The Enchantment of Rovinj and the Allure of Venice

After Dubrovnik, Rovinj would be another “must see” city in Croatia. A historic harbor town located along the Adriatic Sea on the west coast of the Istrian Peninsula, it is very reminiscent of a number of quaint Italian villages. Travelers will appreciate the abundance of varied, colorful scenes that project charm and romanticism.

Below is a view of the Old Town looking north from the Rovinj Marina at Luka Rovinj. The Church of Saint Euphemia’s spire rises above all other structures.

Here is a closer view

The hilltop location and weathered cobblestone streets provide an array of old world venues to investigate.

In destination cities, there are usually cafes, small boutiques and unique emporiums and Rovinj will not disappoint. Rovinj is made for walking. As a mostly car-free town it invites visitors to explore the narrow alleyways and traverse up and down the stone stairways. Pedestrians stop often to admire the old world architecture and colorful facades.

Don’t get the wrong idea however, Rovinj has also evolved to appeal to the more contemporary taste of savvy travelers. There are interesting eateries and shops with up-to-date color schemes and modern offerings.

Tourists may have a tendency to forget that daily lives swirl about as they visit surrounding streets, but somehow mundane images seem to take on additional appeal in a setting such as Rovinj.

The dominant building and a favorite tourist stop is the Church of Saint Euphemia built on the highest hilltop between 1725 and 1736 .

*The bell tower bears a strong resemblance to St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice and serves as a platform for the statue of St. Euphemia, the Patron Saint of Rovinj. The bronze sculpture is constructed on a spindle which enables it to turn indicating the direction of the wind.

The statue of St. Euphemia can be seen on the top of the bell tower in Rovinj.

The colorful buildings against the blue water and stormy sky provided plenty of opportunity for beautiful photographs.

To relax a bit and take in the ambience of the town, a stroll along the harbor is a top choice.

Walking around Rovinj, one is easily reminded that this is a seafaring locale relying on the Adriatic for its livelihood, tourism and recreation.

Reminders of the daily work

The rustic buildings pointing toward the sea have satellite dishes on the roofs providing a mix of the old and the new.

A number of marinas draw fishing and boating enthusiasts to the area.

A small ferry transports passengers between the town’s perimeter and the old section. A fine place to bid farewell to hard-to-forget Rovinj.

To catch the flight back to the United States, our tour group made a one-day stop over in Venice. Although we had been there before, the contender for the moniker, City of Love, still had plenty of charisma to offer.**

San Giorgio Maggiore island and church in Venice viewed from the Grand Canal walkway

The canals of Venice frame many interesting sights such as the Bridge of Sighs (left) and the San Giorigio del Greci Church (right)

If ever there was a location made for a romantic evening walk, it would be in-and-around the Grand Canal of Venice.

Early evening view of the famed gondolas with San Giorgio Maggiore island in the background

As darkness falls, the magic of the night unfolds in Venice

One of our favorite all-time great evenings was sitting in St. Mark’s Square with a glass of wine listening to the various orchestras compete in a make-shift “battle of the bands.” An evening in the square is a good place to cap off our great adventure.






See Previous Posts in this series:

Dubrovnik, Croatia – Pearl of the Adriatic

Old Town Dubrovnik – Above it all

Old Town Dubrovnik – The Low Down

Dubrovnik from the Adriatic and Mt. Srd

Montenegro & The Walled City of Kotor

Mostar – Bosnia and Herzegovina

Coastal City of Split, Croatia

Zagreb – Capital City of Croatia

Ljubljana – Capital of Slovenia

Slovenia – Cookies, Castle, Caves and Cuisine

Pula’s Ancient Heritage


Pula’s Ancient Heritage

File Courtesy of

Pula, the largest city on the Istrian Peninsula in Croatia, is a major tourist destination. The most iconic landmark is the Amphitheater built by the Romans under the reign of Emperor Vespasian during the first century AD.

Originally constructed on the outskirts of town, it now finds a place among more contemporary buildings and parks.

The Amphitheater has been given the nickname of the Arena because of the sand covering the floor of the structure.

