North Macedonia is a tiny landlocked nation in japanese Europe and one of the best 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 aspect of lake Ohrid. This North Macedonia itinerary contains all UNESCO World Heritage Web site, historical prehistoric websites, monasteries, the nation’s finest nature and extra. First, I give a number of North Macedonia journey ideas after which I take you on a day-by-day highway journey. I’m positive this highway journey suggestion will make it easier 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 somewhat drive barely greater than to examine out and in motels each day. You possibly can cut 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 main sights however first some North Macedonia journey planning ideas.
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 enough 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 principally low-cost carriers from inside Europe and is an effective selection should you’re flying from Europe and may discover a appropriate flight. In any other case, Skopje might be your house 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 possibly can additionally examine flights to Thessaloniki in Greece as it’s only a few hours’ drive!
Skopje Lodges and Lake Ohrid Lodges
There are many motels to select from in each areas. As I’m a Marriott Titanium member one in all their motels is at all times my first selection. Thus, in Skopje I stayed on the Marriott resort. It has an excellent location downtown. At Lake Ohrid I wished to remain close to the outdated city but additionally be capable of get out of city simply. Lodge Villa Kotlar in Ohrid was my selection and I loved it so much. The situation is only a brief stroll to downtown Ohrid, 200 meters from Ohrid Seashore and there’s simple and free parking. The proper place to remain whereas on a North Macedonia highway journey.
North Macedonia automobile rental
The place doable I attempt to lease automobiles from native firms somewhat as the massive manufacturers. In Skopje I can extremely advocate Calm down Lease A Automobile Skopje. Test their web site for charges and reserving. Their service is nice, and the automobile was excellent and really reasonably priced. Be sure that so as to add the inexperienced card to your rental should you plan to journey to Albania. This North Macedonia itinerary does embody a day journey there.
Different issues to remember 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 trade charge is wonderful. Change charges on the airports are horrible. If you really want to then change only a bit.
- For those who resolve to not have a rental the 2 days in Skopje, then it’s simple to take a taxi to or from the airport. It takes about 20 minutes. You possibly can lease a automobile from Skopje in addition to Calm down Lease A Automobile Skopje as an workplace downtown.
- Whereas driving in North Macedonia take care on two lane roads within the mountains. Locals drive quick and generally not respecting all the security guidelines. For those who take care, it is going to be completely secure.
- When visiting monasteries take note to decorate modest.
- Eat good native meals! It’s low-cost and scrumptious. I provides you with some options 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 automobile, trade 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 wonderful genuine Macedonian dinner on the Previous Metropolis Home. The Previous Metropolis Home restaurant I can extremely advocate because the meals was wonderful. I went to mattress early as I didn’t know the period of time; I’d require the following day to see Skopje.
Day 2: Skopje metropolis journey
Skopje, particularly the outdated city, is a small capital metropolis. A Skopje metropolis journey could be completed in a day if not much less is my expertise. Skopje was based again within the 3rd century BC and was of nice significance by way of the ages. Present Skopje is only a few a long time outdated on account 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 record 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 price visiting.
- Porta Macedonia (Arc of Triumph) with lovely carvings of Macedonian historical past.
- Stone Bridge. Because the title says a stone bridge which dates to the 6th century when Macedonia was beneath 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 outdated bazaar and simply wander the streets in the direction of the Nationwide Museum of Macedonia. You’ll come throughout varied mosques, Ottoman Inns (Kapan Han, Suli Han), Clock Tower, the Bedesten (a bazaar inside a bazaar for essentially the most valuable objects).
For those who 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 inquisitive about visiting all of the museums, you’ll be able to see all locations of curiosity after or earlier than the Kokino day journey. It could secure 1 day on this North Macedonia itinerary. Personally, nevertheless I at all times go to the Nationwide Museum and Archaeological Museum of a rustic to grasp 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 definitely doable. 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 in the near past found in 2001. It’s simply over an hour drive from Skopje in the direction of the Serbian border. The Archaeo-astronomical Web site Kokino is, actually, over marketed as a vacationer attraction in Macedonia as “the Stonehenge of Macedonia”. Sure, it is crucial and don’t get me improper, it’s price 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 charge 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 varied artifacts have been discovered and dated to that point. There are a number of thrones and ceremonial platforms to discover. Be sure that to stroll the complete circle as you in any other case may miss the ceremonial wall!
