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Europe Travel: Ohrid, Republic of North Macedonia in 4 Days, 3 Nights — Activity Recommendations

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This is a list of activity recommendations for four days, three nights in Ohrid, Republic of North Macedonia. Ohrid is a historically important town that is situated on Lake Ohrid, a cultural and natural UNESCO World Heritage site.


The basics

  • Ohrid, Republic of North Macedonia
  • Ohrid is a town on Lake Ohrid, a lake that straddles the mountainous border between the southwestern part of North Macedonia and eastern Albania. 
  • The lake and its surrounds make up the Lake Ohrid Region, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Ohrid does have a small airport, though the cost to fly in are high.
  • Most people get to Ohrid from Skopje, Macedonia or Tirana, Albania.

Connected itineraries

Note that the itineraries that follow are based on an accelerated timeline for those looking to get a first look at the Balkans.

About Ohrid, Republic of North Macedonia

Ohrid was an important center for Orthodox believers during the Byzantine Empire.Ohrid has been referred to as the “Jerusalem of the Balkans” due to its 365 Orthodox churches that symbolize every day of the year.

“In Ohrid, as you walk you are followed by the thought that some unknown prophet from the past walked by you, an unknown person, some people, even whole generations left their own traces.” — Nikola Boshale, PhD

The town sits on Lake Ohrid, named by the Romans as the “Lyhnidas” (the Light Lake), and dates back two million years. Ohrid Lake Ohrid is 300 meters (980 feet) at its deepest, and was named the cleanest lake in Europe, with crystal clear visibility through the water’s surface reaching 20-30 meters (65 feet-90 feet).

UNESCO Heritage: Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region

In 1979, the Lake Ohrid Region was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its natural and cultural value. The inscription includes land in Macedonia and Albania.

“A superlative natural phenomenon, Lake Ohrid provides a refuge for numerous endemic species of freshwater fauna and flora dating from the Tertiary period. Situated on the shores of the lake, the town of Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe. Built mainly between the 7th and 19th centuries, it has the oldest Slav monastery (St Pantelejmon) and more than 800 Byzantine-style icons dating from the 11th to the end of the 14th century. In the shallow waters near the shores of the lake, three sites testify to the presence of prehistoric pile dwellings, and the small Lin Peninsula is the site of the remains of an Early Christian church founded in the middle of the 6th century.”

Citations: UNESCO World Heritage Center, 2020.
If you haven’t already, check out why you should incorporate UNESCO World Heritage sites into your travel plans.

Map of Ohrid


Day 1: Arrive to Ohrid; Lake Ohrid shore and new town

Lake Ohrid shore

Church St. Sophia (11th century), Црква Света Софија, Crkva Sveta Sofija

This church was built in the 850s during the First Bulgarian Empire, after the official conversion to Christianity, and was later converted into a mosque during the rule of the Ottoman Empire. It is home to architecture and art from the Middle Ages making it an important historical artifact in Macedonia.

New town Ohrid

National Workshop for Handmade Paper, Ljupcho Panevski

A quaint museum and workshop, this National Workshop for Handmade Paper shows visitors how paper was made using Chinese technique dating back to the 2nd century BC.

“The workshop’s printer is an exact replica of Guttenberg’s printing press from the 15th century – it’s only one of two in the world” (Atlas Obscura, 2020).

Hand made paper is available for purchase.

Sunset views on Lake Ohrid


Day 2: Varosh Old Town Ohrid

Ancient Theater of Ohrid

This classical theater is believed to be built in the 4th century B.C. and only recently became uncovered after nearly two millennium. Ohrid restored the site and today it is used by the public.

Old Gate

Church of Saints Clement and Panteleimon

This Byzantine church is believed to be the one where Saint Clement taught students Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets to Christianised Slavs thus making it a university.

The church was converted into a mosque in the 15th century, restored back into a church in the 16th century, ruined during the beginning of the 17th century and converted once more into the Imaret Mosque which exists to this day.

Saint John the Theologian (St. Jovan Kaneo)

“One of the most magnificent churches in all of Macedonia stands right above a small fishing settlement, on a cliff rising up from Lake Ohrid; St. Jovan Kaneo is a combination of Byzantine and Armenian architectural styles.

Built in the honor of St. John the Theologian, St. Kaneo with its sublime atmosphere and views of the placid lake below, remains an inspiring place for spiritual contemplation.

The church which was consecrated at the end of the 13th century was built on a rectangular stone base. Its exterior is decorated with ceramic decorative sculptures and stone carvings.Though the fresco painters are unknown, the fragments that have been preserved are of exceptional quality; the Communion of the Apostles and the portraits of St. Clement, St. Erasmus and Constantine Kavasilas especially stand out.

Being as it is – an extraordinarily unique construction – St. Kaneo is indeed one of the most beautiful churches in Macedonia as well as in the whole Balkan region” (ExploringMacedonia.com, 2020).

Samuel’s Fortress

The fortress is named to honor the first Macedonian, Samuel, an emperor from the 10th century.

Views from the hills

Halveti Hayati Tekke Mosque

Day 3: Day trip around Lake Ohrid

Hire a taxi driver for the day to take you to the sites and towns around Lake Ohrid. This trip includes time in Bay of Bones, Struga, Saint Naum, and National Park Galichica. We will create a separate post to describe this day trip.

Day 4: Depart Ohrid for a road trip to Skopje, Macedonia

The drive from Ohrid to Skopje along the western board is breathtaking.

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