According to Wikipedia, the Pula Amphitheater is the only one in the world that has all four side towers intact.

Considering the age of the Amphitheater, it is amazing that the walls are still standing in “relatively good” condition.

As visitors walk around and through the infrastructure, they can easily imagine long-gone attendees sitting on stone benches.

Among the artifacts in the subterranean gallery is a wall of aged jugs.

Built between 1929 and 1931, St. Anthony’s Church stands in sharp contrast to the Arena and would probably be considered an “architectural infant” within that comparative framework.

Although the Amphitheater is ancient, the ability to seat 5,000 attendees enables it to serve as a venue for current film festivals, sporting events and concerts.

Another ancient structure in Pula, built between 29-27 BC, is the Roman Triumphal Arch of the Sergii which leads to Pula’s Old Town. The arch, originally constructed as a city gate, was built to commemorate the three Sergii brothers who were participants in the naval Battle of Actium.

Old Town has a main street lined with many merchants. Closer to the center, there is a picturesque side street with a number of restaurants.

The town center originally served as a meeting place and is currently used to host public events.

The Temple of Augustus is pictured on the left of Forum Square. The town hall, partially shown on the right, stands where the Temple of Diana stood during medieval times.

A number of Old Town buildings show signs of retrofitting to accommodate more modern lifestyles.

Perhaps a lesser known arch is the Porta Gemina (Twin Gates), a city gate built by the Romans between the 2nd and 3rd century as part of they city wall which had ten portals of entry.

Next stop – Our tour of Croatia nears the end in the stunning fishing port of Rovinj!



See Previous Posts in this series:

Dubrovnik, Croatia – Pearl of the Adriatic

Old Town Dubrovnik – Above it all

Old Town Dubrovnik – The Low Down

Dubrovnik from the Adriatic and Mt. Srd

Montenegro & The Walled City of Kotor

Mostar – Bosnia and Herzegovina

Coastal City of Split, Croatia

Zagreb – Capital City of Croatia

Ljubljana – Capital of Slovenia

Slovenia – Cookies, Castle, Caves and Cuisine


Slovenia – Cookies, Castle, Caves and Cuisine

In addition to Ljubljana, we ventured out to the surrounding towns to experience more of Slovenia’s cuisine and natural phenomena.

Main street in the small medieval town of Radovljica, Slovenia

An unusual treat was lunch at the Gostilna Lectar in Radovljica, Slovenia. The inn opened in 1766 and its historic aura can be felt immediately. There is lodging upstairs, a restaurant on the main floor and a gingerbread museum and workshop in the basement.

Although not a gingerbread fan, these confections were beautiful works of art admired by many. It was interesting to learn about the creative process and the history of the honey-based dough which yields a firmer rendition of gingerbread.

Some of the ingredients assembled for creating the gingerbread dough

The gingerbread process explained

The finished products were proudly displayed and ready for purchase

A restaurant does not survive on gingerbread alone and the provided lunch proved just as worthy. The highlight was the soup served in a large brioche-shaped bread.

We were treated to a musical farewell by owner and son as we prepared to leave Gostilna Lectar.


One of the most popular tourist locations in Slovenia is Lake Bled and the Bled Castle. The historic nature and beautiful surroundings lend themselves to destination weddings and during our visit, the most picturesque areas were quite crowded. In spite of the crowds, the castle and lake were certainly beautiful to see!

The entrance to the Bled Castle

Exterior of the colorful Chapel at Bled Castle

Bled Castle turret and souvenir shop

The sun attempting to break through the clouds at Lake Bled

The Church of Mary the Queen in Lake Bled

Read more about Bled Castle HERE


Visiting castles, museums, cathedrals, etc. certainly shows off the beautiful buildings and architecture around the world, but finding natural treasures along the way adds an additional punch to foreign travel.

Over its 200-year tourism history, the Postojna Caves has hosted more than 39 million visitors. As one of the most anticipated stops, it was easy to understand the popularity of the caves!

The tour takes attendees along a 5km route during which half uses of a functionally-sized electric train to transport guests.

