The Šar Mountains are a mountain range in southwestern Kosovo along the border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. About 85 kilometers in length, they feature over 100 peaks of over 2,000 metres and some 30 peaks higher than 2,500 meters. The Kosovo part of the range is dominated by Bistre, a peak that towers 2,651 meters above sea level.
Many alpine and glacial mountain lakes are found on the Kosovo side of the Šar Mountains, especially south of the village of Dragaš, the Šutman area and the region north of Vraca. Foremost among them are the Big and Small Jazinačko Lakes, Štrbačko Lake, Black Vir Lake, Donji Vir Lake, Blateško Lake, Upper Defsko Lake and Dinivodno Lake.
These mountains are home to almost 2,000 plant species, including blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. They are also one of Europe's main sources of endemic alpine species. Even the vegetation is unusually diverse, featuring species from submediterranean to subarctic in origin.
The animal population is no less varied: bears, wolves, badgers, deer, foxes. Overall, about half of the animal species in the Balkans can be encountered in the Šar Mountains.
The western part of the Šar Mountains, especially that in Dragaš municipality which borders Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, offers excellent conditions for livestock raising and rural tourism.
The mountain range is peppered with old cabins once used by herders of sheep and other farm animals. Yet as modernity crept into the backwaters of the region, the number of people ready to take up the profession dwindled. In and around the villages of Restelice and Brod not far from Dragaš, where mountain grass grows in abundance, there are now about 5,000 privately-owned sheep. This is a far cry from the approximately 100,000 of several decades ago. The farm of Abedin Čaja in Brod once was home to 27,000 sheep, although even today it produces a well-known cheese that remains in high demand. The Šar Mountains also created the Šarplaninac, a breed of sheepdog that features on the coat of arms of Dragaš municipality.