Skopje, Macedonia 

Here are the pictorial highlights of Skopje, Macedonia. A fascinating city and nation that’s waiting to be recognised on the world map. 

view from the Skopje Fortress

Interesting facts of Macedonia:

1. The national currency is the Macedonian Denar (MKD). The cost of living in Macedonia is extremely affordable, probably the lowest in Europe.

2. Macedonia has an impressively high rate of English proficiency. Everyone I talk to, even the shop owner of the little convenient store down the street speaks perfect conversational English.

Areas to explore in Skopje

1. Old Bazaar  

This vibrant quarter of Skopje is situated on the eastern bank of the Vardar River. Not to be confused with the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, it is an entire neighbourhood where old traditions are still kept alive. 

If I have to draw a comparison, it reminded me of the good old Jewish quarter “Balat” in Istanbul, with charming cobblestone streets, traditional cafes and old craftsmen shops of sleepers, bags and jewellery. You can easily enjoy a whole day exploring this neighbourhood so full of history and traditions.

  2. Museum of Comtemporary Art 

On top of an impressive art collection, this museum is definitely one of the most well designed museum space I have ever experienced. 

One particular quote I read from the exhibition really resonates with me, 

somewhere within us lies a utopian spark worth preserving” 



3. Mt Vodno Hiking Trail  

Mt Vodno has one of the most clearly marked hiking trails I have ever experienced.

1,066 metres high, Mt Vodno overlooks the beautiful Skopje city and hosts the once controversial Millennium Cross. 

  
It takes about 90min to hike from Skopje’s city centre (Macedonia Square) to the start of the cable car (Hotel Vodno). Alternatively you can take a bus (35MKD one way) 

From Hotel Vodno, you have the choice to take the cable car to the top of Millennium Cross (50MKD one way). Alternatively, which I think is the best way, you can choose one of the 4 available hiking trails with various level of difficulty.

   
 
  

  
I did not experience the cuisine and nightlife of Skopje, partly due to bad weather but mainly just pure laziness. 

Dear Skopje, I will be back 🙂

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Canyon Matka, Macedonia

Matka Lake, also known as the “womb” lake, is ideal for a day trip from Skopje. 

Only a 30 minutes drive from Skopje , Matka Lake has remained a popular weekend outings spot for the locals and it is best to visit this stunning Macedonian gem during the week.

Stacey from Australia and I planned to go to Lake Matka on her last day in Macedonia.

Hours before we leave for our journey, Tyson from Canada and Niclas from Germany checked into our dorm and decided to join us. The beauty of backpacker hostels!  

  
After a few failed attempts at finding our bus (bus 60, MKD 35 each way), we discovered a taxi ride from Skopje to Lake Matka is MKD500. Yes it is much more expensive than the bus but when converted to Euro, it is a 40min ride that costs less than €10, a deal we are all happy to take.

   

The oldest artificial lake in Macedonia, Matka lake hosts several monasteries and ten caves that could only be accessed by boat or kayak.
Hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, Lake Matka has plenty to offer for outdoor enthusiasts as well as day trippers.