The wonderful coastal town of Ohrid in landlocked Macedonia can on the surface appear a little touristsy, but in truth there is a reason Macedonia’s flock to this stunning town set on the shores of one of Europe’s deepest and oldest lakes. This UNESCO listed lake and town combine to create one of the most picturesque locations in the Balkans as well as one of the most historic. The resort might be busy at times, but take a short walk and you can have this wonderful place to yourself!
Wonder at the church of St John at Kaneo as it clings to a cliff overlooking the lake
An icon of Ohrid this 13th century church teeters wonderfully on the edge of a cliff overlooking the deep blue waters of the lake. Take a walk down through the woods from the fortress and before long the whole area opens up in front of you to revel this beautiful and picture perfect scene. The Macedonian orthodox church is one of the must see sights of the lake, after staring at its unique style and position make sure to head down to the beach and dock below!
Explore the maze like streets of the Old Town
Leave behind the tourist filled streets around the lake and climb the steep and hilly cobbled streets of the old town. Up here you will find everyday local life in this stunning town in full flow, houses and churches dating back centuries and of course, the famous old cars that line the beautiful streets up here! when exploring this maze like area of the town take the time to really look at the wonderful details of the unique architecture of the region. Oh, and don’t forget the amazing views of the lake the steep walk will reward you with!
Ohrid isn’t just for looking at, this resort is so because the lake makes a wonderful place to swim in the fresh water. Lining the lake are several beaches where you can sunbath and take a refreshing dip! You can take a walk along the edges of the lake to find a more secluded spot or if you are really lazy then you can jump in right from the town itself! There are so many beaches, jetties and landings where you can enjoy the water surrounded by fellow revellers or in peace if you so desire!
Take in amazing views from Samuels fortress
Sitting on the hill above St. John’s church Samuels Fortress dates back to the 4th century and the first Bulgarian Empire of which Ohrid was part of. Not only can you step back in time and explore the fascinating history of this magnificent region, but from this vantage point you can take in an unforgettable panorama of the lake and surrounding town. Entry to the fortress costs only a few pence and is well worth the hike up to it’s wonderful location!
Gaze at the ancient St. Sophia’s cathedral
The church of St. Sophia is one of the most important monuments of Macedonia. Sitting deep within the maze of old town the church was built between 852 and 889. The church is not only a fine example of sheer beautiful and detailed artistry but it is also a timeline of the history of Macedonia. The church began life as a Bulgarian Orthodox Church and has been converted over the years into a Mosque and back into a Macedonian Orthodox Church, symbolising the different eras of occupation of this country. Today the church appears on the reverse of the Macedonia 1000 denar note!
Go back in time at the theatre of Ohrid
The history of Ohrid dates back to the ancient times, back before the Bulgarians and the Ottomans there was the Greek era. The theatre of Ohrid is unique in Macedonia as the only relic of its type made during the Hellenistic period of 200BC, all over examples in Macedonia are from the Roman era. The site was used over the years for several different purposes, from gladiator flights to the executions of Christians by the Romans. The site is so well preserved due to being buried by locals after the end of Roman rule, only to be discovered by accident in the 1980’s. Today the theatre is again used for performances, plays, concerts and festivals.
Take the ferry over to St. Naum from Ohrid
Over near the Albanian border lies the stunning and historic St. Naum Monastery roughly 18 miles from the town of Ohrid. From there you can take a wonderful day trip which includes a stunning 2.5hr ferry ride over the beautiful lake towards an icon of the country.
Taking this trip you get to travel the most stunning route over to the monastery, across the mirror like blue waters of Ohrid, past beaches, cliffs and mountains. The monastery itself is set in the most wonderful grounds where peacocks roam free and the views from the balcony over the lake are second to none. Inside the church dating back 905 you will find some of the most amazing examples of frescos in the region.