25 Things To Do In Ohrid

Known as the ‘Pearl of the Balkans’, Ohrid is a hidden treasure within the Balkan countries. Although landlocked by five other countries, this city still boasts a unique feature; it’s very own lake, parts of which act as beaches throughout the peak season. Ohrid is also a very sacred place with the city once having 365 open churches, one of each day of the year. Today only around 70 still have their doors open.

It has been over 25 years since Macedonia celebrated their independence from the failed state of Yugloslavia. Since then, the country has opened up their doors to visitors from around the globe. Ohrid and the lake of Ohrid are both UNESCO sites, one of only 28 sites around the world to be marked as both. Whats more, this place, although small in size contains some fun and enjoyable things to do when visiting. Read on to find out more about what to do in Ohrid.

Remember, many of the attractions in Ohrid are within walking distance so you will not need to take a taxi. Unless you have issues walking, I would highly recommend walking around to visit most of the sites in Ohrid.

OHRID CITY GUIDE – MORE ON GETTING HERE, WHERE TO STAY, WHAT TO EAT AND MORE.

National Museum – Robevi Family House

In short, this is a house of one of the residents of Ohrid turned into an archeological museum. It is a really good example of Ohrid architecture and interestingly the house gets more spacious the higher you climb. There’s a lot to see inside including artwork, carpets, clothes, household utensils and more. It is really quite amazing that a lot of this has been preserved until today. It’ll take you around 30 minutes to do a tour of the entire house.

The house belonged to the Robev family in the 19th century but was originally built by Todor Petkov from a village Gari near Debar in 1863 – 1864 thus making it one of the most representative example of the old-town architecture.

Getting There: You can easily walk here or get a taxi. It’s easier to walk here. If getting a taxi, simply mention the name of the museum and the taxi driver will take you there.
Address: Tsar Samoil, Ohrid 6000, Macedonia
Hours: 10AM – 2PM & 6PM – 9PM (may differ in winter)
Price: 100 MKD

National Workshop For Handmade Paper

Located next door to the Robevi Family House museum you have this small yet interesting hand made paper museum. Walking by this museum, you can easily miss it so keep this one on your list and keep a look out. Inside, you can see a demonstration on how paper is made. We were shown how paper can be made using oaktree, cotton and water.

This place is one of the seven in the world and they have been printing paper since the 16th century. They also have a copy of the Gutenberg press (150 years old) on which the first printed book was the Bible! There are only two copies of the Gutenberg Press in the world and one of them is here in Ohrid.

Getting There: You can easily walk here or get a taxi. It’s easier to walk here. If getting a taxi, simply mention the name of the museum and the taxi driver will take you there.
Address: Tsar Samoil 44, Ohrid 6000, Macedonia
Hours: Monday-Saturday from 8:30PM – 9:00PM; Sunday and winter working hours 9:00PM – 4:00PM.
Price: Free

Ancient Theatre

This place was built in 200BC and is a hellenistic-type theatre. Legend has it that this place was once used for gladiator fights. It was built in this location because this is the center of the elevated town. The location is protected from winds that would have interfered with acoustics during performances.

For a long time this place was abandoned until it was discovered accidentally. It was then later excavated and today is a tourist site as well as the place used for the annual Ohrid Summer Festival. Oh yeah and one more thing, you can get some awesome views of Lake Ohrid from here.

Getting There: You can easily walk here or get a taxi. It’s easier to walk here. If getting a taxi, simply mention Ancient Theatre and the taxi driver will take you there.
Address: Ilindenska, Ohrid 6000, North Macedonia
Hours: Open 24 hours
Price: Free

Samuel’s Fortress

One of the largest medieval forts in Macedonia, this place occupies the entire Ohrid hill which rises to 100 meters. It was definitely a mission to climb our way up here but worth it once we reached the top. The steps were incredibly steep so do be careful. Anyway, the purpose of the fortress was keeping a watch out over the city to protect the public.

The fortress was destroyed a number of times, only to be rebuilt and upgraded. From all sides of the fort you can get some amazing views of the city except for one side from which you get a really nice view of Lake Ohrid.

Getting There: You can easily walk here or get a taxi. It’s easier to walk here. If getting a taxi, simply mention Samuel’s Fortress and the taxi driver will take you there.
Address: Samuel’s Fortress, Ohrid, North Macedonia
Hours: 9AM – 6PM
Price: 60 MKD

Church of St. John at Kaneo

Wow! One of the most spectacularly constructed churches in the world built in one of the most magnificent of locations. This church has a byzantine/armenian architectural style and was built in the honor of St. John the Theologian. The church is right above the fisherman’s settlement which is a great place to catch a boat ride and eat some fish. The church is known to be one of the most beautiful churches in the entire Balkan region!

