Galicica National Park, known for its rich and rare nature and unique beauty, in 1958 was declared a national park in order to preserve the flora and fauna and the natural appearance of Mount Galicica. About 2/3 of the Park is included in the boundaries of the World Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region, inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage.


Galicica National Park is located in the southwestern part of Macedonia, on the Galicica mountain massif, including parts of its branches East and Petrino, as well as the island of Golem Grad in Lake Prespa. Mount Galicica is part of the Sharo-Pind mountain system. The large open areas towards Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa, which limitation is coming from the east and west, contribute to its clear visual separation as a separate entity.


The altitude of the mountain massif Galicica in Macedonia ranges from 695 meters above sea level. (the level of Lake Ohrid), ie 850 meters above sea level. (the level of Lake Prespa), up to 2265 m. on the border pillar F10. More striking elevations that dominate the relief are Magaro-2254 m; Lako Signoj-1984 m.n.v ; Goga-1737 m.n.v. etc. 


Connection of the Lake Ohrid & Lake Prespa


The basic geological base of Galicica is made of Paleozoic metamorphic silicates, covered with a layer of massive porous limestone, 500-550 m thick. Due to the porosity of the massive limestones, there is an underground connection between Lake Prespa and Lake Ohrid, which has been scientifically confirmed. The waters of Lake Prespa on the western slopes of Galicica spring up on many coastal and underwater karst springs. The most impressive karst springs on Lake Ohrid are the springs at the monastery of St. Naum. They consist of 30 underwater and 15 coastal springs, with a total capacity of about 7.5 cubic meters of water per second.


The park is a hotbed of biodiversity in the region and beyond, globally. The park stands out from other areas of similar size due to the exceptional wealth of habitats and species in a relatively small area. On an area of ​​approximately 24,000 hectares, there are more than 37 habitat types, 40 plant communities, about 1600 taxa of vascular plants, over 143 species of lichenoid fungi, more than 480 species of fungi, and over 3279 taxa of fauna. There are 4 taxa of invertebrates and 13 of vertebrates that are considered globally endangered in the park.

Species & Archeological Sites


Hundreds of rare and protected species in the park are represented by significant populations. Some of them are found only within the park: 29 taxa of algae, 12 species of vascular plants, 68 taxa of invertebrates, and 4 taxa of vertebrates. In addition, the park is inhabited by a large number of taxa found only in Macedonia or the Balkans: 46 taxa of higher plants, 89 taxa of invertebrates and 14 taxa of vertebrates.


The cultural-historical region contains several layered values. They consist primarily of the geographical-ambient properties of Lake Ohrid and the mountain ranges that are the border of the protected region. Using the lake as a basic source of life, many generations have left behind syntheses of the natural, rural and urban. From the large number of cultural and historical monuments on the territory of the Park, the most important are: the monastery "St. Naum ", the church" St. Bogorodica Zaumska ”, the archeological sites on the island of Golem Grad and many others.


As a complex, the National park, together with Ohrid Lake and Prespa, is a relatively limited area with very rich biodiversity, high degree of heterogeneity and endemism and in that sense is considered a very valuable site in Europe.


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Ohrid Lake

Lake Ohrid is one of the few ancient lakes in the world that provide continuous freshwater habitat for more than 1 million years, and the only one in Europe.

Lake Ohrid (altitude: 695 m) is oligotrophic, deep (maximum depth 289 m; average depth 164 m), large (area 358 km2) and one of the most voluminous lakes (~ 55 km3) in Europe.

The water balance is dominated by the inflow from karst aquifers (~ 50%) with smaller shares of inflows and direct rainfall (Matzinger et al., 2006) [Matzinger A, Z. Spirkovski, S. Patceva, A. Wüest. Sensitivity of ancient Lake Ohrid to local anthropogenic impacts and global warming. J Great Lakes Res., 2006; 32: 158–179]. Evaporation (40%) and the main outflow, the Crn Drim River (60%) balance the water budget of Lake Ohrid.

