Ohrid is one of the most picturesque and charming towns of the Balkan Peninsula, considered as the cultural capital of Macedonia. The best thing to do in town is to stroll through its lovely city center and wander through its narrow cobblestone streets lined with Ottoman-era houses. Visit the Robevi Family House, once belonging to one of the richest families of the country and today turned into an interesting museum full of unusual artefacts found in the area. Then visit the Svetja Sofja cathedral, with its beautiful frescoes. For lunch go to Chun, a lovely restaurant which offers great views over the lake. Once here, order Plasnica fish, a typical fish of the lake, and a salad, and admire the surrounding panorama.
After lunch, head to the stunning Sveti Jovan Kaneo to contemplate the most stunning panorama of the country. This ancient church is situated in a spectacular location in front of the lake and surrounded by majestic mountains. Don’t forget to bring your camera with you to take amazing pictures. From Kaneo, continue up to Plaošnik, the most important archaeological site of Macedonia, and visit the Saint Panteleimon Monastery, the place where it is said that Saint Clemens invented the actual Cyrillic alphabet. Near the monastery, there are another two not-to-miss places to visit in town: Samuel’s Fortress and the ancient theatre, where every August the Ohrid Summer Festival takes place; it’s one of the most important music festivals of the Balkans.
The best place to dine in Ohrid is Antiko, a traditional restaurant located at the beginning of the historical city centre. Order the typical Macedonian tavče gravče, beans cooked with tomatoes, paprika and parsley, and a dish of local sausages. End your dinner with a cup of Turkish coffee and a raki, the typical aromatized liquor of the Balkan Peninsula.
One of the most famous places in Ohrid to spend the night out and drink great cocktails is Liquid Cafe. This lake-lapping bar is the classiest bar of the town and the perfect place to enjoy your Balkan night. Spend the night at Villa Jovan, the most characteristic hotel of Ohrid, housed inside an Ottoman-era building. Local tip: Room number 9 has a lovely terrace that offers gorgeous views over the lake.
It’s time to leave the lovely town of Ohrid and head into Sveti Naum, a peaceful place just five minutes by car from the Albanian border. Sveti Naum is famous for being home to the most important monastery of Macedonia, once belonging to Albania but gifted by the former Albanian King to Yugoslavia. Naum is one of the most relaxing places you’ll find in the Balkan Peninsula, so be sure to spend a few hours here. If you have extra time, we strongly suggest you swim in the crystal clear waters of the lake and then book a boat trip to explore the lake shores.
Cross the Albanian border, reach the beautiful village of Tushemisht, and book a table at Rritja e Koranit, one of the most famous places to eat Koran, a fish typical of this area. Near Tushemisht there is Drilon, one of the most famous hamlets of Albania, frequented by locals in the summer season. The former Albanian dictator, Enver Hoxha, used to spend his time and relax. Drilon is a quiet fishermen village that is worth a visit.
Ten minutes by car from Drilon there is Pogradec, the main coastal town located on the Albanian side. Pogradec is mostly frequented by locals during the summer months because it is one of the liveliest towns of southeast of Albania. When the sun comes down, walk along the lakeshores to admire one of the most beautiful panoramas you will see in the country. Then, choose one of the several restaurants near the water and enjoy your dinner.
Pogradec is not famous as Tirana or other Albanian towns for its nightlife, but in the peak of the season it is full of cool bars where one can drink great coffee. One of the most frequented in town is Bar Pelikan, a cozy café located in front of the lake. To spend the night, book a room in the gorgeous Hotel Enkelana, which offers breathtaking lake views.