Any recent travelers to Albania and/or Lake Ohrid in Macedonia. Planning to visit late March early April 2008. Recommendations for hotels in Lake Ohrid and taking the bus on to Skopje and then up to Budapest?
I've never been to Lake Ohrid (which I understand is quite beautiful), but I have traveled through and around Skopje. It might be useful as a transport hub, but I would not linger. I don't want to sound too harsh, but Skopje is the worst city in Europe I have personally seen.
I've been living in Macedonia for the last ten months, and Ohrid is definitly the most beautiful place in the country...and probably the entire region. If you want to stay outside the city center a ways, Hotel Desaret is about 10-15 kilometers from town (a 300 denari taxi ride, about $7). I stayed there for a conference recently and had a great time. It is right on the lake with a small beach and pier, and has an intimate feel. The staff was very friendly and the food was very good by Macedonian standards. I haven't stayed in the city, but I hear that Hotel Doncho is very nice.
There are many buses running from Ohrid to Skopje, probably one every 2-3 hours at least, and its about a 5-6 hrs trip. There is no need to reserve a seat just show up at the bus station and you'll have no problem. I would reccomend, taking the line that runs through Bitola and stopping there for a few hours before moving on to Skopje. Also, visit Struga while in Ohrid, if you have free time.