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Magaro hike - Ohrid

Magaro hike

Hike to Magaro peak near Ohrid

This is a beautiful GPS hike in Galicica National Park near Ohrid, that we did in the summer of 2014. This round trip is 8.5 km in length, with a height difference of about 700 m.

This hike is relatively easy because of its short length and not too much height difference. It is a good hike to start with if you plan to do more demanding hikes later.

We previously attempted to do this round trip in 2010 (see here), but we could not complete the circle due to lack of marking. In 2014 we tried again, armed with an outdoor GPS device, a digital map from openstreetmap.org and a GPX track from MKDmount.org. In 2014, the trail was slightly better marked, with some wooden signs in addition to the usual red/white paint marking. However, without having a good look at the GPS track or the map, it still would not be very clear how to continue once you have reached the peak if you would rely only on the red/white marking.

The hike starts at a small parking near the highest point of the road between Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa through Galicica NP. There is a yellow sign of the NP at the parking. Coming from Ohrid and driving to the south along the lake, you take the left turn into the NP just after the village Trpejca.

NOTE: In an apparent effort to scare away tourists, the Macedonian government decided that you have to pay to use this road! 50 denar (almost 1 euro) per car and 30 denar (0.50 euro) per person. In addition, you need to pay 200 denar (3.25 euro) per person if you want to walk in the NP. In our case, the road was open when we drove to the starting point in the morning, but we had to pay when we wanted to exit the National Park in the afternoon. You may be able to circumvent the extra hiking charge by saying you're just passing through to/from Lake Prespa or Resen!

After an ascent through forest, you get above the tree line, where the views of the mountains are truly magnificent. At a crossing, you follow the trail uphill towards a huge metal billboard-like sign. When you're getting close to the peak, the official trail takes a left turn. It however is recommended to continue forward towards the cliff, since you'll have some excellent views of Lake Ohrid. We were pleasantly surprised by the fields with many flowers.

Once you have reached Magaro Peak at 2255 m, you have to walk back about 100 m and continue the trail downhill to the right.

Along the trail there are several points where you can spot both Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa at the same time. The GPX track from MKDmount.org mentioned above follows a slightly different descent that may offer even more opportunities to see both lakes at the same time.

You can view and download the GPS version of our hike here: http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=nrewqlxlvqowdqyv.

Equipment: High shoes and walking sticks are recommended but not necessary

Directions: N40° 57' 13.3" E20° 49' 44.0"

Theme: Hiking

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  • Updated Sep 7, 2014
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Velestovo hike - Ohrid

Velestovo hike

Roundtrip from Velestovo through Galicica NP

This 16 km round trip with a height difference of 700 m starts in the village Velestovo, close to Ohrid.

To get to Velestovo, take the mountain road into Galicica National Park at the roundabout with the gas station on Bulevar Turisticka (near Biljana Springs) in Ohrid. This road also passes the Galicica National Park Office on your right.

Follow the road all the way until the small square with the spring and church in Velestovo. Note that the square is small, parking space is limited and the road is rather steep, so you may want to take a taxi instead of a car.

The first 3.5 km of the hike are rather steep, through forest-like area. After about 1.5 km there's a spring. At the highest point (after 3.5 km) there is a covered picnic place, with a superb view over the valley beneath.

From the picnic place you walk downhill towards a shepherd's farm. After 4.5 km, take a left turn. From here, the trail is flat and you'll be walking mostly on an old 4x4 / horse and carriage road towards the village Ramne. This is a very nice valley with many flowers.

We encountered several cows here...

At a T-crossing after about 9 km, turn left towards Ramne, the trail goes downhill from here. Be careful here because there have been some landslides. The trail was still quite well in 2014.

The last part of the hike is less attractive than the first part, since it mainly follows a relatively well-maintained and not so interesting 4x4 road instead of a small trail.

