Recently myself and a friend hopped over to Ohrid (Macedonia) for a relaxing long weekend break. If you want somewhere budget-friendly, relaxing, full of history and culture, good weather (potentially!) and friendly faces galore, Ohrid is the place for you.

So, if you’re thinking about heading to Ohrid for a few days, here’s how you should spend them!

St Jovan Kaneo 

Macedonia Ohrid St. Jovan Kaneo

IMG_0749 v2You’ve all seen the pictures. This is probably THE most photographed area of Ohrid. Whilst the interior of the monastery wasn’t the most impressive, this is the perfect place to relax and get picture perfect shots. The view of the lake is second to none.

Tsar Samuel’s Fortress 

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If you know me, you will know that I love any kind of castle/fortification. So I was VERY excited to learn that Ohrid had it’s very own fortress and even more excited that we had a view of it from our bedroom window. This is the highest point of the city, so expect more incredible views!

Enjoy The Lake Views 

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Macedonia Ohrid Lake Boat

As if I haven’t already spoken about “the view” enough already! Ohrid’s main selling point is the fact that it is so god damn beautiful. I uttered the words “it’s so pretty” probably once every 25 minutes for the entire trip. Everywhere you turn will be picturesque (even the drive from the airport to the city!). But of course, the most picturesque area is on the lake-front.

RELATED: Want to know a bit more about this beautiful lake? Take a read of my “Top Things You Should Know Before Visiting Ohrid” 

Church of Saint Sofia 

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Saint Sofia is one of the larges churches in Ohrid and it was the first that we visited. This was our first experience of the Macedonian church frescoes. We were so impressed by how well the frescoes were preserved in places, little did we know that there were even more impressive frescoes in smaller churches around the city.

Boat Trip to Saint Naum 

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If you have a spare day, I would definitely recommend taking a boat trip over to Saint Naum. Make sure that you walk down to the pier the day before your trip to check what times the boats leave the next day. Everywhere on the internet told us that the boat left at 10am daily and when we turned up, the sign said the boat had departed at 9am and we had to wait until the 1.45pm departure – it’s safe to say that we were annoyed! The boat ride across would be amazing in sunny weather – we forced ourselves to sit on the top deck and watch the view even in the blistering wind.

Over at Saint Naum, you can visit the monastery, do a spot of shopping, grab a bite to eat and hire a rowing boat around the springs (pictured above). Oh… and try to avoid the peacocks, according to a sign, they “WILL HARM YOUR CHILDREN”.

Enjoy the Lake Walks 

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One of my favourite areas of Ohrid is the lake-front, particularly a little wooden walkway which follows the cliff edge. Such blue clear water! I kept saying to my friend that it would have been the perfect place for a wedding!

Plaošnik 

Macedonia Ohrid Wall

Macedonia Ohrid Plaoshnik

Plaošnik is an archelogical site and holy place in Ohrid which is currently undergoing some extensive restoration works. Our favourite part was an ancient ornate hole in the ground…. we thought it was a bath tub, turns out it was a baptistery… but anyway definite #BathTubGoals, maybe minus the swastikas though….

Ancient Theatre of Ohrid 

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Move over Rome, Ohrid’s amphitheatre is the place to be! The stage is still used for events throughout the year although I can’t imagine Justin Beiber playing there anytime soon… With a view of the stage and the lake, who can complain (apart from maybe about the stone hard seats…).

National Workshop For Handmade Paper 

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I shouldn’t be allowed into a cute little shop filled with handmade paper and prints. Especially when the lady working there is lovely and demonstrates how the paper is made and the prints are created. I was strong willed to not walk away with arms filled with prints.

The Icon Gallery of Ohrid

Time to get artsy! Head over to the Icon Gallery of Ohrid for a fascinating look into art throughout the centuries in Macedonia. I’d be lying if I said that art galleries normally hold my interest, I’d rather be exploring the real world, but this one was actually interesting, especially as I visited with an History of Art student (as you can imagine, I made much less intelligent comments about the paintings).

Church of Our Lady Perivlepta 

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Without a doubt, the Church of Our Lady Perivlepta is home to the most impressive frescoes I’ve ever laid eyes on. There’s a lot of construction work happening at the moment but around all of the scaffolding, you’ll be able to see plenty of incredibly well preserved frescoes – I don’t think there’s one tiny segment of the wall that’s not covered!

