Through our travels in Montenegro, we’ve seen many amazing historical sites… as well as experience some of the wonderful Montenegrin culture. Yet, one thing that did surprise us when we went to Kotor was this…
There are HEAPS of Kotor cats roaming the streets, laying in the middle of historical landmarks… or even as we found, sometimes following us!
And, it wasn’t until we stumbled upon different information… that we would discover the importance between Kotor and cats.
The History of the Cats of Kotor Montenegro
With the thousands of animal species in the world, why are cats so important and treasured… especially in the town of Kotor?
Well, the locals say that for centuries… the cats of Kotor have been there to help protect the town from rodents and snakes. Plus, the cats are seen as a symbol of prosperity and good luck.
In ancient times, Kotor was a major port for business and trade… where many ships would have cats on board.
Yet, sometimes the cats would be left behind… making the cats set up their new home in Kotor. So, this is where many believe that the huge population of Kotor cats began.
Kotor Cats Are Everywhere!
When you’re strolling around Kotor from the Old Town, the parks, through to the waterfront… you’re sure to come across some cats of Kotor .
Plus, you’ll also see many souvenir shops selling cat-related merchandise… from keyrings, to bags, and jewelery, through to clothes. So, if you’re a catlover you’ll love going into one of the many stores… to discover some unique Kotor cat merchandise you can buy to take home.
Plus, there’s even a shop by the name of, the Cats of Kotor. Look out for the guard cats, he he, he!
There’s even a Kotor Cats Museum, yet it wasn’t open at the time we were there.
And, fellow kitty lovers know that most cats love being up high. So, you will even find cats 280 metres high above the town, at the infamous San Giovanni Fortress…
You’ll often see restaurant or café or shop owners leaving bowls of water… as well as food out for the hungry cats. Imagine your kitty cat having spaghetti bolognese or gourmet bread – very spoilt!
Plus, you’ll see many locals buying cat food in supermarkets… and then distributing the food around the town for the Kotor cats. Many truly are kitty lovers, who look after and cherish them.
Knock, Knock, Guess Who’s At The Door?
Now get this, next to our accommodation there were surprise, surprise… resident cats. Yet, there was one cutie who would love to come and visit us. So, with cats being curious, once we would open the door his eyes and nose would be working overtime…
In the end, he was such a cute kitty we invited him in. And of course, he made himself comfortable…
For most part, the cats of Kotor looked like they were fed well, clean and friendly. Plus, as fellow kitty lovers know, cats rule. So, there were many that did DEMAND attention… LOL!
Sadly, there are some Kotor cats that are in need of attention and care. And, with a large population it is challenging to look after them all, and find dedicated care.
Yet, there is a foundation by the name of, Kotor Kitties. And, this organization focuses on the spay-neutering of cats. Since it began this program in September 2018… thousands of cats have had this operation.
So, when you visit Kotor, there will be cats around almost every corner you walk! And, for you kitty lovers… you’ll be a “Crazy Cat” if you miss seeing the many cats of Kotor, Montenegro.
When we were staying in Kotor, Montenegro… it was suggested to us several times to take a half day or day trip to Perast. And, after doing a little bit of research about it… we found that it looked like such a quaint and pretty town.
It’s said that Perast dates back to the Neolithic perio… and had high involvement in maritime trade. And, in the 1300’s documents were found detailing a shipyard in Perast.
So here, many craftsmen were mentioned building sailboats… as well as transporting goods. Then, in the 16th Century and beyond… Perast was noted as a significant nautical base on the Adriatic Coast, and to protect Kotor Bay.
Now, when you visit Perast, you’ll notice different architectural styles… including Venetian and Baroque. And, the amazing architecture combined with the breathtaking landscape… makes a half day or day trip from Kotor to Perast a must.
So, we waited until we got a sunny day to witness the beauty that Perast has to offer.
How To Get From Kotor To Perast
To get from Kotor to Perast, there are several options you can choose to do. Of course, if you have a hire car or your own transport… this will be the quickest option. So, with that you can get from Kotor to Perast in about 15 minutes… depending on the traffic conditions.
Otherwise, you could choose to get a taxi or a private driver… which would take about the same amount of time. Yet, the price would be around 10-20 Euros one way.
Another option is if you want to ride a bike there. Yet, good luck with that! We wouldn’t do it, as you’ll discover why in this travel blog post soon.
