The 10 best places to visit in North Macedonia

 

Completed in 2003 on the outskirts of the capital, Skopje, at the summit of Mount Vodno is the 66 metre (217 ft) tall Millennium Cross, a memorial to 2,000 years of Christianity. Illuminated at night, from its vantage point visitors can view the entirety of Skopje.

10. The Millennium Cross

 

In the far south of the country, close to the border with Greece is the city of Bitola, the second largest city of Macedonia. Having been a major city in the region for most of its history, there are significant Roman and ancient Macedonia ruins, Ottoman monuments and large historical religious buildings. Known for its neoclassical architecture, it is renowned for having a more European feel than other parts of the country. 

9. Bitola

 

In the picturesque mountainous and hilly surroundings of central western Macedonia, south west of the capital, Skopje, is the artificial Kozjak Lake. Created by the introduction of the Kozjak Dam, the lake is accessible by a wonderful winding road. Once there, visitors can trek and climb the small peaks for great views over the lake and surrounding countryside. 

8. Kozjak Lake

 

In the centre of the country, directly south from the capital, Skopje, lies the Jakupica Mountain Range, its highest point, the Solunska Glava reaching 2,540 metres (8,333 ft) above sea level. In an area of mountain peaks and large forests, this wonderful naturally rugged area is a favourite among hikers. Though the peak is inaccessible due to military presence, a 3 hour walk to where the armed guards are posted will give visitors an incredible view over the mountainous landscape from the edge of the steep cliffs.

7. Jakupica

 

To the west of the capital, Skopje, lies the picture perfect Matka Canyon, home to the countries oldest artificial lake, several medieval monasteries and many tourist friendly caves. The entrance to the canyon is considered one of the most beautiful sights in Macedonia, its natural landscape and tourist boats having a familiar Vietnamese feel.

Close to Matka Canyon is the Vrelo Cave. It is speculated to be the deepest underwater cave on Earth and made the list of the top 77 natural sites in the world. With its 2 lakes and many stalactites, the main attraction of the cave is the 'Pine Cone', a large hanging stalactite so named because of its shape.

6. Matka Canyon

 

In the far south of the country, covering an area of some 171 square kilometres (66 square miles) of the Baba Mountain massif is the protected landscape of Pelister National Park. Most well known for its two mountain lakes, called Pelister's Eyes, the park is home to exquisite flora and fauna among a terrain of high mountains and substantial forest.

5. Pelister National Park

 

In the northern centre of the country at what is the centre of the Balkan Peninsula is the most populated city of Macedonia, the capital, Skopje. Having been ruled by the Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans it holds a wealth of historical buildings including the Skopje Fortress and the old Ottoman Bazaar. At its centre is the Macedonia Square, covering an area of some 18,500 square metres this pedestrian zone is the largest in the country. In 2010 the government planned the Skopje 2014 project with the goal of boosting the appeal of their capital city. The plan was to build 136 structures at a cost of nearly a billion dollars. With so many new buildings and monuments, some of the stand out landmarks have to include the Art Bridge, featuring 29 statues across its span and the enormous statue of Alexander The Great. Standing at the cenre of the square, Alexander sits on his horse Bucephalus and towers above the central fountain.

4. Skopje

 

Constructed in the 13th century on the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid is the Macedonian Orthodox Church Of St. John. The lake sits at the mountainous border between Macedonia and Albania, as one of Europe's oldest and deepest lakes it preserves a unique aquatic ecosystem that is of worldwide importance. The view of the monastery overlooking the lake has been used countless times to advertise Macedonia to the world, as such it has become the most iconic and well known viewpoint in the country. Lake Ohrid has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A short distance from the Church Of St. John is the often overlooked Church Of Saint Clements and Panteleimon. This large ornate Byzantine church is exquisitely decorated and detailed inside and out, often considered to be the finest single piece of ancient architecture in Macedonia.

3. Lake Ohrid & The Church Of St. John

Extending some 1,599 kilometres (994 miles) across the extreme north of the country, forming the natural border with southern Serbia's disputed territory of Kosovo are the Sar Mountains, one of the most rugged and protected areas in the central Balkans. A highlight for visitors is the Mount Ljuboten hike, taking around five hours to the top, the views as you head towards 2,498 metres (8,195 ft) above sea level over the surrounding mountains and valleys are among the finest in the country.

2. Šar Mountains

 

In the north west of the country, straddling the border with Albania is the 731 square kilometre (282 square mile) Mavrovo National Park, the largest protected area in Macedonia it encompasses a vast portion of the Korab Mountain Range. Home to high rocky peaks, the parks highest point is the 2,764 metre (9,068 ft) Mount Korab, the tallest mountain in Macedonia. It is also home to the Korab Falls, with a drop of around 138 metres (453 ft) over a cliff edge it is the largest waterfall in the country and one of its most wondrous sights. Approaching the range from the south east, easy meadow trails allow visitors to trek up to the highest peaks without too many difficulties, offering incredible views out over the mountains, the enormous steep and craggy ridges and it's huge open valleys. This huge area of rolling hills, forests and high mountains holds some of the most beautiful natural and rugged landscapes in Macedonia.

1. Mavrovo National Park

© 2019 Black Taxi Adventures

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram