Hi I'm... Lake Ohrid
Lake Ohrid, North Macedonia
Ahhh, hear that? It’s the sound of your brain doing a CTRL-ALT-DEL refresh as the tranquility of Lake Ohrid washes it clean.
Surrounded by forests, Byzantine churches and silly-pretty towns, Lake Ohrid is just as good as any of those fancy Italian lake resorts... and it’s half the price (gotta love Eastern Europe). It’s the closest landlocked little Macedonia gets to having an ocean, but it’s yet to be discovered by the cruise crowd.
Ohrid once had 365 churches and while it’s cut back slightly, there’s still plenty of places to get your prayer on (or, y’know, appreciate architecture).
Church of Sveti Jovan is the daddy, the queen of churches, the Big One. Get it did.
Sveti Naum Monastery is another corker, on the opposite side of the lake. Visit the both of them and you’re 10/10 guaranteed to get into heaven.
The Bay of the Bones Museum… sounds delightful. Less shit-your-pants terrifying than the name suggests, this museum on stilts looks at the lives of the prehistoric ‘pile dwellers’ (harsh) who lived on top of the lake.
‘Oh soz, did I forget to mention that there’s banging beaches as well as the history?’
Sighhhhhh. At least the beaches in Ohrid are good enough to make up for it. Walk along Ohrid’s wooden boardwalk to find rocky cliffs, secret beaches and a splattering of bars. Dreamy.
Not had enough water? Vevčani (a cutesy village near Ohrid) has its own springs that are the perfect walk for everyone (except those people that are dying for a wee).
Ohrid is famous for its special pearls, made from an emulsion using the scales of the lake’s plasica fish. Right. Only a few families in the area know the secret method which has been passed down through generations. Queen Liz got hers from the Talev family - visit their workshop to pick up pearls that come royalty endorsed.
Letna Bavča Kaneo, on the beach by Kaneo old town, serves platters of mini plasnice, a fried fish like whitebait. Gobble them down like a cat straight out of prison.
Still hungry? The best food’s outside of the centre of Ohrid. Head back to Vevčani mountain village for homemade sausage, nettle pies and roasted meat - Kutmicevica has the best view over Ohrid.
And now... there’s drinking to be done. There’s a cluster of beach bars on Kosta Abras -
Liquid is for classy cocktail lovers, Jazz Inn is more sticky-floor style.
If you’re in Ohrid in the summer, try to catch a gig at the Lychnidos amphitheatre as part of Summer Festival - tickets are mad hard to get but well worth the trouble.
Little Lake Ohrid is like that tin of condensed milk at the back of your nan’s cupboard - old, sweet and concentrated into a small space. Get there before everyone realises they want a taste.