Ohrid, Macedonia: Complete Guide for visiting the European Jerusalem

Ohrid, a picturesque town in the Southwest of Republic of Macedonia, which is bordering Greece on the South, lying on the hills around the beautiful lake with clear waters. If you are not sure if this place is worth a visit, the fact that Ohrid and Lake Ohrid are a part of UNESCO’s World Heritage as a Cultural and also as a Natural site suggests you to buy your ticket to Ohrid immediately.

ohrid bay of bones and wooden jetty

Ohrid is also the Balkan or European Jerusalem, with 365 churches and monasteries in the area, one church for each day in the area.

Also, Ohrid Lake is one of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe. It is very important because of its 200 endemic species.

What is the weather like in Ohrid?

The weather in Ohrid is warm to hot in Spring and cold in winter. You will be never bored in Ohrid as there are important and popular events of great interest all year round, but yet the summer or spring is the most appropriate seasons, for those who want to swim in the crystal clear water of Ohrid Lake.

What are the top things to do in Ohrid?

You can reach almost every site in the town on foot, or you can take a taxi (1 euro to 3,5 euros) for longer distances. Here are the most interesting things you can do in Ohrid.

Recommended for you: 19 Fun Things to Do in Switzerland on a Budget

Walking along the shore of Ohrid

ohrid shore

It’s a great idea to start walking along the shore of Ohrid Lake. There are a nice harbor and lots of bars and restaurants on the city beach, to have a short break before you head yourself in the historic part of the town. What’s the best is that a cup of coffee is only 60 to 80 denars or 1 to 1,50 euros).

Visit Robevci Family Museum

robevci family museum

The streets cobbled with white and dark stones will take you to the house of Robevci Family, which is a museum today. It is built in the traditional Macedonian style. The furniture inside is unique with carved wooden tables and chairs and embroidered woolen rugs.

Visiting the Bazaar

The Bazaar itself is a small place with small shops. You can buy souvenirs and traditional clay painted pots there.

Shop shiny pearls

ohrid pearls

Ohrid is also famous for its shiny pearls, even Queen Elizabeth II of England also noticed the beauty of the beads, made by jewelers who have kept the secret of producing them from generation to generation. So getting into at least one of these shops is a must.

Go on a boat trip

boat trip ohrid

You can pop on a ferry for a tour on Ohrid lake (5 euros per person), or book a small boat trip only for you (10 – 12 euros or even cheaper). A ferry usually takes the passengers from the Ohrid port at 10.00 a.m. to St. Naum Monastery or additionally to some quiet sandy beaches.

When you are on the boat you can see the most photographed and the most instagrammable site in Ohrid, the Monastery of St.Jovan of Kaneo. It is located on a high cliff, overlooking the lake. Below the cliff, there is a small port for fishing boats.

Go Paragliding

paragliding in ohrid

Ohrid is known worldwide as an excellent place for paragliding. You are usually taken by car to the top of the hill where experienced trainers fly together with you on the same glider. You are completely safe while enjoying the view of Ohrid Lake and the town.


Visit St. John of Kaneo

st john kaneo

A church high on the top of the cliff above the lake. If you look over the stone wall-fence down you see the small port for fishing boats and the deep and clear emerald blue water.
This is the most instagrammable site in Ohrid for its location.


Pay a visit to St. Clement and St. Panteleimon Church and Plaoshnik

church of saints clement and panteleimon

Plaoshnik is very important because it was the place where the Cyrillic alphabet was born. St. Klement Church and devoted it to St. Panteleimon. The Turks knock the church down and built a mosque above it. Later the church was rebuilt.

Visit St. Sophia Church

st sophia church ohrid

This church dates back to the 1050s. The Festival Ohrid Summer is held each summer there. The Symphony-National Orchestra and well-known opera singers from the country and abroad opera and symphonies. There are many frescoes and icons on the walls. The entrance fee for all the churches is up to 2 to 2,5 euros.

St. Naum Monastery

You can reach St Naum of Ohrid by bus which is 2 euros in one way or by boat which price is 10 euros but a return ticket.

saint naum monastery ohrid macedonia

This monastery is a very popular place with Christians as well as Muslims. The tomb of St. Naum is there, and it is especially visited on 2nd of July, on the day of the Saint.

saint naum monastery tomb

Everyone wants to put their head on the tomb and they say they can hear the Saints heart beating.

peacock st naum monastery ohrid

The glamorous peacocks outside add to the peace and beauty of this unique Ohrid site.

Holy Mother of God, Peribleptos Church

Holy Mother of God, Peribleptos Church

Especially popular for its frescos icons and iconostasis showing scenes from the Passion, the life of Mary, the Holy Mother of God and dating back to 1295, this church is one of the oldest in Ohrid. This church is also known as St. Clement of Ohrid Church, because after the pulling down and converting St. Panteleimon Church into a Mosque, the relics of St. Clement were hidden there.

