Everything you need to know about visiting St Naum Monastery from Ohrrid. Is It worth it? How to get there, what to do and much more!
Any travel guide to Ohrid will tell you that one of Ohrid’s top attractions is a visit to the St Naum Monastery. Every place in the world has that one “best thing to do” or the best day trip!
Although I often stray away from the typical tourist attractions, visiting St Naum Monastery was one of the best “touristy” decisions I’ve ever made.
I mean, I know I sound overly excited, but I have to let you in on the secret.
Ohrid is one of my favourite places in the world and St. Naum Monastery is one of the best things to do in Ohrid!
So is it worth visiting St Naum Monastery?
Visitng St Naum Monastery is not only worth it – it is a must-do!
Besides visiting the mysterious and beautiful monastery of St Naum, you can also go hiking, take a boat ride to the springs, eat at a floating restaurant and most importantly swim at probably the best beach around Lake Ohrid.
So if you’re ready and convinced, here’s everything you need to know about visiting St Naum Monastery from Ohrrid.
Table of Contents
What is St Naum Monastery
The monastery of St Naum is located on the southern shore of Lake Ohrid, near the town of Ohrid and only 2 kilometres from the border with Albania. The monastery is named after Saint Naum of Ohrid, a mediaeval Bulgarian saint and disciple of Saints Cyril and Methodius. It was founded in the 10th century by St Naum himself and is best known for its beautiful, serene location.
Saint Naum of Ohrid, a mediaeval Bulgarian saint, scholar and missionary, was born around 830 AD and played a crucial role in the spread of Christianity and the development of Slavic literature in the early Middle Ages.
Things to do around St Naum Monastery
Visiting St Naum Monastery is much more than just a Monastery complex itself.
I was totally oblivious and thought I would just see a beautiful Byzantine building set in a beautiful location! And that’s it!
I was so surprised when I learnt that the whole surrounding area is abundant in many incredible things to do and nature to explore!
Here are all the great things you can do around St Naum Monastery:
Explore the complex of St Naum Monastery
Of course, this is a must! The St Naum Monastery is one of the biggest attractions in the whole of North Macedonia.
It is an Eastern Orthodox monastery and is worth exploring both on the inside and the outside. Its location offers an incredible view over Lake Ohrid.
The interior of the church is known for its characteristic wood carvings from the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as the frescoes on the walls and some of the best icons in Macedonia. The icons of St Naum are among the best religious paintings in the Balkans.
The monastery complex includes a church, a chapel and the tomb of St Naum. There is also a restaurant, a hotel and a beautiful garden.
The garden is a true attraction in itself, with fountains, lush greenery and colourful peacocks roaming freely. There is a fountain near the main building where you can throw a coin and make a wish.
Relax at the Naum's Springs and Take a Boat Ride
When you step off the boat you’ll soon notice St Naum Springs! It looks like a separate lake with many watercourses, but in reality they are springs that feed Lake Ohrid.
You can just walk around this area, take photos, rest or pop into one of the restaurants, but I recommend a boat tour!
The whole area stretches for several kilometres and is simply referred to as “the springs”.” The boat tour takes about 30 minutes and takes you to the vast pockets of water that shimmer in all colours as the surrounding vegetation blooms. It is one of the most surreal landscapes in the Ohrid region and in all of Macedonia.
Chill on the Beach
Here you will find my favourite beach on Lake Ohrid. I was truly shocked!
I took this trip to visit the monastery and surrounding nature but did not expect such an awesome beach!
It was not very busy at all, the pebbles were so fine that felt more like sand and the water was gloriously turquoise and perfect to swim in!
Around the beach, you will find a couple of simple beach bars, kayak and paddle rentals as well as some sun loungers.
Some travellers reported those were paid for, yet at the time when I arrived (September 2023), I didn’t have to pay a penny! But I chose the chair further away from the bar. So take it as a hint!