Getting There: You can easily walk here or get a taxi. It’s easier to walk here. If getting a taxi, simply mention Church St John Kaneo and the taxi driver will take you there.
Address: Kaneo Plaosnik Pateka, Ohrid 6000, North Macedonia
Hours: 9AM – 6PM
Price: Free unless you want to enter the church which will cost 100 MKD

Church of Saints Clement and Panteleimon

This is a byzantine style church located in the area Plasonik. The interesting thing about this church is that it is likely the place where the first students of the Glagolitic alphabet were taught; the alphabet used to translate the bible into old church slavonic.

Saint Clement had this built when he arrived into Ohrid and used it as a place for teaching his disciples. In the 15th century the church was converted into a mosque by the Ottomans. In the 16th century the Ottomans allowed for monasteries and churches to be restored. After this another mosque was built known as the Imaret Camii with this being torn down in 2000.

A little known fact; within the compound, in one of the corners you will find the graves of two muslim Turkish men who were residents of Ohrid. The names of only one of the men is inscribed on the wall outside which is Sinan Celebi from the year 1493.

Getting There: You can easily walk here or get a taxi. It’s easier to walk here. If getting a taxi, simply mention the name of the church and the taxi driver will take you there.
Address: Kuzman Kapidan, Ohrid 6000, North Macedonia
Hours: 9AM – 6PM
Price: 100 MKD

1000 Year Old Cinar Tree

This is a interesting fact. Travel guides and locals tell us that there is a 1000 year old Cinar Tree at the end of the Old Bazaar street (St Clement of Ohrid). Here you’ll see local street food vendors as well as locals selling souvenirs.

History tells us that this tree was planted by Kliment Ohridski 11 centuries ago and since then it has been a gathering place for everyone regardless of religion and social status. Close by to the tree, you will also see some city taps. These were the first city taps with cold water conducted from a close by mountain.

Since its inception, the tree has been through earthquakes, floods, battles and a change of masters. On the other hand, it was also a place where people gathered, conversed, bonded and got married. If in Ohrid, make sure to visit this ‘great’ tree.

Getting There: Walk over to the end of St Clement of Ohrid road which is at the end of the Old Bazaar.
Address: St Clement of Ohrid, Ohrid, North Macedonia
Hours: Open 24 hours
Price: Free

Take a Boat Ride

The boat in the middle with three men sat in it is the one we took.

It would be a shame to come all the way over to Ohrid and miss the opportunity to take a boat ride. Regardless of what type of boat ride you take, just make sure you take a boat ride. Close by to the port, you will find several companies offering their services and various types of boat rides.

To keep it simple I’ll tell you what we did. Walking across the marina we came across an old boat with an elderly gentleman sat in it. On the boat it said ‘Tourist Boat’ in Macedonian I think. The name of the boat was Delfin and the elderly gentleman’s name was Alchev Vasil. He charged us only €5 each and took us for a half hour tour around the lake which was accompanied with some commentary about the history of Lake Ohrid. He also let me take control of the wheel which was really fun! His contact details are below:

Name: Alchev Vasil
Name of Boat: Delfin
Phone Number: +389 70 747 268
Cost: €5 each

Visit Monastery of Saint Naum

Unfortunately we did not get to go to this place as we missed the weekly scheduled boat ride there. I highly recommend going there as it truly is a tranquil spot located at the very southwestern corner of the Lake Ohrid. It’s 29KM from the town of Ohrid and interestingly only 1KM from the Albanian border.

The location of this church was chosen on purpose as it provided a setting for peace and spirituality. It is one of the most popular tourist destination in Macedonia. The monastery dates back to 905 when it was first established.

Getting There: Either take a bus or boat to the Monastery. A bus can be taken from the Ohrid bus station and a boat can be taken from the port of Ohrid. There is a company that takes people there for €10 return via boat (another 100MKD to enter the monastery). Their details are below.
Address: Monastery of Saint Naum, Р501, 6320, North Macedonia
Hours: 9AM – 6PM
Price: 100MKD

Boat Details:
Website: http://www.boatohrid.com
Email: gilevskizoran@gmail.com
Phone Number: +38970232202, +38970232099, +38970264778

This boat takes you to the monastery around 10AM, allows you to spend a couple of hours or longer over there, then returns back to Ohrid port setting off around 2.30PM. Times may differ in the peak summer season.

