Disclaimer: These pages are not actively maintained, and some of the practical information on the site is out of date. I am working on a new version of the site that will focus more on my photos and memories of travel in Southeast Europe, and less on practical details that too easily become obsolete. In the meantime, please treat the information here with caution.
Republic of Macedonia :: Frequently Asked Questions
Some general questions about the Balkans are answered in the Overview section.
How do I get from Skopje to Ohrid?
There are at least a dozen buses daily from Skopje to Ohrid. Almost all of them follow a route via Kičevo. The journey time is at least three hours, perhaps a bit longer if the bus makes additional stops or if there is heavy traffic around Skopje. The road is of good quality and passes through some fine mountain scenery between Gostivar and Ohrid. A single ticket typically costs 400-500MKD (7-8 euro). A few buses from Skopje go via Bitola - try to avoid these unless you actually want to see Bitola, as they take much longer (over 5 hours) and the route is less scenic. If you are aiming for Struga rather than Ohrid town there are quite a few direct buses from Skopje to Struga. There are no trains to Ohrid - the nearest stop is Kičevo, which is served by very infrequent trains from Skopje.
How do I get from Thessaloniki (or Florina) to Ohrid (or Bitola) by public transport?
Currently the only scheduled public transport between Greece and Macedonia consists of a single daily train between Thessaloniki and Skopje (4.5 hours in theory, often longer in practice, single ticket 11 euro), and a handful of buses per week on the same route. These cross the border at Gevgelija in southeast Macedonia, which is not very convenient for travellers heading from Greece to Ohrid or Bitola in southwest Macedonia. One possibility would be to attempt to find a bus from Gevgelija that crosses southern Macedonia via Prilep. However these are likely to be few and far between, and it will be very difficult to get any advance information about schedules. A simpler approach is to get the train all the way to Skopje and get a bus from there to Ohrid (see above).
If you don't like the idea of such a long diversion, there is a much more direct route. There are reasonably frequent buses (2.5-3 hours, 13 euro) and a few trains from Thessaloniki to Florina, and buses from Bitola to other places in Macedonia including Ohrid (1.5 hours). The only tricky bit is the stretch between Florina and Bitola, where you will need to take a taxi (either a single taxi all the way, or with a change at the border at Niki). The price probably depends on your haggling skills, but several travellers have reported paying around 20 or 25 euro for the Florina-Bitola run. Another correspondent recently reported paying 25 euro for a taxi to the border (bargained down from an opening offer of 50 euro!) plus 7 euro for the leg from the border to Bitola. If your destination is Ohrid rather than Bitola it may not cost much extra to take a taxi all the way (rather than changing to a bus in Bitola).