A must-see when visiting the Balkans is Lake Ohrid and the city of the same name. One of Europe’s oldest and deepest lakes, Lake Ohrid attracts tourists from around the world seeking relief from the harsh summer heat in the summer. The city of Ohrid also has many attractive places to see, so it’s not just the lake with its glistening blue water that attracts so many tourists. Our drivers stayed in Ohrid many times and thoroughly enjoyed and explored Ohrid and now we are sharing their experiences. From lounging by the sea to discovering the Old Town to indulging in the most delectable cuisine, Ohrid truly has something for everyone. Here are 11 amazing things to do in Ohrid, including boardwalks along cliffs, gorgeous cathedrals overlooking the lake, and a stronghold that stands tall above the city. And don’t forget that with Skopje Airport Taxi, you can easily get a private transfer from Skopje to Ohrid. Read this post and learn about all attractions and points of interest you should visit in Ohrid.
Lake Ohrid is a body of water in the southern part of the nation that is shared with Albania. A breathtakingly clear blue body of water encircled by the most verdant hills and exquisite towns and cities. The little city of Ohrid is one of the most well-known locations along the lake’s shore. not only with resorts but also with the most exquisite streets snaking up the hill overlooking the magnificent Lake Ohrid. View the map below to get a better understanding of Ohrid’s precise location.
KANEO’S CHURCH OF ST. JOHN
The most recognizable landmark in Ohrid must be the Church of St. John at Kaneo. This is unquestionably a must-see when traveling to Ohrid as it is perched on a cliff overlooking the stunning Lake Ohrid and the mountains nearby. While you can’t actually enter the church, also known as St. John the Theologian, it’s worth the trip just for the scenery. You can get there by hiking uphill along the beaches of Lake Ohrid. Although an exact date is unknown, it is believed that the church was constructed in the 13th century before the Ottoman Empire rose to power. Be careful you climb the stairs to the overlook directly above the church before you descend the hill to the town of Ohrid. This will give you the best perspective of the church and enable you to capture that picture-postcard-perfect Ohrid scene.
TSAR SAMUEL’S FORTRESS
One of Ohrid’s most well-known attractions is Tsar Samuel’s Fortress, which is located all the way at the top of the hill in Old Town Ohrid. The most breathtaking views of Ohrid can be seen from the rebuilt stronghold from the 10th century. The Old Town of Ohrid, the lake, and much more may be seen from several vantage points on top of the fortress walls and watch towers, which are accessible by steep stairs. Although the fortress’s interior is largely empty, we think the vistas make up for it and are worth the 60 Denar (as of October 2019) entrance price. Make sure you visit the stronghold early in the day to avoid the midday sun’s heat as well as the heavy tour throng.
CHIEF OF ST. SOPHIA’S CHURCH
In the center of Old Town Ohrid, the Church of St. Sophia is flanked by eateries that have a view of the church. This church, which dates all the way back to the First Bulgarian Empire, is adorned with exquisite frescoes from the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries. In truth, this church was turned into a mosque during the Ottoman Empire, and it is now regarded as one of North Macedonia’s most significant historical sites. To be in awe of the Church of St. Sophia, stroll through the lovely garden, take in the frescoes, or just relax with a cup of coffee in one of the neighboring eateries. An intriguing fact is that the 1000 Denar banknote features a picture of the Church of St. Sophia!
CHURCH OF SAINTS CLEMENT AND PANTELEIMON
You may locate the Church of Saints Clement and Panteleimon beneath Tsar Samuel’s Fortress. The stunning cathedral was renovated in 2002 and dates all the way back to the ninth century. Like St. Sophia, this church was originally transformed into a mosque during the Ottoman Empire. Although the church itself is lovely, I must admit that this was one of our least favorite views in Ohrid because at the time of our visit, it was encircled by a big building site. Along with several excavations, the area around the church boasts a stunning view of Lake Ohrid.
THE OLD OHRIDIAN THEATRE
The Ancient Theatre of Ohrid is located in the Old Town, surrounded by hotels and quaint streets. an ancient theater where gladiator battles took place in addition to entertainment dating back to 200 BC. But the theater wasn’t just used for entertainment; reportedly, both Romans and Christians were executed here, which led to a profound hate of the theater and its abandonment. The theater was inadvertently stumbled upon in the 1980s, and it is still possible to see it now in all of its splendor. The Ancient Theatre does not charge admission and has no barriers that prevent access, so you are free to visit it every day of the week.
BORDERWALK AT POTPESH BEACH
Ohrid is home to many breathtaking beaches, some more stunning than others. Simple concrete beaches and pebbled stone beaches next to cliffs are both options, but they all share Lake Ohrid’s crystal-clear water. However, Potpesh Beach is one beach that you simply must see when in Ohrid. A promenade along the cliffs, a lovely site to take a stroll and take in Ohrid’s splendor, can be found nearby the waterfront area with its eateries. Follow the boardwalk to the little Potpesh Beach, where you may cool down in the summer heat by going for a swim or just to watch the sunset. Potpesh Beach is a must-see when visiting Ohrid.
THE OLD BAZAAR
The Old Bazaar extends all the way to the waterfront from Ohrid’s main street. One of the busiest areas in Ohrid is lined with shops, small eateries, and numerous ice cream shops. When visiting Ohrid, it will be difficult to miss the bazaar. Stroll through it, shop, get some ice cream, or observe some of the mosques that are positioned nearby. Ohrid’s Old Bazaar is the ideal place to do souvenir shopping; you can buy everything there, from postcards and magnets to Ohrid’s pearls!
UNWIND ON THE BEACH
Even if touring in Ohrid may be completed in a single day, there is a reason why so many tourists flock to the city in the summer: to unwind on the beach. Just be aware that many of the beaches close to the city center are either pebble stoned or made of concrete. The cool blue ocean is the ideal place to escape the summer heat. However, it doesn’t appear that anyone is deterred from diving in this area by this. Although it was a little too chilly to swim when we visited Ohrid in October, the beaches looked really lovely, and I can only image how crowded many of them will be in the summer.
GO ON A WALK TO LABINO BEACH
While many hikers turn back at St. John at Kaneo, I strongly advise continuing on along the Ohrid cliffs. You can access Labino Beach, a more private beach with pebble stones and, of course, breathtaking views, via a pathway that runs along the cliffs. As Labino Beach is a short walk from Ohrid’s Old Town, there won’t be as many people here. However, as there are no restaurants nearby, bring some food and drinking water with you because this is the ideal place for a picnic with a breathtaking view.
EXPLORE THE OLD TOWN OF OHRID
While Ohrid is home to some of the most breathtaking vistas, don’t forget to wander aimlessly, get lost, and take in the stunning Old Town. The Old Town of Ohrid is definitely full of the most stunning views, with its winding lanes, brightly colored houses, cobblestone pathways, and streets that provide vistas of Lake Ohrid. A great way to spend a day and simply experience everything Ohrid has to offer, the streets will take you up and down the hill to little beaches along with cafés and stores.
Have you got any time left on your schedule? Consider taking a day excursion to St. Naum by boat! Although it was on our agenda, the weather went against us the next several days, making getting on a boat seem like a bad idea. But if the weather cooperates, you might be more fortunate, and what better way to see the lake than from a boat? One of the most well-liked day trips from Ohrid is to the Monastery of Saint Naum, which is situated on the other side of the lake and close to the Albanian border. You can take a ferry for a day trip from the central harbor of Ohrid for about €10 per person roundtrip.
LODGING OPTIONS IN OHRID
You won’t have any trouble finding lodging here because Ohrid is one of the most well-liked tourist attractions in the Balkans. We strongly advise staying close to Ohrid’s Old Town, where most of the attractions are located, if you just have a few days there. By doing this, you can go sightseeing without having to arrange for a taxi or another mode of transportation. However, I strongly advise staying at Marina Apartments if you like to be a little further from the tourist attractions or are traveling to North Macedonia on a tight budget. The personnel was courteous, the units were spotless, and the beds were comfortable. The apartment is adjacent to the lake and only a 15-minute walk from Old Town, however there are several little stores nearby where you can pick up some snacks and drinks.
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT OHRID: TRAVEL Advice
The finest weather in Ohrid is from May to September, but if you want to avoid crowds because of the European school holidays in July and August, you might want to stick to the shoulder season. You will have the best chance of nice weather in May, June, and September, with warm bright days for you to enjoy the lake while avoiding the vast majority of tourists. Even so, we were in Ohrid in October and had a wonderful 20 degree daytime temperature mixed in with a few days of rain.
TRAVEL COSTS & BUDGET FOR OHRID
Ohrid is among the most cost-effective tourist sites in the Balkans, making it a top choice for those on a tight budget. We averaged €20 per person per day, which covered our lodging, one lunch out each day, and some sightseeing in the old town. Here are some sample prices so you may get a better idea of what to expect:
Accommodations – Depending on the time of year, expect to pay between €20 and €30 per night for apartments and lodgings outside of the old town. However, these costs soon rise if you want to stay close to Ohrid’s attractions and commercial district, where they will quickly rise to about €40 per night during shoulder season and frequently double during high season. For the greatest offers and more information on what to anticipate during your intended travel dates, visit Booking.com.
Food and Drinks – There are several restaurants in Ohrid, and eating out is extremely reasonably priced. Meals in the old town typically cost between €3 and €7, but if you want to eat by the waterfront, be prepared to pay a little more. We had a few meals around the old town, and generally, €15 got us two main courses, a salad to share, and two alcoholic beverages at most of the establishments. If you want something cool during the warm weather in Ohrid, you may purchase ice cream for about $1 and a beer for between $1.50 and $2.50.
Sightseeing – Depending on your plans, entrance fees to the sights won’t break the bank. A ferry to St. Naum will cost you approximately €10, and an hour on a boat will cost you €5. The cost of using the beach is zero, whereas visiting the stronghold, for instance, only costs one euro.
Throughout the course of our four-month journey through Eastern Europe and the Balkans, Ohrid was one of the most reasonably priced places we stopped. We are certain that we will return here in the future, perhaps sooner rather than later, given the fantastic meals, the nice weather, the welcoming people, and the breathtaking vistas.