Walk the City Walls 

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Around  the edge of the city there’s some impressive city walls. And if you’ve read my blog post about my day trip to York , you’ll know how much I bloody love a historical city wall!

Shop in the City Centre

The city centre is where you should head if you want to do some shopping. Whilst I didn’t see many shops that took my interest, some of the restaurants are great!

RELATED: Want to know how much all of this will cost you? Go and read my article “Budgeting For Ohrid” 

  Things we didn’t get to do but sound great! 

  • National Park Galicica – unfortunately the national park can only be accessed by car. Something we should have researched before we arrived in Ohrid! If you fancy exploring the national park for a day, think about hiring a car or a driver for the day – Macedonia is super cheap after all!
  • National Ohrid Museum – we heard great things but simply weren’t in the “museum mood” and instead chose to explore by the lake and eat good food in our few spare moments!
  • Bay of the Bones Museum – We should have visited the museum on our way to the Monastery of Saint Naum but the weather was bad, the lake was too choppy and the boat couldn’t stop at the museum :-(.
  • Vevchani Springs – This is actually something that I didn’t see advertised at all while we were in Ohrid. When I got home and was browsing my internet favourites, I stumbled across this TripAdvisor link which I’d obviously saved months ago and completely forgotten about – it looks gorgeous and is about a 30 minute drive from Ohrid.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
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Danielle1

Macedonia Ohrid Plaoshnik

Macedonia Ohrid Wall

Macedonia Ohrid St. Jovan Kaneo

Macedonia Ohrid Lake Boat

I recently popped over to Macedonia (Ohrid to be specific) and I bloody loved it (warning: there is an over-use of the word “bloody” through the entirety of this post. Ohrid really is just bloody brilliant). So, here’s a few things you should know about visiting Ohrid, Macedonia.

01. It’s absolutely bloody beautiful.

02. The people are unbelievably friendly. We stayed at Villa Kale and the owners were a lovely husband and wife duo. When we handed our passports over on arrival, they immediately noticed that myself and my friend were born in 1994, the same year as their daughter. From that point on, we were treated like family, given tips and tricks about the area and always asked if we were okay. It was like having a second mum and dad.

03. Want to meet more friendly faces? Head over to The Gladiator Restaurant, another family run establishment. Food in Macedonia is cheap and The Gladiator is probably one of the most expensive places to eat in Ohrid, however it’s definitely worth it if you’re not sticking to an uber-strict budget. Arrive early evening to ensure you get one of the 3 balcony tables so that you can watch the sunset over the lake! My friend is a vegetarian and whilst there was nothing on the menu that would be suitable for her, the owner was excited and created a platter of yummy vegetarian goods for her.

04. One more friendly face – Marta Pejoska – we stumbled across Marta’s gorgeous little jewellery studio on our walk back to the hotel one evening and we couldn’t be happier with our discovery! Marta makes incredible filigree jewellery and is SO lovely – we could have chatted to her for hours. Make sure you check out her studio!

05.You can’t exchange money to Macedonian Denar or vice versa outside of Macedonia. You should bring some Euros to the country to help you get by (larger items such as long taxi journeys and hotels can usually be paid in Euros) but then you should head to an ATM as soon as possible to get some Denar!

06. It’s super cheap! I mean really really really cheap. Read my post “Budgeting for Ohrid, Macedonia” to find out how much money you might need for your trip!

07. Visiting in “off-season” won’t mean you are visiting a ghost town. I read so many articles that tried to scare me from visiting outside of June to September. We visited in mid-May and it was great! Relaxed, sunny (most of the time!) and not overcrowded – perfect! If you’re looking for a party however, you’re probably better off visiting in summer!

08. Macedonia is rich in Greek, Roman and Ottoman history, so there is plenty to see and do in Ohrid! An ancient fortress, a Roman amphitheatre, a gorgeous national park, hundreds of churches – what’s not to love!

09. Lake Ohrid is supposedly the oldest and deepest lake in Europe (estimated 4 million years old and 940ft deep)! It was given UNESCO World Heritage status in 1979, so you know it’s going to be a beautiful place!

10.Something that I think makes Macedonia that little bit more beautiful is that it is the only country to get independence from Yugoslavia without shedding a single drop of blood. It remained entirely peaceful throughout the wars of the early 1990s and gained independence in 1991.

