Quick Trip to Ohrid, Macedonia

Located at the Southwest of Macedonia, Ohrid is a unique small resort city at the shores of Lake Ohrid. This city has a touch of both, the old and the new. Medieval houses, a historical fortress and the ruins of the once great city of Macedonia is evidently harmonizing with the rapid modernization of the city.

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Ohrid City has a long coast to Lake Ohrid. The hills on which Car Simoil’s Fortress is located has the best view of the lake and the city. Nearby , there are plenty of  inexpensive accommodation.

The photo above was taken from one of the apartment balconies near the lake. In spite modernization, the locals made sure that the environment is taken cared of. Fruits trees, bushes, flowers are around the surrounding area bringing more tranquility to the cool atmosphere of Ohrid.

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The city offers excellent walkways for strolling. Before reaching a coast, you have to walk through this footpath shown above. From the Early Christian Basilica, you should walk towards east (not towards the Kaneo and follow the other branch of the path).

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After around 10 minutes walk, you’ll find the placid lake. The path is not suitable for flip flops so put on trainers for your own safety. 

When you reach the bottom of the path, the picture below will welcome you. The trees are literally growing in the lake water,  providing shelter to animals, birds and visitors of the lake. Do not expect to find a sand bar or any facility to use for swimming.

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When you had enough, pack your stuff for another walk, this time towards South to visit the Church of St. John at Kaneo. The view is captivating . Narrow dirt paths with trees next to it and bird chirping while you walk is one of the best feeling you can experience in Ohrid.

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A beautifully constructed Orthodox church located on the cliff over Kaneo beach overlooking Lake Ohrid is the Church of Saint John at Kaneo. The church was believed to be built in 1447.

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The church is in a perfect scenic location. You can see most of Ohrid bay along with the stony beaches of Kaneo. The church yard is surrounded by various trees such as mulberry and plum.

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To walk down going to the beach, take the stairs on the right side of the church yard. At the bottom, keep walking towards the busy section of the beach. There is no footpath when you get down the cliff, so take off your shoes and walk bare foot in the lake.

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There are few cafe-bars on the beach. With your swimsuits, you can sit and have a chilled drink. There are beach umbrellas and sunbeds for rent. The Church of St. John at Kaneo is on top of a hill over looking the swimming area.

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You will see people walk in the lake with their plastic beach shoes on. It is a good idea to have one of those since the lake bed has stones and rocks so walking is not that pleasant on bare foot.

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Want to discover more? Then hurry up. Pack your stuff and hit the road again. Before, there was no pathway that connected the city to the Kaneo area since some parts of the city were in the hilly side of the lake. For convenience, kind locals created a wooden bridge.

Another historical monument and a major tourist destination in Ohrid is the Samuel’s Fortress located at the old town. It was built around the 10th century during the era of the First Bulgarian Empire.

The fortress is well maintained and walking on the walls is fun. It has the best view of the city, thanks to its height. By walking between towers, you can have 360 view of the whole Ohrid (new and old town).
One thing that you should never miss is watching the sunset from the fortress walls. It is not possible to watch the whole sunset during summer because of the fortress closing time, but still you can catch a part of the sunset before it closes.
Fortress admission is 30 MKD. You can use the same ticket for a day.
During the early years of Christianity, an early Christian Basilica of St. Clements Church was built in 893 AD. Aside from a church, it also functioned as a Slovanic Literary School that held cultural activities. During the reign of the Ottoman Turks, it was converted as the Imaret Mosque.
The old city used to have city walls around it but through centuries it crumbled and most of them have wracked. Today there are two gates that remained standing, one is the upper gate and other is the lower gate.
The upper gate connects the old town to the new settlement area and lower gate is the entrance to the town’s old bazaar .
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An Ancient Hellenistic-type theater built in 200 BC is located in Ohrid. It was an open theater which provided entertainment to the locals. Part of the original lower section of the theater still exists.
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Another  historic building is the Robevi House built in 1863 – 1864. An Ottoman Turkish House which is a protected cultural monument. Narrow pathways, cobblestone streets and old houses are well protected in the old town.

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After a long day walking around the city, the best thing to do is to choose a bar near the lake,  (there are several next to each other) chill with the music, and choose your preferred drink. Prices are reasonable and the view is relaxing. You can have your drink on the decks built in the lake as well.

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At the port of Ohrid, a public park is available for the exhausted visitors and locals to enjoy. The park is pleasant and has lovely flowers around. There is a small pedestrian road that will lead you to the famous Old Bazaar. You can conveniently shop for souvenirs, clothes, groceries and etc.

A street located in the Old Bazaar called Saint Clement of Ohrid leads to a small square where you can find traditional restaurants and a 1000-year old Pale Tree (Cinar in Turkish as called by the locals). Halveti Hayati Tekke is also very near the square.

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 The city looks prettier when the sun goes down and hundreds of lights with different colours illuminate. To catch the best of it, you should take a walk through the Ohrid bay. The walk would take around 30 mins. (one way) but definitely worth it. During summer, beware of flies which are literally everywhere so using protective sprays is advisable.

Another must see event of Ohrid is watching the moon rise from the east. If you are lucky enough, you can catch the full moon. Full moon’s reflection on the lake water while you are having a drink is priceless. It’s so impressively bright that it can almost turn the night sky into early dawn.


Budget Travel Tips:
1. Restaurants near the lake are expensive. Try to avoid them if you are on a budget. Smaller restaurants and cafes offers 4 – 6 euro for a decent meal.
2. There are plenty of cheap hostels (hostel link below) and apartments around. I booked a room from an apartment for 15 euro a night.

3. Ohrid is best to discover on foot.


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Next stop: The capital of Albania, Tirana.
To get there from Ohrid during low season is quite difficult because transport service is limited. There is only one bus that leaves Skopje early in the morning and passes by Struga (a small town on the north of Lake Ohrid).
During peak season, (most of the summer months) there are few transportation routes available from Struga to Ohrid and vice versa.
There are minibuses that frequently leave Ohrid centre to Struga. Catch a minibus at Boulevard Turistichk.
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One Comment Add yours

  1. dejahgatz says:

    That church on the water is so beautiful. I could sit and watch the sea all day.

    Like

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