How do you plan a short visit to North Macedonia? What are the places you must experience? Everybody we spoke to about our travels in North Macedonia kept suggesting that we visit Lake Ohrid. 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 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.
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.
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! Visit the fortress and climb up the stairs to walk along its ramparts. The views from the fortress are fantastic.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Why we loved our visit to Lake Ohrid and North Macedonia
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 during when you visit Lake Ohrid or in 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.
It’s easy to discover the rest of the Balkan countries in Europe by booking cheap flights on Skyscanner if you’re a little short on time.
Bus travel between countries is very affordable too. Check Rome2Rio website for some great information to get anywhere.
Visit Lake Ohrid and explore this beautiful part of North Macedonia. Marty and I love this place!
Make sure you get travel insurance before hitting the road. Trust us, it’s one of those things you don’t want to leave home without. We recommend either World Nomads or SafetyWing, depending on the type of traveller you are.
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.
🚌 Transportation: To book trains,Trainline is the best and cheapest website. To book transport in Europe, USA & Canada, we useOmio & FlixbusUS. For travel in Asia, we use 12Go.For all other countries, we use BookaWay to compare and book Bus, Ferry, or train tickets to get around.
Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 190 countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.