getting to ohrid, 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!
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).
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.
After visiting Ohrid, we were heading on to Skopje for an afternoon before heading to Sofia, so we caught a bus. The buses weren't nearly as frequent as I thought they would be so check the timetable before heading over to the bus station. We had the choice of 7am, 10:45am and there were a few more in the afternoon, it's possible that we were there slightly before season so maybe they add more in the summer. The bus ride was about 3 hours, cost 500 denar (about $10US). They have assigned seats but in late May there was no trouble getting a seat on the bus. The bus wasn't terribly comfortable.
The bus station was not close enough to the waterfront hotel to walk so we had our hotel call a taxi, the fare was 150 denar which seemed a bit much for such a short taxi ride but then again it's only $3US.
It would have made me too nervous but I saw all kinds of taxi drivers hanging around the bus station offering rides to Skopje. I didn't ask the price but I'm guessing with 2-3 people it would probably be cheaper and faster than the bus but I just wasn't willing to take a gamble on it.
After our first two days in Ohrid we left the city by bus to Bitola. There are about 9 buses per day serving this route. The trip takes about 2 hours and costs 210 MKD (approx. 3,50 Euro).
After our second two days in Ohrid we left Bitola by bus to Tetovo, which is located on the route towards Skopje.
This route is served about 7 times per day and tickets to Tetovo cost 430 MKD and to Skopje 500 MKD. Journey times are about 4 hours to Tetovo and 4,5 hours to Skopje.
Other buses go to Kicevo, Veles, Kocani (MK), Belgrade (SRB), Sofia (BG) and Herceg Novi (MNE).
Tickets can be bought directly at the bus station. The staff is very friendly and helpful. The use of the toilet costs 10 MKD.
Unfortunately, Ohrid's bus station is located a good 30 minutes walk north of the city centre, but it is well signposted so that you can't miss it.
We first arrived in Ohrid by local bus from Struga. Actually we came from Tirana in Albania, but had to change buses in Struga at the northern end of the Lake Ohrid.
Struga's main bus station for long distance buses is a 10 Minutes walk north of the city centre, whereas the local buses to Ohrid leave from the city centre or from right at the lake front.
The buses, which serve the Struga Ohrid Struga route, are marked with Classic Company and run a few times per hour during the day. we couldn't really figure out the exact frequency of the buses.
A single ticket cost only 40 MKD (approx. 0,70 Euro) and can be bought from the driver. The trip takes about 30 Minutes.
The bus stops several times in Ohrid. The best stop to get off is probably near the market at the street Bulevar Turisticka, which is just north of Ohrid's old town.
As everyone points out, the bus station in Ohrid is quite far from the center of town. When you get there, take a cab into the center.
But when you leave: in the summer you really want to buy a ticket the day before. There are so many people travelling to and from Ohrid that if you just go out to the bus station to buy a ticket on the day you want to travel, you may have to buy a ticket for a bus much later in the day. You probably don't want to spend that much time drinking coffee at the bus station ...
So you want to buy your ticket the day before.
But here's the hint: you don't have to go out to the bus station to buy your ticket. There's kiosk right in the middle of town, near the lake, where you can buy that ticket. On "Partizanska" (first street in from the lake), one or two blocks from the main street "Makedonski Prosvetiteli". Just a little kiosk, "Galab" (in blue cyrillic). Keeps normal hours, so it's closed in the evening.
if you stay in ohrid you can go to bitola (manastir is the former name)
One way ticket costs you 200 MD.
Voyage has been taking nearly two hours. Departure times from Ohrid are
07:00,10:00;10:15;12:15;13:15;16:30 and 18:00
But you must ask. Sometimes Struga - Bitola busses goes via Ohrid (like 10:00 bus) and tourism information doesn't say anything about it, you learn when you book if you have chance :)
Only way to reach Ohrid by public transpot is to use bus. Ohrid is very well conected with all the towns and cities in Macedonia. In the summer months, the frecvency of the bus service is dubbled, as Ohrid is the Macedonian Riviera.
The Bus station iin Ohrid is now located on the outsrts of town at the exit roads to struga & Bitola. Make sure you get taxi to take you to the center, as you realy do not want to lugg your heavy luggage 2 km to the center on +40c. BTW taxi very cheap, and easy & fast way to the center, where at the Tourist Info Center you can pick up good private accomodation for resonable prices....
