North Macedonia is a tiny landlocked nation in jap Europe and the most effective unspoiled vacation spot within the Balkan. On this North Macedonia itinerary, I take you to an important place of curiosity. It even features a day journey to the Albanian facet of lake Ohrid. This North Macedonia itinerary consists of all UNESCO World Heritage Web site, historical prehistoric websites, monasteries, the nation’s greatest nature and extra. First, I give a number of North Macedonia journey suggestions after which I take you on a day-by-day highway journey. I’m positive this highway journey suggestion will show you how to plan your North Macedonian journey.
Planning a North Macedonia highway journey itinerary
North Macedonia is a small nation and may simply be explored by staying a number of nights within the capital Skopje and some at Lake Ohrid. I quite drive barely greater than to examine out and in lodges every day. You possibly can break up the journeys from Ohrid and Skopje as you want. I made a decision to do 2 nights Skopje, 4 nights Ohrid and once more 3 nights in Skopje. I’ll give some choices to shorten the journey to per week. This ought to be sufficient for the most important sights however first some North Macedonia journey planning suggestions.
North Macedonia visa and entry
As I’m from the Netherlands, I didn’t want any visa. Europeans solely want their nationwide ID card which is adequate to enter. In case you are not from Europe, please examine with the embassy for the present North Macedonia entry requirement. A visa ought to be simply obtained if required for many nationalities.
Flights to Macedonia
The primary airport of Macedonia is in Skopje, however a second airport is close to Ohrid. To Ohrid fly largely low-cost carriers from inside Europe and is an effective alternative in case you’re flying from Europe and may discover a appropriate flight. In any other case, Skopje can be your home of arrival with flights from a number of European hubs. A the time of writing nevertheless it’s solely Star Alliance flights and airways that aren’t member of the massive three alliances. Flights are low cost in off-season however could be steep in excessive season. I select Austrian Airways from Amsterdam in enterprise class which was simply over 350 euro. You might additionally examine flights to Thessaloniki in Greece as it’s only a few hours’ drive!
Skopje Lodges and Lake Ohrid Lodges
There are many lodges to select from in each areas. As I’m a Marriott Titanium member certainly one of their lodges is all the time my first alternative. Thus, in Skopje I stayed on the Marriott lodge. It has an excellent location downtown. At Lake Ohrid I wished to remain close to the previous city but additionally have the ability to get out of city simply. Resort Villa Kotlar in Ohrid was my alternative and I loved it lots. The situation is only a brief stroll to downtown Ohrid, 200 meters from Ohrid Seaside and there may be straightforward and free parking. The right place to remain whereas on a North Macedonia highway journey.
North Macedonia automotive rental
The place potential I attempt to hire vehicles from native firms quite as the massive manufacturers. In Skopje I can extremely advocate Loosen up Hire A Automotive Skopje. Test their web site for charges and reserving. Their service is nice, and the automotive was excellent and really reasonably priced. Ensure that so as to add the inexperienced card to your rental in case you plan to journey to Albania. This North Macedonia itinerary does embody a day journey there.
Different issues to bear in mind whereas travelling in North Macedonia
- Macedonia makes use of the Denar. Change cash in Skopje. For instance, on the on line casino on the primary sq.. Their change charge is superb. Alternate charges on the airports are horrible. If you actually need to then change only a bit.
- If you happen to resolve to not have a rental the 2 days in Skopje, then it’s straightforward to take a taxi to or from the airport. It takes about 20 minutes. You possibly can hire a automotive from Skopje in addition to Loosen up Hire A Automotive Skopje as an workplace downtown.
- Whereas driving in North Macedonia take care on two lane roads within the mountains. Locals drive quick and typically not respecting all the security guidelines. If you happen to take care, will probably be completely secure.
- When visiting monasteries consider to decorate modest.
- Eat good native meals! It’s low cost and scrumptious. I will provide you with some solutions within the day-by-day rationalization of this North Macedonia itinerary beneath.
Day 1: North Macedonia itinerary: Arrival & Skopje orientation
The arrival of my flight was within the afternoon. I used the rest of the afternoon to get the rental automotive, change cash and to select up some craft beer at Pivoteka Beer store. I additionally finetuned this North Macedonia itinerary final minute. Though it was a brief flight I did get drained. I went for an early superb genuine Macedonian dinner on the Outdated Metropolis Home. The Outdated Metropolis Home restaurant I can extremely advocate because the meals was superb. I went to mattress early as I didn’t know the period of time; I might require the following day to see Skopje.
