Lake Ohrid – Macedonia
This is a great place to visit, a clear crystal blue water lake surrounded by beautiful countryside on one side and mighty snow capped mountains on the other. The beautiful Old Town of Ohrid sits nestled on the North East side of the lake and is a great stop off on your way to Albania.
The town of Ohrid is undergoing a bit of renovation as it grows ever more popular with tourists from all over the world. Little cobbled backstreets with traditional red roof homes line the way up to the castle. The impressive Tsar Samuel Fortress commands respect atop the hill overlooking the village and lake. A medieval castle with origins from the 4th Century, with mighty walls, a formidable stronghold and it is easy to see why this is one of the major tourist attractions in Macedonia.
Nearby there are the Saint John the Theologian, Kaneo, St Clement at Plaošnik, the site of Clement’s original monastery, a 5th century Christian Basilica and many more beautiful churches, marvel at the ancient architecture, frescoes and mosaics. On the other side of the lake is Monastery of St Naum, a popular day out for visitors to Lake Ohrid.
It was March and a little cold, I arrived on the bus from Skopje, a 4 hour journey through some amazing countryside. At the bus station were the usual touts, offering taxis, lodgings etc. As it was getting late I took a chance on this guy Mikel who offered a room with heating, essential during the night off season – as not everyone has it! If you ask for heating, normally they just bundle you with more blankets.
Anyway, he was a good guy, a crazy clarinet playing party guy, with a 4 bedroom house who always wanted to go out with his guests. As I love meeting new people, off I went. It was a great insight into Macedonia culture, eating where they eat, drinking in the bars frequented by the locals and ending up in dodgy 90s style discos (showing my age now). By the way there are modern clubs but where is the fun in that?!
He was a good host, of course he never put his hand in his pocket but sometimes you have to roll with it. I met some great characters, like the guy who sang an entire folk song for me, chest beating and all, nice… awkward but nice! They are very proud of being Macedonian.
The lake itself was amazing, with wonderful walks, bicycle paths and small marina. Mikel said that in the summer there was sailing and water sports, horse riding and adventurous activities. I would like to go back when the resort is in full swing as it was a fab place with a good vibe.
All in all, a great place, oh and I shouldn’t forget the fish dishes from the lake if you like seafood, they prepare some amazing fresh fish dinners. My advice – try everything! Lake Ohrid is another fantastic Balkan Gem!