Kayaking holiday in Montenegro, Lake Skadar

“A week of kayaking in Skadar NP, based at family home of kayaking instructor and hosts extraordinaire, who know all the best paddling spots and hidden Montengrin marvels.”

Highlights

Lake Skadar National Park | Kayaking on Lake Skadar | Tour of local vineyards | Paddle to ancient island monasteries| Cycling in remote valleys | Waterfall walk in Walnut Valley | Wild swimming | Birding at Manastirska Tapija | Serpentines of Pavlova Strana | Free day to explore the coast

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Check dates

2016: 2 Oct
2017: 23 Apr, 30 Apr, 7 May, 14 May, 4 Jun, 11 Jun, 18 Jun, 25 Jun, 2 Jul, 3 Sep, 10 Sep, 17 Sep, 24 Sep, 1 Oct, 8 Oct
Our top tip:
Montenegrins are extremely welcoming and will often invite you in for coffee or the local alcohol, Rakia. Don’t hesitate!
Trip type:
Small group, max 10 people.
Activity level:
Easy-moderate. Very adaptable.
Accomm:
Renovated traditional farmhouse. Terrace with plunge pool/hottub.
Included:
Self-catering accommodation, one dinner, some lunches, 4 activities, bikes.
Meals:
Plethora of Artisan producers & good local restaurants.
Solos:
Solos welcome. Surcharge for own room.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Kayaking holiday in Montenegro, Lake Skadar

Environment

We want our holidays to be high impact in experience but low impact on the environment! Once you’re at the villa, transport will be mostly on foot, kayak or bike, with car transfers provided to starting points for excursions or restaurants if needed.

Lake Skadar is a National Park and a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance and your visit and National Park fees will help sustain sensitive tourism and protection for this area. As such, our tour guides will encourage you to behave in an eco-friendly manner at all times by supporting the Leave No Trace principles –travelling where possible along marked water channels, disposing of waste properly, leaving what you find (unless it’s other people’s rubbish!), respecting wildlife and being considerate of other visitors and the local community.

All our tours involve visits to USAid-financed tourist information centres dotted about the lake – a project which is locally managed, locally staffed and aims to educate visitors about the lake’s special ecology and cultural traditions. We are also working with German eco-tourism NGO GIZ and the World Bank funded 'Albania and Montenegro Lake Skadar Joint Eco-systems Project' to identify formal ways for our customers to volunteer and directly benefit the environment during their stay.

The accommodation for this holiday, Villa Miela, has been sensitively restored by its British owners, drawing praise from the local community and visitors for conserving historic architectural features such as the solid stone archway in the "konoba" (ground floor), once used for storing wine and smoking hams and carp, or the tiny original windows which help maintain a naturally cool interior. As the first such renovation in the area, it is hoped that the villa will encourage more regeneration along these lines and deter less scrupulous investors from knocking down such buildings and replacing them with cheaper concrete structures.

With metre-thick stone walls, air-conditioning is neither needed, nor provided, and guests are encouraged to use fans only when necessary and to turn off all electric fans/lights on leaving the room

Guests are also asked to keep water use to a minimum, especially important during the dry summer months. The village has no mains water connection and while Villa Miela's water reservoir is fed by mountain-spring during winter, this source dries up in the summer.

Community

We have built strong links with local communities at Lake Skadar and support their maintenance of threatened traditions – from bee-keeping, fishing and carp-smoking to the making of wine, cheese, olive-oil and flavoured brandies. By visiting home-producers and buying their wares, you will build pride, contribute to the local economy and encourage the development of eco-tourism in an area where tourism needs examples of how to develop sustainably. You’ll meet local people like Hassan Muratovic and his wife Nada at remote Murici beach and learn about their ethnic Albanian culture and traditional way of fishing.

English isn’t widely spoken round the lake, but your guides will be able to translate to make each interaction create a valuable cultural exchange between you and your host community. Your visit really counts in a remote, beautiful and unknown Balkan destination which is still suffering from decades of impoverishment caused by urban migration and the 1990s Yugoslavian war.

Reviews of Kayaking holiday in Montenegro, Lake Skadar

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 12 Jul 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The whole week......the superb location, accommodation, flora and birds, our hosts were brilliant, knowledgable, helpful, available, resourceful, adaptable.......and relaxed. It is a beautiful country, people friendly, food fresh, transport cheap, stunning......

