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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!