Visit Church of St Sophia

One of the largest churches in the region, this place was once upon a time a cathedral. The exact date of its construction is unknown as there is no inscription with this information. When the Ottomans conquered Ohrid, the church was converted into a mosque. Much of the design, interior and exterior of the church was redesigned to look more like a mosque.

Getting There: It is best to walk here but you can also take a taxi.
Address: Tsar Samoil 88, Ohrid 6000, North Macedonia
Hours: Not sure, but if you visit throughout the day hours it will be open.
Price: Free unless you want to enter the church which will cost 100MKD

Explore The Old Town

A great place to just walk around and meet locals. Also a great place to find local food and buy genuine Ohrid pearls. The Old Town felt a lot more historical than the other parts of Ohrid so make sure you walk around here. I must warn you that some of the cobble back streets of the Old Town are steep so ensure you warm up nice and wear good footwear.

You can enter the Old Town from here.

Explore The Old Bazaar

St Clement of Ohrid is a long strip with many shops selling clothing, food, coffee, pearls, desserts, and souvenirs. It’s a great place to pick up breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, treat or even some groceries if you’re self catering. The people here are lively and welcoming and the prices are very reasonable. On this strip you’ll find cash machines, exchange bureaus and also an internet cafe.

Address: St Clement of Ohrid, Ohrid 6000, North Macedonia
Hours: All shops and food places have their own opening times. But you can walk around 24 hours a day.
Price: Free

Take a Day Trip To Bitola

New Mosque, Bitola (16th Century)

If you’ve managed to do what you could in Ohrid, take a bus to the not so far off city called Bitola. Historically it was known as Baytullah (House of God) and was also known to have over 70 mosques. Bitola is only 9 miles from the Greece border Medžitlija-Niki so if you can, take a taxi across into the closest town in Greece called Florina. Get in touch with me if you’re interested and I will give you a taxi drivers number who can do this.

To get to Bitola, head over to the bus station in Ohrid and get a bus which will cost you €5 one way and the journey should take you around 1.5 hours.

Visit The Mosques

Emin Mahmut Mosque – Goce Delchev 186

As well as there being many old churches in Ohrid, there are also many mosques with many of them being 500-600 years old. Below are some of the mosques that we visited:

  1. Ali Pasha Mosque – St Clement of Ohrid. The mosque was under construction when we were there (April ’19). This mosque was built in the year 1573 by Sulejman Pasha and served also as a school. The mosque possesses beautiful ottoman architecture and is very spacious inside as well as outside.
  2. Zeynel Abidin Pasa Cami [Halveti Hayati Tekke] – St Clement of Ohrid. A small and conveniently located mosque, it features a small prayer room with facilities for women. There are toilets and washing facilities in the basement. The mosque has an open spacious courtyard probably used for Jumuah [friday prayers].
  3. Haci Hamza Mosque – Goce Delchev. A small mosque at the end of the street Goce Delchev close by to many Halal restaurants. The mosque is open round the clock which is great just in case the others are closed. The other mosques usually close after each of the five prayers.
  4. Emin Mahmut Mosque – Goce Delchev 186. A small local mosque, probably used for the locals. This mosque also has ablution facilities right outside.
  5. Kuloglu Mosque – Goce Delchev. Another beautiful small mosque, we were welcome to this mosque by two elderly gentlemen and 3 children who welcomed us with ‘Merhaba’ and ‘Assalamu’alaikum’.

Other mosques include:

Visit The Green Market

In the middle of the centre, you will find this very local green market which is literally a green market. Here they sell everything you need such as fruits, vegetables, pickles and street food etc. You’ll find sun dried chillis, organic fruits and many organic vegetables. The locals here take pride in their products and occasionally you’ll see local men taking a break to play chess/backgammon. Pop by, buy some produce and support the locals.

Getting There: Take a taxi or walk here. If you are in the centre of Ohrid, it’s best to walk here.
Address: Boulevard Turistichka, Ohrid, North Macedonia
Hours: Usually opens around 8-9AM and closes at sunset
Price:Free

Walk Along The Marina & Port

Whatever time of day and night, if you need a stroll, look no further. The Marina and port are great places to walk, sit and relax whilst also taking some awesome photos. It’s the place locals and tourists come to unwind so everyone you’ll see here will be friendly and polite. Grab a drink, head over to the marina and enjoy the views.

