Overlooking the azure waters of Lake Ohrid, this enchanting city in North Macedonia has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s often referred to as the “Jerusalem of the Balkans” and once featured 365 churches - one for each day of the year.
Things to do in Ohrid
Get lost in the winding streets of Ohrid’s Old Town, which is clustered with beautifully preserved buildings dating back to the 7th to 19th centuries. Marvel at the Byzantine frescoes of the 11th-century Church of St. Sophia and browse the artefacts on display at the Robev Family House, then visit one of the craft workshops or artisan galleries lining the streets.
Overlooking the Old Town is the Church of St. John the Theologian at Kaneo, which is believed to have been constructed in the 13th century, prior to the rise of the Ottoman Empire. With its magnificent Byzantine architecture and sweeping views across Lake Ohrid, it has become an emblem of the city. After admiring its frescoes and icons, you can follow the steep stairs that lead down to Kaneo Beach for a swim.
A walking trail connects from the Church of St. John the Theologian to Samuil’s Fortress, which is named after the tsar who ruled the First Bulgarian Empire from 997 to 1014. While much of the original structure is in ruins, its 18 towers and four gates boast a commanding position overlooking Ohrid. Also nearby is the archaeological complex of Plaošnik, which centres around the multi-domed Church of Saint Panteleimon.
Getting around Ohrid
Ohrid St. Paul The Apostle Airport is a 15-minute drive from the city centre and has seasonal flights to destinations across Europe. Skopje is around three hours’ drive from Ohrid and is connected by regular buses. Ohrid’s Old Town is best explored on foot.