Watch a cultural event at the Ohrid Amphitheatre

ohrid amphitheatre

Today it is a place in Ohrid where many cultural events are held, but in the past, it was the place where gladiators had to fight to entertain the Romans. It is open and it is free.

Go to Tsar Samuel’s Fortress

Tsar Samuel’s Fortress Ohrid

When you finish your visit to St. Sophia Church you must go up the road to the top of the hill where you can see the remains of the fortress of Tsar Samuel and get inside through the Gate with the feeling that you conquered the world and you must be rewarded by the unique view of Ohrid Lake.

Go to Biljana Springs Ohrid

Biljana SprigsFoto: Tadej Mulej

The springs that get the water from Prespa Lake through Galichica Mountain and flow into Ohrid lake are also called Black Drim Springs and are near the St.Naum of Ohrid Monastery. You can also have a ride on a small boat or even row it yourself while listening. This pleasure doesn’t cost a lot, maybe 5 to 6 euros.

Visit Bay of Bones Museum

Bay of Bones OhridSource: Tadej Mulej

This museum is near Gradishte village of Ohrid. It is a replica of a prehistoric settlement built on stilts in the water. It is just a small part of what it used to be according to the archeological excavations of the basis.

Which are the best beaches in Ohrid?

The beaches in Ohrid are still unspoiled and you will be able to enjoy swimming in the clear lake and sunbathing on sandy beaches. The best choices are the ones that aren’t in the city center, even though they are awesome too. You can get to the beaches by car or by bus. Read on to find out which are the best ones.

Ljubanishta Beach

ljubanishta beach ohrid

This long white sandy beach is on the foot of Galichica mountain and is one of the most beautiful and popular of all beaches in and around Ohrid.

Gradishte Beach

gradishte beach ohrid

This beach is near the city center and thus it is the most crowded as there are many beach parties and live music during the summer season. It’s lots of fun, especially for younger people.

Trpejca Beach

trpejca beach ohrid

This beach is half-way from Ohrid and the Monastery of St. Naum of Ohrid. It is the best choice for those who want to be far from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Other beaches worth to be mentioned are Labino Beach, St. Zaum Beach, St. Naum Beach and Peshtani Beach.

Where to stay in Ohrid

When you are in Ohrid you can choose from the many hotels, villas, hostels or apartments at affordable prices.
If you are looking for a hotel, here we made a list of the best hotels in Ohrid.

Desaret Hotel

desaret hotel ohrid

This hotel is located in Peshatni village with a swimming pool and a restaurant and its private beach. It is a 4-star hotel and it has a 3.9 rating on Google.

Hotel Inex Gorica

hotel inex gorica

Only 4km far from Ohrid and near the airport located in a nice and quiet surrounding with a tennis court and overlooking Ohrid Lake. It is a 5-star hotel and has a 4.3 rating on Google.

Hotel Tino

hotel tino ohrid

This hotel is in Ohrid and besides excellent very clean rooms and other benefits, it has a free Spa Centre. The staff there is very helpful and friendly.

Hotel Denarius

hotel denarius

You can reach the center of Ohrid from Denarius hotel in only five minutes on foot, it has a wide terrace with a view of Ohrid lake.

Hotel Bellevue

hotel bellevue ohrid

Luxurious hotel located near the edge of Galichica. It is a 4 star hotel with two pools and a tennis court. It is part of the Metropol Lake Resort and it is very popular among the tourists.

The Food in Ohrid

You can dine in the restaurant of your hotel as well as in Ohrid and the villages. The food is of high-quality and delicious.

ohrid trout dish

You can try the popular local dishes, or eat the international pizza. You must try fish specialties and also the eel or Ohrid trout prepared in a traditional way.

How to get to Ohrid?

Ohrid has its own airport, 9 km far from the town and direct flights from most capital cities in Europe, with quite cheap prices (especially WizzAir). From the airport you can reach Ohrid by bus (3,5 euros) or by taxi (10 euros). The bus stops at several bus stops. The last one is Biljana or St. Naum Springs towards St. Naum of Ohrid Monastery.

Another alternative is to fly to Skopje and rent a car from there (8 to 10 euros a day) or get on the direct bus to Ohrid. All other towns in Macedonia have direct buses to Ohrid, too.

Wrapping it Up

Ohrid is a place that you would like to visit again and again because it has lots to offer.

St John kaneo Ohrid

Beginning with its natural stunning beauty that will  capture your heart, learning about its importance of Europe, through the history times, trying to discover how the XII or XIII century icons and frescoes in the 365 old churches survived and look like real saints are watching you, make Ohrid and Ohrid Lake unforgettable experience.

ohrid summer festival

Apart all that, Ohrid is always prepared for tourists with events. The most popular event is Ohrid Summer when many famous singers, actors, artists from around the world come to perform there. Also the Green Beach Festival is a must for those who love modern music.

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