Ohrid  is a large town in southwestern North Macedonia on the shore of Lake Ohrid. A town of vast history and heritage, it was made a UNESCO heritage site in 1980. Nestled between high mountains up to 2,100 m and Lake Ohrid, it is not only a place of historic significance but also of outstanding natural beauty. Ohrid is the jewel in North Macedonia's crown.
Archaeological finds indicate that Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in all of Europe. The lake itself is over three million years old. Ohrid town is first mentioned in Greek documents from 353 BCE, when it was known as Lychnidos - or, “the city of light.” Only much later, in 879 CE, was it renamed Ohrid. The name probably derives from the phrase “vo hridi” – meaning roughly, “in the cliff.” It comes from the time when the town was limited in a small area on the lake side of the hill, which in fact is a huge cliff rising above the lakeshore. The town as we know it today was built mostly between the 7th and 19th centuries. During the Byzantine period, Ohrid became a significant cultural and economic center, serving as an episcopal center of the Ohrid Archbishopric. Along with Preslav, it became the site of the first Slavic universities in the 9th century. At the beginning of the 11th century, Ohrid briefly became the capital of the Bulgarian Empire, ruled by Car Samuil, whose fortress still presides over the city today.
Ohrid has an international airport: St Paul the Apostle (IATA: OHD) about 7 km from city center which connects Ohrid with Amsterdam, Belgrade, Brussels, Tel Aviv and Zurich. From June 2015, Wizz Air connects Ohrid twice weekly with Basel and London. The airport is open year round but most airlines only fly during the summer, so check with your travel agent or airline for most current information.
A new bus service links the airport and the city port of Ohrid. Buses operate twice weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays) and are scheduled according to the Wizzair flights to/from Basel and London-Luton.
There is a regular bus service from Bitola and Skopje. The bus from Skopje takes approximately three and a half hours.
The easiest way to get to Ohrid is from Skopje, where buses run every few hours. A bus from Skopje takes about 3.5 hours and costs 520 MKD one way (US$10 or € 8.50) or 750 MKD RT (as of September 2019).
From Albania, there is a bus from Tirana to the town of Struga, just north of Ohrid, where there are taxis to Ohrid for about € 5, share a taxi for 50 MKD, take a local bus for 40MKD. It's a little bit trickier to get to Ohrid from Greece. From Thessaloniki, the easiest way is to take a travel agency bus to Skopje and then hop on a bus to Ohrid.
If you want to reach Ohrid and Macedonia from Montenegro there is a regular bus line from Herceg Novi to Skopje via Albania, passing through Kotor, Budva, Bar and Ulcinj. Ticket price vary from place in Montenegro and most expensive is from Herceg Novi and cost around 25 €.
The Ohrid bus station is two kilometers outside of the center of town (about a 30 minute walk). A taxi from the bus station to the center costs around 2 € (120 MKD) but be careful as the taxi drivers at the bus station may charge you more so agree on a price before you get in the taxi. In the summer, travelers to Skopje from Ohrid will want to buy a ticket a day or two in advance.
Delfina Tours operates ticket office inside the bus station and offers five trips a day to Skopje (as of September 2019), departing Ohrid at 05:00, 07:15, 16:30, 18:00, and 20:30. Alternatively, Galeb (Галеб) ticket office is just across the street from the bus station and buses for Skopje depart at 05:30, 07:30, 10:00, 10:45, 12:45, 15:00, 15:30, 17:45, and 19:00 (as of September 2019). Round trip ticket costs 750 MKD.
You can save a trip to the bus station by buying bus tickets from the Galeb (Галеб) office the center of Ohrid on Partizanska (41.113900, 20.802059). The office is on the small dead-end road to the north side of Partizanska between Boulevard Macedonian Educators and Kuzman Josifovski. It isn't obvious, but ask in any of the tour agencies on the road and they can help.
Ohrid - Skopje. 5:00**, 5:30, 7:15**, 7:30, 10:45, 12:45, 15:00, 17:45, 19:00*, 20:30**
Skopje – (Kičevo) – Ohrid: 5:30, 6:00, 6:55*, 7:00*, 8:00, 8:30*, 9:00*, 10:00, 11:00, 14:00, 14:45, 15:30, 16:00, 16:30, 17:30, 18:30, 19:30*
(*summer only - 01.06 to 31.09)
Call the Ohrid bus station at +389 (0)46 260 339
Six or seven times a day, a local bus starts from Ohrid goes to the Tushemisht border with Albania and come back. During the onward journey (at least) the bus can drop you at Stevi Naum (last bus passes near the border and comes back to Ohrid at about 19:20 in August 2017).
Ohrid - St. Naum
120MKD/ 2€ one way (10/2019)
Bus from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia
Eurobus is an international coach operator based in Struga that has almost daily tours from Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Prices from 49€ if booked online.
Transport in Ohrid is inexpensive and covers all areas of the city. Taxi drivers may try charge tourists higher rates, so insist they use a working meter, even if so, still keep an eye on the meter itself, as these devices are often "hacked" by some drivers.
The city center and the old town is compact and best seen on foot. An interesting walk that takes in the main attractions starts in the main square. The city's museums are in this area. From here, visit St.Sophia Church, the Antique Theater. Finally, walk up the hill to King Samuil's Fortress. Plaoshnik, and St John - Kaneo can be visited on the return journey.
