visit lake ohrid things to do

We had to see it for ourselves. After we arrived, it was instantly clear to us why it’s called the jewel of North Macedonia.

And, there are so many fantastic things to see and do here.

The small city of Ohrid is located on the shores of Lake Ohrid, it’s one of the oldest human settlements in Europe. Built mostly between the 7th and 19th centuries, it is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s about three hours bus ride from the capital city of Skopje.

Lake Ohrid lies in the corner of the country on the border with Albania.

It’s a popular place for North Macedonians to take their holiday breaks and many other Europeans make the journey here to relax too.

Where to Stay in Lake Ohrid

Upon arrival at the bus station in Ohrid, you can take a taxi ($1-2) to the city centre or walk for 15-20 min. We made our way to our accommodation, Art Blue Apartments, which are new rooms in an excellent location, only a 5-minute walk from the lake.

This place was perfect and really affordable at $26 per night for two people. It was quiet, clean, and had great wifi.

CLICK HERE to view more accommodation options on

visit Lake Ohrid cheap room

7 Things to see and do when you visit Lake Ohrid

1. Explore the Old Town

Here you will discover old Ottoman houses and narrow cobbled lanes. See charming old houses with beautiful gardens and fruit trees lining the quiet streets. This is the place to capture those great pictures which look down over the lake.

An impressive amphitheatre can be found here, built around 200 BC. It is used as a venue for Ohrid’s Festival performances in the Summer.

visit lake ohrid north macedonia
The amphitheatre in Ohrid. A visit to Lake Ohrid wouldn’t be complete without spending some time here.

2. Climb Samuel’s Fortress

Ohrid’s most prominent landmark is the fortress that sits on the hilltops over the old town. You can’t miss it! Entrance fee is 120 den or less than $2 per person.

Visit the fortress and climb up the stairs to walk along its ramparts. The views from the fortress are fantastic.

visit Lake Ohrid fortress
Samuel’s Fortress

3. Wander through the Old Bazaar

Always bustling with locals and visitors alike, the Ohrid Bazaar is a great place to grab a bargain or just wander through. It’s a pedestrian street, full of small stalls, shops, ice cream, and coffee places.

You can find several of the city’s mosques dotted around this area.

4. Visit a Church

You’ll no doubt find some historic Orthodox churches in the Byzantine style as you explore Ohrid. The three that you shouldn’t miss; St John the Theologian (pictured below), the Holy Mary Perivlepta Church and the Church of St Sophia. 

Some churches have a small entry fee of a couple of dollars.

Ladies, be sure to have your knees and shoulders covered if you wish to go inside.

visit lake ohrid St John the Theologian church Ohrid
Why visit Lake Ohrid? To see views like this and St John the Theologian church overlooking Lake Ohrid

5. Go sunbathing and swimming along the lake

Many who come to visit Lake Ohrid love to swim in the lake, sunbathe and relax. You can find a number of places to chill out anywhere along the lake.

The most popular places are found if you walk a little way between the port of Ohrid and St John the Theologian church.

Here you will find small stone beaches and a few small restaurants and cafes within reach if you’re in need of some food or cold drinks.

RELATED POST – 7 Tips – How to find the best food when you travel

visit lake ohrid Beaches of Ohrid
Small stone beaches are found along the lake. Many Europeans visit Lake Ohrid to relax, swim, eat good food and explore different beaches.

6. Watch the sunset at the port

Every night we’d make our way down to the port and watch the sun setting on another gorgeous day. Many people walk along the lake and enjoy ice cream or snacks along the waterfront.

7. Eat some good street food along the lake

If you’re taking a walk along the waterfront, grab some delicious grilled hamburgers and street food at very affordable prices.

Here you can sit and enjoy the sunset or enjoy a cold beer to go with your dinner.

visit lake ohrid cheap food
Grab a cheap dinner along the port. Why visit Lake Ohrid if you can’t enjoy some local food while enjoying views of the lake.

Our visit to Lake Ohrid was the kind of place that really stood out from other places in Europe. We loved our short time spent here and next time we visit, we hope to explore some of the other little towns and villages along the lake.

North Macedonia is a very affordable country, the people are very welcoming and the views are beautiful. The food in North Macedonia is amazing, so don’t miss trying these 8 delicious dishes in North Macedonia.

You can taste these dishes when you visit Lake Ohrid or other cities in North Macedonia. Tasting new cuisine is a major highlight for us – it always is on our travels.

Best Tours and Activities at Lake Ohrid

There are many great activities and day tours to do on Lake Ohrid. These options from Get Your Guide will have you seeing the best parts of this beautiful destination.

Find more of the most popular things to do on Lake Ohrid below.

If you’re a little short on time, it’s easy to discover the rest of the Balkan countries in Europe by booking cheap flights on Skyscanner.

Bus travel between countries is very affordable too. Check Omio website for some great information and you can buy online tickets here to get anywhere.

visit lake ohrid
Visit Lake Ohrid and explore this beautiful part of North Macedonia. Marty and I love this place!

Travel Tips

For all the food lovers out there who may be heading to Serbia after you’ve discovered North Macedonia – consider joining this delicious cooking class in Belgrade.

Perhaps you’re heading toward Athens in Greece? If so, our post on what to do in Athens in one day is the perfect itinerary for seeing the best parts of this city.

Oh, and don’t forget to try a few of my recommended places to eat in Athens too. And if you’re wondering whether you can make a vacation to Greece really happen, our Greece in two weeks itinerary for any budget has tips to make it a reality.

If you’re interested in our advice on the best travel websites to save money, awesome travel gear, and products we love, then head to our Travel Resources Page.