Lake Skadar is the largest on the Balkan Peninsula and if you are a nature lover, adventurer or a gastronome, this lake is a must on your quest to experience #MontenegroWildBeauty. It is a top spot for birdwatchers as well, because the lake has over 270 bird species. The rare curly pelican became a trademark of the National Park. It is also great for those whose passion is cycling, walking, kayaking or hiking.
The incredible beauty will definitely make your trip an unforgettable one.You simply have to visit Pavlova Stijena, a place where you can admire the best panoramic view.
Another spot you shouldn’t miss is Rijeka Crnojevića, where you can try one of the best local dishes: smoked bleak (which is an endemic fish). The fish will be served with cooked potatoes which are mouth-watering, a selection of Montenegrin cheese, olives, local crusty warm bread and delicious wine or rakia (rakija) of your choice. I had the pleasure to taste 11 different rakias, from mint, olive, ginger, plum, quince, nettle etc.
At the first local restaurant I visited, the atmosphere was warm, cozy and welcoming. The people were really happy to accommodate us in the best manner and it felt like home. They first presented us with a selection of their home-made rakias, then moved on to fish soup which was full-flavoured and delicious, after which came smoked bleak and carp with home made rustic bread. Thanks to the relatively warm and shallow water, fish species of the carp family are very common here. A fun fact: Dried ukljeva was actually the first thing to be exported to Italy and it was very expensive at the time. Nowadays, you can eat this delicatessen in Rijeka Crnojevića for as little as 5 euros per kg. The fish soup costs only 2 euros, therefore if you are a student, backpacker or you are just trying to save some money it is a perfect place for a pit stop, to recharge your batteries and tummies and have a superb meal at a small price.
Virpazar is another authentic small village situated close to Rijeka Crnojevića, and therefore it is a great place to visit on foot, by bike, car or taking a cute little boat from Rijeka Crnojevića. Virpazar is famous for its local wine and brandy – rakia. There are a lot of fishermen in this sleepy little place, so if you decide to step inside a local restaurant the fish you order will most certainly be served to you fresh from the water. For dessert, you should try the local specialty, a fried dough – priganice with honey. They are literally mouthwatering. If you are not such a food maniac as I am, here are few suggestions to have some fun and burn calories.
Hiking: There are as many as 9 hiking trails that reveal the untouched nature on the hinterland of Skadar Lake, amazing panoramas, small authentic villages, old mills, and vine cellars.
Biking: Kilometers of cycling trails surround Skadar Lake where you can bike on macadam, or at times on asphalt roads. You will be passing through forests, stone bridges, rivers and streams, fishing villages and viewpoints. This will also give you the opportunity to interact with the locals and learn more about their customs and tradition.
Kayaking: Stroking and bracing in a unique way, you can feel water, shores, wetlands, and landscapes of Skadar Lake. Water trails are marked and it is possible to reach hidden beaches, coves, islands, villages on a kayak or taking a wooden craft.
Bird watching: Skadar Lake is the habitat for 280 bird species, with many of them being rare and endangered. From songbirds, kite birds, winter birds, wetland birds to nesting and resident birds, you will be able to witness their beauty first hand.
Cruising in the summer: I highly recommend to try this out, especially if you take the tour with your loved one. Reeds, water lilies and water caltrops create a romantic scenery you will be emerged in. Stunning hidden beaches and swimming in the lake are the reason more to go on this romantic adventure.