Retreat on Skadarsko Lake
The biggest lake in all of the Balkans, Skadarsko Lake and the surrounding area is truly an impressive wonder of nature in all its beauty and diversity. There’s something so otherworldly about the flat, waterlogged land broken up by low hills and surrounded by charming, ancient villages.
Two thirds of it is located in Montenegro, and one third in Albania. Because of this, trans-border partnership between the two countries is highly important when it comes to protecting the lake’s pristine nature and biodiversity.
It is one of Europe’s largest bird reserves, home to 270 bird species, including some of the last pelicans in Europe and lots of seagulls and herons. Its waters are also full of all sorts of fish, especially carp, bleak and eel, with several species endemic to the lake.
The thing you absolutely have to do while here is take a boat trip on the Lake, which can last from two hours to six house. This trip was an eye-opener for us, and we got to experience the lake in all its moods; from misty dawn to the scorching heat of noon, and the rhythms of the many birds that have made it their home.
For more on the boat trip take a look at our post “Boat Trip on Skadarsko Lake“.
Karuč is a little hamlet along the banks of the lake that has been around for centuries. There’s not much here, a restaurant and a couple of stone houses; We climbed up onto the terrace of an abandoned property here to get a good look at the surrounding area.
I like climbing into abandoned places, and the view was certainly worth it. There’s supposedly a couple of properties that can be rented for holiday makers, although we didn’t see any advertised while we were there. I can imagine it could be quite nice staying in this unique location for a night or two.
The town of Rijeka Crnojevića has a little bit of that Disneyland vibe to it the moment you enter. Maybe it’s the river running through it with charming stone bridges built across, maybe it’s the cute red roofed houses and the restaurants and bars with speakers playing jazz and chansons – it is hard to put a finger on, but if you go, you’ll know what I mean.
We stopped here after a hard day’s driving in the blasting heat, and it was a relief to finally get to chill out at a nice terrace with a delightful bottle of local wine, enjoying the tranquil vibe of this little town.
There are a few hotels and B&Bs along the river. We didn’t stay in any of them, but I can imagine it might not be a bad idea to spend at least a night here, to enjoy the atmosphere for this charming riverside town and sample some of the food in its restaurants.
If you want to organise a boat trip, this would be the place to do it. There are a few vendors by the lake advertising their rates, which are all pretty reasonable.
Our hosts, Drago and his wife, made sure everything was perfect for our stay. The rooms were spacious and comfortable, but the best thing of course was the amazing terrace overlooking the lake and the phenomenal dinners of freshly caught seafood fried up outdoors.
The house wine is also excellent, and we bought a few bottles to last us for the rest of our trip.
The Skadarsko Lake area is the perfect place for a retreat and lots of relaxation. We could have spent many more nights eating the fresh seafood, drinking the wonderful wine and reading on the terrace with this magical water world unfolding into the horizon.