The Macedonian pearl, city of Ohrid

    Ohrid is a charming city, also known as the pearl of Macedonia, and beautiful Ohrid pearls are worn even by Queen Elisabeth II. Discover the most beautiful attractions of Ohrid, a city located on the shore of the picturesque Lake Ohrid at the foot of the Galicica Mountain Range. The uniqueness of this region is proven by the fact that it has been listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979. Its treasures of architecture and diverse nature make it an ideal travelling destination. The town and its surroundings are the perfect area for the Macedonia holidays – you can enjoy the sightseeing and then relax at the lakeside (or even swim in Lake Ohrid) or go hiking in the nearby mountains. Even if Ohrid is one of the largest cities in Macedonia it doesn’t feel that way. When wandering around you might feel like you are transferred back in time as the place is so idyllic. The city and the lake were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and are one of the few places that are both on the Cultural and Natural list.

    Treasures of architecture Ohrid’s architecture is characterized by unique sacred and profane buildings. The Church of St. John at Kaneo is the symbol of Ohrid. Built in the late 13th century and situated right above the fishermen village of Kaneo, on a cliff rising from the shore of the Lake Ohrid, it will enchant you with its picturesque location and characteristic Byzantine architecture. When visiting the church, you will notice the beautiful frescos and icons. The Medieval fortress of Tsar Samuil, the seat of the Macedonian Empire in the 10th century is amazing! With its mighty walls and several defensive towers surviving to this day, it is now a tourist attraction, and you can take beautiful panoramic photos from its top. The walls, on top of which you can walk, offer a view of the Old Town and Lake Ohrid. The monastery built at the southernmost point of Lake Ohrid was founded by St. Naum of Ohrid, a disciple of Saints Cyril and Methodius. Interestingly, it is said that you can hear St. Naum’s heartbeat when at his tomb. Although you can reach the monastery from Ohrid by bus, consider a cruise on Lake Ohrid, which will give you an opportunity to see the Galičica Mountains and the Bay of Bones, a reconstruction of a prehistoric settlement.

    In Ohrid there is the Old Town, an excellently preserved and authentic piece of history. Walking up and down its narrow cobbled streets, you will pass old Ottoman houses and find the remains of the city’s fortifications, e.g. the well preserved Upper Gate. Ohrid’s greatest tourist attractions include the Ancient Theatre, the only Hellenic-type theatre in the country. A site of public performances today, it offers you an opportunity to see theatre plays, concerts and opera.

    Ohrid and the beautiful Lake Ohrid

    North Macedonia’s greatest wonders of nature can be seen at the Lake Ohrid. One of the oldest and largest basins in Europe, its crystal-clear waters are home to over 200 plant and animal species. If you want to enjoy summer, the neighbourhood of the city center offers many places where you can swim or relax on the shores of the lake. There are several public pebble beaches stretching between the Ohrid Port and the Church of St. John at Kaneo.

    Getting to Ohrid is actually rather easy. The local Ohrid airport serves flights to only a few European destinations, especially in the summertime but it’s worth checking if there are direct connections from your local airport. Otherwise, you can take the bus from Skopje, there are at least ten connections per day and the journey takes a bit over 3 hours. There are also a few buses per day from Bitola as well as other destinations in North Macedonia. The bus station is located some 2 km away from Old Town.If you are coming from Albania you have two options. Either take the direct bus from Tirana to Ohrid (apparently there are two of them each day) or take the bus to Struga (usually buses going to Skopje stop there) and then catch the local bus or taxi to Ohrid. Or you can take the bus to Pogradec and walk/take the taxi to the border, walk through the border and then catch the bus/taxi from Saint Naum Monastery to Ohrid.

    How to get around Ohrid

    Most of the Ohrid attractions are within a walking distance in or near Old Town. If you want to visit a bit more distant places like Saint Naum Monastery you can take the local bus or boat there. The nearby Galičica National Park is best reached by car, you can also join a tour.