Throughout the visit there was an abundance of Stalagmites, Stalactites and Columns on view.

Attractions included tunnels, caverns, galleries, halls, “curtains” and cave “bacon” which were on display in an array of sizes and configurations. It was indeed awe-inspiring to see these natural gems that preceded us by millions of years.

At certain venues, metal walkways or “bridges” were constructed to enable closer inspection of the natural wonders found in the caves.

A gallery with an array of pillars

Picture courtesy of Postojna Cave Park

1 Minute Video – Postonja Caves Slovenia


On the way to our final destination in Croatia, we made a very special stop in the picturesque mountains outside Buzet located on the Istrian peninsula.

Picturesque hilltop town of Buzet

While the scenery was beautiful, what made this unique was our “tasting” stop at the Prodan Tartufi. Buzet’s locale is ideal for the growth of subterranean truffles.

White Truffle picture courtesy Prodan Tartufi

The preparation for the truffle inclined was an egg dish with the earthy-flavored truffles and spices.

Beautiful view of the valley as clouds roll in


Truffle hunting experience with Onelife Rally in Istria // PRODAN TARTUFI

NOTE: We did not partake in the truffle hunting, just the tasting.


Next stop…the very picturesque town of Rovinj!



See Previous Posts in this series:

Dubrovnik, Croatia – Pearl of the Adriatic

Old Town Dubrovnik – Above it all

Old Town Dubrovnik – The Low Down

Dubrovnik from the Adriatic and Mt. Srd

Montenegro & The Walled City of Kotor

Mostar – Bosnia and Herzegovina

Coastal City of Split, Croatia

Zagreb – Capital City of Croatia

Ljubljana – Capital of Slovenia


Ljubljana – Capital of Slovenia

Map Courtesy of fotolip

I must confess that I had never heard of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, until I decided to travel to Croatia and surrounding countries. Apparently there were many others who had experienced Ljubljana because it was named the “European Best Destination 2022.” *

The city has developed a reputation as one of the most environmentally-friendly, livable capital cities of Europe. “Old Town” restricts automobile traffic which encourages pedestrians and cyclists to stroll through the center square or along the banks of the Ljubljanica River.

Indicative of the character of the city, a statue of France Prešeren, Slovenia’s most famous romantic poet, sits in the market square.

Flowing into the heart of the city is the “serene” Ljubljanica River with its sculptured bridges, cafes, restaurants, Central Market and other gathering venues. There is a lengthy walkway for those who want a peaceful stroll while viewing historic architecture.

Experienced travelers know that a competition to host the best tribute to love by allowing “love locks” to be prominently displayed in public has developed among European cities and Slovenia is no exception. The Butcher’s Bridge serves as Ljubljana’s entry.

Walking along the Ljubljanica River path brings visitors to the interesting Dragon Bridge with beautiful large dragon statues at all corners of the structure.

Legend has it that Jason (of Jason and the Argonauts) was the founder of Ljubljana and during one of his exploits he slayed a dragon that was living in the marshlands near the Ljubljanica’s source. The dragon has become one of the symbols of Ljubljana.

Read more about the dragon connection HERE and HERE

Another interesting area to visit just a short walk southeast of the “three bridges”is the Town Hall Square with the interesting architecture of the Town Hall and Francesco Robba’s Narcissus Fountain.

Another of the main attractions is Ljubljana’s hillside castle.

One way to get to the hilltop fortress is to take the funicular…

and as we made our way to that transport, we passed the puppet theater with a most unusual drinking fountain for this location.

The Alfred N. drinking fountain designed by academy sculptor Mirko Bratuša is the author’s first public work [usually running during warm weather, but not this day]

The castle in its original form dates back to the twelfth century, but has undergone extensive renovations and modifications. It is now considered a “modern castle” which serves as a cultural hub for the city.

Visitor's entrance to the castle
Visitor’s entrance to the castle

Alert visitors may find another of Ljubljana’s dragons here as well.

