I ended up spending the most amount of time in Macedonia on my latest Balkan trip and seriously had so much fun. Places are always that much better when you are hanging with homies so really glad I was able to meet the cool people who I did while I was there (big shoutout to my friends from Shanti Hostel!).
Even while I was on my own, I really enjoyed myself and felt comfortable everywhere I went. Macedonia struck me as being the most prepared for international tourists in comparison to the other two countries I visited (Kosovo and Albania) though it’s only a matter of time before all three are totally ready and getting bombarded by backpackers and jet setters alike. There is just so much to see!
Now I rocked up not really knowing a single thing about any of these lands, and while that’s totally fine to do, I compiled a list of 15 things I think you should know about each before you go in case you were curious – starting with Macedonia.
1) The name of the country and some of its national heroes are contested
The fact of the matter is I’ve probably already offended someone with the title of this post. You see, there are some people out there (a large portion of them Greek, though there are others) who are adamant that the country be referred to as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), not Macedonia. To them, Macedonia is an ancient region within Greece and for Macedonia to call itself as such is claiming a stake on their territory. The two countries are also at odds over national heroes, especially Alexander the Great. Read about it if you’d like, I’m not going to attempt a neutral explanation though it’s definitely something you should be aware of.
Warning: I will not approve any politically charged comment left here so don’t even think about it. I’m here to talk travel, not politics.
2) Skopje is currently undergoing a very costly and very controversial makeover
If you arrive in Skopje before 2014, expect to see quite a bit of construction as the city is currently undergoing a massive transformation thanks to the aptly named “Skopje 2014” project. The project was launched in 2010 by the Macedonian government in an effort to make its capital more visually appealing though many critics cite is as just an expensive and frivolous display of nationalism – especially aimed towards Greece and the ethnic Albanians in Macedonia.
From a traveler’s perspective and politics aside, I have to say I do feel like they are overdoing it a bit. With 1/3 of the country still living below the poverty line, one can’t help but be baffled and even annoyed by the excessive amount of new statues and monuments that have gone up or are going up every which way you turn.
Its comparison to Las Vegas is dead on and my only fear is that this crazy project is going to overshadow the inherent attractiveness of the place. It’s hard to deny that it is a strange situation, but overall it shouldn’t take away from what really matters here and that is Skopje is a cool city to visit and is full of cool people. You’ll just have to mind the government’s (hopefully) temporary mess.
3) Skopje has the largest bazaar in the Balkans outside of Istanbul
This is frequently mentioned fact though to tell you the truth, it wasn’t that obvious to me. When I think of Istanbul’s bazaar, I think of the covered and enormous Grand Bazaar which Stara Charshija is nothing like. Anyway, I didn’t expect to feel such a strong Ottoman vibe in the center of Skopje and that I did. It’s hands down my favorite part of the city no matter how confused I look in this photo.
4) The U.S. Embassy in Macedonia is a monster
The U.S. Embassy in Skopje is one of the biggest in the Balkans and seriously frightening. I don’t know if this is an accurate number, but I heard that it is something like 13,000 square meters. This photo doesn’t do it justice but at least you will know what you’re looking for. Really can’t miss it.
(Note: It’s the building in the distance on the left, not the one closest)
5) The largest Roma community in Europe is just outside of Skopje
Šuto Orizari, or Shutka, is a municipality just 5 kilometers from the center of Skopje and is home to an estimated 20,000- 50,000 Roma depending on who you ask. With its own Roma mayor (named Elvis, I might add) and Romani as an official language, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it is the largest “official” Roma community in the world. It’s a really interesting place to spend a couple of hours and is completely safe to visit.
*Side note: I was informed by a reader that Romani is actually an official language of the entire country and one of the rare places where Romani language has been standardized for the purpose of teaching it in schools. Pretty cool.
6) Bitola is Macedonia’s SECOND or THIRD largest city and it goes off
Bitola, Macedonia’s second or third largest city (I had initially reported it as second, but someone down there in the comments is adamant it is the third – I think you still get the point), seems to be completely devoid of foreign tourists even though it is probably the most European-looking in terms of architecture and there is actually a lot to see. We’re talking ancient ruins, old bazaar, busy pedestrian street, lots of shopping, crazy nightlife, and gorgeous Pelister National Forest sitting in its backyard. Definitely worth a visit.
7) Ohrid is dead in the winter (but it’s also a great time to go)
In typical summer resort fashion, Ohrid becomes a complete ghost town during the colder months. Though I was bummed to have missed the place in its prime, I enjoyed the absence of an excessive amount of tourists tremendously. Especially on those evenings I climbed up to Sveti Jovan Kaneo to watch the sunset. I can’t imagine what a different experience it would be with 500 other people standing around. Same goes for my visit to Sveti Naum – another monastery 30 km away that I highly recommend you get out and see.
8) The food is great and the water is clean
Perhaps one of the biggest perks of not being a member of the European Union is that Macedonian farmers don’t have to abide by often ridiculous standards. That is not to say the standard of agriculture or food production there is lower; on the contrary, it might even be higher. I’m not kidding when I say I’ve had some of the best salads of my life while in Macedonia. The water there is also clean so feel free to drink straight from the tap.
9) It has amazing wine
Seeing Macedonian wine outside of Macedonia is rare, but that isn’t because they don’t produce any that is worthy of being exported. No, no, no….Macedonian wine is GREAT. If anything, it’s because all of it is being consumed before it even has a chance to cross the border. Tikveš is a really good brand and happens to produce one of my new favorite rosés in the world. You can find it in most stores and it probably won’t cost you more than 99 denars (€1.50) for a liter. Yes, I was in heaven.
10) You technically can’t buy alcohol in shops after 7pm or 9pm depending on the season
Alcohol is off limits to buy after 7pm in winter and 9pm in summer. It’s a lame law but not unheard of, especially where I semi-come from (hello, Sweden). It’s also an easy law to get around as any local you meet will probably be able to direct you towards a shop where you can buy some black market booze after curfew – hence “technically”.
*Side note: Praise the lord, this silly law is hopefully on its way out in 2018.
11) Rollerblades, dogs and guns are not allowed in clubs, but high heels are required
Was pretty bummed to learn that I couldn’t wear rollerblades or have a dog with me when I went clubbing. Overjoyed, however, at the fact that guns are generally prohibited.
Oh and high heels are actually not required. I was just told by a Macedonian dude that he wouldn’t look twice at a girl if she wasn’t wearing them, he’d probably even call her “ugly”. Something to think about for all the ladies out there headed to Macedonia looking to attract local men….
12) People smoke everywhere
People smoke everywhere, and when I say everywhere, I mean everywhere. A lot of places do have designated smoking areas (most restaurants), but the effectiveness of that has always been lost on me. Welcome to the Balkans.
13) It is incredibly cheap
I knew Macedonia was going to be cheap, but I didn’t expect it to be that cheap. I found it to be even slightly cheaper than Kosovo and Albania. You can get a great meal for €5 or less, and for €10-15 you can eat and drink like a queen. Transportation is cheap and so is accommodation. It’s really a great place to go if you’re on a budget.
14) It is extremely rich in nature
Macedonia’s nature is unbelievable. Countless mountains, 3 national parks, 53 lakes, the Vardar River, valleys, caves…it really has it all so no shortage of things to do if you are a fan of the great outdoors.
One warning though, you will also notice a lot of trash (mostly on the side of the road) which sadly is a recurring theme throughout the entire region and not just limited to Macedonia. Let’s hope the situation will improve – whether it be the government putting in more effort to clean it up or litterers getting punished like they should.
15) The people there are awesome
Most Balkan countries I’ve found are warm in general, but there’s something about Macedonians that I really like. They have a good sense of humor and were just so damn welcoming everywhere I went. Even when we couldn’t understand each other, the Macedonians and I got along which means a lot as a traveler.
To anyone who is from Macedonia or who has traveled there before – something you think I need to add to this list? Interactiveness is one of the beauties of blogging, don’t you know. Also feel free to correct me if I am wrong on anything, but know all opinions here are my own and coming from what I experienced first hand during the 10 days I was there.
ConnorJanuary 17, 2013 at 5:47 am
Totally need to try this place out, you always ‘inspire’ me to want to go places!
LarissaJanuary 18, 2013 at 12:04 am
Great, I love hearing that :)
zoranJuly 20, 2013 at 5:13 am
just came across this write up on Macedonia u did…LOVE IT. Im from Macedonia and ur review, especially being a tourist of our awesome country makes me so happy and proud of where i come from. so, so happy u had an amazing time!!! :) <3
LarissaJuly 20, 2013 at 9:32 pm
Thank you, Zoran :) You should be incredibly proud and it’s bittersweet that I had such an amazing time because now all I want to do is get back there, but can’t. At least for now, but hopefully that will change soon :)
AnisahSeptember 27, 2013 at 11:24 am
Hey Zoran, was wondering if you’re gonna be in Skopje on 2nd October as I would be there, only for a day trip though, and would love to see the city with a local! :)
Hope to hear from you!
And Larissa, such great photos! And i can’t wait to experience at least the main city of Skopje as you’ve described! Thanks! ;)
ZoranMay 4, 2014 at 4:17 am
omg…i just noticed your message here. Sorry Im not in Macedonia…I live in Toronto, Canada.
Anyways…now that my reply is 8 months late lol….I hope you had a great time in Macedonia and was able to meet up with a local to help you get around :)
ArbinAugust 13, 2014 at 6:46 pm
hey anyone who wants to come in macedonia im here for you like local looooooool
MatthewMay 29, 2014 at 7:39 pm
What part of Macedonia are you from?
JimmyNovember 13, 2015 at 1:33 am
I will like to visit Macedonia, how do I go about it? I need someone to help me. Am from West Africa.
StefanAugust 20, 2013 at 6:54 pm
I’m Macedonian and I gotta say you nailed the description of my country :). The part about the renovation and statues being build everywhere (and overdoing it) while some folks here are having a hard time financially was especially true, but all that is the result of incredibly bad leadership here. All in all I’m really happy that you had a great time and that you’ve had such a positive review on your stay. As for anyone else that’s interested in coming here I just have one advice. Beware the taxi drivers. There are a lot of them that will charge you far more than usually just because thay expect you not knowing how the prices go. Best thing is to ask some of the locals to recommend you a taxi company :)
LarissaAugust 25, 2013 at 7:39 pm
Hey Stefan, thanks for the head up and happy to hear you think I nailed it. I only took a couple of cabs but all were called by the owners of the hostel so luckily didn’t experience any rip offs.
