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Lake Ohrid

Pogradec is a town in the east of Albania on the shores of Lake Ohrid. In 2019 the mixed UNESCO World Heritage site "Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region" was extended to also include the Albanian side of the lake.

Understand[edit]

Pogradec is on a narrow plain, between two mountain chains, along the southwestern banks of the Lake of Ohrid. Its climate is profoundly influenced by a seasonal Mediterranean and Continental climate.

Prior to the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the 1992 declaration of the Republic of Albania, Pogradec was a popular resort destination. However, with the dissolution of the socialist republic, and in the ensuing years of Balkan wars, tourism income was affected in the region leaving buildings empty and Pogradec solely dependent on its agricultural products and exposed to cross border trafficking, as people struggled to earn money for housing and food.

Investors from successful tourism businesses across the lake in North Macedonia and elsewhere have spearheaded private investment in the hotel sector in Pogradec. Hotels are being built or renovated and refurbished, and infrastructure is promised to be improving throughout.

Visitor information[edit]

  • 1 Pogradec Tourist Information Center, Rr. Reshit Collaku, Pallati 23, Lagjja 1, +355 696070855.

Get in[edit]

Pogradec from Castle

From North Macedonia, you can enter via Qafë Thanë or Tushemisht border crossings.

There has been no railway service to Pogradec since 2012. The train service from Durres now stops in Librazhd. You will have to find additional transport from Librazhd to Pogradec. If you want to take the train, it leaves Durres once a day at 07:15, arrival time in Librazhd at 11:01. Return trips to Durres depart from Librazhd at 11:55 (arrival 15:42). Carriages are quite OK now (2011) except that all windows were broken like they were hit by bullets, so select a window where the view is best.

A faster option is to take a bus or minibus (furgon) from Tirana: the departure points of these change regularly so check with the hotel or hostel. These take 3 to 4 hours but the roads in the east are largely good. Buses cost 500 lek, while minibuses are 600 lek. Shared private taxis, if you can find one, will cost the same as furgons for a full car and often save you a headache.

It is possible to cross the border from North Macedonia by foot or by car to the south of Lake Ohrid, but major coaches from Ohrid town take the northern route from Tirana. There is a bus service from Ohrid on the southern route that runs, after a stop at Sveti Naum, to and from the border for 110 Macedonian denars. Although taxis ask €5, a good price (2012) from the border to Pogradec for two persons is 200 lek.

Get around[edit]

Once you have arrived in the city, you can use a car to drive around, but it is a better experience if you get around by foot, especially near the lake. In the night, especially in summer, there are a lot of people who walk around the boulevard and you will feel the good energy until midnight.

Pogradec is also famous for the usage of bicycles. You can rent a bicycle for a few hours and have enough time to visit some places and especially ride alongside the lake with a fantastic view.

See[edit]

  • Pogradec Art Gallery (in the center). 09:00-16:00. It has works from well known Pogradec painters.
  • Pogradec museum. 09:00-16:00. Pogradec has a rich museum with antiques and ancient testimonials.
  • Old Orthodox Church (Church of Kisha e re - Pogradec "Saint Maria") (in the old town).
  • Church of "Resurrection". A newly built church.
  • 1 Mosque in the Center of the town (Xhamia), Rruga Andon Xoxa.
  • Mosque in the hill.
  • Lasgush Poradeci Statue. Statue of renowned Pogradec native poet.
  • Mitrush Kuteli Statue. Statue of renowned Pogradec native poet.

Further afield[edit]

