OhridOhrid (Macedonian: Охрид) is a town in southwestern North Macedonia on the shore of Lake Ohrid. A town of vast history and heritage, it was made a UNESCO heritage site in 1980. Nestled between high mountains up to 2,800 m and Lake Ohrid, it is not only a place of historic significance but also of outstanding natural beauty. Ohrid is the jewel in North Macedonia's crown.
Archaeological finds indicate that Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in all of Europe. The lake itself is over three million years old. Ohrid town is first mentioned in Greek documents from 353 BCE, when it was known as Lychnidos - or, “the city of light.” Only much later, in 879 CE, was it renamed Ohrid. The name probably derives from the phrase “vo hridi” – meaning roughly, “in the cliff.” It comes from the time when the town was limited in a small area on the lake side of the hill, which in fact is a huge cliff rising above the lakeshore. The town as we know it today was built mostly between the 7th and 19th centuries. During the Byzantine period, Ohrid became a significant cultural and economic center, serving as an episcopal center of the Orthodox Church and as the site of the first Slavic university run by Sts. Kliment and Naum at the end of the 9th century. At the beginning of the 11th century, Ohrid briefly became the capital of the kingdom ruled by Tsar Samuel, whose fortress still presides over the city today.
phone: +389 46 252 820The airport is open year-round but most airlines only fly during the summer, so check with your travel agent or airline for most current information. It is a very small airport and it sees at most a few flights per day. There are two food options at the airport: one cafe in the parking lot and one sandwich shop at the gates. Both are overpriced.
By boatThere is a daily boat to Pogradec in Albania, leaving Ohrid at 10:00.
Bus stationphone: +389 46 260 339At the station, there are several (at least three) ticket offices of various bus companies, selling tickets to long-distance buses (to Skopje etc) and to suburban buses (to places like Sveti Naum and various villages)
The easiest way to get to Ohrid is from Skopje, where buses run every few hours. A bus from Skopje takes about 3.5 hours and costs 520 MKD one way or about 750 MKD RT. Timetable: Ohrid - Skopje: 5:00**, 5:30, 7:15**, 7:30, 10:45, 12:45, 15:00, 17:45, 19:00*, 20:30** . And for coming back: Skopje – (Kičevo) – Ohrid: 5:30, 6:00, 6:55*, 7:00*, 8:00, 8:30*, 9:00*, 10:00, 11:00, 14:00, 14:45, 15:30, 16:00, 16:30, 17:30, 18:30, 19:30* (*summer only - 01.06 to 31.09). In the summer, travelers to Skopje might want to buy a ticket a day or two in advance.
There are also several buses a day from Bitola, and a few direct buses from several other major Macedonian cities.
Frequent local buses (40 MKD) and shared taxis (100 MKD) to Struga.
From Albania, there is a bus line from Vlore (passing Durres and Tirana). Departure time from Ohrid to Albania: 04:30 and 05:40 am. From Tirana's international bus station, the bus to Ohrid leaves at 13:00; the fare, as of 2017, is 20 Euro. It is also possible to travel from Tirana or Elbasan to Struga on one of several daily Tirana-Skopje buses, and to take a local bus from Struga to Ohrid.
It's a little bit trickier to get to Ohrid from Greece. From Thessaloniki, the easiest way is to take a train to Skopje and then hop on a bus to Ohrid.
If you want to reach Ohrid and North Macedonia from Montenegro there is an overnight bus (operates only on Sundays) from Herceg Novi to Skopje via Albania, passing through Kotor, Budva, Bar and Ulcinj. Ticket price vary from place in Montenegro and most expensive is from Herceg Novi and cost around 25 €.
There is no railway in Ohrid. The closest passenger stations are in Kichevo (which, as of 2017, itself only has 1 train a day from Skopje) and Bitola (with 5 trains to Skopje). On the Albanian side, the railway to the nearby Pogradec was closed in 2012; the closest operating station is in Librazhd.
On footThe city center and the old town is compact and best seen on foot. An interesting walk that takes in the main attractions starts in the main square. The city's museums are in this area. From here, visit St. Sophia Church, the Antique Theater. Finally, walk up the hill to King Samuil's Fortress. Plaoshnik, and St. John - Kaneo can be visited on the return journey.
By taxiTransport in Ohrid is inexpensive and covers all areas of the city. Taxi drivers may try charge tourists higher rates, so insist on a set price.
By boatDaily boat trips to St Naum Monastery and a few interim beaches. It leaves Ohrid's main harbour at 10:00 and at 15:30 from St. Naum Monastery, with additional trips on certain days. 600 denars return.
