Lake Ohrid may not be the most famous of the Balkan lakes, ( we’re looking at you Lake Bled ) but it’s definitely one of the most beautiful! However, Ohrid is more than ‘just’ a lake, it’s also home to a beautiful UNESCO old town , a medieval fortress and an abundance of beautiful churches. We’ve put together an Ohrid itinerary to help you get the most out of your stay! Read on to start planning…
Day 1: taking a dip in one of Europe’s oldest and deepest lakes.
We recommend you first and foremost take the time to explore the shores of Lake Ohrid. There are many ‘beach’ spots where you can throw down your towel and take a dip! Whilst there were designated areas owned by bars where you could rent a sunbed and join the other tourists, we preferred to go local and find a spot of our own!
The lake is absolutely HUGE so you’ll have plenty of space to swim in the crystal clear waters. We were so impressed with how clean and well-maintained Lake Ohrid was, given its proximity to the town itself. Also, what could be better than paddling whilst surrounded by panoramic mountain views?
This is probably the most obvious part of your Ohrid itinerary, but its also the most fun!
If you have more time, then you could definitely spend your whole weekend soaking up the sun on the lakeside! However, we’ve limited this to a morning activity to make time for the rest of what Ohrid has to offer.
Explore the UNESCO listed old town of Ohrid.
Ohrid has all the charm of Europe’s finest old towns but without the endless ebb and flow of the crowds.
While away your afternoon amongst its picturesque cobbled streets, and enjoy a traditional burek (meat or cheese filled flaky pastry) when hunger strikes!
From its shopfronts to its streetlamps, Ohrid’s old town is an Instagram dream.
Aren’t these the cutest streetlamps you ever did see?!
Day 2 of your Ohrid itinerary: discover Tsar Samuel’s Fortress.
A testament to the Bulgarian rule during the middle ages, this 10th century fortress stands proud over Ohrid old town. Step back in time as you explore the age old ruins, and above all enjoy the incredible vista from the top!
We loved how the vibrant colours of the Macedonian flag contrasted with the stone of the castle.
As you descend the hill from the fortress you will notice signs pointing to Plaosnik Monastery. Which brings us to the second part of your Day 2 Ohrid Itinerary…
Church hopping in Ohrid, the land of medieval monasteries.
We started our church tour in the Plaosnik Monastery, host to the Church of St Clement and St Pantelejmon. This area is as old as the 5th or 6th century and you can still see some of the original architecture today! This is a must-see for any archaeological buffs! Even if churches aren’t normally your cup of tea, we’d be willing to bet these will win you over!
The churches here are very distinctive with their ochre and terracotta coloured roofs contrasting beautifully against the blue of Lake Ohrid.
We had the whole place to ourselves, which was great for relaxing and taking in the views!
However, our favourite church had to be St John at Kaneo. It was the best of both worlds, combining beautiful architecture with a ridiculous viewpoint of the lake and surrounding scenery!
St John at Kaneo – our personal highlight of the Ohrid itinerary.
The path to St John from Plaosnik is easy to find. Simply follow the signs for either St.John/Kaneo (which will take you through some woodland ) and you’ll soon be greeted with this view!
This 13th century combination of both Byzantine and Armenian architecture is a sight to behold! It’s also the perfect spot to watch the sunset (which we didn’t get the chance to do, but you must!!)
Despite the smattering of tourists, it’s impossible to not be taken by this place. We couldn’t get enough of the panoramic view it offered of Lake Ohrid!
If you go down behind the church, you will find a jutting bit of rock which serves as the perfect viewing platform! ( Or selfie platform in our case )
What a beautiful way to finish your Ohrid itinerary! We’ve tried to cram as much as possible into a weekend for you, as there is an abundance of things to do here. All that’s left is for you to book that flight and enjoy!