Straddling the border of Montenegro and Albania, this karst lake is worth visiting for idyllic scenery, cultural sites, and diverse wildlife. Two-thirds of Skadar Lake lies within Montenegro. The area was declared a National Park in 1983. Home to approximately 280 bird species, many of which are endangered or rare, Skadar Lake received IBA (International Bird Area) status in 1989. Historic attractions include abandoned fishing villages, monasteries, and the island and prison of Grmožur (Montenegro’s very own Alcatraz).
- Status: National Park since 1983. IBA (International Bird Area) status since 1989. Enrolled on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance since 1995.
- Location: Southeast Zeta-Skadar basin, along the Albanian border
- Area: 40,000 ha
- Area of Lakes: 370 km² (summer water level) to 540 km² (winter water level)
- Elevation: 5 meters above sea level
- Climate: Wetland habitat with sub-Mediterranean with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers
Points of Interest
- Grmožur: Nicknamed the Island of Snakes, Grmožur is an island prison and fortification complex built by the Ottomans in 1847 and conquered by Montenegrins in 1878. Soon after, it was converted into a prison under the rule of Prince Nikola. The abandoned island and ruins are known as the Montenegrin Alcatraz.
- Lesendro Fort: Erected in 1843 by Petar II Petrović Njegoš on the island near the Vranjine fortress area. It was often called the “key of the lake” as it served as a military outpost for the defence of the Rijeka Crnojević. It was reclaimed after falling into the hands of the Turks and was used as an armory until after the First World War.
- Centuries-old Orthodox monasteries such as Vranjina, Beška, and Kom are scattered around the region, largely untouched. They are tucked away on tiny islands or sheer slopes deep in the marshland and best accessed by boat.