A short boat ride from Kotor across ‘Europe’s Southernmost Fjord’ are two islets- Our Lady of The Rocks and Sveti Dorde.
It was not my regular Tuesday. Cruising on a boat across the Bay of Kotor on a sunny day, looking out beautiful towns reflected in greenish-blue waters, drinking red wine and helping myself to antipasto, I thought ‘It doesn’t get better than this’.
The boat trip to Our Lady of the Rocks and the town of Perast was with Pajo Boat Tours, organised by Explore Montenegro. Starting from the marina in Kotor Old Town, we were taken across beautiful Kotor Bay, nicknamed ‘Europe’s Southernmost Fjord’.
Legend has it that Our Lady of The Rocks was made over the centuries by seamen who kept an oath after they found a picture of the Virgin Mary there in 1452. When they returned from each successful voyage, they laid a rock in the Bay and gradually formed an island in the sea.
There’s only one building on the man-made island- a Roman Catholic Church built in 1632 , which contains 68 paintings by baroque artist Tripo Kokolja, from nearby Perast. His most famous painting is The Death of the Virgin, which measures over 10 metres long.
After a walk around the island and a peek inside the blue-domed church, we docked at a well-known restaurant called Stari Mlini, which dates back to 1670. Translated, the name means ‘Old Mill’ and this restaurant used to be a flour mill for the locals of Kotor, however since 1976 it has been a fairytale restaurant owned by the Durica family.
The restaurant offers parking for both cars and yachts, depending on whether you arrive by sea or coastal road. The setting is what makes Stari Mlini so different- it felt so very 007 arriving at a restaurant by boat! The restaurant specialises in seafood so we were served fresh tuna salad, followed by a selection of white fish, potatoes and vegetables, and a slice of cake for dessert. Doesn’t it look delicious?!
With our bellies full from lunch, we had one more stop to make- at the ancient town of Perast, which was owned by Venice between 1420 and 1797 and boasts sixteen Baroque palaces, seventeen Catholic churches and two Orthodox churches. The old town of Perast doesn’t have a defensive wall like Kotor, but it does have a series of nine defensive towers, built by the navy of the Venetian Republic.
All-in-all, it was an incredibly relaxing experience, with beautiful scenery, great company, five star food..and of course, some Montenegrin Rakia shots!