Lake Ohrid – Where Sea Meets Sky



Here at Beach Baby, it’s clear that we love beaches, and one thing that is obviously necessary to create a beach, is a body of water. 

One of the most magical bodies of water we’ve come across in all our travels, is that of the beautiful and historic Lake Ohrid, which is located in the mountainous region between Albania and Macedonia, where both countries have access to this amazing lake.

lake ohrid

First off, what makes Lake Ohrid so magical?

To answer that, we need to look at what you might say is the opposite of magic – science. 

From a strictly scientific perspective, Lake Ohrid is one of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe, dating back 5 million years, to the Pliocene epoch, and home to an aquatic ecosystem that is unrivalled, containing in excess of two hundred endemic species. 

It has recently been added to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (UNESCO) in 2014, due to its unique makeup.

Geographically speaking, Albania and Macedonia share the shoreline of Lake Ohrid, which stretches a total of almost 90 kilometers. 

As we said, it is an ancient lake, not to mention very wide and deep, with a maximum depth at almost 1000 feet.  

Up to 50% of the inflow of the lake currently comes from underground springs located on the eastern side, with another 20% of water coming from nearby Lake Prespa.


Because it is so far away from the ocean, and is the result of countless millennia of tectonic activities – with these hidden movements keeping it fresh and alive – many scientists have  curiosities about this mysterious lake. 

With so many organisms living in it, including the many fish, mollusks, crustaceans, zooplankton, and flora, as well a multitude of underwater life, scientists can’t help but be drawn to this haven for marine life.

Here is a quick underwater look at Lake Ohrid.  

As you can see, the water is perfect for diving of all sorts, and the richness of the aquatic life is apparent even from this particular view.

The lake is considered to be oligotrophic, which means that it can sustain life without offering a nutrient rich environment to its inhabitants, and it also means that the lake itself is physically very clear – another reason to go diving there.

If you can’t see the “magic” yet, you should really know that Lake Ohrid certainly has its charm, which is much more undeniable in person. 

must see destinations in the world

In terms of tourist destinations, it is perhaps not so well known as some locations around the globe, but those who do visit the lake are usually beguiled by its natural beauty. 

There is plenty to see and do there, both in terms of things to do around the lake, as well as on it and in it.   

Lake Ohrid FAQ

Can you swim in Lake Ohrid?

You most definitely can!  It is one of the most beautiful lakes to swim in, in the whole world. 

In fact, the FINA Open Water Grand Prix was held at Lake Ohrid in 2010.

What is there to do at Lake Ohrid?

So much, that it’s hard to name everything there is to do there. 

In terms of activities, you can swim there, you can also snorkel, go boating, water ski, sun tan, go fishing, go sight seeing, paragliding, and so much more! 

Oh, and you could always just relax and read a book, gazing out at the waters where the sea meets the sky.  🙂

Can I rent a boat?

There are definitely boat rentals for the lake.  In fact, it is one of the most popular pastimes there.

How was Lake Ohrid formed?

Around 5 million years ago, both Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa were formed when geotectonic depressions created basins in the Earth, at which point glaciers slowly channeled water into these karstic (limestone) bedrock basins, giving us these two great lakes. 

This makes sense, as the lake is surrounded by mountains, which is the perfect situation for a lake such as this to form.

How deep is Lake Ohrid?

As we mentioned earlier, at its deepest point, Lake Ohrid is almost 1000 feet deep.

How big is it?

It has an area of 358 kilometers squared, and is 30.4 kilometers long and 14.8 kilometers wide.

Where is Lake Ohrid located?

It is located between Albania and Macedonia.  (see picture below)

lake ohrid location

Where can I stay when I visit Lake Ohrid?

You have many options for accommodations when you come to Lake Ohrid. 

There are many cities and resorts which sit on the edge of the lake, featuring beautiful hotel resorts. 

lake ohrid resorts

It really depends on where you go when you come to visit the lake.  Will you be in Albania?  Or Macedonia? 

See our article on “5 Of the Best Beaches On Lake Ohrid” to find out more about places to stay at Lake Ohrid.

Is there a train or bus that travels from Skopje to Lake Ohrid?

distance from skopje to lake ohridTraveling by train is one of the best ways to travel around Macedonia and the Balkans in general! 

Get your Interrail pass, and you can definitely make the trip from Skopje, the nation’s capital, to scenic Lake Ohrid in no time.  The sights you will see along the way, may well take your breath away.

Taking a bus is perhaps the most common way to reach Lake Ohrid from Skopje, if you are a tourist.  Every few hours, a bus leaves Skopje and arrives at Lake Ohrid around one hour later, as the distance from A to B is 121 km.

Do swans inhabit the area around the lake?

Yes, swans do inhabit the lake.  See for yourself!

What kinds of fish live in the lake?

Fish are a big part of Lake Ohrid, and very important to the economy of Macedonia, with many “salmonid” fishes and several types of eel. 

The endemic trout is also critical to the health of the lake. 

So much so that in 1935, a breeding program was started in order to promote the trout population in the lake, and, shortly thereafter, a hydrobiological station was also added to assist in the breeding.

Thanks for reading!  Hopefully you can come visit Lake Ohrid very soon.  🙂


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About the author: Patrick has the record of travelling the most out of everyone, visiting over 30 countries around the world in 15 years, and sleeping in the most tents with the least amount of blankets and cushions.  He can literally sleep anywhere! A few countries Patrick has lived in include India, Mexico, Tanzania, and Morocco, and currently he lives in Peru.

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