How I got to Ohrid from Skopje?
In the morning I packed my staff and with my new friend from Finland, we went to the bus station in Skopje to catch the bus to Ohrid. There are several buses daily to the most touristic city in Macedonia, Ohrid. Ticket costs 500 DEN and the journey takes around 3 hours. On the way to Ohrid we passed beautiful Macedonian mountainous landscapes.
If you booked your hotel in the city center, you don’t need to get off the bus at the city bus station, because bus will first stop also near center. Taxi from the main station to the city center costs about 100 DEN.
Where did I stay in Ohrid?
The first night I stayed in the guest house, which was located around 20 minutes walk to the center, what seemed to me too far, so the next morning I moved to Joce Apartments where I stayed the next 6 days. Joce Apartment is situated only two minutes walk from the center in a quiet street. I had a nice big room with a small kitchen and basic kitchen equipment, a balcony overlooking the mountains and the old town, AC and TV for a very good price. My host gave me a map and explained what places I should visit in Ohrid. In addition to that, he offered me a great 10 years old Rakia, a traditional Macedonian alcoholic beverage.
Why you should visit Ohrid?
Ohrid is amazing city situated on the shores of Lake Ohrid old over three million years and it was made a UNESCO heritage site in 1980. I liked it immediately after first city walk. The town of Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe and is also known as “Jerusalem of the Balkans” because once have had 365 churches, one for each day of the year.
Things you should see when you’re in Ohrid
In the afternoon I went sightseeing the city. I began my tour in the Upper Gate which used to be connected with the ancient theatre by portico in ancient times. You can get there on the pavement from the city center but you need to climb the small hill to get there.
Behind the gate you will see antique theater, the only Hellenistic theatre in Macedonia and only visible monument from ancient times. Upper part of theater is missing. The lower section of the theatre is preserved and since the late 1980s, the theater is a site of performances such as plays, concerts, operas or ballet. There is not entrance fee.
When you continue walking up, you will get to the King Samoil Fortress. I highly recommend paying a small entrance fee of 30 DEN to get inside. From the fort there is a breathtaking view of the city from all sides.
The path leads down through the woods to reach the Church St.Pantelejmon – Plaoshnik, the place where the Cyrillic alphabet was created. It has been very important religious center since early Christian times and it is the site of the first university in Europe, opened in the 10th century.
I walked around the church and then stepped inside. To my surprise, inside this beautiful church service was held. Because I have never seen this ceremony, I stood there and watched that for a while.
The next stop is the highlight of city Ohrid for many people as well as for me and it is the St. Kaneo Church. The road leading from the Plaoshnik and it takes about 5-7 minutes. First you go through a small forest and descend until wonderful and magical place appear in front of you. The church is situated on a cliff overlooking the lake. I sat on a cliff about half an hour and watched this truly special place.
You can get to another beautiful church by walking along the coast in the old town. It is St.Sophia church with its biggest composition of 11th century frescoes preserved in the world. There is a bench near church where you can see the church from above.
If you continue on the left side you will see Hand-made paper workshop. From this small factory you can bring the souvenir in the form of paper with texts or paintings.
On this road in old city you can see houses which were built in Ohrid Traditional Architecture with narrow streets and tunnels, because houses were built over the streets, since the locations were small. Because of the strong sun the houses were painted white, so they would reflect the sun and they don’t have the open spaces because of the winds from the lake.
This path leads to the main port of Ohrid, where smaller boats leave for the sightseeing of the towns and villages on the lakeshore and larger ships go to the famous monastery of St. Naun.
On the main street of the city of Ohrid you will find plenty of shops and fast food meals. At the end of the street is a square with a fountain and with 1100 years old Plane tree. On the left side there is a street with restaurants serving traditional and very tasty dishes at reasonable prices. The street ends at the point where you started your tour of Ohrid.
I ended my day in Ohrid famous restaurant where my host took me. The restaurant is located on the outskirts near Ohrid springs. They offer traditional Macedonian meals and play Macedonian live music. People were dancing, singing and it’s fun to watch real Balkans entertainment.