Lake Ohrid

'The Jewel of Macedonia'

I'll be honest and admit that up until a few months ago, I had never heard of Lake Ohrid! The closest I had come to knowing about its existence is being aware there was a 'beautiful lake in Macedonia'. It wasn't until I was talking about travel and interesting places to see with a friend of mine, that she spoke about how she had discovered Lake Ohrid. As I was travelling to Macedonia it seemed natural to try and add Lake Ohrid to the itinerary. 

View from my hotel window, large Macedonian flag in centre of picture.

Lake Ohrid is Europe's oldest and deepest lake, it's also a UNESCO heritage site, so I've added it to my list of sites visited! I travelled down from Skopje by car and the trip takes 2 and a half to 3 hours depending on the traffic conditions. The part closest to Lake Ohrid has road construction as a new road is being put through so that slows the trip down. 

Boardwalk to lakeside restaurants.

Tourism is now an important industry, but it seems that the tourists are mainly European based. According to the captain of the boat I took a trip on the lake, most foreign tourists are from Germany and The Netherlands. The rest of the world hasn't quite discovered Lake Ohrid yet!

The scenery is just gorgeous, a deep blue lake and surrounded by mountains.

The old town of Ohrid, built up on the steeper slopes, there's also a more modern part of the town leading up to the old town peninsula.

House built into the cliff.

St John at Kaneo Church

Ohrid has a number of Orthodox churches, driving down it was interesting to note that each of the small towns and villages I drove through had a mosque as their most prominent building. Then as we were close to Ohrid, Orthodox churches could be seen. It gave me a real life understanding of the religious diversity that can be found in Macedonia.

Most of Lake Ohrid is geographically in Macedonia, a part is in Albania, this is Albania.

Hard to see but this is 'The President's House'. Under Yugoslavia this had been Tito's residence on the lake, it's a series of villas which are used by the Macedonian president, the prime minister and other administration officials.

Sunset on Lake Ohrid.

Lake Ohrid was really lovely and it was nice to visit somewhere for me at least that was 'off the beaten track' meaning somewhere that wasn't frequented by hordes of tourists. It doesn't have the polish of a popular tourist area but that's what makes it interesting to see. Something that I didn't get around to visiting was the 'Bay of Bones Water Museum' which is a recreated village on water showing how people lived hundreds of years ago. It's about 30 minutes down the lake from the town of Ohrid.

Lake Ohrid does have a small regional airport so it is possible to fly into, the drive from Skopje though does have some spectacular scenery once it gets to the mountainous parts. Great as long as you're not the ones driving! I wasn't so appreciated the view!