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What are the hidden depths I might find at Lake Ohrid?

Simon Calder’s Travel

Q I am going to Lake Ohrid in June. Any recommendations?

Amanda C

A Congratulations on booking a summer trip to one of the most intriguing corners of Europe. Lake Ohrid is the deepest in the Balkans – the same size as the English county of Rutland, and even more scenic. The body of water is ringed by mountains; I call it “Lake Como on the cheap”.

It is shared between North Macedonia (which possesses about 60 per cent of the shoreline) and Albania, which has the remainder of the lakeshore. Almost all of the holidaymakers who stay beside the lake are in the town of Ohrid itself, in North Macedonia. Ohrid has narrow cobbled streets, which will be decorated by fresh flowers in June. It also possesses a pleasant lake beach. Decent accommodation and Balkan restaurants are plentiful, offering good quality at 1990s prices.

A small colony of Dutch pensioners has moved in year-round, finding the setting (and living costs) more appealing than the Netherlands. The history of Ohrid goes back many centuries, with an array of ornate monasteries that put the town on the Unesco World Heritage list.

You should devote a day to exploring the place. The second essential: a circumnavigation of the lake, on the road that runs mainly at water level. Rather than renting a self-drive car, it is better to negotiate a local to take you; your hotel will be able to assist.

Don’t forget your passport. Border formalities are brisk. To fill your remaining days, hiking into the mountains is eminently feasible. If that does not appeal, take a trip to the capital, Skopje. Minibuses charge the equivalent of a couple of pounds for the 90-minute trip. A devastating earthquake in 1963 wiped out a large amount of more traditional architecture, though there is still an area with something of the feel of a Turkish quarter of the city, north of the river.

Khao San Road in Bangkok, which is at its best just after the rainy season (Simon Calder)

Q At what time of year would you recommend going to Thailand?

Frances L

A November, I say without hesitation. That is partly because I have travelled extensively through Thailand in that month, and have found it ideal in terms of weather, fresh and welcoming.

While Thailand is hot and humid all year, some months are better than others. November marks the start of the dry season after the May-October rains (though late November is more…

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