So, one of the cheapest and simplest ways is… to get the Blueline bus from Kotor. And, this is the option we chose.
The main stop to get the bus from Kotor to Perast… is on the major highway called, Jadranska Magistrala (Adriatic Highway, the E80/E65). The bus stop is between the Gurdic Gate of Kotor Old Town, and the Green Market.
And, on the road next to the kerb… you’ll see a large section painted in yellow for the bus to stop. When there aren’t any buses, you’ll see lots of cars parking there… to drop people off to get their produce from the Green Market, and head off again. Here’s a photo of what the surrounding area looks like.
Now, there is another bus stop near Kotor Old Town… which is near the Kamelija Shopping Centre and Voli Supermarket.
Look out for a big white bus with the company name of, “Bluelines” on it, like this…
The main destinations will be written on a board on the bus dashboard. Now, don’t worry if you don’t see a destination of Perast on the board.
All we did was when the bus was at the stop, we simply said the word Perast. And, the bus driver will let you know if he stops in Perast or not. Yet, when the bus driver saw us before we even said anything, he asked, “Perast?”
Now, in the low season our understanding is that the bus runs every hour. We were told it should arrive around 15 minutes past the hour. The bus we took came by at 10:20 on a Saturday morning. We hear that there are more services during the Summer season.
The bus ticket is a measly 1 Euro per person. The bus makes stops as several points along the way, even unplanned ones too!
The road to Perast is narrow in some sections. So, when a truck or bus was coming in the opposite direction… our driver had to slow down a move to the right as much as possible. And, while doing this, our bus driver who looked like a grand young age of 80… was having a jolly good time chatting and laughing with the locals. Yep, we felt safe… LOL!
Yet, to get your mind off that… there are some lovely views to be seen on the bus trip from Kotor to Perast.
Then, as we got closer, the bus driver was yelling out Perast… and that was most likely for the benefit of the tourists! Yet, where the bus stopped was outside the town centre. And, we suspect that’s because someone on the bus, who had a lot of luggage… wanted to be dropped off earlier, so it was more convenient to his accommodation. Good old country towns!
So, the bus from Kotor to Perast took about 30 minutes… even though it didn’t feel that long.
Our First Sneak Peek Into the Town of Perast
So, even though the first stop wasn’t in the town centre of Perast… we decided to get off at that point. In fact, we walked a bit further back to where the town of Perast starts. And, remember what we said earlier… that Perast is a tiny town that spans a tiny 1km.
So, here was our first glimpse of Perast…
And, as we got closer into town, there were some restaurants on the waterfront setting up.
Plus, there was this incredible view of the sea and mountain landscape…
Yet, one of the most popular things to do in Perast… is to go to Our Lady of the Rocks Island.
A Boat Trip in Perast
So, when you get to the town centre, there’ll be several people touting their services for a Perast boat tour. And, you’ll get varying prices depending on where you want to go, and for how long.
Now, the further north we went past Perast town centre… there were even more Perast boat trip organizsers. Yet, be wary that there are some shady looking characters. And, under their breath they’ll offer you a “good price for a boat tour.” It’s up to you what you do, but we avoided them!
We saw one place where several families, couples and single people were using their services. So, here’s what it looks like…
Now, he said that to get his boat from Perast to Our Lady of the Rocks… was 5 Euros per person. Was this a tourist price or a price for all? Nevertheless, we made the decision to take the trip with this operator… considering we’d seen several others using their services.
So, for 5 Euros they would take us past the tiny island of St George… and then to Our Lady of the Rocks Island. Then, they would pick us up in about 30 minutes to go back to Perast.
If the truth be known, if we had the choice we would’ve gone to the Monastery. When you compare the two landmarks…we found that the 12th Century St George Church and Monastery had more character. Yet, we did find out that there is a cemetery there as well.
Yet, we were told that we couldn’t visit this historic landmark. So, we had to admire it from the boat…
And, although it was a short boat ride… we could get some beautiful photos in the bay of Boka Kotorska. It sure looks breathtaking!
Our Lady of the Rocks Island
Our Lady of the Rocks is a man-made island, created in the 15th Century. And, legend has it that on July 22, 1942… two fishermen from Perast found a symbol of the Virgin Mary on a rock by the sea.
Then, each time they came back from their journey, they laid a rock in the sea. So, over time, the island was built from the accumulation of rocks.
