thumb|350px|Ohrid and Lake Ohrid

63 things to do

All Places Macedonia

St. Bogorodica Perivlepta

13th c. - The church was built and painted in 1295. It is dedicated to Virgin Mary, Perivlepta (from Greek, Περίβλεπτος) is an attribute given to her meaning "the Omnisicent and Clairvoyant". The benefactor was Progon Zgur, son in law of the 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 the renaissance art except perspective. Important frescoes: (eastern wall) the ''portraits'' of St. Klement and Konstantin Kavasila (archbishop of Ohrid), detailed portraits with personal features; ''Lamentation of Christ'', painted with many emotions, Virgin Mary is about to faint, a woman next is holding her, women are pulling their hair from pain in disbelief, on the right notice a woman acting reasonably and trying to stop another from pulling her hair, angels above the whole scene are crying, in the left corner notice a group of women doing what normal people do gossiping about what happened; (western wall) ''Prayer in the olive mountain'' as the apostles are sleeping take a look at their dresses and how well the artists worked with color and showed the roundness of the bodies; (northern wall) ''Death of Virgin Mary'' in order to present the holiness of the moment there is a bunch of angels coming from the gates of the sky to take her soul, above her stands Jesus holding her soul, notice her body and how familiar are the artists with the human anatomy. The figures painted by Michael and Eutychius are not presented the traditional Byzantine way, skinny, emotionless and with their thoughts wondering somewhere. They are presented like healthy, chubby young men with red cheeks. Mihailo and Evtihie are 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). Their work left strong influence on the Byzantine art.

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Ohrid Traditional Architecture

When the Turks came they settled on the flat land along the lake and that became the Muslim part of town and the part on the hills inside the walls was always the Christian part, with the bazaar as a meeting place. As the city grew and the Christians were not allowed to build outside the walls, Ohrid developed very specific architecture with tight narrow streets and tunnels (houses built over the streets). The houses had tiny yards usually enclosed in the ground floor, and the houses grew over the streets on the upper floors since the locations were small. The steep terrain enabled everybody to have a good view of the lake and because of the strong sun the houses were painted white, so they would reflect the sun. Because of the winds from the lake the houses in Ohrid don’t have the open spaces that traditional houses in other towns in Macedonia have. 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.

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St. Pantelejmon – Plaoshnik

It has been a very important religious center since early Christian times, if not before. It is the site of the first university in Europe, opened in the 10th c. and it is the place where the Cyrillic alphabet was created. The church you see is a reconstruction of the church St. Klement built when he came here and opened the university. The 5 nave early Christian basilica in the middle of which the church stands is from the 5th century (interesting mosaics in the baptistery and in the side chapel covered with red plastic roof). The atrium was built on the side since there was no space in the front. It probably was the cathedral in early Christian times. When St. Klement came here in the 10th c. just the small round chapel that today serves as 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 existent church into an altar chapel, and he dedicated the church to St Panteleimon (protector of health). The closed porch and the belltower were added later in the 13th century. Before St. Klement died he dig his own grave inside the church. When the Turks came they torn the church down after a rebellion. It still attracted large number of worshipers and pilgrims so they built a mosque above it. Until recently both the mosque and the church were standing in ruins. The reconstruction is a big guess since they didn't know anything but the shape of the church. The height, the shape of the domes and the decorations are a wild guess.

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St. Naum monastery

One of the most beautiful monasteries in Macedonia and an important pilgrimage place. Breathtaking setting on a plateau over Ohrid Lake and Galičica mountain towering from behind. It was founded in the 910 by St. Naum, but the present-day church was built in the 16th c. Of the original church just the side chapel with the grave of St. Naum still stands. 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 St. Cyril and Methody and their students including St. Klement and St. Naum. The icon screen was made in 1711 and it is the oldest completely preserved wooden high icon screen in Macedonia. In the side chamber it is popular to get down on your knees and try to listen the heart of St. Naum. Around the church look for the peacocks including a rare albino one. Bigger part of the dormitories of the monastery are turned into a hotel now. Near the monastery there is a chapel with holy water and before are the big springs with a lovely cafe on a small island inside the springs. It is possible (and a great experience) to take a boat tour of the springs (available only in summer) 50 denars, but skip the short boat tour offered to see the monastery from the water. Next to the monastery the river enters the lake. Around the monastery there is a pleasant sandy beach.

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St. Sophia church

11th c. - Cathedral of Ohrid archbishops. Fourth basilica built on this same spot (the oldest one being a Roman basilica (courthouse)). Present church was built in 1035 by archbishop Lav, front façade with the towers and the open galleries was built in 1317 by archbishop Gregory. The side porch was added when the church was turned into a mosque by the Turks. Inside is the biggest composition of 11th century frescoes preserved in the world. The main altar has scenes from the old testament and an emotional procession of angels bowing to Virgin Mary. The side altars have a fresco of the 40 martyrs (Roman soldiers left to freeze because they didn't want to give up Christianity) which is very rarely depicted (''in the left altar'') and (''in the right altar'') portraits of Patriarchs from Constantinople, Jerusalem and Antioch, archbishops from Ohrid and Roman Popes (Ohrid archbishopcy always flirted with Roman Catholicism, so it would keep its important position with the Orthodox church). The small square in front of it was the main forum in ancient times.

