Monday, March 13, 2017

Fall for Macedonia's sleepy charm in Ohrid

Overlooking the extraordinarily blue waters of its eponymous lake, Ohrid enjoys a stunning position that is best viewed from a boat.
From there you will see the town’s terracotta roofs broken up by centuries-old church spires (the city claims once to have had 365) and overlooked by the turreted walls of Car Samoil’s Castle.
Ohrid has transformed itself from Macedonia’s religious centre to its busiest holiday resort and its beaches are the best by far in this landlocked nation.
However, a planned new lakeshore development will likely change this sleepy town forever, making now a great time to go.

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Outside the summer months Ohrid seems like a sleepy place and this is at the core of its charm: the cobbled streets with traditional Ottoman houses form a maze that leads up the hillside to the Gorna Porta, where the old town meets the ancient amphitheatre and the fortress.
Here you will still see elderly women dressed in black carrying groceries home from the market and hanging out washing over the ancient lanes.
The famous churches that dot the old town and the areas around it are little short of miraculous survivors: the Sveta Sofia Cathedral is an 11th-century structure that includes Byzantine frescoes that can still be seen in the apse, while the Church of Sveti Jovan at Kaneo is one of the most photographed places in the Balkans, with its wonderful silhouette framed by the waters of Lake Ohrid beyond.
 
UNMISSABLE EXPERIENCES

Ambling along the over-water wooden walkway past Lake Ohrid’s cliffs takes you from the heart of the old town to the idyllic sandy cove of Kaneo.
Order a plate of fried fish at the relaxed Letna Bavca Kaneo and then cool off in the placid waters of the lake.
The view of the Church of Sveti Jovan from here is magnificent, as are the craggy cliffs around you.
Lounge about in swimming costumes drinking beers with the locals for the quintessential Ohrid experience.
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