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North Macedonia travel guide - Travel S helper

North Macedonia

travel guide

North Macedonia, formally the Republic of North Macedonia, is a nation located in Southeast Europe’s Balkan peninsula. It is one of the former Yugoslavia’s successor nations, having proclaimed independence from the old Yugoslavia in 1991. It joined the United Nations in 1993, but due to an ongoing dispute with Greece over the use of the name “Macedonia,” was admitted under the provisional designation former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (sometimes abbreviated FYROM), a term also used by international organizations such as the European Union, the Council of Europe, and NATO.

The Republic of Macedonia is a landlocked nation bordered on the northwest by Kosovo, on the north by Serbia, on the east by Bulgaria, on the south by Greece, and on the west by Albania. It encompasses about the northwestern third of Macedonia’s broader geographical area, which also includes neighboring sections of northern Greece and lesser portions of southern Bulgaria and southeastern Albania. Mountains, valleys, and rivers dominate the country’s landscape. Skopje, the capital and biggest city, is home to about a quarter of the country’s 2.06 million residents. Residents are mostly ethnic Macedonians, a South Slavic group. Albanians are a sizable minority, accounting for about 25% of the population, followed by Turks, Romani, Serbs, and others.

Macedonia’s history stretches all the way back to antiquity, when the kingdom of Paeonia, a Thracian state, existed. The region was absorbed into the Persian Achaemenid Empire in the late sixth century BCE and subsequently conquered by the Greek kingdom of Macedon in the fourth century BCE. In the second century BCE, the Romans captured the area and included it into the much larger province of Macedonia. Macedonia was a part of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire until the sixth century CE, when it was often attacked and inhabited by Slavic peoples. After decades of conflict between the Bulgarian and Byzantine empires, it eventually fell under Ottoman control beginning in the 14th century. Beginning in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, an unique Macedonian identity developed, despite the current region of Macedonia fell under Serbian control after the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913. Following the First World War (1914–18), it was annexed by the Serb-dominated Kingdom of Yugoslavia, which was reestablished as a republic following the Second World War (1945), and was renamed the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1963. Macedonia was a constituent socialist republic inside Yugoslavia until 1991, when it declared its independence peacefully.

Macedonia is a United Nations and Council of Europe member. Since 2005, it has also been a candidate for membership in the European Union and NATO. Although Macedonia is one of Europe’s poorest nations, it has made considerable strides in developing an open, market-based economy.

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North Macedonia - Info Card




North Macedonian denar (MKD)

Time zone



25,713 km2 (9,928 sq mi)

Calling code


Official language

Macedonian, Albanian

North Macedonia | Introduction

Geography Of North Macedonia

Macedonia has a total land area of 25,713 km2 (9,928 sq mi). It is located between latitudes 40° and 43° N, and mostly between longitudes 20° and 23° E (with a tiny portion east of 23°). Macedonia shares 748 kilometers (465 miles) of borders with Serbia (62 kilometers or 39 miles) to the north, Kosovo (159 kilometers or 99 miles) to the northwest, Bulgaria (148 kilometers or 92 miles) to the east, Greece (228 kilometers or 142 miles) to the south, and Albania (151 kilometers or 94 miles) to the west. It is a route for products to be sent from Greece via the Balkans to Eastern, Western, and Central Europe, as well as through Bulgaria to the east. It is part of the Macedonia area, which also contains Macedonia (Greece) and the Blagoevgrad province in southern Bulgaria.


Macedonia is a landlocked nation that is physically characterized by a core valley created by the Vardar river and bordered by mountain ranges along its borders. The topography is mainly rocky, and it is situated between the Ar Mountains and Osogovo, which frame the Vardar River basin. Three major lakes — Lake Ohrid, Lake Prespa, and Dojran Lake — are located on the country’s southern boundaries, which are divided by the borders with Albania and Greece. Ohrid is said to be one of the world’s oldest lakes and biotopes. The area is seismically active and has been the scene of devastating earthquakes in the past, most notably in 1963, when a massive earthquake severely devastated Skopje, killing over 1,000 people.

Macedonia also offers beautiful mountains. They are part of two mountain ranges: the ar Mountains, which extends to the West Vardar/Pelagonia group of mountains (Baba Mountain, Nide, Kozuf, and Jakupica), also known as the Dinaric range. The Osogovo–Belasica mountain chain, commonly known as the Rhodope range, is the second range. The mountains of the Ar Mountains and the West Vardar/Pelagonia range are younger and higher in elevation than the older mountains of the Osogovo-Belasica mountain range. Mount Korab of the Ar Mountains near the Albanian border is Macedonia’s highest peak, standing at 2,764 m (9,068 ft).

Hydrography Of North Macedonia

There are 1,100 major water springs in the Republic of Macedonia. The rivers discharge into three basins: the Aegean, the Adriatic, and the Black Sea.