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Ohrid Fortifications

The whole old town is circled with walls, which are crowned with King Samoil fortress. The first fortifications were built in the 5th century BC, but the oldest remains preserved are from 3th century BC. The fortifications were reinforced many times throughout history and what we see today is from the 10th century. There used to be four gates inside the city: '''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; '''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; '''Front Gate''' - near St. Bogorodica Celnica Church. It is the main entrance gate. Today it is just in traces; '''Water Gate''' - the entrance in the city from the lake, the place where it used to stand is not known.

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St. Nikola Bolnički & St. Bogorodica Bolnička

These two small churches were built with dormitories around them which were used as quarantine stations for visitors of the city. After the coming of the Turks the structure of the city changed and they lost their purpose, so they were turned into hospitals. That is where the name Bolnicki comes from (bolnica – hospital). St. Nikola Bolnički was built in 1313. The small addition on the roof is an influence of the Adriatic architecture and it imitates the belltowers of the churches on the Adriatic coast. The frescoes are in decent condition, a couple of interesting portraits of some royals and Nikola one of Ohrid archbishops. Look for the fresco of God’s hand protecting the pure souls inside a tiny window. St. Bogorodica Bolnička was built in the 14th century, and the frescoes are in a bad condition. Even though the church is tiny there is a transverse vault, so the roof would imitate the shape of the cross.

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St. Erazmo early Christian church

The name St. Erazmo is a guess for the church in ruins that stands above Plaoshnik, 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 came 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 in the inside and it had a big dome in the center (notice the 4 huge basis of columns). Unfortunately the recent roof doesn’t show the shape of the church. There are some mosaics preserved, but they are not of best quality. There is also a small baptistry to the right with a four leafed shape with some excellent mosaics but they are away for conservation.

SEE   —  Map

Ohrid Summer Festival

The Ohrid Summer Festival is one of the largest and most important music and drama festivals in 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.

DO   —  Map

Old Bazaar

Since Ohrid was a big religious and cultural center, it never was an important trade center, which is evident by the size of its bazaar. It is a simple bazaar consisting of just one street. It starts with the food market (it used to be the animal market in the past). After the market the bazaar begins with a small square. On the square there is a 1000 year old tree and a nice fountain. Above the square the clock tower of Ohrid stands. As you walk down the bazaar on your left there are couple of stone stores, which is the only section of original stores in the bazaar. In the past, the bazaar was covered with grape vines, protecting shoppers from the sun and the rain. Very few crafts are preserved. The bazaar ends with the main square that used to be the food market in the past.

SEE   —  Map

Gorica Hotel beach

This 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.

DO   —  Map

Small St. Klement

14th c.- This tiny well hidden church is just few steps away from the Bolnicki churches. Just take the small narrow street opposite the Bolnicki churches. The small square is interesting since this street is one of the very few original streets remaining in Ohrid. It is shaped in form of gentle stairs so walking uphill would be easier. The steps are slightly curved towards the inside so when it is raining the water will stay in the middle. The church is historically important since it is here that the bones of St. Klement were hidden after the Turks took the city.

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Mesokastro Settlement

Mesokastro 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.

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Apartment Rozmari

The 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.

SLEEP   —  +389-70994514 —  Metodi Patchev 15

Kaneo Settlement

Start 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.

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Is a nice place to enjoy a coffee or a base to visit one of the cave churches and monasteries. Taxi to Struga from Ohrid costs around €5-7, or minibuses leave the Ohrid bus station for Struga approximately every 20 minutes, tickets for these cost only 50 Denars. Alternatively you can use a shared taxi for the same price. Make sure to agree to the price before the departure.

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Antique Theatre

The theatre is the only visible monument from ancient times. It is also the only Hellenistic theatre in Macedonia, the other three are from Roman times. Only the lower section of the theatre is preserved, it is not known how many people it seated since the upper section is missing (the arches in the behind are just decorative it is not something they unearthed).

SEE   —  Boro Sain 10


Is 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.

SLEEP   —  St. Stefan village

Joce Apartments

4 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.

Villa St. Sofija

4 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.

SLEEP   —  +389 46 254370 —  Kosta Abrash, 64

St. Dimitria, St. Konstantin and Elena & St. Mali Vraci

This 3 small churches built around St. Bogorodica Perivlepta were all built in the XIV century. St. Konstantin and Elena behind St. Bogorodica Perivlepta has a fake transept so it would show a cross on the roof. They are all locked. If you are interested ask for the keys in St. Bogorodica Perivlepta, or in the houses around.

