A visit to Skadar Lake National Park
Skadar Lake National Park is located in the South of Montenegro and is a must visit for nature- and outdoor lovers! If you’re planning a roadtrip around Montenegro, don’t forget to include Lake Skadar. In this article I’ll present you a guide to this National Park.
About Skadar Lake National Park
The Skadar Lake is the biggest lake of the Balkan Peninsula and one of the biggest National Parks of Montenegro. Located at the border of Montenegro and Albania, Skadar Lake has been named as a national park since 1983. Furthermore, Skadar Lake has a great amount of bird species and that’s why it’s on the IBA list (Important Bird Area). The national park is also on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
Places to visit
Virpazar acutally is the starting point for visiting Skadar Lake National Park. Here you can find a visitor centre, where you can find information on anything you can do in the park: from wineroutes to hiking and biking. In Virpazar you can also find all kinds of eateries; it has everything you need.
If you don’t have a car and you would like to visit Skadar Lake National Park, it’s also best to use Virpazar has a starting point. From Podgorica you can take the train or bus to Virpazar, from where you can pay a visit to the park and make a boat cruise for example. From Podgorica you can also make an organised day trip to Skadar Lake National Park.
Another starting point for Skadar Lake National Park, is Vranjina. Here you can also find a visitor centre, but here it’s more focused on nature (flora and fauna) and culture. In some times of the year, women sell fresh carp by the side at the road.
Close to the place we stayed at, there was this small town Rijeka Crnojevica. Here you can find some restaurants where you can enjoy local specialties and from here you can also make a lake cruise. Take into account that, although this place is quite touristic, there aren’t any ATM’s and you need to pay cash at the restaurants. It’s recommended to take some cash with you.
Activities to do
Absolutely recommended to do, is kayaking. I went kayaking during my visit to Skadar Lake National Park and I absolutely enjoyed. You can go the far you would like and you can stop where ever you want to. There are some small beaches along the route where you can stop and enjoy the views. Our accommodation provided a kayak, which we could rent. When our host dropped us by the water, we agreed on a time he’d pick us up again. According to the information I have, there are many accommodation in Skadar Lake National Park which provide kayaks. During your kayak trip, you can find all kinds of fish species and bird species.
From all the places above (Virpazar, Vranjina and Rijeka Crnojevica) you can book a lake cruise. There are many organisations which provide this service, so it’s not necessary to book beforehand. Depending on what you would like to see, there are short and long trips.
Pavlova Strana Viewpoint
When you come from Cetinje or Podgorica and you drive towards Rijeka Crnojevica, you come across the well-known Pavlova Strana Viewpoint. An amazing viewpoint over the lake where you can make some beautiful pictures. As the road around the viewpoint is quite small (read: really small, you almost cannot drive there with two cars next to each other), it’s very handy that there is a restaurant with parking place where you can park you car for when you would like to take a look at the viewing point. Tip: take into account that at some moments on the day, it can be very busy around the viewpoint. When we passed the viewpoint, there was even a big bus which stopped at the viewpoint. Avoid the crowds and go in the early morning or late afternoon.
Around Lake Skadar, there are several hiking tracks provided. You can make some magnificent hiked through the mountains. On your way, you’ll pass a winery where you can enjoy the views over the mountains and the lake.
Skadar Lake National Park is also well-known for the wineries it has around the lake. There are many, little wineries where you can taste delicious wines while enjoying a nice and local meal.
Where to stay: Estate & Winery San Duyevo
During my time in Skadar Lake National Park, I stayed at the Estate and Winery San Duyevo, which is located in a really small town near Rijeka Crnojevica. It’s a beautiful place surrounded by a wine field with very hospitable hosts. We enjoyed a local breakfast and rented their kayak for a tour on the Skadar Lake. There aren’t many restaurants in the environment, but you can enjoy dinner at the accommodation or you can drive towards Cetinje which is only a 30-minutes drive. San Duyevo is a really nice and quiet place and a great starting point for exploring more of Skadar Lake National Park.