Montenegro's Hidden Coastal Gems: All you need to know about Perast's Islets

If you’re having the best family vacation cruising the Montenegrin coast on one of our exclusive traditional gulets, you’ll have a chance to explore the beautiful coastal town of Perast. As this dream becomes reality, you’ll find yourself exploring its two captivating islets – Our Lady of the Rocks (Gospa od Škrpjela) and St. George’s Island (Sveti Đorđe).

Our Lady of the Rocks (Gospa od Škrpjela)

Legend & History

Our Lady of the Rocks isn’t just a picturesque church, it’s a captivating enigma woven into Perast’s history. Legend has it that local sailors gradually built the island over centuries by throwing rocks into the water around a small reef where they found an icon of the Madonna and Child appeared during a fierce storm. This divine encounter ignited the island’s unique creation, making it a cherished landmark and a testament to faith.

Island Highlights

  • Church of Our Lady of the Rocks: This 17th-century church is the island’s crowning glory. Step inside to admire the rich collection of Baroque art, including over 60 paintings by the acclaimed Montenegrin artist Tripo Kokolja. The picturesque setting of Our Lady of the Rocks has captivated artists for centuries. The island’s unique beauty is believed to have inspired the famous painting “The Lady of the Rocks” by Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Fascinating Tradition: Even today, a local tradition keeps the island growing. Every year on July 22nd, a celebration called Fašinada takes place, where residents participate in a symbolic boat procession and throw rocks into the water near the island.

St. George's Island (Sveti Đorđe)

Unlike the nearby man-made island of Our Lady of the Rocks (Gospa od Škrpjela), Sveti Đorđe Island, also known as the Isle of the Dead, boasts a natural origin. This small island played a role in the region’s military history. During the Siege of Cattaro on October 14, 1813, a British and Sicilian naval force captured the French-held island.

Island Highlights

  • Home to Benedictines: For centuries, Sveti Đorđe Island served as a monastery for the Benedictine order. The Saint George Benedictine monastery, constructed in the 12th century, stands as a testament to this rich religious history.
  • Historic Graveyard: Serving as a final resting place for centuries, the island holds the old graveyard for past nobility from Perast and the Bay of Kotor.
  • Artistic Inspiration: The island’s unique atmosphere, with its cypress trees and serene setting, may have served as an inspiration for the famous painting “Isle of the Dead” by Arnold Böcklin.

Exploring on Your Terms:

While both islands add to Perast’s picturesque charm, only Our Lady of the Rocks welcomes visitors on a convenient boat trip departing every 15 minutes from the waterfront for a budget-friendly €5 per person. For adventurous couples and families seeking a unique perspective, kayaking to the secluded St. George’s Island offers a thrilling alternative.

Because of their importance, these islands, along with Perast’s old town, are protected by UNESCO. This means they’re considered very valuable to history and culture, and people will be able to enjoy them for many years to come.