If you have sat in Macedonia, overlooking Lake Ohrid, watched the sun go down over Albania and wondered what it might be like on the other side, it's fairly easy to find out - with a little preparation. A car with the right documentation - Sixt in Skopje can arrange this - allows you to drive a circuit of the lake, entering from the north and leaving from the south, for instance. The border formalities that way round are a little laborious but roughly 15 Eur. gets you in and out.
The main roads are pretty good, especially the one in the direction of Tirana and some of the scenery towards Qukes makes it a worthwhile detour from the lake circuit. Back on the lake, another detour takes you to the village of Lin(i) with an early Christian basilica and mosaics on the hill above it. Even without these sights, Lin would be worth visiting as a village of traditional style houses, largely unspoilt.
Most of the western side of the lake is far less developed than the Macedonian east although there are signs that things are happening. One interesting Albanian quirk frequently encountered might best be described as a sort of concrete igloo - a defensive structure dating from the Enver Hoxha period of isolation and invasion paranoia. By contrast, there are stretches of untouched lakeside with nothing to see but the mountains of Macedonia in the distance.
Pogradec itself, apart from being a lake resort with plenty of potential, gives you an impression of a working Albanian town with no great pretentions. It's an opportunity to shop but you'll have to work at that and it's probably wise not to change too much money. However, suggested available souvenirs include Albanian 'brandy' - there's a really good one from Korce - and music. A traditional characteristic is the distinctive use of clarinets. (You might try something by Alban Plovishti but that's not an expert opinion!)
All things considered, this is a great way to see both sides of Ohrid with plenty of scope for comparisons and much food for thought.
"Dante" is a small pizza place in Drilon, a short walk along the lakeside from Pogradec. Definitely worth visiting, surely the best food in this part of the country!
Favorite Dish: My favorite was the "prosciutto crudo" pizza, but all are amazing.
My girlfriend and I visited Borana Restorant for a drink during our daytrip to Pogradec in March 2012.
This colourful cafe is located across from the lakeside promenade and its outdoor rooftop terrace offers excellent views over the beach and Lake Ohrid.
A handful of bright orange, green and yellow plastic tables and chairs are scattered on the rooftop terrace and there are further outdoor tables on the pavement.
On a beautiful sunny afternoon the cafe was lively with young students enjoying the first warm weather of the year and one girl came over to chat with us upon hearing our English accents.
As we relaxed with our cold drinks in the warm sunshine, the only disappointment for me was that Borana doesn't sell the local Korca beer. I had fully expected to be able to sample Albania's most famous beer there! Instead, I opted for a 500ml bottle of Macedonian Skopsko beer, while Emma had a can of "Fanta Exotic".
The bill for our drinks was a mere 250 Albanian Leke (1.45 GBP).
Amazing food and staff, a must go to if you are in the area! They serve breakfest, lunch and dinner and have a large menu. Food is brought in and cooked fresh daily. It is also right accross the street from the beach, therefore the atmospher is amazing, especially in the summer.
The hotel is also wonderful and modern, so if you are going to be staying the night, there is no better location. A gleaming pink-and-white near the city centre. The rooms are well-appointed, though it's the top floor suite with its huge private terrace with lake views that impresses most. Downstairs, there's a pleasant garden terrace.
Favorite Dish: Try the soup or local fish - to die for.
If we decide to make byrek at home, preparing the dought, will be very difficult. Here is lesson 1 in a friend's house in Starovë, Pogradec.