In the south-eastern part of Montenegro, on the shore of the Skadar Lake, there is a small settlement of Virpazar. Once it was a large city, standing at the intersection of trade routes. Now it is a small settlement known for its rich history and picturesque views.
Geographical position of Virpazar
Despite the fact that the village belongs to the municipality of the city of Bar, it is radically different from this resort. Unlike other well-known cities in Montenegro, Virpazar is located on the shore of Skadar Lake, on the other side of the mountain range. It is surrounded by the rivers Orahovshtitsa and Tsrmnitsa, so many call it "Montenegrin Venice".
According to the population census conducted in 2003, there are 337 permanent residents in Virpazar. More than 61% of the population falls on Montenegrins, and 31% - on the Serbs.
History and meaning of Virpazar
The settlement called Vir was known as far back as 1242. It was founded on the bank of a river whirlpool, in which locals organized a small market. It was from here that Virpazar got its name: "vir" - river whirlpool, "pazar" - market.
Thanks to its profitable trade and economic position, the city has always exerted a great influence on the economic and political life of the country. At the beginning of the 20th century, a railway was built in Virpazar, and afterwards one of the largest ports of the Skadar Lake.
Attractions and attractions of Virpazar
This Montenegrin city is more suitable for lovers of ecological and cultural recreation. Tourists wishing to get acquainted with the architecture and history of Virpazar should always book an excursion. They include visits to the following attractions:
- historical villages of Godinje, preserved the atmosphere of a traditional medieval settlement;
- Skadar Lake National Park;
- monasteries Morachnik and Starceva Gorica, located right in the middle of the lake;
- Fortresses Besac and Lesendro, built in the XV and XVIII centuries respectively;
- ancient bridges, connecting the different banks of Virpazar;
- Orthodox Church of St. Athanasius, which is located in the neighboring village of Сотоничи.
On the shore of Skadar Lake you can always hire a boat to go for a drive on the lake or go fishing. During the walk you can visit the Albanian part of Shkoder, admire the birds and snakes. The cost of a full tour is about $ 45-50.
Another reason why Virpazar should be included in the tour of Montenegro is the Festival of Wine and Bleaching. It is dedicated to the Montenegrin wine "Vranac" and the fish to the decay, which lives in large numbers in the waters of Skadar Lake.
Shopping in Virpazar
In this small Montenegrin city there are no large supermarkets and shopping centers. But there are small shops where you can buy branded wine, fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as artisan products. Since before Virpazar was a port city and a major trading hub, it often hosts spontaneous markets. Local residents trade directly from cars and break tents along roads.
Transport of Virpazar
The village is located along the road that connects the Adriatic coast with the center of Montenegro. There is also a railway station where the trains of the Bar-Belgrade branch stop. By Virpazar itself you can move around on small buses or taxis. On its shores are moored small tourist boats, on which you can make an excursion along the lake.
Hotels in Virpazar
Unlike the major Montenegrin resorts, in this city there are no fashionable hotels. Instead, they work here as mini-hotels and guest houses. Some are located on the shore of Skadar Lake, others are in close proximity to historical sights. The most famous hotels in Virpazar are:
- Apartments Jovanovic;
- Hotel Pelikan;
- Guesthouse Skadar Lake;
- Country House Djurisic;
- Vir Hotel.
The cost of accommodation in these hotels is $ 17-43. Some of them offer guests free toiletries, air conditioning and Wi-Fi, rooms in other hotels are equipped with a terrace and a kitchenette.
Restaurants in Virpazar
Most of the local restaurants specialize in seafood dishes, but many also serve Mediterranean and European cuisine. Tourists here are invited to try Montenegrin wine "Vranac", which is just made in this region. You can try it and other dishes in one of the following restaurants in Virpazar:
- Konoba Badanj;
- Konoba Basta;
Especially popular among the Montenegrins are "konoby". Each conoba is a small institution, allegedly carved into a rock. This cozy cave contains only 10-12 people. Here you can taste authentic dishes and delicious homemade wine.
How to get to Virpazar?
In order to get to this village from Podgorica or Bara, you will have to travel 24-29 km. To do this, you can use an electric train, the fare at which is about $ 3. Only it should be noted that the railway station is located in the vicinity of Virpazar. Therefore, from it to the center of the village have to go on foot.
Using the bus, you need to warn the driver about the stop, as many of them just pass. For tourists who want to visit Virpazar by car, you need to follow the signs and do not pass a yellow sign installed at the entrance to the village.