Watching a small fishing boat pass in the distance, it isn’t long before light ripples break the glasslike surface of the lake. Gentle splashes repeatedly wash into the jetty before calmness returns a few minutes later.
It’s a peaceful start to the day like no other. Calm tranquillity supported by cool, crisp air, blue skies, deep water and the outline of distant rocky landscapes.
This idyllic start to the day is typical of what you’ll find on the shores of Lake Ohrid.
Not long after, the town awakens as the smell of thick Turkish style coffee permeates the air, chairs and tables are set up in the streets and squares while shop fronts gradually open for business.
Ohrid is a bustling city during the popular summer months and pure, quiet bliss in the off season.
Where to Stay in Ohrid
To experience Ohrid at its best, choose a small hotel in the centre of the old town. The old town is where you’ll find historic Ottoman era stone and timber houses typical of the area.
Apartments Sv. Dimitrij
144 Klimentov Univerzitet Str., 6000 Ohrid.
A classic stone house converted into modern apartments. Well located 500 m from Potpesh Beach, 400 m from Labino Beach and a short distance to the Church of Saint John the Theologian. The hotel rooms feature free WiFi and a garden with a terrace and lake views. A great choice if your preference is for a quiet hotel in Ohrid.
These renovated elegant homes have been converted into hotels, apartments and restaurants. They give Ohrid its unique character which transitions into the more modern homes the further you get from the centre.
Just outside of the centre is where many of the locals live, in stone or concrete homes often built by the owner’s own hand, staggered up the hills to allow many a lake view.
Further along the lake, you leave the town of Ohrid to find more lakeside residences along with the occasional cafe or small restaurant. These are usually family homes that have been extended or more often purpose built to accommodate tourists, sometimes with a pool and almost always with that lake view.
Continuing even further along Lake Ohrid, you’ll eventually come to the Albanian border. It’s not far at all and whether you’re staying in Ohrid town or elsewhere along the lake, take the time to visit Albania and the city of Pogradec.
There are Albanian villages along the way and a completely different cultural experience to that on the Macedonian side of the lake. You’ll have the opportunity to meet a unique group of people with their impossibly difficult language, complex history and deliciously simple cuisine.
Back in North Macedonia, you can use Ohrid as the starting point for further travel or as a weekend trip after arriving in Skopje. If you have the time, there is plenty more to see all around the country. Our North Macedonia road trip itinerary will guide you through your trip planning, giving you ideas on what to see and where to stay.
Hotels in Ohrid
The following hotels in Ohrid are great value and excellent options for your short stay in Ohrid or choose a serviced apartment for a longer stay.
Kosta Abrash 45, 6000 Ohrid.
Simple but incredibly central and directly on the waterfront of Lake Ohrid with a private beach area. A perfect rating for the welcoming hosts, cleanliness and location. These apartments are excellent value for money, including during the peak travel season but especially in the off season when you can get excellent deals.
Boro Shain 15A, 6000 Ohrid.
An excellent modern hotel in the old style. Located up the hill from the historic centre, very close to the famous Church of Saint John the Theologian, a place you might want to visit each night to watch the sunset. The hotel is exceptionally well rated and some rooms have a private rooftop terrace with views of the lake. Make sure you book a lake view room if that’s important to you.
Velestovo Area, 6000 Ohrid, North Macedonia.
If you’re happy to stay out of the old town and if you have access to a car or don’t mind a bit of a hike, this Ohrid hotel is high on a hill in an almost rural location away from everything. The lake views are breathtaking, the rooms are decorated with new, modern furniture and everything is spotlessly clean. Ohrid can be very rowdy in the summer months, particularly in August and if this is something which concerns you, this is one of the best hotels for a quiet summer break. Alternatively, if you’re staying a while, this is a peaceful choice where you can quickly find yourself in nature but still within walking distance to the water. I highly recommend this hotel if you want to experience fresh air, greenery and incredible sunsets over the water and old town.
53a Dimitar Vlahov, 6000 Ohrid.
If you’re looking for a large, modern apartment for your stay in Ohrid, Apartment INA is a great option that is suitable for up to 6 guests. It’s close to the old town but far enough away to be quiet which is important if you are visiting in summer when the crowds take over the city and can get rowdy. This apartment is ideal for large families or if you want a bit more space for a longer stay.
5 Grigor Prlichev, 6000 Ohrid.
Located high up above Ohrid old town, the views are incredible from the balcony which overlook both Ohrid town and Lake Ohrid. Popular points of interest nearby include Labino Beach, Early Christian Basilica and Church of St. John at Kaneo. Rooms are equipped with a terrace with garden views so be sure to choose which you would like when you book your room.
Luxury Hotel Across the Border
Garden Villa Boutique Hotel (Albania)
Rruga Naim Frashëri Ndertesa Nr. 56, 7301 Pogradec, Albania.
If you’re looking for a luxury hotel in Ohrid, there aren’t that many options. There are many lovely places of course, but they can often be quite simple with regards to furnishings and facilities. This hotel on the other hand is on a different level. But the catch is it’s located just across the border in Pogradec in Albania although it’s still on Lake Ohrid. The hotel is close to the water and a short distance to many cafes, restaurants and local sights. This might not be what you were thinking of when looking for a hotel in Ohrid but it’s definitely something worth considering. Albania is a wonderful country with many unique aspects worth discovering. If you want to get off the beaten path, this is the way to go.
For the digital nomads and slow travellers, Ohrid is an amazing location to spend some time in the off season. North Macedonia is an incredibly affordable location with excellent infrastructure and services. The food is delicious, there is plenty of nightlife, sights and attractions and the people are wonderfully warm and welcoming of long-stay visitors.
I spent time here on a couple of occasions and was very comfortable spending my days researching and writing. There are plenty of opportunities for sightseeing or active travels in the area and you’re sure to meet a few like-minded visitors and friendly locals while you’re there. I highly recommend anywhere on Lake Ohrid for a longer stay.