Home to narrow, cobblestoned streets and medieval-esque architecture, a visit to Ohrid may seem like a trip back in time. Yet to be hit by huge waves of tourism, Ohrid is a vacationer’s paradise, with glimmering beaches, spectacular views, and a wealth of Mediterranean and Turkish cuisine – all available on a budget.
Go for the history
Nicknamed the ‘Jerusalem of the Balkans’, Ohrid is one of the oldest settlements in Europe, and was once considered to be the epicentre of religion and Slavic culture. Its history is evident in every building that lines the city’s old town. However, it is Lake Ohrid that makes the city a unique historical artefact. At three million years old, it stands as one of Europe’s oldest and deepest lakes, and gives Ohrid the prestige of being named as both a cultural and natural UNESCO World Heritage site.
It’s all about location, location, location
See unbelievable natural landscapes
What Ohrid lacks in coastline, it makes up for in character and natural beauty. Its lake offers pockets of beachy areas that reveal views of the surrounding mountains and hills. Along the shoreline, carefully reconstructed stilted villages give the area an Italian vibe, while waterside resorts make it the perfect place to relax in the sun. For those tired of the beach, hikes that lead around the shoreline and into the mountains are especially tempting. The more vigorous hiking and cycling trails will reward their conquerors with a beautiful overhead view of the lake.
Go for the views, stay for the food
Macedonian cuisine is reason enough to come to the city. It is unlikely that you’ll make the trip to Ohrid without hearing about Dr. Falafel, which serves up some of the best falafel sandwiches in the region, with fresh hummus and pickled vegetables. Macedonian food has been influenced by a variety of cultures, but largely focuses on Mediterranean and Turkish flavours, with a hint of Italian zest. Typical dishes include flaky kifli pastries, rich vegetable and meat stew known as turli tava, and tavče-gravče, a delicious bean dish. Local foods are made from scratch, focusing on quality and freshness, while the lake ensures that there is never a shortage of fresh seafood.
Check out some incredible architecture
Once boasting 365 churches, the city has a fascinating architectural layout, full of monasteries, fortresses and castles. Some of the architecture dates back to 200BC, including the city’s ancient theatre, which was formerly used to host gladiator fights. The well-preserved grounds now serve as a concert and theatre venue. Bring some beer and snacks and head to the path just above the famous 13th-century Saint Jovan Kaneo Church to watch the sun as it sets over the lake. Gorgeous views are guaranteed.
Dance the night away
While unassuming, Ohrid has a modest but lively nightlife for anybody looking for a good time. Lakeside bars and cafés offer drinks and desserts until 1am, while jazz lovers can listen to live music most nights at The Jazz Inn. For those looking for a little more of a wild night out, Club Havana brings in DJs from all over the region to get the crowd jumping until 5am.
Break out the shorts
Ohrid transforms into a sunny paradise by May, with little rain, and temperatures that range from a balmy 23°C (73°F), to 31°C (89°F). The weather is perfect for spending the day relaxing on a beach or sipping a beverage at a café. For the more adventurous traveller, there are many outdoor activities offered such as kayaking and cliff jumping. Boat rentals are extremely cheap, and soaking in the sun from the middle of the lake makes for a carefree day.
More bang for your buck
If you’re looking to go further with your money, forget Paris, London and Barcelona – Ohrid is where it’s at. The country is a great spot for budget-conscious travellers, offering free walking tours, reduced entrances to museums, and extremely cheap day activities (renting kayaks for two hours will only cost you about $5). With meals typically costing between $4-8 and accommodation being found for as little as $10 a night, Ohrid is a budget-friendly haven.
There is no doubt that Ohrid is a tourist treasure trove just waiting to be discovered. Its natural beauty, Instagram-worthy scenery and budget friendly activities marks it as an up and coming choice for tourists looking for their next spot, so go before the tourist circus begins.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.