FortificationsThe old town is circled with walls, which are crowned with Tsar Samuel fortress. The first fortifications were built in the 5th century BC, but the oldest remains preserved are from 3rd century BC. The fortifications were reinforced various times throughout history and what stands today is largely from the 10th century. There used to be four gates to the city: the Lower Gate - you’ll reach it soon after you walk from the main square inside the old part of the town on “Car Samoil” street. It used to be the gate through which regular visitors entered the city in the ancient and medieval times, just one tower of it still stands; the Upper Gate - in ancient times it used to be connected with the ancient theatre by portico. It is well preserved due to the reinforcements made in the 16th century; the Front Gate - near St Mary's Celnica Church. It is the main entrance gate but just stands in traces today; and the Water Gate - the entrance in the city from the lake, the place where it used to stand is not known.
Tsar Samuel's FortressThe fortress sits like a crown above the old town. It was built in the 10th century when Ohrid was capital of the First Bulgarian Empire by Tsar Samuel, though it was likely built upon foundations of an older fortification dating to the 4th century BC. With its positioning at the top of the Ohrid hill, it provides expansive views of the town, the lake, and the mountains.
Church of St Sofiaphone: +389 46 267 403Dating to the 9th century, St Sofia is a cathedral church of the Ohrid Archbishopric. The present church was built during the period from 1035 to 1056. The front façade with the towers and the open galleries was built in 1317 under Archbishop Gregory. The side porch was added when the church was turned into a mosque by the Turks. The interior contains a significant collection of preserved 11th century frescoes. The main altar has scenes from the Old Testament and an emotional procession of angels bowing to the Virgin Mary. The side altars have frescoes of the 40 martyrs and portraits of Patriarchs from Constantinople, Jerusalem and Antioch, archbishops from Ohrid and Roman Popes. The small square in front of it was the main forum in ancient times and is still used for various cultural performances today.
Church of St Mary PerivleptosThis church was built and painted in 1295. It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary; "Perivleptos" (from the Greek Περίβλεπτος) is an attribute given to her meaning "the Omniscient and Clairvoyant." The benefactor in its construction was the son-in-law of Byzantine Emperor Andronicus II. The church was painted by Michael and Eutychius, two young painters. Their work shows that styles later adopted in the Renaissance were already current in Byzantine art long before Gioto. The frescoes they painted have all the elements of Renaissance art except perspective. Important frescoes include, on the eastern wall, the detailed portraits of St Clement and Constantine Kavasila (former Archbishop of Ohrid) and the Lamentation of Christ painted with much emotions. On the western wall, in the Prayer on the Olive Mountain as the apostles are sleeping, take a look at their dress and how well the artists worked with color and showed the roundness of the bodies. On the northern wall, in the Death of the Virgin Mary, in order to present the holiness of the moment, there is a group of angels coming from the gates of the sky to take her soul, above her stands Jesus holding her soul. The figures are not presented the traditional Byzantine way, skinny, and emotionless. The painters were also the first Byzantine artists to sign their work (on 20 different hidden locations, look on the front columns at the sword and the cloth of two holy warriors).
Church of Sts Constantine and ElenaBuilt in 1477, this church sits just southeast of St Mary Perivleptos. It is a small church with a single nave. The whole interior is painted with frescoes.
Church of St DemetriusJust east of St Mary Perivleptos is this 14th century church, dedicated to St Demetrius. The three-nave church has high quality frescoes.
Church of Sts Cosmas and DamianFurther southeast of Sts Constantine and Elena, is this small church, also built in the 14th century. It has great frescoes, including one which is depicted on the 1,000 denar banknote. It also has a wooden iconostasis.
Church of St John at Kaneophone: +389 46 230 455This 14th century church is best known for its scenic location, standing on a cliff above Lake Ohrid, likely making it the most photographed of the town's churches. Notable about its architecture is the Armenian influence with the zig-zag line of the roof of the dome. There are only few original frescoes left inside the small church. A popular beach is situated just below the church.
