Restaurants and bars in Ohrid center and the lakeside area
Interestingly enough, the restaurant and bar scene in the center of Ohrid is quite scarce and the few places you find are not necessarily what you would associate with a lake holiday. If you want to try something quite local (I didn’t say nice) you can give Gostilnica Boem a try. Mostly for locals (specifically football locals), it has a very basic menu, I gave the “Grandma Zhivka Sausage” a go. Not the dish that will keep you coming back, but it will quell your hunger.
St Clement of Ohrid street leading into Ohrid City Square will give you a much wider variety of cozy establishments. Plenty of bars and restaurants, including the Damast bar with a roof terrace. A bit off to the side of Ohrid Square you will find one of the best pizza joints in town in Pizza Nemo.
Strolling towards the waterfront you will the massive “Le Petit Bistro Lihnidos” which fits the more upscale crowd offering a very nice atmosphere with a fitting menu for both drinks and meals.
Walking along Ohrid lake’s picture perfect shoreline
This is for most the whole point of coming to Ohrid, and it is truly splendid! The views are simply breathtaking. You can choose from many different routes, either the winding little cobblestone streets, or continue walking along the shoreline. The shoreline route will take you to a wooden bridge, which -for me- was the most beautiful part of the walk. As you walk over the bridge you can see through the crystal clear waters as those jade green colors burst from the lake. If you look up you will the gorgeous mountains surrounding the whole lake, it is truly mesmerizing.
You will have your pick of places to stop for a bite or a drink, I went for the Noa Lounge & Bar. They have a fantastic terrace overlooking the lake. They are slightly more economical than the other restaurants in the area without really compromising on atmosphere or food quality. I had beautiful latte with a eggs and ham omelette, best start of the day!
If you follow the cobblestone street paths, this will lead you the to St. Sophia’s church. A very cute church with what looks like a an amphitheater to the side. It has a lovely garden inside its grounds. Be sure to give it a peek when in Ohrid as it is one the main attractions.
What’s up with all the casinos in Ohrid?
For such a small town, the amount of casinos in Ohrid is quite remarkable. I decided to walk into a few to see what’s up. As you walk in you will see rows and rows of video gambling screens, poker, black jack, roulette, the works. No idea if they are regulated in some way to ensure they are truly “fair game”, but the locals seem to enjoy their time here. My average time spent in all the casinos I visited was under 5 minutes.
Ohrid Bus Station, where happy times go to die….(arghhhhh!!)
It seems that Ohrid decided to win the prize of the most inconveniently located bus station in the Balkans (or perhaps all of Europe?). To make sure they would take the top spot, they placed the bus station a good half hour from the city center. Considering the size of Ohrid…this is simply ridiculous…but hey, congratulations Ohrid, you surely took the prize, well done!
To make matters exponentially worse, they also made sure to hire agents that don’t speak a word of English and with kinder garden level knowledge on how to use a computer. But that’s not all folks! If you do manage to find a willing local to help you out with the translation, they stillwill not be able to provide any useful information, and you can’t buy tickets in advance, so you will have to gamble on the day, pray and hope you have the privilege of being able to buy a ticket out of town. Outside of the Skopje route, every other destination will be a nightmare to figure out.
As a final note on the subject…one would think that perhaps looking up the information beforehand on the bus company’s site would be the logical thing to do in this situation…which I (of course) did…but that didn’t help at all. The information is either inaccurate or horribly outdated. Time tables don’t match with reality, nor the prices. Whatever the bus company’s info is on their site, do not believe until you have that ticket in your hand. To give you an example, I decided to go directly to the address listed on one of their sites…when I got there it was their garage, no ticket sales, no one that spoke a word aside of Macedonian… In short, when dealing with bus and public transport in North Macedonia, expect to spend double or triple the time you thought it would.
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