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 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.
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.
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.
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