You’re visiting Macedonia for the first time, but it’s not possible to visit both Skopje and Ohrid, so which one should you visit?
If you are planning to visit North Macedonia and can only choose one city to visit, here is a quick guide to compare Ohrid and Skopje:
What You Need To Know About Ohrid:
Located in the southwestern part of the country, Ohrid is known for its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. The city is situated on the shores of Lake Ohrid, which is one of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe.
The Old Town of Ohrid is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with numerous churches and monasteries dating back to the 9th century. Visitors can also enjoy hiking and swimming in the nearby mountains and exploring the local shops and restaurants.
One of the must-visit attractions in Ohrid is the Church of St. John (seen above), which is considered one of the most important cultural and historical monuments in the Balkans.
Built-in the 10th century, the church is known for its impressive frescoes and intricate architectural details. Another popular destination is the Ancient Theatre of Ohrid, which dates back to the 3rd century BC and offers panoramic views of the city and the lake.
In addition to its historical landmarks, Ohrid is also a popular destination for outdoor activities.
The city is safe, surrounded by picturesque mountains and forests, offering plenty of opportunities for hiking and exploring the natural beauty of the region.
What You Need To Know About Skopje:
If you are looking for a more modern and vibrant city, Skopje is a great option.
The capital city of North Macedonia, Skopje, offers a mix of modern and ancient architecture. The city is home to the Skopje Fortress, which dates back to the 6th century and offers panoramic views of the city.
Skopje also has a vibrant nightlife and a variety of museums and galleries, including the Museum of North Macedonia and the Skopje City Museum. Visitors can also enjoy shopping and dining in the city center and taking a stroll along the riverfront.
One of the must-see attractions in Skopje is the Stone Bridge, which is considered the city’s most iconic and unforgettable landmark.
Built-in the 15th century, the bridge connects the Old Town with the modern part of the city and offers stunning views of the Vardar River and the surrounding mountains.
Another popular destination is the Memorial House of Mother Teresa, which is dedicated to the life and work of the Albanian-born humanitarian and Nobel laureate.
The museum offers a fascinating insight into the life and legacy of Mother Teresa and is a must-visit for anyone interested in her life and work.
In addition to its historical and cultural attractions, Skopje is also known for its vibrant nightlife and diverse dining scene. The city has a wide range of restaurants and cafes, offering a variety of local and international cuisine.
The Old Town is a popular destination for evening entertainment, with its cobbled streets and lively bars and clubs. Skopje also has a thriving arts and music scene, with numerous galleries and live music venues.
The Main Differences Between Ohrid & Skopje are:
What I Personally Prefer… (& What I Recommend)
Having visited both Skopje and Ohrid, my personal choice would be to visit Skopje.
This is because Skopje just suits me perfectly.
I also LOVED Ohrid, and I would visit again for sure, but overall, if I had to choose, I’d choose Skopje.
NB: From what I’ve gathered, you do not want to visit Ohrid in the summertime as it can get a bit too crowded. We visited in late September and got lucky both with the weather and with the end-of-season peaceful vibe of the city.
On the other hand, Skopje is heavily populated in the Wintertime, so maybe if you’re visiting in the colder months, it’s best to visit Ohrid.
Overall, both Ohrid and Skopje have their own unique charm and offer a variety of activities and experiences for tourists.
If you are looking for a peaceful and scenic destination with a rich history and culture, Ohrid may be the best choice.
If you prefer a more modern and vibrant city with a lively atmosphere, Skopje is a great option.
Ultimately, the decision depends on your personal interests and preferences.