7 Day Cross-Border Kayaking: Montenegro to Albania
“A bipartite paradise where wilderness still reigns and utter peace prevails…with a mix of wild camping, homestays and waterfront cabins, it’s the kick out of my urban cocoon that I have long craved..Undiscovered Balkans is the only adventure company in Montenegro to be doing a cross-border kayaking trip.” Catherine Mack, August 2023, for The Guardian
2024 departure dates: 2nd June, 9th September (Saturday-Saturday)
Embark on a unique week-long kayaking and camping adventure, journeying from Montenegro to Albania and crossing a water border closed for 35 years, with special dispensation. Starting out from a 500m long freshwater beach, we pass remote island monasteries, shoreline mosques, islets of birds and isolated fishing villages, to reach historic Shkodra, with its Rozafa castle and on to the Adriatic Sea. 65km of breathtaking, wild scenery, uniting two countries and one amazing lake!
Please note that prior paddling experience is essential! Minimum age 14. Click here to read more about our activity levels.
Book to Give Back – every booking sparks a donation to our chosen local environmental and community causes!
Equipment: We supply all boats (rigid expedition kayaks, replacing the Z-Pro Tango inflatables pictured), tents, and safety and cooking equipment, but you will need to bring your own sleeping bag. Day-to-day camp and meals are set up in advance of your arrival by a dedicated support crew!
Your Country Experts
Gigo is one of Montenegro’s most experienced & talented kayakers. When not organising the annual KayakFest on the Tara River, he takes guests paddling where no others have paddled before! Gigo is a fully qualified ECU guide and speaks fluent English + Montenegrin/Serbian.
Want to see more? Watch our video!
Day 1 – Arrival
Our week of adventures begins with arrival and orientation in Virpazar, a fishing village which is the main settlement on the Montenegrin side of Lake Skadar. Arriving at our local homestay in time for a group dinner, we have time for everyone to get to know each other a bit better, and also get our supplies and gear packed and ready for our expedition to begin the next day!
Day 2 – Murići to Bobovište
After breakfast, we transfer to Murići, the starting point of our cross-border odyssey. It’s a 1-hour scenic drive away, on the southern shores of the lake, offering panoramic views of the islet-studded shoreline. Launching our boats from this stunning freshwater beach, fringed with pine and olive trees we stop to visit the friendly and hugely welcoming nuns residing at the 15th-century island monastery of Beška. A tour and glass of homemade pomegranate juice with the sisters will refresh us physically and spiritually before we set off again. Weaving in and out of tiny islets, we lunch at a solitary fisherman’s shack on the shoreline before we paddle further south to the village of Bobovište, the penultimate settlement on the Montenegrin side of this fabulous lake. We can make a relaxed camp here, swim and chill, with amazing views of the stars as there won’t be any other lights for miles around!
Paddling distance: 8km.
Day 3 – Bobovište to Ckla
Waking up to the peaceful sounds of nature, we breakfast, pack up camp and continue our trip further south to the small village Ckla, the last settlement on the Montenegrin side of Skadar Lake. Beautiful open water and lots of places for swimming and jumping on our way to Albania will make for an incredible day, with stunning views of the Prokletije mountain range – the famous “Accursed” mountains of Albania – on our left the entire way.
Paddling distance: 9km.
Day 4 – Ckla to Shkodra
Today is the day we make the most unforgettable of border crossings, travelling into Albania from Montenegro by kayak! After breakfast and a brief chat with the police to get our border transit documents stamped, we are ready to paddle the last part of Skadar Lake before it turns into the Bojana/Buna river. We officially enter the territory of Albania after just 3km, passing the beautiful village of Zogaj on our way to Shkodra. Just before we enter the historic city, we will stop at the well-known fisherman’s village of Shiroka, famous to Albanians for its amazing fish restaurants. We’ll enjoy a meal here, before visiting the ancient fortress of Razafa in time to catch a beautiful sunset.
Paddling distance: 10km.
Day 5 – Shkodra to Sv. Đorđe
The Bojana/Buna river is one of the few untouched natural jewels of Europe. Today we follow it from its source near Shkoder, to paddle the 21km stretch to the village of Sv. Đorđe – the halfway point before this majestic river meets the Adriatic Sea. Bojana/Buna is considered a miracle of nature for a rare phenomenon – it flows both upstream and downstream due to the rush of seawater at its deeper levels competing with the river’s flow to the sea. It produces a hugely diverse ecosystem!
Paddling distance: 21 km.
Day 6 – Sv. Đorđe to the Adriatic Sea
Experience the highlight of your holiday on this last paddling day as we make our way to the mouth of the river Bojana, where it meets the Adriatic Sea. Kayaking from lake to river to sea is what sets this trip apart. The final 60m stretch of the Bojana is pristine, and we’ll paddle along the Montenegro-Albania border until the last 3km before the sea. It’s bittersweet as this stunning finale was the trip’s ultimate goal, but it also means our kayaking adventure is coming to an end. Our destination is Ada Bojana and Velika Plaža, Montenegro’s longest sandy beach, where we can swim and relax in the Adriatic sea. We’ll enjoy dinner and sunset at one of the stunning beachfront restaurants, or for those feeling adventurous, arrange a horse ride on the beach.
Paddling distance: 20km.
Day 7 – Return and Rest!
We enjoy the last breakfast of the trip and take one more opportunity to swim in the sea before our transfer back to Virpazar (1.5 hours). The rest of the day is free for everyone, before a last group dinner together.
Day 8 – Departure
Transfer to Podgorica Airport. Other destinations incur an extra transfer charge. Or you can join another of our group adventures in Montenegro, Albania, or nearby Kosovo!
MNE-ALB Kayaking 7 days
The price includes 3 nights of camping and 4 nights in small local guesthouses/apartments, transfers from/to Podgorica, all meals and some snacks, 5 days of guided point-to-point kayaking, equipment, National Park & border-crossing fees. Additionally, a ‘Book to Give Back’ donation to conservation projects in Montenegro & Albania is included.
Your first and last nights are spent at comfortable 3-star apartments in Virpazar, owned and run by a local family. Three of the five kayaking nights are spent under canvas, in 1-2 person tents that we provide. You will also stay in a cosy house in Shkoder, as well as a wooden cabin at Ada Bojana on Night 6.
Please note, whilst we supply all camping equipment, you will require your own sleeping bag.
GREEN HILLS CHALETS
PORTO ADA BOJANA