Nestled in the western part of Macedonia, Struga is a charming city with a rich cultural and historical past, warm hospitality, excellent beaches, and captivating places for relaxation and entertainment.
Struga is not only a popular tourist spot, but also a place where poetry and art flourish, as it hosts the annual Struga Poetry Evenings, one of the oldest and most prestigious poetry festivals in the world.
Despite challenges faced by some destinations during the summer season, Struga seems to have successfully attracted a large number of domestic and foreign tourists.
This blog post explores the reasons behind Struga’s resurgence and highlights the unique attractions and experiences that make it an appealing vacation spot.
How to get to Struga
Struga is about 14 km away from Ohrid, the largest city on Lake Ohrid and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You can easily reach Struga by bus, taxi or car from Ohrid, which has an international airport that connects it with several European cities.
Alternatively, you can fly to Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, and take a bus to Struga, which takes about 3 hours and costs around 16 euros return ticket.
From Skopje, you can also rent a car and drive to Struga via the scenic M4 highway that passes through the mountains and along the lake.
Where to stay in Struga
Struga offers a variety of accommodation options for different budgets and preferences.
You can choose from hotels, guesthouses, apartments or campsites that are located near the lake or in the town center.
Some of the most popular hotels in Struga are Hotel Drim, Hotel Beograd, Hotel Montenegro Hotel Makpetrol and Hotel Izgrev.
If you prefer a more authentic and cozy atmosphere, you can stay at one of the many guesthouses or apartments that are run by local families.
For example, Guest House Risteski, Villa Eros Apartments and Villa Kalina are some of the highly rated places.
If you are into camping and nature, you can pitch your tent at Camping Rino, Sunrise camping or Camping Livadista, which are located on the lake shore and offer basic facilities and stunning views.
Location and Climate: Serenity on the Shores of Lake Ohrid
Situated on the western shores of Lake Ohrid, Struga boasts a stunning location that combines natural beauty with a rich cultural heritage.
Lake Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the star attraction of Struga. Known for its crystal-clear waters and serene ambiance, the lake forms a breathtaking backdrop for the city.
In terms of climate, Struga experiences a Mediterranean climate, characterized by mild winters and warm summers.
The best time to visit Struga is during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) months when the weather is pleasant, and the tourist crowds are relatively smaller. During these seasons, you can enjoy comfortable temperatures, vibrant colors, and a peaceful atmosphere.
Embarking on the “Wedding Journey”
The eel that lives in Ohrid Lake is in the critically endangered species with a protection status. This unusual type of fish has a very interesting reproduction process that takes longer path, even to the Sargasso Sea.
One of Struga’s iconic symbols, which represents one of the greatest natural treasures of Lake Ohrid, is the eel. Starting from Struga and following the flow of the Black Drim River, these trout embark on their “wedding journey” to the Sargasso Sea in Atlantic Ocean, where they spawn.
Struga is known for its long-standing tradition of inter-ethnic coexistence between Albanians and Macedonians. While the new territorial division has caused some dissipation among the local population, overall inter-ethnic tolerance remains strong.
Families with deep-rooted connections spanning centuries exemplify the harmonious living between different ethnic communities.
Activities to do in Struga
Struga offers many activities that cater to different interests and passions. Whether you’re a nature lover, history enthusiast, or literary connoisseur, there’s something for everyone. Here are some activities to consider:
Exploring Lake Ohrid
Rent a boat or join a guided tour to cruise the tranquil waters of Lake Ohrid. Marvel at the pristine beauty of the lake, swim in its refreshing waters, or simply relax on the sandy beaches.
Strolling Along the Quaint Streets
Take a leisurely walk along Struga’s promenade, known as Kej Marsal Tito. Admire the charming architecture, browse through local shops, and enjoy the panoramic views of the lake.
Visiting the Poetry Bridge
The iconic Poetry Bridge is a must-see attraction in Struga. Take a stroll across this picturesque bridge that spans the Black Drim River, symbolizing the union of art and nature.
Attending the Struga Poetry Evenings
If your visit coincides with August, don’t miss the renowned Struga Poetry Evenings. This internationally acclaimed festival celebrates poetry and attracts prominent poets from around the world.
Must-Visit Attractions in Struga
Struga is not only a town of poetry but also a town of history. You will find many churches, monasteries and archaeological sites that testify to the rich and diverse past of the region.
Here are some of the places you should see in Struga
The church of Saint George
This is the oldest church in Struga and one of the most important religious monuments in North Macedonia. It was built in the 14th century on top of an older church that was founded by Samuel of Bulgaria, the ruler who made Ohrid his capital.
The church has a beautiful fresco painting that depicts scenes from the life of Saint George and other saints.
The monastery of Kalishta
This is a complex of four rock churches that are located on the lake shore, about 4 km away from Struga.
