Getting information on rail travel in Macedonia before you get here is almost impossible; it's difficult enough even when you're in the country.

During your visit to Ohrid and its lake, you can obtain information on the area from the Biljana Tourist Office, Partizanska 3 (046/266-494), in front of the bus station, and also at Automoto Sojuz, Galicica at Lazo Trpkoski (02/3181-181), in the eastern part of Ohrid.

Because it's so hard to obtain information before you go, many visitors often contact their Macedonian embassy. In North America, the Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia is at 2129 Wyoming Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008 (202/667-0501).

Macedonia by Rail

Macedonia has no railpasses of its own -- nor would you need one for the limited amount of travel you're likely to do in the country. Rail Europe offers a Balkan Flexipass that covers travel in Macedonia among several other countries.

International trains tend to run more or less on time in Macedonia, but domestic trains proceed at a snail's pace. Trains are operated by Makedonski Aheleznici (Macedonian Railways). The principal line, and the route the average visitor will travel, is the north/south rail link between Belgrade and Thessaloniki in Greece, stopping off in Skopje (pop. 600,000), the capital of Macedonia.

Thessaloniki, incidentally, is the second city of modern Greece also called Macedonia, as opposed to the former Yugoslav province -- now country -- of Macedonia. There is confusion and rivalry here about which land is entitled to use the name of Macedonia.

Express trains journey three times daily from Belgrade to Skopje in Macedonia (travel time: 3-5 hr.); and there are international links to Vienna, Budapest (via Belgrade), and also from Istanbul (via Sofia) to Skopje. Reservations are required on all international lines passing through Macedonia. For night travel, you must also reserve a couchette or sleeper on any international trains traveling through Macedonia as well. International lines serve food and drink, but if you're traveling on domestic services in Macedonia, bring your own supplies for the trip.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.