Lake Skadar is one of the largest lakes in the Balkans, located in Montenegro and Albania. The area of the lake is 390 km2, but during winter floods it increases to 530 km2. In 1983, the lake was declared a national park.
The national park has a rich flora and fauna. There are at least 26 species of birds alone, of which you can often find: cormorants, gulls, herons, pelicans, black ibises. Up to 200,000 birds flock here for the winter. Due to the clear water surface, the lake is home to 40 species of fish: bleak, carp, podust, salmon, rudd, mullet, roach.
Sights of Lake Skadar
On the islands of Starčevo, Beška and Moračnik, the Balšići dynasty built churches with tombs in the 14th and 15th centuries. The oldest of them is in Starčevo (1376-1378), on the island of Beshka there is the tomb of Yuri Balšić and his wife Elena, on the island of Vranjina there is an architectural complex built by the Chernoevichs. An Orthodox monastery on the island of Vranina, founded with the direct blessing of the Serbian Archbishop Saint Sava, who put his closest disciple Hilarion at the head of the new monastery. By the time this monastery was built, the Serbian Orthodox Church had gained independence, and Hilarion became the first Bishop of Zeta. After his death, he will be buried in this monastery. Some monasteries have survived to this day and can be visited. In addition to churches and monasteries, travelers are attracted by the ruins of ancient fortresses built during the war with the Turks: the fortress of Lesendro, Grmozhur, as well as the ruins of the ancient capital Zabljak.
They mostly go to Lake Skadar from nearby resort towns for a change of scenery. You can find an excursion to the lake in almost any corner of Montenegro. Usually all excursions to Lake Skadar start from the village of Virpazar, which was founded back in 1242. Previously, the village was the most important trading center, as it was located at the confluence of two rivers. Later, a road from Bar was built here, and then railway tracks were brought in. Thus Virpazar became the first postal station in Montenegro. At the moment, Virpazar is a small town with the ruins of the Besac fortress, brick houses, a couple of hotels and restaurants that serve fish freshly caught from Lake Skadar. The population lives off agriculture, fishing, and also provides various tourism services.
Many tourists think that Lake Skadar is very picturesque, but this is not entirely true. Almost the entire coast of the lake is swampy, and the mountains, although beautiful, are of small height, and the lake itself is only 5 meters above the water level. To admire the mountain ranges, it is worth going to Lovcen.