Lake Ohrid is characterized by exceptional biodiversity, taking into account even the microscopic algae. As with other living organisms, the Lake is characterized by the presence of rare and tertiary relict species of algae. Diatoms (Bacillariophyceae) appear to be an important group of microscopic algae, followed by green algae (Chlorophyceae). A total of 789 diatom taxa have been registered in Lake Ohrid, of which 117 (14%) are considered endemic to the lake and 15 (about 2%) are considered relict species, or previously known only from fossil deposits in Romania (Levkov and Williams, 2012). The number of species registered for Lake Ohrid continues to increase. Most lake species can be considered characteristic only of very clean waters with fairly low concentrations of nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus (Miho et al., 2004).

The macrophytic flora in the shore of Lake Ohrid can be divided into different belts: chara species at a depth between 3 and 30 m, different species of submerged plants and a discontinuous belt of reeds (Phragmites australis) along the shore (Albrecht and Wilke, 2008) [, 5 Albrecht C., T. Wilke. Ancient Lake Ohrid: biodiversity and evolution. Hydrobiology, 2008; 615: 103–140]. The reed belt is a particularly important habitat for many other organisms, including fish, frogs, and waterfowl.

There are extremely rich and diverse representatives of the fauna in Lake Ohrid, most of them endemic. 586 benthic macroinvertebrates have been recorded in the Lake, with endemicity levels ranging from 50 to 90% for certain benthic groups (flatworms, oligochaetes, leeches, isopods, amphibians, etc.), a fact that gives the lake the seal of an aquatic ecosystem. the highest percentage of endemic species per square meter in the world.

The rich and unique fauna of Lake Ohrid includes various types of relict forms such as the Ohrid round sponge (Ohridaspongia rotunda) or the very small endemic snail (Gocea ohridana). In general, the richest, most diverse and with the highest endemism is the group of freshwater snails (Gastropoda) among which the level of endemism reaches 86% of the 72 registered species.

According to the IUCN assessment of the representatives of the benthic fauna registered in Lake Ohrid, 28 species are assessed as vulnerable, 17 as endangered and 10 as critically endangered, a fact that

Ohrid is one of the most beautiful town in the whole world.
It’s at the heart of the Balkans, with one of the deepest and oldest lakes in Europe, with more than 200 endemic species. The trout is the most famous of all the fish in the Lake, and also is the most famous dish in the restaurant - the Ohrid trout.

The weather in Ohrid it’s really nice, especially in spring when the colors come to life, with the beautiful green trees, and divine blue skies overflowing with the blue waters of the beautiful Lake.

One of the best places in Ohrid, where you can really experience the great nature treasures that the town poses, are St.John Kaneo, a church built in the 13th century with one of the most fascinating views. Not far from there through the forest you go deep and then at the highest point of the Ohrid Old Town, where are the basics of the town’s history, such as Plaosnik and Church of Saints Clement and Panteleimon, one of the most archaeological sites and one of the holiest places in the town. 250 meters further you are at the front step of the Castle, the Samuil’s Fortress, one of the main tourist attractions.
Not to forget to mention, St.Kliment Ohrid University, the first university in Europe and one of the most significant historical figures of the Slavic world.

In this kind of natural beauty I must mention the St. Naum Ohrid Church which is set on the other side of the town, on the border with Albania. Every tourist that goes there is being told that this place is one of the holiest places on Earth, and has different kinds of energy and I couldn’t agree more. It's a different dimension, different experience.

Also, if you ever have the chance, I strongly recommend to visit the most peaceful place, St.Zaum, a beach, a church set at the foot of the mountain Galicica, between Trpejca and Ljubanista. You can go there only with a boat, from Trpejca or Ljubanista, you can camp there and recharge your batteries to the fullest. I guarantee you it will be your favourite place in Ohrid.
At night seeing the beautiful sky full of stars above Ohrid, in the morning listening to nightingales singing to you, drinking your first cup of coffee by the lake with your feet in the water, and drinking from the cleanest water source directly from the mountain.

Not to forget to mention, Ohrid has the most beautiful sunset in the whole world. Period.
Once in a lifetime experience.

For such a small town there is so much to see and experience, but for many more things connected with Ohrid in some other time.