Let me tell you about the three most famous lakes in Albania. You will learn everything that travelers need to know. And most importantly, you will decide whether to include them in your travel itinerary or pass them by. The article will provide advice, descriptions, and ideas for your independent journey through Albania.
Lakes in Albania: General Facts
There won’t be too much information here, but the most important things you need to know are:
- Albania is a mountainous country, not a lake country. The Alps and the Balkan Mountains cover 71% of its territory. It’s all about the mountains in Albania.
- As a result, there are hardly any large lakes in the country. All the lakes in Albania are local, small bodies of water that don’t hold much interest for tourists.
- Additionally, the country has two seas. For everything about the seas in Albania, beaches, and many tips, read the article: Which Sea in Albania.
Useful to know:Due to the reasons mentioned above, the lakes of Albania are not particularly interesting to tourists. However, there are three lakes in the country that I will write about later. I’m sure one of them will definitely catch your interest. Just take a look at the photos below.
Next, I’ll delve into each lake in more detail, starting from the least interesting for travelers to the most amazing.
Lakes of Albania: Lake Skadar
Lake Skadar is not only the largest lake in Albania but also in the entire Balkans. It measures 42 km by 25 km and is located in the north of Albania, on the border with Montenegro. If you look at the map, about 60% of the lake belongs to Montenegro, and the remaining 40% to Albania.
The nearest major city to the lake is Shkodër. Check out the article on what to see in Shkodër. I’ll tell you right away, Lake Skadar is not interesting to tourists for several reasons:
- If you look at the map, it seems like Shkodër is located on the shores of Lake Skadar. But that’s not the case. There is no access to the lake, no beaches, and no other infrastructure.
- You can catch a glimpse of the lake from several villages in the vicinity. But to be honest, there’s nothing particularly special about it. It’s better to drive 15 km from Shkodër to the sea, to Velipoja Beach.
- The best view of Lake Skadar is from the top of Rozafa Castle, located on the outskirts of the city. You can find information about it in the link provided above. The views of the lake from the castle’s walls are like this.
In summary: If you’re driving from Montenegro by car, Lake Skadar will be almost on your way. The best place to get acquainted with the lake is the village of Shiroka. The road runs along the lake, and there are several family-owned fish restaurants where locals from Shkodër come for dinner. If you have time, it’s an excellent plan for the evening. For everyone else, spending precious time on this lake during your travels doesn’t make much sense.
The second largest lake in Albania is located far from the sea, far from the main tourist routes. However, it is much more interesting and appealing to tourism.
Here are some facts about Ohrid:
- It is located on the border with Macedonia in the mountainous part of Albania.
- The lake measures 30 km by 15 km.
- Its elevation above sea level is almost 700 meters!
- If Lake Skadar is the largest in the entire Balkans, then Lake Ohrid:
- is the oldest lake in the Balkans
- and the deepest, almost 300 meters. The average depth of the entire lake is an impressive 160 meters.
Lake Ohrid is incredibly beautiful and surrounded by mountains on almost all sides. From the promenade in the town of Pogradec, you can enjoy views of neighboring Macedonia.
- The city of Pogradec (overview in the link) is located right on the lake.
- There is a fantastic beach, a long promenade, and a large number of accommodations with great views along the waterfront.
- In summer, it becomes a full-fledged tourist center.
- Pogradec is very convenient for those traveling to or from Macedonia.
- The lake offers children’s slides, catamarans, boat rides, and fishing.
Disadvantages for tourists in Ohrid are only two:
- It is very far from the coast, in the opposite part of Albania. And far from the country’s main attractions.
- The main drawback is its altitude. Pogradec is situated at an elevation of 700 meters, and it is always 5-10 degrees cooler than the coastal areas. Snowfall is quite rare for the rest of Albania but occurs here in winter.
Useful to know:In general, this place is suitable for a peaceful retreat. Tourists who have already traveled around Albania for 3-4 weeks and have seen most of the country come here.
Lake Komani or Koman
This lake will truly amaze you, and who knows, maybe you’ll change your plans just to see it.
Lake Koman, in the original Komani, is located in northern Albania, in the foothills of the Albanian Alps. There is no infrastructure, no roads. The small towns along the shore are so inaccessible that getting here is only possible by water. Yet, it is the most popular lake among tourists in Albania, and here’s why:
- Lake Komani is a rocky lake that formed from a river in the very old canyon of the Albanian Alps.
- Its width in the widest part is no more than 1 km, and for the most part, it’s only a few hundred meters wide.
- But the length of the lake is over 50 km!
- A ferry operates along the entire length of the lake, making stops at the most remote villages
- For the local residents, this is a lifeline
- And for tourists, it’s the most thrilling experience because the views of the sheer cliffs from the ferry are impressive.
- Read all about Albanian ferries to Italy and Greece here.
- And about the ferry across Lake Komani, the schedule, prices, and tips, read the article: the ultimate route through the Accursed Mountains.
Travel Idea:There are two main travel routes for Lake Komani: taking the ferry for one day, sailing the entire lake and returning. It’s cool, but there’s an even cooler option. Most people choose a crazy circular route through the Accursed Mountains: Shkodër – Lake Komani – Valbona Valley – mountain hiking through the pass – the village of Theth with a waterfall and the Blue Eye – Shkodër. You can find the link to the article about this route above.
- A comprehensive article with road trip ideas in Albania.
In conclusion: Albania boasts around forty lakes, but only two hold real interest for travelers: Lake Ohrid in the east of the country and the incredibly beautiful rocky Lake Komani in the north.
Albania is not just about the sea and mountains!
Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Albania
- Flights at the best prices with juicy discounts
- Car rental in Albania (cheaper – only by bus):
- Hotels and apartments throughout the country: Booking
- Tours, excursions and activities (including extreme ones):
- Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
- eSIM virtual sim card in Albania
- Taxi and transfers: Intui.Travel