Our Lady of the Rocks – Bay of Kotor Montenegro

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Our Lady of the Rocks is one of 2 small islands that sits in the UNESCO World Heritage Kotor Bay on the coast of Montenegro.

The island is one the most famous sights in the Bay of Kotor area and on our visit we got to see why. Anyone who has seen a picture of Kotor would have also seen a picture of our Lady of the Rocks.

The Our Lady of the Rocks Island Montenegro actually lies off the town of Perast, not Kotor but Kotor lies just a short drive away.

The Bay of Kotor; Italian: Bocche di Cattaro, known simply as Boka, is a winding bay of the Adriatic Sea in southwestern Montenegro. The bay has been inhabited since antiquity
Looking towards Kotor from Perast

Bay of Kotor Home to Our Lady of the Rocks

What makes Our Lady of the Rocks so interesting, besides its location in one of the most beautiful spots in the world is that it is the home to a legend associated with the Virgin Mary.

The story goes that two sailors in 1452, one with an injured leg, hit a shallow rock in the bay on their way from a dangerous sea voyage. When they looked down at this spot they found an icon of the Virgin Mary and a child on this rock.

They proceeded to take the icon home. The next day the sailor with the bad leg was cured but the icon was nowhere to be found.

Where did we stay in Kotor? Check out the amazing Apartment Marko right here!

The sailors considered their safe journey home and the cure of the ailment a miracle. They vowed an oath to honour this miracle with a sanctuary on the spot they found the token of the Madonna.

As the story spread sailors who ventured out onto Kotor Bay would stop at the spot and drop rocks into the water. This was seen as an offering to The Virgin Mary to bring them home safe from their seafaring journeys.  

Over the years ships laden with rocks were also sunk on the spot.

Driving along the fjord-like Bay of Kotor, the humble town of Perast catches my attention
Our Lady of the Rocks

Kotor Bay is one of the most beautiful spots in the world

This allowed an island to be formed with various religious buildings built on it, starting out with a chapel and continuing on to the church you see today.

The tradition of dropping rocks continues to this day and it is called the Fašinada. At sunset on the 22nd of July, countless local boats (and now many, many tourists and visitors in their own boats) are decorated with beautiful garlands and they sail out into the bay to drop a stone around the island.

We saw pictures of the island surrounded by boats and heard stories from our guide at how wonderful it was to be a part of.

Tour Perast and Our Lady of the Rocks from Kotor. Booking details HERE

The day we visited the island we caught a boat from Perast. We were accompanied by Gojko Samardzic from Kotor Private Guide.

We highly recommend Kotor Private Guide for any tours around the Kotor area, as Gojko is a local and has a wealth of personal knowledge that he shared with us. It was fantastic to hear all about a place from someone who lived there and was so passionate about his local area.

Gojko told us about the history of Perast and the island on our boat trip out to Our Lady of the Rocks.

The Bay of Kotor consists of four smaller gulfs - gulf of Herceg Novi, gulf of Tivat, gulf of Risan, and gulf of Kotor
On the boat dock on the Island

If I am honest I don’t think I have ever been somewhere as scenically stunning as Kotor Bay. The blue water, the high mountains that seem to rise up straight from the water, the small villages that surround the bay and the old fishing boats were mesmerising.

For me, the Kotor Fjord is as beautiful as it gets…it is sensory nirvana.

The Bay of Kotor (Montenegrin: Boka Kotorska) is a region of Montenegro.
The church displays a look of both Christian and Arab religions

Things to do in Kotor – Church of Gospa od Skrpjela

Church of Gospa od Skrpjela as it’s called in Montenegro is the dominant feature on the island of Kotor Bay. It is practically the only thing on the island besides small storage and maintenance shed.

Inside the church, you will find a beautiful marble altar that was crafted in Genoa and shipped to the church in 1796. On the ceilings and walls, there are 68 canvas pictures of the Virgin Mary depicting her life.

Another beautiful custom that this church had was that local sailors would donate one metal plaque with the image of their boat etched into the plaque before they went out to sea.

It was believed the church would protect them on their journey and they would be brought home safely. The plaques are made from silver, copper and bronze and they are all unique. This makes this chapel-like nothing else we have ever seen.

We were lucky enough to have the church to ourselves on our visit and there was no hurry for us.  We were able to take our time and really look at the beautiful plaques that were in there. To say they are amazing is an understatement.

The Bay of Kotor (Montenegrin: Boka Kotorska) is a region of Montenegro.
The inside Italian designed marble altar

 There is also a small museum in the Our Lady of the Rocks Monastery. The Museum showcases artefacts found from around the Bay over the years.

