Ohrid Transportation Tips by SWFC_Fan
Ohrid Transportation: 54 reviews and 67 photos
Our boat and young sailor, Lake Ohrid
During a visit to Ohrid in March 2012, my girlfriend and I took a couple of boat trips on Lake Ohrid.
The first of these was a pleasure trip; a round trip from the harbour past the old town and Sveti Jovan Kaneo Monastery (See tip in "Things to Do" section).
The second trip was more about convenience. We had just visited Sveti Jovan Kaneo Monastery and were walking back to town via Kaneo fishing village. In order to save time, we decided to take a one way boat trip from Kaneo to the Millennium Hotel, close to the Biljana Springs estuary that we were intending to visit next.
We negotiated a price with a sailor, who then put us in the hands of his young (maybe 12 years old?) son and his small wooden motor boat.
After lots of instructions and reassurances (maybe this was the first time the son had transported paying passengers?), we were on our way.
The engine spluttered a few times and the boat was taking on a little water, but we made it safely across the lake to our destination.
The 10 minute trip cost us 400 MKD / £5.60 and saved us close to an hour in time.
Small boats are a convenient way to take trips across Lake Ohrid. Negotiate a price with the sailors.
The road from Struga to Ohrid
My girlfriend and I took a taxi from Struga to Ohrid during our visit to Macedonia in March 2012.
We were staying in Ohrid and had caught a bus (cost: 40 MKD each) from there to Struga for the day. We intended to catch the bus back to Ohrid but, having walked to the town's inter-city bus station, we discovered that the buses to Ohrid don't stop there. Instead, they pick up passengers along the road side in the town centre. Rather than walk the 15 minutes back into town and find a bus stop, we decided to flag down a taxi outside the bus station.
The taxi cost 300 MKD (£4) compared to the 80 MKD that it would have cost for us both to catch the bus back, but completed the journey in 15 minutes compared to the 30 minutes that the bus took.
Shortly after setting off, the taxi driver pulled into a layby on the outskirts of Struga, removed the taxi sign from the roof of his car and hid it in the boot. He explained that the police in Ohrid would sometimes stop taxis from neighbouring Struga, so he wanted to keep a low profile.
Our taxi driver spoke English exceptionally well and was a fervent football fan (and gambler!). Upon hearing that we were from Sheffield, he immediately told me that he was planning to bet on Sheffield Wednesday (my team!) to win that evening's game against Walsall. He passed me his betting guide and asked me for my informed opinions and advice on which teams he should back that evening. As the journey progressed, the driver and I engaged in a conversation that was littered with obscure statistics on lower league English football! I assured him that backing Sheffield Wednesday was a good idea and gave him a couple of other tips. I tipped him 100 MKD as he dropped us off at Bulevar Turisticka in Ohrid and told him to place a bet on my selections. Needless to say, Sheffield Wednesday failed to win the game (we drew 2-2) and neither of my other tips won either!
Minibus from Ohrid to Struga
Minibuses operated by Classic Company frequently travel between the towns of Ohrid and Struga.
The minibuses run aproximately every 15 minutes during the day and pick up passengers at various points throughout both towns.
We caught a minibus to Struga during our stay in Ohrid in March 2012. We boarded the bus on Bulevar Turisticka (on the opposite side of the street to the market) and paid 40 MKD (£0.50) to the driver for a one way ticket.
The journey took around 30 minutes and included many stops along the way; some at designated bus stops and some at locations seemingly requested by passengers.
We got off the bus in Struga on a bridge over the Drim River at Boro Madzieski, a 5 minute walk north of the pedestrianised Marsal Tito and the town centre.
Don't make the same mistake that we made when attempting to catch a bus back to Ohrid. We walked 10-15 minutes north of the centre to Struga's inter-city bus station. However, this bus station is only for long distance buses and the buses to and from Ohrid don't stop there! Rather than walk back into town, we flagged down a taxi to take us back to Ohrid (300 MKD / £4).
Official taxi in Ohrid
There are many taxis to help you get around Ohrid and to nearby sights such as the town of Struga, Sveti Naum Monastery and the Albanian border.
You will find lots of taxis parked up along Bulevar Turisticka, particularly outside the market. The official taxis are white and pale blue and will display a 4-digit number in the form 158x or 159x.
We first used an Ohrid taxi to get from the bus station to our accommodation (Villa Boban) on a residential street behind Bulevar Turisticka. The journey took less than 5 minutes and cost us 150 MKD (£2). We made the mistake of not using an official taxi, we just jumped into the first taxi that was offered to us. Our hosts suggested that the journey to their villa should have cost no more than 70-80 MKD, so we were double charged for the short journey. The amount was small, and we'd never have found the villa without the help of a taxi, so we weren't particularly bothered.
