Easily accessible by boat or car, but without a single modern façade, the pristine, UNESCO protected hamlet of Perast is the impeccably conserved jewel of the Bay. The last place on Earth to fly the flag of the Venetian Republic until it, too, fell to Napoleon, Perast declined as a trading centre under French and Austrian rule, though this may have preserved the purity of its Venetian design.
Several defensive towers, including the Tower of the Holy Cross, overlook Perast’s sixteen palaces and nineteen churches as well as the world’s most ideally situated basketball court. With finite façades and zero development, this exquisite little town is popular with higher-end real estate buyers, won over by its untouched charms. Perast is now a largely pedestrianized area and, with the help of funding from the Italian Ministry for the Environment (Ministro dell’Ambiente) it has even ‘gone green’ with bicycles and segways for hire. The tourist numbers swell in peak summer but it otherwise remains relatively free from large groups or cruises, for now.
Things to do while in Perast:
• Visiting the church and museum located on Our Lady of the Rocks
• Lunch, with a bottle (or two) of good local wine, at Conte Nautilus on the town’s waterfront
• Swimming and relaxing at the beach club, Pirate Bar
• Exploring the narrow streets and alleyways that stretch back from the water