This is a unique one week Montenegro bird watching holiday. There’s just one departure for the whole year: 21st May 2016.
This holiday takes place during the ideal time of year for bird watching in Montenegro – when migration meets with breeding season. The holiday is based on Skadar Lake, one of the top 5 sites for migratory birds in Europe.
This is where the rare Dalmatian Pelican makes its home alongside the world’s second largest colony of Pygmy Cormorant. More than 280 bird species call this area of over 400 square kilometres of wetland home. The terrain includes open water, mud flats, rivers, floating vegetation, marshland, rocky shores and forest, providing the ideal habitat for these birds.
Click here to watch a short BBC video about the Dalmatian Pelican on Skadar Lake.
You’ll also visit Biorgradska and Durmitor National Parks, where you’ll be able to view alpine species like Nutcracker and Three-toed Woodpecker in the untouched conifer forests of the parks.
This Montenegro bird watching holiday is hosted by a lovely couple, Ben and Emma (and their three children), who have an undying passion for this region.
They’ve made the lake their home and love to share the best of it with their guests. They take excellent care of all of their guests and give them an experience they’ll never forget.
I have no hesitation in recommending them whole-heartedly!
Your expert guide for the trip is Andrej Vizi. Andrej is one of Montenegro’s leading ornithologists and is the curator of the National History Museum of Montenegro.
He’s also responsible for monitoring winter bird numbers around Montenegro and is the project co-ordinator for bird ringing in Montenegro.
Between Andrej and Ben and Emma you couldn’t be in better hands!
Villa Miela where you’re based on your Montenegro bird watching holiday is in Virpazar – the gateway to Skadar Lake. It’s an old, stone building that’s been lovingly renovated. It’s even rumoured that an Orthodox saint was born there!
The villa’s terrace has stunning views over the lake and there’s a hot-tub for you to relax in at the end of a day’s exploration. There’s also a well-stocked kitchen and a barbecue so you can enjoy your meals al fresco while you drink in the views.
The villa’s orchard is full of organic fig, plum and pomegranate trees.
This is the kind of idyll villa holiday dreams are made of!
It’s also just two minutes from the lake shore, bars, shops and restaurants and 30 minutes from the coast.
The villa can sleep up to 10 people:
Each room has an ensuite bathroom.
You can read Trip Advisor reviews of Villa Miela here.
Arrival in Podgorica and transfer to Villa Miela in Virpazar, Skadar Lake National Park. Group welcome dinner.
Take a boat cruise in a traditional wooden motor boat on Skadar Lake. The trip takes you across the calm waters to the north eastern shore, which is the breeding ground of the Dalmatian Pelican. This bird is an endangered species and the world’s largest water bird.
On the way, you’ll stop to see the Pygmy and Great Cormorants roosting areas. You can also expect to see Glossy Ibis, Squacco Herons, Whiskered Terns, Ferruginous Ducks, Short-toed Eagles and Scops Owls.
A packed brunch is included.
Take a scenic drive around Skadar Lake’s southern shores. On the way you’ll look for birds which like the rocky crags and Mediterranean shrubs here: Blue Rock Thrush, Black-eared Wheatear, Eastern Orphean, Cirl Bunting and Subalpine Warbler.
Then it’s a 30 minute drive to Cijevna Canyon, a beautiful karst river and an Important Bird Area. Lunch is at a restaurant next to the gushing waterfalls before you explore this beautiful area further.
Today takes you down to the Ulcinj saltpans and the Bojana Delta, Montenegro’s top site for waders. The saltpans are a protected area of shallow pans with no vegetation. 241 species of water bird have been recorded here including Black-winged Stilts, Kentish Plovers, Collared Pratincoles and Greater Flamingos.
This site is another Important Bird Area and is one of Europe’s most important winter migration sites as it lies on the Southeast Europe flyway.
After visiting the saltpans, you’ll enjoy lunch at a fish restaurant on the banks of the Bojana River, where you’ll spend some more time spotting birds.
A free day for you to enjoy Villa Miela’s hot tub, orchard or head out wherever
you choose. If you feel like exploring, I would recommend heading down to
Montenegro’s coastal towns of Budva and Kotor.
Today you leave Virpazar and head north into the mountains. You’ll stop in Biogradska Gora National Park for a walk in one of Europe’s last primeval forests.
This is home to various species like the Imperial Eagle, Yellow and Blue Tits and the Crested Tit. This is where you’ll have lunch and get to try some delicious Montenegrin mountain food.
From here you’ll head on towards Durmitor National Park, passing the second deepest canyon in the world – the Tara Canyon. This route leads you over the Djurdjevica Bridge, which gives you stunning views of the canyon.
Your accommodation for the night is a nice hotel with forest and mountain views on the edge of the town of Zabljak. Dinner is included.
Spend the morning exploring Durmitor’s UNESCO protected forests. 163 bird species have been recorded here including Goshawks, Common Crossbills, Nutcrackers, Three-toed Woodpeckers and Black Woodpeckers.
In the afternoon you head back to Virpazar via Skakavac waterfall. Overnight in Villa Miela.
Departure. Check out is at 10am.
The holiday comes with the five tours above. These extra tours are also available on your free day.
A great and effortless way to get out on the lake and up close with the wildlife. The lake is a haven for bird species in Europe.
Read more about cruising Skadar Lake here.
4 people: £15 per person
5-10 people: £10 per person
£40-60 per person depending on the tour
There’s a minimum of 6 people required for this tour.
£450 for a 4 hour cruise
This is for a max of 6 people and includes transport.
Try Lovcen's rope swing course. There are courses for all levels for ages 5 and up.
Read more about the Adventure Park here.
£30 per person
This includes transport and lunch.
1-4 people: £150 per person
5-6 people: £130 per person
7-8 people: £110 per person
This includes transport, English-speaking guide, one night in Durmitor National Park, 1 dinner, 1 breakfast and 1 lunch.
Read my review here.
This is Montenegro's most thrilling adventure tour through some of Montenegro's untouched scenery.
£60-80 per person depending on the tour
There a minimum of 6 people required for this tour.
This Montenegro bird watching holiday includes:
The price of the Montenegro bird watching holiday is £790 per person. There is a single's supplement of £200 for single travellers wishing to have their own room.
These holidays are payable in GBP so I’ve listed all prices in Pounds rather than Euros to allow for exchange rate fluctuations.
Spaces are limited to 8, so book early to avoid disappointment.
If you have any questions about the Montenegro bird watching holiday or would like to make a booking, you can do so by filling in the enquiry form below. You’ll be answered within 24 hours.
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