Aside from the lake, Ohrid is most famous for its ancient churches, basilicas, and monasteries where Saints Kliment and Naum with the help of the Bulgarian king Boris I (students of Cyril and Methodus) wrote their teachings and formulated the Cyrillic alphabet used in the Republic of North Macedonia, as well as neighboring countries Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro and as far as Russia, and many of the countries of the former Soviet Union. Most of these churches charge an entry which for tourists is normally double that what locals pay, but is still worth it. It is a good idea to cover up when entering a church, but most locals will understand the inconveniences involved during a hot Macedonian Summer. There is also a wonderful ancient walled fortress at the top of the city. Churches to visit include:
- St.Sophia church 11th c. - Cathedral of Ohrid archbishops. Fourth basilica built on this same spot (the oldest one being a Roman basilica (courthouse)). Present church was built in 1035 by archbishop Lav, front facade with the towers and the open galleries was built in 1317 by archbishop Gregory. The side porch was added when the church was turned into a mosque by the Turks. Inside is the biggest composition of 11th century frescoes preserved in the world. The main altar has scenes from the old testament and an emotional procession of angels bowing to Virgin Mary. The side altars have a fresco of the 40 martyrs (Roman soldiers left to freeze because they didn't want to give up Christianity) which is very rarely depicted (in the left altar) and (in the right altar) portraits of Patriarchs from Constantinople, Jerusalem and Antioch, archbishops from Ohrid and Roman Popes (Ohrid archbishopcy always flirted with Roman Catholicism, so it would keep its important position with the Orthodox church). The small square in front of it was the main forum in ancient times. 100 denars, 30 for students
Dome of St.Bogorodica Perivlepta
- St.Bogorodica Perivlepta 13th c. - The church was built and painted in 1295. It is dedicated to Virgin Mary, Perivlepta (from Περίβλεπτος) is an attribute given to her meaning "the Omnisicent and Clairvoyant". The benefactor was Progon Zgur, son in law of the Byzantine emperor Andronicus II. The church was painted by Michael and Eutychius, two young painters. Their work shows that styles later adopted in the Renaissance were already current in Byzantine art long before Gioto. The frescoes they painted have all the elements of the renaissance art except perspective. Important frescoes: (eastern wall) the portraits of St. Klement and Konstantin Kavasila (archbishop of Ohrid), detailed portraits with personal features; Lamentation of Christ, painted with many emotions, Virgin Mary is about to faint, a woman next is holding her, women are pulling their hair from pain in disbelief, on the right notice a woman acting reasonably and trying to stop another from pulling her hair, angels above the whole scene are crying, in the left corner notice a group of women doing what normal people do gossiping about what happened; (western wall) Prayer in the olive mountain as the apostles are sleeping take a look at their dresses and how well the artists worked with color and showed the roundness of the bodies; (northern wall) Death of Virgin Mary in order to present the holiness of the moment there is a bunch of angels coming from the gates of the sky to take her soul, above her stands Jesus holding her soul, notice her body and how familiar are the artists with the human anatomy. The figures painted by Michael and Eutychius are not presented the traditional Byzantine way, skinny, emotionless and with their thoughts wondering somewhere. They are presented like healthy, chubby young men with red cheeks. Mihailo and Evtihie are the first Byzantine artists to sign their work (on 20 different hidden locations, look on the front columns at the sword and the cloth of two holy warriors). Their work left strong influence on the Byzantine art. 100 denars to enter.
Ancient church St.John Kaneo
- St. John the Theologian - Kaneo church 13th c. – most known for its scenic location, standing on a cliff over Lake Ohrid. Notable about the cute architecture is Armenian influence in the zig-zag line of the roof of the dome. 100 denars (There are only few frescoes left inside, but the feeling of standing in centuries used sanctuary is worth the entrance).
- St.Pantelejmon – Plaoshnik - It has been very important religious center since early Christian times, if not before. It is the site of the first university in Europe, opened in the 10th c. and it is the place where the cyrillic alphabet was created. The church you see is a reconstruction of the church St.Klement built when he came here and opened the university. The 5 nave early Christian basilica in the middle of which the church stands is from the 5th century (interesting mosaics in the baptistery and in the side chapel covered with red plastic roof). The atrium was built on the side since there was no space in the front. It probably was the cathedral in early Christian times. When St.Klement came here in the 10th c. just the small round chapel that today serves as altar existed. Because of the large influx of worshipers that followed him, he enlarged the church by building the central part of the church and turning the existent church into an altar chapel, and he dedicated the church to St Panteleimon (protector of health). The closed porch and the belltower were added later in the 13th century. Before St.Klement died he dig his own grave inside the church. When the Turks came they torn the church down after a rebellion. It still attracted large number of worshipers and pilgrims so they built a mosque above it. Until recently both the mosque and the church were standing in ruins. The reconstruction is a big guess since they didn't know anything but the shape of the church. The height, the shape of the domes and the decorations are a wild guess. 100 denars for Plaoshnik and Roman Basilica, 30 for students
- St.Nikola Bolnički & St.Bogorodica Bolnička These two small churches were built with dormitories around them which were used as quarantine stations for visitors of the city. After the coming of the Turks the structure of the city changed and they lost their purpose, so they were turned into hospitals. That is where the name Bolnicki comes from (bolnica – hospital). St. Nikola Bolnički was built in 1313. The small addition on the roof is an influence of the Adriatic architecture and it imitates the belltowers of the churches on the Adriatic coast. The frescoes are in decent condition, a couple of interesting portraits of some royals and Nikola one of Ohrid archbishops. Look for the fresco of God’s hand protecting the pure souls inside a tiny window. St. Bogorodica Bolnička was built in the 14th century, and the frescoes are in a bad condition. Even though the church is tiny there is a transverse vault, so the roof would imitate the shape of the cross. 50 denars for entry.