At a crossing after 10.5 km, follow the 4x4 road (and do not take the small signposted trail towards Ramne like we initially did. This point is marked in the GPS file).

The 4x4 road starts to go uphill again (about 100 m ascent). After 12 km there are some hazelnut trees.

At the highest point of the ascent, and just before a major crossing, leave the 4x4 road and take a well-marked small trail to your right. This is a very attractive trail (called Leko's trail), too bad it takes only 1 km before you're back at the very wide 4x4 service road to Velestovo.
Alternatively, you can decide not to take Leko's trail and continue walking on the service road. This will add 1-2 km to the hike.

The weather was not great when we did this hike, just after the picnic place it started to rain. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant, not too demanding hike.

The church is Velestovo is worth a visit as well, see here for more info: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/6117e/6e4b0/

You can view and download the GPS track here: http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=buridiymnuyuhldm

Theme: Hiking

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  • Updated Aug 9, 2014
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Galicica National Park Map - Ohrid

Galicica National Park Map

Map of Galicica National Park

Finally there is a map with hiking trails in the Galicica National Park near Ohrid.

In 2012 the map was NOT available at the Galicica National Park Office, where you would expect it to be available since the National Park Office is located directly at the border of Galicica National Park.

We only could find the map at "Mega Tours", in the center of Ohrid, about 2.5 km from the National Park Office. With 250 denars, a bit more than 4 euros, the map is quite expensive for Macedonian standards.

In August-September 2012 it was not allowed to enter the Galicica National Park. A nation-wide ban to enter the forest was announced because of forest fires. Although we could obtain permits for hiking from authorities elsewhere in Macedonia, the Galicica National Park authorities would not give us such a permit and we could not do the hikes we planned in Galicica National Park. Hopefully their rigid attitude changes during future summers, otherwise this nice map is pretty useless.

The map describes the following hikes (Approximate length and times depending on the direction the hike is performed):

Velgosti - Letnica - Ramne - Visitor Center Ohrid (12.5 km, 5-6 h)

Ramne - Letnica - Visok Peak - Krstec - Velestovo (12 km, 4.5-5.5 h)

Velestovo - Krstec - Tri Mazi Peak - Elsani (17 km, 7-8h)

Elsani - Bugarska Cuka - Lako Signoj - Galicica Pass (13 km, 5.5-6.5 h)

Galicica Pass - Magaro Peak - Galicica Pass (8 km, 4.5 h)

Dva Javora - Sarbojca Refuge - Samotska Dupka Cave (14 km, 5-7 h)

Velestovo - Elen Peak - Konjsko - Elsani (9 km, 2.5-3 h)

Pestani - St Spas - Galicica Pass - Pestani (8 km, 2.5-4.5 h)

Otesevo - Goga Peak - Sarbojca Refuge (23 km, 6-10 h)

Stenje - Konjsko (8 km, 2.5 h)

In 2014 we saw that the trails we walked were marked reasonable well, with signposts here and there, and red/white marking. However, I would not rely on just the marking but always take the map and/or outdoor GPS, because the marking is not always very clear.

Another good map is the Trimaks Galicica National Park Macedonia map. This map does not contain detailed information about the hiking trails like the map from the park itself, but it shows more trails. See http://www.3maks.com/en/eur/Product/591197/Galicica-National-Park-Macedonia

Personally, I use the free digital maps from Openstreetmaps.org on my outdoor GPS Garmin Dakota 20, see http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/

Address: Saint Kliment of Ohrid, Ohrid

Directions: N41.11329 E20.79952

Other Contact: galicica@galicica.org.ml

Theme: Hiking

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Aug 9, 2014
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Elshani-Konjsko hike - Ohrid

Elshani-Konjsko hike

Elshani-Konjsko hike in Galicica NP near Ohrid

This 16 km long round trip has a height difference of about 700-800 m.

The hike has a lot of variation in landscape, including forest and valley, great views of Lake Ohrid, and many flowers in the summer.