Our hosts also explained to us that, due to the one way system around Bulevar Turisticka, the journey from the villa into town should be 50 MKD (£0.65), while the journey back from town would likely be 100 MKD (£1.30). We always walked to and from town, so we never found out if the fares were correct, but it's a useful guideline for taxi journeys within Ohrid.
One day we approached a taxi driver who was parked at the front of the queue of taxis on Bulevar Turisticka and asked for a price for him to drive us to Pogradec in Albania. He explained that he didn't have the necessary paperwork to take his taxi over the border, but that he would contact his friend and they would use his car to take us where we wanted to go. We agreed a fee of 50 Euros for the two of them to take us to Pogradec and to Sveti Naum Monastery for the whole day. During the day, we changed our itinerary and asked them to take us to the town of Korce, some 40km south of Pogradec, and agreed to pay an additional 30 Euros for this diversion. Altogether, we paid 80 Euros (5,000 MKD) for a day of guided sightseeing in Albania and at Sveti Naum Monastery which lasted from 9am until 5:30pm – we were happy with that price.
Bus from Ohrid to Skopje (via Kicevo)
We visited Macedonia for a week in March 2012. We began our stay with a weekend in Skopje, before catching a bus south to Ohrid for 4 days and then taking a bus back north to Skopje for one final day.
The following details were correct at the time of our visit.
Skopje – Ohrid
There are two bus routes from Skopje to Ohrid; the shortest and most common route is via Kicevo, while the longer and less frequent route is via Bitola.
We opted for the former and caught the 10am bus on a Monday morning. The bus was operated by Galeb and we paid 750 MKD (£10) for a return ticket. One way tickets were available for 450 MKD, so it was beneficial to purchase a return ticket rather than two one way tickets. We purchased our tickets a day in advance, but this wasn't necessary in March – the bus was nowhere near full. I understand that purchasing tickets in advance may be necessary in the busier summer months.
We walked from our accommodation (Gueshouse Anja, on the riverside next to the Old Stone Bridge) to Skopje's long distance bus station. The bus station is located next to the railway station and is a 15 minute walk from Old Stone Bridge, first along the riverside and then past the Vero Center shopping mall. It was an easy, flat walk even with suitcases in tow.
The bus departed from bay number 8 at the bus station and first headed in a westerly direction towards Tetovo. It turned off just before reaching Tetovo and headed south past Gostivar before stopping at Kicevo around 2 hours into the journey. We stopped at Kicevo for a little over 5 minutes; a handful of passengers got on (adding to the dozen or so that were already on board the sparsely populated bus) and a few passengers got off to use the toilet facilities at Kicevo's small bus station.
The total journey time was around 3 hours 15 minutes. We stayed on board until it arrived at Ohrid bus station, but had we known the layout of the town we would have alighted outside the market on Bulevar Turisticka which was much more conveniently located for where we were staying.
The bus wasn't particularly comfortable; there were no refreshments or toilet facilities on board. The air conditioning wasn't very effective and the bus was starting to get very warm as the journey progressed.
The scenery en-route was spectacular at times; lots of winding mountain roads and precipitous drops. Furthermore, at the time of our visit, although the snow had melted at ground level in Skopje it was still deep and untouched along the mountain roads.
Ohrid – Skopje
As we had purchased a return ticket in Skopje, we had assumed that we could just turn up and catch whichever Galeb bus we liked back to Skopje. However, the owners of the villa that we stayed at (Villa Boban) told us that we should confirm in advance with the bus station which bus we would like to catch. Our wonderful hosts Tina and Boban arranged this for us. We told them on the Wednesday that we intended to catch the 7:30am on the the Friday morning and they made all the arrangements for us. The bus was about 75% full when it departed so we would probably have been ok turning up at the bus station on the morning and booking ourselves onto that bus, but it wasn't worth taking the risk (and certainly wouldn't be a wise idea in the busier summer months).
We had chosen to catch the early morning bus for two reasons. Firstly, it meant that we'd be back in Skopje in time to catch a bus to Pristina for an afternoon in Kosovo. Secondly, given the poor air conditioning system on our outbound bus, it meant that we'd be travelling before the temperatures became too warm.
Ohrid's bus station is located quite a walk (20 minutes?) from the centre and, as we were catching an early bus, we decided to use a taxi to get to the station. Our hosts phoned a taxi for us and the 5 minute journey to the station cost 100 MKD (£1.30).
The journey back to Skopje took a similar length of time as the outbound journey had done (3 hours 15 minutes) and so we were back in Skopje by 10:45am. The route was also the same (i.e. via Kicevo) but differed in the following ways:
On the way back to Skopje, the bus stopped at Kicevo only to let on a couple of passengers before setting off again immediately. There was no toilet break.
Instead, there was a 10 minute toilet/smoking break when the bus stopped at Gostivar bus station (which we didn't visit on the outbound journey).
The bus also called in at Tetovo bus station to drop off / collect passengers which didn't happen on the outbound journey.
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