Church of St John Kaneo, Ohrid, Macedonia

Ohrid Digital Nomad Guide – Living & Working in Macedonia in 2024

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Ohrid is the most popular tourist destination in Macedonia with a small old town over looking the beautiful Lake Ohrid, one of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe.

But sometimes being a tourist destination makes it a perfect spot for digital nomads to stay in Macedonia. After spending considerable time in Ohrid, I’ve found that it has all the ingredients that make a fantastic digital nomad destination.

How to get to Ohrid

Ohrid does have and international airport located close by in Struga although this has limited flights. Just a couple per day at most with the majority of them being Wizz Air flights to Germany, Austria or Switzerland.

If you’re flying into Macedonia, Skopje has a much larger and better connected airport which has much broader reach into Europe, Turkey and North Africa. From there, it is possible to get a private transfer in around 3 hours to Ohrid. Or public buses depart frequently from Skopje city centre to Ohrid and take around 3 hours.

In low season, there is a daily bus to Ohrid from Tirana taking 3.5 hours. In summer, this is at least twice daily and offers buses to other destinations in Albania such as Saranda and Vlora.

How to get around Ohrid

Almost everything in Ohrid is walkable. The town itself is quite small and if you’re staying close to the old town, most of what you would need is within walking distance.

There are some local bus routes that go around the town and to local villages but these probably aren’t of much use to digital nomads. There are also some areas where taxis park up which is beneficial if you are going slightly longer distances e.g. from the town centre to the bus station (a 25 minute walk otherwise) or to the airport (10-15 minute drive).

Bus at station to Skopje, Ohrid, Macedonia
Buses can get you to almost every other city in Macedonia easily

Many people have bicycles in Ohrid and all the major roads have bike lanes. From what I’ve seen drivers are respectful of cyclists as many of the people cycling around town are from the older generation. There are a few places to rent bikes around town and there are cycle tours available as well departing from the main square.

Car rental is available in Ohrid, however as a solo traveller, I found the bus network cheaper and easier to use than hiring a car.

Where to work in Ohrid

Coworking Ohrid is the main coworking space in Ohrid and is located a short walk outside the town away from the lake. It is a small space but is expanding to the have the offices downstairs as well. I worked here for the month and was perfectly happy with the fast internet and comfy office chairs. They also have additional screens and private offices to rent as well.

There is another coworking another 15-20 minute walk away from CoWorking Ohrid however I never went to it.

Coworking , Ohrid, Macedonia
The common area at CoWork Ohrid

Coffee Shops

There are plenty of coffee shops lining the lake front and close to the main town. Most have internet available or data works extremely well if you would like to hotspot.

Sim cards & data

I got an eSim from Airalo (click here for a great deal on eSims) which provided me with enough data for my time in Ohrid and for the few times I did have to hotspot to my laptop.

There are also various shops selling tourist sim card in and around the old town with A1 and Vodafone being the two main suppliers in Macedonia.

Accommodation options in Ohrid for digital nomads

As a tourist destination, there are plenty of accommodation options available in Ohrid for digital nomads with an abundance of hotels and apartments.

I found my accommodation on AirBnB with prices start at €300 for a basic studio apartment for one month. I paid €500 for one month in a brand new one bedroom apartment. There is actually a staggering number of AirBnB options available in the town but be sure to get in quick if you’re looking to book a long stay during peak season as many go to local tourists staying for just a couple of nights.

There are plenty of hotels as well from all prices ranges with hostels starting at €10 per night and spa hotels closer to €100.

If you are really looking to get a good deal for a long stay, there are signs up with phone numbers on a lot of apartment blocks offering apartments to rent.

Where to stay in Ohrid as a digital nomad

Ohrid is a small city that caters to tourists. Therefore any digital nomad that stays in Ohrid would want to be as close to the centre as possible. The old town offers a lot of short stay accommodation and apartments, but I would suggest living just outside of the old town if staying long term.

Anywhere on the lake side of the main P1301 road (Boulevard Turistichka) will mean you are in the centre of the action with plenty of amenities around you and everything is within walking distance. Being so close to the lake is a real treat and walking along it in the mornings and evenings was one of my highlights of staying in Ohrid.

Things to do in Ohrid

The best thing to do in Ohrid is to spend time in the Old Town being a tourist for the day. I was blown away by Samuel’s Fortress high up on the hill that you can see from all over the old town. Close by, you should head to the Church at St John Kaneo at either sunrise or sunset. It is probably the most famous church in the country and an image that adorns all of the tourist information about Ohrid. And for good reason. The view of the church over the lake with mountains in the background is a truly stunning sight.

Other mentions around the old town include walking along the boardwalk to enjoy the lake views and visiting the ancient theatre.

You haven’t been to Ohrid if you haven’t taken a boat tour out onto the lake and these can be done for around €25 and depart throughout the day. Once you get back, wander the Old Bazaar Street to get a feel for the city in Ottoman times.