Starting from the central square in Elshani, all the climbing for this hike is done during the first 3.5 km, mainly through forest area. That is a bit tough! But after that, the last 12 km are flat or downhill, which certainly contributes to the attractiveness of this hike. This hike is really beautiful and highly recommended!

The round trip starts in the center of the village Elshani, about 10 km from Ohrid. We took a taxi from Ohrid to get to Elshani, that was about 300-400 Denar (5-7 euros). We asked the driver for his phone number so he could pick us up after the hike.

About 4.5 km from the start, you have to make sure that you take the almost invisible trail downhill to your left. In 2014, the trail was signposted with a wooden signpost (direction Konjsko).

Soon, the trail becomes clear again, followed by a descent through forest, after which you enter a breathtaking valley full with flowers.

At 6.5 km from the start, you can have a small detour to the Samotska Dupka cave on your right. The cave is closed off with an iron fence and you cannot enter. There's not much to see so I would not even bother if you're not very curious!

In the valley we encountered a herd of sheep, protected by rather big dogs. The best thing to do in such a case, is to try to get the shepherd's attention (e.g. by yelling or whistling), before you get the attention of the dogs!!! The shepherd will then -hopefully- call off his dogs. We succeeded just in time to get the shepherd's attention, in one of the pictures you can see the dogs still running towards me!

The hike continues through the valley and makes a left turn. After 12 km you reach the almost deserted village Konjsko. Less than 10 of the houses are currently inhabited. Sheep and cows wander freely around. After Konjsko, you further descent towards Elshani.

There's a little shop in Elshani where you can have a well-deserved beer while you wait for the taxi to pick you up. Alternatively, it's about 2.2 km downhill to the main road where you may be able to catch a (mini) bus.

See here for more pictures: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tt/c9bfb/

You can view and download the GPS track of this hike here: http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=iohnokkyaiogutnd

Theme: Hiking

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  • Updated Aug 9, 2014
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Ohrid Swimming Marathon - Ohrid

Ohrid Swimming Marathon

Ohrid Swimming Marathon swimming Review

Every summer there is the Ohrid Swimming Marathon in Lake Ohrid.

The participant swim from St Naum in the south of the lake to the harbor of Ohrid in the north of the lake. This is 30 km!

Theme: Other

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Sep 14, 2011
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Diving Club AMORFA - Ohrid

Diving Club AMORFA

Diving Center AMFORA

Diving Center AMFORA lies next to the museum at the Bay of the Bones near campsite Gradiste.

You can do sightseeing of the underwater archeological diving locations in lake Ohrid.

I've not done this myself, just picked up their flyer at the museum.

Address: Lazo Trposki 35a, 6000 Ohrid

Directions: About 150m after Gradiste campsite along the way from Ohrid to St Naum.

Other Contact: sekuloski@yahoo.com

Phone: +38971359810/+38970700865

Theme: Scuba Diving

Website: http://www.amfora.com.mk/

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 9, 2009
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Mountain Bike Trail in Galicica National Park - Ohrid

Mountain Bike Trail in Galicica National Park

Mountain Bike Trail in Galicica National Park

There is a marked mountain bike trial in Galicica National Park.

The start of the trail is next to the petrol station on the roundabout on the road Bulevar Turisticka, just before you leave Ohrid on the road to St Naum.

Here you will also find a big sign with information about the trail, see the pictures for a more detailed view of the map and legend.

The trail goes from this point to the village Velestovo and then south through the Galicica National park.

The mountain bike trail from Ohrid to Dva Javori is 30.1 km, the trail back from Dva Javori is 25.1 km (together 55.2 km).

From this point, also a walk to the Church of St Petka in the village Velgosti, via the village Ramne, starts on top of the stairs shown in the pictures. Please see my description of this walk before you attemp to do it, because it is very badly marked!

Theme: Biking

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 7, 2008
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