Pogradec in Panorama
  • 2 Lakeside resorts (N 8 km, near Hudenisht village). Visit the numerous lakeside resorts along the way (near Hudenisht) by taking a drink and enjoying the calm atmosphere and breath taking views, especially in winter.
  • 3 Selca village (NW 29 km). Visit the Lukova Lakes and monumental tombs of Selca village
  • 4 Tushemisht resort village (E 7 km). Visit the picturesque resort village of Tushemisht next to Drilon and swim in the crystal clear water of Tushemisht's sandy beach.
  • 5 Lin village (Лин) (N 21 km). This village sits above Lake Ohrid and is home to early Christian archaeology. The site was once an important settlement and fortress of the ancient Illyrian tribes that lived throughout the Lake Ohrid region. The site is mostly unexcavated, however it is noted for its beautiful mosaics. The exposed sections of ancient walls give the visitor a glimpse of the hidden treasures that lie beneath the ground. There are views of the lake and surrounding mountains from the hill above Lin. The village has a Macedonian minority that was once larger in the past. Its main church was built in the 19th century; its iconostasis was done by Debar artist Todor Petkov. Lin, Korçë on Wikipedia
  • Visiting Drilon, 4 km from Pogradec, is always a great pleasure.
  • Enjoy the peculiar setting of a full moon being reflected on the lake while exploring the milky way and countless stars in the sky at night. In the summer you could encounter by a chance a lightning bug!
  • 6 Shebenik-Jabllanice National Park (Parku Kombetar Shebenik-Jabllanicë) (N ~50 km), +355 69 392 1501. , the edge of which is 45 minutes away is full of mountains, forests and wildlife to explore.

Do[edit]

Pogradec Square
  • 1 Pogradec Beach, continue with "1 Maji" promenade (in center of town). It is very popular and has a lot of sand. In the town there are several beaches, private and public with sand and little rocks. Water is very clean.
  • Take a walk around the Toplec district which is often compared to Tuscany.
  • Take a boat ride at the springs of Drilon, the origin of the mighty Drin river which flow into the lake here.
  • Take a coffee with your jacket in the morning and go to the beach with your bathing suit in the afternoon!
  • Fishermen coming at shore with their overnight catches
  • Do canoeing and a boat trip in the lake
  • You can walk across the lakeside in the promenade Pogradec Shetitore "1 Maji", enjoying the freshness of trees and a wonderful view. Here is a 5 km boulevard bordering the lake, where you can find bars with live music, hotels, motels, cafes, and restaurants according to traditional and modern tastes.
  • Pogradec cinema (in the centre). Pogradec has a modern cinema where new movies are played there every day.

Events[edit]

Mosque of Pogradec
  • Balkan Film and Food Festival
  • Lake Day, an annual festival showcasing the best in traditional crafts, this event gathers the three surrounding towns of Pogradec, Struga, and Ohrid.
  • Women's Artisan Exhibition is an annual craft and delicacies exhibition of souvenirs made from local women.
  • Take part in the annual Wine Fest in December.

Buy[edit]

  • Pogradec market. 08:00-16:00. Buy souvenirs from Pogradec.
  • Hand made works from artisans and paintings by local artists.
  • "ICKA" Handycraft. It has a good tradition in Pogradec and "ICKA" studio it is always open for you. Its works in of wood carving will impress you.
  • TASO Art Gallery. -You can visit Anastas Kostandini studio admiring his paintings and also you can buy his works.
  • LAKO Art Gallery. Visit Skender Lako studio to see his paintings which are for sale.

Eat[edit]

From upleft clockwise: Speca me djathë (pepper casserole), djathë furre me spec djegës (baked cheese with spicy pepper), tavë peshku koran (fish), hasude
  • 1 The Change Bar-Restaurant, Rruga 10 Deshmoret e Pojskes. 07:00 - 23:00.
  • Try baked Korani dish (Ohrid trout, be aware that it is endangered) or baked Belushka or Jekna.
  • Kernacka
  • Restaurant Rosa e Tymosur-Villa Borana, Rruga 10 Deshmoret e Pojskes, Ap 26, +355 69 407 5791. Food with higher quality and menu a bit more sophisticated than the average in town.
  • Camping Arbi Bar-Restaurant, SH64 Lakefront on Ohrid Drilon, +355 69 396 1199. 12:00-00:00.
  • Restaurant Pogradeci, Rruga Deshmoret E Pojskes Hotel Pogradeci, +355 67 377 7777.
  • Taverna Ndona, Shetitore 1maji, +355 69 440 9101.
  • 2 Restaurant Tradita, Rruga Ullaoli.
  • 3 Restaurant Pogradeci 2, Tushemisht, +355 67 5777777. 07:00 to 22:00. Laid-back hotel with dining and lake Ohrid view. From 100 to 1000 lek.
  • 4 Zoica Restaurant (at the entrance of the town). They offer various meat soups and other traditional dishes, delicious and cheap food.

