A magical place! If you glide by boat across Lake Skadar at dawn, then you will remember our words. Lake Skadar (often also called Lake Skadar) is clearly one of the most beautiful travel destinations that we got to know on our road trip through Montenegro.
Lake Skadar is not only gigantic (namely the largest lake in the Balkans), but also incredibly impressive in terms of landscape . A natural jewel – there is no other way to describe it.
We can only warmly recommend that you plan a stopover at Lake Skadar on your trip to Montenegro. You will not regret it! We will tell you our personal tips for your stay in this blog article.
1. Lake Skadar (Skadarsee): Interesting facts, FAQs and first travel tips Exciting facts about Lake Skadar Lake Skadar (also called Lake Shkodra or Lake Skadar) stretches across two countries: Montenegro and Albania , with about two-thirds of the area belonging to Montenegro. The lake is considered to be the largest lake in the Balkans and together with Lake Garda the largest in southern Europe. Lake Skadar is protected as a national park and is home to a variety of birds. For example, migratory birds from Northern Europe rest and breed on Lake Skadar. Some of the last pelicans in Europe also live here. The Natural scenery is huge. Not only Lake Skadar itself, which is covered with carpets of water lilies, is something special. The landscape all around with the numerous hills and the mountain scenery on the horizon is impressive. The main tourist town on Lake Skadar is Virpazar. A few hotels and restaurants are located here and during the day the stalls of the boat providers are lined up. Overall the place is not a beauty and we would recommend staying a bit out of the way. (We reveal our tip at the end of this blog article.) Day trip or overnight stay? A lot of tourists visit Lake Skadar as part of a day trip (mostly from Kotor or Bar). Of course you can do that, but we would like to point out that there is a lot of boat traffic on the lake during the day. And: The birds, for which the lake is so famous, cannot be observed as well as in the morning or in the evening when it is cooler.
Our tip is therefore very clear: Stay the night. So you can take a boat tour at sunrise or sunset and enjoy the very special, atmospheric ambience at this time of day. In addition, there is enough time to leisurely explore one or the other highlight around Lake Skadar (e.g. the famous vantage point).
We ourselves stayed two nights on our road trip through Montenegro on Lake Skadar and from here we also made a trip to Stari Bar.
Arrival: How to get to Lake Skadar Lake Skadar is in the south of Montenegro and can be easily reached by car (own car or rental car). It is only a stone’s throw from Podgorica International Airport: in less than half an hour you can reach Virpazar, the tourist center on Lake Skadar.
More tips You can find out more about driving and booking a rental car in this article: Road trip through Montenegro.
2. Our tip: Sunrise tour on Lake Skadar If there is one thing that If you can’t miss Lake Skadar, it’s a boat tour – ideally at sunrise. Then not only a fascinating morning mood awaits you on the water, but the numerous birds can be observed very well at this time of day.
Upon request, our accommodation owner recommended the provider “Boat Old Bridge”, which we can warmly recommend. We were picked up from our accommodation early in the morning, taken directly to the jetty and looked after by family on our tour.
Marina, our guide, was incredibly accommodating and knew a lot about the flora and fauna. Together with the friendly boat driver she made for a really wonderful experience. There were even cookies and drinks and we were able to use binoculars to better spot the birds in the distance.
We were two hours on the road – we wouldn’t recommend any shorter either, because then you won’t make it to the beautiful spot where they often carpets of water lilies photographed grow. Only a few bloomed during our visit in July, but it was still beautiful to look at.
Information about the boat tour on Lake Skadar at a glance Duration: from 1 hour, we recommend 2 hours or longer so that you can drive far enough to explore the beautiful parts of the lake
Price: 15 euros for a private tour for both of us at sunrise
Provider Tip: Boat Old Bridge
3. Road trip along the panoramic road Our second highlight at Lake Skadar was the drive along the fantastically beautiful panoramic road that meanders from Virpazar in a northerly direction along the shore. You will pass beautiful viewpoints here, so it is worth stopping several times.
First of all, there is the Café Macalov Brijeg, which you about half an hour from Virpazar. It’s hard to miss as this gem is right up the road. There are a handful of tables in the front row with a great view of Lake Skadar. We enjoyed homemade pomegranate juice and an extensive cheese platter here.
