Friday: Embarking on a Lakeside Retreat at Villa Radozda on the Shores of Lake Ohrid”

Late June 2023 marked the advent of a particularly temperamental month, characterized by frequent and unpredictable showers. Mother Nature, it seemed, couldn’t quite make up her mind, delivering a mix of rain and sunshine that kept us all on our toes. This June, like a fickle artist, painted the canvas of our days with the hues of both raindrops and sunbeams, creating a mosaic of memories we won’t soon forget.

After a long week, our ideal Friday afterwork routine involves nature retreat and rejuvenating hike. Our family of four with our dear friends embarked on an eagerly anticipated journey to Villa Radozda, a hidden gem nestled along the serene shores of Lake Ohrid. The excitement had been building all week, and at last, we were en route to this picturesque Ohrid lakeside retreat.

Villa Radozda B&B, is a a family-owned gem that ensured  our comfort as their top priority. The establishment features shop, a picturesque lake views from outdoor seating, and on site charming fish restaurant.

Upon our arrival, we were warmly embraced by the tranquil atmosphere of Villa Radozda. The gentle lapping of waves and the invigorating scent of the lake’s fresh air immediately dissolved the workweek’s stresses. We settled comfortably into our cozy accommodations, fully prepared to embark on a weekend brimming with adventure, relaxation, and, most certainly, quality time with the kids.

Saturday: Thrilling Hiking Adventure to the majestic Jablanica Black Stone Peak

The next morning, with the sun casting its golden rays across Lake Ohrid, we started our day with a quick breakfast and prepared some hearty sandwiches. At 10 o’clock, we were all set for a thrilling hiking adventure – our destination, the majestic Jablanica Black Stone Peak, standing tall at an elevation of 2257 meters.

Our journey began with a scenic drive along an asphalt road, winding through the picturesque landscape. After approximately 40 minutes, we passed through the charming Village of Vishni, eventually reaching our starting point in front of the St. Petka church I the village of ,,Gorna Belica”. Nestled in the embrace of nature, at 1400 m above sea level, the village of Gorna Belica carries a rich history. Today it is a captivating tourist settlement surrounded by lush forests. Originally known as Bella, it owes its appellation to the pure whiteness of the Belichka River. For those of us who have had the privilege of visiting, Gorna Belica stands as a testament to the beauty of mountain life. Scattered among the greenery are charming cottages, each a testament to the love affair between man and mountain. The air is crisp and fresh, carrying with it the sounds of nature in all its glory.

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The trail ahead promised a total distance of 16 kilometers, with an elevation gain of 900 meters. It was a moderate challenge, ideal for experienced hikers as well as for adventurous families like ours. The path was well-marked and mostly gentle. Emerging from the woods, we found ourselves in expansive meadows embraced by towering mountain, where the sounds of flowing water serenaded us. As we continued our climb, the terrain steepened, leading us to the summit. Along the way, we encountered sections still cloaked in unmelted snow, persisting as a testament to the mountain’s wintry embrace, until we finally conquered the peak. Below us, the mesmerizing mountain lake known as Vevcanska Lokva sparkled in the sunlight. Our original plan had included descending via a trail near Vevcanska Lokva, but the weather had different plans. The sky darkened, and the threat of summer thunderstorms loomed ominously. Prioritizing our safety, we made the wise decision to retrace our steps, ensuring a timely return. As we pushed back, nature decided to put on a show. A sudden frozen downpour sent us seeking shelter beneath a massive rock formation. Moments later, the sun emerged, painting a picturesque scene as rays of light pierced through the dissipating frozen rain. This reminded us of the nature’s power and how helpless are we if we don’t take it seriously.

As we were descending, a light rain occurred. It was an OMG what beauty lies within nature’s contradictions.
The glory of this hike lay in the numerous springs, each offering a refreshing pause, lush greenery and a jaw-dropping panorama at the peak. We experienced unreal tranquility, only the sounds of flowing water serenaded us.

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The concluding half-hour of our adventure was savored at the village’s picturesque St. Petka church, where our journey had begun and ended. In the church’s courtyard, kids indulged in small treats, while us sipped on hot Turkish coffee preprepared on gas stove.

Revitalizing Lunch in Villa Radozda

After our thrilling hike, we headed back to our apartments’ enchanting restaurant at Villa Radozda. We decided to reward ourselves with a delicious lunch indulging in traditional Macedonian cuisine and taste her majesty the Ohrid trout.

Trout fishing is rigorously restricted to counter the threat of extinction. Stringent measures are being implemented to combat illegal fishing activities, while there’s also an appeal for the hotel industry and tourism sector to support the cultivation of trout in fishponds. At Vila Radožda, the owners take pride in providing trout in a sustainable manner.

Beside the trout we had salads and cheese locally produced. The food here is nothing short of extraordinary. Every bite is a culinary delight, and we wholeheartedly recommend savoring each flavor-packed dish.

Sunday: Cave Church Exploration and Blissful Beach Day 

In Radozda, a fusion of natural beauty and cultural heritage awaits. From the 12th century, this region have witnessed the evolution of wall painting artistry. There are few cave churches that symbolize monastic solitude and deep communion with God. During the Turkish rule in Macedonia, sacred construction was prohibited, leading to church demolitions and the removal of bells to create cannons. To preserve their faith, people turned to hidden cave sanctuaries. The marriage of caves and churches intrigues speleologists, archaeologists, and the public, making it an extraordinary find. In the morning, just a 3-minute walk from Villa Radozda, we had the opportunity of visiting the remarkable Church of Saint Archangel Michael cave church, a testament to this unique history, before leaving our apartment.”

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Afterwards, we unwound on the pristine beaches of Ohrid Lake, basking in crystal-clear waters and a tranquil atmosphere. The rhythmic waves provided a soothing backdrop for relaxation. Despite the chilly water, we couldn’t resist a refreshing swim, embracing the simplicity and serenity of the outdoors. A quick beachside lunch, featuring sausages cooked on a gas stove and a can of beer, felt delightful amidst the picturesque surroundings. As the late afternoon approached, we reluctantly left and began our journey back to Skopje.

Conclusion: Each Experience Enriched our Souls

This weekend has been nothing short of magical. We rekindled our connection with nature, embraced the joys of good food, and most importantly cherished the moments spent with our children. From beautiful accommodation and extraordinary meals at Villa Radozda, exhilarating hike to the breathtaking views at Jablanica Black Stone Peak to the tranquil beaches of Lake Ohrid, each experience enriched our souls.

Our outdoor stay in Struga Camping proved to be an unforgettable journey, one filled with unexpected rain, resilient spirits, exhilarating hikes, and blissful beach moments. This adventure served as a testament to the unpredictable nature of outdoor escapades and reminded us of the beauty that lies within embracing the whims of nature. Whether it’s seeking shelter under a rock formation during a rainstorm or finding solace on the sun-kissed shores of Ohrid, every twist and turn added a layer of magic to our weekend getaway.

Hope our journey serve as inspiration and practical guidance for others seeking to embark on their own enriching weekend getaways. Until next!