Just a few miles outside Ohrid, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Macedonia, is the Monastery of Saint Naum. The monastery overlooks the pristine Lake Ohrid, that borders with northwestern Macedonia and eastern Albania. One can drive around the lake in under thirty minutes or take a day cruise aboard a ferry to visit the monastery.

st naum

The primary reason to visit this place is because of its historic legacy. Originally built in the 10th century as a Byzantine Church, it was renovated and rebuilt up until the 17 century. Saint Naum was famous for his work with other missionaries in translating the Bible into Old Church Slavonic in 800s. They also developed the original alphabet (which later developed into currently used, Cyrillic). Saint Naum was known to cure patients of mental illness. It is believed that the spirit of medieval Saint Naum who founded it still resides in his grave. If you listen carefully, you can even hear his heartbeat.

When you arrive at the monastery, you will pass by a beautiful lagoon with cafes and restaurants around it. Go for a romantic boat ride which is magical with the rising mist specially if it has recently rained, watch hundreds of eels swimming right below you, or sip a Nestle (aka cold coffee) while soaking in the scenery.

st naum lagoon

A short walk into the main complex, and you will see the main square where the monks lived, St Naum’s grave inside an ancient church, a little shop where the monks sell trinkets and peacocks roaming free. Original frescoes still remain intact inside the Orthodox church.

On the other side of the monastery is a beach area where visitors can go for a swim in the crystal clear waters of Lake Ohrid with a backdrop of Galichica mountains. The lake is noted as the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Macedonia.

st naum view

There is even a hotel next to the monastery where guests can stay overnight. Apparently, the hotel at Sveti Naum Monastery does not have a website and you need to book your stay through a local agent in advance.