Ancient Swastika mosaic at St. Erazmo
- Small St.Klement 14th c.- This tiny well hidden church is just few steps away from the Bolnicki churches. Just take the small narrow street opposite the Bolnicki churches. The small square is interesting since this street is one of the very few original streets remaining in Ohrid. It is shaped in form of gentle stairs so walking uphill would be easier. The steps are slightly curved towards the inside so when it is raining the water will stay in the middle. The church is historically important since it is here that the bones of St. Klement were hidden after the Turks took the city. Free entrance; ask for the key in one of the houses around (they are allowed to say no).
- St.Dimitria, St.Konstantin and Elena & St.Mali Vraci - This 3 small churches built around St.Bogorodica Perivlepta were all built in the XIV century. St.Konstantin and Elena behind St.Bogorodica Perivlepta has a fake transept so it would show a cross on the roof. They are all locked. If you are interested ask for the keys in St. Bogorodica Perivlepta, or in the houses around.
- St. Erazmo early Christian church - The name St. Erazmo is a guess for the church in ruins that stands above Plaoshnik, built in the 5th century. It is important as an architectural solution, since it has a four leaf shape. Central solutions like this were built in Syria and Mesopotamia and they came customary much later in Europe in the 10th century. It shows that Ohrid had great ties with the early Christian centers and that there was an exchange of artists and minds. It has a three leaf shape on the outside and four leafs in the inside and it had a big dome in the center (notice the 4 huge basis of columns). Unfortunately the recent roof doesn’t show the shape of the church. There are some mosaics preserved, but they are not of best quality. There is also a small baptistry to the right with a four leafed shape with some excellent mosaics but they are away for conservation. Free entrance.
- Old Bazaar - Since Ohrid was a big religious and cultural center, it never was an important trade center, which is evident by the size of its bazaar. It is a simple bazaar consisting of just one street. It starts with the food market (it used to be the animal market in the past). After the market the bazaar begins with a small square. On the square there is a 1000 year old tree and a nice fountain. Above the square the clock tower of Ohrid stands. As you walk down the bazaar on your left there are couple of stone stores, which is the only section of original stores in the bazaar. In the past, the bazaar was covered with grape vines, protecting shoppers from the sun and the rain. Very few crafts are preserved. The bazaar ends with the main square that used to be the food market in the past.
- Mesokastro Settlement - Mesokastro is the quarter right above the old bazaar, between the bazaar and the city walls. The name originates from the Latin term “meco castrum”, which means the city outside the city walls, where the poor used to live. It is interesting that the term has survived since ancient times. The houses of Mesokastro have incorporated parts of the city walls and in some parts they are not visible. If you have time walk around, since there are couple of old houses still standing and some of the streets offer great views over the lake.
- Kaneo Settlement - Start the walk to Kaneo from St. Sophia church. You can reach it from Plaoshnik but you would miss out on the great views and the quiet streets of Ohrid. Kaneo settlement was the quarter of the poor fishermen. This the most scenic spot of Ohrid, standing below the rock on which St. Jovan Kaneo church is situated. There is a small beach overcrowded in the summer, and a couple of restaurants.
- Ohrid Fortifications - The whole old town is circled with walls, which are crowned with King Samoil fortress. The first fortifications were built in the 5th century BC, but the oldest remains preserved are from 3th century BC. The fortifications were reinforced many times throughout history and what we see today is from the 10th century. There used to be four gates inside the city: Lower Gate - you’ll reach it soon after you walk from the main square inside the old part of the town on “Car Samoil” street. It used to be the gate through which regular visitors entered the city in the ancient and medieval times, just one tower of it still stands; Upper Gate - in ancient times it used to be connected with the ancient theatre by portico. It is well preserved due to the reinforcements made in the 16th century; Front Gate - near St. Bogorodica Celnica Church. It is the main entrance gate. Today it is just in traces; Water Gate - the entrance in the city from the lake, the place where it used to stand is not known.
- King Samoil Fortress – From Plaoshnik take a small path through the woods to reach it. In the second courtyard there are ancient graves, remains of a round tower and a cistern. It offers great views over the lake and Ohrid. You have to pay an entrance ticket. 20 denars for Macedonian turists. 30 denars for foreigners.
- Antique Theater - The theatre is the only visible monument from ancient times. It is also the only Hellenistic theater in Macedonia, the other three are from Roman times. Only the lower section of the theater is preserved, it is not known how many people it seated since the upper section is missing (the arches in the behind are just decorative it is not something they unearthed). Free entrance.
- Ohrid Traditional Architecture - When the Turks came they settled on the flat land along the lake and that became the Muslim part of town and the part on the hills inside the walls was always the Christian part, with the bazaar as a meeting place. As the city grew and the Christians were not allowed to build outside the walls, Ohrid developed very specific architecture with tight narrow streets and tunnels (houses built over the streets). The houses had tiny yards usually enclosed in the ground floor, and the houses grew over the streets on the upper floors since the locations were small. The steep terrain enabled everybody to have a good view of the lake and because of the strong sun the houses were painted white, so they would reflect the sun. Because of the winds from the lake the houses in Ohrid don’t have the open spaces that traditional houses in other towns in Macedonia have. Interesting houses can be seen all over the old town but the best examples are along “Car Samoil” and “Ilindenska” streets. Robevci & Uranija houses are the two best examples of traditional architecture. They are houses of very rich families (normally the houses were not this big). Especially rich in terms of architecture is Uranija house, with entrances on different levels and inside galleries. They have been turned into museums today. If you don’t have time, visit just Uranija this one is free, even though the top level of Robevci has great views, nice wood carvings, and some furniture (100 denars entrance). The house next to St. Nikola Gerakomija church is one of the few traditional houses that has been nicely and carefully preserved. It has been turned into a hotel now; Kanevce House On the right from the main facade of St. Sophia church, is the small house that belonged to Kanevce family. It has beautiful proportions and it is a good example of how they built on small locations.
