©Julian Love/Lonely Planet

Virpazar

This tiny town, gathered around a square and a river blanketed with water lilies, serves as the main gateway to Lake Skadar National Park.

Virpazar (Вирпазар) may be a small speck on the map now, but it was once considered so strategically important that the occupying Turks built a large fortress on the hill looming above the village. After their downfall, Virpazar became an important trading town (pazar means marketplace) with a lively port; in the early 1900s, it was connected to Bar by Montenegro's first narrow-gauge railway. It was also the site of one of the country's first significant uprisings against Axis invaders in WWII. Two reminders of its bloody past still stand in – and over – the town.

If you're interested in sampling local wines, you'll find family-run vineyards and tasting cellars in and around Virpazar.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Virpazar.