Lake Ohrid is the number one tourist destination in Macedonia. The town of Ohrid is crawling with international visitors throughout the entire year. There are many sites to see in and around the city and a huge variety of things to do, especially in summer when the beaches are packed and the nightlife is in full tilt. We’ll gladly present Ohrid piece by piece in subsequent articles on our site and we start today with the village of Velestovo, a secluded alternative to Ohrid’s mainstream mode.

(All photos by Maja Argakijeva)

Situated on the slopes of Galicica Mountain, Velestovo offers a different kind of commodity – peace, and quiet. It is the perfect place to escape the noise and busy life of Ohrid, especially in the summer days. It is far enough from the crowds to be quiet but close enough to the town to be convenient. Located at an altitude of 1050 m / 3444 ft, the village has a spectacular view over both the lake and the town.

The village of Velestovo as seen from Ohrid

Velestovo is a rural village about 5 km / 3 mi uphill from Ohrid. The road to Velestovo starts near the petrol station on the roundabout on Turistica Boulevard, just before you leave Ohrid via the road to St Naum. There are no bus lines to the village, so if you don’t have a car, and don’t want to walk for more than an hour, you’ll have to take a cab. Luckily, the price is not high, at around 200 MKD (less than $4) in one direction but be sure to settle on it before you get in the taxi.

Sunrise in Velestovo, time lapse video

There are very few inhabitants that live throughout the whole year (not more than 50.) Most of the houses now are summer resorts, hostels, and villas. Those few who live in Velestovo are mainly retired or/and keep livestock, mostly donkeys, goats, sheep, and horses. The village is very quiet throughout the entire day and at night the only thing you hear is bird songs and the wind. Also, the nights are much cooler than in Ohrid. Even in summer, you should consider having a jacket with you in the evenings. We went there in May and we were lucky to have our winter clothes packed, otherwise we would have missed the wonderful starry nights on the balcony.

Ohrid at night, shot from Velestovo

As I mentioned, there are many hostels, villas, and private rooms for rent in the village. We stayed at the ~Colours of the wind~ house, a fabulous three-bedroom villa with vaulted ceiling, and a phenomenal view from the second-floor balcony. It also has a huge backyard with a private evergreen mini-forest. Made of stone and wood, the house feels majestic and comforting at the same time. You can book your stay there through their official Airbnb page or by contacting Mrs. Biljana directly (email: [email protected] phone number: +38971688390)

If you’re into hiking, trekking or mountain biking, Velestovo is a great starting point from where you can explore the beauties of the Galicica National Park. There are several hiking routes, ranging from easy to hard, and all of them have the privilege of overlooking Lake Ohrid the entire way. Aside from mountaineering and enjoying the tranquility of the area, there’s not much you can do in Velestovo throughout the year. In summer, it gets a bit more lively with several art and literature gatherings happening in July and August. But Velestovo is all about the tranquility. Before you turn on the relax mode, make sure you get everything you need from Ohrid because there are no shops or markets in the village.