Living along the shores of Lake Ohrid for two months allowed us the opportunity to explore the city’s best attractions, while also having time to get off the beaten path. As travelers, one of our favorite things to do is find cool and unusual discoveries in our favorite destinations. Here some unique things to see, find, and explore while in Ohrid.
Saint Naum’s Albino Peacock
Saint Naum is one of the most beautiful monasteries in Macedonia and one of Ohrid’s must-see attractions. While there, be sure to keep your eyes open for the famous rare white peacocks. According to local accounts, the rare birds were given to the monastery from a good Samaritan.
The Cross Mosque (Haji Turgut) is a well-known site in Ohrid. It is the oldest mosque in Ohrid, placed on the site of the former church of St. Kyriakia. It is famed for being the only mosque that has a Christian cross on top of its minaret.
Local legend suggests that the minaret kept collapsing until the Turks returned the original cross on the top of the building. Additionally, our local Macedonian friends told us the story about the famous Cross Mosque. However, we took a drone up to capture the cross and uncovered this symbol. Zoom in and tell us what you see. Do you believe the local legend?
General Mihajlo Apostolski Former Military Base
Named after a WWII Macedonian General, this former military base was recently used for the Ohrid Calling EDM concert series. However, after all the confetti is swept up and the stage is broken down, the venue becomes an eerie place to explore. The abandoned buildings and barracks are full of cracked windows, graffiti, and open doors. Although the site was open for us to drive through, only venture inside the buildings if you dare!
Folks who enjoy a scavenger hunt should be on the lookout for this fun beach sign that is hidden along the shores of Lake Ohrid. It makes for a fun photo opportunity. Do you know where it’s hidden?
The Saint-Tropez of Macedonia
If you are planning on spending some beach time along Lake Ohrid’s shores, Trpejca Beach is a must. Locals have deemed it Macedonia’s version of Saint-Tropez due to the insane clarity of the lake water. Lake Ohrid’s clarity comes from the many underground springs that stretch along the east and south shores of the lake.
Lake Ohrid is a popular diving spot with visibility reaching depths of about 22 meters or 72 feet. One interesting fact relates to the tiny fish in the lake. Have you ever seen or experienced one of those Asian fish pedicures, where people pay to have the tiny fish nibble at your skin? Well, the lake is full of them.
Trpejca Beach also has some other fun features to discover. They include a huge isolated rock formation for jumping and a mini-Orthodox church replica and a gorgeous steel cross that is placed directly next to the lake.
Giant Macedonian Sun
Located in Velgosti, just outside Ohrid, a giant, painted Macedonian sun can be found in the middle of a schoolyard. It makes for a fun photo opportunity. The small village is a great place to go for a long scooter drive. The long, flat, backcountry roads offer beautiful scenery—vineyards, gardens, and private homes.
If you’re heading to Struga, consider checking the flight schedule of the local Ohrid Airport. Some magnificent shots with a plane flying directly overhead can be captured if you time it just right. These are similar to the images that tourists capture on the famous shores of Maho Beach in St. Maarten.
Last Active Balkan Volcano “Duvalo”
In the nearby village of Kosel, just outside Ohrid, Duvalo is the site of the last active Balkan volcano. Although considered “almost extinct,” the site continues to experience the geothermal activity as evidenced by the strong smell of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide gases released from the hole. The smell of sulfur can be experienced from 3 km or about 2 miles radius from the site. It is an important natural site because it showcases the last traces of historically significant volcanic activity in the Balkans.
Located on the southeast side of Lake Ohrid, Restaurant Ostrovo sits on some of most crystal clear water you may ever see. The restaurant has a unique feature that may stop many visitors right in their tracks. Floating dining platforms offer some diners the rare opportunity to sing, dance, and dine while gliding on top of gorgeous spring water.
Restaurant staff uses long wooden poles to navigate the platforms through the water. Unfortunately, the fun experience is typically reserved for large parties, such as weddings and family gatherings. However, everyday diners can dine on the overwater platforms when seating is available.
Struga Bridge Jumpers
Lying on the shores of Lake Ohrid, about a 20-minute drive from Ohrid, Struga offers a fun day trip for travelers. The city is spread out along the Drim river and is lined with several bridges. In the 11th century, Stuga earned the nickname, “City of 100 Bridges.”
The best time to visit Struga is in the summer when both locals and tourists spend the day chilling along the Drim river. Cafe bars and restaurants line the clean, clear water. All-day long, people of all ages can be seen jumping from the bridges or the river promenade. We were unaware of the bridge jumping until some local Macedonian friends told us that doing so is a rite of passage.
Do you know of any cool and unusual attractions or sites that we can add to our list? Feel free to suggest them in the comment section below!