A vast freshwater lake straddling the borders of Albania and Montenegro and surrounded by dramatic karst mountains, its mirrored waters, rocky shores and wetlands play host to a myriad of wildlife with more than 260 species of birds, traditional fishing villages, islet monasteries and pristine beaches.
The Skadar Lake system is a well-known hotspot of freshwater biodiversity and harbors a highly diverse molluscan fauna.
Lake Skadar is one of the largest bird reserves in Europe, having 270 bird species, among which are some of the last pelicans in Europe, and thus popular with birders. The lake also contains habitats of seagulls and herons.
It is abundant in fish, especially in carp, bleak and eel. Of the 34 native fish species, 7 are endemic to Lake Skadar.
At the scale of Skadar Lake, about 31% of freshwater snails (12 out of 39 species sampled in the lake) are endemic. At the scale of the Skadar Lake basin, 38% (19 species) of the total freshwater gastropod fauna appear to be endemic. There were reliably recorded 50 species of freshwater snails from the Lake Skadar basin.The index of freshwater gastropod endemic is have high value, Skadar Lake exceeds such famous lakes as Lake Malawi and Lake Titicaca.
National Park Skadar Lake has the status of a significant ornithological area. With its 281 bird species it is listed in the List of Wetlands of International Importance.
It’s not just about the birds, however. The mountains are home to an abundance of wild tortoises, brilliantly colored lizards and amphibians and even snakes (don’t worry, we know which ones to look out for!). If you’re lucky, you may even catch sight of wild boar and even a wolf or two in winter.
Every path and pasture is full of the medicinal herbs for which the area is famous, and wild orchids grow among them. In summer, water lilies line the surface of the lake. In winter, as the lake swells by over 100 square kilometers, pike, perch, trout and carp join the estimated 50,000 birds wintering in the region.
This area has a significant number of historical sites dating from medieval Montenegro, mostly represented by old churches and monasteries, towers and fortresses.