Shurdhah Island is an island on Lake Vau-Dejes, which is fed and drained by the river Drin, in Northeastern Albania, in Shkodra District. It is the largest island in the reservoir. From the most northern tip of the island to the most southern tip of it, it has an estimated length of 390 m (1,280 ft). It is mainly covered by trees. It is accessible by tourist boat in summer from the Vau i Dejës dam or Rragam.
Before 1973, when the dam was completed, the island was a hill on the left bank of the river Drin. It contains the ruins of the medieval town of Sarda. The town was strategically located on the old road from Shkodër to Gjakova. Sarda was founded in the 6th-8th century BC, and foundations of a Roman fort have been discovered here. The earliest remains date from the 6th-8th century AD. It gained its highest importance in the 12th century, when it was the seat of the bishop of Sapa and Sarda. It was ravaged by the Ottomans in 1491. Now you can visit the ruins of the 11th-century medieval castle, which includes two rings of defensive walls and towers (some submerged in the lake), the remains of a Byzantine church and other early medieval walls. The setting on the steep rocks rising from the lake is especially impressive.
The Island can be reached from the town or Rragam or the Vau Dejes dam. Both starting points can be reached by taking a mini bus from Shkoder. The buses leave about 2½ blocks south from Teatri Migjeni at the intersection of Rruga Skenderbeg and Rruga Marin Barleti. They usually run from dawn to dusk. At either Rragam or Vau Dejes youu will need to hire a boat to take you to the island. Shoqata Sarda [formerly dead link] offers travel from Shkoder to the island and back for 700 leke or €10. There are individual transportation operators with 12 person boats and a 3000 leke minimum. When the number of people passes 6 people, they pay no less than 500 lek per person. This travel is without time limit. There are other boats that offer travel for 1500 leke plus gas without a time or person limit.
- Vau Dejes Hydro-electric Dam. A massive dam built on the Drin river by the Chinese. Construction was started in 1968 and finished in 1973.
- Shurdhah Church. A medieval church that had 365 altars, one for every day of the year. Today you can see the ruins of the church and the castle that surrounded it.
- Lisna. A fertile region on the lake near the island of Shurdhah. It is possible to see Lisna as you travel from Rragam to the Island of Shurdhah.
- Cave of Doves (Shpella e Pellumbeve). The Cave of Doves is just north of island before you get to the Koman dam. It is a large cave on the river.
- Lake Koman Ferry. The ferry leaves from the Koman dam for Fierze every morning during the summer and less frequently during the winter. It is the fastest way to travel to Bajram Curri and Kosovo from Shkoder.
Shurdhah Island is a wonderful place to take a picnic. The island is not developed but there are a few nice restaurants located on the lake near Vau Dejes.
It may be possible to camp on the island but there are not any accommodations on the island. Hotels are available in Shkoder and Vau Dejes.
After you are done visiting the island, it is possible to continue on to Koman to catch a ferry north for Bajram Curri or Kosovo. The other option is to return to Shkoder.