11. Macedonians are relaxed, don’t expect that bus or boat to be at the scheduled time. Or maybe expect the scheduled time to move unexpectedly at the last minute. Maybe  I experienced this more because I wasn’t visiting in peak-season, but oh well, it makes for the adventure!

12. Ask your hotel/hostel how much a taxi journey from A to B should be. Taxi drivers are more likely to try and rip-off a tourist. Make sure you know how much a journey should cost and barter your way down to that price!

13. You should go. You will absolutely love it.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
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Danielle1

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If there’s one question I had before visiting Macedonia, it was “how much money do I need?”. The travel blogging world seems fairly void of any articles on Macedonia and the main consensus, from the few articles I found, was that “it’s cheap” – but how cheap exactly?!

So here I am, setting out exactly how much money I spent in Macedonia. Maybe I’ll turn this into a “thing” with my future travels!

Currency

The currency is Macedonian Denar but Euros are commonly accepted for larger items such as long taxi drives and hotel costs.

You are unable to exchange money to Denar outside of Macedonia. You will therefore need to use banks in the country to withdraw your cash. We used an ATM in the city centre of Ohrid and had absolutely no problems.

Careful budgeting is therefore key to ensure you don’t have tonnes of excess cash to spare at the end of your trip (unless you want an excuse to buy ALL the chocolate in the airport on the way home)!

My Trip

  • Destination: Ohrid
  • Total number of days: 4
  • Total number of nights: 3
  • Date: May 2016 (off-season)
  • People travelling: 2 (some costs such as taxi journeys are therefore divided by 2).
  • Travelling style: Mid-range. We chose to stay in a nice hotel and have a really relaxing trip.

So, How Much Did I Spend?! 

For my entire trip to Ohrid, I spent the equivalent of £108.80. This is including accommodation, food, drinks, sightseeing and transport. Pre-arrival costs such as flights are not included as these vary so much!

To see a full breakdown of my costs in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet format, click HERE!

Accommodation – £43.86 – 40%

Now accommodation is a tricky one, we could have picked somewhere cheaper to stay. We also could have picked somewhere more expensive to stay.

We were also travelling in off-season. Most articles that I have read about Ohrid suggest visiting in June – September, as we were travelling in May, we could have experienced slightly lower prices than the average traveller. The prices for August 2016 on booking.com only seem marginally more expensive than what we paid for May – so you might be in luck if you’re travelling in Summer!

We chose to stay at Villa Kale and we couldn’t be happier with our choice. The family that own the hotel were helpful beyond words and always made sure that we were happy and satisfied.

There also appear to be some really great hostel choices on HostelWorld with some well-reviewed options having dorm rooms from as little as £4.24 per night in summer 2016 – perfect for backpackers!

Food/Drink – £42.44 -39%

We were in Ohrid for a relaxing time and to do a lot of exploring. As we visited in off-peak season, there wasn’t too much night-life going on (although according to our hotel staff, this changes in summer), therefore not much of this total is for alcohol.

We could have spent less on food but we decided to have a three course meal with wine and beer at one of Ohrid’s more expensive restaurants (Gladiator) and it was definitely worth it! We ate on the balcony overlooking the lake at sunset – perfect!

Sightseeing & Activities – £14.75 – 14%

Considering we were in Ohrid with the primary focus of sightseeing, I am pleasantly surprised at how low this total is!  A lot of Ohrid’s sights are monasteries, galleries and small things to see and do. The entry fee for each was usually around 100 denar (around £1.25).

The most expensive activity was a 600 denar half-day boat trip to St Naum and back. Definitely worth doing if you’re in the area!

I was tempted to do a tandem paragliding flight over the lake which would have set me back 59 EUR. We ended up not doing the flight but I’m sure it would have been worth the cost!

Transport – £7.75 – 7%

The only item included in this section is the taxi ride from Ohrid airport to the hotel and the return journey at the end of our trip. Our hotel organised this taxi journey for us and it was 10 EUR each way (the above total is made up of 2 journeys divided by 2 people at the exchange rate for May 2016).

Ohrid is well connected to other Macedonian cities and buses are available to various locations such as Skopje, Bitola, Prespa etc. The prices we saw for these journeys looked very reasonable – be sure to haggle any taxi prices, our hotel staff made us aware that taxi drivers might try to rip off tourists.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
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Danielle1