3. From Tirana: North Macedonia, Lake Ohrid and Saint Naum Tour
Discover Europe's second oldest lake that borders the southwestern part of North Macedonia and eastern Albania. Drive along Lake Ohrid which inspired NASA in 2010 to name Titan's lakes after it, and its unforgettable serenity no matter what season you book your tour! One of Balkan's best kept secrets maintains its picturesque identity thanks to being declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979, with its Albanian side also being designated world heritage status in 2019. We will depart from your Tirana hotel early in the morning with an air-conditioned vehicle, tracing the same itinerary as the Romans did, when they traveled towards the Constandinopole. We will have a quick coffee break by the Shkumbin River (15 minutes), prior to reaching the Albanian-North Macedonia border - two hours after leaving the capital of Tirana. In our full-day tour we will first visit the Ohrid city once known as "Jerusalem of the Balkans" for having 365 churches, one for each day of the year. Tourism is predominant in this pristine old town which is one of only 28 sites worldwide that is part of UNESCO's World Heritage as both a Cultural and Natural site. The first mention of Ohrid was 2,400 years before the new era, when the town was called Lychnidos, probably meaning "city of light" or literally "a precious stone that emits light". We will walk were Via Egnatia road once passed - the most significant Roman traffic route of the Balkans, and visit the Ancient Macedonian Theatre of Ohrid, the Church of Saint John the Theologian, and the Byzantine Church of Holy Mary Perybleptos build in 1295 and renown for its elaborate wall murals. There will also be a chance to find among the well preserved cable stones windy roads, original freshwater pearls jewelry that are locally made - a perfect gift for your loved ones. In those three hours, there will be pleanty of time to explore the Old Town and take in its breathtaking panoramas. You will also have the chance to take fantastic photos and enjoy local food and free time, prior to heading to the quiet and magnificent Saint Naum Monastery. We can stop briefly at the Bay of Bones Museum - a reconstructed village of stilt houses that displays Bronze & Iron Age items recovered from Lake Ohrid. You can take photos, and if you wish to visit it - there will be 30 minutes time, but tickets are not included. Then we will have one hour time to enjoy the unspoiled beauty of The Monastery of Saint Naum, an Eastern Orthodox monastery named after the medieval Bulgarian writer and enlightener Saint Naum, who founded it in 905. St. Naum of Ohrid who is buried in the church was one of the Seven Apostles of the First Bulgarian Empire, and is associated with the creation of the Cyrillic script. Following the visit to this iconic destination that still operates as a school, we will head back to the Albanian border in late afternoon, and then you will be dropped off in the Tirana hotel that you were picked up from.