Situated in eastern Montenegro on the Albanian border, is the Balkan Peninsula’s largest lake, Skadar. Covering 400 square kilometers, Lake Skadar is a cornucopian fishery, not only for locals who ply its waters in search of carp, trout and eel, but also for hundreds of species of birds that migrate annually to its protected shoreline. During migration season, Skadar plays host to one of the largest groups of birds in Europe. Waders, skimmers, gulls and numerous other species flock to the lake for its clean water and abundant aquatic life, and for the biodiversity found in the surrounding marshland ecosystem.
The lake’s hinterlands are equally plenteous, with vineyards and farms dotting the surrounding hillsides. Montenegrins living around the lake share cultural similarities with their nearby Albanian neighbors, and road signs in the region are often written in the languages of both countries. In general, there seems to be slower pace of life for those who make their homes around Skadar rather than in one of Montenegro’s city centers. Residents here work the land and waterways arduously for a living, but they don’t toil ceaselessly. Instead, they take time to savor the fruits of their labor, reveling in the natural beauty surrounding them and enjoying the rich bounty that the lake and countryside have to offer.
Lake Skadar stretches out toward Albania on the horizon as seen from Besac Castle in Virpazar.
A farmer in a field near Koštanjica hauls a load of hay to feed his livestock.
A ridgeline separating Lake Skadar from the Adriatic Coast also denotes the land border between Montenegro and Albania in the distance on the right.
A man sells homemade Rakija and red wine made with Montenegro’s national grape, Vranac, from a stand outside his roadside vineyard in Gornja Seoca.
Vranac grapes grow at a small vineyard that overlooks the mountains in Gornja Seoca.
A brightly painted boat lilts on the waterway flowing through Virpazar as the late afternoon sun drops behind the hills surrounding the small town on Lake Skadar’s western shore.
The verdant shoreline near Rijeka Crnojevića is one of the most picturesque areas around Lake Skadar.
A woman carries cut tree branches along the road near Gornja Briska.
Check out all the high-resolution photos from my trip to Montenegro in my album on Flickr.