Skadar Lake in Montenegro is a real “bird’s Paradise”. Birds come here from all over Europe. Birds of Siberia and Africa you can easily find on the Islands of the lake. Some breeds are unique.
Tourists are often interested in how to get to the Skadar Lake National Park in Montenegro by car. Even experienced tourists will be advised to find a guide, because in the case of a National Park, it is better to be safe. A third of this property belongs to Albania. If a traveler wants to relax without any problems, they need a guide.
Skadar lake in winter and summer
What is unique about this place? It is called a bird’s Paradise, because you can see more than 250 species of birds, including rare species. It is interesting that on the territory of the lake there are birds of Africa and Siberia. Some species come to these places for nesting. If you look at lake Skadar on the map, you will notice that it has a great location.
In these places, the tourist will see several types of ducks and geese, gulls, eagles, black ibises. Pink flamingos arrive in winter. Fans of photo hunting and eco-tourism come here to observe the local wildlife. It is very impressive, because the lake is also visited by birds from all over Europe.
The islands and monasteries
Skadar lake is a place where you can see many Islands. They attract birds, and there are also monasteries on the Islands. The oldest of them was built in the XIII century. Temples are inhabited, and individual Ministers live here. On some Islands you can see castles and palaces. These are also local attractions. Tourists visiting the lake as part of a boat tour swim up to the Islands, inspect them, sometimes go inside the buildings. It is fascinating to look at buildings on the water. They seem disconnected from the world. Looking at the photo of Skadar lake, travelers will notice that there are quite a lot of Islands.
There formed, even the so-called Zeta Athos, which includes several monasteries. For pilgrims, these sites are an ideal place for religious tourism. Many believers then return here as part of special pilgrimage tours.
Attractions of Skadar lake
Those who enjoyed the scenic views of Skadar lake and took photos of the area should go to explore its surrounding areas. All the attractions are scattered on the numerous Islands of lake Skadar, as well as on the continent, which can be easily reached on foot or by rented boat.
The fortress was built in the XVIII century, in order to protect it from the attacks of the Turkish Ottoman fleet. Its location, in the Peninsula jutting into the mouth of the Crnoevicha river, was very advantageous. The Fort allowed hundreds of Montenegrins to conduct safe trade and fishing on Skadar lake. The fortress survived the capture of the Turks, and after its liberation became a military Arsenal for a time. After the First World war, it was abandoned, and today it is used as an interesting attraction.
City-Fortress Zabljak Crnojevica
The route along the Skadar lake will certainly lead to another colorful Montenegrin fortress, or rather to the entire fortress city of Zabljak Crnojevica. It is located on a rock, near the mouth of the Moraca river. It was built as a stronghold of the Zeta Kingdom, but later captured and fortified by the Ottoman army. After the Turkish siege was lifted, the city was fortified with strong fortress walls and watchtowers were installed. Inside the fortress, during the reign of the Crnojevic, there was a Royal residence, military and residential buildings, and the Church of St. George.
Prison Fortress – Grmozur
From the fact that even in Montenegro is recommended to see, pride of place is the fortress-prison of Grmozur. This is another artifact of the fierce confrontation between the Montenegrins and the Turks, located in the North-Western side of lake Skadar. The fortress was built by the Ottomans, but then the troops of Nicolas I retook it. The king ordered the establishment of a prison in Grmozhur for Montenegrin criminals convicted of political and social violations. Later, the prisoners were transferred to Podgorica, and the fortress became abandoned.
Skadar lake monasteries
During the reign of the Principality of Zeta, there were 20 monasteries and churches in the vicinity of lake Skadar in Montenegro, but only 10 have survived intact to our time. Some are ruins, others are located in inaccessible places, on small rocky Islands. Mass tourism has not yet reached the area of Skadar lake, so its territories in relative privacy can be explored independently, but it is better to take an individual tour. Here are 5 of the most popular and preserved monasteries of lake Skadar.
The living monastery is located on the Western side of lake Skadar, near the village of Murici. During the time of the Zeta Principality, monks copied ancient spiritual books within its walls, which determined its important contribution to the spiritual culture of Montenegro. There are active churches from the 14th century, and near them are neat farmlands where nuns grow their crops. The largest Church of St. George was destroyed during the barbarian raids and reconstructed only in 2002. A smaller Church dedicated to the patron Helena Baltic to the Holy Mother of God.
On the island of Starchevo, surrounded by a high stone fence is the Church of the Assumption of the Mother of God. The monastery became famous thanks to the painstaking work of local monks, who managed to rewrite more than a dozen religious books. There is only one Abbot in Starchevo now-the monk Gregory, who is often absent. Therefore, it is often impossible to get inside the monastery. Here you can walk through the beautiful orchard and enjoy the view of the beautiful Skadar lake.
The most popular and picturesque attraction on Skadar lake, in Montenegro. On its territory is the oldest and first Church of St. Nicholas of the XII century, the first built on Skadar lake. Among the three churches built in the monastery, it is the only one that survived the Turkish siege. Vranjina is located on the Eastern part of the island of the same name, near the Moraca river. From the site of the monastery offers an incredible view of the surrounding area.
