Ohrid is one of those few places on the planet that is a UNESCO world heritage site both for its rich culture and the natural beauty. It is one of only 29 dual listed sites on the prestigious list. And, there’s good reason for Ohrid’s inclusion, which means there is good reason for visiting this diverse place. Also, Macedonia is on Lonely Planet’s top 10 countries to visit list for 2014, so it’s time to start making plans.
Macedonia labels itself as the cradle of civilization. This reference is largely in reference to the city and area of Ohrid. The history of the city goes back to the 4th century B.C. Events in the city have had significant effect on the region and the world. Besides a fascinating history, the region has loads to offer tourists in the areas of religion, culture, budget travel, adventure tourism and scenic spots to unplug from the world.
Knowing exactly what Ohrid refers to can be a little confusing for the outsider. Here’s a breakdown of the four uses of the name:
- Ohrid is the name of a lake that is on both sides of the border of Macedonia and Albania;
- Ohrid is the name of a municipality (similar to a county) in southwest Macedonia;
- Ohrid is the name of a city on the northeast shoreline of the lake; and
- Ohrid is the designation for the region, which includes all of the above but is limited to the area only inside the Republic of Macedonia.
The UNESCO designation technically refers to the last category, which means it includes the city, the municipality, and most of the lake.
Plan to visit Ohrid, as there’s so much to see and do. But, consider the time when you go. During July and August, the city is at maximum capacity. Book early if you want a spot and be prepared for a lot of people. But, if you go at other times of year, you can have a more private holiday. Spring and Fall are good times to visit and experience the culture. You can see the highlights here in a couple days, but a week would allow a good amount of time to explore different aspects of this great spot, including the shoreline, boating, diving, hiking in the mountains and the see history and culture of the city.