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Enjoy the activities and then have a look around the country on your days off.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Absolutely...

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was amazing to be so busy and active and yet be so refreshed,

Reviewed on 08 Oct 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The kayaking was amazing, the lake is so quiet and often ( nearly always) you are the only people out there! The scenery is stunning, it's quite amazing.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take walking boots for the walks, a torch for the evening walks back from the village and just
Enjoy being out of the rat race for a week.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, Boujana, a lovely girl from the village took us out on one of our kayaking trips, we ate at local restaurants
And twice in people's homes (amazing food)

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was a great experience, I would strongly advice people who like a "off the beaten track" kind of holiday to give it a go.
Ben and Emma who run the holidays are very accommodating and will have a memorable time.

Reviewed on 23 Jun 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The whole trip was amazing, stunning scenery and lovely villa. We loved the
hikes, out in the countryside seeing the local landscapes and the amazing
insects. The stops for the wild swims in clear cool streams and sitting under
waterfalls. The kayaking on the lake with the visits to the islands and swimming.
It is a holiday we will never forget.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Go prepared to join in with the activities, they are great.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, Ben and Emma have immersed themselves in the local community, employing local people and the lunch at Tanya's (a local villager, where we stopped off on a hike) was amazing.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


A fantastic week with action packed days.

Reviewed on 28 Jul 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Swimming in mountain pools and lakes, from the breathtakingly cold to the sublimely warm. Kayaking across an almost deserted lake and feeling special and privileged to be able to share in such a spectacular landscape. We were fortunate to have Ben as our guide and host to this little corner of Montenegro, his love and enthusiasm for the area and it's people is obvious and I would challenge anybody not to enjoy all that was on offer.

Just sitting on the balcony and watching the world go by, the sun go down, the fishing boats return, whilst drinking a glass of wine is a glorious way to end each day and is a memory that brings a smile to my face even now.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


JUST DO IT!
If you don't have a car, I personally would recommend staying in the village rather than the villa, which I am sure is lovely, it's just that I like being independent and being able to wander to the restaurants and bakery and little supermarket was a real treat.

If you have a car you could explore more of the area on your free days, but we found the train from the village to be very convenient.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


From taxi drivers, to restaurateurs, to people who have rooms to let and the amazing Tanja who serves the most delicious of local dishes all obviously benefit from the tourists coming into their area, but you also get the feeling that they are proud to share it with you.

It is possible to travel to Montenegro by train as we did. This option is not for the feint hearted as it takes 3 days but it adds to the sense of adventure as well as being a slightly more Eco friendly way of travelling.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


This has been an incredible holiday, we didn't stop saying how wonderful it was all the time we were there. Everything from the scenery, the food the activities, the people, they all joined together to make an unforgettable holiday and one that I want to recommend to all my friends, especially those who said, 'where's Montenegro, what are you going there for?'

Ben and Emma have obviously worked hard at creating tailor made holidays for what can sometimes be disparate groups of people and they have put together walks and activities that will work for different needs and interests and whilst there were times when you may have felt personally challenged, you never for a moment felt pressured into doing things that you weren't comfortable with.

Reviewed on 01 Jun 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The Kayak trips on Lake Skadar blew me away. The relative solitude combined with the impressive landscapes on both the Montenegrin and Albanian sides of the lake made it one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. Our group agreed on taking two kayak trips, and they were both absolutely amazing.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


This holiday can be as active as you make it, but I would suggest taking advantage of the water-based activities. I was particularly lucky to hitch a ride to the coast with a couple staying in the villa on our day off. I found it would have been easier to hire a car, but it's definitely do-able without one.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


On our second kayak day, Ben brought a local guy with us on the trip. Though Ben is extremely knowledgeable of the area and the history of the area, Marco Jr was able to give us a bit more insight on the area because he grew up there. At one point, he even called his grandmother to determine whether a guest's guidebook had the correct name for a small coastal town (it was wrong). Ben
and Emma have set up the business to offer locals a piece of the tourism they bring to the area via the bakery and various restaurants. It seems that the country hasn't quite figured out its an incredible adventure tourism spot, and I think Ben and Emma are helping it greatly in that respect.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


My week spent at Villa Miela was everything promised and more than I could ask for. Ben did a wonderful job introducing me to Montenegrin culture and life, literally upon setting foot in the Land Rover. The kayak tours allowed us to visit the most incredible sites along Lake Skadar with absolutely no other tourists around. The operator has excursions that provide you with access to places and people you would be unable to find and facilitate on your own. The other guests in the Villa were wonderful, up for adventure and incredibly kind and generous. I really couldn't have wished for a better holiday.