The monastery is notable for its remote location relative to other spiritual abodes. Small in size, it was built in the XIV century and dedicated to Saint George. This is also the name of the island on which the monastery stands. Due to numerous Turkish raids, it was destroyed and rebuilt several times. Until our time, it has been preserved only as ruins, but with the completion of reconstruction in 2003, the temple appeared a complete copy of the old monastery. When preparing the ground for construction, Holy relics were found, which represent the main relics of the monastery.
The monastery, built in the XIV century, at first glance attracts a high stone bell tower in the center of the structure and adjacent buildings. This is the most inaccessible of all the abodes of Skadar lake, located in a swampy area. Of greater interest is the Church of the assumption of the blessed Virgin Mary, in whose walls are buried the Royal members of The Zeta Principality. Other buildings on the territory of the monastery: monastic cells, outbuildings and hospice.
Fishing on Skadar lake in Montenegro is allowed for a fee. There are about 40 species of fish, which is also a good indicator. Fish is caught from a boat or from the shore, for this purpose buy a one-day license. There are periods when fishing is prohibited. This is usually due to spawning. The standard cost of fishing will not exceed 10 euros per day. A person is charged 4 euros for entering the Park and another 4 euros for fishing during the day. Fishing can be arranged by guides. Then the tourist will not have to worry about anything at all. He will be able to immediately start to enjoy the place, because fishing is still a way to relax.
Routes to the lake
Tourists are interested in how to get from Kotor to Skadar lake or how to get from Budva to Skadar lake. There are many routes that pass through different resort towns in Montenegro and lead to Skadar lake. Here tourists can spend several hours watching birds, visiting monasteries, walking around the surrounding area.
Those who liked the Park can later book an individual tour to this place. You can spend a lot more time in the Park if you want to. Skadar lake is large, so even with an abundance of tourists, there are always hidden places to watch birds.
Before you go, you should check when it is better to go. The best time to relax here depends on the goals of tourists. During certain periods, you can not fish, but at the same time, rare birds can fly to the lake. Routes to the lake can be changed if you book individual trips based on the needs of each group member.
What to do on Skadar lake
On Skadar lake, in Montenegro, you can find a lot of interesting things to do, even if you go on vacation yourself, by car. The main part of entertainment, of course, is water. In warm summer weather, you can swim on Skadar lake, so you should bring bathing suits and towels on your trip. However, most travelers come here to ride on the water surface of the lake. Motorboats, boats, kayaks and yachts are available for rent.they are used for water adventures on Skadar lake. You should take care of warm clothes even in summer, because the water can be cool.
Hundreds of tourists are not in vain trying to swim at least once on Skadar lake, because in addition to the numerous Islands that have grown literally out of the water, which come across along the way, there is still much to see. The local attraction and natural wonder — thousands of birds, more than 40 breeds, which are attracted to the territory of the lake. In the season of mass migration, according to reviews, there are especially many observers on Skadar lake — people come not only from Budva, but also from all over Europe to see a bunch of pelicans, cormorants, ducks, herons, black Ibis and many other birds. An incredible sight!
Those who are not engaged in fishing on Skadar lake, look at the surrounding beauty. A carpet of water vegetation is scattered along the lake shore — flowering water lilies, exuding a sweet smell, thick reeds and water nuts. The latter is actively collected by local residents in September, fried and sold as a delicious treat called “devil’s Horns”.
Choosing an independent route on Skadar lake, you should look at the local Virpazar. In the past — a small fishing village, today it has become a developed tourist center. Tourists traveling from Budva and other cities to Skadar lake usually do not have questions about how to get here. The place is conveniently located between Petrovac and Podgorica. Here you can comfortably stay, rent a speed boat and walk around the craft shops where local craftsmen make various Souvenirs. Especially interesting are products made of wool and olive wood.
History of the Lake
Many millions of years ago, the modern largest Skadar lake in the Balkans, whose stunning photos can be found on the Internet, was part of the Adriatic sea basin. This is evidenced by the ancient shells found and numerous archaeological excavations carried out in the region. Over time, the local land was attacked by hundreds of volcanic eruptions and tectonic shifts that changed the surrounding landscape.
Along with the decline of sea level, the Zeta-Skadar plain and limestone mountains called the Dinaric Alps were formed. And in 1858, a powerful thunderstorm changed the direction of the flow of the Bojana river, which flooded the dry basin that had stood for thousands of years, turning it into a picturesque and largest on the map of the Balkan Peninsula, Skadar lake in Montenegro.
Skadar lake also remembers the activities of the man who defined its territory as a place of battles between conflicting powers. So, once the ancient Slavic Kingdom of Zeta was founded on its shores, and with the invasion of the Turks in the XIII century, the region became a field of bloody battle for 500 years to come. With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the land was liberated, and in 1875 Montenegro defined the borders of independence from outside interference.
The tour operator “Open Balkans” advises you to include Skadar lake in your travel program in Montenegro. Book exciting group and individual excursions, which include a visit to this picturesque reservoir. You are waiting for an unforgettable adventure in the bosom of nature. Join us!