Take a Beautiful Mini Hike and Find more Secret Churches!
The area surrounding St. Naum Monastery is stunning! Allow some time for a short hike to discover more churches, beautiful forests and more springs!
The hike takes between 30 minutes and an hour, depending on how many stops you want to take!
The hike starts behind the Church of St. Petka and is very easy to follow!
Stop at my favourite Church of Holy Mother of God, and the Church of St. Athanasius. The trail itself is very picturesque and peaceful!
Enjoy Macedonia Meal on the water (or almost)
There are a few pretty good restaurants around St. Naum that are quite reasonably priced considering the touristy location.
The restaurant with the best location is Ostrovo. A bit touristy, but the setting is really picturesque and the food is pretty decent.
But if you want to make it a budget trip you can definitely pick up a yummy burek or pastrie in Ohrid and have a picnic on the beach!
How to get to St Naum Monastery from Ohrid
If you are in Ohrid between April and September, the best way to get to St. Naum from Ohrid is by boat!
It’s incredible value for money! The ticket costs just €10 return and includes a stop at the Bay of Bones.
I really didn’t think much of it before my trip and seriously considered taking the local bus instead.
If you have been here before, you may have noticed that I prefer to travel by public transport and am not a big fan of organised excursions. Unless they are really good!
But since the ticket was very affordable and included a stop at the Bay of Bones, I decided to hop on a boat and what an excellent decision this was!
The one way journey takes about 90 minutes and the views are just incredible! Lake Ohrid really is a stunning lake and I was mesmerised throughout the whole trip. Depending on which boat you take, you will either visit a Bay of Bones either on the way there or on the way back.
Although you don’t get any additional perks like drinks or lunch, the journey itself is enough of a perk to pay for the ticket! You will not regret it!
Also, you will have plenty of time to spend at St Naum Monastery. I had enough time to visit the Monastery, do a little loop hike, swim in the sea and have a beer at the beach bar. A friend I took this trip with, managed to get a full meal at the restaurant on top of all those activities.
The times of boat departure vary depending on the time of the year but almost always there is one either at 9:30 or 10 am. You will return around 4 pm.
By Local Bus
If you dont fancy the boat ride or you are visiting outside of the tourist season you can get to St Naum Monastery by local bus.
Those are the local minivans, so-called marshrutkas, departing from this spot in Ohrid. One way ticket costs around 110DEN. The bus will drop you right in front of St Naum Park. It takes around 45 minutes to get there.
There is no such thing as an official timetable for local buses in Ohrid. There was a poster with departure times at the actual bus stop but allow some wiggle way here.
I last checked in December 2023 and the busses were going at 8:30, 11:30, 15:30 and 18:30. Double check the return time with the driver.
Now, hear me out! I am not talking about a regural taxi here!
Few taxi drivers will take you to St Naum Monastery, or any other place on the way for the price (or just a little bit higher) than a bus. But they will be picking up other passengers on the way!
I had the pleasure of this experience after I hiked in Galicica National Park and ended up at the Bay of Bones. I was just standing there waiting for the bus and the taxi pulled over and the driver said he would take me for the price of the bus. I was assured by some bystanders that this was safe and normal and so I went. It was fun!
Be sure to check the price with the driver before the journey! As everywhere else, some taxi drivers happily take advantage of oblivious tourists!
Is Visitng St Naum Monaster a Whole Day Trip?
St Naum Monastery is a half-day trip from Ohrid if you take a boat.
The boat leaves between 9 and 10 am and returns between 4 and 5 pm leaving you plenty of time to enjoy the afternoon and evening in Ohrid.
If you decide to go by taxi or bus you can make it as short or as long of a trip as you wish!
I hope I managed to convince you that visiting St Naum Monastery is a must and that you found this guide useful!
As always, don’t hesitate to ask any questions in the comments below! I always answer.
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I hope to see you there!
Until then, happy travels!
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