Southeast view of the Pentagonal Tower at the Ljubljana castle in Slovenia

From the courtyard, the more contrasting “modern” structures can be seen. While the climb to the top of the Clock Tower is a bit steep, the panoramic view is worth the effort for those who are fit to undertake the task.

While making the “trek” enjoy the decorative spiral stairway.

Panoramic view of Ljubljana from the top of the Clock Tower



Next stop – castle, cave and cuisine!



See Previous Posts in this series:

Dubrovnik, Croatia – Pearl of the Adriatic

Old Town Dubrovnik – Above it all

Old Town Dubrovnik – The Low Down

Dubrovnik from the Adriatic and Mt. Srd

Montenegro & The Walled City of Kotor

Mostar – Bosnia and Herzegovina

Coastal City of Split, Croatia

Zagreb – Capital City of Croatia

Zagreb – Capital City of Croatia

Zagreb is the capital of Croatia and like most capital cities, it serves as the center for the arts, cuisines, administrative offices, etc. While it has some of the modern touches, it is the historic “old soul” of the city that draws most visitors.

Map Source: modified by

Zagreb was one of the numerous cities that had 3-D replicas of the “main district” which enabled guides to provide a brief orientation for the tourists.

Replica of Zagreb’s Upper Town and Lower Town

Our first stop in the capital was in the area known as Upper Town where many of the old buildings and landmarks can be found. At Kaptol Square, the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary rises above the surrounding buildings and streets.

Through the years, wars, earthquakes and other events destroyed parts of the Cathedral and there have been many periods of reconstruction which is ongoing.

Note the scaffolding around certain areas

A medieval turret adjacent to the Cathedral provides one more example of the historic architectural styles.

Along the same wall as the tower, is an old clock showing the time it stopped as a result of the magnitude of 6.3 earthquake on the morning of November 09, 1880 – 7 hours 3 minutes and 3 seconds.

Just west of the Cathedral is Herman Bolle’s fountain (Monument of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) which is the pedestal for a golden statue of the Blessed Virgin.

The artwork is quite remarkable. The column is surrounded by statues of angels. The ornate water taps designed as decorative masks further enhance the beauty and character of this monument.

Visitors can take a bit of a zigzag walk just a few short streets southwest of the Cathedral to find the well-known Dolac Market affectionately nicknamed “The Stomach of Zagreb.” It is an expansive farmers’ market characterized by large red umbrellas sheltering the stands.

Fresh produce of all types and varieties is easy to find at the market.

Garlic bulbs piled high

Established merchants also provide cheese, fish, baked goods, etc. in a building located in the market area. We stopped at the Gligora Cheese and Deli shop for several samples .

At the west edge of the market where the square begins to intersect with the city streets, a bronze statue pays homage to the market workers and farmers.

Read more about the Dolac Market HERE

As the country’s capital, there are numerous churches each with unique and often very ornate designs as evidenced by the green and gold tower of Saint Mary at Dolac built in the 14th century and remodeled periodically.

Perhaps the most colorful example of religious architecture in Zagreb is St. Mark`s Church located at St. Mark’s Square. It is one of the oldest buildings constructed in the 13th century. Quite noticeable are the colorful roof tiles representing the medieval coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia on the left and the emblem of Zagreb on the right.

It is interesting to experience the characteristics of other cultures. Wending our way through the city streets of Zagreb, we heard a “happy” commotion. Graduating students were marching through the streets dressed in colorful shirts while blowing whistles to celebrate this rite of passage.

The Zagreb Funicular dating back to the 1890s is the oldest and shortest public transportation in the world.

*”Its primary purpose is linking Lower Town (Donji grad) and Upper Town (Gornji grad). The ride takes about a minute and it departs every 10 minutes from 6:30 AM till 10 PM. It costs only 4 HRK each way.” [less than $1. as of this writing.]

Another of the destinations on our visit to Zagreb was the tour of iconic Trakošćan Castle located in Zagorje. The hillside setting gives the castle a storybook aura.

Local citizens work to cultivate interest in the castle and its history. By special arrangement, they display period apparel and provide insights into life at the castle with anecdotes and stories.

There are beautiful examples of craftsmanship throughout the interior and windows that allow for remarkable views.

