Lake Ohrid straddles the Macedonia and Albania border surrounded by snow capped mountain peaks reaching above 2000 meters. The lake’s sparkling blue waters stretch to a depth of 300 metres, and are so clear that you almost swear you can see the bottom! We based ourselves in Ohrid, a laid-back cobble stoned town sprawled along the lake shore. One of the best day trips from Ohrid is to St Naum Monastery, 29 kilometres from Ohrid. The Monastery is situated on a beautiful bluff near the Albanian border, and is one of the highlights of Lake Ohrid. Here is what to see and how to get there.
Visiting St Naum Monastery
There are a number of churches scattered across the monastic complex. The main event is the Church of Sveti Naum, which was rebuilt in the 16th and 17th century after being destroyed by the Ottomans. The beautiful frescoes inside the church are dated back to the 19th century. It is quite an experience, especially if you are lucky enough to have the church to yourself, to stand inside the church listening to the haunting choir music that is played.
Beautifully manicured gardens surround the church, and are home to a few cranky peacocks. There are also two sandy beaches that are great for swimming in the warmer months. There are a number of restaurants and bars scattered around the complex, and row boats available for a paddle.
After visiting the Church of Sveti Naum, you can walk along a short trail around the springs. The trail will take you to three smaller but equally beautiful churches: St Paraskeva Church, Holy Mother Church and St Athanasius Church. There are plenty of signs showing you the way.
Perhaps our favourite part of visiting St Naum Monastery was sitting on the benches by the lake just admiring the water and the snow capped mountains. It’s just so peaceful!
Getting to St Naum Monastery
From Ohrid, catch the bus from this bus station in the centre of town. The final stop is St Naum Monastery, and the bus returns to Ohrid from the same place you disembark. Tickets cost 110 denar each way, and you purchase them on the bus. The bus timetable is below:
- Buses from Ohrid to St Naum: 6.15, 8.30, 10.00*, 11.30, 13.30, 15.30, 18.30 (*only in summer)
- Buses from St Naum to Ohrid: 7.00, 9.10, 10.50, 12.10, 14.10, 16.10, 19.10
You may be approached at the bus station by taxi drivers offering you a seat in a shared taxi. The driver offered us rides for 110 denar each – this sounded too good to be true so we caught the bus. But the same taxi driver was waiting for us at the Monastery with the same deal for the return trip, so we thought we would give it a go. Turns out he was legit! The ride was quicker and cost the same as the bus.
From May to September, you can also catch a ferry from the Ohrid harbour to St Naum Monastery. The journey takes 2.5 hours to the Monastery, and 1.5 hours back. Ferries leave Ohrid harbour at 10am, and return at 4pm. Tickets cost 10 euros return.
Have you visited Lake Ohrid? What did you think?