Lake Skadar (Shkodra Lake) national park is located on the south side of Montenegro in Skadar valley. Its 30 km from the capital Podgorica and 7 km away from the Adriatic Sea. Lake Skadar is Balkan's largest lake and extremely famous for its flora and fauna and it is also categorized as one of Europe's largest bird reserves which are surrounded by majestic mountains and lush greenery.
Two thirds of this lake is in Montenegro and the rest is in Albania. In this area, there are 270+ migratory birds and 50+ fish species of international recognition and in the region of Skadar Lake, there is historical architecture such as monasteries, churches, and sacred monuments. Its unspoiled natural beauty and lovely water lilies are waiting to be explored. Moreover, the silence of this place makes it relaxing with its unpolluted and fresh air, organic, local food, and traditional dishes.
By and large, this place is a blend of relaxation and recreation such as renting and ride in a boat, fish hunting, swimming, and sunbathing. You can experience wildlife by boat, you can visit the ruins of the fortress, you can dive into the lake, you can hike, but if you are done with toing and froing you can just lie there and soak up the sunshine.
Lake Skadar remains welcoming and beautiful around the year so you are good to visit as a day trip or night stay in summer vacations or in the green and fresh season of spring. Entrance fee is 4 euros but if you are looking for camping and fishing you would need an extra license for that, which can be bought at the entrance at very modest prices. Hiking is very popular and there are 10 hiking trails and a detailed map, that can be obtained at the entrance.
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This is probably the best viewpoint of the lake and the one which you shouldn't miss. It is relatively easy to find this point. I have already marked it on the above google map which you can use for navigating via google maps. Whether you are driving from Podgorica or Kotor take the highway M2.3 then turn towards the small country road which runs along the lake and offer stunning vistas of the lake. You will see an old hotel which might be closed but there are a few parking places to park your car. I came from Kotor and rode towards Podgorica on M2.3 then took this small diversion leading towards lake. It was a fantastic ride and I absolutely had a great time. I would highly recommend doing the same.
If you are looking to see wildlife and natural beauty and eager to opt for a relaxing way of visiting all around, then boat cruises are the best option. Traditional lake boats are wooden boats in which you can sit back and relax and the boat seems to glide over the water. This is going to be the best way to experience the tranquil vistas of the lake.
You can visit Lake Skadar anytime in the year and you'll have the chance to see wetland life in all its glory. As this park is home to migratory birds so it enhances the experience. It's home to the rare Dalmatian Pelican which is very rare and the world's second-largest colony of pygmy cormorant.
There are some amazing walking trails around the lake and are well maintained. Another amazing thing to do while hiking the mountains of Skadar valley is to pick wild fruit. It depends on the season but you'll find blackberries, strawberries, and pomegranates frequently.
Another worth remembering experience is fishing. It is permitted on the lake from 1st June to 15th March. If you are up for fishing, you need to buy a license from one of the visitor centers, which costs 5 euros per day.
There are monasteries, hidden beaches, and a huge variety of birds on Skadar Lake so it becomes a perfect place for kayaking. You can also hire kayaks and explore on your own.
There are plenty of options of home-stay, apartments, camping sites and hotels along the lake. A typical home-stay would cost you somewhere between 30 to 40€ a night.
Is it feasible to take a short stop while going from Kotor to Tirana by public transport?
I'm not sure if you can reach the same spot on public transport between Tirana and Kotor but as you know Lake Skadar is divided between Montenegro and Albania. On Albania side is Shkodër city which is on the route to Tirana. I would recommend staying a day or two there to explore the area before continuing towards Tirana