The 31 Places to Go in 2010 . . .
One of the deepest lakes on the planet, with a dazzling Unesco World Heritage site of ancient dwellings rising high above its shores, Lake Ohrid in Macedonia is a local vacation star poised for greater international acclaim.
In the tiered, terra-cotta-roofed city of Ohrid, 18 miles from the Albanian border, a lakefront settlement dating back to Neolithic times, Macedonians boast that on their side of the lake is a church, monastery or mosque for every day of the year, each full of resplendent frescoes, mosaics and icons. Notable attractions include the recently renovated church of St. Clement and St. Panteleimon at Plaosnik, an epic Byzantine masterpiece, and the 13th-century St. John of Kaneo, a limestone and brick monastery that juts out over transparent blue waters.
An estimated $50 million renovation of the Ohrid Airport is planned for 2010, with more international flights expected by summer, and up to six new luxury hotels are in the works, including a $33 million property with construction scheduled to begin in March. Tourist attractions on Ohrid’s beaches were upgraded last year with swank bars and dining spots complimented by bamboo and leather couchettes, with the hot spot Cuba Libre (www.cubalibreohrid.com) leading the way.
Meanwhile, new government-financed archaeological digs around the lake regularly unearth treasures, like the 17 fifth-century tombs discovered last July. The find follows the 2008 opening of the Museum on Water, a re-created Bronze Age village built on stilts incorporating Ohrid artifacts. — Dinah Spritzer