The biggest is the Aegean basin. It encompasses 87 percent of the Republic’s total land area of 22,075 square kilometers (8,523 sq mi). Vardar, the basin’s biggest river, drains 80 percent of its area, or 20,459 square kilometers (7,899 sq mi). Its valley is vital to the country’s economy and communication infrastructure. The ‘The Vardar Valley’ initiative is seen as critical to the country’s strategic growth.

The Adriatic basin is formed by the river Black Drin and spans about 3,320 km2 (1,282 sq mi), or 13% of the land. It gets its water from the lakes of Prespa and Ohrid.

With a surface area of just 37 km2, the Black Sea basin is the smallest (14 sq mi). It encompasses the mountain’s northern flank, Mount Skopska Crna Gora. This is the headwaters of the river Binachka Morava, which flows into the Morava and, subsequently, the Danube, which flows into the Black Sea.

Macedonia contains about fifty ponds as well as three natural lakes, Lake Ohrid, Lake Prespa, and Lake Dojran.

Banite, Banja Bansko, Istibanja, Katlanovo, Keovica, Kosovrasti, Banja Koani, Kumanovski Banji, and Negorci are the nine spa towns and resorts in Macedonia.

Climate In North Macedonia

Macedonia has a climate that ranges from Mediterranean to continental. Summers are hot and dry, while winters are somewhat chilly. The average annual precipitation ranges from 1,700 mm (66.9 in) in the west to 500 mm (19.7 in) in the east. The nation has three major climate zones: temperate Mediterranean, mountainous, and slightly continental. The climate is moderate Mediterranean in the valleys of the Vardar and Strumica rivers, in the districts of Gevgelija, Valandovo, Dojran, Strumica, and Radovi. The hottest areas are Demir Kapija and Gevgelija, where temperatures regularly reach 40 °C (104 °F) in July and August. The mountainous climate is found in the country’s mountainous areas, and it is distinguished by long, snowy winters and short, chilly summers. The spring season is cooler than the autumn season. The bulk of Macedonia has a mild continental climate, with warm and dry summers and cold and rainy winters. The nation has thirty major and regular weather stations.

Demographics Of North Macedonia

The most recent census data from 2002 indicates a population of 2,022,547 people. The most recent official estimate from 2009, with no major changes, is 2,050,671. Macedonians are the country’s biggest ethnic group, according to the most recent census statistics. The Albanians, who controlled most of the country’s northern region, are the second biggest group. Following them, Turks are the country’s third largest ethnic group, with an official census figure of about 80,000 and unofficial estimates ranging between 170,000 and 200,000. According to unofficial estimates, there may be up to 260,000 Romani in the Republic of Macedonia.


Eastern Orthodoxy is the Republic of Macedonia’s dominant religion, accounting for 58.9 percent of the population, the overwhelming majority of whom are members of the Macedonian Orthodox Church. Other Christian denominations make up 0.4 percent of the population. Muslims account for 39.3% of the population. Macedonia has the fifth-highest percentage of Muslims in Europe, behind only Kosovo (96%), Turkey (90%), Albania (59%), and Bosnia and Herzegovina (59%). (51 percent ). The majority of Muslims are Albanians, Turks, or Romani, with just a few Macedonian Muslims. According to a 2010 Pew Research estimate, the remaining 1.4 percent are “unaffiliated.”

At the end of 2011, there were 1,842 churches and 580 mosques in the nation. In Skopje, secondary religion schools are run by the Orthodox and Islamic religious groups. In the capital, there is an Orthodox theological institution. The Macedonian Orthodox Church has authority over ten provinces (seven inside Macedonia and three overseas), ten bishops, and about 350 priests. Every year, 30,000 individuals are baptized throughout all provinces.

There is a schism between the Macedonian and Serbian Orthodox Churches that stems from the former’s independence and self-declared autocephaly in 1967. Following the suspension of talks between the two churches, the Serbian Orthodox Church recognized a party headed by Zoran Vranikovski (also known as Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid), a former Macedonian church bishop, as the Archbishop of Ohrid.

The Macedonian Orthodox Church responded by cutting all ties with the new Ohrid Archbishopric and barring Serbian Orthodox Church bishops from visiting Macedonia. By distributing Serbian Orthodox church calendars and leaflets, Bishop Jovan was sentenced to 18 months in prison for “defaming the Macedonian Orthodox church and hurting the religious emotions of local people.”

In Macedonia, the Macedonian Byzantine Catholic Church has about 11,000 members. The Church was founded in 1918 and is mostly composed of Catholic converts and their descendants. The Byzantine Rite Church is in communion with the Roman and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its liturgical service is conducted entirely in Macedonian.

There is a tiny Protestant community in the area. The late president Boris Trajkovski was the most well-known Protestant in the nation. He belonged to the Methodist community, which is the Republic’s biggest and oldest Protestant church, going back to the late 1800s. Since the 1980s, the Protestant community has expanded, thanks in part to increased confidence and in part to foreign missionary assistance.

