Living in a country that doesn’t have a sea, narrows down your summer opportunities to lakes, and those are not countless either. The Ohrid Lake is the oldest lake in Europe, and it is the home to more than 300 endemic species. Its color at any time of the year is so clear, and walking along its coast is a meditation and inner peace bringer.
For most of the Macedonian kids it is one of the first summer vacation spots, and definitively the first teenage spot with a bigger company to 100% of us. And once you start traveling abroad you forget about it, but never about the memories, but then when I realized I haven’t revisited it for more than 7 years it was alarm for a change.
Actually in the last 3 years I went on various occasions, for a long weekend, as a route stop and the last time which was one of my favorite ones was in winter for a work from home experience. And I am recommending it more than anything. Since the situation is as it is, the city was more empty than usually, but we carefully chose to go in working days, and we managed a lot.
There are many routes that you can take through the city, from nature, historical, the church route and countless hiking trails, this time because of the work we only did the ones that were not so much time consuming.
The Short Route: Varosh – Labino Beach – City Beach
We had our accommodation in the historical part of the city called Varosh, and as we put our laptops away we were down for a short walk, started by the Kaneo Beach, reaching the Kaneo Monastery, and through the park we reached beach Labino, some older locals were enjoying their talks, we had our peaceful minutes here and continued on the way to the city beach, which was ok for the distance but not so much for the sights, and through the woods surrounding the Fortress we returned again in our accommodation, because curfew.
The Lake/Beach Route: Varosh – Riviera – Student Resort
An early morning after gjomleze – carb dish typical for Ohrid, it was better to “waste” what we had, then to spend it while working. The route along the riviera was perfect for it, and the views, oh. those views, I was snapping a photo every second. I couldn’t believe this is the homeland. The city part of this route is not very interesting but it is the shortest, afterwards there are some bars, and after passing by the Park Golden Beach Hotel, is where the magic happens. The area around the Inex Olgica hotel is out of this world, wherever you look was a full bloom and crystal clear water, and the smell of the pine trees. Such a feeling blessed moment. After this point the views are still amazing, but you start passing buy the more commercial beaches, which in this period of the year do not look so inviting but still, keep your eyes on the water and it is a win win. Our end point was the Aqualina Hotel, and the same route back will give you a bit more than 10 kilometers or step completion on your device. Go for it, and pick up some garbage along the way.
The Historical Route – the most famous route or the Holy Trinity are the Kaneo Church, Plaoshnik and Samuel’s Fortress, we did the classics but we also checked out the other churches Saint Sofia, and the Periblebtos Church which is home of the oldest frescoes dating back from the 13th century. Ohrid has 365 churches so if you are up to the religious or the Historical route there is plenty to be seen. Another stop on this route was the St Sava School, the antic theater and the historical UNESCO protected houses. Walking on this route will make you fall in love with the beauty of the city even if you are not a history fan.
We also wanted to visit the National Park “Galichica”, but due the snow conditions we will leave for some next time. A summer must is the “Utarna Restaurant” up in the mountains, such an authentic spot with great food. And if you have more days, feel the Lucerne-ish vibes in the neighbor city Struga
While in the city we didnt have the courage to eat outside because of the risk of infections, but we did this twice on a terrace all alone in the Summer Terrace Kaneo, once it was for breakfast, and once for lunh, both the Eggs in a Bagel and the Trout in Prison were mega delish, and macedonian wine in the later case. A M A Z I N G. Breakfasts were usually in the local bakeries, but except the gjozleme that we bought at the city market, i cant recommend any of the once we tried. We had pizza two times, and both were satisfying for macedonian standards. Our ritual was fresh juice at juice box every morning and that was something i was really looking forward to. There is a famous burger in town the Burger station, not my type, but the average meat eaters are fond of it. Too much sauce in my humble opinion.
Are you convinced? I hope you are and there are direct flights especially in the summer.
Accomodation wise cant recommend it enough: Villa Varosh