Virpazar is a settlement of around 300 inhabitants on the shores of Lake Skadar in southern Montenegro. It is right at the border with Albania. As a matter of fact, it lies a bit inland from the usual shores of the lake, being separated from by wetlands. The settlement lies where the rivers Orahovštica and Crmnica join to create the Virštica River that flows into Lake Skadar, a cross-border lake between Montenegro and Albania. The lake also goes by the names Scutari, Shkodër, and Shkodra. Virpazar is the gateway to the Montenegrin side of the lake, with most of the lake on this side of the border being part of the Lake Skadar National Park.
Our Visit to Virpazar
We visited Virpazar during a day trip from Podgorica in 2018. It was one of several stops that also included Budva and Cetinje.
A Short History
Virpazar was earlier known as Vir and the first known written mention of the settlement dates back to the 13th century. The Besac Castle was built here in the 15th century and the settlement has played an important role as a local trading center for centuries. The settlement got its first road connection with the nearby town of Bar in the second half of the 19th century. That was followed by a railway in 1908.
Things to Do and See
Virpazar is the gateway to Lake Skadar National Park, a park that was established in 1983 and covers the Montenegrin part of Lake Skadar. It is a famous bird-watching area and has some amazing scenery to offer. Virpazar is a bit upstream from the lake. This little scenic settlement with old stone bridges does, however, have a port with access to the lake. Above the settlement is the remains of the former Besac Castle. The historical castle has both history and offers an impressive view. In addition, there are plenty of viewpoints along the nearby roads. Many of these offer impressive views of the lake.
How to Get to Virpazar
- Flights: The closest airport is Podgorica Airport (TGD), which is to the northeast along Road E80.
- Car: Virpazar lies along the road E80 between Podgorica and the Mediterranean Coast.