The Macedonian Jewish community, which totaled about 7,200 individuals on the eve of World War II, was almost completely annihilated during the war: just 2% of Macedonian Jews survived the Holocaust. Most chose to move to Israel after their liberation and the conclusion of the war. The country’s Jewish population now counts about 200 people, nearly all of whom reside in Skopje. The majority of Macedonian Jews are Sephardic, descended from 15th-century exiles fleeing the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions.

According to the 2002 Census, 46.5 percent of children aged 0–4 belonged to a Muslim family.

Language in North Macedonia

Macedonian is the country’s official language and is spoken by almost everyone. Ethnic minorities speak Albanian, Turkish, and Serbo-Croatian. While many young individuals speak English, many elderly ones do not. Most workers, young and old, of tourism-related companies, especially in Skopje, Ohrid, and Bitola, can speak at least basic English. Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, and Slovene speakers should have little trouble communicating.

Shutka, which is part of the city of Skopje, is the only location in the world where Romani (Gypsy) is a co-official language.

Internet & Communications in North Macedonia

Domestic Phones

Domestic phone service is provided in all populated towns through PSTN or VoIP. T-home operates the PSTN network. The mobile operator ONE offers an inexpensive fixed phone service (wireless and simple to install), both prepaid (no monthly cost, 12 months availability without recharge, recharging for just MKD500/€8) and postpaid.

Mobile phones

Mobile phones are readily available, and coverage is good. T-mobile, One, and VIP are the three mobile networks that use the GSM/3G standard. T-mobile sells pre-paid SIM cards for MKD295 (€5) with MKD250 free talk time, ONE sells them for MKD190 (€3) with MKD250 free talk time, and VIP sells them for MKD300 (€5) with MKD300 free talk time. When purchasing, you may be required to present your ID card or passport.

Internet Access

Access to the internet is generally accessible across the nation. Almost all hotels provide free or paid internet connection. Local coffee shops, like many other public locations, typically provide free Wi-Fi connectivity. If the network is locked, feel free to request the password. Broadband internet access is provided through cable, ADSL, WiMax, and LAN connections. You may also use your mobile phone to connect to the internet through GPRS or 3G.

ONE provides both home internet and mobile internet. More information may be found here. T-home provides ADSL internet at MKD599/month (€10) – 30GB bandwidth, 6Mbit/s speed – you must have a T-home PSTN connection.

Internet cafés may be found in most towns and small villages.

Economy Of North Macedonia

Macedonia has experienced significant economic reform since independence, ranking as the fourth “best reformatory state” out of 178 nations evaluated by the World Bank in 2009. In recent years, the nation has established an open economy, with commerce accounting for more than 90% of GDP. Macedonia has had consistent, though modest, economic development since 1996, with GDP increasing by 3.1 percent in 2005. This percentage was expected to increase to an average of 5.2 percent between 2006 and 2010. With an inflation rate of just 3% in 2006 and 2% in 2007, the government has proved effective in its attempts to fight inflation, and has adopted policies aimed at attracting foreign investment and encouraging the growth of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). The present administration implemented a flat tax structure in order to make the nation more appealing to foreign investment. In 2007, the flat tax rate was 12 percent, then it was reduced to 10% in 2008.

Despite these changes, Macedonia’s unemployment rate was 37.2 percent in 2005, and its poverty rate was 22 percent in 2006. However, thanks to a variety of employment initiatives as well as a successful process of recruiting multinational companies, the country’s unemployment rate fell to 27.3 percent in the first quarter of 2015, according to the Macedonian State Statistical Office. The government’s foreign direct investment policies and efforts have resulted in the establishment of local subsidiaries of several world-leading manufacturing companies, particularly those in the automotive industry, including: Johnson Controls Inc., Van Hool NV, Johnson Matthey plc, Lear Corp., Visteon Corp., Kostal GmbH, Gentherm Inc., Dräxlmaier Group, Kromberg & Schubert, Marquardt GmbH, and others.

Macedonia has one of the highest proportions of people in financial difficulty, with 72 percent of its citizens stating that they could only manage on their household income “with difficulty” or “with great difficulty,” though Macedonia, along with Croatia, was the only Western Balkan country to not report an increase in this statistic. Corruption and an inefficient judicial system are also major impediments to sustainable economic growth. Macedonia nevertheless has one of Europe’s lowest per capita GDPs. Furthermore, the country’s grey market is estimated to be worth close to 20% of GDP.

In terms of GDP structure, the manufacturing sector, comprising mining and construction, accounted for 21.4 percent of GDP in 2013, up from 21.1 percent in 2012. In 2013, commerce, transportation, and lodging accounted for 18.2 percent of GDP, up from 16.7 percent in 2012, while agriculture accounted for 9.6 percent, up from 9.1 percent the previous year.

In terms of international trade, “chemicals and associated goods” contributed 21.4 percent of the country’s exports in 2014, followed by “machinery and transport equipment” at 21.1 percent. In 2014, the main import sectors in Macedonia were “manufactured goods classified chiefly by material,” accounting for 34.2 percent of total imports, “machinery and transport equipment,” accounting for 18.7 percent, and “mineral fuels, lubricants, and related materials,” accounting for 14.4 percent of total imports. Even yet, the EU accounted for 68.8 percent of Macedonia’s international commerce in 2014, making it the country’s biggest economic partner by far (23.3 percent with Germany, 7.9 percent with the UK, 7.3 percent with Greece, 6.2 percent with Italy, etc.). In 2014, Western Balkan nations accounted for almost 12% of total foreign trade.