RaviApril 2, 2017 at 8:09 am
Hello!! Hope this message of mine will find you in best of your health and spirit. Myself Ravi, I am citizen of India. I am a businessman and want to visit Macedonia and other parts of Eastern Europe. Honestly speaking, I am in love with that part of world i.e. Macedonia, Slovenia, Slovakia and Montenegro. I have friend in MK, and she is getting married and she wants to invite me to her marriage. I would request you to guide me through the exact visa process and other needful. Thanks a lot. Ravi.
ChristianNovember 7, 2015 at 9:38 am
http://youtu.be/8gy-b6ipl3A Check out my film about Skopje !!! :)
PatJune 18, 2018 at 5:33 pm
just came across this blog , googled Skopje Macedonia as I may be going to take up employment there ,im Scottish , and you know us scots we get on with every one ,so have to make decision whether to take it or not
so do you reckon it is a good place to live and work or just to visit .
LarissaJune 19, 2018 at 7:34 am
I would definitely enjoy living and working there for a period – have a few friends who have done so and seemed to enjoy it. All depends on what you are up for and duration I suppose. Would be an interesting time to relocate there, that is for sure :)
brknJanuary 23, 2015 at 9:56 am
i wanna go to uskup,im turkısh man.is it good ?
GagiMarch 5, 2015 at 7:20 pm
I live in Skopje, Macedonia ( I am not from there ) and I think you would love it if you visited again. Now there is even more places to visit! Also, here in Macedonia ( Skopje especially ) there are A LOT of statues.
LarissaMarch 5, 2015 at 10:48 pm
I’ve been back several times since, definitely getting better with time :)
Indrajeet UpadhyayNovember 15, 2015 at 12:16 pm
The post was ok, but I loved the song named “11th Dimension” in the end..
Aleksandra YorkMarch 28, 2016 at 9:32 pm
Hi,I’m Macedonian ,and now American it’s all great what you wrote here ,but you should go visit now lot of things are changed ,no smoking everywhere too lol
LarissaApril 20, 2016 at 8:58 pm
I’ve been back several times and while for sure not as much smoking everywhere, still a lot of smoking – but it’s the Balkans! :)
ShaunJanuary 17, 2013 at 3:19 pm
What a huge post! Thanks for all the great info. When I was at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul I thought it was going to be open air like Skopje’s but less modern. Was still a maze though. The only store that caught my attention was an antique store in the old part where I bought a compass from the 1960s!
Gadling has a good series called “a traveler in the foreign service” who was stationed in Skopje as his first assignment. Some really great stories from his experiences there.
LarissaJanuary 18, 2013 at 12:18 am
Just checked that series out and loving it so far. Thanks for telling me about it. I’d like to ask him what it felt like working in that fortress of an embassy. Like how many times he got lost per week, etc, etc..
ShaunJanuary 18, 2013 at 5:15 pm
Np. He’s a great writer to boot! He had a great article on being a diplomatic courier… nice to be a globe trotter with a government pension, lol.
Dave SeminaraJanuary 22, 2013 at 11:59 pm
Hi Guys. A friend in Macedonia sent me this link. First of all, great post on Macedonia, I’m so glad you enjoyed the place. I worked at the American embassy there from 2002-4, and we were in a depressing old facility across from the tennis club on Ilinden, so I can’t answer your question.
There are a lot of huge embassies these days but they’re all still cozy compared to working at the State Department building in DC. I did indeed get lost in that monstrosity many times. Not all these posts are about Macedonia, but this is a link to the Foreign Service series: http://www.gadling.com/tag/atravelerintheforeignservice
Feel free to drop me a line and keep up the good work.
LarissaJanuary 23, 2013 at 12:38 am
Hi Dave, what a pleasant surprise!
As I guess you probably read below, Shaun just pointed out your series to me and I have to say I really got a good laugh out of some of your Macedonia tales. What an interesting life you’ve led and amazing how great you are at sharing it with the world. You’ve certainly been added to my list of Inspiring Authors.
Thanks for stopping by and please let me know should you ever make it back to Skopje and into that embassy. I will do the same :)
StevceJanuary 20, 2013 at 1:23 am
Hey, I liked reading your blog, but you missed one major thing about traveling in Macedonia (especially in the winter) and that is the amazing number of holidays between January 1st and the 19th including a second christmas, a night of bonfires and bbqs, a carnival of frightening masks, and a polar plunge into all the lakes and rivers. Also you might want to mention to your readers something about the conflict between the different ethnic groups of Macedonia: Albanian vs. Macedonian.
LarissaJanuary 20, 2013 at 9:38 pm
Hi, thank you. I can’t say anything about the holidays between January 1-19 as I wasn’t fortunate enough to experience them, was only there in late November. They do sound amazing though so perhaps I will have to plan a visit back when they are taking place – thanks for letting me know!
As for the conflict between Albanians and Macedonians, I did mention a small something about that in #2 but overall want to keep these kinds of discussions away from my blog. There’s plenty of that going on elsewhere and in my opinion doesn’t affect the attractiveness of Macedonia as a tourist destination. Like I said in #1, I’m here to talk travel, not politics :)
BobbyFebruary 22, 2014 at 10:09 pm
I will say that there is a little bit of national tension between macedonians and albanians but it is not a big issue. Btw love your article, but there are so much more that can be said and added. As a local from Skopje i must say that Matka which is about 6 km from the centre is a must see place with amazing nature, also Vodno the mountain with the cross is a very nice place to visit on the weekends, if u like hiking if not there is a rope railway straight to the top which is about 1080 metres. And last in winter Mavrovo is the place to be. It is the best ski resort in Macedonia it is a national park and it’s some of those things that are hard to explain you have to experience it.
That thing about the high heels, it’s totally wrong, even most young people frown upon women with very high heels.
LarissaFebruary 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm
Of course there is so much more that could have been said, but seeing as I wasn’t looking to write a book, just a short introductory blog post, I did the best I could ;)
I’m very mad at myself for not making to Matka but at the same time, was a very dreary, cold day when I had the opportunity so better to save it for the warmer months I thought. Didn’t realize how close it was, I thought it was like 20 km. Would be very interested to check out the ski scene in Macedonia so thanks for that tip. Hoping to get back there this summer, but if not, maybe I will postpone to winter. Thanks for weighing in on the discussion!
DuskoJuly 29, 2015 at 4:55 pm
hello larissa and thank you for your input.
If you visit Macedonia don’t forget to visit city of “Macedonian Las Vegas” called Gevgelija . The south and most warm during the summer but so beauty with nature and farms. The most sweet Grapes , modern City of Culture and is awesome place to visit.
And Second place is Dojran which have it’s own history and tradition , mini lake but awesome place to visit. cheers and thank you <3
KaterinaJanuary 21, 2013 at 4:26 pm
In Macedonia we live in harmony. The conflict is in the past.
LarissaJanuary 21, 2013 at 6:56 pm
Things seemed harmonious for the most part while I was there. Could never speak as an expert after only visiting for 10 days but hope what you say is true as that is where conflict needs to stay.
BrendaMay 31, 2015 at 5:12 am
Hi all, I have read and hear many wonderful things about Macedonia. After reading this article, I have made the decision to visit once and for all.
I am traveling from Rumania to Macedonia on 09-27-15 and departing for Albania on 10-06-15. So, I will have for what I know the chance for 9 days to enjoy such be a beautiful country and it’s folks.
I am 59 and love it! I am game for physical as well as fun activities. Any advise and feedback you could provide me with would be greatly appreciated. Beautiful Macedonia, see you soon!
LarissaJune 4, 2015 at 1:29 am
Hi Brenda, good for you! Glad to hear you are making the trip and I think you have all the advice you could ever ask for in some of the many comments posted here so I suggest having a deeper look. Hope you have a great time!
Conrad StormJanuary 20, 2013 at 6:42 am
Great blog. One oversight – the picture you have for number 4 isn’t the US Embassy – it is the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Kale. You might want to update your picture. Otherwise wonderful stuff and beautiful pictures.
LarissaJanuary 20, 2013 at 9:16 pm
Thanks, Conrad! Think maybe I should just note that the US Embassy is not the structure closest in the photo, but rather the one off in the distance on the left side. Is it not? That’s what I was told.
ZlatkoJanuary 21, 2013 at 6:13 pm
Hi. Thank you for the text about my beautiful country. You can read more about Macedonia and its travel opportunities on http://www.exploringmacedonia.com and http://www.macedonia-timeless.com. Also i would like to mention that the picture with the bus driver smoking is not from Macedonia i can assure you. There are some places where you can smoke (braking the law). The law is very rigid and there is no possibility to chose whether you will have smokers zone or not. Smoking is forbidden inside every place that provides some kind of service (food, drinks, etc…)
At the end i love story and you should come once again in summer so you can experience a lot more and a lot different kind of fun.
LarissaJanuary 21, 2013 at 7:12 pm
Hey Zlatko, thanks for the information! Though I can assure you 100% that photo was taken in Macedonia – don’t want to give the exact location as I would hate for that guy to get in trouble, he was cool :) Either way, it’s the case in many Eastern European and Balkan countries where people break the law re: smoking. Definitely not just Macedonia and I do know they have it forbidden in a lot of places as well.
Now I have to go back during the summer because I feel like there is a whole side of the country I didn’t see. I’m certain after another 10 days under the Macedonian sun I will have at least 150 more things to talk about!
BobiMay 31, 2013 at 3:03 am
I had to add some important tips for visiting my country because,i understand that you have been here only for 10 days.Macedonia is a beautiful counrty in every time of the year,and here are many great places that even i and many more of us didn’t visited yet,like you sad before,it has a rich nature with planty of natural lakes and beautiful mounties.I must tell you,that the best time to visit Macedonia is in summer and in January,New year,christian Christmas and whole January when we have many holidays.In the summer,the best location is the natural lakes,like Ohrid Lake,Prespa’s lake,Dojran’s Lake,especialy Ohrid and Struga.In this times of the year,you can see the best of our country.Greetings and you are welcome to visit us
The DudeMay 31, 2013 at 9:30 am
It feels so good when other people appreciates your country. But you didn’t seen anything until you visit some of the many beautiful monastery’s because they are big part of our culture and history. Take my advise and do that next time you visit, you wont regret.