WARNINAG: make sure that, if you get return ticket, you make reservation strait a way for your retun journey, as in the summer months can be inpossible to travel without one as the places are scant and limited, due to the sheer volumen of tourist heading in and out of Ohrid.
If you are travelling between Skopje and Ohrid there are no trains. There is a choice of 2 bus routes via either Tetovo or Bitola. According to the guide book I had the route via Tetovo is not only quicker but much more scenic. The bus station in Skopje has the train station above. There is also a big internet place 1 floor up from the bus station in Skopje
Pay attention that you take the bus via Kicevo.
The busses depart from the Intercity bus station in Skopje. The distance is about 167 km. The traveling lasts aproximately 3 hours.
Time of Departures from Skopje:
06.00; 07.30; 09.30; 11.30; 13.30; 14.00; 14.15; 15.00; 16.30; 18.00; 18.30
Time departures from Ohrid:
11:30 12:45 13:30 15:00 17:45 18:30
We decided to walk from Pogradec to the Macedonian side and find some sort of transportation from there. We set off from Pogradec at 8AM, and arrived at the border just after 9. At the border, an Albanian driver tried to offer a taxi ride to Ohrid but we refused because we wanted the fresh air. We finally got to the village of Lyubanishta where we found a shop and a combined old "Culture Palace" and bus station. The bus timetable looked like it had been there since Yugoslavia, but we were amazed when the bus really arrived after an hour of waiting. It looked like there was no taxi in the quiet village. I paid the bus fare with Euros and got my first dinars as change.
If you are planning to visit Sveti Naum, turn left at the Sveti Atanasii church located beside the road some 1km from the border. It will save you from making an unnecessary circle back from the official turn nearer to Lybanishta.
While passing the first house in Lybanishta we saw a guy standing on a stool and picking apples from a tree. All of a sudden he started screaming like a maniac, "Eeeeee, Eeeeee, Eeeeee!", and pointed at the apple and his mouth. This was really scary. First we thought that he was maybe somehow retarded (Deliverance!). After passing him we kept walking without looking back, and all of sudden he started talking to his cell phone with a normal voice. So this was my first experience of Macedonia...
Currently there is no direct bus from Tirana to either Skopje or Ohrid. The only way to get there is via Struga, about 14km away. When you get past the Albanian border, ask the driver to tell you when to get off for Struga, because it isn't obvious. You'll get dropped outside of town on the main road bypassing Struga. From here it's a couple of kilometers to the center.
Thankfully, there's no need to walk all the way in. As you walk down the street into town the road splits in two at a gas station. Take the left fork. Just behind the station you will see a lot of parked taxis. There's a taxi cab office there: look for the taxi sign in the window. You can get a taxi to Ohrid for just 5 euros.
Going the other way and leaving Ohrid for Albania is something I have no experience of. Hopefully the taxi driver or the tourist office you buy the ticket from will be able to tell you where to get the bus from.
Though you can get a bus to Ohrid from Skopje easily enough, during the summer they seem to leave every hour, I found it reasonably priced to take a taxi. The taxi for 2 people cost 40 Euro and this allowed the freedom to stop where we wished and take pictures or stop for whatever other reason. Just ask your taxi driver about the cost to go, seems like everyone in Skopje just needs an excuse to head to Ohrid.
Mavrovo national park forest joins the bus on the ride to Ohrid... its quite long way among nice landscapes...the bus get a stop on a hill top before to take the route again for an hour more aproximatelly...
Before to get to the station (final destination, just one stop in ohrid) it passes by the main boulevard town ...nothing special to see, just shops and stalls ....interesting the first time
The best point is once you hop off the bus ..locals come to you yo ask for accomodation as other places i ve been !! ...but i dont know why but they do with a special interest... showing their pics from those rooms.. start the bargain !!
I got my lonely planet guide and i knew where i wanted to go ...so i dont heed them although a 30's years man joined me to show me the way ... its quite difficult to find, he said, and he was right, maybe i had lost myself on the old town !
but its other chapter ! get reading