- Icon Gallery - In the courtyard of St. Bogorodica Perivlepta church is the Ohrid icon collection with some of the best examples of the iconographic art in Macedonia. It is considered to be the second most important and valuable collection of icons in the world after the Moscow collection, so check it out if you have interest and time. 100 denars for entry.
- Zeynel Pasha Teke - dating from 1590, this teke is situated close to the old oak tree. This teke belonged to the Halvet dervish order. A mausoleum of Mohamed Hayati, who was the founder of this dervish order, can be found in the yard of the complex.
- Hand-made paper workshop - on Tsar Samoil, near the National Museum. Free entry, watch paper being made from wood pulp using traditional methods, also copy of the original Guttenberg press. Line drawings and colour prints can be purchased, printed on their own paper.
- Photo Gallery & Cultural Centre "Cultura 365" on Tsar Samoil, near the two small churches St.Nikola Bolnički & St.Bogorodica Bolnička. Free entry, open every day. Excellent photo exhibition(s). Here they provide tourist information, tour guides, maps of the city, and books in English.
Lake Ohrid is a rare example of an ancient lake and, along with the Caspian Sea, one of the only two true hotspots of continental aquatic biodiversity in all Europe. With 1,200 species including over 200 that exist nowhere else on the planet, it is also the most biodiverse inland water on Earth when measured by surface area. Because it both protects flora and fauna that have died out elsewhere and provides niche habitats for new species to evolve, it is known as a Museum of Living Fossils, a Theater of Evolution and the Balkan Galapagos.
Noteworthy in-lake or immediate shoreline habitats include Studenchishte Marsh where relict plants, up to 34 species of dragon/damselfly, and over 50 kinds of birds have been sighted, and the various natural springs, where micro-local water conditions have created niche, island-like underwater habitats for various invertebrates, many of which are world-unique.
Nearby National Park Galichica  a short drive to Ohrid’s south is an Important Plant Area, Prime Butterfly Area, Emerald Site and part of the UNESCO Ohrid-Prespa Transboundary Biosphere Reserve. It is one of Europe’s most biodiverse national parks, harbouring over 5,000 species including approximately 50 mammals such as bears, wolf, Balkan chamois and perhaps even the occasional Balkan lynx, one of the rarest animals on the whole planet. Meanwhile, over 200 bird taxa from waterbirds to rugged mountain species have also been recorded within the national park boundaries with several more expected.
In both Lake Ohrid and National Park Galichica, species new to science are even still being discovered, making it an attractive destination for nature enthusiasts.
- Go to the beaches - Apart from sightseeing, there are a few different natural beaches, usually the further from the city center the more scenic they become, and each offers a unique beach experience. Gradište beach is known for many young people and music for instance, while others have families or tranquil atmosphere. Beaches are most crowded in July and August, and quiet the rest of the year, which is a whole different experience.
Some of the beaches to go are: Labino It's a small, stony beach that is not crowded. The water is clear and refreshing. Best time to go is in the morning.
Probably the best beach on Ohrid Lake is Ljubaništa On the South-East side of the lake near the border with Albania. The beach is long, sandy with usually clean water. There are a lot of people but you can't feel that since the beach is really big. Best time to go is after 6 PM. A sunset you won't forget.
- Boating at the springs of lake ohrid, (Next to St. Naum monastery), ☎ +38970456057, . Take a guided tour in a rowboat up to the source of lake ohrid. Near the St. Naum monastery is a large restaurant on an island, just go in and charter a boat. /do> *<do name="Paragliding Tandem Flight" alt="" address="Cuba Libre Beach Bar Ohrid" directions="" phone="+38975281090" url="http://www.paraglidingohrid.com/" hours="all day" price="EUR 59" lat="41.101099" long="20.805842">If you want to experience Ohrid from the sky then try paragliding tandem flight. There are several tours available: Flying over Ohrid from 1300m asl, Flying over Ohrid from 1700m asl, Flying over Prespa lake and Flying over Struga. Meeting place and departure is from Cuba Libre beach-bar or from the hotel, then you are transported with the Jeep to the top of the mountain and have 10 minutes briefing before take off. The flight itself last about 15-20 minutes and the view of the area and the Ohrid lake is amazing. 600 den. edit
- Hiking in National Park Galichica, ☎ +38946261473. Galichica National Park offers several kilometers of hiking and biking trails as well as opportunities for adventure tourism. Contact the park authorities at [email protected] edit
- Ohrid Summer Festival  - The Ohrid Summer Festival is one of the largest and most important music and drama festivals in Macedonia. The first concert took place in 1961 in the church of St. Sophia, with its exceptional acoustics. The festival in Ohrid has a particular international flavour because of the participation of a large number of leading musicians and ensembles from the best known European and world music centers. There have been participants from 44 countries. This Festival has a solid reputation as it has gradually become part of the large family of the most famous European music festival. The Ohrid Summer Festival has its own sound conceptions, and it is able to draw up a musical program that includes artists of world renown. The Ohrid Summer Festival is held each year from July 12 to August 20.
- Ohrid Swimming Marathon - Each year, in the second half of July, the swimming elite throughout the world gathers in Ohrid and, starting from the monastery St. Naum, they swim along the Lakeshore to the town harbour, approximately a 30-km route. Since 1998 the Ohrid Swimming Marathon has entered in the World Swimming Club of the 12 worldwide held marathons under the patronage of FINA-The World Swimming Association.
- The Balkan Folklore Festival - Member of the UNESCO Association of The International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folklore Art, and The International Organization for Folklore Art. This festival has so far presented numerous original songs and dances from folk culture for more than 30 years. About 1,200 ensembles with 42,000 members have taken part in the festival.
