• Vanesa Ruiz Casuso

From Rvaši Cottage to Karuč by walk; on a wonderful winter day...

I have been absent for quite little while now; Our cottage went into full renovation and we are quite busy living the “homeless life”, farming & getting our vineyard ready for the blooming season. I will show progress on renovations pretty pretty soon:)

In the meantime, as the days were getting longer and temperatures slowly rising, I decided to take a full day break and explore the surroundings. So, I went to visit the beautiful Skadar Lake by walk.

Currently, Skadar Lake is a National Park, home of migrant birds and water lilies. The size of the lake changes from winter to summer, and it varies from 530 to 370 km2. It is 44 km long and 14 km wide. It is awesome place for bird watching. The Dalmatian Pelican is somehow the symbol of the Lake; it is unique to the place and rare to watch in other places. In the Southern part of the Lake, closed to Ada Bojana, the pink flamingos get together next to the salina. Pygmy cormorants, glossy ibis, herons, grebes, egrets, terns, wild ducks, geese and many more make Skadar Lake a paradise in Earth.

Culturally, Skadar Lake has also been a confluence of different civilizations which have left a strong impact on its rich cultural and historical heritage. Nevertheless, currently is a natural border between Albania & Montenegro, but once both countries were part of the same Empire. Many old monasteries & fortresses can be seen all around the lake.

There are quaint villages all around worth to visit as Virpazar and Rijeka Crnojevića; also, extraordinary beaches as Murići and Prelavka Island. The closest village to Rvaši Cottage is Karuć.

Karuć is currently a pleasant tiny town with a beautiful view of Skadar Lake. According to my friend Vuko Strugar, author of the blog rvasi.me, Petar I Petrović-Njegoš, first ruler of Montenegro liked to spend winters in the village due to its mild climate, compared with the cold winter nights of Cetinje. Ruins of the Tower of Petar I are still in Karuć but unfortunately the Tower lost the roof during the Second World War and it hasn’t been renovated yet.

Petar I used to spend Christmas in Karuć and he chose vines over Christmas trees (oaks) to celebrate the festivities. It was due to the climate conditions of the site, more favourable to vines rather than oaks. Who knows if that is also one of the reasons that made this region home of several vineyards and a strong winemaking tradition.

When visiting Karuć, some villagers told me that most of the houses in the village were once boathouses or summerhouses for the inhabitants of Rvaši. Nowadays, some of these beautiful houses are unfortunately in ruins as it seems very difficult to get renovated due to heritage issues. However, Karuć has not lost its magic and it is a beautiful village next to the Lake, perfect for bird watching, good food, sunbathing and swim.

For the first time since we moved to Rvaši in January, I tried a round hiking trail from our Cottage to Karuć coming back via Drušići. The trail is around 1 hour 45 minutes (with non-stop breaks) but obviously the best way to enjoy the stunning scenery is spending the day, stop for a coffee at Braco's Tavern, then take a snack or lunch at one of the nice restaurants in Karuć, take a swim or/and a boat to visit the Lake, and hit the road through the stone path uphill to Drušići, coming back to Rvaši Cottage. I did the trail in late winter but I guess the best season must be spring or fall, so I am just looking forward to try it again.

The first part of the trail, from Rvaši Cottage to Karuć is also a road for cars. Until Braco's Tavern the road is quite nice as the path is surrounded by nice trees, bushes and flowers, and the haunting Rvaši & Mala Crkva, and the tombstone of Ken Stankov Jankovic. Once you pass Braco's Tavern, the road gets wide and there is barely any shadow so I think this road would be much better to do it by bicycle. It is an alternatively route! Instead to come back from Drušići, to come back from Karuć through Rvaši and make the trip by bicycle. That would be also faster (15/10 minutes) and more appropriate for the warm temperatures of Summer. I will post further info once I try it....

The way back by walk via Drušići is instead stunning as most of the path is made of stones and just for hiking, the path is marked with a round circle in red and white and in very good conditions most of the way. There is just a short part crossing by the road for cars, just between the intersection Drušići/ / Rijeka Crnojevic and Rvaši.

Down here, there is the map with the hiking trail and some photos I took along the way. I hope you enjoy. Please, any suggestions and comments are welcome specially if you know the place or/and you have also tried this hiking trail :)

From Rvaši Cottage to Karuç hiking trail
Starting road on the way to Rvaši & Mala Crkva
Rvaši Crkva & tombstone of Ken Stankov Jankovic
Wisdom tree. Turn on your right!
Kafana Braca Petrova, Tavern of Rvaši
The Road to Karuč
Serpentine Road down to Karuč
View of Karuč from top of the hill with the Tower of Peter I Petrović Njegoš on the left
Karuč Gate
Piazza Rosso in Karuč
Boat in Skadar Lake
Drago's Tavern in Karuč
Boats in Karuč
View of Skadar Lake
Wooden Bridge in Karuč
Start point of hiking trail to Drušići
Cozy tiny beach on the lake
Up hill towards Drušići
Hiking traill red & white circle marks
Leaving Karuč on the back to start the uphill
View of Skadar Lake from uphill
Just me taking a break on the way
Hiking path to Drušići with the red marks on the stone
End of stone path (marked with letter C in the map)
Shortcut road from Drušići to Karuč
Intersection Road Drušići/ Rijeka Crnojevic/ Rvasi
Intersection Road Drušići/ Rvaši
Stone path to Rvaši Cottage from Drušići
Rvaši Cottage

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