StefanijaJanuary 21, 2013 at 4:06 pm
Larissa, this is an excellent overview of my country given from the aspect of a foreigner. Thank you and hope that you will visit again. It is always interesting to see and read other people’s perceptions for your own country.
LarissaJanuary 21, 2013 at 6:24 pm
Thank you, that makes me happy to hear it’s “local approved”. I know there is so much more to your beautiful country so I hope I can visit again. Next time when the weather is warmer! :)
BrendaMay 31, 2015 at 5:20 am
Hi Larissa, I hear so many wonderful things from Macedonia all the way to San Francisco, California. I will only visit for 9 days this time around. However, it’s my hope to live there for at least one year. Once there, I hope to learn more about all the related immigration issues
KaterinaJanuary 21, 2013 at 8:03 pm
Probably you forgot one of the most beautiful place – Matka Canyon! There is the most deepest underwater cave in Europe (still don’t have the exact number, but till now they went till 192 meters). The team of 13, made up of Italian, Belgian and Macedonian divers, believe that the cave is actually deeper than reported, but had to call off their ten-day mission due to muddied water caused by heavy rain.
And another fact for this canyon that not so many people know is that there are over 5000 types of butterflies, some of them cost a lot. The hunting is obviously forbidden, but unfortunately there are still people trying to steal some species.
I’m glad that you liked my country, and i believe there are a lot more surprises for you to see in these beautiful country.
Greeting from Skopje! :)
LarissaJanuary 21, 2013 at 8:15 pm
Hi Katerina and thanks for bringing up Matka Canyon! Sadly I missed it, decided against going because that day the weather wasn’t so good, but know I have to check it out the next time I am in Macedonia for sure. Hopefully that will be in spring or summer so can enjoy the place when its at its best and see some of those 5,000 butterflies (WOW! I didn’t know that). Heard there were a few nice monasteries around there as well – only 15 km from Skopje, so bummed I didn’t make it!
DraganJanuary 21, 2013 at 9:37 pm
Matka Canyon, Mavrovo, Krushevo, St. Jovan Bigorski monastery(near Mavrovo)… Just some of the places you should visit the next time you travel to Macedonia.
Great post by the way. I always had troubles to describe my country to my foreign friends without being biased and they never believed me that in such a small country you have so much things to see and experience. I am going to use this post to show them from now on.
LarissaJanuary 21, 2013 at 9:54 pm
Awesome, yes! Have definitely added all of those to my list. I am going to be a busy girl.
Thank you for the very huge compliment, too. Always means a lot when I get approval from the people who matter most – the people who live there.
ElenaJanuary 21, 2013 at 9:55 pm
Amazingly accurate description of things/situations. We rarely see foreigners who get it right.
I, too, disagree that the smoking ban is being broken as often as you say. Some places, yeah, but definitely not everywhere. I live here and there are people freezing outside every cafe because they can’t smoke outside. You can’t compare it to Serbia where you basically can’t see people because of the smoke.
All in all, like I said, very spot on. Great job there. Come back, there’s more to be seen.
LarissaJanuary 22, 2013 at 7:50 pm
That is very true, Elena, definitely not as smokey as some of the other Balkan countries! But still smokier in comparison to where I am from which is the only reason I brought it up. I wasn’t necessarily complaining either because I occasionally smoke myself ;)
Really can’t say enough how much it means to hear I got it right. In my opinion there is no greater compliment for a travel writer. Cheers!
IgorJanuary 21, 2013 at 10:04 pm
OMG this is a really wonderful story about my country. Im really glad that u felt the spirit and the energy of Macedonia. The part for the wine si sooooooooooooooo true though I would say that there are tastier wines that the ,,Roze,, that is on the picture. Anyways, u as any other tourist are more than welcomed to come and visit Macedonia again and tell the story to other people too.
All the best :)
LarissaJanuary 22, 2013 at 7:52 pm
Thank you, Igor! It has already been decided (in my mind) that when I return I will be doing a full wine tour of the country. Can’t wait to go back – all the best to you as well!
TJanuary 21, 2013 at 11:51 pm
I was just told by a Macedonian dude that he wouldn’t look twice at a girl if she wasn’t wearing them, he’d probably even call her “ugly”.
– he’s middle name it must have been Dick
LarissaJanuary 22, 2013 at 7:56 pm
Nah…he was cool and I truly was a minority wearing motorcycle boots/Converse in the clubs. Though I should add that I ended up doing pretty alright for myself, so heels are definitely not a requirement ;)
AnaMay 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm
Hey i’m from Macedonia and i can assure you that not all the clubs are like that. There are many rock gigs you can attend every week :) And when you come again, come at summer at night at the City Park, that’s where the metalheads hang out and it’s really cool :) Maybe we will meet and have a conversation over a wine or beer or two or seven :)
Random skopje metalheadJune 6, 2013 at 2:14 am
I must add that the city park is the college for “street” school. You can find lot of interesting people and lot of opposing thinkigns, it is the place where everything is about hanging out and having a good time for the least money. I am hanging there for 8 years (summer/winter) and that is my starting point if i decide to go in some of the rock clubs that are in the very City Park itself. So thing is, you get a bit fuzzy with a one 1 litre of “Vitac” red wine, and meanwhile hang out with your mates, with who actually never arrange to meet them there, everyone comes friday and saturday there, and then go in one of the clubs, or at someone’s birthday party (which happens a lot if you have so many friends). It is a bit different from the Skopje’s usual “cafe then disco” scheme, but is far more cheaper, and you always leave home knowing something new, because most of the people are intellectual people, students with good grades and bosses in companies that still like that way of life. Hope i wasn’t too long, best regards, A metalhead from Skopje.
LarissaJune 22, 2013 at 12:03 am
I’m not a metalhead, but I am big fan of drinking in outdoor spaces and cheaply. Will check it out next time for sure!
LarissaJune 22, 2013 at 12:01 am
That sounds lovely :)
MarijanSeptember 9, 2015 at 12:11 am
next time spend some time in Bitola Skopje is great but Bitola is noting less than Skopje
LarissaSeptember 18, 2015 at 2:25 pm
Thanks for the recommendation though I have spent time in Bitola. Maybe you should read this post?
meApril 10, 2014 at 1:54 am
for proper clubbing.. avoid places where u see girls on heels. next time try Kapan An and Sektor 909.
Mishko GjorsheskiJanuary 22, 2013 at 12:38 am
Im really glad that you liked your stay in Macedonia, i must admit great article, very true and realistic. You have captured good sides as well as bad sides which i like. Im from Ohrid but i study in Ljubljana, Slovenia, so i got little emotional when i saw the post, because i have not been home in few months :) thanks. Anyway i would like to invite you to come again to Macedonia, especially Ohrid in summer, it is realy cool and a loooooot more places to visit. If you need accomodation check out http://www.bs-apartments.webs.com, it is my family apartments house, nice, near the lake and not expensive. I hope to meet you in summer, until then have a very nice time in this cold winter days and stay positive.
Greetings from Ljubljana
LarissaJanuary 22, 2013 at 8:13 pm
Thanks, Mishko. There are good and bad sides to everything, but when the positives greatly outweigh the negatives you know you have something special. Thank you for the invitation, your family’s apartment looks very nice. I will most definitely be going back and will make sure to plan it for the summer.
Mishko GjorsheskiJanuary 25, 2013 at 5:12 pm
you are welcomed :)
LarissaJanuary 25, 2013 at 10:19 pm
Thank you :)
What if I dont want to share my name on the interwebzJanuary 22, 2013 at 4:16 am
great post about Macedonia and I love that you enjoyed your stay here.
Next time you visit Macedonia let me know and I’ll take you to Matka. Who wouldn’t enjoy driving around a Blonde Gipsy.
LarissaJanuary 22, 2013 at 8:15 pm
Hey thank you, Mystery Man/Woman. Would love to take you up on your offer assuming by then I will be able to properly identify you. And it’s true, driving around a Blonde Gypsy is lots of fun, I promise ;)
danielJanuary 22, 2013 at 10:29 am
Hello Larissa :)
So… U were not told of Kokino ( http://kokinoobservatory.mk/ ) an Ancient observatory, even older then Stonehenge. And also U didn’t mention our stronger Alc … the Rakija :) … I would get mad of U were not introduced to that one :) …
Anyhow I enjoyed your writing with my morning coffee today, very objective and honest …
LarissaJanuary 22, 2013 at 8:22 pm
OH, that was a huge oversight on my part. I was introduced to your Rakija within the first two hours I was there…how could I forget?? Well, the answer to that is pretty simple – just drink too much of it :) Was not aware of Kokino though – just added it to my list!
Glad to hear my writing went well with your morning coffee, hope you had a great day!
nexusJanuary 22, 2013 at 11:17 am
Hello Blonde gypsy,
can you suggest some good decent accommodation in Skopje ? It seems difficult to find something correct so if you have some good info to share ,please do ! many thanks for sharing the rest :)
LarissaJanuary 22, 2013 at 8:26 pm
Hello, not sure what you are looking for but my time wouldn’t have been the same if I didn’t stay at Shanti Hostel. It’s more of a home than a hostel or guest house where you will meet all kinds of interesting people and enjoy wonderful hospitality.
Teodora TrpovsaJanuary 22, 2013 at 11:27 am
Great post. You are certainly right about everything, especially the wine and the food, as my field of expertise :)
LarissaJanuary 22, 2013 at 8:28 pm
That sounds like a fun field to be an expert of. Was sent this amazing video which leads me to believe I need at least one month with just Macedonia’s food alone! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPFFN43Z8lo&fb_source=message
IgorJanuary 22, 2013 at 3:17 pm
Great Blog! Awesome post, very interesting POW’s. Let me know when you’ll be next coming around, (high heels are not necessary) and I’ll recommend you places you can write and write and write about… Cheers!
LarissaJanuary 22, 2013 at 8:30 pm
That sounds great, thank you! And I know they are not required, but they are quite popular :)
NikolaJanuary 22, 2013 at 4:11 pm
Hi Larissa, glad you enjoyed my country and people.
I find your experience and descriptions open and truthful, even intimate. And wouldn’t add anything to your story – come again and add something by yourself :-)
Here’s some fun photo of another bus driver: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=410370372375390&set=a.255526841193078.59540.255465354532560&type=1&theater
LarissaJanuary 22, 2013 at 8:33 pm
Hahaha, that is awesome! As I mentioned in another comment, I definitely wasn’t complaining about the smoking – just pointing it out because there are some people who I am sure would find that shocking. I’ve spent too much time in Eastern Europe and the Balkans for it to even phase me anymore, I just laugh :) Thank you for the nice words, I will be back for sure..