- Kostoski international festivals - its festival which has participants from all over the world. On the festival participate different groups like: folklore groups, majorettes, choirs, brass bands, modern dance ensembles.
International seller published in Ohrid
- Traditional Macedonian musical instruments, filigree jewelery, woodcarvings, items made from copper, or a CD with authentic Macedonian music, can be brought home to refresh your memories of your visit.
If interested in real Macedonian folk music, ask for music performed by Aleksandar Sarievski, Nikola Badev, Vaska Ilieva, Petranka Kostadinova, Anka Gieva, Jonče Hristovski, Kočo Petrovski... Avoid CD`s with modern-day "turbo folk" music (i.e. semi-naked girls with bad voices, singing on techno melodies).
- The Talevi and Filevi are the two Ohrid families who make genuine Ohrid pearl necklaces, earrings and broaches; they carried over this handcraft down from one generation to another. Ohrid pearl is created from seashells and coated with 5-7 thin layers of emulsion made from the scales of the Ohrid fish called Plashitsa, and is protected with a Designation of Origin.
NOTE: Be warned that the Ohrid Pearl is a type of imitation pearl (an artificial, man-made pearl) and as such has no real value as a gemstone. Most of the "pearls" sold around Lake Ohrid, on the street and in most shops, are simply unfinished imitation pearls (beads made of nacre, but without the pearly coating). Also very important: all pearl beads (including those painted with emulsion) are imported from the Far East countries.
- Books from Ohrid to read on the beach or take home.
Some of the modern buys in this birth place of Cyrillic literacy, include books from Happy Something Press, Ohrid's book publisher in English, founded by Macedonian born author and Oxford University student Evangelina Cifliganec , known for her contemporary novel "Happy Something" originally written in English. Its 2nd edition was published by the publisher's Ohrid branch, HappySomething.com , as the author was said to be inspired by Ohrid. You might find it easier online.
A Passage through the Fog is a book that has been written in Ohrid by the Ohrid born writer and photographer Misho Yuzmeski. Dr. Michael Seraphinoff, in his Translator`s note on the book has written: "Misho Yuzmeski's novel invites the reader to join his young narrator on a journey of discovery through the heart of modern Europe. While this journey offers certain narrow insights into modern day city life in England and a few of the continent's major cities, it is the internal journey of the young traveler that is at the heart of this novel. Readers are liable to find parallels to some youthful search for meaning of their own in Michele's journey. He reminds us of a critical time in many of our lives, when childhood is finally behind us, but the road ahead is quite uncertain." A copy of the book can be found in all Ohrid`s bookstores and there is no difference in price between different stores. Bulgarian translation of the same book is available, as well.
Our Dutch Friend A. den Doolaard is another well-selling book written by the Ohrid born writer and photographer Misho Yuzmeski. In this book he tells the story of the Dutch writer, and his connections with Ohrid and Macedonia, set on the background of the recent Macedonian history. This book is available in Macedonian and English, and it could be a very useful reading especially for those interested in Macedonian history, Dutch literature history and Dutch-Macedonian relations. One of the nicest and most original souvenirs to take home from Ohrid.
Short History of the Macedonian People by Risto Stefov was published in Ohrid in 2011. This book is a chronological outline of historical events involving Macedonia and the Macedonian people from ancient times to the present.
Restaurants and hotels throughout Macedonia are proudly displaying Ohrid trout (Ohridska pastrmka) on their menus because it is very delicious but it is illegal to catch the fish along the Macedonian shoreline of Lake Ohrid. Please do not support or encourage the consumption of the trout. Ohrid trout, an ancient living fish, is in severe danger. There is also another trout species called Belvica. Some popular restaurants in Ohrid known to most people in town simply by the name are:
- Belvedere, - in the city center Tel: +389 46 265 117
- Damar Restaurant, - in the old city +389 75 215 315
- Dalga, - with a terrace over the lake in the old part of town +389 46 25 999
- Galeo Fish Restaurant, - in the city center +389 46 285 631
- Biljanini Izvori, - meaning Biljana's Springs, 2 km away from the city center at the famous Biljana Springs +389 46 265 141
- Pizza La Piazza, - city center +389 46 261 242
For cheap eats, you can check out the newly-opened Dr. Falafel, which serves delicious and succulent falafel sandwiches (80 denars; with hummus: 100 denars). The shop is located along the main pedestrian avenue (Address: 7-Mi Noemvri No. 8) near Boulevard Turistichka.
Try these foods:
- Ribna Čorba, a traditional fish soup served in most restaurants, mostly as a starter.
- Burek, a layered pastry inherited from Ottoman times and popular for breakfast here. Choose with meat, cheese or spinach/cheese (arguably the best), and take a cup of traditional Macedonian yogurt. Modest looking place Burekđilnica Igor makes the best burek in town, Žito Leb's is also good.
- Makalo, a starter spread made with garlic and yogurt.
- Gjomleze, baked layered pancakes cut in a rhomboid shape, and usually served with white cheese.
- Ohridski Gevrek, a traditional bakery product. You can buy it in Žito Leb'. Try it with yogurt or peach juice.
- Sirena terrase, Trpejca. Really great little place right on the (stony) beach. If you're doing a drive around the lake, stop here for lunch, park your car in the main square (more of an empty space than a square), walk down and you will see a sign for Sirena terase, it will point you down to the beach, it is just one building over to the left. You can sit right on the bay, with a panoramic view, and have lunch - great fish. Lunch for two, no alcohol, was less than 1000 denars. edit
The traditional Macedonian alcoholic beverages are rakija and mastika. Boza is a refreshing drink on a hot summer day; it was spread throughout Macedonia with the arrival of the Turks and it has significant nutritional value. Other popular drinks are Macedonian wines called Kavadarka and Smederevka and Skopsko beer.
