Ohrid is a town situated on the banks of Lake Ohrid, one of the oldest lakes on planet Earth. Lake Ohrid straddles the border between Macedonia and Albania and the town of Ohrid is the largest settlement on the lake. It is believed Lake Ohrid is up to 3 million years old. The town of Ohrid is also believed to be oldest sites of human settlement and is first mentioned in Greek documents that date to 353 BCE but human settlement in the area pre-dates this by another 4 millenia. The town as we know it today was built mostly between the 7th and 19th centuries during the Byzantine period and later the Ottomans. At the beginning of the 11th century, Ohrid briefly became the capital of the Bulgarian Empire, ruled by Car Samuil, whose fortress still presides over the city today.
This is a superb little hostel located on the hill side overlooking the centre of the town of Ohrid. There is a large outdoor common space with plenty of seating, a hammock and a BBQ which is an ideal location to make friends during the warmer months. There is also a balcony on the top floor that overlooks out over the town which is nice spot to have a few glasses (bottles) of Macedonian wine in the evenings.
Sights and Highlights
The highlight of the town itself, is the lake. Its a wonderful setting and spending some time in a cafe or bar overlooking the water is fairly acceptable past time in Ohrid. You can swim in the lake, go fishing in the lake, go canoeing on the lake or take a boat trip. There are a few small towns dotted around the lake that can be visited. Gradište beach is known for many young people and music and is a nice place to hang out and relax.
Dr Falafel serves delicious falafel sandwiches with loads of hummus and vegetables for about €1.50. Its located on the main street into town and you may pass it on your way to your hostel on your left hand side. If you like falafel, you will want to remember where this location is.
The burek found in Macedonia is as good as any other in the Balkans. There are a couple of really good places in Ohrid with Burekđilnica Igor and Žito Leb being two good options.
During the busy summer months Ohrid is one of the top travel destinations for Macedonia and the surrounding countries. There are several beach bars and clubs a short walk to the south of the town that become very popular during this time and Cuba Libre is one of these. Further to south even still there are small pop up that host dance parties and live music on some of the more secluded beaches. They are difficult to find without knowing where to go so asking around town or at the hostel is your best bet.
The town is small enough to walk around but if you want to visit some of the other smaller towns around the lake then taking a taxi might be the best option. A taxi to Struga should cost €5-7 however you can take a minibus for less than €1. There are local buses that travel around to the villages dotted around the lake but they are not super reliable and the timetables change often. During peak season they become quite regular.
Getting In and Out
Most people reach Ohrid from Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. There are regular buses all day to and from Skopje and should be less than €10. The other decent option to get to Ohrid is from Tirana, the capital of Albania. To get to or from Tirana you will need to get to the town of Struga first where buses can then be found to Tirana or Ohrid depending on the direction. There are 3-4 buses per day including night buses between Tirana and Struga with the travel time varying from 3.5 hrs to 6.5. The hostel has up to date information on timetables or can find departure times at balkanviator.com/