Nowadays, it’s still a tradition of throwing rocks into the sea. Plus, there’s an annual event held on July 22 called, Fašinada. And, this is where the locals take their boats into the water in procession… dropping rocks in the area.
So, when you get to Our Lady of the Rocks Island… you can do a tour of the church and museum for 2 Euros. Yet, once you step inside this Catholic church… one of the first things you’ll notice is the altar.
The striking maroon color of this ornate altar… is the backdrop for the centrepiece sculpture by, Antonio Capellano. As well as the painting in the middle of the altar, done by Lovro Marinov Dobricevic, in the mid 1400’s. The intricate detail of this altar is striking, especially when you look up close.
Unless you do a tour, we had lots of time to spare on Our Lady of the Rocks Island.
Yet, if you’re wanting to do the tour… you’ll need to allow enough time for the tour alone. So, this is important when you’re choosing which tour operator to go with.
Also, when we got there around 10:45am, there were already a few groups there. Yet, as we were leaving even more boat loads of people “rocked” up… and the church was busy with groups of people on tours.
Now, for such a small town that has a few hundred population, and spans only about 1km… Perast has several churches, more than a large town! And, one of the most prominent in the centre of town on the waterfront is, St Nicholas Church. This history of this church is interesting, as it combines 2 different churches.
The first church was built in the early 1600’s. Then, a new one was being built in the mid 1700’s but it wasn’t completed. So, you’ll be able to see that there are 2 different architectural styles to St Nicholas Church.
Unfortunately when we were there, the church wasn’t open. Others have said that you can go up to the bell tower, and see amazing views over Perast… for a fee of 1 Euro.
So, what we did instead to get a birds eye view of Perast… is we walked up to Our Lady of the Rosary Church, built in the 17th Century. And, next to this is the Zmajević Palace, both of which were not open when we were there.
Then, we took some steps further up behind this church… to the main road nearby Bella Vista Zmukic Guesthouse. And, from here we could get some beautiful views of Perast and it’s amazing landscape…
We also wandered around the backstreets of Perast. Yet, as it is such a small town, we didn’t get lost! It was interesting though to have a look around… seeing the old stone houses, walls and alleyways.
One of the other notable buildings you’ll see in Perast is this…
This is the 18th Century Baroque-style Bujovic Palace, which houses the Perast Museum. And, it’s said that many of its artefacts were via donation of locals and their families. Then, more pieces in the museum were brought in, making the museum bigger in the 20th Century. It does have many maritime artefacts… yet for 5 Euros we didn’t think it was worth the money to check it out. But, if that’s your thing then go for it!
There are many other buildings and churches you can see while in Perast… some in better condition than others. Yet, if you’re not in a hurry then take your time strolling around.
Relax and Enjoy the Views in Perast, Montenegro
Now, when you’re in Perast… you can take in the amazing views at one of the restaurants or cafes dotted along the waterfront. Of course, many of them serve fresh fish and other seafood, if that takes your fancy.
Or, pack yourself a picnic and grab a seat along the waterfront. If you want a less busy area, head further north past the centre of town… and there are a couple of seats under the shade of trees.
Otherwise, if you’re only doing a half day trip of Perast, buy an ice-cream or snack… and soak up the laidback atmosphere and breathtaking landscape, before heading back.
So, to get from Perast to Kotor, we took the Bluelines bus again. And, the main bus stop is in the centre of town, with a seat and shelter. Yet, if you do happen to miss it… wave the bus driver down, as he will most likely stop and let you on. We found that although there are the main routine stops… the bus may stop at other places along the way!
We did enjoy our half day trip to Perast, which is picturesque and laidback. If you do have the time, we recommend you go there.
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Note: All of our reviews and comments are our opinions and no-one else’s. Even if we receive complimentary goods or services we share our opinions honestly.
When you’re in Kotor, Montenegro, you’ll see some of the most picturesque views in Europe. With its mountain landscape and clear, turquoise colored water from the Bay of Kotor… it’s a photographer’s delight. Plus, you can treat yourself to some delicious Montenegrin food and drinks.
Yet, if you want to combine both of those in one activity… then what you’re about to discover is one of the things you must do when in Kotor.
So, if you’ve read our previous, We Drink Eat Travel blog posts on Kotor… you’ll be aware that we’ve mentioned the Rakia Man several times. So now, in this blog… we’re going to run through our experience of getting there, and being there! Then, you have the knowledge and tips before you go.