The churches date back to the 13th and 14th centuries and have impressive frescoes that depict biblical stories and saints. The monastery is also a place of pilgrimage for many believers who come to pray and light candles.
The church of Saint Mary in Vranishta
This is another rock church that is located in the nearby village of Vranishta. It was built in the 11th century and is believed to be the place where Samuel of Bulgaria was crowned as tsar.
The church has a unique architecture and a remarkable fresco painting that shows Samuel and his family.
If you happen to be in Struga in January, don’t miss the colorful Vevchani Carnival. This lively event showcases traditional masks, folk dances, and vibrant parades, creating a festive atmosphere.
Traditionally, the participants avoid modern elements and masks, the reason why this carnival is different from any other carnival in the world. In this way, the Orthodox New Year is celebrated, and the old one is sent away.
Venture a short distance from Struga to the village of Vevchani, known for its natural springs. Explore the charming village and witness the beautiful cascades of water flowing from the springs.
The locality Vevcani Springs is a protected area and proclaimed to be a nature’s monument in 2012. The Springs are enlightened and practical for long walks in daylight and at night.
In case you wine and dine in some of the local restaurants and try the delicious cheese pie and pork rib under sach, you will never wish to leave this place.
Villages Radozda and Kalishta
Visit the quaint village of Radozda, located on the shores of Lake Ohrid. Wander through its narrow streets, visit the Church of St. Archangel Michael, and savor delicious local fish dishes at lakeside restaurants.
As Radožda is located near Lake Ohrid, fresh fish from the lake is a local delicacy. Trout, carp, and other fish varieties are caught and prepared in various ways, including grilling, baking, or frying. Enjoying a fresh fish meal by the lake is a must-try experience when visiting Radožda.
The villages Radozda and Kalishta are ideal for all those who are looking for a rural tourism, a bit of a scout tourism, a mixture with nature, yet treasuring spirituality.
The monastery Kalishta is in the same-called village as well as other 15 cave churches, among which the most famous is St. Bogorodica, where there are eremitic monks’ cells and one of the rarest icons of the Holy Mother and Jesus in Europe (there are only 450) painted in black colour. This icon is considered to be healing.
Popularity and Cultural Significance: The Poetry Capital
Struga’s popularity as the city of poetry stems from its long-standing cultural significance.
The Struga Poetry Evenings, established in 1962, have played a vital role in promoting poetry and bringing together poets, writers, and literary enthusiasts from around the globe.
This festival has become a cultural landmark, attracting renowned poets who share their works and engage in thought-provoking discussions.
This international poetry festival is dedicated to the Miladinov Brothers, two of the greatest Macedonian writers. In their honor, the “Struga Poetry Evenings” commence each year with a reading of the poem “T’ga za jug” (Longing for the South) by Konstantin Miladinov.
They had left an outstanding educational and cultural sign on the overall Macedonian heritage and obliged this city for eternity to glorify their deeds and be proud of them. Due to that, on the street named after them, you will find their old, city house where they used to live and work.
That is a kind of a museum that you really have to visit once you are there.
A true culinary delight awaits you in the restaurants along the banks of the Black Drim River, as well as in Radozda and Kalishta. Struga’s specialties, friendly hosts, and beautiful surroundings make the experience truly unforgettable.
After a delightful stroll, don’t forget to pick up a handmade souvenir as a memory of Struga, the city of two waters.
Nightlife and Entertainment: Where Poetry Meets Celebration
When it comes to nightlife and entertainment, Struga offers a variety of venues where visitors can unwind and have a memorable evening.
Along the promenade and in the city center, you’ll find cozy cafes, lively bars, and restaurants serving delicious local cuisine.
Enjoy a leisurely dinner by the lake, sip a refreshing drink, or indulge in a traditional Macedonian feast accompanied by live music.
For those seeking a vibrant party scene, the lakeside clubs and bars in Struga come alive after sunset. Dance the night away to a mix of local and international beats, socialize with locals and fellow travelers, and immerse yourself in the energetic atmosphere.
Struga is sung in the popular folk song which says that “There is no other place like Struga”.
This sentence kept being transferred from one to another and nowadays it holds a status as unofficial slogan of the city.
Struga, the city of poetry, invites you to explore its natural splendor, immerse yourself in its rich cultural heritage, and embrace the magic of artistic expression. From breathtaking landscapes to literary landmarks and vibrant festivals, this destination captures the hearts of visitors.
Struga is a town that will charm you with its natural beauty, cultural diversity and historical heritage.
It is a place where you can experience poetry in its many forms and meanings, as well as enjoy its relaxing beaches, lively nightlife and delicious cuisine. Struga is a town that deserves your attention and your visit.
There is NO OTHER PLACE like STRUGA!
Како Струга нема друга!