Astute visitors may window-peep and notice the picturesque Woodland St. Cross Chapel in Trakošćan park.


Drone footage of Trakošćan Castle

In Zagreb proper,Tkalciceva street** is an intersection of history, cafes, boutiques and restaurants. It is also noted for spirited night life according to reviews. If you are in the area, look at the unique sundial built into the side of the building at number 25.

“The sundial in the shape of a pentagon was incorporated into the facade of the building, roofing and windows. What followed was an hour scale painted in array of rainbow colors on the fresh plaster, in fresco technique. In subsequent minor revisions, binder in fresco colors were fresh cottage cheese and lime, mixed with a spatula. Symbols of months are placed along the curve of characteristic shadows in two vertical rows. Drawing on the sundial was carved with scraper. Some lines were painted black with casein paint, and some remained white. The Sun was formed by compressing the copper and eventually patinated. In the center of the Sun, copper gnomon is anchored to the ring. The sundial was completed on November 3, 1955.”

See a closeup of the sundial HERE

I enjoy visiting gardens when we travel so I was excited to find the Zagreb Botanical Garden near our hotel. The garden is part of the University’s “Faculty of Science” and some sections seem to serve as research projects.

This gazebo was very nicely set off against the trees and surrounding foliage.

The Exhibition Pavilion had old-fashioned beauty and elegance.

Next stop Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital and largest city!




** Tkalčićeva: the most vibrant street in Zagreb

*** Read more about Zagreb, Croatia HERE



See Previous Posts in this series:

Dubrovnik, Croatia – Pearl of the Adriatic

Old Town Dubrovnik – Above it all

Old Town Dubrovnik – The Low Down

Dubrovnik from the Adriatic and Mt. Srd

Montenegro & The Walled City of Kotor

Mostar – Bosnia and Herzegovina

Coastal City of Split, Croatia



Coastal City of Split, Croatia

map courtesy of
modified for clarity by

Split is the second largest city in Croatia and as the largest city on the Croatian coast, the seaport and marina area is a main tourist destination.

Our first formal stop in Split was at the Ivan Meštrović Art and Sculpture Gallery. Although he was a contemporary of Rodin and Klimt and eventually emigrated to the United States after WWII, his works do not appear to be very well-known in America.

Ivan Meštrović art and sculpture Gallery Main Entrance

What gallery would be complete without a cat to welcome visitors?

The gallery’s location is beautiful with an elevated view of the Adriatic Sea.

A few of my favorite sculptures on display:

The Pieta

Works by Ivan Meštrović – Video

This brief video shows the constrcution of The Bowman and the Spearman statues in Chicago’s Grant Park which have become controversial because of its representation of Native Americans.

The Diocletian Palace (retirement home of Emperor Diocletian) built during the Roman era using local limestone and marble is perhaps the premier attraction in Split.

Early in the palace tour, visitors are shown a tapestry of the compound which depicts how it might have originally appeared. At one time the Adriatic abutted the palace grounds, but now is kept well-back from the property line.

A clearer drawing of the diagram can be found HERE.

The basement is a maze of rooms and chambers which served as storage areas.

There is mention online that some of the dragon scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed in the “lower chambers” of the palace.*

Tourists may be surprised to find out that Diocletian Palace premises still maintains a dynamic residential community of approximately 3,000 residents and is one of the oldest historical inhabited monuments in the world.**

The nearby Cathedral of Saint Dominus once served as the Emperor Diocletian’s tomb.

Outside of the Cathedral, lion statues guard the entrance.

A huge Ivan Meštrović statue of Bishop Gregory of Nin stands north of the palace just outside the area known as the Golden Gate.

The female Benedictine Monastery currently known as St. Arnir [named after the Split Archbishop] is also located near the palace. The landmark bell tower rises above many of the nearby buildings.

One of the Monastery occupants doing some maintenance

The Renaissance style buildings surrounding People’s Square located in Split’s Old Town form a popular shopping and dining area.


The island of Brač (pronounced “Bratch”) is the largest island in Dalmatia and a favorite getaway destination for locals.

