Lake Skadar is a stunning National Park for you to explore in Montenegro. Situated in the south east of the country, the area is home to rare wildlife, secluded beaches, and the largest lake in Southern Europe.
Lake Skadar National Park is a 20 minute drive or 30 minute train ride south of the capital Podgorica. As a result it’s a perfect day trip from the capital or stunning retreat to relax at for a couple of days.
The National Park is often overlooked by tourists, and It’s absolutely bamboozling why. This means you don’t have to share it with lots of happy snapping tourists. On your trip you’re likely to visit parts of it and be one of the only people there.
I stayed on the lake for 2 nights in the town of Virpazar which was an awesome base from which to explore the region. Here’s 5 great things you can do in and around Lake Skadar.
Kayak on Lake Skadar
From the town of Virpazar you can rent yourself a colourful kayak for an hour or the whole day. On these you can silently explore the river that runs from the town into the lake.
Along the way you’ll pass towering reeds, never ending carpets of lily pads, and plenty of the lakes famous wildlife.
You can stop and relax on your kayak among the nature whenever you feel like it. When you leave the river you’ll be out on the big open lake. You’ll feel so tiny in your little kayak but will be mesmerised by the views!
I would suggest leaving early in the morning when it is calmer as it can be quite an effort kayaking back against the wind.
If you’re looking for a little bit of beach paradise to have all to yourself then Pješačac beach in Godinje Bay is the place you should be spending at least a morning.
The bay is a 90min walk from Virpazar, or a €15 return taxi. The driver will also pick you up at whatever time you want – how nice.
Once you’ve arrived and walked over the rocky shoreline path the little piece of paradise will reveal itself to you.
The beach is a small one looking over the lake with old concrete jetties either side of it. In the distance you can see Fortress Grmožur – Skadars version of Alcatraz. In the waters lapping the beach are thousands of tiny little fish ready to nibble you.
I was at the beach for about 3 hours and only one tourist boat popped by. The rest of the time it was me and a couple of other people – paradise!
Lake Skadar Boat tour
If you fancy exploring the wonders of Lake Skadar in a little more comfort and with a private guide, then you can book a boat tour.
There are multiple boat tours running from Virpazar. Most of these will take you to interesting points along the lake. This includes remote islands, beaches, and areas with a lot of wildlife.
The tours will also stop of in the middle of the lake for you to take a swim in the refreshing waters of Skadar!
Surrounding the lake you will find some truly memorable hikes. The multiple valleys and hills in the area allow for multitude of awe inspiring routes through the imposing environment.
My favourite hike was the Walnut Valley hike that takes 5-7 hours round trip. You will go for hours without seeing another soul, walk over ancient bridges, and will end at secluded waterfalls deep in the valley.
You can join in on a group hike on Saturdays, any other day it’s down to you!
Overlooking the town of Virpazar is Besac Castle. The castle is only a short 15minute walk from the town and costs 1 euro to enter.
The attraction has undergone a recent restoration and is very nice to walk around at sunset. The views over the lake and the surrounding areas are stunning.
Written by Michael
Including Krka National Park, Croatia has 8 stunning National Parks for you to choose from, each with their own unique wonders. You’ve probably seen oodles of pictures all over Instagram showing off their glorious attractions; stunning waterfalls, deep valleys, roaring rivers, and towering mountains just seem to be a part of Croatia.
My friend Perry and I were spending a weekend in the beautiful city of Zadar and luckily one of Croatias best National Parks was just a hours drive from the city. Like us you can spend the whole day exploring Krka National Park, read on to find out how to make the most out of your visit.
When to visit.
Its no secret that Krka National Park is no secret! Thousands of people visit the park every day to be immersed in it’s stunning surroundings. Avoiding these crowds could be the difference between you loving your day at the park and wishing you stayed at the pebbly beach. Luckily though, you can pretty much have the park to yourself if you plan it right.
There’s two main ways you can avoid the crowds. Firstly, whatever day your visiting, visit as early as possible. Trust me, you wont regret dragging your lazy ass out of bed.
The park opens at 8am and getting there for this time will mean you only have to share the vast expanse of the park with a handful of people. The tourist busses start to arrive between 9 and 10am so you’ll have at least a couple of hours of bliss.
