My trip to North Macedonia was split between Ohrid and the capital city – Skopje. Read on to find out about both places and what to see and do.
Located close to the border with Albania, the beautiful town of Ohrid is located along the shore of the stunning Lake Ohrid and features a lovely old town. Ohrid was my highlight on my 9 day trip through Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo.
It was a great place to relax and boasts beautiful scenery, offers good food and historical sites. The lake is apparently one of the oldest and largest lakes in Europe, and in my opinion, one of the more beautiful lakes I have visited (on par with Lake Annecy in France)!
What to do in Ohrid
The cobbled street old town is very walkable and has a fair few things for you to see and do, with the majority of sites within walking distance of each other. Also if you are a fan of cats, the town is home to many!
Church of Saint John the Theologian
Maybe this iconic photo is what attracted you to visit Ohrid, it is what sold Ohrid to me. It was the first stop I wanted to check out as soon as I checked in to my hostel, and was also the last place I visited before heading on to Skopje.
It is a great stop to relax, and watch the sunset. Other travellers staying in my hostel came here to watch the sunset, and due to being offpeak, we were the only ones there, which added to the beauty of it.
In addition to the walking route up to Samuels Fortress, there is a route that hugs the lake and takes you down to the water. Follow the path, and you will end up a a great view point and down to the clear lake.
A beautiful, peaceful walk alongside the cliff. The crystal clear water and slight waves of the water make it a great alternative to walking through the cobbled streets. You can access small beaches and it is a great spot for photography and watching the sunset.
As I visited at the end of March, it was empty, but I can image it getting very busy in summer when all the lake front bars / restaurants are open.
Located at the top of Ohrid, the fortress plays an important role in the history of Ohrid.
Be sure to walk the walls and explore the look out points that offer great views over Ohrid and the lake. At the time of my visit, it cost 80 Denar to enter (£1). Once again, as it was off peak during my visit, we had the entire fortress to ourselves so could really spend time appreciating it and the surrounding views.
After your visit, I would highly recommend stopping for a coffee at the Fort Café, located opposite the entrance to the Fortress. Visited twice during my visit, the staff were lovely and they have a great choice of cakes. Try the Turkish Coffee too!
Ancient Macedonian Theatre of Ohrid
Built in 200BC, this theatre was used for gladiator fights as well as executions. Nowadays it hosts an array of performances including plays, operas and concerts. Aside from a few local kids practising a dance, I also had this sight all too myself!
Monastery of St. Naum
Located to the south of Lake Ohrid, and close to the Albanian border this is a picturesque Monastery just a 30 minute bus drive from Ohrid.
Look out for the peacocks that live within the grounds and also the springs that are areas of clear water. There are a few smaller chapels within the grounds that you should pop into, as well as the main building.
Restaurants and a few touristy gift shops are also located within the grounds.
Bay of Bones
A mock up village of life in Iron and Bronze age, built on stilts over the water.
On the taxi back from Monastery St. Naum, we stopped off quickly for a photo at the entrance to the site.
What to do in Skopje
The capital city of North Macedonia, and it is still trying to find its identity. It is apparent that a large amount of statues located throughout the city, but overall it was a nice city, however I much preferred to beauty and peace of Ohrid.
In my opinion, this was the highlight of my visit to Skopje. Located a short drive away, Lake Matka and the gorge it lies in has been formed by the creation of a dam to supply and store water for the city. The calmness made the visit even more worthwhile.
I joined a boat trip, which lasted approximately 30 minutes and allows you to visit the Vrelo Cave, which was nice to explore and the guys who run the boats are super friendly.
You can also hire kayaks, hiking trails are available (including a route along the canyon) and a restaurant along the water can all be found.
I got a taxi from the city centre for approximately 700 denar, but there is a bus available from nearby to the bus station.
We went to watch the sunset here on both nights of my stay, and would highly recommend doing the same too. You can walk along the walls and admire the city views.
Full of shops, cafes and restaurants, with some of my favourites being Destan (meat – cevapi), Mola (coffee), Mado Sweet shop (would recommend the Turkish coffee & tres leches).