The largest lake in the Balkans, Lake Skadar lies on the border between Montenegro and Albania. It is surrounded by rugged karst mountains, lined by rock-strewn shores and home to bird-filled wetlands. This is a fascinating region to visit, not only for its natural beauty but also for its charming towns and local folklore. If you’re wondering what to do around Lake Skadar Montenegro we’re here to help!
Straddling the border of Montenegro and Albania, Lake Skadar is a long and narrow lake. About two-thirds of it lie in Montenegro and are protected as Lake Skadar National Park. The other one-third, naturally, is located in Albania and is a so-called managed nature reserve.
It lies in the far southern corner of Montenegro, a short drive from both Podgorica and Budva on the Adriatic coast.
The lake is fed by the Morača River and a number of underwater springs. The Bojana River drains it into the Adriatic Sea. Its surface area fluctuates throughout the year and can be everything between 140 and 200 square miles (370 and 530 square kilometers).
Lake Skadar offers an important refuge for the endangered Dalmatian pelican and about 250 other bird species. There are also nearly 50 species of fish in the lake. This is a phenomenally biodiverse region, in fact, one of the most important bird reserves in all of Europe.
It’s included on Ramsar’s list of internationally important wetlands and is currently looked at to be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
What to Do Around Lake Skadar Montenegro
When trying to figure out what to do around Lake Skadar Montenegro, you should definitely allow time for some kayaking. The best way to explore this gorgeous lake is by boat. Renting a kayak gives you the freedom to go where you wish. If you’d rather just sit back and take in the scenery, you can also go on short two-hour cruises around the lake.
Most of the towns—villages rather—around the lake can only be accessed via the winding country roads across the surrounding mountains or by boat. These sleepy towns are authentic, untouched by tourism, and offer an insight into the history of this region in Montenegro. The main gateway to Lake Skadar National Park is the small town of Virpazar. This is where most of the lake’s boat tours depart.
Eating Local Food
Sampling local food should be a priority during your visit to Lake Skadar. This is one of the best tips on what to do around Lake Skadar. Located between the West and the East, this region benefits from various cultural and culinary influences.
Herbs like sage, mint and rosemary grow in its valleys while grapevines cover the hills. Gardens are filled with fruit trees, including pomegranate, fig, cherry, walnut and mandarins. Fish is freshly caught on the lake on a daily basis, making up an important ingredient in many dishes. The Lake Skadar region is also known for its organic, locally made products such as honey, goat cheese, rakija (a local liquor) and smoked ham.