Hello, dear readers and fellow adventurers! Today, we’re thrilled to take you on a journey to a place that’s close to our hearts – Ohrid, the pearl of North Macedonia.
We are Misho and Mile, your favourite experts on balkan travel destinations, restaurants, things to do and anything in between.
As two Balkan explorers who have wandered far and wide, we found Ohrid to be a mesmerizing blend of natural beauty and historical richness, making it an idyllic retreat for digital nomads like ourselves.
Our story in Ohrid began on a serene morning, as the sun cast its golden rays over the tranquil waters of Lake Ohrid.
This ancient lake, one of Europe’s deepest and oldest, held us spellbound with its crystal-clear waters and the picturesque mountains that embraced it (we can be poetic, particularly with local wine). We set up our workspace in a quaint lakeside café, where the gentle lapping of the waves and the panoramic views provided a backdrop of unparalleled tranquility for our work.
But Ohrid’s allure extends beyond its scenic landscapes. As we ventured through the city’s cobblestone streets, we were captivated by its rich history, evident in the centuries-old churches and the iconic Ohrid Fortress.
Each evening, we delved into the local culture, savoring traditional Macedonian dishes and engaging with the warm-hearted locals, who shared stories that added depth and color to our experience.
This personal connection is what inspired us to share our journey with you in our digital nomad guide to Ohrid. We want to show you how this hidden gem is not just a destination for tourists, but a haven for those seeking a harmonious blend of work, culture, and natural beauty.
Join us as we guide you through the enchanting town of Ohrid, a place where history whispers from ancient walls and nature’s beauty is a constant companion.
Welcome to Ohrid, a town that not only captivates the eye but also enchants the soul of every digital nomad and traveler.
Misho and Mile
Why Visit Ohrid?
Ohrid, often hailed as the “Pearl of the Balkans,” is a destination that should be on every traveler’s bucket list.
This picturesque city in North Macedonia, perched on the edge of the stunning Lake Ohrid, offers a unique blend of natural beauty, historical richness, and cultural vibrancy.
Its crystal-clear lake, one of Europe’s deepest and oldest, is perfect for both relaxation and adventure activities like swimming, boating, and fishing.
The old town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a treasure trove of ancient churches, monasteries, and well-preserved architecture, telling tales of centuries past.
Strolling through its cobbled streets, you can feel the pulse of history around every corner. Moreover, Ohrid’s lively cafes, traditional restaurants, and local craft markets provide a delightful taste of Balkan hospitality and culture. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or just seeking a serene getaway, Ohrid’s enchanting charm is sure to captivate your heart.
Where Is Ohrid?
What is the Wi-Fi availability and internet speeds in Ohrid?
Wi-Fi availability in Ohrid is quite comprehensive, especially in areas frequented by travelers and digital nomads. You’ll find free Wi-Fi in most hotels, guesthouses, and a majority of cafes and restaurants.
This accessibility makes it easy for visitors to stay connected, whether for leisure or work purposes.
2 Best co-working spaces in Ohrid
In Ohrid, there are a couple of notable co-working spaces that cater to the needs of freelancers, digital nomads, and small companies:
- Kasarna Hub: Located in the area of the old military barracks in Ohrid, North Macedonia, Kasarna Hub serves as a startup center. It offers co-working space and is known for its role in community building and mentorship for startups. This space is a unique blend of a business incubator and a community center, making it ideal for those looking to network and grow their businesses or projects.
- CoWorkOhrid: This was the first coworking and flex-office space established in Ohrid. It is known for being open 24/7, offering a flexible option for those with varying schedules. CoWorkOhrid provides a comfortable and professional environment for working, complete with essential amenities like coffee. Its round-the-clock availability makes it a convenient choice for anyone needing a workspace at any hour.
These spaces, though not abundant in the city, provide essential services for professionals seeking a formal working environment.
They offer an alternative to the more casual atmosphere of city cafes, which are also popular among digital nomads for working outside of peak hours.
Best Cafes and public spaces with Wi-Fi access in Ohrid
In Ohrid, several cafes offer a pleasant ambiance along with Wi-Fi access for visitors:
- Shilla – Coffee & Bar: Known for its array of coffees and cocktails, Shilla offers a great view of the downtown area from its top-floor terrace. It’s a popular choice for those looking to work on their laptops, offering strong Wi-Fi, friendly service, and a variety of drinks.