Macedonia is less developed and has a much smaller economy than the majority of the former Yugoslav republics, with a GDP per capita of US$9,157 at purchasing power parity and a Human Development Index of 0.701.

According to Eurostat statistics, Macedonia’s PPS GDP per capita in 2014 was 36% of the EU average.


Tourism contributes significantly to the Republic of Macedonia’s economy. The country’s wealth of natural and cultural attractions make it a popular tourist destination. It gets about 700,000 visitors each year.

Entry Requirements For North Macedonia

Visa & Passport for North Macedonia

EU and Schengen signatory citizens may enter with just a valid ID card or passport.

The following individuals do not need visas to enter:

Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and, Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macao, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Turkey, UK, USA, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The stay on the visa must be for no more than 90 days. In terms of how long you may remain in a visa-free country, the time limit for citizens of Turkey, Japan, and Montenegro is 60 days, while the time limit for citizens of all other countries is 90 days.

A multi-entry Schengen visa (valid for the whole area of the Schengen zone) allows any foreign citizen to enter and remain in Macedonia for up to 15 days without the need to hold a Macedonian visa.  The authorities at the border may tell you that you need a visa to enter Macedonia. Remember to remain cool and gently request that they double-check their facts. Passport and vehicle registration details may take an hour to complete a form!

How To Travel To North Macedonia

Get In - By plane

Macedonia has two international airports, one in the capital Skopje called “Alexander the Great Airport” (SKP) and another in Ohrid called “St.Paul the Apostle Airport” (OHD). There are about 150 flights each week from several European locations to Skopje. The Macedonian government granted a contract to a Turkish Airport Operator Company (TAV) to develop a fresh new Terminal building at Skopje Airport. The building was finished in October 2011. Only WizzAir flies directly between Skopje and London (Luton Airport), Barcelona (El Prat Airport), Venice (Treviso Airport), and Milan-Bergamo in Italy.

Another way to enter Macedonia is to fly to Thessaloniki (SKG) or Sofia (SOF) and then take a cab or bus from there. Buses leave Sofia Central Bus Station for Skopje at 09:00, 12:00, 16:00, 17:00, and 23:59. These services are provided by two bus companies, MATPU and Kaleia, both of which are situated outside the main bus station. A single ticket costs around €16. (MKD32). There are other flights from Skopje to Sofia with comparable costs and timings for the return trip home.

Furthermore, if you call the Sofia Tourist Information Service, they will usually be able to put you in touch with private transport firms that will pick you up at the airport and drive you to Skopje. Prices start at €60 and go up to €160. Negotiating with taxi drivers may be more difficult, but you may be able to obtain a better deal.

If you fly into Thessaloniki, you may take a public bus (24/7) for €0.50 to the railway station and then a train (€14 one way) from there.

Get In - By train

Regular rail services used to link Macedonia to Greece in the south, however all international trains to Greece were halted in February 2011 until further notice. Northern Serbian services are still available.

The Balkan Flexipass is an inexpensive method to travel to or from Macedonia.

Get In - By car

Check that the “MK” box on your Green Card (International Insurance Card) is not cancelled. Unlike in Serbia and Greece, the guards nearly always want to see it. Obtain a decent map of Macedonia and/or learn to read Cyrillic characters. Although most street signs are written in Cyrillic and Latin characters, knowing the Cyrillic alphabet may be useful, particularly in small towns.

The border guards often make a great fuss about obtaining the car’s original papers (no copies). The enforcement rate is 50-50, and if you have a rental vehicle, this may be an issue since you typically have a copy. Certain power hungry guards have already ordered tourists to drive back many hundred kilometers over this detail.

Get In - By bus

Eurobus is a Macedonian-based international coach operator that operates nearly daily trips from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Slovenia. Prices start at €60, with a student discount available.

There are bus connections to Skopje from Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia, and Turkey. Furthermore, some buses, at least those operated by Drity Tours, run from Tirana to Pristina via Skopje (though don’t expect them to wake you up or stop anywhere near the Skopje bus station).

There are two bus terminals in Skopje. The majority of buses arrive at the new terminal, but some connections (such as those to Pristina) are served by the old terminal, which is located in the city center. If you need to change terminals, you must either walk to the stone bridge across Vardar and cross it (approximately 2.5 kilometers) or hire a cab.

Taxi drivers will pester you at both terminals, attempting to persuade you to use their services. You shouldn’t take their advice unless you have a lot of money to throw away. Taxis are likely to be costly, particularly for foreigners, while buses are inexpensive, clean, and safe.

How To Travel Around North Macedonia

Get Around - By car

Because to the hilly terrain and lack of well-maintained roads, it is common to encounter poorly marked abrupt bends, as well as dangerous obstacles that separate your tires from sheer cliffs. The northern section of the highway network has a short length of road with distinct directions, with a stated speed limit of 120km/h and which connects Skopje to Tetovo and Gostivar in the west, as well as the Alexander the Great Airport and Kumanovo in the east. As with other toll collection schemes, the tolls on the motorways are based on toll booths located every 20 km (often after leaving and approaching major towns, and this means you will pay twice if you drive from Skopje to Tetovo, the two neighbouring cities) (for motorcycles and cars, which is often 20 or 30 den).

You should always be sure your tires are in excellent adequate condition. The weather in the highlands (Ohrid, Bitola) is drastically different from that of where you are coming from, particularly in spring and fall.

Every country’s directional signs display town names in Cyrillic (the Macedonian variant of the Greek alphabet) and their Roman transliterations, along with another local language, which is almost always Albanian.

Get Around - By train

National trains are sluggish, but they are a better option than hot, packed buses in the summer. The major railway route connects Skopje and Bitola, as well as Skopje and Gevgelia. There are no trains that go to Ohrid.

Get Around - By bus

Buses are perhaps the most popular mode of transportation in the nation, and they are regular and dependable, though a little sluggish and antiquated at times (though not exactly dilapidated). Typically, the tickets are printed in Macedonian, with no English translations or even Roman transliterations given. It is possible to hail buses directly on the streets, in which case you will pay the driver on board, but if there are no free seats available, this means you will be standing for the whole of the trip, which is unlikely to be the greatest travel experience.

The names of bus firms are often inscribed in the Roman script on the livery, although they are shown in Cyrillic on the tickets. Rule Turs (Руле Турс), Galeb (Галеб), and Classic Company (Класик Компани) are examples of well-known national enterprises. The destination signage in front of the buses are in Macedonian, as well as the other popular local language of the destination, which is usually Albanian.

Get Around - By taxi

Taxis are perhaps the most popular form of transportation for visitors in Macedonia. Most will charge a fixed fee of MKD30 (MKD50 in Skopje) plus additional miles. Be cautious while negotiating the fare ahead of time. Prices above MKD100 are considered costly inside city boundaries, despite the fact that the sum merely translates to a few US dollars. Macedonian cities are considerably smaller in contrast to other Western industrialized nations, and driving from one side of the city to the other takes just around 10–15 minutes. This should equal to approximately MKD100-150 in Skopje, the capital and biggest city.

The exception to this norm is during high tourist seasons, especially in Ohrid. Summer is the most lucrative season for many small enterprises in Ohrid (and for others, the only profitable season), including taxi drivers. As a result, for the same route, many drivers may charge up to three times the flat cost. Most cabs will insist on charging at least MKD100, often known as “sto denari” or “stotka” (slang term for a one hundred denar bill). This is often exorbitant, but you may either haggle the price down to 80 or even 70 denars to be fair, or just bargain hunt. During busy seasons, it is possible to find drivers willing to travel as low as 40 miles per hour. Never feel compelled to take an expensive cab.

Get Around - By boat

You can find lots of craft for charter on Lake Ohrid, which will provide you access to all of the lake’s scenery for a very low cost.

Destinations in North Macedonia

Regions in North Macedonia

  • Povardarie
    The area around the Vardar River, which includes Skopje, the capital and biggest city.
  • Western Macedonia
    The majority of Macedonia’s tourism attractions, including the three national parks and Ohrid, can be found here.
  • Eastern Macedonia
    There aren’t as many tourist attractions here, but there are some breathtaking views of country life.

Cities in North Macedonia

  • Skopje is the nation’s capital, and it is home to numerous historic structures and architectural monuments, as well as a plethora of cultural attractions.
  • Bitola is Macedonia’s most “European” town, featuring an old city, Ottoman monuments, a beautiful retail promenade, a lively nightlife, and more.
  • Kratovo is a beautiful hamlet located in the crater of an extinct volcano.
  • Kruševo — a museum-city hidden high in the mountains of southern Macedonia; it is one of the country’s most historically important attractions since it was the scene of an Ottoman Empire rebellion; it also has excellent skiing.
  • Ohrid is a lakeside resort and UNESCO World Heritage Site that is regarded as Macedonia’s crown gem.
  • Prilep is known for its tobacco farms, ancient monasteries, and odd rocks.
  • Veles is a populous city in the country’s center, located on hills on both banks of the Vardar.

Other destinations in North Macedonia

  • Galičica National Park is made up of the hilly terrain between Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa.
  • Mavrovo National Park is Macedonia’s biggest national park. It is home to Golem Korab, the country’s tallest mountain, as well as many beautiful towns and monasteries.
  • Pelister National Park — Bitola and Prespa are separated by the Pelister National Park. It encompasses the Baba Mountain region and includes two glacial lakes known as “Mountain Eyes,” which feed numerous rivers.
  • Prespa — includes the majority of the Great Prespa Lake, which is shared by many neighboring nations. The beauty offered by the lake is complemented by Galiica to the west and Pelister to the east.
  • Stobi is an old city that has become one of the country’s most important archaeological sites.