Drink[edit]

Shtëpia e tetë Ollgës.jpg
  • Sip the delicious local wine. A local saying goes that Ohrid trout was born at the lake and dies in the wine.
  • Pubs in Pogradec that are open every night from 20:00-03:00. They offer music and cocktails. You should be part of the fest.
  • 1 Kafene, Rruga Deshmoret E Pojskes, +355 69 433 7797.
  • 2 Cavos, Rruga Deshmoret e Pojkes.
  • 3 Lago Bar, Rruga Deshmoret E Pojskes, +355 69 873 7151.
  • 4 Friends Bar, Rruga Deshmoret e Pojkes.

Sleep[edit]

Pogradec is known for having crisp nights and thus deep sleeps. It is normal to cover yourself with a quilt in the middle of summer. In particularly, afternoons naps are quite refreshing.

  • 1 Enkelana Hotel, Rruga Reshit Çollaku (Center of the town). Check-in: 11:00, check-out: 14:00. 3-star hotel, 60 rooms, 128 beds. They offer the use of a gym. Double/triple/quad €25-35/30/45 (2014).
  • 2 Hotel Perla, Rruga "Deshmoret e Pojskes" and Rruga Vllazerimi cnr., Lagja1 (center of Pogradec), +355 684019494, +355 83226688, fax: +355 682090106, . A 3-star hotel. Facilities bar, restaurant, credit card accepted, air conditioned, garden, room service - 24-hour, suitable for children, laundry service, Multilingual staff, tourist information, housekeeping, TV, meeting room, front desk - 24 hour, banqueting service, private bathroom, parking. 20 rooms of which 5 twins, 8 doubles, 3 triples and 4 suites.
  • Hotel Belveder (in the town). Check-in: 11:00, check-out: 14:00. A two-star hotel. It has a bar and restaurant. Offers single, double, triple rooms and a suite, TV, sanitary facilities, parking
  • Hotel Borana (Bujtina Borana) (Ohrid Lake side). With a traditional architecture it offers services such as a bar, restaurant, guarded parking, comfort and tranquility. 15 beds, 8 rooms, sanitary facilities, breakfast. Two-star hotel.
  • 3 Hotel Kalaja, Rruga Vilave/Shetitorja I Maji, +355 69 2096542, +355 69432799 (Mobile). 2 stars. There are 80 rooms including 8 suites. In restaurant, the fixed menu is €6/halfboard, €10/full board p.p. €10 p.p. (breakfast included ).
  • 4 Hotel 1 Maji (Hoteli 1 Maji), Lulishtja 1 Maji (close to Hotel Kalaja), +355 67 4046000, +355 0 69 2080394 (Mobile).
  • 5 Hotel Siren, Rruga Driloni, Tushemisht (Drilon and Tushemisht villages area, at the beautiful and quieter lakeside, east 4 km from Pogradec, right on the sandy beach), +355 868 20115, +355 69 2136330, . Single no board from €30, double/triple/quad with full board €50/75/100 (2014).
  • 6 Millenium Hotel, Rruga Driloni, Tushemisht (lakeside, 4 km from Pogradec,), +355 868 20111, fax: +355 86 820211, +355 86 820308, . Splendid. All 51 rooms with: bathroom, cable TV, minibar, terrace, air conditioning, Internet, telephone, heating system.
  • 7 Vila Art, Drilon village (at the lakeside, 4 km from Pogradec), +355 68 2253245. Once a summer residence of the former dictator Enver Hoxha.
  • Small lakeside resorts, Vary (near Hudenisht, north-west of Pogradec). One 9f them offers camping facilities for campers.
  • Hymeti's Palace, Bulevardi Europa, +355 67 5000800, .
  • 8 Hotel Pogradeci 1, Rruga Dëshmorët e Pojskës, +355 673777777. Check-out: 11:30. 6,000-10,000 lek.

Connect[edit]

National Park of Drilon

Go next[edit]

  • Driloni National Park, only 5 minutes from Pogradec center with car or 30 minutes walking through the square. There you can see a lot of animals. Also a small lake who takes water from Ohrid Lake.
  • Ohrid and Struga across the lake in North Macedonia have wonderful old towns, many churches, and plenty more.
  • Korca is 45 minutes away by car or public transportation, has charming churches and museums.


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