Secondly, if you can visit on a weekday then absolutely do, The weekends are obviously the busiest days at the park so weekday visit will be a lot less busy.
You’ll also want to visit after May and before October, read on to the swim section to find out why…
Where to enter the Park.
There are two main entrances to Krka National park;
Skradin is a small town just outside Krka National Park. If you are driving you can park here for the day (it’s 50 kuna, not free like the signs say). If you have a bit of time to kill before or after your trip to the park then definitely look around Skradin, its beautiful!
From Skradin you can take the stunning boat ride into the park. The peaceful ride lasts about 20minutes and takes you along the gorgeous blue-green river.
Lozovac is the second main entrance and is closer to the waterfalls than Skradin. Parking is free and there’s a bus service that takes you to the main waterfalls, or you can walk the 875m. It’s up to you!
Entrance fees for an adult include the boat ride and are:
Swim in Krka National Park
One of the great attractions for you at Krka National Park is the fact that you’re allowed to swim in a section of the parks waters – something you can’t do at Plitvice National Park!
Just in front of the lowest, and arguably the most beautiful waterfall, you will find a large section of water you can swim in. Here you can bathe in the crystal clear waters for as long as you want while exploring the limestone nooks and crannies that have been formed over the millennia. In the waters you’ll also find plenty of fish to sneak up on and chase around (I definitely didn’t do this…).
you’ll find a boom stopping you getting too close to the waterfalls, which is actually a good thing as these raging beasts would do you a lot of damage if you went under them!
Unfortunately, you can only swim in Krka National Park between the 30th May and 30th September.
You may be thinking to yourself “Pfttt why would I want to swim outside these dates anyway?”, and you’re probably right. The weather most likely wont be the best and the waters will be freezing.
However, that’s exactly what my friend Perry and I did! We visited on the 27th May with our swimming trunks and towels in hand, only to find out we couldn’t swim.
We were very sad, but the warden let us pop into the shallows for a bit as it was only 4 days away from swimming opening. Very niceeeee.
As you get in you really become accustomed to the temperature and its absolutely stunning to swim in the crystal clear waters while you’re surrounded by the stunning landscape of waterfalls and mountains.
Exploring around the waterfalls
Around the waterfalls you’ll have no shortage of paths to explore that lead you to other water features and different vantage points around the falls. There’s around 6 main tiers of waterfalls and all have stunning view points.
Towards the top of the park and off to the left is a raised wooden path that lets you skip over the rushing waters and leads you to arguably the best vantage point of the falls. This path will also take you through almost deserted parts of the park and will take you back to the lower tiers of the waterfalls.
Throughout the park theres also quite a few old buildings known as the ethno village. Here you will find some historical buildings to explore and a couple have tastefully been turned into small cafes where you can get drinks and some food.
There’s so much more to Krka National Park…
Once you’ve had your fill of swimming and exploring around the waterfalls then there’s so much more for you to explore in the National Park, some of the highlights include…
Past the waterfalls and in the middle of one of the parks upper lakes is a small island with the Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy and the Church of Our Lady of Visovac on it.
Both buildings are nearly 600 years old and the island is stunningly beautiful to look at from the shore as well as once you are on it.
You can get a boat to the island from the waterfalls, or if you have a car you can drive to Stinica or Remetić which is a lot closer and a much shorter ferry ride.
Roški slap is another series of stunning cascading waterfalls, which very few people know about or visit. These waterfalls are 30km north of the main entrances of Skradin and Lozovac. Roški slap has dozens of tiers that are a lot gentler than the main ones in Krka. Oziđana pećina cave is also right next to Roški slap.
You can get to Roški slap by driving to it’s entrance and parking, and you will then walk about 30min to the falls. You can also hop on a 4 hour round trip boat ride from the main waterfalls between April and October
Skradin is the town mentioned previously where you board the boat into the National Park. The town itself is stunning and you should definitely set aside some time to explore it.
There are multi coloured buildings down its cobbled streets, multiple ancient alleyways to explore, a fortress to explore with stunning views across the city, and the best service at a restaurant I have ever experienced!
