Lake Ohrid

Ohrid lake and Studencisko blato
Ohrid lake
Ohrid lake

Lake Ohrid

  • Country: 
    North Macedonia
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    25,205 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    41°03'N 20°43'E
Materials presented on this website, particularly maps and territorial information, are as-is and as-available based on available data and do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


The Site straddles the mountainous border between North Macedonia and Albania. It has been a World Heritage Property since 1979. The Lake’s low-nutrient, high-oxygen environment boasts one of the highest rates of biodiversity of any inland water body on Earth when measured by surface area: it hosts 1,200 species, with over 200 of them endemic and many of them protected such as the freshwater snail (Acroloxus macedonicus), the endemic belvica (Salmo ohridanus) and the velvet duck (Melanitta fusca). The Lake is fed primarily by springs, as rainfall and water from nearby Lake Prespa trickles through underground watercourses in the karst landscape. These channels are chemically diverse, creating unique microhabitats that contain globally unique invertebrate species. The oxygen-rich conditions and clear water allow vertical habitats to descend to depths of 150 metres, supporting endemic taxa throughout the food web from phytoplankton to predatory fish. The Site includes Studenchishte marsh on the eastern shore, which features alkaline nutrient-filtering marshes and fens that provide nesting, spawning and wintering grounds for birds and fish. The marsh has been diminished by land-use changes and habitat degradation, but it is still home to nationally rare plants and insects, endemic invertebrates, and protected reptiles and amphibians.  Humans have been settling around the lake shore for over 8,000 years, making it a hotspot for palaeological research. Today, the Lake provides freshwater to hundreds of thousands of residents who benefit from carp and Ohrid trout fisheries and a growing tourism industry.

Administrative region: 
Ohrid Municipality, Struga Municipality and Debarca Municipality

  • Global international designation: 
    • World Heritage site
    • UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
  • National legal designation: 
    • Monument of Nature - Monument of Nature “Ohrid Lake”
    • National Park - National Park Galichica
  • Regional (international) legal designations: 
    • Other international designation
  • Last publication date: 


Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS)