Scuba Diving in North Macedonia

Macedonia, or the Republic of Macedonia, is a young European country with a rich history. It is located on the Balkan Peninsula, north of Greece. Macedonia is a landlocked country and has no access to the sea, but there are some impressive lakes to dive in.
Divers come here for Lake Ohrid. This is one of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe, sometimes called the freshwater sea. Its average depth is 155 meters, with a maximum depth of 288 meters. The lake emerged 5 million years ago as a result of a tectonic fall. Now, it is a place where divers can find thrilling adventures. For instance, explore an early human settlement at the bottom of the lake. Or meet around two hundred unique fish species, including Ohrid trouts and eels. The city of Ohrid and the lake are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Reasons to Visit

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Where to go
in North Macedonia?
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Lake Ohrid, on the bottom of which a Neolithic settlement and many animal bones were found in 1997. Above the lake, there is a reconstruction of an ancient encampment, a museum on the water called Bay of Bones. Dive underwater with an instructor, and you will see antique household items, such as hatchets, knives, millstones and pottery vessel.
The water in Lake Ohrid is transparent even at depth. The underwater visibility reaches 22 meters, which is nearly a record for lake diving. This visibility is possible due to the underground springs that feed the lake. The ground, through which the springs flow, filters impurities from the water and makes it outstandingly clear and transparent. The lake never freezes over.
Crystal clear water and great diversity of fish species in Lake Ohrid. Lake Ohrid is home to eight species of Carps, several species of Crustaceans, worms and molluscs. One of the most remarkable species is freshwater shrimp Ohrid Gammarus solidus. As for large predatory fish, there are two particularly compelling examples of trout: Salmo letnica and Acantholingua ohridana.
Unique marine plants and endemic animals. Some plant species that grow on the lake's bottom haven't changed for thousands of years. Among them is waterweed Chara ohridana, which belongs to primordial Charophytes. A more stable regime characterises water bodies with plants like that. The lake is also famous for its Ohrid round sponge that lives at a depth of 35 meters.
Mavrovo Lake is yet another well-known place in Macedonia. Diving here is a pure pleasure even though the water temperature never climbs above +20 ˚С. One of the most exciting sites is semisubmerged St. Nicholas Church. A part of the building was flooded when an artificial reservoir was created.

Diving Destinations in North Macedonia

Macedonia's main attractions are natural and artificial lakes. They are known for fresh waters and excellent underwater visibility, with lake Ohrid being the main diving site. It's famous for to its legendary underwater settlement, where many everyday items were found. Mavrovo Lake, with its submerged church and dam with the country's deepest place, is of equally great interest. The lake is part of Mavrovo National Park.

Memo Notes
Currency MKD - Macedonian Denar
Languages Macedonian
Timezone UTC +2
Phone code 389
Emergency Help 112
Electricity

Type C - 230 V, 50 Hz

Type F - 230 V, 50 Hz

Dive Shops in North Macedonia

The most popular dive shops of Macedonia, such as Amfora and Akvatek, are located in the city of Ohrid. They offer equipment rental and organise diving to interesting sites.

Сlimate & Seasonality
Spring

The spring in Macedonia is warm. The air warms up to +13-22 ˚С and reaches +25 ˚С in May. Sometimes it storms with thunderbolts. The water temperature in lakes fluctuates between +8 and +15 ˚С.

Summer

Rains become less frequent in summer, and air temperature reaches +27-31 ˚С. The water temperature climbs up to +24-26 ˚С. August is the calmest month.

Autumn

September in Macedonia is windless, just like the summer. The air temperature is around +23-25 ˚С. It goes down to +11-12 ˚С in November. The water temperature in lakes falls to +10 ˚С from +20 ˚С.

Winter

First frosts come in December. The air warms up to just +4 ° C in January and up to +6 ° C in February. The water temperature in the lakes is +3-4 °C.

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The Best Dive Sites

One of the most popular dive sites of Macedonia is Bay of Bones, which has become an excellent place for archaeology diving. Remnants of an ancient settlement were found here underwater. And Plocha Michov Grad attracts divers with ongoing underwater excavations.

Health & Safety

Even though Macedonia is the second most impoverished European country, the healthcare level here is rather high. Local hospitals offer a wide range of services, and you won't have any problems calling an ambulance. Visitors to the country don't need any particular vaccination, but it is recommended to obtain travel insurance. The situation with safety is questionable. Tourists are advised to avoid the northwestern part of the country but are rather safe in other areas. Crimes are rare here. The police patrols the streets.

Eat & Drinks

Macedonian cuisine is a mix of gastronomic traditions of neighbouring countries. National dishes are simple, hearty and tasty. You should try Ajvar, a salad made of beans, sweet peppers, tomatoes, garlic and dressed with sunflower oil. In summer, tourists are offered Tarator, a cold soup with soured milk, fennel, walnuts, cucumbers, garlic and spices.
As for drinks, there are plenty of teas, from honey tea to tea with herbs and fruit leaves. Also, Macedonians love coffee and various fruit juices. Tap water in the country is suitable for drinking.

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