Church of Sts. Clement and PantaleonSituated on the wider archaeological site of Plaošnik, the site has been an important religious center since early Christian times, if not before. It is the site of the first university in Europe, opened in the 10th century and is the place where the Cyrillic alphabet was created. The church you see is largely a reconstruction of the church St Clement built when he came here and opened the university. The original portions are the church are easily distinguished from the reconstructed portions. Inside, some original tunnels are visible via plexi-glass. When St Clement established the church, just the small round chapel that today serves as the altar existed. Because of the large influx of worshipers that followed him, he enlarged the church by building the central part of the church and turning the existing church into an altar chapel. He dedicated the church to St Pantaleon (also spelled Panteleimon), the protector of health. The closed porch and the bell tower were added later in the 13th century. Before St. Clement died, he dug his own grave inside the church. During early Ottoman rule, the Turks tore the church down after a rebellion. It still attracted a large number of worshipers and pilgrims, so they built a mosque above it which stands only in ruins today.
Early Christian churchSitting on Plaošnik next to St Pantaleon is a church in ruins, built in the 5th century. It is important as an architectural solution since it has a four-leaf shape. Central solutions like this were built in Syria and Mesopotamia and they became customary much later in Europe, in the 10th century. It shows that Ohrid had great ties with the early Christian centers and that there was an exchange of artists and minds. It has a three-leaf shape on the outside and four-leafs on the inside and it had a big dome in the center (notice the 4 huge basis of columns). There is also a small baptistry to the right with a four leafed shape with some excellent mosaics.
Church St Nicholas Bolnički & Church of St Mary BolničkaThese two small neighbouring churches were built in the 14th century with dormitories around them which were used as quarantine stations for visitors of the city. After the coming of the Turks, they were turned into hospitals. That is where the name "Bolnički" comes from (bolnica means hospital). St Nicholas Bolnički was built in 1313. The small addition on the roof was influenced by Adriatic architecture and it imitates the bell-towers of the churches on the Adriatic coast. The frescoes are in decent condition and include interesting portraits of some royals, of St Nicholas and of an Ohrid archbishop. Look for the fresco of God’s hand protecting the pure souls inside a tiny window. St Mary Bolnička's frescoes are in poorer condition. Even though the church is tiny there is a transverse vault, so the roof is in the shape of a cross.
Church of St Clement of OhridThis small, well-hidden church, built in the 14th century, is just a few steps away from the Bolnički churches, in the heart of the old town. The church is historically important since it is here that the bones of St. Clement were hidden after the Turks took the city and converted St Pantaleon to a mosque. It also has well-preserved frescoes. The church is locked; ask around the neighbouring houses for the key.
Church of the Holy Mother of God - ČelnicaThis 14th-century church in the old town is notable for being perhaps the only two-nave church in the country. Its oldest frescoes date from the 14th century, but the church was mostly repainted in the 19th century by notable artists from the Debar area.
Church of St Nicholas GerakomijaBuilt of stone and limestone, this church was completed in 1860. While still not completely painted on the interior, the existing frescoes were done by noted artist Dičo Krstev.
Church of the Assumption of the Virgin MaryThis church, dating to the 17th century, sits just above the main shopping street of the Old Bazaar in the center of town. Most of the present structure was built in 1832. It has a single dome and contains impressive frescoes. The town's small 16th-century clock tower is nearby.
Church of St Erasmusaddress: on main highway NE of central OhridA cave church and ancient Christian basilica right off the A3 highway to Struga. Archaeological excavations suggest the oldest portions of the site date from the 8th century.
Church of St NicholasThe Church of St Nicholas is in the newer part of town on Partizanska Street, one block north of the lake. It was built in 1863 and has been expanded over the years.
Church of St Georgeaddress: Pitu GuliIn Ohrid's upper neighborhoods is this 1834-built church. Some of its frescoes date from this period, while its bell tower was built in 1950.
Church of St BarbaraThis small church was built in 1965 but looks like it was built centuries ago.
Ali Pasha MosqueWhile Ohrid is known for its churches, it also has mosques including this Ottoman-era one. Located on the main pedestrian street of the Old Bazaar, the mosque was built in the 15th century. It has a rather simple design with one large dome and three smaller ones above the porch. It originally had at least one minaret but no longer has one. Reconstruction of the minaret, paid for by the Turkish government, was started in 2018 but drew protest. Nonetheless, it was completed and the renovated mosque now sits fully illuminated at night.
Zeynel Pasha TekjeA tekje is a place of spiritual retreat in the Bektashi Order, a type of Sufi Islam. Dating from 1590, the tekje is situated north of the square with the 1,000-year-old tree. It belonged to the Halvet dervish order. The building is square in shape with one minaret. The mausoleum of Muhammad Hayati, who was the founder of this dervish order, can be found in the yard of the complex. The tekje was renovated with Turkish funding in 2012.
