On the border between North Macedonia and Albania is one of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe. Lake Ohrid is a place where it is not crowded with tourists, but due to the beautiful surroundings, it is growing in popularity. The lake is often described as one of the most beautiful places in the Balkans because of the picturesque places that surround it, the crystal clear water, and the beautiful mountains. In this setting, travelers can relax, be active, and even lovers of culture and history can indulge themselves in the many villages.
More than enough reasons to combine your holiday in Albania with a visit to Lake Ohrid in Macedonia.
The old center of the city of Ohrid
The old center of Ohrid city is wonderful to get lost in. Apart from the signs of the pizzerias with flickering LED advertisements and the signs for free Wi-Fi, you imagine yourself in the Middle Ages. There is no asphalt, no cars; the narrow streets are “paved” with pebbles. Houses are not made of neat bricks but made of flattened stones.
Several small churches can be found in this maze. In addition, there is a small vague museum, where all kinds of artifacts from the Romans until now have been exhibited. At the bottom of the hill is the Saint Sofia’s Church. In the evening this church is beautifully lit, but during the day it looks very sober.
Other things to do in Ohrid include enjoying a city walk past the antique amphitheater, a visit toSt. Clemens monastery and the Sveti Jovan Kaneo. This beautiful church is built on a hill with a beautiful view over the lake. Or climb the mountain of Ohrid. At the top is the ruin of Fort Samuel. There are still four towers and kilometers of city wall standing. But that’s not why you took the climb. It’s all about the great view!
Are you not such a culture lover? No problem! In addition to a wealth of culture and history, Ohrid also offers a lot of fun. Fine waterfront terraces, excellent restaurants, a lively shopping street and an attractive local market. So you will certainly enjoy yourself in Ohrid.
This beautiful, peaceful place is a great start to your route. There is not much, mainly fish restaurants, of which the fish are caught themselves. The unique thing about Radozda? You will find one of the 365 churches of Ohrid that is very unique as it is built in the cliff! This church was made for Archangel Michael and you can easily walk there via a steep, long staircase. Do not forget to get the key at one of the fish restaurants; otherwise you will not be able to enter. Are you upstairs? Then look up for a nice fresco by Michael and enjoy the view!
Monastery Sveti Naum
The monastery of Sveti Naum is located on the southern shores of Lake Ohrid. The 10th-century Orthodox monastery was founded and named after St. Naum. He is now buried here, and according to the locals, you can still hear his heartbeat if you put an ear on his tomb. Others believe it is the wave against the cliff that you hear, which borders the monastery. In the church on the patio of the monastery, you will find frescoes depicting Cyril: the inventor of the Cyrillic alphabet. This monastery is also known for the many peacocks.
At St. Naum, you can also step in a small rowing boat with which you make a trip over the Ohrid Springs. Enjoy in peace, beautiful waters, and immense mountains in the background.
Visit the Bay of Bones open-air museum
Just outside Ohrid, you will find Bay of Bones, a bay that takes its name from the large amount of animal bones that were once found there.It is an open-air museum that focuses on information. They would like to show you how the inhabitants probably lived here about ten centuries before Christ. In stilt houses, high above the water. It is also a popular dive site.
Take a boat trip on Lake Ohrid
In our opinion, if you are staying at a lake, you must go on the lake at least once. Fortunately, various boat trips are offered, especially from Ohrid. For example, book a day trip across the lake with a visit to hot springs and the aforementioned Sveti Naum monastery.
Visit the Vevčani hot springs
Speaking of sources, you will not only find this in the lake. Vevčani is a half-hour drive from Ohrid. The main attraction of this village are the springs on the eastern slope of Mount Jablanica. Due to this location, they are located at an altitude between 900 and 1,600 meters above sea level.
Spend some time at the beaches
Don’t expect long stretches of white sandy beaches on Lake Ohrid like you might be used to from the Spanish Costa; the charm of a holiday on Lake Ohrid lies in the small scale. You will find cozy (pebble) beaches spread along the banks of the lake, where you do not have to be afraid of massive crowds. One of the most beautiful beaches can be found near Ljubanista. It is a long pebble beach enclosed with clear water, and if you linger a little longer, you can enjoy a beautiful sunset.
Prefer an active holiday?
The surroundings of Lake Ohrid are ideal for an active holiday. The water sports options are almost endless on Lake Ohrid! You can take a quiet boat trip or go fishing for an afternoon. But also scuba diving or kayaking is possible.
Enjoy Macedonian cuisine
During a holiday on Lake Ohrid, you can enjoy all the goodies that Macedonian cuisine has to offer. And that’s quite something! Due to its location, you will find influences from the Mediterranean and the Middle East, which has resulted in a varied cuisine. Some dishes you can find on the menus? Tava oriz, pindzur, pastrmajlija and tavce grace. It is up to you to discover what this is!