View of Split from the ferry to Brač

As the highest peak on Brač and also of all Adriatic islands, the Vidova Gora attracts hikers from around the world. Read more about the dramatic hike HERE.

View from near the top of Vidova Gora with the Zlatni Rat (Golden Horn) Beach peninsula in the background

The ferry to and from Brač arrives at the island village of Supetar where authentic scenes of island life catch the eye.

Picturesque side street

Church of the Annunciation – Supetar

Leaving Supetar to return to Split, ferry passengers may be able to get an idyllic view of the Cemetery of St. Nicolas peninsula.

Back on the mainland, Kavala Beach provides an interesting venue for seaside walks and people watching.


*Guide To Diocletian’s Palace: a “Living Museum” in Split Croatia – Scroll down to see actual dragon scene from the show captured at the palace.

** Following the steps of Emperor Diocletian meet today’s Split



See Previous Posts in this series:

Dubrovnik, Croatia – Pearl of the Adriatic

Old Town Dubrovnik – Above it all

Old Town Dubrovnik – The Low Down

Dubrovnik from the Adriatic and Mt. Srd

Montenegro & The Walled City of Kotor

Mostar – Bosnia and Herzegovina



Mostar – Bosnia and Herzegovina

Map courtesy of The Organization for World Peace modified for JBRish readers.

Mostar is located in the southern portion of Bosnia and Herzegovina and is divided by the Neretva River.

Walking near Mostar’s old town, tourists may sense that the architecture has Turkish influences with minarets piercing the air.

Of particular note is the Koski Mehmed-Pasha Mosque (below) which stands as an outstanding example of Ottoman architecture. The tall and thin minaret can be climbed with paid admission.

Another aspect of Mostar that is reminiscent of Ottoman and Middle Eastern culture is the Bazaar-like section of old town.

Picture courtesy of mynoadiclifestyle

Flowers carefully planted outside the vintage windows help take the edge off the overabundance of souvenir shops.

The intricate patterned cobbled streets are sometimes tricky to negotiate.

It is the Neretva River, however, which necessitated the creation the area’s most famous landmark – – the “extremely arched” Stari Most (Old Bridge). The bridge has a storied history which you can read HERE.

While crossing the Stari Most, visitors will soon realize that there are raised horizontal strips which may make walking somewhat awkward, but without them the bridge can be very slippery. Tourists are advised to walk on the raised sections if possible.

To entertain visitors, young men stand atop the railings of the bridge and when enough people have provided monetary encouragement, they dive 70 feet from the bridge into the Neretva. The river also serves as a venue for rafting and kayaking.

The panoramic views from the top of the bridge are scenic and picture-worthy.

Mostar came under attack during the Bosnian war and the Croatian army destroyed the famed landmark.


While UNESCO and other countries assisted in rebuilding the bridge between 2001 and 2004, the painful experience the destruction represented has been seared deeply into the psyche of the local population.

Orašac Village – Earlier in the Day

On the way to Mostar, we stopped in a very quaint, quiet and picturesque town of Orašac, Croatia founded in 1040.

We were there to visit a small private garden and olive mill that has retained some of the traditional methods of producing olive oil.

The old olive press was quite a machine to see, but what was even more interesting was how the press was operated. One horse power was all that was needed.

Beautiful garden features lined the paths.

After a sampling of the offerings, we were on our way!



See Previous Posts in this series:

Dubrovnik, Croatia – Pearl of the Adriatic

Old Town Dubrovnik – Above it all

Old Town Dubrovnik – The Low Down

Dubrovnik from the Adriatic and Mt. Srd

Montenegro & The Walled City of Kotor



Perast – Montenegro

“One of the most beautiful towns on the Adriatic coast, Perast, is my favourite place on the Bay of Kotor…

With 17 Baroque palaces, 19 churches but scarcely more than 250 residents, Perast is a tiny town packed with history and legend.

It might be just a 20-minute drive away from popular Kotor, but Perast has a totally different vibe.” – 13 Things to Do in Perast, the Loveliest Town on the Bay of Kotor – Emily Lush

I have no doubt that the quote above is true. Perast certainly is a beautiful city.