Traditional residential architecture
Interesting houses can be seen all over the old town but the best examples are along “Car Samoil” and “Ilindenska” streets. Robevci & Uranija houses are the two best examples of traditional architecture. They are houses of very rich families (normally the houses were not this big). Especially rich in terms of architecture is Uranija house, with entrances on different levels and inside galleries. They have been turned into museums today. If you don’t have time, visit just Uranija this one is free, even though the top level of Robevci has great views, nice wood carvings, and some furniture (100 denars entrance). The house next to St. Gerakomija church is one of the few traditional houses that has been nicely and carefully preserved. It has been turned into a hotel now; Kanevce House On the right from the main façade of St. Sophia church, is the small house that belonged to Kanevce family. It has beautiful proportions and it is a good example of how they built on small locations.
A couple of these historic homes were the birthplaces of notable Macedonians and are preserved as museums:
Prličev HouseThis house was built in the early 19th century and, in 1830, writer Grigor Prličev was born in it. It has served as a museum on the writer's life and work since 2000.
Uzunov HouseHristo Uzunov was born in this house in 1878. He would go on to be the leader of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization's Ohrid region until his suicide upon being surrounded by Ottoman forces in 1905 near Kičevo. This house was built in the mid-19th century and was owned by the Uzunov family until they left Ohrid in 1906.
Other historic neighborhoods in the old town include:
Mesokastro SettlementMesokastro is the quarter right above the old bazaar, between the bazaar and the city walls. The name originates from the Latin term “meco castrum”, which means the city outside the city walls, where the poor used to live. It is interesting that the term has survived since ancient times. The houses of Mesokastro have incorporated parts of the city walls and in some parts they are not visible. If you have time walk around, since there are couple of old houses still standing and some of the streets offer great views over the lake.
Kaneo SettlementStart the walk to Kaneo from St. Sophia church. You can reach it from Plaoshnik but you would miss out on the great views and the quiet streets of Ohrid. Kaneo settlement was the quarter of the poor fishermen. This the most scenic spot of Ohrid, standing below the rock on which St. Jovan Kaneo church is situated. There is a small beach overcrowded in the summer, and a couple of restaurants.
Ancient TheatreThis is the only Hellenistic theatre remaining in North Macedonia, with the three others being from Roman times. Built in 200 BC, it was discovered by accident in the 1980s. It originally had an upper portion but only the lower portion is preserved. Today, it once again functions as a theatre, frequently used during Ohrid's Summer Festival. The theatre has a great open view of Lake Ohrid.
Icon GalleryWithin the complex of the Church of St Mary Perivleptos, this gallery contains some of the best examples of the iconographic art in North Macedonia. It is considered to be the second-most important and valuable collection of icons in the world after the Moscow collection.
Mančev BasilicaUncovered in 2009, these ruins are of an early Christian basilica, dating to the 4th or 5th century. The ruins include well-preserved floor mosaics as well as pillars and some walls. The site is situated near the Church of St Sophia.
Ohrid Clock TowerOhrid's clock tower is less prominent than others in cities like Bitola, Prilep, or Skopje. Nonetheless, it is a historic structure built in 1726. Standing 12 m (39.4 ft) tall, it sits up into the hill under the eastern side of the fortress near the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The tower is built of stone, while the top section, including where the clock sits, is built of wood.
National Ohrid museumEstablished in 1516 making it one of the oldest museums in the world. Now it shows exponents of history, archaeology and ethnology.
Hand-made Paper WorkshopWatch paper being made from wood pulp using traditional methods, also copy of the original Gutenberg press. Line drawings and colour prints can be purchased, printed on their own paper.
Photo Gallery & Cultural Centre "Cultura 365"Excellent photo exhibition(s). Here they provide tourist information, tour guides, maps of the city, and books in English.
Haydar Pasha MosqueThis early Ottoman-era mosque is likely Ohrid's oldest, built in 1456. It is located in the city's northwest side toward Struga, and features a pitched roof and a single minaret.
Down the shore
Church of St Stefan Panciraddress: village of ŠipoknoThis 14th-century cave church sits below the village of Šipokno and above the lakefront hotels Sileks, Aura, and Aqualina. The church was built into the natural cave and its frescoes date from the 14th century, though heavily damaged. The elevated position of the cave church gives it nice views over the lake.
- Peštani village – this once quiet fishing village has given up to tourism, with almost every house renting rooms and many restaurants and cafes. Desaret hotel has a good organized beach. If you don't like camping but like to enjoy the great beaches and parties in Gradishte you can stay here.
