In 1983, a new national park appeared in Montenegro – the huge freshwater Skadar Lake (Skadarsko jezero), part of which is located on the territory of Albania (and is called Shkoder). This majestic reservoir is very beautiful, rich in fish and inhabited by a huge number of birds. Cozy old villages are spread on its banks, and on the islands there are churches and ruins of fortresses. All this invariably attracts the attention of tourists who do not miss the opportunity to see the beauty of this ancient and beautiful lake with their own eyes.
Most often, people go here from any resort town to change the situation and get more impressions from the rest. Day trips to the lake are incredibly popular, and you can go on them from literally anywhere in the country. See bridgat for climate and weather information of Montenegro.
How to get to Skadar Lake
A comfortable bus with a guide takes tourists to the place and returns back at the end of the day after all kinds of entertainment and lunch. Depending on the distance to the lake from the starting point of the trip, such a trip will cost from 35 to 70 EUR.
Prices on the page are for July 2021.
By own car or taxi
Some tourists prefer independent travel to the lake, for example, by car. On it you can get to the lake even from Croatia, the road from Dubrovnik will take only 2.5 hours. If you rent a car in Montenegro, the cheapest options will cost from 35 EUR per day. The advantages of this option are obvious, but an inexperienced driver should soberly assess his strength: many of the local roads are a narrow mountain serpentine. (Which is easy to see if you drive through the Rumiyu Ridge towards Vladimir. Therefore, if possible, choose the path through the tunnel, but not through the pass. An alternative could be a taxi, it will cost more, but you will not have to spend effort driving or adjust to the schedule of the rest of the group.
Drive Virpazar into the navigator – it is from here that all excursions on the lake start, and here are the most delicious fish restaurants.
On buses and trains
Public transport to the Skadar Lake area goes, let’s say, selectively, not to all coastal towns and villages, but only to Virpazar. You can come to this port city on Lake Skadar not only by bus from Montenegrin cities (for example, from Budva and Podgorica), but also by train. Moreover, the railway line in the direction of Bar (Bar), passing through Podgorica (Podgorica) and Virpazar, begins in Serbian Belgrade. The journey from there will take 9-10 hours and will cost the traveler 35-50 EUR, depending on the class of the carriage. But from Podgorica to Virpazar it is fast and cheap to go, just 50 minutes and you will reach the station. From there, acquaintance with the national park begins, for the entrance to the territory of which you will have to pay another 10-15 EUR.
Shopping and shops
In Virpazar and all other settlements located on the shores of Lake Skadar, all kinds of memorable souvenirs are sold in abundance. Moreover, there will be among them, as well as traditional magnets-mugs-t-shirts with views of the lake, as well as more colorful Montenegrin gizmos. These are all kinds of knitted products, wooden decorations, including those with Christian symbols, which are made in the surrounding monasteries. There is also a remarkable wine shop on the shore of Skadar Lake. It impresses not only with low prices for its products, but also with spectacular design: the store is carved into the rock.
Entertainment and attractions of Lake Skadar
Skadar Lake, the largest in the Balkans, is itself one of the main attractions of Montenegro and Albania. However, from year to year there are tourists who are dissatisfied with what they see. Perhaps this is due to the fact that many expect to see a real mountain lake lying at a height and surrounded by rocks. In fact, the reservoir is only 5 m above sea level, and the mountains around it are low, although picturesque. In addition, the banks near Virpazar are very swampy and impress only with an abundance of vegetation.
To see Skadar Lake in all its glory, you need to go on a water excursion. You can choose a watercraft according to your taste: boats and boats from 40-70 EUR per hour, kayaks, yachts – for every taste and budget. Regarding the prices for boats, rowing and motor boats, you can bargain. The main thing is not to overdo it, these are still not eastern countries, the price cannot be reduced by 3-4 times. Islands are scattered across the lake, on some of them ancient churches and active monasteries rise (Vranina, Starchevo, Beshka, Morachnik and others). If you wish, you can land on them and listen to the stories of the monks about these places, so the trip will also be informative.
The owners of the boats bring them to clean beaches and cozy coastal restaurants. Mostly they serve local wines and dishes from fish caught on the spot. For a certain amount, you yourself can try your luck in fishing, just do not try to do it yourself: in Montenegro, you need a license to fish. Of the free entertainment, one can single out swimming and birdwatching, which is often called the now fashionable word birdwatching. For ornithologists and just lovers of wildlife, this is a real paradise: ducks, herons, seagulls, who have chosen the whole island, pelicans and many other species of birds. And the coastal shallow water is literally buried in thickets of water lilies and yellow water lilies, making the landscapes of Lake Skadar even more romantic.