Kotor Shore Excursions: Kotor Old Town and Perast (Cruise)

Navio MSC atracado na Baía de Kotor, em Montenegro.
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If you’re planning a cruise with a stop in Montenegro and seeking information about the Kotor shore excursions, then you’ve come to the right place! In this article, I’ll share valuable details that I consider essential for organizing your trip.

During our visit to Montenegro, we had the pleasure of taking the Kotor & Perast tour, exploring two stunning destinations.

This excursion proved to be memorable and was the last stop of the MSC Orchestra before we returned to the port of Venice.

Throughout this article, I’ll describe in detail our experience in Montenegro, highlighting the charms of Kotor and Perast.

Atravessar as Bocas de Cattaro, em direção ao Porto de Kotor.
Crossing the Bay of Kotor (Bocas de Cattaro) towards the Port of Kotor.

At the end of the article, you will find a list of other related content about cruise shore excursions/tours, with additional information to help you plan your trip.

It’s worth noting that Montenegro became an independent state in 2006, and the literal meaning of “Montenegro” is “Black Mountain.” Therefore, expect stunning landscapes.

So, get ready to immerse yourself in a unique experience in Montenegro and discover everything you need to know to make your trip unforgettable!

Kotor and Perast Shore Excursion: Cruise Tour Purchased on the MSC Orchestra

Entrada em Montenegro de navio de cruzeiro.
Entrance to Montenegro by cruise ship.
Nossa Senhora das Rochas, ou Our Lady of Škrpjela, em Perast.
Our Lady of the Rocks Church, or Our Lady of Škrpjela, in Perast.

I won’t mince words, I absolutely loved exploring Kotor and Perast during the brief hours I spent in the region during the MSC Orchestra cruise.

These two places are truly incredible, and I completely understand why they are said to be Montenegro’s wonders!

On one hand, it’s intriguing to observe that Montenegro, whose literal meaning is Black Mountain, only became an independent state in 2006 and presents itself as a destination full of history and natural beauty.

So, here’s our experience in Montenegro aboard an MSC cruise.

Arrival at the port of Kotor: The begining of Kotor shore excursions

Navio MSC atracado na Baía de Kotor, em Montenegro.
MSC cruise ship docked in the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro.

Approaching the port in the early hours of the morning, around 5:00, aboard a large vessel like the MSC Orchestra, and witnessing the majesty of the fjords in the Bay of Kotor is truly incredible!

Navigating a giant ship like the MSC Orchestra is no easy task, so the expertise of a tugboat is needed to maneuver through the narrow channels of the Bay of Kotor.

In other words, I was already captivated by this destination, which promised and delivered to be one of the most fascinating places of this cruise, even before stepping off the ship!

After disembarking, we boarded a bus where a guide awaited us, and our first stop was Perast.

Visiting Perast, the fishing village in the Bay of Kotor

Visitar Perast, em Montenegro.
Visiting Perast, in Montenegro (Kotor shore excursions).
Ilha de São Jorge e Ilha da Senhora da Rochas, em Perast.
Island of Saint George Monastery and Church of Our Lady of Škrpjela Island, in Perast.
Barco a caminho de Nossa Senhora das Rochas, em Perast, Montenegro.
Boat heading to Our Lady of the Rocks, in Perast, Montenegro.
Ilha de São Jorge, em Perast.
Saint George Catholic Monastery, in Perast.

Upon exiting the cruise ship, a guide was already waiting to escort the group to the bus, and our first stop was the remarkable village of Perast.

I must say, visiting Perast was a breath of fresh air after the scorching days we had spent in Greece; here, the weather was cool and pleasant.

From what I gathered, the month of June is ideal for visiting this part of the Balkans.

A brief history of Perast

À espera do barco para ir à ilha de Nossa Senhora das Rochas, em Perast.
Waiting for the boat to go to Our Lady of the Rocks island in Perast.
Casas à beira-mar perto de Perast.
Seaside houses near Perast.

The guide accompanying us informed that Perast has 350 inhabitants, making it a small town, but in this region of the Balkans, locales with many inhabitants are rare, with the only exception being the capital, Podgorica.

Nevertheless, despite its small size, Perast holds significant historical importance for Montenegro. Over the years, various empires fought for control of Perast.

Initially, the Byzantines in the 10th century, followed by the Serbs from the 12th to the 14th centuries, and later, the powerful Republic of Venice dominated the region from the 15th to the 18th centuries.

In fact, a crucial battle occurred in Perast in 1654 when the Venetians defeated the Ottomans, who sought to control the Bay of Kotor. Venice’s influence is evident in the Baroque-style palaces, reflecting the village’s prosperity during that period.

Perast was Venice’s last stronghold until its surrender in 1797, marking the end of the golden age and the beginning of a less glorious period.

During World War II, in 1941, Perast temporarily returned to Italian hands.