There is numerous archaeological items since this area was once under the control of the Roman Empire. Locals have also donated many handmade items.

The standout item is an embroidery made of hair and cotton. A local woman from Kotor had been making that embroidery from her own hair while waiting for her husband who was a sailor to come back from the sea.

She used her own hair as the hair of the angels she had in the embroidery. You can see the change in hair colour over the years that it took her to complete it. The woman never lost faith and the embroidery was made for over 30 years.

The lady went blind and finally died without her husband ever returning to the Bay of Kotor. While it was beautiful to see, it was a very sad story.

Our Lady of the Rocks Kotor. An unbelievable Kotor attraction

The Bay of Kotor (Montenegrin: Boka Kotorska) is a region of Montenegro.
The plaques adorn the walls left by sailors hoping for safe passage

A painted rock from the first cruise ship to enter the bay of Kotor is also on display. This shows the significance of the legend of Our Lady of the Rocks to seafarers and captains worldwide. A visit to the island is one of the best things to do in the Bay of Kotor.

If like many you are visiting Kotor by Cruise ship, Our Lady of the Rocks should be your choice of things to do in Kotor in one day. We visited Kotor in the winter and the Kotor weather was very mild.

While it was snowing further up the Adriatic coast the Kotor weather was very nice and even sunny at times. Is Kotor Bay the best in Montenegro? We can’t wait to return to this country and find out.

Full day tour of Ancient Montenegro from Dubrovnik. Prices available here

How to get to Kotor

  • Tivat International Airport is 7.6 kilometres from the Kotor Old Town. In 2017 over 1 million passengers people travelled through Tivat airport ( including Wyld Family Travel ).
  • The main carriers at Tivat are Aeroflot and AirSerbia who service the airport all year around. Airlines such as Eurowings, Easyjet and TUI service Tivat airport during the summer season.
  • You can check the prices of international flights to Tivat with cheapOair.
  • Kotor is well-connected by international bus from Split, Zagreb and Dubrovnik just to name a few. Search bus tickets to Kotor with GoEuro
  • Being so close to Kotor your transfer option include a taxi or a booked private transfer with Suntransfers
  • You can reserve a rental car and have it waiting for you at Tivat airport.

Getting around Kotor

  • Most sights in Kotor can be seen on Foot
  • Anywhere further out of town taxi or private car

Where to stay in Kotor

  • Kotor has accommodation options for every budget from Hostels, to apartments and hotel rooms.
  • Hostels in Kotor can start from as little as 25 Euro a night for a shared dorm room.
  • Check out Trip Advisors top 10 hostels in Kotor and book
  • You can search Airbnb for Kotor offerings. If you have never used Airbnb before get yourself $50 credit by signing and booking a stay right HERE
  • Hotels in Kotor generally start from around $84.00 a night for a double room 3star and increase incrementally as the luxury rating rises towards the 5-star
  • You can compare and book your stay on AgodaHotels.com and Hotels Combined 

We hope this post from us here at Wyld Family Travel has inspired you to visit The Bay of Kotor and take a day trip to Our Lady of the Rocks.

More inspiration for your vacation in Europe

Author bio:

Father, husband, traveller, and chief destination manager here at Wyld Family Travel. When Mark is not discussing travel or planning travel, you will find him working in disability support. Mark is a family travel advocate, having travelled to over 45 countries with his kids from 10 months to their teenage years. You will find his work here and on other popular websites.

Having a beer in Pilsen Czech
Mark Wyld

Content Creator

11 thoughts on “Our Lady of the Rocks – Bay of Kotor Montenegro”

  1. Your pictures are amazing! And I am really curious to experiencing a sunset with a view of the coast with all the boats decorated. Who knows maybe this summer…

  2. What a gem of a place! From the pieces within to the location, really, places like this are what will always make Europe so special and unlike anyplace else.

  3. Such a great post, thank you for sharing. Looking forward for more.

  4. Awesome post. Very nice story. I love to hear local stories and legends. It seems to be a really lovely place with a lot of history. Never heard about it before. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  5. Such an interesting tradition! Culture and history of places always fascinates me and you narrated the tradition of fasinada so beautifully and the pictures were just amazing! 😀 This post sure has gotten me curious about bay of kotor now.

  6. What a magical place! I’m heading to Europe in September and this post has made me so excited! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Funny, I was just in Kotor last week. I saw the old town. It was beautiful. I wish I would have known about this place, I would have loved to have seen it. Kotor was my favorite part of Montenegro.


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