Tuesday, October 26, 2021

How To Travel To North Macedonia

EuropeNorth MacedoniaHow To Travel To North Macedonia

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.

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.

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.

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.