Day 2: Skopje metropolis journey
Skopje, particularly the previous city, is a small capital metropolis. A Skopje metropolis journey could be achieved in a day if not much less is my expertise. Skopje was based again within the 3rd century BC and was of nice significance via the ages. Present Skopje is only a few a long time previous as a result of an earthquake within the sixties that levelled a lot of the metropolis. Most buildings now are new however few older stay. All of the locations of curiosity are inside a brief stroll of Sq. Macedonia. I’ll checklist all Skopje sights in essentially the most environment friendly strolling order beginning at Sq. Macedonia.
- Sq. Macedonia and the statue of Alexander the Nice. It was constructed in 2011 for the 20th anniversary of the Macedonian Independence.
- Mom Teresa Home. Situated at her delivery home the place she lived till right here 18th birthday. A small museum value visiting.
- Porta Macedonia (Arc of Triumph) with stunning carvings of Macedonian historical past.
- Stone Bridge. Because the identify says a stone bridge which dates to the 6th century when Macedonia was underneath Byzantine rule.
- Museum of Archaeology and Museum of Macedonian Battle. Situated on the banks of the Vadar river and a should see.
- Daut Pasha Hamam which now homes an artwork gallery.
- Now stroll into the previous bazaar and simply wander the streets in direction of the Nationwide Museum of Macedonia. You’ll come throughout numerous mosques, Ottoman Inns (Kapan Han, Suli Han), Clock Tower, the Bedesten (a bazaar inside a bazaar for essentially the most valuable gadgets).
If you happen to go to all of the museums the above will take about 4-5 hours. I made a decision to name it a day and go to the St. Saviour Church, Kale Fortress and Museum of Up to date Artwork the following day after the Kokino half day journey. In case you are not taken with visiting all of the museums, you possibly can see all locations of curiosity after or earlier than the Kokino day journey. It will secure 1 day on this North Macedonia itinerary. Personally, nevertheless I all the time go to the Nationwide Museum and Archaeological Museum of a rustic to know extra of its historical past. I loved Skopje as it’s small and nice.
SHORTEN THIS NORTH MACEDONIA ITINERARY: Do day 2 and three on the identical day which is well potential. You possibly can go to the fortress direct after arrival to secure a while as effectively.
Day 3: Kokino day journey & extra of Skopje
The Archaeo-astronomical Web site Kokino is an historical astronomical platform from the Bronze Age only recently found in 2001. It’s simply over an hour drive from Skopje in direction of the Serbian border. The Archaeo-astronomical Web site Kokino is, truthfully, over marketed as a vacationer attraction in Macedonia as “the Stonehenge of Macedonia”. Sure, it will be significant and don’t get me fallacious, it’s value going! I merely needed to go as it’s a tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site. If the guard is there, you’ll have to pay a small entrance price of about 2 euro. He arrived simply after I departed. It takes about an hour to discover the location.
The Archaeo-astronomical Web site Kokino is believed to be from the threerd century BC as numerous artifacts had been discovered and dated to that point. There are a number of thrones and ceremonial platforms to discover. Ensure that to stroll the total circle as you in any other case may miss the ceremonial wall!
It’s an attention-grabbing web site and for positive value including to a North Macedonia itinerary. I returned in time for late lunch in Skopje which I had on the Outdated City Brewery. The shaslik is scrumptious as is their beer. On day 2 I skipped Skopje Fortress & the Ascension of Jesus church which I visited at the present time. Skopje is small so it’s straightforward to combine day 2 and three of this North Macedonia itinerary.
Day 4: North Macedonia itinerary continued: Skopje to Ohrid through Prilep
There are two routes from Skopje to Ohrid which, till the northern freeway is accomplished virtually take the identical time. I like to recommend going via Prilep not less than as soon as. Both going to Ohrid or going again to Skopje. It’s not in regards to the metropolis Prilep however the rocky mass referred to as Markovi Kuli in the midst of the valley. This pure phenomenon is of specific curiosity because it’s not discovered elsewhere and subsequently inscribed as a tentative UNESCO World Heritage Web site.
