Taking the 2.5hr ferry across Lake Ohrid to the stunning St. Naum Monastery, Macedonia

Whilst in Macedonia we just had to head over to historic and beautiful Ohrid on the border with Albania. Whilst the town itself and the surrounding areas are absolutely stunning and packed with wonders both historical and natural they are also quite busy and crowded. So we jumped on to a ferry for a wonderful 3 hours journey across the mirror like lake back in time to the landmark St. Naum Monastery on the far side of the water!

Taking the 2.5hr ferry across Lake Ohrid to the stunning St. Naum Monastery, Macedonia, svet naum, things to do in ohrid, albania, border, passport, adventure, explore, beautiful, balkans, best places to see, things to see, trips from ohrid, bay of the bones, church, paintings, frescos, ferry trip, water, swim, beach, crossing the albanian macedonian border on foot, off the beaten track, off the beaten path

The ferry ride over the mirror like Ohrid

After staring at the stunning lake Ohrid for 3 days we were desperate to get on to the water, it was too cold to swim really and the taxi boats were a rip off! Out looking for a full day adventure we discovered the ferries heading towards the wonderful St. Naum Monastery. Snapping up a bargain price we headed out for a day on the beautifully still water.

Taking the 2.5hr ferry across Lake Ohrid to the stunning St. Naum Monastery, Macedonia, svet naum, things to do in ohrid, albania, border, passport, adventure, explore, beautiful, balkans, best places to see, things to see, trips from ohrid, bay of the bones, church, paintings, frescos, ferry trip, water, swim, beach, crossing the albanian macedonian border on foot, off the beaten track, off the beaten path

The ferry we had ahead of ourselves was to take just under 2 hours, the sun was still rising above the enormous lake as we set sail across its huge expanse. One of the biggest lakes in Europe Ohrid itself is a UNESCO world heritage site and getting up close and personal with it you can really see why.

Taking the 2.5hr ferry across Lake Ohrid to the stunning St. Naum Monastery, Macedonia, svet naum, things to do in ohrid, albania, border, passport, adventure, explore, beautiful, balkans, best places to see, things to see, trips from ohrid, bay of the bones, church, paintings, frescos, ferry trip, water, swim, beach, crossing the albanian macedonian border on foot, off the beaten track, off the beaten path

We began the journey on the top deck, surrounded by Polish teenagers on a school outting! We decided to head down towards the quieter front of the boat to take in the amazing scenery that surrounded us.

Taking the 2.5hr ferry across Lake Ohrid to the stunning St. Naum Monastery, Macedonia, svet naum, things to do in ohrid, albania, border, passport, adventure, explore, beautiful, balkans, best places to see, things to see, trips from ohrid, bay of the bones, church, paintings, frescos, ferry trip, water, swim, beach, crossing the albanian macedonian border on foot, off the beaten track, off the beaten path

Here the intensely green and lush mountains reflected perfectly into the glass like water of the lake. Ohrid was living up to its high billing in an awe inspiring way.

Taking the 2.5hr ferry across Lake Ohrid to the stunning St. Naum Monastery, Macedonia, svet naum, things to do in ohrid, albania, border, passport, adventure, explore, beautiful, balkans, best places to see, things to see, trips from ohrid, bay of the bones, church, paintings, frescos, ferry trip, water, swim, beach, crossing the albanian macedonian border on foot, off the beaten track, off the beaten path

The surroundings that we passed changed and developed over the 2 hours, from resorts on the edge of the water to tiny settlements and local villages. Birds flying above and fish swimming alongside the wake of the boat. It really was such an idyllic setting. At one point we even passed by the Bay of Bones, the museum on the water displaying examples of a historic a pile-dwelling settlement. 

Taking the 2.5hr ferry across Lake Ohrid to the stunning St. Naum Monastery, Macedonia, svet naum, things to do in ohrid, albania, border, passport, adventure, explore, beautiful, balkans, best places to see, things to see, trips from ohrid, bay of the bones, church, paintings, frescos, ferry trip, water, swim, beach, crossing the albanian macedonian border on foot, off the beaten track, off the beaten path

Exploring the ancient St. Naum Monastery

Of course, as soon as we left the ferry we headed over to the beautiful Monastery many make this crossing to see. This Eastern Orthodox place of worship is perched on a cliff side over looking the turquoise waters of the famous lake. The 16th century church here contains the remains of the very saint it is named after and sits inside a stunning courtyard, some say you can still hear his heart beating if you place your ear to his crypt!

Taking the 2.5hr ferry across Lake Ohrid to the stunning St. Naum Monastery, Macedonia, svet naum, things to do in ohrid, albania, border, passport, adventure, explore, beautiful, balkans, best places to see, things to see, trips from ohrid, bay of the bones, church, paintings, frescos, ferry trip, water, swim, beach, crossing the albanian macedonian border on foot, off the beaten track, off the beaten path

Stepping over the threshold into the grounds of this historic place it almost feels like stepping back in time to a different world. In here time has stood still, with picturesque rose bushes, white peacocks and sandy beaches nearby. A slide of paradise in one of the most stunning corners of Europe.

