How to spend 3 days or a long weekend in Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia has a population of almost 1 million people and is located in the north of the country in the center of the Balkan peninsula.
Summers can be blisteringly hot in Macedonia with temperatures regularly over 40°C (104°F) and winters can be well below freezing with a fare amount of snow fall. Our personal recommendation to try and get the most from your visit would be to try and visit in spring, early summer or in the autumn to avoid the more extreme weather conditions.
So you’ve decided to visit Skopje (Excellent choice we might say) and are wondering how best to spend your time, well here at IntoMacedonia we have put together our 3 day or a weekend Itinerary with all the sites to visit, things not to miss and our top tips!
First Day – The Old Town & Bazaar
Image courtesy of Andrzej Wójtowicz
When first arriving in any city it is always good to get your bearings, so what better way to do this that having a wonder around the Old Town with its cobbled streets and intriguing mix of Ottoman and Byzantine architecture. The Old Bazaar itself is the second largest in the Balkans second only to Istanbul, so as you would imagine there is a great variety of goods from gold bangles, fruit and vegetables to the vast array of counterfeit football shirts.(That is soccer shirts to our American friends).
You have many options for food in the area, but while in Skopje you should definitely try the Kebapi/Ćevapi. Destan in the Old Town is a good a choice as any providing great value traditional Macedonian cooking and is as popular with both tourists and locals.
After lunch take advantage of the cooler afternoons with a walk up to the Kale Fortress, the origins of which can be dated back to the Neolithic and Bronze ages.
Day Two – Mount Vodno & Etnoselo (Macedonian Village)
Wake up in the morning look out the window and you will see the sight of the 5th highest free standing cross in the world, the Millennium Cross at the top of Mount Vodno. There is a cable car that runs from part way up the mountain to the top, providing a superb panoramic view of the city. You can either catch one of the large red double decker buses heading for the Millennium cross, taxis are another option for those among you less willing to use public transport.
After after a walk around taking in the scenic views and perhaps a strong Macedonian coffee, you’ll probably be ready for a spot of lunch. Next stop is the Macedonian village or Etnoselo which is on the way back down towards the city, which is a selection of ethnographic traditionally built houses from all of the different regions around Macedonia. There are a range of restaurants to choose from, be sure to try a local specialty such as ajvar, selskomeso, grne, tavchegravche or pindzur. After lunch wonder round the village at your leisure and take a look at the range souvenir, art and craft shops.
Day 3 – Matka Valley
On the third day you can visit the spectacular Matka Valley that has something to offer for almost every taste. Rent a kayak and paddle across the lake, explore the caves, visit historic monasteries or take in the range of wildlife several of which are unique to the area. There are a few cafes and restaurants available to choose from close to the damn, although these are relatively pricey by Macedonian standards.
You can get to Matka both by bus for 35 den (€0.56/$0.67) or taxi for around 600 den (€9.70/$11.44)
Get back to Skopje early, then visit the Memorial House of Mother Teresa and learn about one of the cities most famous former residents.
Your weekend in Skopje
Hopefully you now have an idea of how you can spend your weekend in Skopje, if you end up with a few more days to spare then why not consider a trip to Ohrid or a day hiking in Pelister National Park. If you have any questions then please feel free to get in touch.