10 Reasons to Visit Ohrid

1. Bay of Bones Museum

The Bay of Bones Museum, also known as the Museum on Water, is a fascinating historical site located on the shores of Lake Ohrid. The museum features a reconstruction of a prehistoric pile dwelling settlement that dates back to the Bronze and Iron Ages. Visitors can explore the wooden platform on the lake, supported by stilts, which gives a unique insight into the daily life and customs of the ancient inhabitants. The on-site museum showcases an impressive collection of artifacts recovered from the lake, including tools, pottery, and jewelry. A visit to the Bay of Bones Museum is a captivating journey through time, offering a glimpse into the region’s prehistoric past.

2. Ancient Theatre of Ohrid

Nestled on the hillside overlooking the picturesque Lake Ohrid, the Ancient Theatre of Ohrid is a remarkable testament to the city’s rich history. Dating back to the Hellenistic period, the amphitheater is one of the best-preserved in the Balkans. With a seating capacity of around 4,000 spectators, the theater once hosted performances and gatherings. Today, it continues to be a venue for various cultural events, including concerts, plays, and traditional performances. The setting is truly magical, especially during the annual Ohrid Summer Festival, when the ancient stones reverberate with the sounds of music and applause.

3. Ohrid Lake

Ohrid Lake is the crown jewel of the region, and its significance is not just in its breathtaking beauty but also in its ecological importance. This ancient lake is one of the oldest and deepest in Europe, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The crystal-clear waters offer ample opportunities for swimming, fishing, and sailing. Boat tours are a popular choice to explore the lake’s numerous coves, hidden beaches, and the enchanting St. Naum Springs. For nature enthusiasts, Ohrid Lake is home to a unique ecosystem with several endemic species, making it a perfect destination for birdwatching and nature walks.

4. Galicica National Park

Ohrid is not just about historical and cultural attractions; it also boasts the stunning Galicica National Park. Situated between Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa, this park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The rugged mountainous terrain offers excellent hiking trails, ranging from leisurely walks to more challenging treks. The diverse flora and fauna make Galicica a haven for nature lovers and photographers. From the mountain peaks, visitors can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of both Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa, making the hike truly rewarding.

5. Samuel’s Fortress

Perched high above the city on the hill of Tsar Samuel, Samuel’s Fortress is a medieval marvel that dates back to the 4th century. Named after the Bulgarian tsar Samuel, who ruled the region during the First Bulgarian Empire, the fortress played a vital role in the area’s defense. Its strategic location provides commanding views of the city, the lake, and the surrounding landscapes. Exploring the fortress walls, gates, and towers is a journey back in time, and the picturesque setting creates a perfect backdrop for photography and relaxation.

6. St. Clement Church and Plaosnik Archaeological Site

Plaosnik is an ancient archaeological site in Ohrid, believed to be the location of the first Slavic university and the Ohrid Literary School, where St. Clement of Ohrid worked. The site features the Church of St. Panteleimon, which houses a collection of remarkable frescoes. Nearby, the Church of St. Clement is a splendid example of Byzantine architecture, adorned with breathtaking artwork. The entire area is of significant historical and religious importance, and visitors can witness the fusion of different cultural influences that shaped the region’s heritage.

7. Saint Naum Monastery

Located at the southernmost tip of Lake Ohrid, the Saint Naum Monastery is a tranquil and spiritual haven. Founded in the 9th century by St. Naum of Ohrid, a disciple of St. Cyril and St. Methodius, the monastery exudes a serene atmosphere. Its unique location near the springs of the Black Drim River adds to the enchantment. The complex includes a beautiful church adorned with stunning frescoes, a peaceful courtyard, and a scenic pathway along the lake. Visitors can take a boat tour from Ohrid to reach the monastery while enjoying the stunning views along the way.

8. Boat Tours

Exploring Lake Ohrid and its surroundings by boat is an absolute must-do activity in Ohrid. Various boat tours are available, ranging from short rides to day-long excursions. Tourists can discover hidden beaches, swim in the crystal-clear waters, and visit historic sites only accessible by boat, such as the Bay of Bones Museum and St. Naum Monastery. Captains and guides on the boats often share interesting stories and legends associated with the lake and its landmarks, making the experience both entertaining and educational.