Bay of Bones Museumaddress: between Peštani and TrpejcaIn a small bay near the Gradište campground and beach, a Neolithic settlement has been reconstructed atop the water along with fortifications and a museum on land. The floating town contains reconstructed prehistoric homes with various objects inside them to help illustrate what life was like at this spot many years ago. Archaeological evidence suggests Lake Ohrid was once rich in these pile-dwelling settlements. Since opening in 2008, it has become one of Ohrid's most popular attractions. The site also features a scuba diving center. The museum is easily accessed off the highway leading to St Naum and boats from Ohrid's port also make stops here.
- Trpejca village – due to the its setting between the rocks this small fishing village has managed to preserve its charm and escape the overgrow of tourism. It has a great long but narrow beach with the cleanest waters on the lake. It has couple of good small lakeside fish and barbecue restaurants and a bar on the left side of the beach. If you don't like the beach or it seems crowded take one of the small boats and ask to be taken to one of the isolated beaches around the village and enjoy the lake by yourself, the boat will come back for you at arranged time (50-100 denars).
Zaum Monasteryaddress: village of TrpejcaAmong Ohrid's most significant churches but not as well known due to its secluded location; the church can be reached only by boat from Trpejca or Ljubaništa villages. Ask around to find someone to take you. It was built on a stunning location among the rocks on a small beach in 1299, while its frescoes were completed in 1361. The church is dedicated to the Holy Mother of God and there is an interesting legend regarding the name and reason for the monastery's construction. As this spot is near the deepest area of Ohrid Lake, many had tried to determine the depth of the lake from here. One day, a woman of nobility tried to do the same when suddenly violent waves began to attack her, causing her to pray to God to save her while promising to build a monastery on the spot to be "for the mind" (Za Um) of her and all future visitors to not test the lake and attempt to record its depth. The architecture is exquisite, but the frescoes inside are very impressive, the most striking of which is that of St Anna breastfeeding the Holy Mother. Restoration work is regularly carried out. Some visitors bring tents and camp on the grounds for days, though dormitories have been rebuilt and can now be used for lodging.
Monastery of Saint Naumaddress: village of LjubaništaOne of the most beautiful monasteries in Macedonia and an important pilgrimage place, this monastery is a must-see when visiting Ohrid. Most visitors make this a half-day or full-day trip. With a breathtaking setting on a plateau over Ohrid Lake and Galičica mountain towering from behind, it was founded in the 905 by St. Naum, but most of the present-day church was built in the 16th century. Of the original church, just the side chapel with the grave of St. Naum still stands. In the side chamber, visitors typically get down on their knees and try to listen for the heartbeat of St. Naum on his resting place. The frescoes were painted in 1806 (the side chapel frescoes depict the life and miracles of St. Naum); in the first chamber of the church look for the fresco of Sts. Cyril and Methodius and their students including St. Clement and St. Naum. The icon screen was made in 1711 and it is the oldest completely preserved wooden high icon screen in the country. Around the monastery grounds look for the peacocks, including rare albino ones. Parts of the dormitories of the monastery have been turned into a guest lodging. Near the monastery is a chapel dedicated to St Petka with holy water and beside it are the springs of the Black Drim River. Next to the monastery, the river enters the lake. On both sides of the monastery there are pleasant sandy beaches, packed in summertime. At the entrance from the parking lot to the sprawling monastery grounds is a promenade with souvenir shops and restaurants.
Black Drim SpringsImmediately next to the monastery is the source of the Black Drim River. This river begins here, flows through the entire lake, and flows back out in Struga, ultimately flowing into Albania past Debar. The springs contain small two islands, one of which is home to a popular restaurant. Tour boats available for hire take visitors around the springs.
Into the mountainsMuch of Ohrid Municipality lies more inland from the lake. Villages dot the mountains surrounding Ohrid, home to traditional architecture and fantastic views.
Church of the Dormition of the Virgin Maryaddress: village of VelestovoOn the slopes of Galičica is this small 15th-century church. Its frescoes were painted between 1444 and 1451 in a style considered a typical example of church art during Ottoman rule. Its courtyard contains the village's cemetery.
Duvaloaddress: village of KoselOne of the last traces of volcanic activity in this area, Duvalo is both a fumarole and a mofetta (emitting carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide). It is often incorrectly referred to as an actual volcano. The smell of sulfur is immediately evident upon entering the village, which sits on the way to Resen from Ohrid.
