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Macedonia - Off the beaten track

Church of Sveti Naum (St Naum) in Ohrid


Bitola, the southernmost city of former Yugoslavia and second largest in Macedonia, sits on a 660m (2165ft) plateau between mountains just barely north of the Greek border. The old bazaar area is colourful, but the facilities at Bitola are poor. Hotels are overpriced and the city is useless as a transit point to or from Greece, as there's no bus or train to the border. Bus services to Ohrid and Skopje, on the other hand, are good.

Don't miss the Ruins of Heraclea. Founded in the 4th century BC by Philip II of Macedonia, Heraclea was conquered by the Romans two centuries later and became an important stage on the Via Egnatia. From the 4th to 6th centuries AD it was an episcopal seat. Excavations continue, but the Roman baths, portico and theatre can now be seen.


This small town at the northern end of Lake Ohrid is divided by the Crni Drim River, which drains the lake into the Adriatic near Shkodra, Albania. On Saturday, there's a large market here, and each year at the end of August, poets converge for an international poetry festival.

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