Traveling along the idyllic shore of the Bay of Kotor, we made our way towards a village perched on the water’s edge and the town’s church steeples marked our way. Risan, perhaps the oldest of the famous Montenegrin settlements on the greater Bay of Kotor area, will enchant and surprise you. Because of the Bay of Kotor’s unique geography, Risan actually adjoins the Bay of Risan, which seems like a smaller “bay within a bay”. Here in Risan, the partial separation from the excitement of nearby Kotor with its famous towns of Perast, Tivat, Herceg Novi and Budva.
The residents of Risan guarded their privacy and the secrets of this stony walled town for centuries. Now, Risan has opened its gates to modern travelers who come to marvel at her long history, soaring stone structures, and Roman mosaics. Tor those of you who are planning to travel around the Bay of Kotor, Risan is a necessary stopping place for everyone who is interested in good food, eclectic outdoor cafés, and a true taste of everything that ancient Montenegro has to offer.
Risan is the oldest city along the banks of the Bay of Kotor and it’s clear to guess why residents picked this place to build their town in the 4th century BC. At that time Risan was actually called Rhizon and it occupies a strategic location at the innermost point in the Bay of Kotor, and only accessible by sea if you pass several narrow straits in the bay. The limestone cliffs of Orjen Mountain spring to life behind Risan, adding to the city’s dramatic splendor but also reminding us why ancient residents chose to occupy this small, magical corner of the Bay of Kotor.
Passing beyond Risan, we soon come to Perast. While Risan was an ancient settlement that enjoyed moderate fortunes during many millennia, Perast is a younger city on the Bay of Kotor, first mentioned in local chronicles dating from 168 BC. First made into a fortified town in the early Middle Ages, Perast suffered a tumultuous 800 years of booms and busts until finally growing into a significant trading destination that rivaled Perast’s northern competitor, Venice. History again took a sudden turn, and Perast came under Venetian control in 1420.
The Venetian period was a significant one for Perast and had a profound influence on the city’s architecture. Venetians began to build palaces, churches and other strutctures on every available square inch of land. Perast is so full of spectacular buildings, UNESCO declared all of Perast city a World Heritage Site.
The Venetian period was a significant one for Perast and had a profound influence on the city’s architecture. Venetians began to build palaces, churches, and other structures on every available square inch of land. Perast is so full of spectacular buildings, UNESCO declared all of Perast city a World Heritage Site.
Finally, Perast is the necessary destination for all travelers interested in seeing the two nearby islands and their magnificent churches, including Our Lady of The Rocks (Gospa od Skrpjela) and Saint George. Both islands serve as reminders that Perast enjoyed the height of influence during a time when local residents and their Venetian neighbors sought to build some of Montenegro’s most enduring architectural wonders.
To arrive to Risan and Perast:
The greater Bay of Kotor, including the towns of Risan and Perast, are connected by the Adriatic Motorway and to inland Montenegro via the Vrmac Tunnel. You can also enter Montenegro via the Sozina tunnel near Budva. Podgorica is close to Risan and Perast, a mere 65 kilometers (40 miles) away.