Skadar Lake - the most important information
Skadar Lake is located in the Zeta-Skadar plain, 19 km from the center of Podgorica. This lake also belongs to Montenegro (Bar and Podgorica municipalities), but, in part, to Albania too. With its area of 391 square kilometers, Skadar Lake is the largest lake in Montenegro and on the Balkan Peninsula. It is part of the Skadar Lake Nature Park, and it became a national park in 1983, when it was protected. The lake is home to rare birds and fish, and is adorned with abundant and beautiful flora and fauna. The lake consists of 60 islands - Gorica.
Origin and development of Skadar Lake
Until 1858, the area of today's lake was just a larger pond that was popularly known as Veliko Blato. However, in 1858, after a storm, the river Drim poured so much sand and mud from the Albanian mountains into the estuary of the river Bojana that the riverbed was moved, and a lake was formed from the pond. There is also a legend about the origin of Skadar Lake. She says that the lake was created in one night, when, out of happiness that her husband returned, a young bride forgot to turn off the fountain. Both stories are quite amazing.
During the summer, the surface of the lake is 370 square kilometers, while during the winter it expands to 540 square kilometers. The depth of the lake is 8 meters, at low water level. The average temperature in the summer months is from 23 degrees to 28 degrees. The average water temperature in January is 7 degrees. Such high temperatures in the summer months are a direct consequence of the sub-Mediterranean climate with mild and rainy winters. Skadar Lake is becoming more and more popular and visited from season to season.
What to visit on Skadar Lake?
There are many beaches on the shores of Skadar Lake, some of which are hidden and can only be reached by boat. In addition to the extraordinary nature that it possesses, this lake in its surroundings has nothing less and nothing more significant attractions that you must visit. Some of the localities you should not miss are:
- Crnojevica River - Historical place and former capital of Montenegro
- Fortress Lesendo
- Vranjina - Venice in miniature
Activities on Skadar Lake
The area of Skadar Lake is ideal for people who love adventure. And for you, below, we highlight the most interesting activities on the lake.
- Swimming - One of the favorite activities of locals and tourists alike is swimming. Swimming on the lake is allowed. The locals often joke, so they say that their children first learn to swim, and only then to walk.
- Cycling and walking - In addition to cycling in mountainous areas, but also walking on hiking trails, it is possible to cruise by boat.
- Boat Cruise - The lake cruise starts from a place called Virpazar. There are several different tours, and one of the most popular is certainly the tour that lasts 2 hours and 30 minutes. The departure is from Virpazar, so through the Virpazar channel and the Old Bridge on Vranjina, you reach the island of Lesendro and the fortress of the same name. The route continues in the following order: Church of St. Djordje - Sailing around the northern islands - Fjord entrance to the Crnojevic River - Sailing in one part of the fjord - Swimming time in the open part of the lake - Return to Virpazar. A boat cruise costs EUR 30 per person, while an additional EUR 4 is required to enter Skadar Lake National Park. Children under 10 do not pay the entrance fee. The capacity of the smaller boat is 14 people.
For more information, visit the website, where you can also book tickets for a cruise on Skadar Lake online.
- Fishing - Over 48 species of fish live in the lake, while around 280 species of birds live around the lake. No wonder fishing is prominent, as it was once the only means of income for the local population. However, in recent years, Skadar Lake has been in the process of protection and controlled fishing, due to excessive fishing.
How to get to Skadar Lake?
You can reach Skadar Lake in several ways:
- By car - the easiest way to get to Skadar Lake is by your own transport, but you have to be careful because of the roads and challenging curves. If you are starting from Podgorica, it would be best to head towards Virpazar and the entrance to the National Park. The ride takes 30 to 35 minutes, while the distance is about 29 km.
- By train - It is possible to get to Virpazar from Podgorica by train. The train departs 5 to 10 times a day, and tickets are not too expensive. The price depends on the class, and ranges between 1.40 EUR and up to 2.20 EUR. Virpazar Train Station is some 800 meters from the entrance to Skadar Lake National Park.
- By bus - it is possible to reach the destination by bus. About 10 buses depart from Podgorica daily, and the travel time ranges from 30 to 40 minutes. Tickets cost around 2 EUR.