To get there simply put your GPS to Markovi Kuli and it’ll take you there. On the entrance signal simply proceed the highway till it will get to slender and inaccessible by automotive. Stroll the rest to the as soon as greatest tower of the Balkans. You might have stunning views right here of the massif and when achieved return and go to the Holy Mom of God (Treskavec Monastery) within the northern half. It has stunning fresco’s inside. Additionally it is potential to hike between the 2 locations however you would wish somebody to drive the automotive or stroll each methods which is simply too time consuming for this North Macedonia itinerary. From Prilep proceed to Ohrid.
ADDITIONAL STOP: If you happen to’re like me and don’t thoughts lengthy days then go to Saint George Church in Kurbinovo. It’s additionally a tentative UNESCO World Heritage Web site simply close to Lake Prespa. It is going to add about 1:15 hours to the journey together with the extra driving.
North Macedonia Itinerary Day 5: Ohrid previous city day journey
Ohrid is a wonderful city on the shores of Lake Ohrid and a should place to incorporate on a North Macedonia itinerary. I stayed a 10-minute stroll north of downtown in Resort Villa Kotlar. It’s ideally positioned close to Ohrid Seaside, and also you stroll very quickly to the previous metropolis. Parking can be out there free of charge which is ideal in case you observe this North Macedonia highway journey itinerary as a result of within the previous city no vehicles are allowed.
An Ohrid previous city day journey doesn’t take a full day, so I made a decision to start out round 10 AM and end round 4 PM. From the lodge I walked alongside the shores as much as the fort first after which continued via the previous city to the decrease half. The next locations of curiosity are a must-see. I’ll checklist them in greatest order to keep away from strolling up and down the hilly Ohrid previous city.
- Church of Saint John the Theologian
- Outdated Metropolis Park with the Church of Saints Clement and Panteleimon
- Samoil’s Fortress
- Vintage Theater of Ohrid
- Higher Outdated Gate with partitions
- Church of Holy Mary Perybleptos and the Icon Gallery
- Church of St. Sophia (lunch tip: Sveta Sofija Restaurant)
- Museums Robev Household Home (Ohrid Museum) and Hristo Uzunov Home
- Metropolis Sq. and from there stroll the procuring road
You’ll go different attention-grabbing buildings and extra church buildings. There’s sufficient time to take pleasure in all of the streets of Ohrid! For dinner, I extremely advocate Belvedere for an incredible BBQ!
Day 6: North Macedonia itinerary into nature: Mavrovo Hike
Nationwide Park Mavrovo is a big nature reserve in northeast North Macedonia. It’s actual wilderness which crosses into Albania and Kosovo as effectively. North Macedonia’s tallest mountain, Mount Korab is positioned there as effectively. On the foot of the mountain, deep into the park, is an historical beech forest which is on the UNESCO World Heritage Web site. This Primeval Beech Forest web site is a transborder web site and since I “hunt” UNESCO websites I merely needed to go to. If you happen to plan mountain climbing it is a hike you wish to do!
There is only one hike that goes via the forest which begins at Ribnica to Mount Kabash summit. It’s roughly 8-9 kilometers a technique. The terrain is just not that tough however its wilderness, the trail not all the time absolutely clear and there are wild bears! Go along with an area information (contact Misko by e-mail, greatest licensed information!) in case you are like me not an skilled mountaineer. I drove 2 hours from Ohrid and hiked the primary 7 kilometers (and again) solely as rain was coming so I skipped the summit. I did make it to the primeval beech forest which is historical and pristine. So stunning! On the best way again I made a rapid cease at St. Joseph Monastery which is a pilgrim’s place. I used to be again in Ohrid in time for once more a big BBQ dinner at Belvedere restaurant. Sure I like meat.
Day 7: Highway journey to Albanian facet of Lake Ohrid
Lake Ohrid borders North Macedonia and Albania. If you happen to make a North Macedonia highway journey, I extremely advocate together with the Albanian facet of Lake Ohrid as effectively. Why do that Albania Lake Ohrid day journey? As a result of the sights in jap Albania are all positioned there. All others are close to the coast and thus this protects time. Begin on the Illyrian Tombs of Selca e Poshtme (take the northern border crossing) that are the stays of a settlement relationship to the 5-2nd century BC. One it was dwelling to the Illyrian kings and now a Tentative UNESCO World Heritage Web site. I then advocate driving to Lin to see the previous basis of the cathedral. It has stunning mosaics and are a part of the Albanian UNESCO Web site Lake Ohrid.