If you get bored of the city centre, there is hiking to be done in the hills, beaches to relax on and day trips to Bitola or weekends away in Skopje to be discovered.

Statue in main square, Ohrid, Macedonia

Day to day living

I walked along the lake most days, enjoy the views and taking stock of people watching. Along the lake, which is excellent for jogging, lies a couple of outdoor exercise areas to keep fit. There are also a few gyms in town that offer daily member rates starting at 250den.

As far as I know, there aren’t any formal meet up groups, but I also wasn’t actively looking for them. If you’ve found that, or any other clubs you’ve joined in Ohrid, please let me know!

Food & Drinks in Ohrid

One thing that I found let Ohrid down when I stayed was the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables in the supermarkets. There was often limited selection and the ones I did buy weren’t the best quality. However, I would hope that those that stay in summer and autumn months might have better luck finding quality fresh produce that when I was there.

There is an abundance of supermarkets with there seeming to be at least one on every street. Kam, Tamaro, Kipper and Ramstore are popular chains but there are also individual shops available as well. From personal experience, prices are similar, but the Tamaro seem to be slightly bigger and have better options.

Small coffee vending machines can be found everywhere, with the last count of 4 vending machines along the lakeside alone. These are popular with the locals to get their espresso shot in first thing in the morning, the afternoon or evening. Macedonia is one of those places where it is common to have coffee well into the night.

Close to the old town and on the lake side there are an abundance of restaurants offering local Macedonian food, Turkish food and kebabs, Italian cuisine and plenty of other options for dining out in.

 

Costs as a digital nomad in Ohrid

The largest cost of being a digital nomad is always accommodation. Luckily, Ohrid has an abundance of accommodation as mentioned.

As with most things, the longer you stay, the better the deal you get. A studio or 1 bedroom apartment can be found for between €400-800 per month on AirBnB.

10 denar note, money, Ohrid, Macedonia

After living costs, food and drinks are very cheap in Ohrid. An espresso or coffee is €1-2 in many coffee shops. In a restaurant, a meal and a drink can be found for under €10.

If you were to stay in Ohrid, cooking for yourself most nights, avoiding too much alcohol and only doing a few tours, it would be very easy to live for under €1000 per month. If you were to share an apartment and only rent a room and go for the ultra budget option, I would guess it is possible to live closer to €600 per month.

On the other side of things, if you stay in Ohrid to have fun, get a very nice apartment, join a gym, go out to restaurants and bars and travel around the country on your weekends, I would still struggle to spend much more than €1500-2000 per month.

Safety in Ohrid

I never once felt unsafe whilst staying in Ohrid. I walked the streets at night from the old town back to where I was staying, a 30 minute walk, and felt perfectly fine. There were kids playing in the streets at all hours of the day. The Macedonian people, like others in the region, are quite reserved and aren’t likely to start a conversation with you out of the blue, and that extends to walking around as well.

I obviously can’t comment on solo female travellers in Ohrid, but I haven’t heard any reports of anything bad happening to digital nomads staying in Ohrid.

Samuel's Fort, Ohrid, Macedonia

Pros and Cons of being a digital nomad in Ohrid

Pros of Ohrid

  • Not in the EU or Schengen so perfect place to ride out those days
  • Beautiful small town with everything you need
  • Variety of accommodation options
  • Coworking and other places to work if needed
  • Fascinating mix of cultures in the old town

Cons of Ohrid

  • Gets very busy in peak season
  • Doesn’t have a large digital nomad community yet

FAQs

What is the currency of North Macedonia?

North Macedonia uses the denar, often shortened to den or in Cyrillic, ден. The official code is MKD.

However, a lot of prices are quoted in euros from small souvenirs in the old town, to property and rental rates. Many touristy places will accept euros with standard exchange rates.

Whats’s the internet like in Ohrid?

The internet worked perfectly everywhere I logged on in Ohrid. My AirBnB had speeds of 30mbps up and down and the coworking was even faster at 100mbps.

In cafes, the internet was fine for browsing and I always had 4G data on my phone everywhere I went.

What electrical plug do I need?

The electricity is the same as everywhere else in Europe as a two round pronged plug.

What are the visa requirements for Ohrid?

Most western nations, including UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and all EU members, can enter for 90 days without a visa. When I arrived, I didn’t even get a stamp in my passport. Unfortunately, there isn’t a digital nomad visa in Macedonia yet.

Is there Uber in Ohrid?

There is no Uber or Uber Eats in Macedonia. The app revolution hasn’t hit Macedonia yet so you will have to head out and find a taxi on the street or walk to a restaurant to get some food.

Coffee at Fort cafe, Ohrid, Macedonia

Summing Up Being a Digital Nomad in Ohrid

I loved my time in Ohrid and it is a place that is high on my list to return to. It is an affordable destination with great weather, good infrastructure and a great place to work. As a tourist heavy place, there is plenty to do on your down time when you aren’t working at one of Ohrid’s coworking spaces or great coffee shops.

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