Albania has several lakes of significant size. Interestingly, the three main ones form part of the borders with several of its neighbours. On the one hand, Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa border the Republic of North Macedonia (Prespa also borders Greece ), while Lake Shkodra borders with Montenegro
The Prespa and Ohrid lakes were formed several million years ago, so they have allowed some indigenous fish species to develop, such as the Koran and the belushka.
The Lake Ohrid is located in southeastern Albania and is the deepest lake in the Balkans, with a maximum depth of almost 300 metres. A UNESCO World Heritage Site for its natural and historical ensemble, there are human traces of settlements from the Palaeolithic, Greek, Roman, Serbian, and Ottoman periods. Lake Ohrid is home to a wide variety of aquatic species, including birds and fish. The town of Pogradec was built on the southwestern shore of Lake Ohrid, in the Albanian part of the lake. Along the shore there are several resorts such as Lini, Pojska, Pogradec, Drilon and Tushemisht, where many hotels and guesthouses offer accommodation for a sensational holiday.
Prespa Lake consists of two areas, known as Big Prespa and Little Prespa. It is the highest tectonic lake in the Balkans with an altitude of 853 m. and an area of 285 km2, of which 38.8 km2 belong to Albania. In the interior of the lake there is a small island of Maligrad, and it is common to see white pelicans.
Maligrad Island in Prespa Lake in Albania.
In the north of Albania, bordering Montenegro is Lake Shkodra (Skadar for Montenegrins). It is the largest lake in the Balkans, with a surface area of 370 km². Thousands of cormorants spend the winter in this lake every year. It is relatively shallow and is fed by many different rivers and springs, which support various species of carp and trout. The main tourist centres are Shiroka and Zogaj, where there are numerous hotels and restaurants.
Those who are willing to explore more of Albania can see the artificial lakes formed by the Drin waterfall (Lake Vau i Dejës, Lake Komani and Lake Fierza), the artificial lakes of Shkopeti and Ulza, the small glacial lakes of Lura, Balgjait, Dobërdol, Sylbice, Rajca and many more like Lake Bovilla.
What to do in Albania’s lakes? – Activities
The Albanian lakes offer a wide range of activities, from water sports, trekking, bird watching and swimming where permitted. One of the most impressive activities is the ferry from Komani to Fierze, crossing the canyon.