In summer, Ohrid gets flooded. Not by the very beautiful lake, but by tens of thousands of tourists.
The lake is excellent for swimming, but don’t expect sandy, or any beaches at Ohrid’s city lakefront.
Some “o.k.” pebble beaches can be found 2 kilometers west and east from there. We went to Labino beach, this beach is located at a 150 meter walk from Kaneo Church. To find it stay on the path along the coastline from Kaneo. Then you go down to the beach. Once you are down and you turn right you can walk through the water around the rocks and there is a smaller beach that is more quiet. You can also go to Cuba Libre beach. More crowded but they have sunbeds and umbrellas. Most of the time we went to Ohrid city shore. There are some trees in the grass that give you shade and there are steps to get into the lake.
Take a boat
Exploring the lake by boat, there are 3 types of services offered firstly a 20 euro tour on a 10 person luxury catamaran that visits half of the lakes attractions. So if you are that side on being everything you need to see then you need two of these boat tours. They start every day from 10.30 am and it takes about 6 hours. The smaller boat includes non alcohol drinks.
The second option is a 150 person boat that only stops at the Bay of Bones for 30 minutes. Conditions on the boat are cramped but the price for the tour is only 10 euro. You will have 2,5 hours of free time at the Sveti Naum monestary. You can visit the monestary itself, go for a boat ride on the dren located next to the monestary of just lay down on the beach which has a sandy bottom in the lake but pebbles at the shore. We booked the cheapest one but kind of regretted that. The time at Bay of Bones was short and they only stopped once while the other boat stops also at a church. Also you don’t need to wait until 150 people get of and on the boat.
The third option is to charter a small boat along the quay they don’t hold themselves to a schedule and can offer anything from a taxi service to a beach to a full day tour. Here prices aren’t fixed so haggle for the best deal.
If you value alone time you can also opt to hire a canoe. These can be found at the end of the boardwalk close to the Kaneo church. The cafes at the waterfront offer the canoes (don’t know the prices).
Bay of Bones is an archaeological museum on water. This museum is giving you a view of prehistoric times. The entrance fee is 100 denar (1,60 euro) and we only had 30 minutes. That was very short and we didn’t get the chance to have a good look at everything. Inside the settlement you can find a setup on how houses did look that day and there are some bones and skins of dead animals like bear, wolf and sheep. There is also a small museum with remains they found in the water of animals.
Old town Ohrid
Old town is full of cosy cobble stoned streets with white plastered houses that have arts, craft shops and restaurants in them.
We visited Samuel’s fortress high on top above Ohrid city center. This fortress is well kept and as a big plus it has stunning views of the lake. The entrance fee is only 60 denars.
You can visit the local market to find fresh fruits and vegetables. You can also buy nuts and some local snacks here. We tried the layered dough snack. That appeared to be a lot of baked pancakes on top of each other.
In summertime Ohrid also is very popular with young Macedonian people that come for the festivals and performances. The annual Ohrid Calling festival caught our attention since that was already advertised in Skopje. One of the headliners of the festival was Steve Aoki. The festival is 4 days, but we bought a ticket online for only 1 day. For a very amusing video review check: Ohrid calling 2019 | Steve Aoki
Where to sleep in Ohrid
Due to Ohrid Calling festival we slept twice in Ohrid. The first 3 nights we stayed at an Airbnb. No far from the city center but still some walking to do. But regarding the time in August we were there, the location were the festival was and the late booking from our side this was the best choice we had. The hosting lady is very nice and the room itself was very clean. Airbnb ohrid 1254 denar /night (21 euro)
The last time we chose for House Kostoski. We booked the Superior Studio for 7 nights that has it’s own kitchen and own bathroom. Perfect place and very clean but outside the city center and no working airconditioning. House Kostoski
Costs: 1230 denar/night ( 20 euro)
Both places had ok Wifi but upload speed was not good.
Where to eat in Ohrid
There are so many restaurants in Ohrid. We had a kitchen in our second apartment so we cooked ourselves a lot. But we ate at one restaurant that are worth mentioning and we can really recommend two coffee places.
Di Angelo restaurant. Be early or be prepared to wait! We had lasagna and a pizza. Both good in flavour and especially the lasagna huge.
The Vault has great coffee and hot chocolate. Also good for a piece of apple pie.
Steve’s coffee house is an amazing place near lake Ohrid with great coffee, real Callebaut hot chocolate and fresh cookies.