North Macedonia is a tiny landlocked nation in japanese 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 contains all UNESCO World Heritage Web site, historical prehistoric websites, monasteries, the nation’s finest nature and extra. First, I give just a few North Macedonia journey suggestions after which I take you on a day-by-day highway journey. I’m positive this highway journey suggestion will provide help to plan your North Macedonian journey.
Planning a North Macedonia highway journey itinerary
North Macedonia is a small nation and might simply be explored by staying just a few nights within the capital Skopje and some at Lake Ohrid. I somewhat drive barely greater than to verify out and in motels day by day. You may 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 every week. This needs to be sufficient for the main 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. If you’re not from Europe, please verify with the embassy for the present North Macedonia entry requirement. A visa needs 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 might 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 nonetheless it’s solely Star Alliance flights and airways that aren’t member of the large three alliances. Flights are low cost in off-season however might be steep in excessive season. I select Austrian Airways from Amsterdam in enterprise class which was simply over 350 euro. You could possibly additionally verify flights to Thessaloniki in Greece as it’s just some hours’ drive!
Skopje Inns and Lake Ohrid Inns
There are many motels to select from in each areas. As I’m a Marriott Titanium member one in every of their motels is at all times my first alternative. Thus, in Skopje I stayed on the Marriott lodge. It has an ideal location downtown. At Lake Ohrid I wished to remain close to the previous city but in addition be capable of get out of city simply. Resort Villa Kotlar in Ohrid was my alternative and I loved it rather a lot. The situation is only a quick stroll to downtown Ohrid, 200 meters from Ohrid Seaside and there may be straightforward and free parking. The proper place to remain whereas on a North Macedonia highway journey.
North Macedonia automotive rental
The place doable I attempt to hire automobiles from native firms somewhat as the large manufacturers. In Skopje I can extremely advocate Chill out Lease A Automotive Skopje. Test their web site for charges and reserving. Their service is nice, and the automotive was good and really reasonably priced. Be sure 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 principle sq.. Their alternate charge is wonderful. Trade charges on the airports are horrible. If you actually need to then change only a bit.
- When you determine 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 may hire a automotive from Skopje in addition to Chill out Lease 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 generally not respecting all the security guidelines. When you take care, it will likely be completely protected.
- When visiting monasteries bear in mind to decorate modest.
- Eat good native meals! It’s low cost and scrumptious. I provides you with some strategies 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, alternate 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 Outdated Metropolis Home. The Outdated 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 previous city, is a small capital metropolis. A Skopje metropolis journey might 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 by means of the ages. Present Skopje is just some a long time previous resulting from an earthquake within the sixties that levelled many 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 listing all Skopje sights in probably 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 Wrestle. 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 probably the most treasured gadgets).
When you 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. If you’re not fascinated with visiting all of the museums, you possibly can see all locations of curiosity after or earlier than the Kokino day journey. It could protected 1 day on this North Macedonia itinerary. Personally, nonetheless I at all times 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 doable. You may go to the fortress direct after arrival to protected a while as nicely.
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 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 will be important and don’t get me mistaken, 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 payment of about 2 euro. He arrived simply once I departed. It takes about an hour to discover the positioning.
The Archaeo-astronomical Web site Kokino is believed to be from the threerd century BC as numerous 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 total circle as you in any other case would possibly 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 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 today. 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 by means of Prilep not 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 slender and inaccessible by automotive. Stroll the rest to the as soon as largest tower of the Balkans. You could have lovely 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 lovely fresco’s inside. Additionally it is doable to hike between the 2 locations however you would wish somebody to drive the automotive or stroll each methods which is just too time consuming for this North Macedonia itinerary. From Prilep proceed to Ohrid.
ADDITIONAL STOP: When you’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 phenomenal 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 totally free which is ideal in case you observe this North Macedonia highway journey itinerary as a result of within the previous city no automobiles are allowed.
An Ohrid previous city day journey doesn’t take a full day, so I made a decision to begin 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 by means of the previous city to the decrease half. The next locations of curiosity are a must-see. I’ll listing them in finest 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 cross different attention-grabbing buildings and extra church buildings. There may be 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 nicely. North Macedonia’s tallest mountain, Mount Korab is positioned there as nicely. 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. When you plan mountain climbing it is a hike you wish to do!
There is only one hike that goes by means of the forest which begins at Ribnica to Mount Kabash summit. It’s roughly 8-9 kilometers a method. The terrain just isn’t that troublesome however its wilderness, the trail not at all times totally clear and there are wild bears! Go together with an area information (contact Misko by e mail, finest licensed information!) if you’re 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 way in which again I made a fast 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: Highway journey to Albanian facet of Lake Ohrid
Lake Ohrid borders North Macedonia and Albania. When you make a North Macedonia highway journey, I extremely advocate together with the Albanian facet of Lake Ohrid as nicely. 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 house 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 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 the most effective 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. When you 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 nicely: Sveti Naum and the Pure Park Galicica. Choose in Google maps “Lipova – Vrv Magaro Place to begin” which is the place to begin of the hike into Pure Park Galicica. Not like 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 protected to proceed. The primary a part of the hike goes by means 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 in addition a seashore with loads meals choices.
Sveti Naum or Saint Naum monastery is a phenomenal 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 possibly can 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 present, the monastery is partly a lodge, and the seashore is stuffed with eateries and place to drink. You may also have a boat journey on the small lakes. Fairly touristic however it’s a should go to on Lake Ohrid shores.
When you 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 previously, it’s not price going. Altogether an extended day stuffed with nature and tradition. One which it’s essential to 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 today to get a PCR Take a look at to journey house due to the pandemic (summer season 2021). The Netherlands nonetheless modified the principles, and I didn’t require this check anymore, so I all of the sudden had an extra day in Skopje. When 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 largest millennial cross on this planet which you can even climb. The climb up the mountain takes about 90 minutes and provides nice views over Skopje. After the climb ensure to go to the St. Panteleimon monastery close by. It has a phenomenal 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 nicely and loads of eating places to have lunch. When you have 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 an excellent evening of sleep. A very good 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 could be a median journey. Now, after driving across the nation, taking in all its magnificence I can say that it’s actually an ideal vacation spot within the Balkan. It’s unspoiled with lovely nature and tradition and since it’s small every little thing is well 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 in the future to journey into Kosovo and southern Serbia.
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