Perched on one of two small islands in the Bay of Kotor, just off the coast of Perast, the 17th-century Our Lady of the Rocks church is a majestic sight. Framed by mountain peaks and cobalt blue waters, the church appears to float on the water’s surface, and has fast become one of Montenegro’s most photographed landmarks.
Our Lady of the Rocks is a stop on shore excursions and boat tours from nearby Kotor, and most tours allow time to head ashore and explore the church. Inside, there’s a small museum devoted to the history of Perast, and paintings by local artist Tripo Kokolja. Many travelers also pass through the Bay of Kotor as part of a Montenegro day trip from Dubrovnik in neighboring Croatia.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There is an entrance fee to visit the church and museum.
- The church is a place of worship so dress modestly, covering shoulders and knees.
- When taking a boat to the island, it’s worth negotiating a return fee.
- Plan to spend 30 minutes to an hour to explore the church and museum.
How to Get There
The island lies off the coast of Perast, on the north shore of the Bay of Kotor. Boat taxis run the short distance to the island from Perast harbor. To reach Perast, buses and taxis leave from Kotor on the eastern shore of the bay and take about 20 minutes.
When to Get There
The small church can be overwhelmed with day-trippers, especially during the summer months of July and August. Get an early start to avoid the crowds. For the most stunning photos, set sail across the bay in time to watch the sunset over the church.
The legend of Our Lady on the Rocks
According to legend, a local sailor found an icon of the Virgin Mary on a rock in the bay on July 22, 1452. Vowing to build a church on the sacred ground, seamen brought rocks home each time they returned from a successful voyage and laid them in the bay. Today, the legend lives on: Every year on July 22, locals gather to throw rocks into the sea.