7 Macedonia Top Destinations

The mountainous Macedonia is one of the few countries in Europe that can still claim to be undiscovered by mass tourism and a country still trying to find its place in the modern world. The main draw is the stunning lakeside town of Ohrid, with its friendly atmosphere and beautiful location (and a place very close to our hearts). Skopje, the capital, is a fast-developing melting pot where East literally sits facing West across the Stone Bridge. Add three gorgeous national parks, with the Mavrovo National Park particularly celebrated for its stunning alpine views and a host of remote locations with hidden away Orthodox monasteries and churches, many of which date back over a thousand years, and you are left with one of Europe’s most enticing destination.

7 Macedonia Top Destinations

Ohrid and Lake Ohrid 3 days

Sveti Jovan at Kaneo, Ohrid, Macedonia. macedonia top destinationsCharming Ohrid is the undoubted attraction of Macedonia and it isn’t hard to see why. In the ‘Balkan Jerusalem’, where once 365 churches stood, the best remaining examples of its stunning religious heritage are the St.Sophia church and St.Bogorodica Perivlepta. Its old quarter has retained its magic and the medieval castle overlooking the scene sits perfectly with the picture book feel of the town. Outside Ohrid, along the banks of one of Europe’s deepest and oldest lakes, are some wonderful secluded beaches and the nearby mountainous and floral Galičica National Park is a wonderful place to go hiking or skiing. Ohrid has been a UNESCO World Hertiage Site since 1980 and is one of only 28 sites on the list that are both Cultural and Natural sites. All in all, a must see.

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Skopje 2 days

Skopje National Theatre - One of the newly built monumental buildings in Skopje, Macedonia. macedonia top destinationsThe capital and largest city in Macedonia, Skopje is a surprisingly entertaining and diverse city, given its size, and despite the opinion-splitting monumental building spree currently being undertaken, it is still a city packed with places of cultural interest. The 15th century Stone Bridge, which connects the traditional Muslim and Christian districts is testament to the city’s history as a cultural crossroads with Macedonia Square with its absurdly towering Alexander the Great statue and the Čaršija (old Turkish bazaar) being great areas to stroll around. Other attractions include the Sveti Spas Church, with its ornate hand-carved icons and paintings, and the Tvrdina Kale Fortress sitting imperiously on the hill. For a day trip, take a ride the stunning Matka Lake & Canyon with its medieval monasteries.

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Mavrovo National Park2 days

Macedonia Top Destinations: Mavrovo National Park - wikicommons. macedonia top destinationsComposed of over 700 km2 of pine forest, waterfalls, gorges and rocky hills, the Mavrovo National Park is the largest in Macedonia and is also home to the country’s highest peak Mt Korab (2764 m). Besides wonderful hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter there is also the Sv. Jovan Bigorski Monastery, which is located in Rostuse, with its beautiful frescos and icons to be enjoyed. Other popular attractions are Mavrovo Lake with its crystal clear waters and the half-submerged church located in its watery grave. Also, in the summertime a traditional matrimonial event takes place in Galičnik where a few lucky couples get married and everyone celebrates.

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Bitola1 day

Bitola - wikicommons. macedonia top destinationsMacedonia’s second city is arguable its most ‘European’ in atmosphere and is certainly its most elegant with Ottoman architecture befitting its days as an important Turkish diplomatic centre. Highlights include the Old Bazaar, which although smaller than the one in Skopje, is certainly more beautiful; Deboj Amam, the 17th century Turkish baths and the Ajdar Kadi Mosque. The former consulate buildings represent some of the finest architecture in the city and be sure to take a walk down Shirok Sokak Street and enjoy the romantic neoclassical façades as well as the Catholic Cathedral and military academy where Ataturk once studied. Two km south of the city you can visit the famous ruins of an ancient Greek city Heraclea Lyncestis, founded by Philip II in 4th century BC.

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Pelister National Park 2 days

Pelister National Park - wikicommons. macedonia top destinationsMacedonia’s oldest national park sits in the Baba Mountain massif and is a great place to get away from the urban stresses of travelling. There are eight peaks over 2000m, with Mt Pelister (2601m) standing tallest amongst them, and two glacial lakes, the so-called Pelisterski Oči (Pelister’s eyes) to be explored, as well as various hikes. Further treats include a landscape filled with exquisite flora and fauna and diverse woodland wildlife including boars, deer, wolves and bears.

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Kruševo 1 day

Kruševo - wikicommons. macedonia top destinationsHilltop Krusevo is Macedonia’s highest settlement (1300m) and as well as being a charming place to visit, it is also curious in a number of ways. Founded by Vlach and Mijak tribesmen fleeing a particularly oppressive Ottoman governor, the town is remarkable for its traditional blue tinted houses celebrated for their symmetrical style. It is also an important cultural site for Macedonians as the Ilinden Uprising, the biggest, but ultimately unsuccessful rebellion against Turkish rule, started in the town. Today, the town is also the focal-point of National Day, which is celebrated on 2nd August.

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⑦  And what would you recommend?

.Macedonia map with a question mark. macedonia top destinations

What should be our number 7 in your opinion? We are very curious to hear where you’ve been and what you liked, so please share your knowledge and experience in the comments!

We will add the best recommendations to our map!

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Macedonia Top Destinations Map

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written by: Jon

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