Best Things To Do and See in Perast

Visitar a Igreja de Nossa Senhora das Rochas numa excursão de cruzeiro.
Visiting Our Lady of the Rocks Church on a Kotor shore excursion.
Interior da Igreja da Senhora das Rochas.
Interior of Our Lady of the Rocks Church.
Baú de oferendas em dinheiro na Igreja da Senhora das Rochas.
Donation chest in money at Our Lady of the Rocks Church.
Canhão no exterior da Igreja de Nossa Senhora das Rochas.
Cannon outside Our Lady of the Rocks Church.
Pormenor da fachada da Igreja de Nossa Senhora das Rochas: estátua da Senhora das Rochas com o menino e uma rosácea.
Detail of the facade of Our Lady of the Rocks Church: statue of Our Lady of the Rocks with the child and a rose window.
Donativos à saída da igreja.
Donations at the exit of the church.
Mosteiro de São Jorge, em Perast, Montenegro.
Monastery of Saint George in Perast, Montenegro.

Visit small, yet incredibly charming village of Perast, taking some time to stroll along the harbor where you’ll find the barkas, or traditional boats.

Then, hop on a local fisherman’s boat for a ride.

This is because off the coast of Perast lie two islands, Saint George Island, a natural one, and Our Lady of the Rocks Island, an artificial one.

Saint George Island cannot be visited as it houses a Benedictine monastery and is off-limits to visitors.

Nonetheless, Saint George Island is tiny and aside from the monastery and an ancient cemetery, there isn’t much else to see.

On the other hand, next to Saint George Island lies the artificial island built atop rocks.

According to legend, fishermen discovered an image of Our Lady during a storm and built a church in her honor on this island.

Visiting the historic center of Kotor (Old Kotor)

St. Tryphon's Cathedral, em Kotor, Montenegro.
St. Tryphon’s Cathedral, or Kotor Cathedral, in Montenegro.
Torre do Relógio, na cidade velha.
Clock Tower of Kotor, in old town.
Museu Marítimo de Kotor.
Maritime Museum.
Muralhas de Kotor.
Ladder of Kotor.

After visiting Perast, we headed to Kotor where we took a tour of the historic center and visited the Maritime Museum of Kotor.

Right at the entrance, we saw the Maritime Gate, built in 1555 when Kotor was still part of the Republic of Venice.

At that time, there was a winged Venetian lion above the gate, but it was removed and today we can see the coat of arms of the SRFC with the date of the liberation of Kotor in World War II, which is November 21, 1944.

Portão Marítimo, em Kotor. Entrada para a cidade antiga de Kotor.
Sea Gate, in Kotor. Entrance for Kotor’s old city.
Ruas estreitas em Kotor.
Narrow streets in Kotor.

It’s no wonder that Kotor is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kotor’s center is truly beautiful, with its narrow streets, charming cafes and terraces. Besides the guided tour, where we learned about the city’s layout and its main attractions, we also had free time to wander around.

We visited St. Tryphon Cathedral, with the dates 1188 and 2016 inscribed on each of its towers, Pjaca Sv. Tripuna square, the Clock Tower in Arms Square, and the walls of the ancient Kotor Fortress up to the hilltop.

During the tour, we also saw the Church of St. Nicholas (Crkva Svetog Nikole), a Serbian Orthodox church built between 1902-1909.

Igreja de São Nicolau (Crkva Svetog Nikole), em Kotor. É uma igreja ortodoxa sérvia, como mostra a bandeira.
Saint Nicholas’ Church.
Praça de Armas, em Kotor.
Piazza of the Arms (Трг од Оружја).
Folclore e danças tradicionais em Montenegro.
Folklore and traditional dances in Montenegro.

And there was still time for shopping, watching performances by traditional Montenegrin dance groups, so the free time in the old town was perfect for seeing everything we wanted.

Everything you need to know about Shore Excursions in Kotor, Montenegro

Fortaleza de Kotor, Montenegro.
Kotor Old City Walls.

Is it possible to do the Kotor and Perast shore excursion independently while on a cruise?

Yes, it is possible to do the Kotor shore excursions on your own, without being part of a cruise excursion, but I recommend calculating whether it’s worth it.

You should also consider that by choosing to visit Kotor and Perast independently, for example, by taxi, you have more freedom to go where you want and spend as much time as you like.

However, you will need to buy tickets for the Perast boat trip at the time, which means they may not be available.

Is the Kotor and Perast shore excursion worth it?

Our Lady of Škrpjela, ou Nossa Senhora das Rochas.
Our Lady of Škrpjela, ou Our Lady of the Rocks.

Yes, without a doubt, it’s very worth visiting both Perast and Kotor in Montenegro as they are absolutely beautiful places!

In fact, the Bay of Kotor, where Perast is located, is an amazing spot with majestic mountains as a backdrop.

The village itself is small, a traditional fishing village where everyone knows each other.

Is there enough time to visit Kotor and Perast?

Bocas de Cattaro, uma baía semelhante a fiorde em Montenegro.
Boka Kotorska, a fjord-like bay in Montenegro.

Perast is indeed small, so the time we spent there was more than enough to see everything.

Additionally, since a boat was waiting for us, we already had a ride to Our Lady of the Rocks Island. Otherwise, we would have needed to buy tickets and wait for the boat’s schedule.

Regarding the historic center of Kotor, the tour began with a guided visit and a tour of the Kotor Museum, and in the end, we had time to explore at our own pace.

So, we also had plenty of time in Kotor to see everything we wanted.

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