MikiJanuary 22, 2013 at 8:14 pm
I want to thank you on a great review of my counry:) People point out that you missed quite few things but as you said you cant cover all in 10 days :D I live quite near Matka and i have a sumer house there.Also there are 3 monastiers in Matka that you can only go by foot.One of the most amazing places I’ve ever been to.Next time you come in Macedonia and if you have time,be sure to contact me,it will be my pleasure to show you those beautifull places:) Have a nice day,bbay :)
LarissaJanuary 22, 2013 at 8:36 pm
Your comment went through, no worries. I knew I missed some things but WOW, didn’t realize how much! There is no way I can’t go back now and thank you for the wonderful offer, sounds like your summer house is in a great place.
AleksandarJanuary 23, 2013 at 6:23 am
Very honest and refreshing view, even for someone who was raised in Skopje (unfortunately, I agree on your views on Skopje 2014)! Definitely will give me a new perspective next time I am home.
A tiny correction, if I may: US Embassy, definitely not the largest in the Balkans, or Europe. The new Belgrade embassy, for one, is larger. And it would be silly to compare it to London, or Berlin, lets say. I believe the misconception about the size stems from it being the largest foreign embassy in Skopje, its isolated location, and the Macedonians’ gift of hyperbole! :)
Thank you for your post. Greetings from, of all places, Kazakhstan!
LarissaJanuary 23, 2013 at 9:41 am
Thanks a lot, I’m really happy to hear you enjoyed the post. You could be right about the hyperbole, but I heard it from a non-Macedonian as well. I will make the correction re: it being one of the largest in the world (just saw plans for the $1 billion one, 45,000 sq meter one that they are supposed to build!), though I want to find out for sure if it really is 13,000 sq meters like I read. The new embassy in Belgrade is 12,000 sq meters. Either way, the thing is a monster and definitely commands your attention.
Thanks again for the comment and greetings back to Kazakhstan, one of the countries I’d like to get acquainted with in the near future :)
MarkoJanuary 24, 2013 at 12:48 am
Thank you for the beautiful words about my country! I found your post amazing and describes Macedonia perfectly. I wouldn’t agree with that guy’s statement about the heels. Girls with boots are much more fun, relaxed and attractive in many ways :) I would love to take you to “must visit” places in Macedonia next time you are here. Also are you a member of couchsurfing.org ? My home is open for you anytime. You have my mail.
LarissaJanuary 24, 2013 at 10:54 pm
Marko, thanks again and yes I am on Couchsurfing. P.S. As an avid boot-wearer, I have to say I love your attitude towards that choice of footwear ;)
TimJanuary 24, 2013 at 11:02 pm
Thanks for this Larissa. Glad I saw your post. I went to Skopje last Summer when I went to Thessaloniki in Greece and traveled to Bulgaria and Macedonia. Bulgaria has some fantastic nature around Melnik and great for walking. Transport was sometimes a little slow but that’s ok if you enjoy the landscape! Skopje was fun and livelier than I thought. I also went to Tetovo for a day which is an Albanian city in Macedonia but I hated it, very unfriendly and they dont really want outsiders there. I met some fun Macedonians in Skopje who said said the government had imposed the new Disneyland buildings, wow they look a bit ridiculous and imposing. All those heavy statues all over the place of serious men. My friends said they hope the next government will pull them down and put in a park outside the city.
Ohrid was fantastic and I am sorry I only stayed for two days. Then back to Greece for some sun, sea and loads of swimming.
LarissaFebruary 3, 2013 at 6:49 pm
Hi Tim, sounds like you had a pretty nice trip around the region even if it was a bit short. Haven’t made it to Bulgaria yet but hopefully next time. Heard Tetovo wasn’t that interesting too. As crazy as all the Disneyland buildings are, I think when it is finished it is going to be nice but brand new which is just such a strange contrast to everything that is old there. Anyhow, thanks for your comment and hope you get to go back and enjoy Ohrid a bit more someday (and me as well!).
KoceApril 9, 2014 at 8:46 pm
Tetovo is Macedonian city.In the city living Macedonians and in the surrounding villages are mostly albanians.
TimJanuary 24, 2013 at 11:03 pm
Yeah forgot to click follow up boxes. Thanks again.
MiroFebruary 1, 2013 at 7:58 pm
Larissa…wow, your spirit is just something extraordinary…I hope you’ll have it forever!
I’m a traveler too, and I wish it could be my profession. But I refuse to go visit places for for a short time, 3-4 weeks is a minimum if you have a good local somebody. It is easy for us men, I know, and that is why I admire you…and wish you a lots of luck!
I would like to offer some assistance, within my limits, for your next visit to Macedonia, on your terms and conditions …. and if I may suggest, late May – June, or if you like sunbathing and swimming = late August (after 25th)
LarissaFebruary 1, 2013 at 10:22 pm
Miro, you are too kind! Thank you and if by spirit you mean passion for travel, I am fairly certain I will :) I completely agree with your refusal to not visit places unless you have 3-4 weeks, slow travel is awesome and I think in the end more meaningful. I can only imagine how much more I could have written if I had that amount of time in Macedonia instead of just 10 days. The next time I go back I’d like it to be in summer, maybe June or July, but I have no plans yet. Will definitely be announcing it here though if any are made!
AnnaFebruary 2, 2013 at 1:45 pm
First of all great review and wonderful pictures.
If you have the opportunity to visit us again, I recommend you go to Berovo, Mavrovo and Dojran. Also you should see the Carnival in Strumica. It’s so much fun :D
Ana from Skopje
LarissaFebruary 2, 2013 at 6:40 pm
Thanks, Anna! I haven’t heard of any of those places so I will definitely look into them for my next trip. The carnival in Strumica looks wild, that too is definitely on my list :)
Antonio SandevskiFebruary 3, 2013 at 6:53 am
“Blonde Gipsy” You are Spot On on every single thing You wore about Macedonia. I couldn’t agree more with You about everything u said. That’s exactly how a “Young Western Explorer” feels when he/she first comes to Skopje.
I saw Your Article just before we closed our shop for the day and I red it out loud in front of everybody at the BMW Dealership here in Florida. (Since everybody is asking me to tell them about Macedonia – this article saved me a lot of time to explain everything to everybody individually)
I’m from Skopje, but in the past 8 years I’ve been living in Destin, FL and sometimes I bring home some of my American Friends and they are always having a BLAST! (One of them stayed there for 6 moths and didn’t want to get back – his Dad bought 4 Air-tickets that he missed on purpose).
My Friends perspective about Macedonia is exactly like Yours and they find ’em interesting exactly the same things that u describe.
Can’t believe that You saw sooooo much in only 10 days (u must have been super busy)
U even went to Sutka (or GipsyTown as my American Friendz call it – I have a few (Super Funny) Stories from our trips there as well) LMAO
I can certainly say that I enjoyed Your post indeed and I’m sooo Happy that u had Great Time
This Summer I will have a bigger group of American Friends coming over to Macedonia for the Summer (I PMed You about it) and would love to meet with You if You can be there in the same time – You “fer sure” have a gift for observing the situation and writing about it from the most realistic perspective, and we all are going to be happy if You come there once more and write again about Your Great Experience
I sent a link to This story to all my buddies that are coming there this Summer as a Guide on what to expect and I also sent a link to over 600 Facebook Friends – (Hope they won’t accuse me of Spammin :P )
Larissa THANK YOU one more time for this Beautiful Story, We should announce You as an Honorary Macedonian!!!!!
YOU ARE ALWAYS WELCOMED IN MACEDONIA!!!!!
LarissaFebruary 3, 2013 at 6:42 pm
Antonio, this comment makes me smile like you wouldn’t believe :) I can only imagine how this sounds being read out loud, in a BMW dealership haha. Would love to hear your funny stories from GipsyTown someday and I can totally see how so many of your friends would love Macedonia as much as me – especially if they have someone as nice as you to show them around!
Thanks for taking the time to write me, to share this story with your friends, and oh yes, for welcoming be back anytime. I knew Macedonians were awesome and I am a lucky girl for having a connection with so many of them now :)
LidijaApril 3, 2013 at 2:23 pm
Hi there, you really have noticed a lot of interesting things in my country, but I would suggest also, next time when you come here, make it in spring time, maybe in may, and don’t miss: canyon Matka- near Skopje, Kokino- near Kumanovo, Smolare waterfall and Pehcevo waterfalls
LarissaApril 4, 2013 at 9:05 pm
Oh I would love to be there in spring – it won’t be this year but hopefully next! Or summer even. Have heard so much about Matka, really wish I made the trip while I was in Skopje because it is so close. Will make a note of those waterfalls as well, they sound lovely!
TriciaApril 23, 2013 at 10:49 am
We just arrived to Ohrid yesterday, so I was pleased to find your post. :) We’re eager to explore the city and try some of those salads you rave about. How long did you spend in Ohrid?
LarissaApril 23, 2013 at 11:19 am
Lucky you! I was there about 4 days and in November so I am sure there is much more going on this time of year. My friend Nate over at http://www.yomadic.com has been there though for a few weeks now so you might want to check his blog to see what he’s been up to. He’s been loving it as well. Have a great time!
TriciaJune 9, 2013 at 9:36 pm
Larissa, I’m finding your reply late – we’ve now left beautiful Ohrid, but had a super time there, as well as in Skopje before heading to Greece. The blogging community is small; we’ve made Nate’s e-acquaintance and were thinking it’d be fun to have met up somewhere in the Balkans, but we’ve now left. Already planning on returning!
LarissaJune 13, 2013 at 1:47 pm
Glad you had a nice trip – it’s such an easy place to get attached to, no? I too am planning a return so maybe see you there :)
Toni MojsievskiMay 30, 2013 at 9:21 am
I.Love.You. No kiddin, you said it all (comin’ from a “fellow” Macedonian, since you described it so well you’re one of us now) :)
LarissaJune 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm
Aw, I feel honored :)
Dzole P.May 30, 2013 at 12:09 pm
What a great report! I am absolutely delighted to read such beautiful(and I must add, also true) facts and things about the country that i live in. It’s great to read your blog and to feel like a proud Macedonian. This is really a piece of art, as far as I am concerned.
