Located along a peaceful lake, Ohrid is a popular holiday destination for both foreigners and Macedonians. Lake Ohrid is one of the deepest and oldest lakes in Europe. And Ohrid itself gives off an atmosphere of history and depth with it’s beautiful medieval old town filled with mosques and churches.
Why visit Ohrid Macedonia?
Ohrid is one of my favourite places in the Balkans. We spent several days in Ohrid during the cold and quiet days between Christmas and New Years. The town was quiet and peaceful, a stark contrast to the buzzing centre it becomes during the summer period.
Ohrid is full of beautiful churches and in fact, Ohrid is home to the most photographed church in Macedonia. This little church is so beautiful that it is very possibly the most photographed spot in the country. And that church is on our walking tour of Ohrid.
A Walking Tour of Ohrid Macedonia
This walking tour is the same itinerary that we crafted for ourselves during our visit of Ohrid. Despite Google maps saying that the walk only takes 37 minutes, don’t be fooled. This walk will take you all day. There are just too many beautiful spots to stop and reflect on in Ohrid.
Our Ohrid itinerary will take you to one of our favourite restaurants in the Balkins. So depending on your speed of walking and how long you spend in each spot, you may want to plan to go there for either lunch or dinner. If you plan to take it slow, we recommend packing a lunch and enjoying it while enjoying the views from the most photographed spot in Macedonia – St John at Kaneo.
Stop 1: Car Samoil’s Fortress
Start your journey at the 10th century castle on the hill above the medieval old town. There is not much left of the fortress, but you can climb the ramparts and walk around the walls for some spectacular views across the town and the lake. This is the best place to start your journey as it gives you a fantastic birds eye view of the town you are about to explore.
Stop 2: Classical Amphitheatre
Ohrid’s classical amphitheatre was built by the Romans and used to host gladiator matches. The theatre is still in use today and hosts performances during the summer festivals.
Stop 3: The Icon Gallery at Holy Mary Perybleptos
Nearby the classical amphitheatre is the little church of Holy Mary Perybleptos. The highlight here is the small icon gallery in the courtyard of the church. The gallery is a small, one room affair, and houses some of the finest icons from the region. You can easily spend a half hour in this little gallery.
Stop 4: Plaosnik
Leave the old town and walk through a quiet little forested path. The path starts out wide and defined, but starts to narrow and become less trodden as you go on. Keep going though, as you will soon emerge at Plaosnik.
Plaosnik is home to the Church of Sveti Kliment i Pantelejmon. This 5th century church was recently restored in 2002 and is an impressive sight to behold. Even if you are not religious, you will be struck by the grandeur and beauty of the Byzantine church as you enter.
Plaosnik has a lot of historical significance as well. It is the site of Europe’s first university and is the place where the Cyrillic alphabet was created.
Stop 5: St John of Kaneo
This is the spot that you have seen on posters, promotional material, and postcards all throughout Macedonia. This is the most photographed church in Macedonia. The tiny stone church is set on a cliff overlooking the lake. It’s an impossibly beautiful spot with a couple very strategically placed benches for quiet contemplation, and is possibly one of the best places in the world to enjoy a picnic lunch.
Stop 6: Sveti Sofia Cathedral
Sveti Sofia is Ohrid’s grandest church and is located in the centre of the old city. It’s a massive cathedral with massive and impressive, if faded, frescoes throughout.
Stop 7: Dinner at St Sophia Restaurant
We stumbled in here on a whim and I am so glad we did. This restaurant has a huge selection of traditional Macedonian dishes as well as an extensive wine list.
Stop 8: Cinar
As you wander with a full stomach from St Sophia restaurant towards the 900 year old historic tree and landmark, Cinar, you will pass tons of cafes and shops on ul Sveti Kliment Ohridski. This loved Ohrid landmark marks the end of your walking tour.