The Fasinada Cup sailing regatta is held on the same day.

Perast can be reached by car or bus, and can also be visited on an organized half-day boat trip from Kotor's harbor.

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