If You come to Macedonia again, please(I beg You) concentrate more on the Ohrid region. Spend some time with the local people and let them tell You some (real)stories about this country and our traditions. Hope to read something new after Your next visit to Macedonia :D
LarissaJune 5, 2013 at 12:19 pm
Hadn’t considered a piece of art before, thank you for that compliment! I especially want to get back to Ohrid when the weather is better and go out exploring it’s surroundings as I am sure it’s just stunning. And hang with more locals! That’s something I didn’t do in Ohrid and missed – in Skopje & Bitola though, I made some nice friends :)
AleksandarMay 30, 2013 at 1:13 pm
Its a beautifull post for my country,but u forgot to visit My town Strumica who is well known as a city for wild partys and a very good and rich night life…..when u visit Macedonia next time,Do not forget to visit Strumica….10x :)) bye
LarissaJune 5, 2013 at 12:20 pm
Did you say wild parties? I’m there! :)
slavchoMay 30, 2013 at 1:18 pm
Ohrid is dead in winter but in summer is legendary :)
LarissaJune 5, 2013 at 12:21 pm
Well said! That’s exactly what I’ve heard :)
JoeymkMay 30, 2013 at 1:25 pm
I’m glad you liked Ohrid even in the winter. I have high hopes that you will visit us in the summer. Great night live, great party all over the place
LarissaJune 5, 2013 at 12:21 pm
I will, I will and looking forward to that!
Martina AlchevaMay 30, 2013 at 1:48 pm
Hi Larissa! :)
First of all, I’d like to thank you for writing this special-flavored post regarding our magic wonderland, Macedonia. It’s really nice to know that there is a number of people on the planet left, who just like to rule out the “national issues” stuff imposed by the politicians and go for whatever is on your mind straightforward. We, the Macedonians, have an enormous respect for such deed, so thank you :)
My only advice is that you raise your voice higher, so that people from different parts of the world get to listen to what the grand conductor has directed, and not let the politics blind them. One more thing… What I never want you to do is quit visiting our side; instead try to discover new places, including the small ones – you’d be surprised by the vast landscapes waiting for you! :)
I bet that you’re already familiar with the level of our hospitality; and I know that there’s no need of saying that you’ll always be welcomed here – but eventually I had to! Besides, the delicious Ajvar’s always here :)
The warmest Regards,
LarissaJune 5, 2013 at 12:32 pm
Thank you for the lovely comment, Martina. I would love to get back there and actually have contacted the Macedonian ministry of tourism for some help, but no response. I will do it on my own eventually, but it will take some time. I never imagined writing this post would lead to such encouragement and a million more recommendations, but I am so happy it did and I hope to be able to experience all of it. I haven’t felt this welcome in a country for a while so thank you again from the bottom of my heart <3
IrinaMay 30, 2013 at 2:13 pm
Hey, Larissa! I am a local and I can tell you that your review is spot on! I loved it! Thanks for visiting and spreading the word. :)
Hope you visit again!
LarissaJune 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm
Thank you, Irina and I hope I visit again soon too! Clearly there is much, much more that needs to be spread :)
ZoranMay 30, 2013 at 2:26 pm
Larissa feel free to write an email next time you are in Macedonia, so we will have chance to take you on tour round Bitola.
It is one of the greatest on Balkan region.
LarissaJune 13, 2013 at 1:51 pm
Thanks for this offer, Zoran – I will definitely do that! I definitely did not spend enough time there.
jOHNYMay 30, 2013 at 2:27 pm
The second largest city in Macedonia is Kumanovo, not Bitola, Bitola is third.
LarissaJune 5, 2013 at 12:37 pm
I guess never trust Wikipedia. Also just read that Tetovo is the second largest from another source. Bottom line – it’s one of Macedonia’s largest cities. Will make a note though.
KristijanMay 30, 2013 at 2:38 pm
Have you been in Kumanovo? For about 30km from the town and about 6 km from the Serbian border, in the Staro Nagoričane municipality is a bronze age archaeological site called Kokino. It is situated between about 1010 and 1030 m above sea level on the Tatićev Kamen (Татиќев камен) summit and covers an area of about 90 by 50 meters, overlooking the eponymous hamlet of Kokino.
Megalithic Observatory Kokino is one of the oldest observatories in the world. In 2005 American Space Agency NASA ranged this observatory on the 4th place on World’s Ancient Observatories list.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kokino
LarissaJune 5, 2013 at 12:41 pm
Sounds amazing, would LOVE to visit this place. Didn’t make it to Kumanovo, hoping to next time.
GjorgeMay 30, 2013 at 3:15 pm
“We don’t have much, but we share it all”
LarissaJune 5, 2013 at 12:40 pm
Definitely felt that vibe.
Dragan ZlatkovskiMay 31, 2013 at 1:26 am
Congratulations on your beautiful blog. To write something, must be inspired by something beautiful. I think that 10 days is not enough for you to know Macedonia. I hope that in the future you will find more time and will return here again, and you will have more time to familiarize Macedonia. Indeed, it may be a small country, but with very great culture and many treasures that fill the soul and make you experience the freedom of watching the golden sun which sleeps on the beautiful blue sky of cotton clouds. You can be my guest whenever you want. I love Macedonia with all my heart. I am honored that I live in a country with a rich culture and history. Proud to be Macedonian!
I think that once you see these two videos on YouTube, you will surely want to come back again and stay longer to learn more Macedonia. Believe me, each one centimeter here is something interesting.
LarissaJune 5, 2013 at 12:45 pm
I’ve seen this video, it’s awesome. I’m really glad you enjoyed the post and indeed I was inspired by something beautiful. Can only imagine what I will have to write if I spend even double or triple the amount of time… still wouldn’t be enough I’ m sure! So, so beautiful to hear how proud locals are of their country. Thank you :)
DaveRoseMay 31, 2013 at 1:56 am
Thanks for the wonderful words for our country. Just a little correction about the high heels thing, high heels are not required the dude was either a jerk or he was just joking. About the cheap food and drinks yes if you come from a coutry like Sweden or England or whatever, you will spent so less money. Hope you comeback here again and visit more cities and i recommend to visit the villages too. :)
LarissaJune 5, 2013 at 12:49 pm
I know, that one was meant more lightheartedly and I even said it wasn’t the case, but you have to admit wearing them is quite the normal thing to do in clubs there. You are absolutely right about it being cheap mostly in comparison to Scandinavia or Western Europe. I hope to come back again soon, too :)
BozzMay 31, 2013 at 1:59 am
You can check this place if you are traveling in Macedonia.
Even the pictures can not explain the pure beauty of it.
LarissaJune 5, 2013 at 12:49 pm
Looks nice, thanks for sharing
PervyMKMay 31, 2013 at 2:14 am
Thanks for all the nice words for our country! I am glad you enjoyed it, and I think you really think you did well in how you explained the lifestyle here!
Few things I’d like to add, in case you ever visit again, and 1 thing to correct you about! Haha.
The high heels thing. That’s general douchebag attitude that sadly most ‘clubbin’ loving guys have. That’s balcanian mentality, and if you’d rather have a chill night instead, I’d recommend you visit the Macedonian pubs instead. In the pubs you can literally wear a pajama, and you’d still be considered attractive and fun to talk to, unless you are one of those people who literally don’t speak unless asked! (Which I think you are not lol)
The only other thing I’d add is about visiting the place in some certain times.
Like you mentioned Ohrid is overcrowded in Summer, but it’s still worth visiting. The water in the lake is great, and the city is also cool, tho it’s VERY expensive during summer (well at least for the locals).
Some other places you may consider visiting at certain times of the year are Mavrovo (during winter, it’s just AWESOME). You can ski there, and the mountain in general is just awesome.
Skopje (Fall/Winter), for the awesome Wine Fest (which you should enjoy. Tikvesh wine everywhere! And in case you didn’t know, Tikvesh is spelled with Sh on the end! :) ), and the Beerland happening. It’s a festival of the beer and food. It lasts for 3 days, with lots of music, beer and local bbq!
Prilep and their own Beerfest, which is often mentioned as best beer festival in the balcans, Stip (Shtip spelled) in order to try their local Pastermajlia (which is like, awesome food that I think can’t be found outside of the balcan), and since you are wine lover, Kavadarci and Negotino (2 Cities next to each other, very cheap and close, like 1 euro and 15 mins buss ride between each other), which are in one name called… TIKVESH. Yes, you can drink as much home or winery made wine and rakija (something like kognac, very strong alcohol, 40-60%). The locals there are always up for a drink or two, at any day of the week, any time of the day. Be aware tho, their accent is so weird, that even Macedonians can’t understand them always. They speak so fast and gibbery, with their own short words for everything!
Anyway, my comment is long enough already, so I just hope you really enjoyed as much as you said you did, and that you will eventually, come again! Maybe in 2014, once the city looks the way it is supposed to! haha.
Cheers and peace from Macedonia!
LarissaJune 6, 2013 at 1:57 pm
Hey! Thanks for the great information. I would LOVE to be back for all these festivities you are talking about and the wine towns. It could be really awesome to watch some of my favorite rose being made :)
As for the high heel comment, I didn’t mean to generalize – I know not all Macedonia dudes are that shallow ;) I definitely want to hit more of the pubs next time. Hopefully before 2014 but yes, also 2014 so I can see the differences – I’m sure there will be many. Thanks again for so much awesome information for stopping by. Cheers to Macedonia!
ZarkoMay 31, 2013 at 2:43 am
So glad to hear such wonderful stuff about my country I’m glad you enjoyed your stay here. The law banning alcohol was established 2 years ago for reasons unknown ; Compared to other countries 5 euros per meal maybe cheap but given our country’s minimum salary is 100 eu and average salary is around 300 eu the price seems fair no? also you can buy a hot-dog for 40 denars which is equivalent to 0.66 eu ; The club you were in, our people are usually divided by music. High-heels are a must if the genre is turbofolk, if its rock reggae or metal trance etc you are welcome with a pair of converse runners, boots, regular shoes anything comfortable also if you listen to reggae or trance you are labeled a heavy drug-addict and for rock a mild drug-addict and for metal a worshiper of Satan; Ohrid truly is a wonderful place and i dont know how it was in the winter, but Ohrid’s bazaar is as large as Skopje’s maybe even larger depending what you take into account but it definitely busier with everybody meeting each other at the famous 500 year old reinforced tree struck by lightning – Chinarot. In the summer you can see the street musicians delivering wonderful sounds, you can also see several clowns and a lot of gipsies and gipsy-wear sellers in the bazaar.
