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Macedonia Vacation, Tours, Travel Packages & Experiences


  • Church of St John at Kaneo, Ohrid, Macedonia

Few countries have been around for longer than North Macedonia, popularly known as Macedonia, located in the Balkans of Southeastern Europe. Thousands of years ago, it was home to Alexander the Great, and was long a key component in the Greek, Roman, and Ottoman Empires. Then came communism in the 20th century and the nation was absorbed into Yugoslavia. Since the fall of communism in 1991, Macedonia has regained its independence and once again taken its rightful place in the spotlight of Southeastern Europe.

Few countries have as abundant natural beauties, from its shimmering lakes to the many mountain peaks within its landlocked borders. Cities are home to Ottoman-style bazaars amidst modern office buildings and apartments. Visits to rural villages often reveal Roman and Greek ruins. Head to Macedonia and you’ll experience the best of the Mediterranean and the Balkans combined in one beautiful destination.

What are the best cities to visit in Macedonia?

Skopje

The Macedonian capital, Skopje, is home to the main international airport, and thus a key destination on most itineraries in Macedonia. It’s an eclectic mix of styles, but still charming. Most notable highlight is its Old Bazaar, which is the largest Ottoman-style bazaar of its kind in Europe. The Stone Bridge and Kale Fortress, which dates back to the 5th century, are among its other historical highlights. Modern Skopje is not quite as lovely as its medieval landmarks. A redecoration project known as Skopje 2014 saw the construction of neoclassical buildings and marble statues throughout the city as a paean to the country’s classical past, but the result is more bizarre than inspiring. Nevertheless, there’s a definite appeal to the wild mix of styles.

Ohrid

Ohrid is Macedonia’s most popular tourist city and for good reason. It sits on the beautiful Lake Ohrid and has an old medieval town with charming cobblestoned streets and well-kept-up old buildings. Ohrid is relatively small, meaning it’s easy to explore on foot. In the summer, tourists and locals flock to the beaches to take advantage of the refreshing waters of Lake Ohrid. If you ascend the cliff above Kaneo Beach, you’ll reach the Church of St. John, where you’ll enjoy one of the most famous views in the entire country looking out over the lake.

Bitola

Bitola was known as the City of Consuls and is perhaps the best city in the country to explore its Ottoman past due to the many mosques and old world bazaar. It’s not on the main tourist track, but its location near Pelister National Park and its lovely old buildings make it an appealing place to stop for a night.

What are the natural landmarks in Macedonia?

Lake Ohrid

Lake Ohrid is hands-down the most beautiful sight in the country. It’s one of Europe’s deepest and oldest lakes, dating back over three million years. In the summer, the high sun sets the waters ablaze with light and transforms the beaches into the most attractive spots in the country. Although it can get crowded in the high summer months, it’s worth it to enjoy the weather.

Pelister National Park

Pelister National Park is the oldest national park in the country. It’s a great spot to go hiking, as it is home to the third-highest mountain range in Macedonia. If you reach the top of the central peaks, you’ll find two alpine lakes known as Pelister’s Eyes, which run a deep, clear blue.

Mavrovo National Park

With its high mountains, beautiful lakes, and pine forests containing waterfalls and hiking trails, Mavrovo National Park is among the most popular outdoor spots in Macedonia. It’s located on the road between Skopje and Ohrid, making it a good stopover spot. As well, it has the highest peak in the country, Mt. Korab. In the winter, it transforms into a popular ski resort. Even if you’re not into skiing, you’ll discover some fascinating historical monasteries within the park.

What about food in Macedonia?

Macedonian cuisine combines both Mediterranean and Balkan influences. It relies on fatty foods like olive oil and cheese as well as fresh vegetables and herbs, and local meats. As for drinks, wine and the local plum brandy or rakia are popular. Macedonian food is generally hearty and is what many people would consider comfort food. Popular dishes include musaka, which is a baked potato and meat dish infused with spices, cabbage rolls known as sarma, the roasted red pepper spread known as ajvar, and a baked bean dish known as tavche gravche.

When is the best time to go to Macedonia?

Macedonia has a continental climate, meaning cold and humid winters and warm and dry summers. June and August are the peak months, when Ohrid attracts people wanting to take advantage of the warm weather and access to the lake, with its many beaches. In December through February, the country gets snowy, especially in the mountains, and skiing and other snow activities are popular. This is the low season in tourist spots like Ohrid, meaning rooms are most affordable.

Travel within Macedonia

You can connect to Macedonia through the main international airport in Skopje or by crossing one of the borders with Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Kosovo, or Albania. Since the country is small and landlocked, there are no domestic flights and no passenger ferries to take advantage of. Buses are a common way to connect between cities, but cars remain the most popular form of transportation. Within cities, taxis are affordable and reliable. Trains do exist in Macedonia, but they are slow, and they do not connect to Ohrid, the most popular tourist destination.

Republic of Macedonia

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