Try boza with ice-cream. Its called "Ambasador".
- Cafe Galerija, Kliment Ohridski (city center, just before the entrance to the old city). 08-00. If you like to have your morning coffee at the city center, enjoying the view of the lake, you better find the small authentic coffee shop named "Galerija". It is one of the oldest coffee shops in the city. Enjoy in the lake view and the city at the same time. 80 cents. edit
Main forms of accommodation are private houses, apartments and villas,you can also try to find a couchsurfer. For an average price of around 10 - €15 per night, you will find an excellent private facilities, located mostly in the Old Town. Fastest and safest way of booking accommodation in Ohrid hotels and apartments is to visit website [www.visitohrid.org] On the page are published different information which help tourists during their stay in Ohrid. While arriving there, to get a host you can ask at the nearest Tourist Information Bureau (at the bus station, for example). However, the best solution is to make your reservation in advance via Internet or phone, having in mind the growing popularity of Ohrid as tourist destination:
During the summer months it is a very bad idea to travel to Ohrid without a bed booked as the city fills fast and you can find yourself being sent from landlord to landlord without success. If desperate locals will often offer rooms in person at the bus depot, but you may still have to wait a time to find one
- Gradište campsite (about 30 minutes south of Ohrid by the lake) . Offers cheaper rates, but the toilet facilities are old-fashioned stand-up toilets.
- Albergo Mimi Ohrid, Straso Pindur, 2, ☎ +389 46 250 103 ([email protected]), . Guest house, quiet yard. €10. (41°08'41N,20°45'39.1E) edit
- Antonio Guesthouse Ohrid, Dejan Vojvoda str No.94, ☎ +38970736906 ([email protected]). Nice family guesthouse in the centre. There are 4 double and twin triple bed rooms, car parking, free Wi-Fi Internet, cable TV, and bathroom. edit
- Lence Skenderova, Ohridska Arhiepiskopija str No.28, ☎ +38946268608 ([email protected]). Nice family guesthouse in the old town. Quiet place. 2 rooms have nice view on the lake. Free Wi-Fi Internet. edit
- Sunny Lake Hostel , +38975629571, (email: [[email protected]]). Cosy hostel, two minutes walk from the center of town. Dorms - €12, private rooms - €12 per person. Breakfast included. Total capacity: 35 beds.
- Pela  is situated near the city (4 km to the south, on the road Ohrid - Sv. Naum) in a pine forest in the tourist settlement of St. Stefan. Nearest sandy beach is only 100 meters away. Capacity: 40 rooms with 120 beds. All rooms with bathroom, cable TV, WiFi, direct telephone line, mini bar, air condition, balcony. The hotel offers: seminar hall, parking, football/basketball courts, restaurant, play garden for the youngest. Price for BB starting from €16.
- Villa Anastas is only 100 m. from the shore of Lake Ohrid, in the new Elshani`s settlement of Eleshets. Open all year, around the clock with 6 apartments equipment with: TV with DVD player, airconditioner, mini bar, wireless internet, free parking. Its location only 300m. from the steep rocky part of the Galicica mountain. Minimum stay two nights. E-mail: [email protected]
- Risto's Guesthouse, 23 village of Elsani (on the western slopes of Galichitsa National Park in the village of Elshani, 10 km south of Ohrid), ☎ +389 75 977 930 ([email protected]). checkin: 12:00-0:00; checkout: 11:00-12:00. The guesthouse has clean and tidy single and double rooms. The hosts serve home made drinks, home made bread and traditional food. All rooms have a terrace and prices include breakfast. €15 per person. edit
- Metropol-Bellevue, Tel: 389-277-660  These four star hotels are on the lake 7 km south of the city.
- Villa St. Sofija, ☎ +389 46 254 370 ([email protected]), . checkin: 13:00. 4 star hotel in the heart of the old city and close to Ohrid Lake. A restaurant with two dining rooms and a spacious terrace. Warm and inviting bar and lounge to unwind in the evenings. Relaxing reading lounge as well as on-site parking and meeting facilities for business functions or private celebrations for up to 40 people. edit
- Robinson Sunset House, Lagadin BB (Settlemen of Lagadin,7km south from Ohrid city centre), ☎ 00389 75727252, . checkin: 13:00; checkout: 12:00. Robinson Sunset House is located just outside the centre of Ohrid and is hidden in the National Park of Galicia. In this place you can blend into nature and enjoy the beautiful view whilst you are enjoying local drinks, own barbecued meals, or typical Macedonian delicacies. In this place you can either enjoy a peaceful vacation (the beach is a 5 min walk) or go on some mountain trip with owners. Dorm:€8,- private room:€12,- per person. edit
- Villa Nova, Lagadin16, ☎ +389 (0)46-285-099 ([email protected]), . www.villanovaohrid.comSituated on the lakefront, in one of the hottest spots of the Ohrid Riviera,the tourist district of Lagadin, Villa Nova is the perfect place to spend your family vacation, or your romantic weekend getaway. Spacious studios and apartments with private balconies, offering breathtaking lake views, complete with amenities such as fully equipped kitchens, air conditioning, free broadband Internet, private parking, and everything a guest might need to enjoy their "Home away from Home". Literally steps away from the lake and beaches, Villa Nova provides utmost ambiance, views, and location, while offering the finest in accommodations, amenities, cleanliness, and service for the ideal getaway. edit
- Apartments Kate - Located in the center of the city 200meters from the lake and the old city. The studios are brand new air-conditioned, with Cable Tv, Wi-Fi internet , equipped kitchen, bathroom and private parking place. Towels and linnen are provided. There are 4 studios - each of them with two beds twin or double. Address: "Dimitar Vlahov" str No.9 . Phone number : 0038970520760 or 0038976207025 . ( www.apartmentskate.com )
- Apartments Kate 1 - Two double bed studios equipped with all that you can need for a pleasant stay, located next to Ohrid Bank - Societe Generale on a second & third floor. (Kitchen,private bathroom, cable TV,DVD, balcony, hair dryer, towels, bed linen). You have just to cross the street to go on the main shopping street where all the restaurants, boutiques,and various shops are located. 5 Minutes on foot to the lake and the old city. Address: B.Turisticka 52|2 . Phone number : 0038970520760 or 0038976207025 . ( www.apartmentskate.com )
- Adeona Apartmani, +389 70 391 201, (email: [email protected]), . Private 4 star apartments. Contact Nade Andreeska. Total capacity: 8 beds.
- ''By the Lake'' apartments, located in an Ancient City, address: Ilindenska 4 (close to the church St. Sophia), ☎ +389.70.550.590, . checkin: 1pm; checkout: 11am. Family house overlooking the Lake, quiet yard, a garden-terrace with a private beach, excellent conditions for families, free Wi-Fi, shuttle service ... Max. 12 persons. 40-80€. (41°06'41N,20°47'39.1E) edit email: [email protected]
- ''By the Lake**'' apartments, Ilindenska 4, ☎ Viber, WhatsApp +389.70.550.590 ([email protected]), . checkin: 1 pm; checkout: 11 am. (41,1114,20,7942) edit
- Cinema Paradiso Apartment, in the city centre, str.Dame Gruev 78 (old cinema area) still quiet, historical sites within reach. email: [email protected]  phone=" +389 70 77 66 58" and +389 78 278-007
- Goran Nasteski, Abas Emin 75, 6000 Ohrid, ☎ +389 46 252 222, . Located near the bazaar with 2 - to 4-bed room and small kitchen. Newly built in 2013, very clean and tidy, nice owners, free tomatoes and peppers in summertime from the owners garden, small kitchen where the fresh purchases from the bazaar can be prepared and tables to sit outside. From 10 € edit
- Grebnos Stone-House Apartments, in the heart of the city. All the rooms are made of stone walls, giving you the feeling of being inside a cave. The rooms have views of Lake Ohrid. You can overlook everything and still keep your privacy.  e-mail: [email protected] or call: +38946272625.
- Jovan Apartments, Dimitar Vlahov 20 (Old bus station), ☎ +389 70 35 20 25, . 2 apartments in the centre. edit
- Matjan apartments, +38970 249908, Ul.Kuzman Josifoski 2, (email: [email protected]), . Luxury 4 star apartments, located in the centre, by the lake.
- Old Town Accommodation, Ul. Ilindenska 3, +389 70 642 809, (email: [email protected] ). A quiet place to stay in the old town. Private accommodation with rooms and apartments, situated near the Cathedral church of St. Sophia.
- Tiffany Apartment, +389 75 491 943, (email: [email protected]), . Apartment in the centre.Cable TV, DVD Player, free WiFi, Fridge, air condition, balcony, kitchen...
- Villa Filip, +389 70 248 005, (email: [email protected]), . Private 4 star villa located right near the Lake in Trpejca Village, 18 km from Ohrid. Contact Gabriela Nedelkoska. Total capacity: 14 beds.
- Villa Germanoff, Old Town, on the lake shore, near the cathedral church St. Sofia (email: [email protected]), . One of the most exclusive private accommodation facilities in Ohrid. Contact phone number: +389 46 266 831
- Villa Nikola,private villa located on the shore of Ohrid Lake. e-mail: [email protected] Contact phone number: +389 70 432 290.
- Villa St Clement the Lesser, Metodij Patce 10 (located near the Lower Gate), ☎ +389 46 250 655, . Exclusive 4-star villa in a quiet alley away from the traffic. 40-70€ apartment. (41° 6'45.54N,20°47'49.09E) edit
- Private rooms Blagica Angeleska, Dejan Vojvoda 111, ☎ +389 46 265838, +389 72 710439. Very nice people and place. edit
- Joce Apartments, 4 star Ohrid, Dejan Vojvoda st No.96, +38970307293 (email : [email protected], ) Nice family house in the center of the city in a quiet place. There are twelve new apartments: four twinbedded, six three bedded and two four bedded. Each room has french bed (double bed), bathroom, mini kitchen, fridge, balcony, central heating, air conditioner, free internet access, cable TV, car park. One of the cheapest places in town, about €10 pp/night.
- Apartment Rozmari, Metodi Patchev 15, ☎ +389-70994514. Apartment Rozmary is conveniently located in between Grebnos Stone-house Apartments and Villa St Clement the Lesser. The apartment occupies the ground floor of a private house and has a separate entrance. It has two bedrooms with two twin beds in each room, a spacious kitchen with a dinning table for four, and a full size bathroom. From one of the bedrooms you can walk out onto a terrace with a beautiful view overlooking Lake Ohrid and the old city. For reservations contact the proprietor Prokopie PopStefanija at [email protected] or call +389-70-994514 (+41° 6' 45.50,+20° 47' 46.71) edit
- Ohrid Forever, Lagadin 14 (7km to the south from Ohrid), ([email protected]), . checkin: after 14h; checkout: before 11h. Family apartment (two bedrooms, sleeps up to 6) and studio (sleeps 2). Located on the lakefront, surrounded with a large private garden. Family apartment 65€, Studio 25€. (41.046706,20.802766) edit
- Struga, just 15 km away, is a nice place to enjoy a coffee or a base to visit one of the cave churches and monasteries.