9. Ohrid Old Town

Ohrid Old Town is a charming area that transports visitors back in time with its narrow, cobblestone streets, traditional architecture, and historical landmarks. The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers a plethora of cultural and historical attractions. Among the highlights are the Ancient Theatre, the Church of St. Sophia, and numerous old churches adorned with beautiful frescoes. The town is also dotted with quaint cafes, art galleries, and handicraft shops, making it a delightful place to wander and immerse oneself in the local culture.

10. St. John at Kaneo Church

Situated on a cliff overlooking Lake Ohrid, the Church of St. John at Kaneo is one of the most iconic landmarks in the region. Dating back to the 13th century, this small but picturesque church is renowned for its stunning Byzantine architecture and breathtaking vistas. The panoramic views of Lake Ohrid and the surrounding mountains make it a popular spot for photographers and artists seeking inspiration. Watching the sunset from this vantage point is an unforgettable experience and offers a sense of tranquility that captivates the soul.

About Ohrid

If you are you interested in knowing about the town situated on the shores of Lake Ohrid, one of the oldest human settlements in Europe, want to feel the place where writing, education and Slavonic culture have spread out from.

The frescoes are considered one of the most important collections of icons in the world. All of this is located in a natural setting of exceptional, unspoiled beauty in between the Galicica National Park and the Ohrid Lake, inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO. This full day tour of Ohrid and its surrounding sites will remark the best of your visit to Macedonia.

This full day circle tour around Lake Ohrid will give you the opportunity to compare the similarities and diversities of the two countries; taste some delicious fresh-water fish; witness some great historical and archaeological sites and enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings.

Ohrid Airport to City Center

The journey from Ohrid Airport to the city center is a delightful introduction to the beauty of the region. Ohrid “St. Paul the Apostle” Airport is conveniently located around 9 kilometers northeast of Ohrid’s city center, ensuring that travelers can quickly reach their destination.

Upon arrival, visitors have several transportation options to get to the city center. The most common and convenient method is by taxi. Taxis are readily available outside the airport terminal, and the journey typically takes around 15 to 20 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. It is advisable to agree on the fare with the driver before starting the journey, as some taxis may not use a meter.

Another option is to use a pre-arranged transfer service offered by many hotels and travel agencies. This option provides a hassle-free experience, as the driver will be waiting for you at the airport with a placard displaying your name. Pre-booking a transfer is particularly beneficial for those who prefer a seamless and reliable transition to their accommodation.

For budget-conscious travelers or those seeking a more local experience, public transportation is available. The city center can be reached by using the regular bus service from the airport. Buses are scheduled to coincide with flight arrivals, making it a convenient option. However, it’s advisable to check the bus schedule beforehand, as the frequency may vary throughout the day.

As you leave the airport premises, you’ll be greeted by the stunning scenery of Lake Ohrid and the surrounding mountains. The journey to the city center takes you along a picturesque route, providing glimpses of the lake’s shimmering waters and the charming landscapes that have made Ohrid a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As you approach the city center, the bustling atmosphere and quaint streets of Ohrid Old Town come into view. The town’s historical landmarks, traditional architecture, and numerous churches can be seen along the way, setting the tone for an enchanting stay in this cultural gem.

    Public Transport in Ohrid

    Public transport in Ohrid is well-developed and offers convenient options for getting around the city and its surroundings. The main mode of public transportation is the bus, with a reliable network connecting key areas within Ohrid and nearby towns. Buses are scheduled regularly, and their routes cover popular tourist spots, such as the city center, the lake promenade, and important landmarks. Tickets can be purchased directly from the driver. The affordability and accessibility of the public transport system make it a practical choice for both locals and visitors, providing an easy and cost-effective way to explore Ohrid’s beauty and attractions.

    Shopping in Ohrid

    From traditional markets to modern boutiques and galleries, shopping in Ohrid provides a delightful experience, allowing you to find unique treasures and souvenirs to cherish from your visit to this beautiful Macedonian city. Places where you can go shopping but not limited to are:

    1. Old Bazaar (Stara Charshija)

    The Old Bazaar, or Stara Charshija, is a vibrant and historic shopping district located in the heart of Ohrid’s Old Town. Stepping into this charming area is like traveling back in time, as it preserves the traditional ambiance and architecture of the past. The narrow cobblestone streets are lined with a variety of shops and stalls, offering a diverse range of goods, including handmade crafts, textiles, jewelry, ceramics, and souvenirs. Visitors can explore local artisan shops to find unique gifts and mementos, while also indulging in the authentic atmosphere of this centuries-old market.