Hiking Kotor Mountain for Montenegrin Food and Drinks
If you’re hiking Kotor Fortress using the “Secret Entrance,” that we detailed in a previous blog… then you’ll know that you can take a detour to the Rakia Man. To find out about the “Secret Entrance” when hiking to Kotor Fortress, CLICK HERE.
Now, if you’re going to look at Google Maps to find the Rakia Man… then look for a place called, Cheese Shop. Oh, and by the way, even if you don’t like cheese or rakia… there’s other home-made produce you can try like pomegranate drink, wine, and meats.
So, to get to the Rakia Man, look for the hiking route for the Ladder of Kotor… which starts at the end of Trabacina Street, nearby River Skurda. And, on Google Maps you’ll see something called, Start of the Ladder of Kotor. And, from here there’s a hiking trail with lots of switchbacks… winding all the way up the mountain.
Now, don’t let that windy path deter you, as it’s not as hard as it looks. Surprisingly, the walk up this path is not that steep, and has a gentle incline most of the way. It does get rocky in some parts, yet don’t worry if you don’t have hiking boots. It’s do-able with normal sneakers, as that’s what we did.
So, as you get higher the views of the switchbacks, hiking trail and Kotor is awesome…
Then, after 25 minutes or so depending on how fast you walk… you’ll reach a place that looks like this…
Now, this is NOT the Rakia Man’s place. Yet, if you don’t intend on going further up the mountain… then you could stop by here for refreshments. However, we highly recommend you keep walking up as the views are incredible… and from there it’s not that far anyway. Plus, you need to try his local Montenegrin food and drinks.
At this point, it’s like a T-intersection. So, you can either go left or go right. And, to get to Rakia Man’s place you need to follow the switchbacks on the left. If you take the path to the right… then on the way are the remains of a little dilapidated old church, Sveti Juraj. And then, the path can take you to Kotor Fortress, for the “Secret Entrance.”
Hello, Is Anybody Home?
So, after about 35 minutes of walking for us and stopping to take pics, we got to a place that looks like this…
And, this is the Rakia Man’s place, otherwise known as the Cheese Shop. It’s an unassuming place, with lots of cats roaming around. Now, if you’re not sure if it’s open… simply walk up the steps and yell out a, “Hello.” Eventually, someone will come out.
So, go on past the front door of the home… because this is where tables and chairs have been set up undercover. There are many tables and chairs to cater for hungry and thirsty folks like us. Yet, when we were there it was only us.
And, it was even more surprising that at the Rakia Man’s place… there are toilets, separated for males and females. So, he must get a decent number of people coming to visit!
As we were looking around the area, an older gentleman came out who must’ve been the Rakia Man. Oh my gosh… he is REAL! He is so proud of his place, and happy to pose for a photo…
Relax With Amazing Views and Montenegrin Food and Drinks
So, we already made ourselves comfortable in one of the front tables and chairs. And, while attempting to speak to him in the Montenegrin language that I’d learnt… he understood! Don’t worry, you’ll be able to get by.
He has a fridge full of home-made goodies, as well as other standard food and beverages. We could go to the fridge and pick what we wanted. So, we had a couple of rakias, which were like rocket fuel… with an amazing view in front of us.
And, at 2 Euros for a shot of rakia, you could down quite a few if you wanted!
Plus, we had some bread, goats cheese, a glass of red wine filled to the brim, and a beer.
So, the price for all that including the 2 rakias, was 15 Euros. We thought it was cheap, especially because it included home-made produce. Plus, the amount of wine that was given was more than decent, maybe around 250ml? Anyway, it was much more than the measly pour of a glass of wine in Croatia… which is only about 100-125ml. Yet, you get charged a ridiculous amount, for a “mouthful” of average wine in some places.
Now, we could’ve stayed longer at Rakia Man’s place. It was so relaxing and peaceful. Plus, he was so friendly, laid back, and the cheese was to die for! Yet, we had our plan to walk further up the mountain… and zig-zagging along the already windy switchbacks didn’t seem like fun!
So, we stopped to sit down at one point and here’s the view we took in…
Kotor is one of the best places to visit in Montenegro. And, we highly recommend that if you can make the time… do yourself a favor, and make your way up to the Rakia Man’s place. It’s a memorable experience for some great local hospitality… as well as delicious home-made Montenegrin food and drinks.