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There are a few different ways to get from Sofia to Lake Ohrid.

I just made the trip between the capital city of Bulgaria and the lakeside town in Macedonia, and figuring out the logistics was a bit tough. Because of that, I’m going to lay out your options here so you can get from Sofia to Lake Ohrid without any extra hassle ūüôā

How to Get From Sofia to Lake Ohrid by Direct Bus

There is only one direct bus line from Sofia to Lake Ohrid and it’s at just about the most inconvenient time you could imagine. The direct bus from Sofia to Lake Ohrid runs every other day at 7 pm. It takes 9 hours and arrives in Lake Ohrid at 4 am… not ideal. The cost is 48 lev / 29 usd per person.

The company it’s run through is called Matpu and their office is in the International Bus Station. Instead of going to the Central Bus Station in Sofia, you have to buy tickets at the international booths, which are outside on the left side of the Central Bus Station. Walk up to them and the Matpu office is on the left in the very first set of offices… don’t continue into the maze in front of you or you will be lost forever.

Here you can buy your direct bus ticket a day or two ahead of time (which I always do ’cause I’m risk-averse when it comes to my travel plans and I like to have everything settled). Then, just show up 10 to 15 minutes early and hop on the 7 pm direct bus to Lake Ohrid right in front of the office.

the freshwater springs in Lake Ohrid, Macedonia

Riding a boat through the freshwater springs in Lake Ohrid

How to Get From Sofia to Lake Ohrid Through Skopje

If the direct bus from Sofia to Lake Ohrid isn’t running the night you want to go, don’t worry. There are a lot more busses running from Sofia to Lake Ohrid through Skopje.

Once again, you can use Matpu. We opted for this route and it wasn’t too bad. I mean, our bus did break down and we were stuck on the side of the road for 4 hours but besides that…

Their busses to Skopje run every day and leave Sofia at 9:30 am, 4 pm, and 7 pm (see the timetable here).The trip is about 5 hours and there is a one-hour time change between Sofia and Skopje. If these departures don’t work for you, I’m about 99% certain there are other bus companies that run from Sofia to Skopje daily as well. Your best bet is to go to the International Bus Station and ask around the offices to find one that you like. Then, once you arrive in Skopje, it’s easy to connect to Ohrid.

Walk inside the Skopje Bus Station and there will be an info booth in front of you in the line of offices. The booth that sells tickets to Lake Ohrid is directly on the right of the info booth. Tickets from Skopje to Lake Ohrid cost 520 denars / 10 usd and the busses run often (see the timetable here). We only had to wait 30 minutes for the next one out and the trip to Lake Ohrid takes a little over 3 hours.

Old Town in Lake Ohrid, Macedonia

Lake Ohrid from our hotel balcony

How to Get From Sofia to Lake Ohrid

The two different options to get from Sofia to Lake Ohrid are by a direct overnight bus or by going through Skopje. Whichever you choose depends completely on your schedule.

I dislike traveling overnight so we took the route through Skopje, which would have been totally fine besides the breakdown. Beyond that, the roads were good and the connection couldn’t have been easier.

It’s a long day for sure to get from Sofia to Lake Ohrid by bus but once you arrive at the lake it’s totally worth it!

Ready to go? Click here to book your stay in Lake Ohrid!

Plan the rest of your trip with the Macedonia Series, where can find the complete guide to Lake Ohrid, learn how to spend 24 hours in Skopje, and much more! 


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