- Elšani village Elšani is the perfect place to relax and recharge. Just sitting on the terrace of a guesthouse, drinking a coffee and enjoying the view of the lake is an experience in itself, but when it's time to get up and stretch your legs, there is plenty to do. This village is a great place to enjoy walking in the mountain, and it's a perfect starting point for a number of hiking trails for all ages and skill levels. While any guesthouse can point guests in the right direction or even arrange a guide for longer hikes, trails on hikers can follow trails on either the north or south end of the village to the nearby villages Konjsko or Pestani. The windy, hilly streets of the village also provide an unforgettable place to explore.
- Head further into Galičica National Park for hiking and wildlife viewing.
BeachesApart from sightseeing, there are a few different natural beaches, usually the further from the city center the more scenic they become, and each offers a unique beach experience. Gradiste beach is known for many young people and music for instance, while others have families or tranquil atmosphere. Beaches are most crowded in July and August, and quiet the rest of the year, which is a whole different experience.
Labino beachIt's a small, stony beach that is not crowded. The water is clear and refreshing. Best time to go is in the morning.
Ljubaništa beachProbably the best beach on Ohrid Lake. The beach is long, sandy with usually clean water. There are a lot of people but you can't feel that since the beach is really big. Best time to go is after 6 PM. A sunset you won't forget.
Gorica Hotel beachThis is maybe the most beautiful beach on the coast, it's covered with small pebbles and cut between deep rocks. Unfortunately it can get very crowded, so come here in early morning or late afternoon. If you visit Ohrid off-season this is the place to come and enjoy a great swim. There is a small cafe on the beach where one might also get some snacks and ice cream or rent beach beds. Walking along the coast from the city center to this beach is scenic, even more past it, and takes about 1.5h. The presidential Villa Ohrid, where the Balkan's Peace Framework was signed, is in the woods near too.
It is possible to do scuba dive in lake Ohrid. You have to get to Gradiste, some 15 km south of Ohrid town. At the site is also Bay of Bones, an open air museum of how life used to be here. There is only one scuba diving shop (SSI affiliated), Amfora Diving, with the usual choice of courses and diving trips. One dive including rental of all equipment costs 45€.
phone: +389 46 261 304The Ohrid Summer Festival is one of the largest and most important music and drama festivals in North Macedonia. The first concert took place in 1961 in the church of St. Sophia, with its exceptional acoustics. The festival in Ohrid has a particular international flavour because of the participation of a large number of leading musicians and ensembles from the best known European and world music centers. There have been participants from 44 countries. This Festival has a solid reputation as it has gradually become part of the large family of the most famous European music festival. The Ohrid Summer Festival has its own sound conceptions, and it is able to draw up a musical program that includes artists of world renown. The Ohrid Summer Festival is held each year from July 12 to August 20.
- Ohrid Swimming Marathon - Each year, in the second half of July, the swimming elite throughout the world gathers in Ohrid and, starting from the monastery St. Naum, they swim along the Lakeshore to the town harbour, approximately a 30-km route. Since 1998 the Ohrid Swimming Marathon has entered in the World Swimming Club of the 12 worldwide held marathons under the patronage of FINA-The World Swimming Association.
- The Balkan Folklore Festival - Member of the UNESCO Association of The International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folklore Art, and The International Organization for Folklore Art. This festival has so far presented numerous original songs and dances from folk culture for more than 30 years. About 1,200 ensembles with 42,000 members have taken part in the festival.
Ohrid Callingaddress: Biljanini Izvori StadiumThis electronic dance music festival first began in the early 2010s and has grown each year, drawing some of the biggest names in the genre such as David Guetta, Afrojack, Martin Garrix, and others. It runs for a few days at Biljanini Izvori Stadium around the Ilinden national holiday (August 2). Promotional posters for the event can be seen throughout the country and tickets usually start around 1,000 MKD.
- Traditional Macedonian musical instruments, filigree jewelery, woodcarvings, items made from copper, or a CD with authentic Macedonian music, can be brought home to refresh your memories of your visit.
If interested in real Macedonian folk music, ask for music performed by Aleksandar Sarievski, Nikola Badev, Vaska Ilieva, Petranka Kostadinova, Anka Gieva, Jonče Hristovski, Kočo Petrovski... Avoid CD`s with modern-day "turbo folk" music (i.e. semi-naked girls with bad voices, singing on techno melodies).
- The Talevi and Filevi are the two Ohrid families who make genuine Ohrid pearl necklaces, earrings and broaches; they carried over this handcraft down from one generation to another. Ohrid pearl is created from seashells and coated with 5-7 thin layers of emulsion made from the scales of the Ohrid fish called Plashitsa, and is protected with a Designation of Origin.
