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…

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.

Skadarsko Lake
View of Skadarsko Lake and the village of Karuč

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.

Skadarsko Lake, Prehistoric landscape, Montenegro
The famous bend in Skadarsko Lake

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.

Skadarsko Lake
A water wonderland under beautiful blue skies

The thing you absolutely have to do while here is take a boat trip on the Lake, which can last from two hours to a full day. 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.

Skadarsko Lake
A little stone house overlooking the lake

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.

Skadarsko Lake
An old television set left in an abandoned stone house by the lake

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.

Skadarsko Lake
Derelict stone walls by the lake side

Rijeka Crnojevića

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.

rijeka crnojevica
Old stone bridge over the river running through Rijeka Crnojevića

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.

rijeka crnojevica, Skadarsko Lake
Panorama of Skadarsko Lake

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 of this charming riverside town and sample some of the food in its restaurants.

Skadarsko Lake
Boats parked on the banks of the lake

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.

 Skadarsko Lake
A bend in the lake

Sobe Dujeva

For our stay on Skadarsko Lake, our guide Vanja had booked us into a B&B in Dujeva. This is no ordinary B&B – it’s located in a small vineyard and has the best view of the entire area.

 Skadarsko Lake
A fully ripe fig bursting under the heat of the summer sun

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.

 Skadarsko Lake
Drago frying up a batch of freshly caught carp

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.

 Skadarsko Lake
The setting sun lighting up the beautiful lake

We’ve created a compilation of timelapses from a few of the best lookout points in Montenegro. In this collection is a timelapse we took on the Skadarsko Lake.