Taxi to Struga from Ohrid costs around €5-7, or minibuses leave the Ohrid bus station for Struga approximately every 20 minutes, tickets for these cost only 40 Denars.
- Pogradec, a small city in Albania is just on the other side of the lake, and worth a visit for those with extra time in Ohrid.
East coast of Lake Ohrid:
Summer afternoons, view from St.Stephan village
The east coast is the most beautiful part of Ohrid Lake. It is part of Galičica National Park and it is protected by UNESCO along with the lake for its natural values. The first part of the east coast is less interesting, the road goes along the lake and is lined with hotels, tourist settlements and organized beaches.
- Gorica Hotel beach – this is maybe the most beautiful beach on the coast, it's covered with small pebbles and cut between deep rocks. Unfortunately it can get very crowded, so come here in early morning or late afternoon. If you visit Ohrid off-season this is the place to come and enjoy a great swim. There is a small cafe on the beach where one might also get some snacks and ice cream or rent beach beds. Walking along the coast from the city center to this beach is scenic, even more past it, and takes about 1.5h. The presidential Villa Ohrid, where the Balkan's Peace Framework was signed, is in the woods near too.
- St.Stefan Cave church 14th c. If you have time take the scenic walk, up to 1 hr, along the coast from Gorica Hotel beach.Entrance is €1 or 60 denars. Make the time to sit down and have a coffee (20 denears) with the friendly guide Alexander who speaks excellent English and will happily talk to you about Ohrid, Macedonia, the church as well as the country's politics.
- Elshani village is a good starting point for a number of hiking trails for all ages and skill levels. Hikers can follow trails on either the north or south end of the village to the nearby villages Konjsko or Pestani. The village itself is completely rebuilt and has no significant buildings or natural attractions to visit. Very few people speak western languages and basic knowledge of Macedonian or other Slavic languages might be helpful for finding your way around. In the local shops you can get some food or drinks, but there are no bars or restaurants. Drivers should be extremely careful on the steep and narrow road leading to the village.
- Peštani village – this once quiet fishing village has given up to tourism, with almost every house renting rooms and many restaurants and cafes. Desaret hotel has a good organized beach. If you don't like camping but like to enjoy the great beaches and parties in Gradishte you can stay here.
From here on the coast becomes more wild and beautiful with stunning views over the lake.
- Trpejca village – due to the its setting between the rocks this small fishing village has managed to preserve its charm and escape the overgrow of tourism. It has a great long but narrow beach with the cleanest waters on the lake. It has couple of good small lakeside fish and barbecue restaurants and a bar on the left side of the beach. If you don't like the beach or it seems crowded take one of the small boats and ask to be taken to one of the isolated beaches around the village and enjoy the lake by yourself, the boat will come back for you at arranged time (50-100 denars). Last bus for Ohrid at 20:50 from the main road (August 2017)
- Ljubaništa village – Many people seem to like it, probably because of the long, sandy beach. There is camping here. Beautiful nature makes it a perfect family place to be during summer vacation. In the camp you can take a trailer for usually 4 people, a bungalow or you can take a place to put a tent. There is no night life in this place. After 10:00 PM loud music is forbidden.
- St.Bogorodica (Zaum) church – the church can be reached only by boat from Trpejca or Ljubaništa villages. Ask on the beach or in one of the restaurants. It was built on a stunning location among the rocks on a small beach in 1361. The architecture is exquisite, but the main reason to come here is to see the fresco of St.Anna breastfeeding Virgin Mary.
- St.Naum monastery – 45 mins by bus or less by cab from Orhid. Bus ticket 110 denars (August 2015) (in August 2017, last bus leaves St.Naum for Ohrid at 19:15), cab drivers can be persuaded to drive you to/from there at the same price ("po kartu"). At the other end of the lake and is accessible by bus, taxi or boat. It is on the Albanian border so make sure you don't wander off into the military zone. If you take a taxi, it may be worth asking the driver to veer off into one of the picturesque mountain villages overlooking the lake to stop for a cheap lunch of grilled meat and cheese. One of the most beautiful monasteries in Macedonia and an important pilgrimage place. Breathtaking setting on a plateau over Ohrid Lake and Galičica mountain towering from behind. It was founded in the 910 by St. Naum, but the present-day church was built in the 16th c. Of the original church just the side chapel with the grave of St. Naum still stands. The frescoes were painted in 1806 (the side chapel frescoes depict the life and miracles of St. Naum); in the first chamber of the church look for the fresco of St.Cyril and Methody and their students including St.Klement and St. Naum. The icon screen was made in 1711 and it is the oldest completely preserved wooden high icon screen in Macedonia. In the side chamber it is popular to get down on your knees and try to listen the heart of St. Naum. Around the church look for the peacocks including a rare albino one. Bigger part of the dormitories of the monastery are turned into a hotel now. Near the monastery there is a chapel with holy water and before are the big springs with a lovely cafe on a small island inside the springs. It is possible (and a great experience) to take a boat tour of the springs (available only in summer) 50 denars, but skip the short boat tour offered to see the monastery from the water. Next to the monastery the river enters the lake. Around the monastery there is a pleasant sandy beach.
If you're trying to get to Albania from Ohrid, note that you can go to the bus station just north of the old town and get tickets from the company Galeb (or try the main station building) to a variety of cities in Albania, not just Tirana. It is an early morning departure (about 4:30am) but you can take buses with facilitated transfers from Ohrid to Tirana, Durres, Vlore and even Sarande.
|This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!