LarissaJune 13, 2013 at 2:00 pm
Hey Zarko, these alcohol laws never make much sense to me but as I have been living in Sweden the past couple of years, it’s not something shocking to me.
You are absolutely right about the cost of a meal – 5 euros it isn’t cheap if your salary is 100 euros a month, but if you are a traveler coming from western Europe or the U.S., it’s a bargain. 40 denar hot dogs even more so!
I need to get back to Ohrid in summer, I’m sure it is just bursting with energy. Passed the bazaar I think…kind of more like an outdoor market? Saw the 500 year old tree as well.
Thanks for the shoe dress code breakdown – definitely something to keep in mind and good thing I hate trance.
StoleMay 31, 2013 at 3:27 am
I’m very happy when i hear things like this from a tourist in my country. Thanks for the kind words. But! There are A LOT of things that you didn’t saw. I’ll name just a few that the others left out.
The Roman aqueduct just a few kilometars from Skopje. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skopje_Aqueduct
The davils wall, near Sveti Nikole. About 100km from Skopje.
The Peshna cave, thats found to be almost identical to the caves in The lord of the rings movies.
Markovi Kuli near Prilep
Treskavec monastery, allso near Prilep.
The Makedonium in Krushevo
And maybe Alshar mine and the deadly hill near it, but it’s forbiden.
There is a mineral there called Lorandit that could be found only here and on the surface of the sun and it’s belived that is the key to free energy. NASA did some research years ago.
And the people are a lot kinder in the warmer months :)
LarissaJune 21, 2013 at 10:48 pm
Thanks for this list, all of those spots sounds really cool. Also very interesting about that mineral – I had no idea!
Wasn’t sure it was possible for Macedonians to be more kind but this is great news for when I finally do make it back in the summer :)
Margaret KayJune 1, 2013 at 12:28 am
wonderful place been to ohrid four times,loverly food ,great people my son married a girl from ohrid ,family always make you welcome .weather is great as well
LarissaJune 5, 2013 at 12:51 pm
Wonderful place, indeed!
GrahamJune 2, 2013 at 1:43 am
Thanks so much for your fun and informative post. I’m looking forward to my Macedonian visit in a few weeks.
LarissaJune 5, 2013 at 12:50 pm
You’re going to love it and hope you take a few recommendations not only from me, but this entire comment section. Invaluable!
IgorJune 3, 2013 at 6:31 pm
Nice review of my country!
May I comment your points, please:
1. This is one of the most absurd problems in the world. The reasons for this dispute are political, as always. You will not find the answer easily, and no one will speak about it, so here it is, the dispute simplified:
-Bucharest treaty 1913. Greece takes a big portion of Macedonia( Egeyan Macedonia)
-Today Greece fears that someday, it has to return that land (when the treaty expires)
-That why Greece doesn’t recognize Macedonia.
We don’t talk about it, we ignore that problem. We know that we ain’t getting that piece of land, and we are not asking for it. We don’t need problems in our lives. We have been robbed, but we’v moved on. They can’t.
2. We love the project (most of us). There will always be poverty, and it is never a good time to spend money, so that’s why now is the time to invest in such a project. We need it, we need to feel good in our skins. We are Macedonians and we are proud! It has nothing to do with Greece or minorities, it is all about us, Macedonians!
3. Prilep and Bitola also have old Carsija.
4. It is a monster. We gave the US the best and the biggest part of the city, it is a fortress.
5. I think Romania may have even bigger gypsy communities, but this is huge never the less. Gypsies are great inspiration for movies. You must watch ‘Dom za vesanje’ by Emil Kosturica, it was filmed in Skopje.
6. Spot on!
7. Ohrid is great and very safe place to be. You should also visit Struga, which is even better place. Struga has many sight-seeings in its vicinity. Struga is 10km away from Ohrid.
8. We can cook ;) Our food is combination of Macedonian, Turkish and European foods.
9. I am glad you enjoyed it! Macedonian wine is the best wine for the price, in the world. We also have very good brandy, branded as Rakija. Try Lozova Rakija VS. It costs only 8 euros, and it bests all the whiskies 5 times the price.
10. Its a new rule and it sux!
11. Not really, I don’t like girls wearing high heel. Most of the time girls on high heels are really stupid :)
12. We have really strict laws on smoking, but it is not respected equally in every city. In my city smoking is forbidden in all the restaurants and most of the clubs. Smoking is primitive and it should be prohibited. Prohibition of smoking is still a new law here btw, and thats why its still struggling.
13. One of the cheapest places in the world :)
15. Yea well, glad you think like that.
LarissaJune 21, 2013 at 10:58 pm
Hi Igor and sorry it took me so long to respond. Really enjoyed your commentary on everything and glad you found most of my points to be accurate. I keep hearing great things about Struga and now I am mad at myself for only passing through on my way to Albania and not stopping. I didn’t drink much rakija while I was there because I was so obsessed with the wine but I’m sure it’s great. Really interested to see Skopje when all the building is done. I’m sure it will be really nice and it’s good to know that people do like the project even if it is extremely costly.
NikoJune 5, 2013 at 1:31 pm
Thank you for this interesting view about Macedonia. Put the link of your article on my fb page if you don’t mind :)))
LarissaJune 5, 2013 at 1:54 pm
Great, thank you!
Vlatko SekuloskiJune 5, 2013 at 4:03 pm
I am a Macedonian from Prilep. I went to Gothenburg 2 years ago and stayed for 3 weeks, it’s awesome, Macedonians and Swedes have so much to learn from each other. Thank you for being so thorough about my country.
LarissaJune 6, 2013 at 1:49 pm
Hi Vlatka! Thank you but I think there was a misunderstanding – I am not Swedish, I am American. I had just been living there the past couple of years which is why at one part I mention I “semi-come from there”. Either way, glad you approve of the post :)
AdrijanaJune 5, 2013 at 4:04 pm
Hi there,thank you for everything you’ve sad. I live in Skopje and I felt free to comment on this. I’m glad you enjoyed it, and would like to add two more things on your list for everyone who doubts to visit Macedonia :)
1. The city park in Skopje.
It’s something you shouldn’t miss. No matter in which season you’re going to go it will left you speechless. But I’d recommend going in Summer. Whole day long, there are joyful people hanging around,playing the guitar and simply having fun. There’s situated The National Arena Filip II and there’s also a small lake. http://www.skopjeinfo.mk/admin/upload/images/Decembar%202012/gradski-parkskopje.jpg
2. Mountain Vodno (Skopje)
Skopje is also known as ,,The city under Vodno”. As an addition to the endless natural beauty that Macedonia possesses I would put Vodno in ,,must visit” places. It is semi-high mountain with a 66m Millennium Cross on the top which is highest cross in the World. If you plan to climb the 1066m high mountain up all you need is: good pair of trainers, some sandwiches, a camera and a lot of positive energy. I have no idea how you didn’t noticed the cross and even don’t were there, but everyday is a new lesson :D http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/28/Krzyz_na_Wodno.jpg/450px-Krzyz_na_Wodno.jpg
P.S.: Your photo in Stara Charshija is great though. Take care and greetings from Skopje :* Hope you’ll visit us again!
LarissaJune 13, 2013 at 2:12 pm
Thank you for including these. I think I passed the park on my last morning but unfortunately never got around to enjoying it. Was a bit cold. Will definitely hit it up next time and Vodno. I noticed the cross but on the days I was thinking of heading up it was rainy/cloudy. It stands out, for sure!
Take care and greetings back to Skopje – hope I will be back there again too (soon) :)
QuinJune 5, 2013 at 11:14 pm
Great blog!! I was in Macedonia 5 years ago and love it, especially Skopje, Ohrid and of course the very friendly people. (And you can get GREAT dental procedures there dirt cheap too…went to a place called Eternadent in Skopje…top rate!)
About the name thing, it really amazes/amuses me how sensitive some people (Greeks) are about that. Would Americans really care if Canada wanted to name itself Montana??-) Part of it I think it that people in that part of the world are just more emotional and opinionated in general than we milque toast North Americans…which makes them more interesting and fun, usually. :)
LarissaJune 13, 2013 at 2:04 pm
You are absolutely right about that part of the world being more emotional and opinionated and I think that’s what I love about it. Great to know about the dental work! You wouldn’t believe how many negative comments I got just with the hashtag and mention of macedonia on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook while I was traveling. That’s why I had to start it off with that point and surprisingly, my wish for no political comments has been respected – even 100+ comments later!
JosifJune 5, 2013 at 11:19 pm
Hey hey hey!
This is one utterly totally amazingly uniquely striking post :D
*lost for breath, used up too many adverbs*
I’ve just got one tiny remark: girls gone out clubbing in flat shoes have greater chances to stand out from the high heels crowd thanks to them being able to jump high, dance their legs off and not having to rely on their girlfriends/imaginary friends/poles when drunk and/or beat.
That dude who told you otherwise is creating a bad image for us, Macedonians. Seriously, we have as much titties as Swedish men – maybe even more ;) Cheers to feminism.
Stay this amazing always, you ARE a QUEEN :D
(thoughts and reflections of a young man from Macedonia)
LarissaJune 13, 2013 at 2:08 pm
What a charming young man you are, Josif. Thank you!
I think you’re right, I am a much better dancer and drinker when I’ve got flat shoes on so I will just stick to those for now. And don’t worry, there are plenty of dudes like him all over the world and it’s something I’m sure you could hear some dude say in the States, Sweden, Shanghai, wherever – but you do have to admit, girls get pretty dressed up there for clubbing. Thanks again and cheers!
