Lake Ohrid

Keeping one sleepy eye on Lake Ohrid from its mountain perch, Vevčani dates to the 9th century and is a quiet rural settlement beloved by locals for its traditional restaurants and natural springs. The old brick streets flaunt distinctive 19th-century rural architecture and the village is watched over by the Church of St Nicholas. Vevčani lies 14km north of Struga, at the northerly edge of the lake. Buses from Struga run hourly (50MKD); a taxi should cost around 400MKD.

Start at the bottom of the village and stroll upwards through the narrow lanes to see Vevčani’s higgledy-piggledy two-storey stone houses, stabilised by a bondruk system of wooden frames and finished off with stooped wooden porches. In the upper part of the village, the Vevčani Springs are a delightful, leafy retreat for strolling, picnicking and cooling off in the company of a couple of small shrines and gushing rivers. At the mouth of the spring, it's possible to see the water bubbling irrepressibly up from beneath the moss-covered rocks.

Once you've visited the springs, take the steep track just outside the site entrance to Kutmičevica restaurant for inventive traditional cuisine such as nettle pie, jufki (homemade pasta with cheese) and lukanci (homemade paprika-laced pork sausage). Its creaking wood-beamed dining room has spectacular views over the mountain – you can even stay here if you wish to spend the night in the village.

Visit in January and you will stumble upon one of the largest pagan festivals in the Balkans, the Vevčani Carnival, which is celebrated annually with elaborate costumed revelry and lots of noise.

A network of signposted mountain walking trails, set up by Balkan Hiking Adventure ( to develop mountain tourism in the border areas between North Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania, also passes through Vevčani. Check online for details.

If driving, pay close attention to signposting from Struga, because it can be easy to miss; you should enter the settlement through a large stone gate in the lower village.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Lake Ohrid attractions

1. Vevčani Springs

0.39 MILES

The small mountain village of Vevčani, 14km north of Struga on Lake Ohrid, is celebrated for these natural springs, which writhe and wriggle through leafy…

2. Car Samoil's Fortress

13.55 MILES

The massive, turreted walls of Ohrid's 10th-century castle indicate the power of the medieval Bulgarian state. The ramparts offer fantastic views over the…

3. Church of Sveti Jovan at Kaneo

13.66 MILES

This stunning 13th-century church is set on a cliff over the lake, about a 15-minute walk west of Ohrid's port area, and is possibly North Macedonia's…

4. Plaošnik

13.67 MILES

Saluting the lake from Ohrid's hilltop, Plaošnik is home to the multidomed medieval Church of Sveti Kliment i Pantelejmon, the foundations of a 5th…

5. Classical Amphitheatre

13.68 MILES

Ohrid's impressive amphitheatre was built in the Hellenistic period (around 200 BC); the Romans later removed 10 rows to accommodate gladiators and used…

6. Gorna Porta

13.72 MILES

Ohrid's Upper Gate marks the entrance to the fortified old town. If you enter Ohrid by car, you may well drive through its stooped stone archway.

7. Church of Sveta Bogorodica Perivlepta

13.74 MILES

Just inside the Gorna Porta, this 13th-century Byzantine church, whose name translates as 'Our Lady the Most Glorious', has vivid biblical frescoes (newly…

8. Icon Gallery

13.75 MILES

This small museum contains an impressive collection of Macedonian religious icons, from the 13th to the 18th century. It's right by the Church of Sveta…