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Here’s Why You Should Visit The Horrible Town Of Ohrid

How incredibly horrible can Ohrid really be?

It is easy to become bewitched by this quaint little town nestled on the banks of Lake Ohrid in the shadow of Samuil’s Fortress, however it isn’t all picture perfect vistas. This town has got some truly horrid charms which may just seduce you into staying for longer than you planned.

Here’s five things to be aware of otherwise you may be lead astray by this wicked town.

The huge number of cool bars

The problem with finding a quaint town with loads of cool bars is that you simply want to try and sample them all. Before long you find yourself immersed in drunken pub crawls, from that awesome bar with a deck over the water to the upstairs lounge with cool town views. A town with loads of bars simply isn’t good for your liver.

Of course, if you are planning a stag or hen do, then this could be a huge plus however I’m not sure the lovely locals of Ohrid would thank me if tons of you descend on their quaint little enclave.

Ohrid old town, Macedonia
Ohrid old town, Macedonia

Its hilly

Ohrid means ‘city of hills’ and boy is it aptly named. To get to any of the key attractions – churches, castles and monasteries, you will have to climb. This is not a place for high heels or foolish sandals. This is the place for trainers and hiking boots. The cobbles are so worn they glisten and on a rainy day, well it’s going to be treacherous.

On the plus side, the views from the fortress and monastery are truly sublime and are what contributes to the unique charm of Ohrid. Gazing down on all those terracotta tiled roofs and flower-decked cottages clinging to the hillside is a photographer’s dream.

Views over to Albania from Samuils Fortress, Ohrid, Macedonia
Views over to Albania from Samuils Fortress, Ohrid, Macedonia

The weather is unpredictable

One day I dress for the cold and it is scorching. Another day, I dress for sunshine encouraged by bright blue skies, only for clouds to descend over the nearby peaks and a downpour threaten to ruin my good mood.

You need to be prepared here but the good news is that no matter how rubbish the weather, you will always be able to admire an awesome view from somewhere. Maybe one of those many pubs and bars I mentioned.

Not easy to get to

Ohrid is not exactly on the map yet and the only direct flights I’m aware of are from London Luton to Ohrid twice a week. An alternative route would be to fly to Tirana with British Airways (read this first! BA link) and then hop on a bus or hire a car.

The great thing about this of course is that for now you can enjoy the country in relative calm. No hordes of Japanese and Chinese tourists taking you out with their selfie sticks, no jostling for seats on the boat tours and no long queues for attractions. My kind of place!.

It isn’t uncommon for you to enjoy key attractions entirely on your own as I discovered in Samuil’s Fortress.


The Google generation may struggle

Wifi is readily available and free but businesses are poor at promoting themselves online. If you rely on Google to plan your activities during your stay, you may struggle. Head instead into the old town to the tourist information (hopefully millennials know what I mean as you may never have actually had to rely on one before!).

When I decided to come away on this impromptu trip, part of me was hoping to recreate the travels of my youth. The kind where you set off with no plan, jump on a random train, end up in a strange village and pray you can bribe someone to put you up with whatever measley amount of cash you have. Turns out I am reliving those days in a way, having to wander the town, check out the deals and then make snap decisions on the hoof.

It’s quite liberating for someone who frankly has become a control freak extraordinaire.

You won’t want to leave

The other problem with Ohrid is that, in spite of all these terrible issues, it is bloody awesome. Crumbling mansions with terracotta tiled roofs, peeling windows frames and flowing geraniums reek of boundless charm. They cling to the cliff side, looking perilously close to toppling into the lake below, perfect fodder for endless photobooks.

The Old Town of Ohrid, Macedonia
The Old Town of Ohrid, Macedonia

Why you shouldn’t visit

So I am sure you agree, these reasons alone make Ohrid a truly horrid place. You really don’t want to visit (after all we don’t want you ruining this little known place, do we?).

If you decide to visit regardless, you may find a charming little town whose wickedness casts a spell on you.

Have your say

Have you ever visited Ohrid or somewhere else which has had a similar impact on you? If so, please feel free to share your experience below.

Want to read more?

For more posts on Macedonia, you can head to the Macedonia page or register for our weekly newsletter informing you of new posts as they publish.

horrid Ohrid pinterest

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of Frommilestosmiles. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money-saving travel tips

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  1. Everything you have shared about this beautiful town is truly interesting. I would love to visit this town if I get the chance very soon. The huge number of bars is something I should try.

  2. I had never heard of the place. Now that I have read about , I want to go there , horrid or not 🙂
    Lovely pictures and there is nothing horrid there 🙂

    We are quite tech savyy and depend on internet a lot, however one of the first thing we do is visit the local tourist info center . There is always something to pickup there if at least a piece of local news about some events that’s worth the trip.

  3. I’ve never heard of Ohrid and I’m always glad to learn of an exciting new travel destination. The terracotta roofs are so pretty and so is all that sunshine. I think it would be fun to go to a place like this without a lot of publicity and be able to explore on my own.

  4. I love a good spot where the “Google Generation” might struggle. haha Just makes me put my map-reading skills I learned in middle school to good use. I’d want to try and sample all of the bars too. ^^

    • Yes this place definiteley made me realise how much we have come to rely on the internet for our travel planning. Back in the old days (lol), we used to have a guide book, pray there was a tourist information (there isn’t in Ohrid) and then simply travel on a whim and a prayer. It’s quite refreshing to relive the experience.

      • And I thought it was the interesting company you had that made the visit memorable! Or did the fact we went our separate ways most of the time make it tolerable? So, you missed out on the local boneshaker bus ride to Struga, billed as the poetry capital of Macedonia. It was fairly nondescript (except for lovers of Macedonian poetry, obviously), and populated mainly by black clad old ladies, and young chaps in leather jackets of the sort you wouldn’t want to fall out with. Oh, and taxi drivers! Indeed, it was difficult to avoid being pressed into their vehicles if you had Englishman, or possibly German, tattooed across your forehead, as I evidently did. Pretty good Borek, and Baklava, though.

  5. I’m glad you decided to share how awful this place is instead of keeping it all to yourself. I’ll definitely keep Ohrid in mine when planning my next terrible vacation.

  6. Absolutely horrible and those views aren’t even worth taking a camera out! 😉 But since I’m stubborn, I would still head over and then complain to everyone (after having made a round in all the bars) how bad Ohrid is. 🙂

  7. I was hoping to be visiting Macedonia right around now, but sadly no one was very interested in doing an apartment exchange with Toronto. Maybe some future year! Hopefully I’ll be back to London for a few months and I could make a weekend trip of it. It sounds lovely.

  8. Haha sounds like a horrible place to be 😉 I had a similar issue with too many bars in a *horrible* town in the Netherlands called Maastrict – we were studying there for 4 weeks and it was the most charming city … more bars than days of the year though!! Was a crazy cool student vibe and we didn’t want to leave 🙂

    I hadn’t heard of Ohrid before, so thankyou for the introduction 🙂

  9. The horrible town of Ohrid comes across as a really enticing town which I am sure will put the visitor in a spell. I think it has an old world irresistible charm. Would love to get there some day to have a first hand experience of the ‘horrors’,

  10. I’m glad you shared that the city doesn’t necessarily promote their businesses on Google — I’m a total Yelp / Trip Advisor girl and it’s helpful to know where to look. I think it is so cute that we have to head to the Old Town for tourist information. This place seems like such a unique city to explore!

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