- Cuba Libre Beach & Bar: This beach bar provides a unique setting with its lounge atmosphere and views of the lake and old town. It’s a casual spot for coffee during the day and transforms into a vibrant space for cocktails in the evening. It’s well-regarded for its service and ambiance.
- Terrazza Aquarius: Situated on the waterfront, this cafe offers excellent views of Lake Ohrid. It’s known for its relaxed and friendly atmosphere, making it a great spot to enjoy a drink or meal.
These locations in Ohrid provide not only a chance to enjoy local flavors and views but also the connectivity needed for those wanting to stay online, whether for leisure or work.
8 short-term rentals and apartments in Ohrid
6 Hostels and budget-friendly options in Ohrid
Ohrid offers a variety of hostels and budget-friendly accommodations, ideal for travelers looking to explore the city without breaking the bank:
- Golden Age Hostel: Situated 1.3 km from Saraiste Beach, this hostel provides a garden, free private parking, a shared lounge, and a terrace. It’s also close to Potpesh Beach and Labino Beach, offering free Wi-Fi, karaoke, and a shared kitchen.
- Blue Lake Hostel: Located 1.2 km from Saraiste Beach, Blue Lake Hostel offers amenities like a garden, free parking, a shared lounge, and a terrace. It’s near Icons Gallery, Holy Mary Perybleptos Church, and Museum Robev House, featuring a shared kitchen and free Wi-Fi throughout the property.
- Majap Hostel: Offering beachfront accommodation 2.7 km from Saraiste Beach, Majap Hostel includes a garden, shared lounge, and terrace. This non-smoking property is 1.4 km from the Early Christian Basilica and offers free Wi-Fi, a shared kitchen, and luggage storage space.
- Hostel Bela: This hostel is within 2.1 km of Saraiste Beach and 2.5 km of Potpesh Beach. Hostel Bela features a bar and is situated close to Labino Beach, Early Christian Basilica, and Port Ohrid. It offers a shared kitchen and luggage storage space for guests.
- Sunset Lake Hostel: Sunset Lake Hostel in Ohrid boasts a garden and offers a 24-hour front desk along with free Wi-Fi. All rooms come with a balcony, adding to the comfort of the stay.
- Hostel Vintage: Located 1.5 km from Saraiste Beach, Hostel Vintage provides accommodation with a shared lounge, free private parking, and a terrace. It’s situated close to Labino Beach, Church of St. John at Kaneo, and the Bay of Bones.
These options reflect the affordability and convenience of staying in Ohrid, catering to different preferences and providing a comfortable base for exploring the city and its surroundings.
8 best hotels and luxury accommodations in Ohrid
Here are some luxury hotels and accommodations in Ohrid that offer a blend of comfort and elegance:
- La Vista Luxury Villa: This 4-star hotel is located 4.2 km from the Early Christian Basilica and features a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a garden, and a shared lounge. Each air-conditioned room has free WiFi and a private bathroom, and the hotel also offers a hot tub and room service.
- Villa Fortezza: Situated 500 meters from Saraiste Beach, Villa Fortezza is a recently renovated 4-star accommodation featuring an infinity pool, a bar, and on-site parking. It offers mountain and lake views and is 700 meters from Potpesh Beach. Guests can also enjoy the sun terrace.
- Port Villa: This 4-star villa is just 200 meters from Saraiste Beach and offers accommodation with lake views, free WiFi, and private parking. It’s located 600 meters from Potpesh Beach and features a private entrance.
- Villa Varosh: A sustainable apartment less than 1 km from Saraiste Beach, offering a garden, lake views, a shared kitchen, full-day security, free private parking, and paid airport shuttle service.
- Villa Sofija: Located 200 meters from Saraiste Beach, this 4-star hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi and private bathrooms. Guests can enjoy views of the mountain and the lake.
- My Grandparents House: This 4-star accommodation is 300 meters from Saraiste Beach and 400 meters from Potpesh Beach, offering mountain and lake views, free WiFi, and outdoor seating areas to enjoy the property’s grounds.
These options provide a mix of modern amenities and picturesque settings, perfect for travelers seeking luxury and comfort in Ohrid.
Cost of Living in Ohrid
The cost of living in Ohrid is super cheap compared to many European cities, making it an attractive destination for both tourists and expatriates.