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St. John Kaneo church

13th c. – most known for its scenic location, standing on a cliff over Lake Ohrid. Notable about the cute architecture is Armenian influence in the zig-zag line of the roof of the dome. (There are only few frescoes left inside, but the feeling of standing in centuries used sanctuary is worth the entrance).

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Cafe Galerija

If 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.

DO   —  Kliment Ohridski

Icon Gallery

some of the best examples of the iconographic art in Macedonia. It is considered to be the second most important and valuable collection of icons in the world after the Moscow collection, so check it out if you have interest and time.

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— a museum-city nestled high up in the mountains of southwestern Macedonia; it is one the most historically significant destinations in the country as it was the site of a revolt against the Ottoman Empire; also home to great skiing

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Zeynel Pasha Teke

dating from 1590, this teke is situated close to the old oak tree. This teke belonged to the Halvet dervish order. A mausoleum of Mohamed Hayati, who was the founder of this dervish order, can be found in the yard of the complex.

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Ljubaništa beach

Probably 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.

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Sv. Naum Hotel

The 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.

SLEEP   —  Sv. Naum Monastery

Sunny Lake Hostel

Cosy hostel with friendly and helpful stuff, two minutes walk from the center of town. Dorms from €10 (low season), private rooms €12 per person. Breakfast included. Total capacity: 35 beds.

SLEEP   —  +389 75 629571 —  Map

Risto's Guesthouse

The 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.

Hand-made paper workshop

watch 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.

SEE   —  Tsar Samoil


— 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

OTHER   —  Map

Grebnos Stone-House Apartments

All 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.

SLEEP   —  +38946272625 —  Map

Apartments ROSANA**

Family house overlooking the lake, quiet yard, a garden-terrace with a private beach, excellent conditions for families, free Wi-Fi... Max. 12 persons.

Ohrid "St. Paul the Apostle" International Airport

The 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.

OTHER   —  +389 46 252 820 —  Map

Antonio Guesthouse Ohrid

Nice family guesthouse in the centre. There are 4 double and twin triple bed rooms, car parking, free Wi-Fi Internet, cable TV, and bathroom.

Old Town Accommodation

A quiet place to stay in the old town. Private accommodation with rooms and apartments, situated near the Catedral church of St. Sophia.

SLEEP   —  +389 70 642 809 —  Ul. Ilindenska 3

King Samoil Fortress

In the second courtyard there are ancient graves, remains of a round tower and a cistern. It offers great views over the lake and Ohrid.

SEE   —  Map

National Ohrid museum

Established in 1516 making it one of the oldest museums in the world. Now it shows exponents of history, archaeology and ethnology.

SEE   —  Map

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.

SEE   —  Tsar Samoil

Labino beach

It's a small, stony beach that is not crowded. The water is clear and refreshing. Best time to go is in the morning.

DO   —  Map

Villa Filip

Private 4 star villa located right near the Lake in. Contact Gabriela Nedelkoska. Total capacity: 14 beds.

SLEEP   —  +389 70 248005 —  Trpejca Village

Cinema Paradiso Apartment

in the (old cinema area) still quiet, historical sites within reach. +phone=+389 70 776658

SLEEP   —  +389 78 278007 —  str.Dame Gruev 78

Adeona Apartmani

Private 4 star apartments. Contact Nade Andreeska. Total capacity: 8 beds.

SLEEP   —  +389 70 391 201 —  Map

Villa Germanoff

One of the most exclusive private accommodation facilities in Ohrid.

SLEEP   —  +389 46 266 831 —  Map

Villa St Clement the Lesser

Exclusive 4-star villa in a quiet alley away from the traffic.

SLEEP   —  +389 46 250 655 —  Metodij Patce 10

Pelister National Park

 located in the Baba Mountain massif, near to Bitola

SEE   —  Map


— tobacco fields, medieval monasteries, and strange rocks

OTHER   —  Map


with a terrace over the lake in the old part of town

EAT   —  +389 46 25 999 —  Map

Private rooms Blagica Angeleska

Very nice people and place. +phone=+389 72 710439

SLEEP   —  +389 46 265838 —  Dejan Vojvoda 111


These four star hotels are on the lake

SLEEP   —  +389 277660 —  Map


— home to Saraj Castle built in 1908

OTHER   —  Map

Galičica National Park

Between Ohrid and Prespa Lakes

SEE   —  Map

Jovan Apartments

2 apartments in the centre.

SLEEP   —  +389 70 352025 —  Dimitar Vlahov 20

Matjan apartments

Luxury 4 star apartments.

Albergo Mimi Ohrid

Guest house, quiet yard.

SLEEP   —  +389 46 250103 —  Straso Pindur, 2

Tiffany Apartment

Apartment in the centre.

SLEEP   —  +389 46 270090 —  Map


In the city center

EAT   —  +389 46 265117 —  Map


SEE   —  Map

Bus station

OTHER   —  +389 (0)46 260 339 —  Map


OTHER   —  Map

About Ohrid

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 St. Kliment and St. 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 Car Samuil, whose fortress still presides over the city today.

Source: wikivoyage