Accommodation & Hotels in North Macedonia

Ohrid, being the country’s main tourist attraction, is clearly more costly than any other location in Macedonia. It should be noted that hotel costs are extremely high across the nation and that visitors are charged double rates. It is therefore preferable to stay in private accommodations. If no one asks you at the bus terminal, you may always go to one of the numerous travel companies in and around the city center.

If you choose private accommodations, be sure to see the room first before making a decision. Payment is often paid in advance and should not exceed €10-15 per night per person during peak season and half that throughout the rest of the year. It should be noted that obtaining appropriate accommodation in July and August is difficult, so attempt to book ahead of time via a travel agency.

When visiting Lake Ohrid, lodging in neighboring Struga rather than the more popular Ohrid is a smart choice for those who are price and tourist trap concerned.

Things To See in North Macedonia

This beautiful, small nation has an unexpected number of things to offer. It’s a wonderful blend of ancient Balkan, laid-back Mediterranean, and trendy and happening contemporary European vibes.

It all begins in vibrant Skopje, the country’s capital and economic hub. It has excellent shopping and partying possibilities, as well as magnificent historical sites. The Tvrdina Kale Fortress, built in the fifth century, is one of the major landmarks, along with the magnificent Sveti Spas Church, the lovely old Ottoman market arija, and the Kameni Most. This 600-year-old Stone Bridge leads directly into the city’s main plaza, where a massive monument of Alexander the Great awaits. If you’re feeling adventurous, walk up to the massive Millennium Cross atop Vodno mountain, or use the rope train for the same vistas with less effort. If the city becomes too hot in the summer, follow the residents to the cool beaches of Lake Matka, just outside of town, where you can explore the canyon and caverns through walks and kayak excursions.

Ohrid, a smaller yet popular tourist destination, is known for its many Byzantine churches. This beautiful location on Lake Ohrid is designated by UNESCO as both a cultural and natural monument. It is home to one of the world’s most renowned collections of Byzantine icons, second only to that of Moscow’s famed Tretiakov Gallery, as well as the country’s oldest Slavic monastery and the picture-perfect Church of St. John at Kaneo on the lake’s shore. Struga, the city’s smaller sister on the lake, has a comparable charm but is less crowded with tourists.

Many would say, however, that the greatest experiences in Macedonia can be found outside of the cities, in the breathtakingly magnificent mountain vistas, isolated monasteries, and welcoming rural communities. A trip of the countryside is, in any event, a must-do for every tourist. Pelister National Park is the country’s oldest national park and a renowned tourist destination due to its characteristic Eastern European flora and wildlife. The bigger Mavrovo National Park has beautiful scenery all year and is famous for winter sports. It also has the magnificent Sveti Jovan Bigorski Monastery and a relic of its patron saint. There are hundreds of additional monasteries to visit, including the Monastery of Bogorodica and the Zrze Monastery. For genuine nature enthusiasts, the little-known Public Enterprise for Managing and Protecting the Multipurpose Area Jasen is an outstanding and off-the-beaten-path reserve with superb animal viewing chances that is conveniently situated close to the capital.

If you have enough time, there are lots of additional things to see. Consider visiting the Stone Village of Kuklica, which is just a short distance from the beautiful small town of Kratovo. Alternatively, see the historic Towers of Marko near Prilep.

Food & Drinks in North Macedonia

Food in North Macedonia

If you’re on a budget, consider one of the Skara (grill) establishments. On the waterfront, there are a number of upmarket restaurants offering higher-quality cuisine, but they appeal to visitors, so don’t be shocked by a hefty price at the conclusion of your dinner.

Service in restaurants and cafés throughout the country is often sluggish, either because these establishments are chronically understaffed or because of the overall laid-back attitude. Consider yourself fortunate if your meal is provided within half an hour of your arrival.


Macedonian cuisine is similar to that of the southern Balkans, with plenty of grilled meat (known as skara). Typically, side dishes must be ordered separately. Shopska salata, a mixed salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, and grated sirenje, is also popular in Macedonia. Sirenje is a white cheese that is comparable to feta. Typically, Macedonians will translate the word “cheese” to “sirenje.” Ajvar, a crimson paste formed from roasted peppers and tomatoes, is another regional specialty that may be served as an appetizer or as a side dish. Tarator, which is similar to Greek tzatziki, is another popular local food. It is served as a cold soup and is composed of yoghurt, cucumbers, and garlic.

The most popular street food is burek (урек), a flaky phyllo-like pastry filled with melted cheese and/or ham, or toast (тоcт), pressed panini-style sandwiches.

Stobi Flips are a common snack item available in supermarkets and small shops, resembling a cheese doodle but with a salty peanut flavor.

Traditional Food

Tavče gravče or тавчe гравче in Macedonian, is the country’s national dish. It comprises mostly of beans and paprika, and is usually eaten with sliced sausage mixed in.