It’s an attention-grabbing website and for positive price including to a North Macedonia itinerary. I returned in time for late lunch in Skopje which I had on the Previous 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 today. Skopje is small so it’s simple 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 nearly take the identical time. I like to recommend going by way of Prilep no less than as soon as. Both going to Ohrid or going again to Skopje. It’s not concerning the metropolis Prilep however the rocky mass referred to as Markovi Kuli in the course of the valley. This pure phenomenon is of specific curiosity because it’s not discovered elsewhere and due to this fact 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 slim and inaccessible by automobile. Stroll the rest to the as soon as greatest tower of the Balkans. You’ve gotten lovely views right here of the massif and when completed return and go to the Holy Mom of God (Treskavec Monastery) within the northern half. It has lovely fresco’s inside. It’s also doable to hike between the 2 locations however you would want somebody to drive the automobile or stroll each methods which is just too time consuming for this North Macedonia itinerary. From Prilep proceed to Ohrid.
ADDITIONAL STOP: For those who’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’s going to add about 1:15 hours to the journey together with the extra driving.
North Macedonia Itinerary Day 5: Ohrid outdated city day journey
Ohrid is a ravishing 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 Lodge Villa Kotlar. It’s ideally positioned close to Ohrid Seashore, and also you stroll very quickly to the outdated metropolis. Parking can be out there free of charge which is ideal should you observe this North Macedonia highway journey itinerary as a result of within the outdated city no automobiles are allowed.
An Ohrid outdated 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 resort I walked alongside the shores as much as the fort first after which continued by way of the outdated city to the decrease half. The next locations of curiosity are a must-see. I’ll record them in finest order to keep away from strolling up and down the hilly Ohrid outdated city.
- Church of Saint John the Theologian
- Previous Metropolis Park with the Church of Saints Clement and Panteleimon
- Samoil’s Fortress
- Vintage Theater of Ohrid
- Higher Previous 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 purchasing avenue
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 website is a transborder website and since I “hunt” UNESCO websites I merely needed to go to. For those who plan climbing it is a hike you need to do!
There is only one hike that goes by way of the forest which begins at Ribnica to Mount Kabash summit. It’s roughly 8-9 kilometers a method. The terrain will not be that tough however its wilderness, the trail not at all times absolutely clear and there are wild bears! Go along with a neighborhood information (contact Misko by e-mail, finest 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 lovely! 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 really like meat.
Day 7: Street journey to Albanian aspect of Lake Ohrid
Lake Ohrid borders North Macedonia and Albania. For those who make a North Macedonia highway journey, I extremely advocate together with the Albanian aspect of Lake Ohrid as effectively. Why do that Albania Lake Ohrid day journey? As a result of the sights in japanese 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 outdated basis of the cathedral. It has lovely 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 one of the best seashore 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. For those who 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 website Lake Ohrid as effectively: Sveti Naum and the Pure Park Galicica. Choose in Google maps “Lipova – Vrv Magaro Start line” which is the start line 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 by way of pine forest after which you’ll stroll within the open. Be sure 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 seashore with lots meals choices.
Sveti Naum or Saint Naum monastery is a ravishing 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 Faculty (you’ll be able to go to the stays in Bulgaria) and worded the rest of his stay on the Ohrid Literary Faculty. His resting place is on the Saint Naum monastery which he himself based. At the moment, the monastery is partly a resort, and the seashore 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.
For those who begin early, you can also 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 price going. Altogether a protracted day stuffed with nature and tradition. One which it’s essential to do should 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 today to get a PCR Take a look at to journey dwelling due to the pandemic (summer time 2021). The Netherlands nevertheless modified the principles, and I didn’t require this check anymore, so I out of the blue had a further day in Skopje. When you’ve got time, I can advocate them. They will even be completed as half day journeys on sooner or later as I did.
- Climb as much as mount Vodno to the millennial cross. The most important millennial cross on the earth which you can even climb. The climb up the mountain takes about 90 minutes and provides nice views over Skopje. After the climb be sure that to go to the St. Panteleimon monastery close by. It has a ravishing painted inside.
- A 40-minute drive away from Skopje is the Matka canyon the place you can also 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. When you’ve got time, it’s price going.
SHORTEN THIS NORTH MACEDONIA ITINERARY: Merely skip today!
Day 10: North Macedonia itinerary: departure
My Austrian Airways flight was early afternoon, so I had a great night time of sleep. A superb breakfast on the Marriott Skopje earlier than heading to the airport. I had dropped the automobile already the night time earlier than to avoid wasting time on departure. One factor: don’t come early on the airport. It’s small and there’s nothing to do at Skopje airport.
Once I began planning this North Macedonia highway journey itinerary, I assumed it will be a median 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 lovely nature and tradition and since it’s small all the things is definitely in attain. Then there are a budget costs for meals which is scrumptious. Altogether North Macedonia is a superb vacation spot to get away from over tourism. I hope to return sooner or later to journey into Kosovo and southern Serbia.
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