Holidays to Lake Ohrid (pronounced Ock-rid) are all about exploring Europe’s oldest lake, learning about local history and tucking into tasty traditional food.

Europe’s oldest lake

Lake Ohrid’s got some pretty impressive credentials – it’s Europe’s oldest lake, dating back between 3 and 5 million years. It’s also North Macedonia’s largest, and the deepest in the Balkans too. It’s so big that at first glance you might mistake it for the sea, but it’s a fresh-water lake fed by underground springs that link it with the nearby Lake Prespa, just the other side of the national park. The water here is crystal clear, and it reaches temperatures of 27°C during the summer.

On the shore

It’s all about history at Lake Ohrid – visit centuries-old fortresses, churches and monasteries before tucking into local specialities at family-run kafeanas (taverns). In Ohrid, wander through cobbled streets full of vine-covered buildings, stone archways and shops selling traditional jewellery. Chill out on the beach, stroll along the promenade and visit lakefront restaurants, bars and cafés – some of them are even built over the water so you can have lunch with a front row seat to the lake.

On the water

One of the best ways to see the lake is to get out onto the water. You can swim from the shore or make a splash diving in from a pontoon – lots of the lake beaches have them. Rent a kayak to paddle out and explore for yourself or book a boat tour with a local guide who can show you around and point out all the best bits. And towards the southern end of the lake, the Monastery of St Naum and Bay of Bones museum make for great day trips, and you can get there by boat.

At a Glance

  • Take a boat trip to the Monastery of St Naum or visit the Bay of Bones Museum
  • A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Ohrid was recognised for its biodiversity in 1979
  • Spend the day soaking up the sun at the beach with front row views of the lake and surrounding mountains

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