Taking the 2.5hr ferry across Lake Ohrid to the stunning St. Naum Monastery, Macedonia, svet naum, things to do in ohrid, albania, border, passport, adventure, explore, beautiful, balkans, best places to see, things to see, trips from ohrid, bay of the bones, church, paintings, frescos, ferry trip, water, swim, beach, crossing the albanian macedonian border on foot, off the beaten track, off the beaten path

Taking the 2.5hr ferry across Lake Ohrid to the stunning St. Naum Monastery, Macedonia, svet naum, things to do in ohrid, albania, border, passport, adventure, explore, beautiful, balkans, best places to see, things to see, trips from ohrid, bay of the bones, church, paintings, frescos, ferry trip, water, swim, beach, crossing the albanian macedonian border on foot, off the beaten track, off the beaten path

Step into the St. Naum church itself and you will be greeted by amazing 16th and 19th centuries old frescos on the multi-domed ceiling.  This refuge of tranquility feels a million miles away from the tourist hustle and bustle of Ohrid itself, set right on the border with Albania is a tiny corner of this huge lake!

Taking the 2.5hr ferry across Lake Ohrid to the stunning St. Naum Monastery, Macedonia, svet naum, things to do in ohrid, albania, border, passport, adventure, explore, beautiful, balkans, best places to see, things to see, trips from ohrid, bay of the bones, church, paintings, frescos, ferry trip, water, swim, beach, crossing the albanian macedonian border on foot, off the beaten track, off the beaten path

Crossing back over the Albania border for a bit of fun (and a stamp!)

Whilst visiting the stunning St. Naum monastery on the sandy banks of Ohrid we headed over to the Albanian border…or should we say, back to the border! When we originally make the crossing we were disappointed not to get a stamp and as our love for the country grew we were even more gutted that it was not permanently etched into our passports!

Taking the 2.5hr ferry across Lake Ohrid to the stunning St. Naum Monastery, Macedonia, svet naum, things to do in ohrid, albania, border, passport, adventure, explore, beautiful, balkans, best places to see, things to see, trips from ohrid, bay of the bones, church, paintings, frescos, ferry trip, water, swim, beach, crossing the albanian macedonian border on foot, off the beaten track, off the beaten path

We love collecting stamps and travelling on large buses is often not the best way to go about it! So we hiked the 15 minutes through the forest to the isolated border crossing and briefly entered back into Albania and then back to Macedonia!

 Taking the 2.5hr ferry across Lake Ohrid to the stunning St. Naum Monastery, Macedonia, svet naum, things to do in ohrid, albania, border, passport, adventure, explore, beautiful, balkans, best places to see, things to see, trips from ohrid, bay of the bones, church, paintings, frescos, ferry trip, water, swim, beach, crossing the albanian macedonian border on foot, off the beaten track, off the beaten path

Read all about what else to do in Ohrid:

Guide to coastal Ohrid in Landlocked Macedonia

Taking the 2.5hr ferry across Lake Ohrid to the stunning St. Naum Monastery, Macedonia, svet naum, things to do in ohrid, albania, border, passport, adventure, explore, beautiful, balkans, best places to see, things to see, trips from ohrid, bay of the bones, church, paintings, frescos, ferry trip, water, swim, beach, crossing the albanian macedonian border on foot, off the beaten track, off the beaten path

Taking the 2.5hr ferry across Lake Ohrid to the stunning St. Naum Monastery, Macedonia, svet naum, things to do in ohrid, albania, border, passport, adventure, explore, beautiful, balkans, best places to see, things to see, trips from ohrid, bay of the bones, church, paintings, frescos, ferry trip, water, swim, beach, crossing the albanian macedonian border on foot, off the beaten track, off the beaten path

Have you ever taken this ferry ride or visited Ohrid

Taking the 2.5hr ferry across Lake Ohrid to the stunning St. Naum Monastery, Macedonia, svet naum, things to do in ohrid, albania, border, passport, adventure, explore, beautiful, balkans, best places to see, things to see, trips from ohrid, bay of the bones, church, paintings, frescos, ferry trip, water, swim, beach, crossing the albanian macedonian border on foot, off the beaten track, off the beaten path

See more from this county:

MACEDONIA

See more from our long term travels:

UK TO NZ

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Nicola Hilditch-Short

Nic is one half of the Roaming Renegades, a passionate traveller, climber, adventurer, photographer and artist who has a B.A in Fine Art and M.A in Design & Art Direction.
  • Danik Bates

    I cant believe I missed out on this area when I went to Macedonia back in 2008. I am so kicking myself over that! Need to get back there

    • Always good to have a reason to return, its very different down there to Skopje. We would like to return and go into the mountains inbetween too.

  • Passports & Pigtails

    Ferry rides have always been one of my favorites, and that monastery at the end is absolutely beautiful!

    • Yeah, always love relaxing on the water and seeing the beautiful world go by. Was worth the ride too!

  • Lisa

    I like ferry rides too and this looks very cool. The scenery is beautiful and love the water settlements and the monastery. Nice excursion!

  • Lara Dunning

    This is an excursion I would totally love. So glad you found an alternative and cheaper route to the monastery. I’d go that way too.

    • Yeah if you visit Ohrid then it is totally worth it and worth it to shop around too! It is such a beautiful place.

  • eBaulaTravel

    The lake is captivating from your pictures 🙂 Such a creative way to travel to the monastery! Forget about the stamp – I saw your picture at the border 😀

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  • Sofie

    Hi!
    My friend and I are going to Ohrid in a few days but we are wondering, how do you get (back) form St. Naum to Ohrid? Does a ferry go back as well? (We want to travel from Thessaloniki to Ohrid and going to Pogradec first might be the best option..)
    Thank you!!

    • Hey, yes if you book the ferry trip it takes you back too. I think there is also a bus if you wanted but the one we did was a round trip. I am not sure on that route as we did it from the north but I am sure there will be plenty of transport options as seemed to be the case for us in the region. Have a great time.