Welcome To Lake Ohrid – The Pearl Of The Balkans (Oh’ & It’s Cheap Too!)

Mountainous surroundings, scattered greenery, finely constructed mosques and churches, welcoming people, spacious roads and walkways, playful children and the most beautiful lake in the world. This is Ohrid, the cultural and holiday capital of Macedonia. Whether sun or snow or rain and clouds, you’re sure to find all this throughout the entire year in Ohrid.

Still an undiscovered and unheard of place for many, Ohrid as a city and Macedonia as a country are doing their best to open up their doors for visitors from around the globe. One of the most unique features of this place is the Lake Ohrid.

Lake Ohrid is one of the oldest and deepest lakes in the world and more interestingly has some of the freshest drinking water in the entire world. What’s more interesting is that the Lake is shared by two countries; the first being Macedonia and the second being Albania (which also makes travelling to Albania possible within an hour or two). Both Pogradec, a city in Albania and Tushemisht, a settlement in Albania lie on the Albanian side of Lake Ohrid whilst Ohrid sits on the Macedonian side of Lake Ohrid. It’s fascinating that although Macedonia is a country which is landlocked by five other countries (Albania, Kososvo, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece), it still boasts a beach and coastal setting thanks to the lake.

There is a a lot to do and see here, including walking through an immense amount of history which the place proudly possesses. Not only does the city have one of the most beautiful and oldest lakes in the world, but it also has mosques and churches from the 8th century. There are churches here that date back 1000 years and mosques that date back to the times of the Ottoman rule. We were also told by one of the locals that Ohrid possesses it’s very own Cinar Tree which apparently is nearly 1000 years old.

Church Of Saints Clement and Panteleimon – formerly a Mosque in the 16th Century
Haji Durgut Mosque built in the year 1466

What makes all this even better is that you can enjoy this place at a very reasonable price. For example, we spent a fraction of what we normally would on pretty much everything here in Ohrid.

In Macedonia they use Macedonian Denar as their currency. For £1 you usually get about 70 Macedonian Denars MKD (April ’19).

A cup of coffee or cappuccino will cost you around 35 MKD which works out to around 50p! A bargain when you compare it to cups of coffees you’ll purchase in other parts of Europe. A taxi will cost you around 60 MKD for every mile which works out to around 80p! Bakery products such as croissants, muffins, doughnuts and bread range from 17 MKD to 35 MKD. An entire plate of falafel, hummus, salad, bread and drink costed us 200 MKD which works out to less than £3!. Museum visits and entrance fees for famous sites and monuments will cost you no more than 100 MKD. One night in a 4 star villa will set you back around 1300 MKD (if prebooked – click here to use my booking.com referral link to book your next hotel. You’ll get 10% cashback and booking.com will pay me for referring). A taxi from the airport to the centre will cost you around 600 MKD.

All this including bread and a drink for 200MKD (approx £2.80!)

You can tell from these costs that you won’t have an issue if traveling on a budget when you come here. In fact Macedonia along with other nearby countries in the Balkans are known to be some of the cheapest countries in the world. For around a week, for both my wife and I, we spent just under 200 euros together on general spending which included transfers to and from the airport, getting around by taxi, a half an hour boat ride, entrance fees, all food including breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner, gifts and souvenirs as well as drinks such as coffee, milkshakes and juices. We stayed in Villa Mesokastro For 7 nights which was a 4 star villa close by to the centre and it worked out to £130 which is approx £18.50 a night. I would highly recommend staying there as the rooms are superb, the balconies have great views and the family that own the place are genuinely very nice and welcoming. Click here to book a stay at Villa Mesokastro. You can’t go wrong with these prices in such a beautiful country filled with history, nature, awesome surroundings and of course a beautiful lake.

A view from our balcony

Flights out to Ohrid depart from London Luton Airport in the UK. If you look ahead, you can snap up some good prices. Aside from the prices, this country is slowly but surely climbing it’s way out of the ill-effects of communism and therefore when you’re there you may experience an atmosphere of sadness but hope from the locals. Take advantage of traveling to this picturesque country, support the locals and have a fabulous time.

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