    2. Biljana Handmade Shop

    Nestled within the Old Bazaar, the Biljana Handmade Shop is a hidden gem for those seeking beautifully crafted handmade items. This charming boutique showcases an array of locally made pottery, ceramics, and artistic gifts. Each piece is skillfully crafted, reflecting the rich Macedonian heritage and the creativity of the local artisans. From intricately designed plates and vases to delicate ceramic figurines, every creation in Biljana Handmade Shop is a work of art that captures the essence of Ohrid’s cultural heritage.

    3. Kokoska Art Gallery

    Art enthusiasts will find solace in the Kokoska Art Gallery, a delightful space dedicated to promoting and exhibiting works of local artists. Situated near the famous Church of St. John at Kaneo, this gallery boasts an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and other forms of artistic expression. The exhibits often reflect themes inspired by the region’s landscapes, traditions, and history, making it an excellent opportunity to connect with the local culture through art.

    4. Silver House

    Jewelry enthusiasts will be captivated by the allure of the Silver House, a store entirely devoted to silver jewelry. The shop showcases an exquisite collection of intricately designed pieces, ranging from delicate necklaces and bracelets to ornate rings and earrings. Many items feature traditional Macedonian motifs, adding a cultural touch to the jewelry. The skilled craftsmanship and the use of high-quality silver make the Silver House a go-to destination for those seeking unique and timeless accessories.

    5. Ohrid Shopping Center

    For a modern shopping experience in Ohrid, the Ohrid Shopping Center is the place to go. This contemporary mall offers a mix of local and international brands, providing a diverse selection of clothing, accessories, footwear, electronics, and more. Apart from shopping, the mall also houses several cafes, restaurants, and entertainment facilities, making it a popular hangout spot for both locals and tourists.

    6. Bazaar Kapali Carsija

    Located in the city center, the Bazaar Kapali Carsija is another bustling marketplace worth exploring. This market is known for its traditional Macedonian crafts, wooden items, handwoven textiles, and various local products. Strolling through the stalls, visitors can find a range of goods, including embroidered linens, handcrafted wooden toys, and leather goods. The friendly vendors often take pride in sharing stories about their creations, adding a personal touch to the shopping experience.

    7. Ohrid Handmade Pearl Shop

    For those enchanted by the beauty of pearls, the Ohrid Handmade Pearl Shop is a must-visit. Specializing in handcrafted pearl jewelry, this boutique offers an array of elegant and sophisticated pieces. Each pearl is carefully selected, and the jewelry is crafted with precision and artistic flair. The shop’s creations cater to different tastes and occasions, making it an ideal place to find a unique gift or a special keepsake from Ohrid.

    8. Ohrid Souvenir Shop

    Located conveniently within the city center, the Ohrid Souvenir Shop is a delightful stop to find a range of keepsakes and memorabilia. From postcards and magnets to keychains and traditional Macedonian crafts, this shop offers a wide variety of souvenirs for travelers to bring back home as cherished reminders of their time in Ohrid. The friendly staff is always ready to assist in selecting the perfect memento or to share insights into the local culture.

    9. Ohrid Art Corner

    Tucked away in the quaint streets of Ohrid Old Town, the Ohrid Art Corner is a cozy boutique dedicated to promoting local artists and their creations. Visitors can browse through a collection of paintings, hand-painted items, and unique gifts that showcase the region’s culture and artistic talent. The gallery-like ambiance allows patrons to immerse themselves in the creative spirit of Ohrid and discover hidden artistic gems.

    10. Ohrid City Market

    The Ohrid City Market is a bustling open-air market located in the heart of the city. Here, locals and visitors alike can indulge in a vibrant shopping experience, surrounded by fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and an array of locally produced goods. Strolling through the market, one can feel the lively atmosphere as vendors display their colorful and aromatic products. It’s not only a place for shopping but also an opportunity to interact with the locals and get a taste of the region’s fresh and flavorful produce.

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