Stunning scenery and surprising architecture will make your trip to the Republic of Northern Macedonia a memorable one.
The Republic of Northern Macedonia in the Balkans has so far been a rather unknown destination. According to countryaah, Macedonia is a hidden gem of Europe, whose magnificent nature is perfect for hiking.
Excesses and unbeatable scenery
According to abbreviationfinder, Northern Macedonia is still a relatively young state, having gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. In February 2019, the country changed its name from the Republic of Macedonia to the Republic of Northern Macedonia, as the name Macedonia has over the years caused divisions with its southern neighbor, Greece.
The search for the identity of the state is still visible in the streets of cities and in the flags of Macedonia fluttering here and there. Above all, however, a warm and immediate impression is conveyed to the tourist about the country and its inhabitants.
The diverse country offers opportunities for city, active and beach holidays. The capital, Skopje, is especially known for its overflowing architecture and numerous statues, which is why it is sometimes called the capital of tastelessness. Despite this, no tourist can claim that there is nothing to see in Skopje – the city is downright inviting to rattle with a camera, and the end to be photographed does not end right away.
The beautiful nature, on the other hand, is worth looking for in the surroundings of Lake Ohrid or Matka Canyon, which make a lasting impression. The active holidaymaker packs good shoes and equipment and sets out to explore the mountainous terrain of northern Macedonia in more detail. Unforgettable scenery is still available in a very authentic setting.
In the Macedonian capital, Skopje, you will find, among other things, grandiose statues.
Northern Macedonia is home to a fairly typical Mediterranean climate, with summers hot toasty and winters mild. In summer, the inland town of Skopje in particular can become suffocatingly hot, and temperatures can exceed the 40-degree limit. In practice, Skopje is warm from early spring to far autumn, but April and September are often rainy and cloudy.
The time of the trip should be chosen according to your own preferences and the program of the trip: hot days are perfect for a relaxed stay and lounging on the beach, but can make touring the city or hiking painful. On the other hand, in the mountains in the shade of trees, the temperature does not get too hot. In winter, there are also opportunities for winter sports in northern Macedonia.
A fascinating mix of cultures
In addition to its spectacular capital and stopping nature, Northern Macedonia is also known for its delicious shopska salads, quality wines and friendly locals.
The Soviet era of the country is still visible in the suburbs and in the mentality of the people, but equally fresh winds have breathed life into the state. The largest cities have a wealth of café and bar culture and western shopping opportunities.
Northern Macedonia is a culturally diverse country with the largest population being Macedonians. A quarter of the population is Albanian, in addition to whom there are also Turks, Roma and Serbs in Macedonia. The combination of different cultures and religions makes the country a fascinating mix that the tourist can get to know.
Natural parks for pharmacists
Nature and outdoor people should head to one of the nature parks in northern Macedonia. The Galicica Natural Park is located in Ohrid, with magnificent views of the sparkling lake. Even if you intend to hike, it is worth heading to Galicica from the center of Ohrid by car or bus. The trip to the park is largely along a large road, and offers little to the pedestrian. You will have time to get to the heart of your heart in beautiful natural landscapes.
In addition to hiking, there are plenty of other activities in the park: it is possible to cycle, sail, dive or paraglide, for example. In winter, the park also offers winter sports such as downhill skiing and snowboarding.
Other well-known national parks in Macedonia include the Pelister and Mavrovo parks.
A light purse travel destination
Northern Macedonia is perfect for backpackers as well as budget travelers, as the price level in the country is really affordable. With ten euros, you typically already eat very well, at least if you avoid tourist concentrations. Coffee, pastries and small savory snacks typically cost from two to two euros.
The currency of the country is the penny, and one euro equals about 61 denarii. Dropping is part of the earth’s customs.
FLIGHTS, ACCOMMODATION AND MOVEMENT IN MACEDONIA
For nature tourists, Lake Ohrid is the highlight of the Macedonian trip.
Exchange via Skopje
The low-cost airline Wizz Air opened a flight route from Turku to Skopje in July 2019. Instead of the previous cumbersome changes, flights to Northern Macedonia can be reached twice a week on three-hour direct flights.
There are also some group trips to the Balkans to explore the landscapes of Ohrid, for example. A group trip is a good option if you want to see Albania, for example, on the same trip in the spirit of a package trip .
From the airport, Skopje city center can be reached by bus or taxi, the former of which is clearly cheaper.
A variety of accommodation at an affordable price
The affordable price level in Northern Macedonia is also reflected in the accommodation offer to the delight of the tourist. The capital, Skopje, may have to pay a little more than the rest of the country, but accommodation is still cheap. The quality varies, so check out the hotels or hostels on offer carefully.
Staying in Ohrid is a celebration for the budget traveler, as already a few dozen rent an apartment with a balcony with their own bathroom and kitchen equipment. There are also finer hotels, so Ohrid is suitable for both the skier and the quality traveler.
Movement in Macedonia
As a rule, the cities of northern Macedonia become familiar on foot, but public transport and taxis are also cheap. The country’s road network isn’t in particularly good condition, so it’s worth taking the time for longer transitions. From Skopje to Lake Ohrid, travel by bus in about three hours.
The Church of St. John the Baptist is the most beautiful attraction on Lake Ohrid.
The first impression of the capital Skopje is contradictory, showy, decorative, overflowing and a bit crazy. However, this has not always been the case. According to rumors, the Skopje 2014 project filled the city with more than 300 statues and other new historical buildings and monuments.
The project has garnered criticism not only for its aesthetic choices, but also for its financial costs. The project is said to have cost between € 200 and € 500 million, and in a poor country like northern Macedonia, this has rightly caused resentment.
However, the reform does not have to be considered hut, as the city of statues attracts tourists in a new way. The neoclassical Greek-style buildings, the 22-meter bronze statue of Alexander the Great and the huge Millennium Cross inspired by the statue of Christ in Brazil will make your chin snap and the camera sing.
A very different side from Skopje to show the old Turkish bazaar, which is the greater Balkan region you will find only in Istanbul. In the bazaar area you can admire Ottoman-style architecture and mosques, shop in small shops, sit down for a cup of Turkish coffee or enjoy an affordable lunch. The bazaar is a great place to shop for gifts.
On the Skopjen trip, it is definitely worth heading to the fabulous Matka canyon as well. In the idyllic canyon scenery is breathtakingly spectacular and definitely a half-hour bus ride väärti. In the canyon you will also find a homely inn if you want to stay overnight, and a good restaurant. Take a bus, rental car or taxi from Skopje and you will not regret it.
Lake Ohrid and the town of the same name on its shores offer the tourist something completely different than Skopje. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, whose landscape is dominated by a shimmering turquoise lake.
The clear water of Ohrid is one of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe and can be explored by diving or kayaking, for example. The beaches are not the greatest strength of Ohrid, but swimming is also possible.
The majestic mountains bordering the lake and the historic town next to it make Ohrid an unforgettable destination. In addition to the lake, the main landmarks of Ohrid are the picturesque churches of St. Sophia and St. John.
St. Naum Monastery is about a 30-45 minute drive from the center of Ohrid. In addition to the historic monastery, you can admire the magnificent green nature of the area, the clear Lake Ohrid and the local peacocks. You can also get there by boat, which leaves the port of Ohrid and costs about 10 euros.
THE BEST OF THE COUNTRY
Travel Canyon is a beautiful natural destination in Macedonia, and its name is especially suitable for tourists.
- Marvel at the quirks of Skopje.
- Boat on Lake Matka Canyon.
- Stroll around the historic city of Ohrid.
- Explore nature in nature parks.
- Hike on Lake Ohrid.