Welcome to Macedonia. Today, we will take it easy, since you are probably tired of the journey you already made. We will stay in Skopje today and explore the city.
Our capital and by far the biggest city of the country. The area has been inhabited since 4000 BC. and remains of different eras and civilizations can be found in the city.
We will explore the city center by foot and see the main tourist attractions. We will see the older buildings and the newly constructed Baroque style buildings. And we will see statues, many, many statues.
We will visit the Macedonian village complex. The village has been constructed as a tourist spot, with houses off all Macedonian cities and different building styles.
Day 2 takes us from Skopje to the north-east of the country. In 1 day we will see many beauties of Macedonian history, separated by millions of years between them. A highly diverse day in one of my favourite regions of Macedonia.
One of my favourite cities in Macedonia is Kratovo. Most of the small cities in Macedonia are not worth visiting. They lack noteworthy places, history and architecture. Kratovo on the contrary, has it all.
The city was the most important city in Macedonia during the rule of the Ottoman Empire. The city lies in the crater of an extinct volcano and, due to this, always had huge gold reserves. The city is bursting with history, unique architecture, beautiful nature and curiosities. The many towers and bridges should be on top of the list of every architecture lover.
In Kratovo we will take a walk through the city, and you will find out about all of its secrets. How better to explore its secrets than by visiting a local family? That’s exactly what we will do. We will visit a local family, and have dinner at their original 300- year-old monumental house.
Close to Kratovo you can find the natural phenomenon of Kuklici, the stone dolls. Caused by the enduring erosion of volcanic rock with varying resistance, the stone figures were created 10 million years ago. The vertical erosion of the volcanic rocks created ‘dolls’ higher than ten metres, which still dominate the environment today. Over time, nature shaped rare masterpieces of .
Kokino is an archaeological site from the Bronze Age. Traces have been found of occupation from 19th to 6th century BC. Many offering-vessels filled with were found on the site, which shows us that it was regarded as a holy mountain.
Aside from being a “holy mountain”, Kokino was also an ancient observatory. Stone markers on the rocks were used to track the sun and moon. An absolutely unique site that is a must-see for everybody. The view of the surrounding area is stunning, and the site has a truly unique, mysterious atmosphere.
Through the mountains we go to the most east city of Macedonia: Strumica. We will have a walk through the city to get an impression of it. After that we will head towards the Bulgarian border to the highest waterfall of Macedonia.
At the foot of the Belasica mountains, there are many springs and waterfalls. We can’t visit them all, so we will go to the highest waterfall of the country. In a very nice environment we will visit Smolari. We will eat in one of the most interesting restaurants of the country.
On our way back to Strumica, we will have a short stop at Bansko. Bansko is the warmest spring of the country. The water flows from the mountains at 76 degrees. This location has been used to benefit health since Roman times. We will take a look at the excavated, well-preserved Roman baths.
Did you know Macedonia has the oldest wine region of the world? Already in the time of Alexander the Great, wine was produced here. In the middle of the country, alongside the Vardar river, the climate is ideal for producing wine with a remarkable quality. We have many native kinds of grapes too. We will end our day at a great wine house where we will taste the delicious wines of the country and have a traditional meal.
We will go to the middle of the country to one of my favourite cities of Macedonia: Prilep. This day has something for everybody: beautiful nature, history, culture, religion. Have your camera ready!
The second of the three ancient cities that we will visit is Stobi. Located in the centre of the country on the Via Egnacia, this city was the capital of Macedonia when it was a Roman province. For a long period, it was an important economic and military centre, covering 25,000 square meters. Many buildings and beautiful frescos have been excavated.
When we arrive in Prilep, we will first visit the mystic Treskavec monastery. Built in the 12th century, it lies at 1100 m above sea level and has an astonishing view. On our road to the monastery, we will see unique stone forms, only seen in this region.
The fourth-largest city of Macedonia, famous for its high quality tobacco and the towers of King Marko above it. We will take a walk through the city where we will see many diverse buildings and statues and sit down to have a delicious, traditional Macedonian meal.
Last, but not least, we will pay a visit to King Marko’s towers. The fortress was built by King Marko in the 13th century and sits on top of the hill above Prilep. From here you can see the whole city and area around it. Be sure to not forget your photo camera.
On our sixth day, we will focus on Bitola and Krushevo. We will see two completely different cities and their unique architecture.
Our third and final ancient city is Heraclea. Heraclea was founded around 400 BC by Philip II, father of Alexander the Great. For a thousand years, it was the main strategic city in the region. Only 12 % of the city has been excavated, but several important buildings and magnificent mosaics have already been uncovered.
The city of consuls, second largest city of Macedonia. Known for its unique renaissance / baroque style buildings, Bitola was the capital of the European Ottoman Empire during their occupation. Kamal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish state, attended military school in Bitola.
A very lively and beautiful city that is absolutely worth visiting.
We end our day at 1350 m above sea level in Krushevo, the highest town of Macedonia. Like Kratovo, Krushevo is a small town, rich in history. The most popular spot in Macedonia for paragliding, and also popular with lovers of nature and winter sports.
We will visit the monument of Meckin Kamen (Bear’s Stone), which symbolizes the Ilinden uprising in 1903 against the Turks. It all started in Krushevo, they even had their own republic, for the week it lasted…
We will explore this beautiful, picturesque city and spend the night here.
We head towards the pearl of the Balkans, Ohrid. But not until we experience a Lord of the Rings moment in the vicinity of Krushevo.
With dimensions of 16.8 x 52.4 meters, this is the biggest cave entrance in the Balkans. Do you remember our buddy King Marko, whose fortress we visited in Prilep? King Marko made a house for his sister Peshna at the mouth of the cave. Later the cave was named after her. We can still find the remains of the house there today. A masterpiece of nature and a must-see in Macedonia.
Did you know that Ohrid is the cradle of Slavic culture, the Cyrillic alphabet and Orthodox Christianity? It all started here in this marvelous piece of nature.
Once we have arrived in Ohrid, first we will have our lunch. Then we will explore the old city of Ohrid together and see all of its beauties. Ohrid used to have 365 churches, one for each day, there are still plenty of them left to see in Ohrid. We will visit the most interesting one and have a look in the city museum.
We kept one of the most beautiful places for our last day. We will drive towards Skopje, make a stop in Tetovo and end up in the magical Matka Canyon.
In the foothills of Shar Planina, we will visit Tetovo. The area has been inhabited since the 6th century BC. Nowadays, it’s a major Albanian speaking city. We will explore the city and visit the world-famous Painted Mosque. A unique and beautiful mosque, unmatched in style by any other mosque.
Our final destination is Matka Canyon. The oldest artificial lake of the country and home to over 10 caves, including the deepest cave in the world. We will have a meal, and then go exploring the canyon by boat. Later in the day, you will have an opportunity to walk in the canyon if you want to.
Europe’s deepest cave and widely considered to be the deepest cave of the world. Because a big part of the cave is underwater, it is not possible to determine the exact length of the cave. We will explore the cave and see its beautiful interior.