If you have time after your trip to the park then I highly recommend spending the evening eating and drinking at Konoba Dalmatino. The restaurants service goes above and beyond to the point where they even found headache tablets to my friend Perry! It’s the perfect end to your day in the National Park before you head home.
Krka National Park is a stunning day out in one of Croatia’s best National Parks. The main Waterfalls are the big attraction and you can spend at least a couple of hours exploring them and their surrounding paths.
Outside of the main falls area are some lesser known but equally beautiful attractions such as the waterfalls and caves at Roski slap, as well as the monastery on Visovac Island.
Arrive as early as possible and preferably on a week day to have the vast park pretty much to yourself. And don’t forget tot explore the beautiful town of Skradin after or before your visit!
Written by Michael
There are two types of people in this world; those who have solo travelled and those who have not.
I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing both sides of this. I’ve travelled to destinations with people I knew; three weeks travelling through Thailand and three weeks travelling down the east coast of the USA.
I’ve also travelled solo a fair bit; I went around Europe for a month, spent 5 weeks in SE Asia wandering around Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos and recently returned from a weekend in Vienna where I was on my Larry.
I had a badass time on all these trips. However, I feel my solo travel experiences have been invaluable in many different ways compared to my experiences of traveling with friends.
Allow me to explain….
You’re MORE Sociable.
I’ve found the solo travellers I’ve met can easily spend a day walking round a city with their own company and absolutely love it. However, solo travellers are extremely sociable and by no means introverts. On the contrary, being a lone traveller you have to be quite extroverted if you want to make new friends. As you are on your own you have to go out of your way in order to meet people and make new friends. You actually become a bit crazy – you throw caution to the wind and trust people straight away only knowing their name and what country they’re from.
You become a decision maker.
When you’re on your own there is no one else to make the decisions for you, and when you’re traveling there are a lot of decisions to make! Where to go next? How to get there? Where to stay? How much can I spend? You quickly learn the reasons a decision was a bad one and that delaying a decision can be costly! As a result you tend to make quick decisions that are based on (usually) sound judgement.
Responsibility & Problem Solving.
Travelling alone forces you to take responsibility – if something goes wrong you have no one else to blame but yourself. This can be little things like losing your hostel key, choosing the wrong hostel or missing a bus. However, it can also be the big things that really test you such as missing your flight. Once somethings gone south you then have to sort it out – meaning you become a problem solver. At the time you’re going to hate these situations but they’re going to help you so much in the future and teach you some important life lessons.
You don’t judge a soul.
While travelling alone you talk to all types of people you wouldn’t necessarily talk to if you were travelling with friends. You learn that everyone has a story to tell and the people you might not usually hang around with at home can be your best friends whilst travelling. Some of the least unlikely people can blow your mind.
You learn to like being out of your comfort zone.
I’m a strong believer that you grow as a person the most when you’re out of your comfort zone. Being comfortable is a sure way to stagnate. Solo travel puts you out of your comfort zone in so many ways; you have to introduce yourself to people and instigate social situations, you wander through cities where the signs are in another language, there’s different money, different customs. Throwing yourself headfirst into this is going to teach you so many lessons and help you in your future life when you’re thrown into unfamiliar territory.
You become a story storyteller
The shit you get up to when travelling always makes a good story that people want to listen to. You become a source of interest and intrigue. Trust me, talking about the time you trekked through dense jungle for two days to get to the 3rd largest cave in the world trumps a story of getting chlamydia in Zante every time.
Mad life skills.
To top this all off I’ve found that solo travellers are independent, driven, determined and like to do things their own way even if it’s completely different from the norm. I feel this is so important in today’s world where there is the same standardised life plan for everyone set out by society. The solo travellers I’ve met and stayed in contact with are extremely driven and successful in their lives. Many are perusing their personal goals which include personal fitness, career development or personal development with such grit and determination. All this while still keeping up the wanderlust.
I honestly think travelling alone shapes the type of person you are for the better and prepares you well for what life will throw at you in the future. You encounter so many different situations that will both challenge and thrill you. Don’t listen to the people who say you’ll get bored, won’t meet anyone or get robbed. It’s most likely they haven’t been solo travelling before. If you haven’t solo travelled before I highly encourage you to, you never know what you will get up to and you might be surprised by what you find out about yourself.