Montenegro is a country blessed with natural beauty and diverse landscapes, and Lake Skadar is one of its most beautiful destinations. Without a doubt, the lake is brimming with natural wonders. Exploring it is an activity you should not miss during your visit!
While a sightseeing cruise is a popular way to immerse yourself in the lake’s beauty, kayaking offers a unique opportunity for nature lovers, seeking solitude with the lake’s wildlife. The journey takes you to another realm where time seemingly ceases to tick, and the world stands still in peaceful harmony.
If you’re a true enthusiast seeking to experience the tranquillity of the lake, let me be your guide through this blog post. As a long-time local paddler, who could be better suited for the task?
The best place to start your kayak adventure, is the lakeside town of Virpazar, located about 30 minutes from Montenegro’s capital (Podgorica). Virpazar offers easy access to the lake and a variety of kayaking routes to explore.
Check out local rentals you can book online: https://www.getyourguide.com/virpazar-l143636/virpazar-kayak-rental-for-lake-skadar-national-park-t422368/
Tip: Before you set out, make sure to pack your sunscreen, hat, snacks and plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout your journey.
Navigate your way through a small river canal
Begin your kayaking adventure by paddling through a narrow river canal that connects this quaint village to the vast, open waters of the lake. As you make your way through the canal, you’ll be mesmerized by the lush greenery and serene beauty that surrounds you.
The canal is fringed with reeds and willows that sway gently in the breeze, creating a soothing and calming atmosphere that adds to the charm of your kayaking adventure.Take a moment to appreciate the nature and beauty around you, and keep an eye out for the local wildlife that inhabits the area. You may spot a graceful heron wading through the shallows or a speedy kingfisher darting past. And, if you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of a playful otter frolicking in the water.
You will come to a point where the channel splits into two smaller ones. Take the one on your right, as it is shallower and easier to navigate. During low water level, you can even get out of your kayak and feel the bottom of Lake Skadar beneath your feet.
Under the bridge (Who doesn’t love Red Hot Chili Peppers, right?)
As you approach Vranjina Island, which boasts two striking peaks towards the sky, you’ll notice a bridge looming to your left. Glide under it and do a straight right. The fields of water caltrop, known locally as kasaronje, await.
If you see a small black, unattractive object floating on the water’s surface, with three sharp thorns, it’s actually a product of this plant. Don’t be deterred by its appearance, as its sweet taste is reminiscent of coconut. In the past, water caltrop was used for making bread, but nowadays it’s more commonly consumed raw.Paddling through these fields may pose a bit of a challenge, but it’s definitely worth the effort. The sights that follow will satisfy your wanderlust, I promise!
Discover Lesendro, the eternal love of Njegoš
As you paddle further, you’ll come across the ruins of Lesendro, a once-mighty fortress that has fallen to the ravages of time.
It will captivate you by an unique charm, despite its worn-down appearance. This is particularly true for those who are bird enthusiasts, as paddling around the fortress offers a one-of-a-kind experience. To witness the elegant flight and underwater hunting of some of the most exquisite avian species in the area, is a truly unforgettable experience.
Morača River: Important Bird and Biodiversity Area
You’ll soon come across a wide river canal that passes underneath Vranjina, with its sides encircled by willows. This area is a designated bird sanctuary and provides an ideal spot for bird watching.
If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of flocks of cormorants, gulls, or even pelicans. Keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready to capture these stunning feathered creatures in action.
Tip: Taking binoculars is a great idea! They can be very useful for bird watching and observing the wildlife from a distance. They will enhance the overall experience.
Amazonia: the three islands and the wilderness behind
Proceed to paddle towards the three islands situated in the middle of the lake. Head towards the first island and circle it in a clockwise direction. As you make your way around it, you’ll traverse a lovely canal adorned with water lilies and reeds that add to the lake’s natural charm.
Take your time and marvel at the wildlife that flourishes in this serene environment and soak in the sights and sounds of the wilderness surrounding you. Amazonia is the place where you can even spot some baby nests inbetween the bottoms of the reeds.
Finish with a refreshing swim
On the other side of the island, you’ll spot a series of small beaches nested along the shoreline. Aim for one of them.
Note: Wild ones appear well – wild, but they will provide true peace and calm. On the other hand, private ones oblige you to pay for at least a drink, but the shore is clean and safe.
Once you choose, leave your kayak and immerse yourself in the coolness of the lake and feel your stresses and worries melt away. There’s nothing quite like the sensation of being surrounded by nature, with the sun on your skin and the water enveloping you. So, go ahead and take the dip – you won’t regret it.
Tip: It is important to make sure that the water is shallow enough for you to stand in, before leaving your kayak. If you can’t touch the bottom, make sure you have a plan for getting back into your kayak safely, such as using a paddle float or having someone assist you.
The return journey
With your energy replenished, it’s time to paddle back under the bridge and to find the entrance to the channel that leads back to Virpazar. The natural wonders of Lake Skadar will patiently await your return whenever you’re ready for another adventure.
The return journey offers a different perspective, so make sure to soak in the enchanting scenery one last time.
And, we’re back
Now, I have to tell you, as I was writing the description and thinking about all the times I have paddled through Lake’s waters – I asked myself whether or not to include the photos on this blog post? Well, you should know by now how that finished…
Even though you can obviously describe the journey, sceneries are something else – and there is something special about experiencing them in person!In the meantime, let me know if this little guide helped.