The Komani Lake (Komani Lake in English) is one of the best known and most amazing natural areas in Albania . Humans participated by creating a dam to store the water of the Drina River that flows from the inland karst mountains to the sea. In this way the river could be made navigable upstream to reach the village of Fierzë in the Albanian Dinaric Alps by ferry.
For many travellers, the boat trip is one of the most impressive ferry routes, similar to those along the Norwegian fjords. The panoramic views of the mountain gorges leave passengers in awe, as they feel as if they are cramped in the grandeur of the Prokletije Mountains .
The lake was built between 1979 and 1988, the culmination of a mega-engineering project for hydroelectric power. Two huge dams close the gorge, “enclosing” the riverbed. As a result, an area of the valley floor was flooded. The huge lake behind it holds back some 320 million cubic metres of water, and extends 30 km eastwards to the town of Fierza, the location of a second dam which in turn forms another artificial lake reaching as far as Kukes near the Kosovo border.
Over time, the boat trip became one of the most frequent tourist experiences for both Albanians themselves and travellers.
What to do in Komani
The main activity on Lake Koman is to take the ferry to Fierzë . From here you start the trekking adventure to Theth , the village in the Valbona Nature Park.But if the plan is not to do this hiking route, we can return by ferry to Koman. This river cruise is becoming one of the best in Europe, thanks to its mountainous scenery.
Boats on Lake Komani
The Valbona Valley, in the heart of the Albanian Alps, is a two-hour drive from the Fierzë ferry terminal, so if you have brought your car with you, you can continue on to the mountains.
Ferry from Koman to Fierzë
The Koman ferry service (Albanian: Trageti i Komanit) is operated by several local companies covering the same route between Koman (near the hydroelectric power station) and Fierzë where there is also another hydroelectric power station. There are different timetables depending on whether it is high season or winter period, but there is a daily service covering ferry travel between the two ends of the lake, including passenger and car traffic (the car ferry operates only between April and October). In fact, the ferries are actually car ferries, which are gradually being converted for tourist use.
The boat trip takes between 2.5 and 3 hours, covering the 34 km between the two ends of Lake Koman. The large car ferries also have indoor seating and a deck to enjoy the views of the lake and mountains. They also sell food and drinks for consumption during the trip.
During the trip the ferry stops at small piers where locals get off to transport their purchases on donkeys. Depending on the company, there are different schedules throughout the day, from morning to midday and evening, from both ends of the lake. The morning ferries are more crowded than the afternoon ones. On the other hand, if you plan to make the trip with a car, pre-book the ferry ride.
The names of the companies offering the ferry service are: Berisha, Rozafa, Alpin, Dragobia. Some are more familiar and some are more exclusive.
How to get to Koman Lake
It is just over 55 kilometres from Shkodër to Koman, but the drive takes an hour and a half. From there we can enjoy the stunning nature of the lake, or venture northeast on the ferry to Fierze.
By public transport we can opt for the minivans that usually depart from Shkodër, near the Rozafa Hotel at Democracy Square (Sheshi Demokracia).
If you opt for a rental car or campervan to get there, you can leave your car in the car park before the tunnel, but be aware that in high season it fills up easily.
Another option for the lake boat itinerary is to reach Fierze from Kosovo. Take direction Bajram Curri and then take a taxi to the ferry terminal in Fierze. From Prizren in Kosovo there are daily minibuses across the border to Bajram Curri.
Accommodation in Koman
There are not many sleeping options near Koman. There is only one hotel, one campsite (the Koman Natura Hotel & Camping), and a few guesthouses.
Excursions and tours to Komani Lake
Normally day trips to the lake depart from Shkodër, but if you are also interested in a customised multi-day tour of Albania, you can write to us to get in touch with English-speaking agencies.
On the private lake tours there are stops along the way to enjoy the lake at leisure and try a local lunch of fresh fish. The tours are in smaller boats, and include a ride to a lookout point, kayaking and lunch.