Relax In The Square

Another great place to relax is the St Clement Square very close by to the marina. There are benches all over the place with restaurants close by in case you feel hungry. Oh yeah, there’s free wifi here too!

Visit The Fisherman’s Settlement

Just below the St John Church at Kaneo, you’ll find the fisherman’s settlement. Here you’ll be able to take a boat ride, buy fresh fish and also eat freshly cooked trout at one of the close by restaurants. Click here to see where the fisherman’s settlement is on the map.

Visit The Bay of Bones Museum

Known as ‘The Museum on Water’, this is an archeological complex along the Ohrid coast. It’s a very popular day trip stop and one of the most visited places in Ohrid. This place was home to a settlement of pile dwellers in prehistoric times. They resided here above the water and were supported by 10,000 wooden piles which were obviously anchored.

For a long time they were left unattended until it was excavated by an underwater team around 1997 – 2005. The museum stands to be a reconstruction of the settlement and gives visitors the chances to experience and see what it would have looked like a long time ago.

Getting Here: The museum is 16KM from Ohrid. You can get a bus from Ohrid bus station for 60MKD or a taxi for 16 EUR which will also take you to the monastery of St Naum. You can also get one of the boats here. Boats that go to St Naum do stop here for an hour.
Address: Bay of Bones Museum, Р501, Macedonia
Hours: 9AM – 7PM (July – August), 9AM – 4PM (rest of year). Remember that the museum is closed Mondays from October through to April.
Price: 100MKD [Adults], 30MKD [Students & Children]

Visit The Beaches

Potpes Beach

Even though Lake Ohrid is a lake, what’s amazing is that it has some sandy and stony beaches. There are some beautiful beaches at St Naum Monastery and other beaches that are worth visiting are Kaneo Beach and Potpes Beach.

Drink Fountain Water

Scattered throughout the city, we came across some very old water fountains and public cold taps. There is one within the complex of Church of St. Sophia. There is also another right besides the Cinar Tree in the centre. The water is fresh and cold and always refreshing. Wash your hands, wash your face and get hydrated with some of the freshest water of Ohrid.

Drink Water Directly From The Lake

Not only is it great to drink water from the fountains and water taps, but did you know that the lake has some of the freshest and cleanest water you’ll drink. When we went out for a boat ride, our boat guide took out a glass, filled it with water from the lake and drank it. Then he offered my wife and I some. I have to say, even though water does not have taste, it tasted incredibly fresh and was the perfect temperature to hydrate and quench your thirst!

Visit The National Park Galicica

This park is based at the site of the Mountain Galicica. The park is situated between the two biggest lakes in the republic namely Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa. It was only proclaimed a national park in 1958 thanks to its natural beauty and flora and fauna. Do come here as it boasts wonderful scenic views of both lakes as well as the mountains. Great for hikers, you will not regret hiking through this park.

Getting Here: The best way to get here is by car if you have hired one or via taxi. I’m not sure if there are buses coming here.
Price: 200 MKD

Take a Swim In The Lake

Don’t try this in the cold season of course! In the peak season and throughout the hotter months of June, July and maybe August, pop over to one of the beaches and take a swim. The water is crystal clear and temperature can rise to 24 degrees celsius in the summer months.

Hire a Bicycle, Scooter or Car

If you’re up for a bit more exploring around Ohrid or maybe even Macedonia, get hold of a car, scooter or bicycle. We rented a car for one day and crossed over to Greece and then to Albania and finally made our way back to Ohrid, Macedonia – all this in one day! That’s right, you can visit 3 countries in 1 day!

The company we hired with and would highly recommend is Rent A Car Escape. Their prices are extremely reasonable. We paid €28 for a Chevrolet Spark for one day with €100 deposit (not much at all). A scooter will set you back around €15 a day and a bicycle will cost around €8 for a day. The owner, Vlatko was very friendly and polite and also dropped the car off to our Villa which was quite uphill. This was quite nice as it was at no extra charge. If you want to contact Vlatko, click here. Click here for Rent A Car Escape’s location on Google Maps.

OHRID CITY GUIDE – MORE ON GETTING HERE, WHERE TO STAY, WHAT TO EAT AND MORE.

There you have it, 25 things to do in when in Ohrid. If you’ve been before or you’re wanting to visit, share your thoughts below.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close