Lake Skadar National Park in Montenegro, the largest lake in the Balkans

Lake Skadar, or Skadarska Jezero as it’s locally known, stands as one of Montenegro’s most breathtaking attractions. Holding the title of the largest lake in the Balkans, it presents an awe-inspiring expanse of natural beauty that captivates visitors with its sprawling wetlands and national park status. This remarkable blend of lake and wetland ecosystems is a magnet for unique bird species, offering a sanctuary that teems with life. In certain areas, the lake is so densely adorned with water lilies that it resembles a lush, green tapestry, creating a scene of idyllic tranquility. Dive deeper into the wonders of Skadar Lake in Montenegro through this blog, where you’ll discover the top activities to enrich your visit to this majestic lake.

Read more: Don’t miss our guide to the ultimate Montenegro road trip, complete with insider tips and a meticulously planned itinerary.

Lake Skadar Montenegro

How to find Skadar Lake in Montenegro

Nestled in the southeastern reaches of Montenegro, a stone’s throw south of the capital, Podgorica, and near the Albanian border, Skadar Lake’s splendor is partially shared with Montenegro’s neighbor, Albania. About one-third of the lake spills over into Albanian territory, but the most expansive and stunning portion resides within Montenegrin borders.

A mere half-hour drive from the quaint village of Virpazar, positioned on Skadar’s shores, leads you directly to Montenegro’s picturesque coastline. A visit to Stari Bar, an ancient ruin-laden village, offers photogenic vistas that are simply unforgettable.

Embarking from the coast towards Lake Skadar, travelers are greeted by breathtaking routes marked as ‘panoramic roads’. Most main roads towards Skadar are marked as such, as they are lined with stunning views, ensuring an awe-inspiring journey. The roads between Budva and Ceintje (brining you near the Skadar Lake Viewpoint), Petrovac and Virpazar, Virpazar and Bar, and Virpanzar and the Albanian border are particularly notable for their scenic beauty.

Lake Skadar Montenegro

Where to stay at Lake Skadar

For those seeking accommodation near Lake Skadar, the village of Virpazar is often the destination of choice. Here, you’re at the hub of lake excursions, with easy access to one of the lake’s two visitor centers.

Some notable hotels on Lake Skadar include:

#1 Hotel Pelikana charms visitors with its quirky, authentic decor and prime location in Virpazar. A tip for travelers: it’s wise to book tours through local providers in the village, as they often offer more competitive rates than the hotel.

#2 Dembelija Rooms is praised by guests for its serene setting and proximity to Virpazar. This accommodation is enveloped in lush greenery, making it a perfect retreat for nature lovers.

#3 Ethno House Osobak offers a cozy bed and breakfast experience near Virpazar. This venue delights guests with breakfast and dinner options featuring fresh garden produce. Guest reviews glow with enthusiasm for the authentic experience.

#4 Pension Montejago is a charming, authentically styled pension, complete with wooden and plaster details. It boasts a central location near Virpazar and offers breathtaking views.

For those adventuring in Montenegro with a camper, tent, or caravan, Campsite Podkraj, priced at €15 per night, is a recommendable choice. This intimate, family-run campsite offers a secluded ambiance with the convenience of WiFi, situated a short distance from Virpazar, amidst a sprawling lawn frequented by large rabbits.

Lake Skadar Montenegro

The best things to do at Skadar Lake

#1 Take a boat trip

The essence of Skadar Lake is captured through two quintessential experiences: navigating its serene waters in traditional wooden boats and soaking in the picturesque vistas that stretch across the horizon.

Strategically dotted along the lake’s perimeter are numerous launch points where adventurers can embark on a memorable journey across the lake without denting their wallets. These boat trips range from short two-hour escapades to immersive full-day adventures. Along the way, visitors have the unique opportunity to explore secluded islands, some of which are home to ancient monasteries and other intriguing landmarks, or meander through lush wetlands.

Predominantly based out of the bustling village of Virpazar, these boat tours attract a lively crowd during the peak season, with numerous tour operators vying for attention. A reasonable rate for joining a two-hour group tour hovers between €10 and €15 per person, excluding the €4 fee for entering Skadar National Park, which is usually charged separately.

These 2-hour tours offer an intimate glimpse into the lake’s beauty, including sailing amid sprawling carpets of water lilies, which reach their full splendor in the summer bloom. Opting for a tour lasting three hours or more grants the added luxury of leisurely stops along the way, including refreshing swimming breaks to cool off in the lake’s tranquil waters during the warmer months.

Lake Skadar Montenegro

#2 Discover the Skadar Lake Viewpoint

Another crown jewel of Lake Skadar is the Pavlova Strana Viewpoint, nestled near the quaint village of Rijeka Crnojevića. Although it requires an hour’s drive from Virpazar, the journey is nothing short of spectacular, winding through some of Montenegro’s most breathtaking panoramic roads that are attractions in their own right.

The journey to Pavlova Strana Viewpoint, including the hairpin turns that lie above, offers unparalleled views of the lake. Yet, it’s the viewpoint itself that steals the show, offering a vantage point where the lake elegantly snakes around a lush mountain crest, reminiscent of Horseshoe Bend, and presenting one of the most postcard-perfect sceneries of the lake.

Viewpoint Skadar Lake Montenegro

#3 Navigate the panoramic roads

Lake Skadar is encircled by roads that promise equally mesmerizing views, many of which are designated as ‘panoramic roads’. For those exploring Montenegro by car, be it their own or a rental, traversing these scenic routes is an absolute must.

The country boasts four panoramic roads, with one tracing the entire coastline, starting at the Bay of Kotor and ending at Lake Skadar. These routes are easily navigable around the lake, marked by distinctive brown signs featuring a ‘3’. To enhance your exploration, additional secondary roads branching off from the main route, such as 3B or 3D, are marked to guide you towards the most breathtaking views on your lake road trip.

Panoramic Roads Montenegro Skadar Lake

#4 Visit the Visitor Center

For those wishing to delve deeper into the wonders of Lake Skadar, the visitor centers in Vranjina and Virpazar are must-visit destinations. Our experience at the Virpazar center was particularly enriching, urging future visitors to consider a stopover. Interestingly, if you’re embarking on a boat tour, the €4 entrance fee to Lake Skadar National Park, which includes access to the visitor centers, means that essentially, your visit to these informative hubs is complimentary.