Reviewed on 07 Sep 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Ben and Emma are wonderful people and they really have something very special
going on with Villa Miela and the activities they provide. The Lake Skadar region
is unspoilt, undeveloped and teaming with biodiversity. The Montenegran people we met were all very friendly indeed in the most sincere of ways.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared to be hot, wet, tired and very happy!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The activities were all closely associated with the local population. We drank
spring water direct from mother nature, ate local figs, grapes and other produce
and carp and trout from the lake. Ben and Emma hire local people to assist with
the hikes, kayaking and Villa maintenance.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


I rate the holiday very highly indeed. We did a lot in a single week and came
back relaxed and happy. We would definitely come again sometime.

Reviewed on 26 May 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The whole holiday was truly spectacular. From the fantastic villa with its terrace overlooking the valley where you could sit back and enjoy a glass of wine or cool beer whilst taking in the views to the extraordinary kayaking across Lake Skadar. During our stay we did a number of kayaking trips with each one exploring different parts of the lake including tranquil waterways full of water lilies and wildlife to remote islands home to secluded monasteries, each trip was through breathtaking scenery where we were often the only people on the lake. We also took the opportunity to take the mountain bikes out for a ride around the valley floor which was really good fun and also led to other great views of the scenery. Ben and Emma are incredibly passionate and knowledgeable of the local area and Montenegro which really adds to whole experience and they are incredible hosts.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If you get the chance a visit to Cetinje (the old capital city) is well worth the 45 min journey by car. This is a very picturesque town with some quirky architecture and nice little museums that you can while away an afternoon in. There is a well marked walk around the town that should take about 2 hours to do.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Absolutely!! First of all, the villa itself has been lovingly restored in traditional style using local tradesman and has retained a lot of its original features which ensure its environmental impact is significantly reduced. There is a natural spring near to the Villla where you can collect fresh drinking water from to further reduce the impact. Secondly, most of the week was built around paddling, cycling and walking, all of which helped to limit our impact on the beautiful scenery. Finally and most importantly, Ben and Emma have integrated themselves into the local community, speaking the language fluently and helping the locals to develop their understanding of sustainable and limited impact tourism.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was an absolutely awesome holiday and we would have liked more time to see even more of the fantastically stunning scenery, based in a great house with superb hosts! What more can I say, other than wish we were still there!!

Reviewed on 10 Jun 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Cooling off in Lake Skadar while kayaking on a very hot day!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?



3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, I think the locals were benefitting - from the shop and restaurant owners in Virpizar to the rural smallholders in the valleys. At the villa itself, Ben and Emma are keen to promote the wise use of water (fresh water comes from their on-site spring) and we did a bit of inadvertent litter-collection on the lake too (it's hard to paddle past discarded plastic bottles without picking them up!)

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was a lovely trip in a very scenic part of Europe.

Reviewed on 13 Sep 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The most memorable was the great kayaking, birding, and hospitality of our hosts. It was one of the most adventurous holidays we have ever been on. The beauty is astounding, the ability to see nature in a low impact way is amazing as well. My husband couldn't get over the wild figs and produce growing everywhere. It opened our eyes to a whole new world. We really enjoyed it.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


There are several activities to choose from and it's flexible. You can mix and match kayaking, hiking, wine tours, etc. Bring your swimsuit, lots of sunscreen and excitement for adventure. Just do it, no regrets!!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes. The abilty to see Skadar Lake in a low impact way via kayak was simply amazing. You get a whole new perspective of the lake. The owners also encouraged water and electricity conservation as much as possible. A fresh mineral spring is onsite for drinking water and its fabulous. Local fruit, vegetables, wine and spirits are all available to buy as well giving you ability to interact with community and support local economy.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was a grand adventure and would definitely recommend it to anyone interested. We hope to come back and try other activities that we didn't have time to do. Would love to see more birding activities on the agenda next time!

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