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Unveiling Ohrid: A Comprehensive Travel Guide for Exploring this Stunning City

by | Apr 17, 2023 | Blog, Travel

Ohrid, located in the southwestern part of North Macedonia, is a beautiful city situated on the shores of Lake Ohrid. It is one of the oldest and most charming cities in the country, famous for its natural beauty, cultural heritage, and historical landmarks.

Ohrid is a beautiful city located on the shores of Lake Ohrid in North Macedonia, renowned for its natural beauty, rich history, and cultural significance. In 1979, the city of Ohrid and the nearby Lake Ohrid were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for their outstanding universal value as a cultural and natural site.

The city has a long and fascinating history, with archaeological evidence suggesting that it has been inhabited since at least the Neolithic period. Over the centuries, Ohrid has been ruled by various empires and civilizations, each leaving their mark on the city’s architecture, culture, and traditions.

The UNESCO designation highlights Ohrid’s unique and exceptional cultural heritage, including its beautiful churches and monasteries, ancient fortifications, and picturesque natural scenery. Today, Ohrid remains a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from around the world who come to experience its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture.

If you’re planning to visit Ohrid, here’s a comprehensive travel guide to help you explore this stunning city.

Explore the Old Town

The Old Town of Ohrid is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s easy to see why. With its narrow cobbled streets, charming houses, and historic landmarks, the Old Town is a must-visit for anyone traveling to Ohrid.

Take a stroll through the Old Town and visit the many churches and monasteries, including the Church of St. Sophia and the Monastery of St. Naum.

Ohrid old town at night

Boat ride on the Lake Ohrid

Lake Ohrid is the jewel in the crown of Ohrid, and it’s one of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe.

The lake is home to over 200 endemic species of plants and animals, making it a unique and important ecological site. Take a boat ride on the lake, swim in its crystal-clear waters, or simply relax on the beach and take in the stunning views.

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Ohrid lake boats

Climb up to the Fortress of Samuel

The Fortress of Samuel is one of the most iconic landmarks in Ohrid, and it offers breathtaking views of the city and the lake.

The fortress dates back to the 4th century, and it was named after the Bulgarian Emperor Samuel who ruled the region in the 10th century. Climb up to the top of the fortress and enjoy the panoramic views of Ohrid.

Fortress of Samuel, Ohrid

Try the Local Cuisine

Macedonian cuisine is a mix of Balkan, Mediterranean, and Turkish influences, and it’s known for its rich flavors and hearty dishes.

Try some of the local specialties, such as Tavce Gravce (baked beans), Ajvar (red pepper and eggplant spread), and Kebapi (grilled meat).

Macedonian Local Cuisine

Monastery St. Naum Ohridski in Ohrid

The Monastery St. Naum Ohridski is one of the most important and picturesque religious sites in Ohrid.

Located on the southern shore of Lake Ohrid, the monastery was built in the 10th century and is dedicated to St. Naum, one of the disciples of St. Cyril and St. Methodius, the creators of the Cyrillic alphabet.

St. Naum Ohridski Monastery in Ohrid Macedonia

The monastery complex includes a church, a cemetery, a bell tower, and a natural spring that is believed to have healing powers.

Visitors can explore the beautifully decorated church, which features stunning frescoes and icons, and walk through the peaceful gardens surrounding the monastery.

The highlight of any visit to the Monastery St. Naum Ohridski is the boat ride to the nearby springs, where visitors can see the clear, turquoise waters bubbling up from the lake bottom.

The springs are home to numerous species of fish, and legend has it that they were created by St. Naum himself. Overall, the Monastery St. Naum Ohridski is a must-see attraction in Ohrid, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, religious history, and cultural significance.

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The springs near the Monastery St. Naum Ohridski are known as the “Blue Eye”.

The clear turquoise waters bubble up from the bottom of Lake Ohrid, creating a stunning natural spectacle.

The water is incredibly clear, and visitors can see down to the bottom where fish swim in the crystal-clear waters. The springs are said to have healing properties, and visitors often come to bathe in the cool waters. The water eventually flows into the Drin River.

St. Naum Springs view

St. Jovan Bogoslov, Kaneo in Ohrid

St. Jovan Bogoslov, Kaneo is a beautiful 13th-century church located on a cliff overlooking Lake Ohrid in Ohrid, North Macedonia.

The church is renowned for its stunning Byzantine-style architecture and its picturesque location. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding mountains from the church’s terrace.

The interior of the church is decorated with beautiful frescoes and icons, many of which date back to the 13th century.

Today, St. Jovan Bogoslov, Kaneo is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ohrid and a must-see destination for anyone visiting the area.

St. Jovan Bogoslov, Kaneo in Ohrid

Bay of Bones in Ohrid

The Bay of Bones is an incredible archaeological site located on the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid in North Macedonia.

The site consists of a reconstructed ancient village built on wooden platforms over the water, dating back to the Bronze and Iron Ages. Visitors can explore the complex, which includes a museum with exhibits on local history and artifacts found in the lake.

The Bay of Bones is a unique destination that offers a glimpse into the everyday life of the people who lived in the area over 2000 years ago.

The site is also an excellent spot to take in the stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Overall, a visit to the Bay of Bones is a fascinating and memorable experience that should not be missed by anyone interested in history or archaeology.

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Bay of bones, Ohrid, Macedonia

Experience the Nightlife

Ohrid is known for its vibrant nightlife, with many bars, clubs, and restaurants open until the early hours of the morning.

Take a stroll along the lake promenade and visit some of the many bars and clubs, or simply sit and enjoy a drink while taking in the stunning views of the lake.

How Long Should You Stay in Ohrid:

Ohrid LakeIf you’re wondering how many days you should spend in Ohrid, the answer depends on what you want to see and do. To truly experience the beauty of Ohrid and its surroundings, we recommend spending at least 3-4 days in the city.

This will give you enough time to explore the Old Town, visit the churches and monasteries, take a boat ride on the lake, climb up to the Fortress of Samuel, try some local cuisine, and experience the nightlife.

However, if you have more time, you can easily spend a week or more in Ohrid and use it as a base to explore the surrounding area, including the Galicica National Park, the St. Naum Monastery, and the Macedonian-Albanian border region.

Ultimately, the length of your stay in Ohrid will depend on your interests, schedule, and budget, but we highly recommend giving yourself enough time to fully experience this stunning city and all it has to offer.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Ohrid is a stunning city with a rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and a vibrant nightlife. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply want to relax and enjoy the stunning views, Ohrid has something for everyone. So, pack your bags and head to Ohrid for an unforgettable travel experience!