Top Things To Do At Lake Ohrid In North Macedonia
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Lake Ohrid is one of the most famous lakes you can visit in Europe. It’s thanks to its rich history, spectacular scenery, beautiful monasteries, and great relaxation spots. Everybody will find some activity based on his interests. This article will reveal the top things to do at Lake Ohrid based on your interests. So choose one or two and enjoy your time at the oldest lake in Europe – Lake Ohrid.
List Of The Top Things To Do At Lake Ohrid
- Ohrid Old Town
- Boat Excursion to St. Naum Monastery
- Boat Trip at the lake
- Bay of Bones – water museum
- Relax on a beach & swim
- Drive around Lake Ohrid
Interesting Facts About Lake Ohrid
- It’s the oldest lake in Europe
- Lake Ohrid is also the deepest one in Europe
- It’s famous for Cyril and Methodius, who invented Cyrillic Alphabeth here in the St. Naum Monastery
- It’s home to two endemic fish species: Plashica & Ohrid trout
- Ohrid town hosts 365 monasteries, one for each day of a year
Top Things To Do At Lake Ohrid: Choose Based On Your Interests
Lake Ohrid offers a range of attractions, activities, beautiful places, and things to do. I’ve put together a list of everything you can do at Lake Ohrid. It also includes information about prices, distances, ways to get there, history, and stories from the past. Choose your favorite activity based on your interests.
Visit Ohrid Old Town
Ohrid town is the most popular destination to visit around Lake Ohrid. It offers many attractions and activities to do with local restaurants, bars, bakeries, and shops. It’s also the best place to stay overnight and a great departure point for other activities and things to do at Lake Ohrid.
Many people come to this town to see at least a few of the 365 monasteries. If you can find all of them during your visit to this small town, let me know in the comments below. I think I haven’t counted more than 20. Locals say they have one monastery for each day of a year. Therefore, Ohrid town also got a nickname as the ‘Jerusalem of the Balkans.’
Your Perfect Day In Ohrid
Visiting the monastery of St. John, Church of St. Clement and Panteleimon, and Samuel’s Fortress has to be definitely on the list among the top things to do in Ohrid.
Stroll through the tiny streets, go inside a shop, and buy the famous Ohrid pearl.
Walk alongside the lake on the Ohrid Boardwalk until you reach the famous St. John Monastery. After, walk up through the Old City Park, stop at the Church of St. Clement and Panteleimon, and then visit Samuel’s Fortress with stunning lake views.
Then relax in a cafe at Fort Cafe before you check out the Ancient Theatre of Ohrid and make your way back down to the town. Have a great lunch and take some rest. Shop for souvenirs on Old Bazaar Street and in the old town.
Best Restaurants In Ohrid
In the evening, I highly recommend having dinner in one of the following restaurants with a lake view. Don’t forget to make a reservation in advance as they are usually fully booked in summer:
- Kaj Kanevche Restaurant
- Kaneo Restaurant
Sightseeing In Ohrid
- St. John Monastery
- Church of St. Clement and Panteleimon
- Samuel’s Fortress
- Church of St. Sophia
- Ancient Theatre of Ohrid
- Old Bazaar Street
- Ohrid Boardwalk
- Old town Ohrid
- China Tree
Visit St. Naum Monastery
St. Naum Monastery belongs to one of the most important spots of European history. The two brothers Cyril and Methodius, Byzantine Christian theologians and missionaries from Thessaloniki (Greece), invented the Cyrillic Alphabet right here and started their first teachings.
They did so as they were sent on a mission to spread Christianity further to Eastern Europe, particularly Moravia, which is now a region in the Czech Republic next to Slovakia.
However, they first had to translate the Bible for the Slavic people to understand their religion. To make it easier for the Slavs, they invented a brand new writing system – the Cyrillic alphabet.
Thanks to this alphabet, Cyril and Methodius could spread the word about Christianity further to Eastern Europe. They taught Slavs important religious aspects, including the alphabet.
Nowadays, the Cyrillic script as a writing system is also used in various languages in Eurasia.
How To Get To St. Naum Monastery
The best way to get to the St. Naum Monastery is with an organized boat tour or a rented car. You can also take a taxi if you don’t mind paying more for the ride.
Boat Trip To St. Naum Monastery
The boat trip from Ohrid to St. Naum Monastery costs 10 EUR (round trip). The boat departs only in the morning at 9am, or 11am except for Friday and Sunday when it also departs at 1pm.
However, check the times for yourself directly at the Port of Ohrid at least one day before. They’ll explain everything about the trip and tell you the departure times for the next few days.
Taking A Taxi To St. Naum Monastery
Alternatively, you can also take a taxi if you don’t have a car. Close to the Port of Ohrid is a taxi station. It’s more difficult to bargain the price with these taxi drivers, but you can try.
They’ll tell you it costs 1200 denars to drive you to the monastery from Ohrid. Tell them it’s too much and ask for 800 denars. They’ll refuse immediately (almost all of them) and tell you around 920 denars. This is a regular price here.
