Population: 2.1 million people
Language: Macedonian, Albanian
Currency: Macedonian dinar (MKD)
The Republic of North Macedonia, better known as Macedonia, was renamed on June 17, 2018. The agreement signed with the Greek Foreign Minister has raised the image of a tiny nation located in the heart of the Balkans. The country’s new name is not just a stamp in a passport, it points to the very foundations of Southeast Europe. North Macedonia has existed at the junction of civilizations even before written history. Macedonian, Roman, Greek, Byzantine and Ottoman traditions come together here, showcasing the world’s centuries of experience, architecture from different eras and untouched wildlife.
Despite the presence of all the benefits of Western civilization, the country continues to be one of the most unexplored in Europe. Its majestic historical ruins, pastoral villages, pieces of natural paradise in the mountains – still remain a secret behind seven seals. Arriving here you find yourself in the very center of one of the most contrasting mixtures of cultures on the whole continent: Macedonians and Albanians, Orthodox and Muslims, Turks and Greeks.
The capital of the Republic of Macedonia – Skopje – lies in the valley of the mountain river Vardar. In 1963, a catastrophic earthquake literally wiped him off the face of the earth. However, the old part of the city of Ottoman construction has survived. Today it is the most picturesque piece of the Macedonian capital with narrow streets, mosques, hammams and eastern caravanserais.
To the south is Lake Ohrid – one of the oldest and deepest on the continent (it is more than a million years old and more than 300 meters deep).
For avid culture and adventure lovers, we recommend the newly opened 495 km High Scardus Trail, from where you can see the most breathtaking mountain peaks.
How to get there
Alexander the Great International Airport is located a few kilometers from the center of Skopje. From here, buses of the transport company Vardar Express go to the city. Tickets are sold at the box office on the ground floor of the terminal.
International bus routes connect the capital with almost all European countries.
- The noise of the Ottoman bazaar in Skopje – Charsia – has been heard here for over 5 centuries. Cobbled pedestrian streets lined with craft shops and cafes offer a glimpse into the past.
- Climbing Mount Luboten, 2498 meters high, the northernmost peak of the Shar Planina mountain range, offers grandiose views of the border with Kosovo. After finishing your hike, try the grilled meats, fresh peppers and rakia (local schnapps) at Villa Luboten and stay overnight.
- In mid-July, a wedding festival takes place in the village of Galichnik, located on the slopes of Mount Bistra. This two-day celebration of love with traditional food, music and toast attracts thousands of locals and travelers.
Duration: 10 days
- Experience the fusion of eras in Skopje by visiting the 6th century Kale Fortress, the Ottoman Bazaar, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the trendy Debar Maal quarter.
- Join the horseback riding tour of Mavrovo National Park and ride a horse to the hillside village of Galichnik.
- Travel to the Ohrid region, a UNESCO protected area since 1979, and see the frescoed ancient monasteries standning the lake.
- Take a boat trip to Golem Grad Island on Lake Prespa to see Roman ruins. Then relax on the sandy Dupeni Beach on the eastern shore of the lake.
- Taste red, white and rosé wines in the center of the country, in the Tikvesh wine district – the most famous in the country and in the Balkans.
When to go
June to August is high season in North Macedonia. July is the hottest month of the year. Swimming in the cool waters of the Macedonian lakes in the middle of summer is most comfortable.
Late spring and early autumn are considered the best times to travel around Macedonia. To avoid crowding, experienced travelers come to the republic during this period.
From December to February, ski resorts with suitable conditions for any level of skiing are open in Mavrovo and Popova Sapka.
Important! In Macedonia, seismic activity is essential. Earthquakes do not happen often, but they can be quite destructive.
The only legal tender in the country is the dinar. Currency can be exchanged at banks and numerous exchange offices.
The working day of Macedonian banks usually lasts from 7:00 to 13:00 on weekdays, some large banks work until 19:00 on weekdays and until 13:00 on Saturdays (Sunday is a day off). Exchange offices usually work from 7:00 to 19:00.
Credit cards are not very common in the country: they can only be used in expensive hotels and shops in the capital, but you can easily withdraw cash from the bank. Preference is given to euros and US dollars.
You can familiarize yourself with the pricing policy below:
Useful phone numbers
USA Embassy in North Macedonia, Str. “Samoilova” Nr.21, Skopje: +389 2 310-2000;
Police: 92, Fire Department: 93, Ambulance: 94, Roadside Assistance: 987