Accommodation is reasonably priced, with options ranging from budget-friendly hostels to mid-range hotels and luxury villas. Dining out in Ohrid is also economical, with a variety of restaurants offering delicious local cuisine at modest prices.
Transportation costs within the city are low, and many attractions are easily accessible on foot or by inexpensive public transport. Groceries and daily essentials are reasonably priced, reflecting the overall lower cost of living.
This affordability extends to leisure activities, with many natural and cultural attractions available at minimal or no cost. Overall, Ohrid provides a cost-effective living experience while offering rich cultural and natural experiences.
Comparison to other European destinations with Ohrid
Ohrid, in comparison to other European destinations, stands out for its relatively lower cost of living. According to Expatistan’s Cost of Living Index, which benchmarks cities against Prague (assigned a value of 100), many European cities have significantly higher living costs. For instance, Zurich (Switzerland) scores 209, London (United Kingdom) 202, and Paris (France) 151 on this index. In contrast, Balkan cities like Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Plovdiv (Bulgaria) score much lower, at 61 and 53, respectively.
Although Ohrid is not specifically listed, it’s reasonable to infer that its cost of living aligns more closely with other Balkan cities, indicating a much more budget-friendly environment compared to Western European destinations.
This affordability is reflected in accommodation, dining, and transportation, making Ohrid an attractive option for travelers seeking a rich cultural experience without the high costs associated with many other European cities.
Average costs for food, transportation, and leisure activities in Ohrid
The best things to do in Ohrid
In Ohrid, there are plenty of exciting activities and attractions to explore:
- Visit the Church of St. John at Kaneo: This iconic church offers stunning views of Lake Ohrid.
- Explore the Ohrid Old Town: Wander through the charming streets and discover the rich history.
- Relax by Lake Ohrid: Enjoy the serene beauty of one of Europe’s oldest and deepest lakes.
- Visit the Ohrid Fortress: Soak in panoramic views and delve into the area’s historical significance.
- Explore the Ancient Theatre of Ohrid: Witness this well-preserved historical site, dating back to Roman times.
- Enjoy Local Cuisine: Savor traditional Macedonian dishes and Ohrid’s famous trout.
- Visit the Monastery of Saint Naum: Explore this historic monastery located near the Albanian border.
- Shop at Ohrid’s Traditional Bazaar: Find unique souvenirs and local crafts.
Ohrid’s blend of natural beauty, historical significance, and cultural richness offers something for every visitor.
If you’re going north, check out our guide on the best things to do in Skopje.
Or, visit Debar, a piece of Italy in west Macedonia.
For more things to do, check out these expertly guided tours:
Food and Culinary Scene in Ohrid
Ohrid cuisine is a delightful fusion of traditional Macedonian flavors and influences from neighboring regions.
It is characterized by fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, with a particular emphasis on lake fish, especially the famous Ohrid trout.
The culinary landscape here is enriched by dishes like tavče gravče (traditional baked beans), ajvar (a flavorful pepper-based condiment), and a variety of grilled meats.
The city’s eateries, ranging from cozy taverns to upscale restaurants, offer a true taste of the Balkans, complemented by regional wines and the ever-popular rakija. This rich gastronomic culture makes Ohrid not just a visual but also a culinary feast.
5 best restaurants in Ohrid
Here are five highly recommended restaurants in Ohrid for a delightful culinary experience:
- Pizza Via Sacra: Located in the heart of Ohrid’s old town, this restaurant offers pizza and delicious local dishes. It’s perfect for a casual dining experience and offers great views of St Sofia Cathedral.
- Restaurant Damar: Known for its charming ambiance, Restaurant Damar provides a good dining experience with a range of dishes. The service here is noted for being polite and professional.
- Kaneo Restaurant & Letna Bavcha: A bit on the expensive side for Ohrid but well worth it. The restaurant is praised for its delicious food and friendly staff. It’s recommended to try the bread and the Kaneo salad for their freshness.
- Versus Beach – Lounge Bar: Located beside the lake, this restaurant has a great vibe and offers a range of quality food. Although the service can be slow, the location makes it worth the visit.
- Kaj Kanevche: Situated on the waterfront, this restaurant boasts stunning views of Lake Ohrid. It features a variety of Mediterranean, European, and Eastern European dishes, served with flair. The terrace is perfect for enjoying a meal outdoors.
These restaurants offer a blend of local and international cuisines, each with its unique ambiance and specialties, making them great choices for dining out in Ohrid.