I asked all the taxi drivers at the station, and none of them was willing to decrease the cost even more than 920 denars. You can try for yourself or be prepared to pay at least 920 denars. However, don’t accept 1200 denars as the price they initially tell you. Bargain, and they’ll decrease it at least to 1000 denars.
To learn more about North Macedonian taxi system, exact prices, and what you can bargain with the drivers, check out my article about how to get around North Macedonia.
Highlights Of St. Naum Moanstery
Besides visiting the St. Naum Monastery, the area offers more activities such as relaxing on a local beach, swimming in Lake Ohrid, getting a boat to the Ohrid Springs, visiting St. Petka Church, and shopping in the local markets.
- St. Naum Monastery
- Relax on a beach & swim in Lake Ohrid
- Visit Ohrid Springs by a boat
- Do shopping at the local markets
If you’d like to continue from St. Naum to Albania, to the nearest town called Pogradec, check out my article about crossing Tushemisht-St.Naum border.
Make A Boat Trip At Lake Ohrid
Making a boat trip is one of the top things to do at Lake Ohrid. Many locals offer different trips, so it’s up to you which one to choose. You can either take the regular boat trip to St. Naum Monastery and back (as described above), or choose other ones, including the visit to the Bay of Bones, the best beaches at the lake, and voice record with explanations about the sites, their history, and meanings.
Another option is to do a private boat tour and visit all the highlights, including a small private jet that will take you around the lake.
The best thing you can do is go directly to the Port of Ohrid and see all offers. People are advertising all boat tours; they’ll start to chat with you, explain everything about each trip, tell you prices and departure times. Talk to more people and decide for yourself which boat trip would be the best for you.
Go To Bay Of Bones: Water Museum
One thing you definitely shouldn’t miss when visiting Lake Ohrid is the open-air museum in the Bay of Bones. It reminds us of the old settlement at Lake Ohrid that used to live here years ago.
You can also have a drink and enjoy the stunning views. The small settlement is all built on the water, which makes it even more special.
You can either get there by car or taxi. Alternatively, you can book one of the boat excursions to St. Naum Monastery, which also includes a visit to the Bay of Bones water museum. Again, double-check with locals at the Port of Ohrid for more details and choose your excursion.
Relax On A Beach & Swim
What would a visit to Lake Ohrid be without swimming in it and relaxing on one of its best beaches? Lake Ohrid is a famous holiday destination for North Macedonian and a popular summer beach vacation.
Drive Around Lake Ohrid
Another thing you can do is to rent a car, if you already don’t have one, and drive around Lake Ohrid. You’ll even be crossing the border twice. Once from North Macedonia to Albania and then again, when getting back to North Macedonia on the southern part of Lake Ohrid.
Ask at the Albanian border for a stamp on your passport. Crossing the border is quite easy. You don’t need anything special, just don’t forget to take your passport.
On the Albanian side of Lake Ohrid, you’ll pass through Pogradec, which also has great beaches and a few resorts. You can stop here and relax for a while. After, continue back to North Macedonia.
On the way, you’ll pass another big city on the lake, which is Struga, before making your way back to Ohrid town. Stop in Struga for lunch and explore its hidden gems.
These are the top things to do at Lake Ohrid. As you can see, it offers diverse activities, places full of history and culture. and beautiful spots to relax. The best time to visit Lake Ohrid is definitely summer, between June and late September. These months are also very hot (it can get up to 40 C), so don’t forget to take your swimming suit to cool in the lake from time to time.
Enjoy your time at the oldest Lake in Europe. Learn a lot about its history and the importance it brought to the world and entire Europe.
2-Day Trip Of Lake Ohrid & National Parks
If you’re staying in Skopje and want to visit Lake Ohrid and its surroundings for 2 days with an organized tour, this is one of the best. You’ll have a guide showing you all places, spend the night in Ohrid and ride a ferry on Lake Ohrid. The other day, you’ll also get to explore Mavrovo National Park and Galicica before heading back to Skopje.
So if you want to kill two birds with one stone, this trip is perfect.
Activities Around Lake Ohrid
Finally, if you want to explore more activities in the region, check out Get Your Guide. They organize various trips and things to do around Lake Ohrid, so choose according to your interests.
More Tips For North Macedonia Travel
If you want to see more of North Macedonia, check out my North Macedonia road trip itinerary that will show you the highlights of this country in 7 days. If you don’t have that much time and will only stay in Skopje, you can visit the Matka Canyon, located only a few minutes from the capital. It hosts the deepest underwater cave in Europe and offers many activities, including boat trips and kayaking.
Learn more about North Macedonia inside my travel guide and the most beautiful places to visit in North Macedonia.
If you want to explore more Balkan countries, you can continue to Albania. Its attractions and stunning places are right next to Lake Ohrid. Get my Albania road trip itinerary and explore the country in 10 days. Or head up to the Albanian Alps and spend some time hiking in their unique nature.
If you don’t have much time, visit Tirana and make some day trips from Tirana.
Or choose one of these 5 itineraries I’ve designed for you to have a perfect trip to Albania.