Ohrid, nicknamed “Jerusalem of the Balkans,” remains somewhat of a well-kept secret in North Macedonia.
It is a laid-back and picturesque city that offers visitors the perfect balance of culture and nature.
Ohrid was famous for having 365 churches, hence the nickname, but today, Ohrid is known and loved for the beautiful Lake Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
How To Get Here
While Ohrid has its own airport, it is rather small. Many people visit Ohrid via Skopje, which is 179km away.
From here you can take a bus, train or hire a car. Depending on your transportation choice, your journey will take approximately 3 hours.
When is the best time to visit Ohrid?
To experience Ohrid at its finest, plan your trip to coincide with its lovely Mediterranean weather.
This means visiting between June and August when Ohrid has long summer days and warm nights.
Average temperatures reach 28°C (82°F) during the summer, perfect for exploring the great outdoors and nature without the need for layers.
If you prefer slightly cooler days, consider visiting in May or September. This is also a good time as fewer people fill the streets and attractions.
Things to Do in Ohrid
Visiting Ohrid is a breath-taking experience simply because of its natural beauty, so you’ll be spending the majority of your time outside.
But what do you do while you are there? Well, the answer is plenty.
Visit the Monastery of Saint Naum to discover Ohrid’s rich religious history and the many myths and legends of the miracle worker Saint Naum. The original monastery was built in 905, but the monastery buildings you’ll visit were built in the 10th century. You can walk around church halls, the tomb of Saint Naum and make a wish. When you overlook the lake, you may see a peacock walk past you.
Robevi family house is a culturally protected monument built in the 1860s. It has an interesting history, including criminal fires, war stories with Serbian soldiers, and tales of summer fun. You can visit the house, separated into three floors to celebrate archaeology, architecture and family life of the past.
One of Ohrid’s highlights is the Ancient Theatre of Ohrid, which dates back to 200 BC. It was thought to be a place where the public gathered for executions during Roman times. Over time it was abandoned and covered, which thankfully protected the arena. It was rediscovered accidentally in the 1980s and has since been a popular meeting place for theatrical performances and shows.
Lake Ohrid is unmissable, as it is one of the oldest lakes on the planet, dating back millions of years. There is plenty to do there, including relaxing on the beach and fishing to more active sports like kayaking and scuba diving. Taking a boat ride is suggested as it provides a new perspective of the town.
Finally, be sure to spend some quality time exploring the old town of Ohrid. Its pebbled narrow streets and lovely white buildings are delightful. This car-free zone is filled with quaint stores and lots of tiny churches.
If you have the time, take a short trip outside of Ohrid to the Bay of Bones. It is an open-air museum that shows our locals lived in 10 BC. Its peculiar name comes from the large number of animal bones that were discovered there.
Where to Eat in Ohrid
There are plenty of eateries in the town center of Ohrid and around the shoreline of Lake Ohrid, where you are sure to visit.
Whether you are looking for a sit-down meal or a quick bite, you’ll be able to find somewhere to combat your hunger.
A good rule of thumb is if it is full, then it is probably good. If you are unsure, then give Trip Advisor a quick check, as they provide trusted reviews.
You can expect to eat lots of juicy meat, tasty pastry, crunchy bread and fresh salads. Macedonians are very sociable; to get into the Macedonian spirit, don’t shy away from a traditional shot of strong alcohol.
To feel like a local, enjoy some traditional dishes. Our top food picks include:
- For breakfast, try a Burek, a baked-filled pastry, from a bakery. This will give you a boost to start your day of exploration.
- Pointeti Piperki, peppers stuffed with meat, rice, and cheese and garnished with parsley.
- Pindjur, is a grilled vegetable spread that goes perfectly with a fresh flatbread.
- Selsko Meso, is a hearty slow-cooked stew containing mushrooms and pork.
- Shopska Salad can be a starter or a main course. This summer salad mixes tomatoes, white cheese, and cucumbers with a helping of sunflower oil.
- Pastrmajlija, is similar to a pizza in that it is a dough-based dish with toppings. The difference is they are either pork or chicken, and it’s topped with eggs.