- Books from Ohrid to read on the beach or take home.
A Passage through the Fog is a book that has been written in Ohrid by the Ohrid born writer and photographer Misho Yuzmeski. Dr. Michael Seraphinoff, in his Translator`s note on the book has written: "Misho Yuzmeski's novel invites the reader to join his young narrator on a journey of discovery through the heart of modern Europe. While this journey offers certain narrow insights into modern day city life in England and a few of the continent's major cities, it is the internal journey of the young traveler that is at the heart of this novel. Readers are liable to find parallels to some youthful search for meaning of their own in Michele's journey. He reminds us of a critical time in many of our lives, when childhood is finally behind us, but the road ahead is quite uncertain." A copy of the book can be found in all Ohrid`s bookstores and there is no difference in price between different stores. Bulgarian translation of the same book is available, as well.
Short History of the Macedonian People by Risto Stefov was published in Ohrid in 2011. This book is a chronological outline of historical events involving Macedonia and the Macedonian people from ancient times to the present.
Numerous book stalls can be found (at least in good weather during the tourist season) in the square near Ohrid harbor. They sell a variety of maps useful for tourists as well.
GroceriesThe downtown farmers' market has all kinds of fresh produce, as well as local specialties such as walnuts. There are cheese and sausage shops in the market as well, as well as numerous vendors of clothing and assorted industrial goods.
Bicycle supplies and serviceThere is at least one bike repair shop, which also sells common spare parts and supplies, next to the farmer's market. Some vendors in the market carry bicycle accessories (spare tubes, pumps, etc) as well. This is pretty much the only place in the region to purchase stuff like this, since smaller towns around Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa do not seem to have any bicycle related shops or services - and even gas stations there may not have air pumps.
Belvederephone: +389 46 265117In the city center
Gino Italian Restaurantphone: +389 46 253 568
Dalgaphone: +389 46 25 999with a terrace over the lake in the old part of town
- Villa St. Sofija, - in the old part of town near the cathedral church St. Sofia +389 46 254 370
- Galeo Fish Restaurant, - in the city center +389 46 285 631
- Biljanini Izvori, - meaning Biljana's Springs, 2 km away from the city center at the famous Biljana Springs +389 46 265 141
- PizzaCafe – the Big Blue, - city center +389 46 261 242
- Etno Restaurant St. Petka, - Outside of the city, Ul. Ilidenska 143 Ohrid +389 78 288 906 / +389 46 288 160 / +389 75 335 411. Real biological tradtional food.
Try these foods:
- Ribna Čorba, a traditional fish soup served in most restaurants, mostly as a starter.
- Burek, a layered pastry inherited from Ottoman times and popular for breakfast here. Choose with meat, cheese or spinach/cheese (arguably the best), and take a cup of traditional Macedonian yogurt. Modest looking place Burekđilnica Igor makes the best burek in town, Žito Leb's is also good.
- Makalo, a starter spread made with garlic and yogurt.
- Gjomleze, baked layered pancakes cut in a rhomboid shape, and usually served with white cheese.
- Ohridski Gevrek, a traditional bakery product. You can buy it in Žito Leb'. Try it with yogurt or peach juice.
The traditional Macedonian alcoholic beverages are rakija and mastika. Boza is a refreshing drink on a hot summer day; it was spread throughout North Macedonia with the arrival of the Turks and it has significant nutritional value. Other popular drinks are Macedonian wines called Kavadarka and Smederevka and Skopsko beer.
Try boza with ice-cream. Its called "Ambasador".
Cafe Galerijaaddress: Kliment OhridskiIf you like to have your morning coffee at the city center, enjoying the view of the lake, you better find the small authentic coffee shop named "Galerija". It is one of the oldest coffee shops in the city. Enjoy in the lake view and the city at the same time.
phone: +389 46 254370address: Kosta Abrash, 644 star hotel in the heart of the old city and close to Ohrid Lake. A restaurant with two dining rooms and a spacious terrace. Warm and inviting bar and lounge to unwind in the evenings. Relaxing reading lounge as well as on-site parking and meeting facilities for business functions or private celebrations for up to 80 people.
phone: +389 46 250103address: Straso Pindur, 2Guest house, quiet yard.
