Montenegro: Why You Should Visit Lake Skadar At Least Once In Your Lifetime.

Once part of the former Yugoslavia, Montenegro is not the most well-known country in Europe. Lake Skadar which straddles the Montenegro-Albanian border is a spectacular and pretty much unspoilt destination. Surrounded by karst mountains and rocky shores, it is the largest freshwater lake in the Balkan region.

View over Skadar Lake
View over Skadar Lake

The Montenegrin side of the Lake Skadar has National Park status and is an important habitat for birds and wildlife. It is one of the largest bird reserves in Europe. The area of the lake fluctuates throughout the year and is between 370  and 530 square kilometres in area. The depth also varies between 4.7 and 9.8 metres above sea level. This large fluctuation creates vast areas of wetlands and is home to the rare and endangered Dalmatian pelican (I didn’t get to see one). There are also many other species of bird such as eagles, ibises, herons and falcons. On land, you’ll find lizards and snakes enjoying the sun, and in the winter you might be able to see a wolf or wild boar.

Lazy Lizard
A lizard enjoying the sun.

Aside from nature, Skadar Lake also has historical importance and was once part of the Ottoman Empire. In the village of Virpazar, there’s a monument paying tribute to its citizen’s bravery during a Partisan uprising in World War II.

Grmozur Island
Montenegrin Alcatraz – built on Grmozur Island, Skadar Lake by the Turks in 1848.

For food lovers, there’s an abundance of fresh fish caught from the lake, several vineyards. Homemade cheese, honey, yoghurt and homegrown fruit and vegetables are readily available.

How To Get To Lake Skadar

I flew from Manchester, England into Tivat, Montenegro and then took a taxi across the country to Virpazar. This is not the best way to reach the lake, and it was only because I decided to go and visit at the last-minute that I took this route.

A better way would be to fly into Podgorica, and then take a bus or train to Virpazar. There’s also a train from Virpazar to Bar and a ticket for that journey costs 1 Euro.

The train I caught from Virpazar to Bar.
The train I caught from Virpazar to Bar.

A visit to Lake Skadar is a must before it inevitably becomes spoilt by over-tourism.

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32 thoughts on “Montenegro: Why You Should Visit Lake Skadar At Least Once In Your Lifetime.

  1. Really detailed and informative post! I absolutely love Montenegro. I visited the Kotor last March and it was stunning. I want to go back, and I’m definitely putting Lake Skadar on my “must visit” list.

    1. Hi Ania, you should definitely go to Lake Skadar the next time you’re in Montenegro. It’s much less touristy than Kotor. Safe travels.

  2. Montenegro does look fab. I have heard it is a hidden gem amidst all the main attractions Europe have to offer tourists. The lizard looks gorgeous. I love wild animals doing their own thing.

  3. WOW! this looks amazing, never heard about this place before. but I would love to put this in my bucketlist and go there with friends! Thanks for sharing this! Cheers!

  4. Interesting to know that the area of lake fluctuates throughout the year and it so clean and beautiful. The monument seems like a bunch of history. Will like to explore this place during my Europe tour.

  5. Montenegro seems to be a little gem. I´ve read a couple of posts about it in the past days and all of them made up a very beautiful and travel worth picture. Great posts. I need to go to this country as soon as possible.

  6. I agree, Montenegro is not exactly famous. In fact, I learned about it just recently (no kidding) as I was researching for the best national parks in Europe. And Skadar is included in the top lists, in your photos I can definitely see why. I’d love to go there but I am afraid of snakes, I just hope I won’t see any of them when I visit.

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