Risan (Risano), the ancient capital of the Bay of Kotor, lies approximately halfway between the cities of Kotor and Herceg Novi, and only a few kilometers from Perast. Like most notable towns in the Mediterranean basin, Risan's rich history and natural beauty lend themselves to carefree sightseeing, followed by rest and relaxation along its pristine Adriatic beaches.

Risan Piaza

Risan has been a human settlement in varying degrees for several millennia, but its most recent history begins in the 3rd century B.C. Formally known as Rhizon, Risan's first noteworthy role occurred during the Illyrian Wars. Then, the beautiful Illyrian queen, Teuta (“Tay ootah”) sought refuge in Risan's natural fortresses, created by the Dinaric Alps, the Verige entry into the the Risan Bay, and its narrow shores. Queen Teuta's reign allowed Risan to enjoy many years of prosperity as the capital of her empire.

You'll find that legends abound throughout the area, including one about tons of Queen Teuta's gold and another about a lost city that lies beneath Risan's modern shores. Queen Teuta supposedly lost, or hid, her vast treasure after making a hasty retreat. There is some evidence to suggest that an earthquake caused Risan's original shoreline to sink and that an ancient city lies below tons of silt. Legend has it that the Bay's current capital, Kotor, was founded because Risan sank into the Adriatic. Preliminary explorations of the sea bottom suggest that there's more down there than just rocks.


Since Risan's port has traded with Italy and the Roman Empire before it, it is likely that the Bay of Kotor is filled with archaeological artifacts and treasures just waiting to be found. Landlubbers, however, can do their exploring onshore and visit the remains of a Greco-Illyrian acropolis on Gradina Hill.

Another famous archaeological site is known as the Roman Mosaics. They are what remain of a Roman villa that was built sometime between the end of 2nd and beginning of 3rd century B.C. The most famous of the mosaics depicts Hypnos, the god of sleep. Also be sure to visit Risan's Banja Monastery, first founded by the Serbian king, Stefan Nemanja in the 12th century. The narrow road up into the mountains above Risan offers unguarded ruins of Austrian barracks, quaint villages and herds of sheep and goats. The highlight of your visit to Risan will be the view of the Bay of Kotor from the narrow road about halfway up the mountain. It's a memory that will last a lifetime.