Just a short stroll from Ohrid's Old Town and port you'll find the small and pebbly Saraiste beach, perfect if you fancy a quick dip. Steps lead down into the water from the sunbathing area, and the beach looks out across the lake and towards the mountains. It's a great spot to chill out with a drink and admire the view, and there are restaurants right next to the beach so you can easily grab a bite to eat too.
Walk along the lakefront promenade from Ohrid's Old Town to get to Potpesh beach, a small stretch of pebble shoreline with a sun loungers for hire and a great view of the lake. Soak up the summer sun on the beach, lounge in the shade under the trees, or wade out into the water for a swim. And there's a restaurant just behind the beach with tables looking out over the water – we love an al fresco lunch.
A 15-minute stroll away, tucked just below the cliff edge is Kaneo beach, a tiny rocky shoreline with sun loungers and a floating pontoon. The view of the lake and surrounding mountains from here is fab, and if you look up to your right you can see the tip of the Church of St John at Kaneo too. There are traditional seafood restaurants to either side with shady terraces that jut out over the lake, ideal for lingering over lunch and enjoying the scenery.
Located in the Old Town, the Old Bazaar's lively market is a great place to pick up tasty treats and handmade souvenirs. Starting by the 1,000 year old tree in the centre of the main square, wander through the indoor farmer's market and along the pedestrianised street with stalls selling clothing, bags, sunglasses and toys. Look out for the locally-made clay cooking pots – you won't find them anywhere else in Ohrid.
There are lots of clothing, souvenir and jewellery shops in Ohrid's Old Town. For something special, make sure to look out for shops selling traditional Macedonian embroidery. And keep your eyes peeled for the Ohrid pearl jewellery shops run by the Talevi and Filevi families. The city's well known for its pearls – each one is hand painted with a special mix made from shells, fish scales and a secret ingredient, which has been passed down through the generations in these two families. Prices vary, but start from around 920 MKD, which is around £12. And the filigree jewellery shops are also a great place to pick up some traditional North Macedonian jewellery without breaking the bank. It's a traditional Macedonian craft where silver threads are woven together to create jewellery pieces that look similar to lace, earrings start from around 700 MKD.
Stroll through the Old Town in the evening to take a look in the shops or pick up a post-dinner ice cream. Grab a drink at one of the bars in the harbour, or wander along the wooden promenade that stretches towards Potpesh beach before turning in for the evening.
Looking for a good spot to sip on your favourite tipple? Choose from laid-back jazz bars, beachfront cocktail terraces and a boogie on the club dancefloor. A popular pick close to the Old Town, the Jazz Inn has got great music, well-priced drinks and a friendly vibe that'll have you wanting to come back night after night. For great views of the lake you'll want to go to Liquid, a lively bar with fairylights out on the terrace, regular DJ's and live music, or the Harbour Club, a stylish pick on St. Clement square with a terrace that overlooks the lake. And to really dance the night away there's Havana Club in the harbour. It's really popular as it stays open until late, so if you're heading here you might need to queue to get inside.
Lots of the restaurants are along the lakefront with views of the lake and surrounding mountains, and some of them are even built over the water. And your taste buds are in for a treat too as North Macedonian food has strong Greek and Turkish influences and is full of flavour – think freshly caught fish and slow-cooked dishes like tavče gravče, a traditional bean stew cooked in a clay pot.
Located right on the lakefront and accessible only on foot, the Kaneo Letna Bavcha restaurant has a front row seat of Lake Ohrid and the Church of St John at Kaneo. It's dearer and more about fine dining than some of the other local restaurants. Eat al fresco on the terrace and tuck into tasty Macedonian specials – the restaurant's well-known for it's plashica dish. Served fried, the lake's small, native plashica fish is simply served with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
Tucked away next to the Church of Saint Sophia in the centre of Ohrid's Old Town is Sveta Sofija. It's a family-run restaurant and a great spot to embrace the local culture and rich history of Ohrid. You can eat inside or dine al fresco on the summer terrace, but wherever you sit you'll have the best view in town of the church. Sveta Sofija specialises in fish dishes, and we'd recommend choosing something locally-caught like Ohrid trout or plashica. They've got national dishes too like the bean-based tavče gravče and stuffed peppers, so your tastebuds are in for a treat.
The best way to explore Ohrid's Old Town is on foot, so much so that some of the beaches and lakefront restaurants aren't accessible by road. Explore the city with a walking tour to hear about local history and see all the best sights, from the Church of St. John of Kaneo to the House of Robev, the only house in Ohrid that's got three storeys.
Book a spot on the ferry from Ohrid harbour to spend the day down at southern end of the lake. The local ferry leaves Ohrid every day at 10am, and tickets are €10 per person. Wander through the monastery, originally built by Saint Naum of Ohrid in 905 BC, or through the gardens where you can spot peacocks, fountains and plenty of photo ops before grabbing a bite to eat at the restaurant. And you can take a boat ride at the nearby springs of the Black Drim river that connect Lake Ohrid with Lake Prespa too, it'll last around 20 minutes and is a great way to see local wildlife.
The local buses in Lake Ohrid are blue and white and run by the Galeb bus company. Ask at your hotel reception for the nearest stop and a timetable, and look out for yellow markings on the road to see where to wait. Buses generally run every 30 minutes until around midnight, but after that you'll need to take a taxi.
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