The road then leads you to the tiny, sleepy village Rijeka Crnojevića. Here is a short stopover to marvel at the historic stone arch bridge and take photos.
We continue to what is probably the most famous vantage point on Lake Skadar, the Pavlova Strana Viewpoint. From here you can see the much-photographed river loop – an incredible panorama!
A little tip: From the vantage point, a very narrow road leads up in serpentines . You get a better picture of the river loop from higher up. However, we would only recommend the road up to experienced drivers – you can also just walk.
Apart from this junction, we found it absolutely feasible to drive along the panoramic road with our car. The road is narrow (there is only one lane) so you have to give way to oncoming traffic, but this is usually not a problem.
Pavlova Strana Viewpoint Rijeka Crnojevića Café Macalov Brijeg 4. Excursion from Lake Skadar to Stari Bar & Sveti Stefan Since we (whole deliberately and fortunately!) did not stop overnight on the southern coast of Montenegro, we decided to explore two places worth seeing in the area as a short trip from Lake Skadar: The ruined city of Stari Bar inland and the offshore, often photographed island of Sveti Stefan.
Stari Bar Bar is a coastal town in Montenegro. The corresponding “old” (= “stari”) town is located a few kilometers away inland at the foot of the Rumija Mountains. From Lake Skadar you can reach Stari Bar in about 40 By car.
Stari Bar is often referred to as “ruined town” . And that has a reason: 1979 Stari Bar was destroyed by a earthquake hit hard and only partially renovated since then.
Coming from the car park at the entrance to the city, you first stroll slightly uphill through the main street past cafes and restaurants before you reach the entrance to the actual old town. There is also a entrance fee of 3 euros per person.
You can then imagine the old town like a huge open-air museum imagine. A circular route takes you straight through the entire area. You can see the historic fortifications, the remains of a Franciscan monastery and a Turkish bathhouse.
A little tip: If you are hungry, we recommend a stop at the Konoba Bedem, which is just a stone’s throw away from the entrance. The whole of Stari Bar is very touristy (and so is this restaurant), but we had a surprisingly good meal here.
Sveti Stefan After our visit to Stari Bar we made our way to the offshore island of Sveti Stefan. Unfortunately, this is not really on the way back to Lake Skadar (you have to take a detour), but we really wanted to see this part of Montenegro as well.
At this point an important tip: If you are considering staying the night in this part of Montenegro on the coast, then please don’t . All the ugly things you read about Montenegro (badly built coast, hotel bunkers, crowds) sadly become reality here (especially in Budva!).
Back to Sveti Stefan: This small island is really beautiful to look at, but is privately owned. Only people staying on the island are allowed to enter. But it doesn’t matter, Sveti Stefan is nicer to look at from a distance anyway – let’s say it.
Who previously used the p sunrise idyll at Lake Skadar will be surprised at the crowds. The beach with a view of Sveti Stefan is really busy in high season.
We therefore decided to watch the sunset from a distance and drove to the viewpoint. the Church of St. Sava. You can reach this by car in about 15 minutes. From up here you can enjoy a fantastic view of the island, the sea and the sunset – definitely our favorite spot in this part of Montenegro.
5. Overnight stays at Lake Skadar: Our accommodation tip As a home base for our time on Lake Skadar we chose the highly recommended Apartments Lake Valley. These are located in a beautiful green area, just under 5 minutes by car from Virpazar.
The extremely courteous host couple lives here themselves and has not only built a pool on the property, but also several small apartments. These are simply furnished, but with everything you need (air conditioning, kitchen, living area, extra bedroom).
If you wish, you can have breakfast served to you in the morning. We ate “priganice” here for the first time on our trip to Montenegro – fried mini donuts served with honey. Very greasy, hearty and sweet, but simply good.
A very special thanks to Milo, the owner, who really tries to make everyone feel comfortable all day long. We were never received so hospitably anywhere else in Montenegro. Our conclusion: great value for money. We’ll be back!
You can book accommodation here: Lake Valley
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Have you ever been to Lake Skadar in Montenegro? Did this place impress you as much as it did us? Feel free to share your additional tips with us! Perhaps you are also planning a trip to Lake Skadar and still have questions? We look forward to your comment below this blog article.