Antonio Guesthouse Ohridphone: +389 70 736906address: Dejan Vojvoda str No.94Nice family guesthouse in the centre. There are 4 double and twin triple bed rooms, car parking, free Wi-Fi Internet, cable TV, and bathroom.
phone: +389 75 629571Cosy 35-bed hostel with friendly and helpful stuff, in the old town two minutes' walk from the center. Nice breakfast included. Very nice kitchen and lake view balcony. Wifi, hot water showers. They have some bikes for guests to use free of charge.
address: St. Stefan villageIs situated in a pine forest in the tourist settlement of St. Stefan. Nearest sandy beach is only 100 meters away. Capacity: 40 rooms with 120 beds. All rooms with bathroom, cable TV, WiFi, direct telephone line, mini bar, air condition, balcony. The hotel offers: seminar hall, parking, football/basketball courts, restaurant, play garden for the youngest.
Risto's Guesthousephone: +389 75 977 930address: 23 village of ElsaniThe guesthouse has clean and tidy single and double rooms. The hosts serve home made drinks, home made bread and traditional food. All rooms have a terrace and prices include breakfast.
phone: +389 277660These four star hotels are on the lake
Sv. Naum Hoteladdress: Sv. Naum MonasteryThe hotel surrounds the church of St. Naum. On the shore of Lake Ochrid. A beautiful and relaxing place to spend a night. Visit the monastery early in the morning before the crowds arrive. Hike in the surrounding area.
phone: +389 70 391 201Private 4 star apartments. Contact Nade Andreeska. Total capacity: 8 beds.
phone: +389 78 278007address: Str. Partizanska 10Central area, next to the Hotel Palas and Catholic Church, historical sites within reach. +phone=+389 78 278 007
phone: +38946272625All the rooms are made of stone walls, giving you the feeling of being inside a cave. The rooms have views of Lake Ohrid. You can overlook everything and still keep your privacy.
phone: +389 70 352025address: Dimitar Vlahov 202 apartments in the centre.
phone: +389 70 249908address: Ul.Kuzman Josifoski 2Luxury 4 star apartments.
phone: +389 70 642 809address: Ul. Ilindenska 3A quiet place to stay in the old town. Private accommodation with rooms and apartments, situated near the Catedral church of St. Sophia.
phone: +389 46 270090Apartment in the centre.
phone: +389 70 248005address: Trpejca VillagePrivate 4 star villa located right near the Lake in. Contact Gabriela Nedelkoska. Total capacity: 14 beds.
phone: +389 46 266 831
phone: +389 46 250 655address: Metodij Patce 104-star villa in a quiet alley away from the traffic.
Private rooms Blagica Angeleskaphone: +389 46 265838address: Dejan Vojvoda 111Very nice people and place. +phone=+389 72 710439
phone: +389 70 307293address: Dejan Vojvoda str No.964 star, Nice family house in the center of the city in a quiet place. There are twelve new apartments: four twinbedded, six three bedded and two four bedded. Each room has French bed (double bed), bathroom, mini kitchen, fridge, balcony, central heating, air conditioner, free internet access, cable TV, car park. One of the cheapest places in town.
Apartment Rozmariphone: +389-70994514address: Metodi Patchev 15The apartment occupies the ground floor of a private house and has a separate entrance. It has two bedrooms with two twin beds in each room, a spacious kitchen with a dining table for four, and a full size bathroom. From one of the bedrooms you can walk out onto a terrace with a beautiful view overlooking Lake Ohrid and the old city. For reservations contact the proprietor Prokopie PopStefanija.
- Be warned that the Ohrid Pearl is a type of imitation pearl (an artificial, man-made pearl) and as such has no real value as a gemstone. Most of the "pearls" sold around Lake Ohrid, on the street and in most shops, are simply unfinished imitation pearls (beads made of nacre, but without the pearly coating). Although selling shops have clear notes stating these are hand made ones.
Bitola— one of the most European-flavoured cities in the country, Bitola is known for its colourful neo-classical architecture and the Ancient Macedon ruins of Heraclea Lyncestis nearby
Kruševo— a museum-city nestled high up in the mountains of southwestern North Macedonia; it is one the most historically significant destinations in the country as it was the site of a revolt against the Ottoman Empire; there is skiing in the winter, and paragliding, walking and mountain biking in the summer.
- Pogradec, Albania (SW 40 km) — small city on the other side of the lake, and worth a visit for those with extra time in Ohrid.
Prilep— tobacco fields, medieval monasteries, and strange rocks
Resen— home to Saraj Castle built in 1908
- Struga (Струга) (E 16 km) — small town on Lake Ohrid which used to be rather quiet, yet nowadays (2016) it receives an enormous number of Dutch tourists.
- Debarca a rural region just north of Ohrid