AtanasJune 6, 2013 at 12:40 am
Hey Larissa, first of all, i would like to salute you and thank you for all the kind words that you’ve said about my country. What is more important, you’re right about everything, it seems to me like you have been here for 10 years, not 10 days :) Though, there is still a lot of places to visit, but, all in all, every word you’ve said stands correct and personally, i feel great to read so many beautiful(and genuine) words from a foreigner…By the way, after ur second visit here, you won’t be a foreigner anymore :)
Anyway, next time when you come here, maybe you’ll travel to the south of the country,and some of the places you should visit are Dojran Lake in Dojran, with its special mud that has healing effects, and especially the city of Gevgelija, the so-called Macedonian Las Vegas, because of the large number of casinos there. BUT, don’t let that information to spoil ur intention to visit the city, because the city itself is very peaceful and quiet place,and very clean, filled with warm people open for fun :) Should you visit it in the summer(late August/early September), you might get a chance to be a witness of the annual fig-tree festival that is organized. It’s a very nice event, people are hanging out, trying the fig-based products(marmalade mostly) and at the end of the day a winner of the best one is selected :) The only problem you’re probably going to have is the heat, because in that period of the year, the temperatures in the city can reach up to 42/3 degrees…in shadow :D But it doesn’t matter, since it will be your second visit to Macedonia, the heat won’t bother you, because you will already be a Macedonian :)
Once more, thank you for all your nice words and lines, i hope you’ll visit our country as many times as you can, because, it is said : “Once you come to Macedonia, you always want to come back,at least one more time” :) Greetings and all the best…
LarissaJune 21, 2013 at 11:03 pm
Atanas, thank you for the sweet comment. I keep saying it, but it means more than anything to hear from locals that I’ve done a good job writing about their home. I will definitely be back, I just have to, because I can only imagine the work I could do if I only had more time. Perhaps I will wait until the 42/3 degree season is over though. Macedonian or not, I am not a huge fan of traveling in the scorching heat ;) Thanks for the recommendations and all the best to you as well!
BennieMKJune 16, 2013 at 9:42 pm
I am half-Macedonian and, although I don’t live there, I naturally feel more at home in Macedonia than anywhere else and know a lot about it, and I have to say I loved and laughed with almost everything you said, cos it is all so true about us even when we don’t notice it!
The heels thing in clubs is so Balkan haha I lived in Serbia also and believe me it is exactly the same there too!
Our food is fantastic, really nothing can compare, I hope you had time to try Tavce-Gravce, and if you didn’t then make sure you have it next time you come! Summer food with the grilled meats is also recommended :D
One thing to mention that my non-Balkan friends always mention to me as if its some huge and obvious problem is the traffic in Macedonia, especially Skopje! It is totally crazy, if you drive you need to be happy to ignore signs and lights, and if yu are walking you need to make sure you can jump a car or two :D This is nothing unusual in whole Balkan of course, but my friends are always shocked by it even though its normal with me. ALSO if anyone is getting a bus or train anywhere, please be aware that in Balkans it is customary to be at least 20 minutes late leaving, can be up to 3 hours with the trains! Again, something shocking to my friends but it is just normal to me but Im a naturally late person so :D
Glad you had fun hope you will come again!! xx
LarissaJune 21, 2013 at 11:54 pm
Very good points on the traffic and buses/trains running late and you are absolutely right in that it’s not just a Macedonian phenomenon, but a Balkan one. I walked around for the most part in Skopje so didn’t experience too much traffic, but I can only imagine.
Don’t think I tried Tavce-Gravce, but now I want to. Thanks for the nice comment and believe me, I will come again :)
MartinJuly 14, 2015 at 3:15 am
I’m macedonian but I live in the netherlands. Thought I visit macedonia every summer. (got lots and lots of family living there)
I was a bit curious about how people (travelers) viewed my country so I kind of googled it and found this blog. It’s my first time EVER reading a blog and I felt joy reading this!
No idea how but I just got lost in reading the comments and there is only 1 reason for me writing a reply. TAVCE-GRAVCE, it’s my favourite food all time and when I read it I couldn’t stop laughing and smiling. I know it has been two years but I really hope you tried it and you liked it!
Thanks for the great read, perhaps I’m hooked now!
sergiJuly 7, 2013 at 6:46 pm
You could also recomend to watch the movie
“BEFORE THE RAIN” (1994)
Oscar-nominated and probably the best Macedonian movie – ever. It gives a glips on what the balcan war meant for the quiet people of the hills. it’s a must-see
LarissaJuly 14, 2013 at 8:37 pm
Thanks for the recommendation, Sergi. I need to watch this!
Steven ArvivMarch 14, 2016 at 7:42 pm
Check out Mirage (Iluzija) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0368962/ as well. In my opinion this is the best Macedonian film.
LarissaMarch 20, 2016 at 11:10 am
Thanks for mentioning this, I had never heard of it and definitely want to check it out!
SandraJuly 25, 2013 at 8:55 am
I think this is a great blog. My background is Macedonian (Bitola) but for the past 10 years I’ve lived in Sydney. I love going back and visiting my old town, its awesome. I am glad you had such a great time!!!!
LarissaJuly 25, 2013 at 10:26 pm
Thank you so much! Bitola was great, I can’t wait to go back :)
N.AAugust 13, 2013 at 3:03 pm
I was sitting behind my desk here in the middle of Kandahar Air Base- Afghanistan and reading all comments one by one. I’m glad you liked Macedonia, and I’m glad you want to visit again. I agree with everyone that we have beautiful place. But I was surprised that nobody mention Sharr Mountain with those beautiful small lakes (Sharr eyes), with the smell of green grass, shepherd with their goods in one side and sky center on the other one, a place where you think you can meet God.
Just for your information, Macedonia is not only Skopje and Bitola. Macedonia doesn’t have only beautiful churches, or good wine. In Macedonia you can find good mosques, you can find traditional food and traditional drinks too. You can find magnificent hospitality.
The only bad thing what Macedonia has are dirty and corrupted politicians and thanks to them nowadays all young clever generation gave their efforts and their knowledge abroad. Same politicians made the conflict in 2001, and produce other tensions and conflicts. Today in Macedonia you can hear and see kids to be beaten just because they are from other nationality or other religion. This Macedonia reminds me to Afghanistan.
MarioAugust 18, 2013 at 11:44 pm
I visited Macedonia and had a really great time. I especially liked the city of ochrid nearing the end of summer. The people are very kind and welcoming. The food was so delicious. Locally grown fruit, just the mere thought still makes my mouth water.
Your post was very well written and reading it brought great memories of my visit as accurate as you wrote!
I would definitely return but this time probably would rent a vehicle and absorb more sites.
Thank you for your great post!!!
LarissaAugust 25, 2013 at 7:48 pm
Thank you for your comment, Mario. Renting a vehicle there would be sweet, I hope you get a chance to do that when you return (as do I). Glad I could bring back some good memories for you :)
MayaAugust 28, 2013 at 1:29 pm
Hey Larissa. I’m from Macedonia and thank you for this huge post. It’s really good to read something beautiful for your country by other people. I’m glad that you had a great time here. We will waiting for you, the next year.
LarissaAugust 29, 2013 at 3:46 am
Thank you, Maya. Trying to get back as soon as possible!
RamiSeptember 12, 2013 at 9:55 pm
I am Bulgarian who lived out europe long time and now trying to explore back my origins…I am traveling back to Sofia next monday and so excited to visite Macedonia after that sweet review….
DO people speak english there?
LarissaSeptember 13, 2013 at 12:08 am
I came across quite a few people who spoke English in Macedonia, especially the younger generation. And they spoke it well. Not sure about in Bulgaria or Sofia though, have never been…
Dzordz SvetkoSeptember 21, 2013 at 10:37 pm
It is so nice to see such a heartwarming piece on such a humble yet bustling nation. You summed the people up beautifully and make it seem the glorious tourist destination it should be! I have never been to Skopje so I wait with baited breath to visit soon!
Chris COctober 25, 2013 at 6:44 am
Nice post, I’m going to be in Istanbul in November for a 3 day layover and decided to pick a random place from Google Maps to visit for a day.. this blog has persuaded me to visit Macedonia!
LarissaOctober 26, 2013 at 7:23 pm
That’s a pretty ambitious day trip from Istanbul, not entirely sure it’s possible, but glad to hear I sparked some interest!
Dexter BaxterOctober 26, 2013 at 10:21 pm
Hi!! I really love your blog, probably the most objective information I’ve come across about Macedonia. I do have a question though, I am planning to take a trip there next year and I am originally from Jamaica which yes mean that I am Black and since I have never been to that part of the world before nor know anybody that looks like me that have , i’m wondering if you had any feedback on how people of color are treated there.
LarissaNovember 7, 2013 at 1:14 pm
Hi Dexter. This isn’t the first time I’ve been asked this question and to be honest, I really have no idea. My instincts tell me you will be just fine, I don’t think you would be treated differently. Maybe just as many extra looks as I probably got with my platinum blonde hair (not many black people or people with platinum blonde hair walking around, so of course some people are curious).
Chris ChNovember 9, 2013 at 3:49 am
I’m Asian and I figure they haven’t seen too many of us either hah .. I’ll let you know how it goes.
LarissaNovember 13, 2013 at 11:33 am
ChrisJuly 22, 2015 at 5:35 am
Hi Guys, I am macedonian heritage born and bred in Sydney. In answer to your question about race, I am pleasantly surprised at how well all foerign nationals are treated by the locals, and being black will rarely have the locals raise an eye brow.
Case in point, despite 500 yrs of Ottoman rule, locals tend to embrace Turks and the mosques as their own, which I think is cool!
Larissa, love your post and only came across it as I was googling the fact that the 6th series of GoT is being filmed their which I think wiill be great and hopefully attract many more tourists!
What I love most about Macedonia which I am surprised has not got much of a mention, is the many ancient villages (selo’s) that take you back to what life must have been like 100’s of years ago. Those in Mariovo region spring to mind such as Vitolishte and Zivovo, which is quite remote but beatiful, only a few hours away from Prilep.
Love Prilep by the way, a small but funky town, especially when the beer festival is on. Overall, a perfect place for cash-strapped backpackers to visit great sites, eat quality food, drink and be merry with a great night life.
JoshNovember 13, 2013 at 4:57 pm
I wasn’t born in Macedonia though my family is from Bitola. My cousin just recently came back from there and everything you put here is exactly the same as how he explained it to me! Great read :) I hope to travel there very soon and visit my family.
LarissaNovember 14, 2013 at 12:15 am
That’s awesome. Hope you get a chance to visit too :)
SabrinaNovember 15, 2013 at 9:46 am
So great to read about your experience in Macedonia. My grandfather is Macedonian, his family moved to Australia when he was a boy and I’m currently in the beginning stages of planning a trip over there for my big 30th in 3 years time!
I can’t wait to visit and meet the amazing people and come home to share it all with him.
LarissaNovember 28, 2013 at 5:31 pm
Hi Sabrina, sounds like a great way to celebrate your 30th! I can imagine by then things will have changed a bit more – perhaps will be more “tourist ready” with all that’s happening there, especially the capital, in 2014. I’m sure you are going to absolutely love it and your grandfather will be so proud, very excited for you :)
SeanNovember 25, 2013 at 12:13 am
Great post! I’m heading to Skopje for a weekend in May, but wanted to take a day trip to Prizren, Kosovo but finding it tough to locate tour guides who do this, although I did find out that hotels will arrange chauffeured cards, quite cheaply, to take you for an 8 hour tour so you can have some time to look around.