Macedonia, being a landlocked country, does not have a wide range of fresh fish. Ohrid is a noteworthy exception, where fresh fish from the nearby lake may be eaten. Ohrid trout is a local delicacy if you don’t mind eating endangered species.

Drinks in North Macedonia

Rakija is a powerful grape brandy with the strongest claim to be the republic’s national beverage.

The Tikveš (Tikvesh) winery in Kavadarci is Macedonia’s biggest in the Balkan region. Red wines are often superior than white wines. T’ga za Jug is a popular Macedonian red wine produced from a native grape type called Vranec. Traminec and Temjanika are two local white wines.

Skopsko (кoско, “of Skopje,” following the Slavic tradition of naming beers after their origin), a palatable, though not completely unique, lager, dominates the local beer market. There are also many breweries that produce unexpectedly good-tasting beer.

The sale of alcoholic drinks in shops ends at 21:00 everywhere in the nation, although business continues as normal in restaurants and cafés.

Unlike most of the rest of the Balkans, mineral water, or kisela voda, is consumed instead of sparkling water or water with gas.

The most popular coffee drink in cafés is the macchiato (макиато, espresso topped with frothy cream), which may be ordered as a single shot, small, mali macchiato or a double shot, big, Goliath macchiato. In the summer, cold cappuccinos with flavored creams served in big glasses are especially popular.

Tea is mostly confined to black and green types and is served in bags. Those looking for strong brewed black tea can visit the teahouses operated by local Turks in Skopje or Ohrid’s old town.

Money & Shopping in North Macedonia

Macedonia has a plethora of marketplaces and bazaars that are well worth a visit. The biggest bazaars are in Skopje, Tetovo, Ohrid, and Bitola, and they offer everything from dried peppers to imitation designer eyeglasses. While most of the goods may not be worth purchasing, there is usually a decent variety of high-quality shoes, fruit, and vegetables, depending on the season. Merchants are usually kind and cordial, particularly to westerners, who are still uncommon outside of Skopje and Ohrid.

Ohrid is renowned for its pearls, and there are hundreds of jewellers in the old town that will sell you high-quality items at reasonable rates. Old Ohrid’s Macedonian Orthodox paintings are well worth seeing.

Tipping is not required, but it is usually appreciated.

Currency in North Macedonia

The denar (abbreviated дeн den in the country; international code: MKD) is Macedonia’s official currency, although many Macedonians list prices in euro (€). Most cities offer ATMs with low commission rates where you may withdraw money, but there are also lots of banks and exchange booths where you can quickly convert money. While banks often provide somewhat higher rates, you must register with your passport, which may take up to ten minutes. Changing money at exchange offices, on the other hand, is simple, painless, and fast. Never exchange money on the street. Although shops may take euro, it is legally illegal for them to do so.

Festivals & Holidays in North Macedonia

Public holidays in Macedonia

In Macedonia, public holidays are celebrated for a variety of reasons, including religious and national importance. They are usually accompanied with festivities.

Date English name Macedonian name 2016 date Remarks
1 January New Year Нова Година, Nova Godina 1 January
7 January Christmas Day(Orthodox) Прв ден Божик, Prv den Božik 7 January
April/May Good Friday(Orthodox) Велики Петок, Veliki Petok 29 April
April/May Easter Sunday(Orthodox) Прв ден Велигден, Prv den Veligden 1 May
April/May Easter Monday(Orthodox) Втор ден Велигден, Vtor den Veligden 2 May
1 May Labour Day Ден на трудот, Den na trudot 1 May
24 May Saints Cyril and Methodius Day Св. Кирил и Методиј, Ден на сèсловенските просветители; Sv. Kiril i Metodij, Den na sèslovenskite prosvetiteli 24 May
2 August Day of the Republic Ден на Републиката, Den na Republikata 2 August Day of the establishment of the Republic in 1944, as well as the Ilinden revolt in 1903.
8 September Independence Day Ден на независноста, Den na nezavisnosta 8 September Independence Day from Yugoslavia
11 October Revolution Day Ден на востанието, Den na vostanieto 11 October During WWII, the anti-fascist war began in 1941.
23 October Day of the Macedonian Revolutionary Struggle Ден на македонската револуционерна борба,Den na makedonskata revolucionarna borba 24 October In 1893, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) was founded.
8 December Saint Clement of Ohrid Day Св. Климент Охридски, Sv. Kliment Ohridski 8 December
1 Shawwal Eid al-Fitr Рамазан Бајрам, Ramazan Bajram 5 July Islamic calendar

Aside from these, there are a number of significant religious and ethical community holidays:

Date English name Macedonian name 2016 date Celebrated by
6 January Christmas Eve Бадник, Badnik 6 January Orthodox Christians
19 January Baptism of Jesus Водици, Vodici 19 January Orthodox Christians
27 January Saint SavaDay Свети Сава, Sveti Sava 27 January Ethnic Serbs
8 April International Romani Day Меѓународен ден на Ромите, Megjunaroden den na Romite 8 April Ethnic Romani people
23 May National Day of the Aromanians Национален ден на Власите, Nacionalen den na Vlasite 23 May Ethnic Aromanians
28 August Assumption of Mary Успение на Пресвета Богородица, Uspenie na Presveta Bogorodica 29 August Orthodox Christians
28 September International Bosniaks Day Меѓународен ден на Бошњаците, Megjunaroden den na Boshnjacite 28 September Ethnic Bosniaks
1 November All Saints’ Day Сите Светци, Site Svetci 1 November Catholics and Protestants
22 November Albanian Alphabet Day Ден на Албанската азбука, Den na Albanskata azbuka 22 November Ethnic Albanians
21 December Turkish LanguageEducation Day Ден на настава на турски јазик, Den na nastava na turski jazik 21 December Ethnic Turks
25 December Christmas Божиќ, Bozik 25 December Catholics and Protestants
variable Good Friday Велики Петок, Veliki Petok 29 April Ortodox Christians
variable Easter Monday Втор ден Велигден, Vtor den Veligden 2 May Catholics and Protestants
variable Pentecost Духовден, Duhovden 17 June Orthodox Christians, 7 weeks after Good Friday
10 Tishrei Yom Kippur Јом Кипур, Jom Kipur 12 October Jews
10 Dhu al-Hijjah Eid al-Adha Курбан Бајрам, Kurban Bajram 12 September Muslims

Traditions & Customs in North Macedonia

Macedonian-Bulgarian, Macedonian-Albanian, and Macedonian-Greek ties are all contentious issues. Most Macedonians have strong political sentiments on their neighbors and will not hesitate to voice them in most instances. Politics is often brought up in casual conversation over a cup of coffee. Avoid subjects such as the 2001 war against the NLA, Macedonia’s division during the Balkan conflicts, and Macedonia’s prospective membership in the European Union or NATO to avoid upsetting your hosts or newfound acquaintances. Don’t be afraid to bring up the Communist era or Josip Tito.

With the present situation in Kosovo, be very cautious while discussing politics, since there is a large Albanian minority here. Ask as many questions as you like (within reason), but refrain from making any comments. Keep in mind that one in every four persons you encounter on the street is likely to be Albanian, with much greater percentages in the west, and tensions between the Macedonian and Albanian populations may be severe at times. In a nutshell, keep your political views to yourself.

Culture Of North Macedonia

Macedonia has a rich cultural history in the fields of art, architecture, poetry, and music. It is home to a number of historic, protected religious sites. Annual poetry, film, and music festivals are held. Byzantine church music had a significant impact on Macedonian music genres. Macedonia contains a large number of surviving Byzantine fresco paintings, mostly from the 11th to 16th century. Several thousand square metres of fresco painting have been conserved, the most of which are in excellent condition and constitute masterworks of the Macedonian School of ecclesiastical painting.

The Ohrid Summer Festival of Classical Music and Drama, the Struga Poetry Evenings, which gather poets from more than 50 countries around the world, the International Camera Festival in Bitola, the Open Youth Theatre, and the Skopje Jazz Festival are among the most important cultural events in the country. The Macedonian Opera debuted in 1947 with a production of Cavalleria rusticana directed by Branko Pomorisac. Every year, the May Opera Evenings take place in Skopje for about 20 nights. In May 1972, Kiril Makedonski’s Tsar Samuil was the inaugural May Opera performance.

Cuisine in North Macedonia

Macedonian cuisine is typical of the Balkans, exhibiting Mediterranean (Greek) and Middle Eastern (Turkish) influences, as well as Italian, German, and Eastern European (particularly Hungarian) influences. Macedonia’s moderately warm temperature promotes the development of a wide range of vegetables, herbs, and fruits. As a result, Macedonian cuisine is very varied.

Macedonian cuisine is famous for its rich Šopska salad, an appetiser and side dish that goes with virtually every meal. It is also known for the variety and quality of its dairy products, wines, and native alcoholic drinks, such as rakija. Tavče Gravče and mastika are the Republic of Macedonia’s national food and drink, respectively.

Stay Safe & Healthy in North Macedonia

Macedonia is a safe nation to visit. Driving is not a bad idea, but foreigners should strive to utilize cabs and public transportation wherever feasible. Keep a watch out for pickpockets and keep all valuables secure, as you would in any other country. Hotels and most private accommodations will provide a safe for storing valuables and cash.

The majority of folks are very nice and welcoming.

Water is safe to drink, and most public locations have public drinking water fountains. All fruits and vegetables should be washed.

When eating red meat in restaurants, take care as you would in any other nation. Although most Macedonian food centers on barbecues (“skara”), there are certain restaurants that do not utilize appropriate or clean cooking techniques, which would be considered a violation of various health laws in many Western countries. Bad restaurants are readily identified; they will most likely not be visually attractive and will not have a large number of clients. The overwhelming majority of restaurants in Macedonia, on the other hand, offer high-quality cuisine.



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