From Lin proceed alongside the coast to Pogradec for lunch and time at the most effective seaside of Lake Ohrid. It’s a small metropolis however for locals a vacationer vacation spot. This doesn’t imply it’s costly because the meals is even cheaper as in North Macedonia. I had lunch for 2 folks for simply twenty euro. This included a big T-Bone, salad, bread, and beers. As I’m not that a lot into seashores and the climate was not good both I made a decision to already go to Sveti Naum which is a monastery simply throughout the border (southern crossing) into North Macedonia. That is together with on day 8 of this North Macedonia itinerary because it makes extra sense on that day. If you happen to do keep in Pogradec I do advocate staying till dinner as meals is simply so low cost there.
Day 8: Lake Ohrid day journey & Nationwide Park Galicica hike
There are some websites round Lake Ohrid left for this North Macedonia itinerary. Two of that are included within the UNESCO World Heritage web site Lake Ohrid as effectively: Sveti Naum and the Pure Park Galicica. Choose in Google maps “Lipova – Vrv Magaro Start line” which is the place to begin of the hike into Pure Park Galicica. In contrast to the Mavrovo Hike I included on this North Macedonia itinerary you don’t per se want a information right here. The hike takes approximate 4 hours, however I solely made it midway to the highest when thunder and rain got here. It was not secure to proceed. The primary a part of the hike goes via pine forest after which you’ll stroll within the open. Ensure that to hike the circle to the highest counterclockwise as it’s simpler. For lunch head over to Sveti Naum, which is a monastery but additionally a seaside with lots meals choices.
Sveti Naum or Saint Naum monastery is a wonderful monastery on the coast of Lake Ohrid. He lived in within the 8th century and is related to the founders of the Cyrillic writing. He based the Pliska Literary College (you possibly can go to the stays in Bulgaria) and worded the rest of his dwell on the Ohrid Literary College. His resting place is on the Saint Naum monastery which he himself based. As we speak, the monastery is partly a lodge, and the seaside is filled with eateries and place to drink. You possibly can actually have a boat journey on the small lakes. Fairly touristic however it’s a should go to on Lake Ohrid shores.
If you happen to begin early, you may make a cease on the Bay of Bones Museum to find out how pile dwellers lived centuries in the past. It’s an attention-grabbing museum however in case you have seen comparable museums prior to now, it’s not value going. Altogether a protracted day stuffed with nature and tradition. One which you should do in case you observe this North Macedonia itinerary.
Day 9: Day journeys from Skopje
I didn’t plan any of those day journeys from Skopje as I deliberate at the present time to get a PCR Take a look at to journey dwelling due to the pandemic (summer time 2021). The Netherlands nevertheless modified the foundations, and I didn’t require this take a look at anymore, so I immediately had an extra day in Skopje. In case you have time, I can advocate them. They’ll even be achieved as half day journeys on in the future as I did.
- Climb as much as mount Vodno to the millennial cross. The most important millennial cross on the earth which you may also climb. The climb up the mountain takes about 90 minutes and offers nice views over Skopje. After the climb make certain to go to the St. Panteleimon monastery close by. It has a wonderful painted inside.
- A 40-minute drive away from Skopje is the Matka canyon the place you may make a hike or take a ship journey to a cave. There’s a monastery as effectively and loads of eating places to have lunch. In case you have time, it’s value going.
SHORTEN THIS NORTH MACEDONIA ITINERARY: Merely skip at the present time!
Day 10: North Macedonia itinerary: departure
My Austrian Airways flight was early afternoon, so I had a great evening of sleep. An excellent breakfast on the Marriott Skopje earlier than heading to the airport. I had dropped the automotive already the evening earlier than to avoid wasting time on departure. One factor: don’t come early on the airport. It’s small and there may be nothing to do at Skopje airport.
After I began planning this North Macedonia highway journey itinerary, I believed it might be a mean journey. Now, after driving across the nation, taking in all its magnificence I can say that it’s actually an excellent vacation spot within the Balkan. It’s unspoiled with stunning nature and tradition and since it’s small all the things is well in attain. Then there are a budget costs for meals which is scrumptious. Altogether North Macedonia is a good vacation spot to get away from over tourism. I hope to return in the future to journey into Kosovo and southern Serbia.
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