Beautiful seaside view of Perast

Our visit to Perast had a defined purpose and that was to see what many would claim is the number one attraction, Our Lady of the Rocks Roman Catholic Church.

There are two islands directly off the coast of Perast. The Benedictine Monastery of St. George can be seen on the left which is not open to the public and Our Lady of the Rocks is on the right.

the two islands off the coast of Perast

Our Lady of the Rocks is constructed on a man-made island. Two fishermen apparently discovered an image of the Virgin Mary at that location in 1452 and this was enough to convince the town that there was destined to be a chapel on that site. Read more about the legend of Our Lady of the Rocks Chapel and its development HERE

the island with Our Lady of the Rocks

Though small, the beautiful landmark is full of charm and worthy of careful exploration.

A view of the wall and dome of Our Lady of the Rocks

The most notable feature is the distinctive blue dome.

Another view of the distinctive blue dome and gardens

The sanctuary is very well appointed with attractive religious statuary and ornaments and the detailed altar is aesthetically framed against deep red walls.

The Altar of the Chapel at Our Lady of the Rocks

Perhaps hoping to garner blessings for recent nuptials, brides hang bouquets above the sanctuary doorway.

Bridal Bouquets left above the doorway

The picturesque surroundings encourage visitors to walk around the perimeter of the island.

The tower of Our Lady

It was fun to seek out the interesting details such as sculptures of muscular ancients holding the bench for those seeking a place to rest.

Statues of ancient musclemen holding up a bench

Tourists are tempted to look back toward Perast through the windows and gates to take in the beauty of the town from a distant perspective.

Looking through a large security door toward the town of Perast

The island is a bustling place with numerous boatloads of people coming and going.

Boats arriving and leaving the island of Our Lady of the Rocks

Another beautiful scene unfolds while looking southeast from Our Lady of the Church toward St. George Island.

St. George Island

This was a spectacular day visiting Kotor and Perast!

Heading back toward the town of Perast




See previous posts in this series:

Dubrovnik, Croatia – Pearl of the Adriatic
Old Town Dubrovnik – Above it all
Old Town Dubrovnik – The Low Down
Dubrovnik from the Adriatic and Mt. Srd
Montenegro & The Walled City of Kotor



Montenegro & The Walled City of Kotor

After a few days in Dubrovnik it was time to bid the city farewell and travel onward to the country of Montenegro.

map of Croatia and Montenegro
Map courtesy of Owl & Mouse modified by J. Ross for this post

Shortly after boarding the ferry at the Bay of Kotor (Boka Kotorska), the beauty of the area was on display.

A peninsula in the bay of Kotor with houses

Against such a backdrop even a humble transport ferry somehow becomes more photogenic.

A ferry crossing the Bay of Kotor

The crossing of the bay to Porto Montenegro took approximately 15-20 minutes.

After disembarking the ferry, travelers can take a brief ride to the marina with its impressive yachts.

Yachts anchored at Porto Montenegro

Adjacent to the waterfront was a beautifully detailed shopping mall where visitors can feel like they are in an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

Designer mall at Porto Montenegro

Dior Store at Porto Montenegro

The mall ran alongside the hotel and “commuter” marina for smaller watercraft.

Hotel and marina at Porto Montenegro

After a quick visit to Porto Montenegro it was off to the ancient walled city of Kotor.

Walled City of Kotor's South Gate
Gurdic Gate (South Gate) City of Kotor

The small city with winding streets and steep hillsides has numerous attractions and charming characteristics. A favorite stop for tourists is the Cathedral Of Saint Tryphon (Sveti Tripun) which dates back to 1166. Parts of the Cathedral were rebuilt and modified after earthquakes as evidenced by the differences in the two towers.


 Cathedral Of Saint Tryphon

The brick columns and vaulted arches offer the sanctuary the impressive countenance it’s history demands.

Interior of the Cathedral Of Saint Tryphon

The gilded altar is one of the city’s prized possessions.