Drinking Water in Ohrid
In Ohrid, as in most of North Macedonia, the tap water is generally considered safe to drink. The water quality is monitored and meets international standards. However, as with any travel destination, some visitors might prefer to drink bottled water due to differences in mineral content and taste compared to what they are accustomed to. For added convenience, bottled water is readily available throughout the city.
Travel Tips For Nomads Visiting Ohrid
Here are some tips for visitors in Ohrid:
- Currency and Payments: The local currency is the Macedonian Denar (MKD). While many places accept cards, it’s good to have cash for smaller establishments or markets.
- Language: Macedonian is the official language. Basic English is spoken in tourist areas, but learning a few Macedonian phrases can enhance your experience.
- Cultural Etiquette: Macedonians are known for their hospitality. Respect local customs and traditions, especially when visiting religious sites.
- Transportation: The city is walkable, but local buses are available for longer distances. Taxis are affordable but agree on a fare beforehand.
- Safety: Ohrid is generally safe, but standard precautions against pickpocketing in crowded areas should be taken.
- Seasonal Visits: The best time to visit is late spring to early fall for pleasant weather and outdoor activities.
Enjoying Ohrid’s beautiful setting and rich cultural heritage with these tips in mind can make for a memorable visit.
Meetup groups and expat communities in Ohrid
While Ohrid might not have as extensive a range of meetup groups and expat communities as larger cities, there are still opportunities to connect. Digital nomads and expatriates often gather at local cafes, especially those with Wi-Fi, where informal meetups can occur.
Additionally, social media platforms and online forums are excellent resources for finding local expat groups or organizing meetups. Joining these online communities can provide valuable information about events, gatherings, and networking opportunities in Ohrid, helping newcomers to integrate and connect with like-minded individuals in the city.
Cultural events and festivals in Ohrid
Ohrid is famous for its vibrant cultural events and festivals, notably:
- Ohrid Summer Festival: A prestigious cultural event, featuring international music and drama performances.
- Ohrid Choir Festival: A gathering of choirs from around the world, showcasing diverse vocal traditions.
- Balkan Folklore Festival: Celebrating traditional Balkan music and dance.
- Ohrid Swimming Marathon: A unique sporting event attracting swimmers globally.
- Ohrid Fest: A popular music festival featuring local and regional artists.
These events reflect Ohrid’s rich cultural tapestry, drawing visitors and performers from around the globe.
Nightlife and entertainment options in Ohrid
Ohrid’s nightlife and entertainment options, though not as extensive as larger cities, still offer plenty of enjoyment. The city comes alive at night with its array of cafes, bars, and nightclubs, particularly along the waterfront and in the old town. These venues range from cozy, traditional establishments to more modern, lively spots, catering to a variety of tastes.
During the summer months, the lakeside area is particularly vibrant, with many establishments offering outdoor seating and live music. For a more relaxed evening, there are also numerous restaurants and cafes where one can enjoy local wines and cuisine while taking in the scenic views of Lake Ohrid.
Best time to visit Ohrid
The best time to visit Ohrid is from late spring to early autumn (May through September).
During these months, the weather is pleasantly warm, ideal for exploring the city’s historical sites and enjoying the beautiful Lake Ohrid. This period also coincides with several cultural events and festivals, adding to the city’s vibrant atmosphere.
However, if you prefer a more tranquil experience, the shoulder seasons (late spring and early autumn) offer fewer crowds while still providing enjoyable weather.
How To Get To Ohrid
To get to Ohrid, you have several options:
- By Air: Ohrid St. Paul the Apostle Airport serves both domestic and international flights. It’s located about 10 km from the city center.
- By Bus: There are regular bus services from Skopje and other major cities in North Macedonia to Ohrid.
- By Car: If you’re driving, Ohrid is well-connected by road with major cities in North Macedonia and neighboring countries.
- By Taxi or Private Transfer: For direct and comfortable travel, you can book a taxi or a private transfer service from various locations.
Always check the latest travel advisories and schedules as they can change.
How to get around Ohrid
Getting around Ohrid is quite convenient:
- Walking: The city center is compact and most major sites are easily accessible on foot.
- Taxi: Taxis are readily available and relatively inexpensive, but it’s advisable to agree on the fare beforehand.
- Public Transport: There are local bus services that connect different parts of the city.
- Bike Rental: Renting a bike is a great way to explore Ohrid, especially along the lakefront.
- Car Rental: For more flexibility, you can rent a car, particularly if you plan to visit surrounding areas.
Public Transport in Ohrid
Public transport in Ohrid primarily consists of a network of local buses that connect various parts of the city and nearby areas. The buses are an affordable way to get around, and they run frequently to the most popular destinations, including tourist attractions and residential areas.
However, it’s important to note that the bus system might not be as extensive or frequent as in larger cities. For specific routes and schedules, it’s advisable to check locally or at the bus station, as these can change seasonally.
Itineraries in Ohrid
An itinerary for Ohrid might look like this:
Day 1: Explore the Old Town, visit the Church of St. John at Kaneo, and the Ohrid Fortress for panoramic views. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, and in the afternoon, relax by Lake Ohrid.
Day 2: Visit the Monastery of Saint Naum, enjoy a boat tour on Lake Ohrid, and in the evening, stroll along the waterfront and dine at a lakeside restaurant.
Day 3: Spend the day visiting the Ancient Theatre and other historical sites. Explore local markets and cafes, and in the evening, experience Ohrid’s nightlife.
Adjust the itinerary based on your interests and pace.
Ok so before we wrap it up and go for a nice trout meal, here are some answers to questions fellow travellers asked us.
What is Ohrid, Macedonia known for?
Ohrid, a town in the Republic of Macedonia, is known for its beautiful lake, Lake Ohrid, which is one of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe. It is also famous for its historical and cultural significance, with many ancient churches and archaeological sites.
How can I travel to Ohrid from Skopje?
You can travel to Ohrid from Skopje by bus, which takes around 3-4 hours, or by driving, which takes approximately 2.5 hours. There are also organized tours and private transfer options available.
What are the must-visit places in Ohrid, Macedonia?
Some of the must-visit places in Ohrid include the Old Town of Ohrid, the ancient churches and monasteries, Samuil’s Fortress, Plaoshnik archaeological site, and taking a boat trip on Lake Ohrid.
Can I work remotely in Ohrid, Macedonia?
Yes, Ohrid is one of the digital nomad-friendly destinations in North Macedonia, offering good internet connectivity and serene surroundings for remote work. Many visitors enjoy working by the tranquil Lake Ohrid while exploring the region.
What are the best ways to explore Ohrid and its surroundings?
The best ways to explore Ohrid and its surroundings include taking a boat trip on Lake Ohrid, wandering through the cobblestone streets of the old town, and visiting the nearby natural and cultural attractions. Consider renting a bike or joining guided tours for a comprehensive experience.
Is Ohrid, Macedonia a safe destination for travelers?
Ohrid is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. The town is welcoming and has a low crime rate. However, it is always advisable to take standard precautions and be aware of your surroundings while traveling.
What are the significant historical and cultural aspects of Ohrid?
A: Ohrid holds immense historical and cultural significance, with remnants of ancient civilizations, medieval churches, and Ottoman heritage. The town’s religious and archaeological sites, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, provide a glimpse into its rich past.
What are some nearby attractions to visit around Lake Ohrid?
Some nearby attractions around Lake Ohrid include St. Naum Monastery, the Bay of Bones museum, Galicica National Park, and the town of Struga. These destinations offer diverse experiences, from natural landscapes to historical landmarks.
Digital Nomad Guide To Ohrid: Recap
Ohrid’s appeal for digital nomads and travelers lies in its blend of natural beauty, affordable cost of living, and rich cultural heritage. With reliable internet connectivity and welcoming co-working spaces, it’s ideal for remote work. The serene Lake Ohrid and historic sites offer relaxation and exploration opportunities.
The city’s vibrant culinary scene, friendly community, and range of accommodations cater to diverse tastes and budgets. All these elements make Ohrid a desirable destination for those seeking a balance of work, leisure, and cultural immersion.
Check out our other nomad guides for other balkan destinations:
- Digital Nomad Guide To Croatia
- Digital Nomad Guide To Podgorica, Montenegro
- Digital Nomad Guide To Slovenia
- Digital Nomad Guide To Sofia, Bulgaria
- Digital Nomad Guide To Thessaloniki
Avid travelers, passionate fishermen, and all-around great guys to hang out with (therefore the reason why they are the ones traveling around and not the rest of us, introverts and repulsive individuals). When not writing about their latest trip or catch, they drink beer, play the synth and call their friends to unpurposefully annoy them. A lot.