Altar of the Cathedral Of Saint Tryphon

Not far from the Cathedral is a square where one of the oldest trees in the world can be found. This black poplar was reportedly planted around 1667.

Black Poplar dating back to 1667
Black Poplar (Populus nigra) – read more HERE

The thick brick walls and amply spaced viewpoints reinforce the concept that Kotor is a fortress.

Kotor's fortress walls

It is a wonder how some of the more delicate artifacts such as this carving of the Venetian Lion under an archway have withstood the centuries.

Relief carving of the Venetian Lion

Every town or village of this era has at least one fountain.

Public Fountain

Built along the base of the mountainous cliffs, residents of Kotor made use of steep, outdoor stairways that have become quite worn over the years.


Exterior steps to the next level of the city

In any area that beckons travelers, there are dining venues and Kotor was no exception.

Restaurant table with flowers and wine

Inside the city’s walls one can see just the tips of the cliffs of Mount Lovćen. Once outside of the wall the scope of the mountains becomes more apparent.

Mountain views from outside the city wall

The domed buildings inside the wall are nestled between the mountains and the Škurda River.

The Skurda River along the walls of Kotor
Near the North Gate/River Gate




If you are interested in a detailed guide to Kotor, check out Toms Port Guide to Kotor.


See Previous Posts in this series:

Dubrovnik, Croatia – Pearl of the Adriatic
Old Town Dubrovnik – Above it all
Old Town Dubrovnik – The Low Down
Dubrovnik from the Adriatic and Mt. Srd


Dubrovnik from the Adriatic and Mt. Srd

Spending several days in one area affords tourists the opportunity to gain familiarity with the geography, customs and attractions and enhances the travel experience.

Used Courtesy of Dubrovnik bed and

A cruise around Old Town Dubrovnik along the coastline of the Adriatic Sea provided that enriched perspective.

We boarded the boat at Old Town’s east side port.


Soon we were parallel to the southern side of Old Town’s cliff face and wall.


A more comprehensive view of the impressive wall

The trip continued westward when the Brsalje Street area came into view (see picture below). The center location with trees is one that is frequented by numerous tourists where there are reasonably priced restaurants and proximity to the Pile Gate entrance to Old Town.


Next was a closeup view of Fort Lovrijenac.


Fort Lovrijenac was the westernmost boundary of our trip this day as the boat turned to return eastward towards Lokrum Island.


If inclinations favor terra firma, the island is now a nature reserve, botanical garden and home to Fort Royal.

Kayakers along the shoreline of Lokrum Island
Kayakers along the shoreline of Lokrum Island

When unique is what you seek, then Dubrovnik has you covered there as well. Cave Beach or Betina Cave is only reachable by boat or kayak and draws a number of water sport enthusiasts.

Cave Beach

Heading back to the harbor, boaters have a magnificent panoramic view of St. John’s Fort and Old Town Harbor.


Mt. Srd rises above the northern crest of Old Town and provides amazing views.


Those interested can hike to the top of Mt. Srd via an established trail, catch the #17 bus to the top or take the cable car.

View of Old Town from the top of Mt. Srd.

While the views of Old Town were stunning from the top of Mt. Srd, there was more to see. A museum dedicated to the Croatia Homeland War and the Croatian War for Independence Memorial are nearby.


A short walk from the memorial is Fort Imperial where damage from the siege of Dubrovnik during the Croatian War of Independence is still visible.


Continuing to walk east, a more expansive picturesque view of Dubrovnik and the Adriatic Sea comes into view.


One last panoramic view of Old Town from Mt. Srd with Lokrum Island in the background.



End Notes

** 4 Ways to get to the Top of Mount Srd

** Take the Dubrovnik Cable Car or Hike Croatia’s Mount Srd?

**Always check for the most current and updated information as availability may change.


Kayakers may rent equipment to paddle around the Pile Gate/Ft. Lovrijenac area


See the previous posts in this series:

Dubrovnik, Croatia – Pearl of the Adriatic

Old Town Dubrovnik – Above it all

Old Town Dubrovnik – The Low Down