If just 24 hours, what do you suggest to see in Skopje? The square, the bazaar, the old town, possibly top of Vodno and the cross?
LarissaNovember 28, 2013 at 5:57 pm
Yep, I think that pretty much covers the main sights in Skopje. It’s relatively small so everything walking distance (except the cross, of course, though it’s still not far).
Not sure about guides to Prizren but you could easily organize a trip there on your own – check out this post I wrote on getting between Kosovo and Skopje (https://fromlarissawithlove.com/2012/12/03/traveling-to-kosovo-via-skopje-macedonia/). Options are limited getting back from Prizren but you could always head over to check out Pristina briefly and then back down to Skopje. Would be a long day, but you’d definitely see the two main cities of Kosovo.
DanielaNovember 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm
Thank you for such a fab write up of Macedonia. My heart grows so much when I read that other people enjoy it as much as I do. Maybe next time you go you can visit some of the places that are not on the main tourist route and the part of macedonia I come from Demir Hisar: about 20 minutes from Bitola. First one The Village Zeleznec where the Crna Reka starts. The village Ilino and you can go to the top of the mountain where there is a church and cabins where you can stay over night. up the road from there is Babino where there is a trout farm with a great restaurant. Further down the road is Slepce and there is a monestary there and a restaurant it’s called Gorna Kuka that cooks zelnik (filled pita) every Wednesday and every other traditional dish you can think of. There is also Vevcani in the Struga region and every January they have a carnival. Hope you get to visit this part of macedonia.
LarissaDecember 2, 2013 at 4:51 pm
Thanks, Daniela. I hope so too and I am definitely making a note of all the additional recommendations – the more off the tourist route, the better! Everything you’ve described sounds incredible.
MaxDecember 2, 2013 at 2:18 am
I’m going to Skopje with a couple friends at the end of January for a long weekend, can’t wait (especially after reading through this). Would you recommend making the effort to venture out to Bitola or Ohrid for a night, or would it be best to stay in the city for the limited time we have there? The country seems like it has so much to offer, wish we were there for longer!
LarissaDecember 2, 2013 at 4:43 pm
Thank you! Honestly I would just choose quality over quantity in your case, both Bitola and Ohrid deserve much more than a night and there is plenty to keep you occupied in and around Skopje.
LarissaDecember 2, 2013 at 4:45 pm
With that said, IF you are up to cramming as much in, I’d say Bitola is probably easiest to do for just a night.
BenDecember 5, 2013 at 12:28 pm
Hi Larissa, it’s nice you like Skopje :) I live there myself an the last 13 years after leaving Germany, unfortunately I see it for the last 6 years only when on vacation. Now….if you need a travel guide for Skopje I am more than happy to join you, and trust me I am a very user friendly person :)
LarissaDecember 18, 2013 at 8:46 pm
Thanks so much for the offer, Ben! I love Skopje and now it’s getting to the point where it’s been way too long since I’ve been so definitely going to try and get back as soon as I can.
BenJanuary 11, 2014 at 3:01 pm
I look forward meeting you, Larissa. = ) Hope you are able to see my personal email address.
VesnaDecember 11, 2013 at 12:59 pm
I really enjoyed the blog and all the comments.
I would like to travel with my family from London to Macedonia for Easter Holidays and would appreciate advice on what is the weather like there in April, where to stay, hire car etc. We are interested in authentic places and food, away from the crowds, perhaps in a rural setting. Many thanks Vesna
LarissaDecember 18, 2013 at 8:53 pm
Hi Vesna, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Sounds like a nice family trip but unfortunately I can’t tell you exactly how the weather will be in April as I was only there in November. I also never rented a car nor stayed out in a rural setting, but I know both are possible. You’ll just have to do some research and if it happens that I do any of these things myself before that time, I will get back to you.
BobanDecember 19, 2013 at 7:54 am
Hey Larissa. I’m glad you had fun! I’m Macedonian but I was born and raised in Canada, and I still live in Canada too. I’ve been going back to macedonia every summer for 2 years now, and one place I think you should definitely check out is Kruševo. I went there this past summer and it was amazing! I saw the Ilenden Monument and Tose Proeski’s memorial museum..and they recently built a cross and renovated a monastery. I have to warn you though, it is pretty high up in the mountains, but the view from the cross is breathtaking!
LarissaJanuary 3, 2014 at 11:19 pm
Hey Boban, thanks for the recommendation. I FINALLY get to get Macedonia in the summertime (probably June) so will definitely keep Kruševo in mind – I bet it’s gorgeous!
VickyFebruary 5, 2014 at 3:34 am
Krusevo is great… If you can, it’s even better during the week of Ilinden celebrations (from August 1 for the following 10 days… Ilinden actually falls on the 2nd). I admit, it’s also when the town gets the most visitors, but the customs that take place at that time of year are definitely worth seeing :-)
Darko GeekDecember 19, 2013 at 2:55 pm
I have never seen such a detailed description about Macedonia from a traveller. Amazing, some facts were unknown to me no matter I’m Macedonian. Thanks for this article worth sharing.
LarissaJanuary 3, 2014 at 11:19 pm
That makes me happy to hear, thanks!
GoranDecember 20, 2013 at 3:02 am
Thanks for great post and opinion that you have for my country…I’m a tourist guide and everyone who would love to visit these beatifull land can contact me..my e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
VickyFebruary 5, 2014 at 3:31 am
As an Australian of Macedonian heritage, I’d like I say firstly thank you for the beautiful piece on Macedonia! Secondly, I am glad you had a terrific time there, it truly has many beautiful things to see and do. Other nice places to visit are Kokino, about 25km or so northeast of the city of Kumanovo.. There’s an ancient observatory there and the views are awesome! Great in summer! As for winter, check out the village of Vevcani in the country’s south east, mid January they have a masquerade festival happening. Summer time, mid July there’s always the annual Galichnik wedding celebrations were a chosen couple are married in traditional costumes and the entire wedding is in traditional Macedonian format.
Finally, I wanted to ask what sort of camera you use in your travels? Your photos are brilliant, I love them!
From one traveller to another, keep doing what you’re doing! :-)
LarissaFebruary 11, 2014 at 2:46 am
Thanks so much for taking the time to leave such a nice and informative comment. Seriously, I need to just go live there for a year to even see half of what’s been recommended to me on this post over the past year. The events you mentioned sound amazing and I really hope the next time I am there (which is hopefully later this summer) I will be able to catch something – like the linden celebrations, sounds beautiful.
The camera I’ve been using the past couple of years for 90% of my posts may blow your mind – just an iPhone 4 or 4s :) Again, really appreciate the comment and to another traveler – you keep it up as well :)
PeterFebruary 5, 2014 at 4:25 am
Great article here, thanks for visiting.
You were originally correct that Bitola is the 2nd largest city, not the third.
Kumanovo is the largest MUNICIPALITY, but within city limits, Bitola is bigger. Check it out here if you’d like http://www.stat.gov.mk/publikacii/knigaX.pdf
LarissaFebruary 11, 2014 at 2:25 am
I see, well thank you for making me feel a little less stupid ;) Will have to once again make an amendment!
mitkoFebruary 9, 2014 at 11:55 am
Im from Macedonia and this is a wonderfull blog Larissa !! Answer to Mr.Rami from Bulgaria : Just speak Bulgarian when You come to Macedonia, esspecially eastern parts or in town of Strumica, everyone will understand !
And as you say Larissa, no politics, its about trawelling. So next time you are coming on Balcans visit the town of Larissa! Its in Greece, 200km south from Solun ( Thesaloniki )
LarissaFebruary 11, 2014 at 2:24 am
I really want to Mitko, Larissa is one of my dream destinations (obviously) even though I know there are probably more interesting/beautiful parts of Greece :) I think you’re right too, I have a great Macedonian friend living in Plovdiv and he communicates just fine with locals. Thank you for the compliment!
Goldy KentFebruary 13, 2014 at 1:22 am
I’ve found this very related Larissa…
U’ve done the right choice visiting Macedonia :)
Check the bottom (it’s count like #1 visiting Bitola)
LarissaFebruary 18, 2014 at 6:21 am
I know and can’t wait to go back. Ruins of Heraclea were very cool!
AshleyFebruary 17, 2014 at 4:31 pm
Hey I enjoyed your article, im currently in a relationship with a Macedonian guy and im a African American female. Hes like my big romantic teddy bear. But I really want to visit Macedonia. He said theres rarely any blacks in Macedonia.
LarissaFebruary 18, 2014 at 6:49 am
Thanks. He is correct, but I don’t think that should deter you from visiting. Especially if he is there to take you around.
Zoran the oneMarch 21, 2014 at 3:08 pm
The most interesting thing that you write was “People smoke everywhere”. It makes me laugh :)
NortonMarch 27, 2014 at 2:08 am
I loved your post Larissa and I would like to know something else, I applied for a scholarship degree for computer sciences and engineering that Macedonia was providing, I was like Yaaaay! That would be awesome. However, I would like to know if the Universities in Macedonia are good and how education have evolved in that country?
LarissaMarch 31, 2014 at 1:53 am
Hi Norton. Congratulations, what an accomplishment. To be honest I really have no idea about the quality of their engineering programs, but I’m sure good. Wouldn’t think they’d be any less evolved than elsewhere in Europe.
DinaMarch 31, 2014 at 11:22 pm
I stumbled across your blogpost while looking for travelling tipps for Macedonia. I am going there in 2 weeks and your blogpost made me even more excited about it!
OliverApril 9, 2014 at 6:37 am
Great article, however going to Macedonia in November is a total miss… Summer is the season! Amazing beaches in Ohrid( more details about Ohrid such as the Samuils fortress, The Museum on water “Zalivot na koskite”(prehistoric village), That Ohrid is called Slavic Jerusalem due to the fact that all of easterns Europe Slavic culture originates from there, the fact it is the oldest lake in Europe and possibly in the world, that it has 365 churches, cultural manifestation Ohridsko Leto etc), Bitola (where i am from and it IS officially the second largest city) could be mentioned the ancient city of Heraclea Lyncestis founded by the father of Alexander -Phillip the Macedon) Skopje (the millenium cross and the cable car going to it and it overlooks all of Skopje, fortress Skopsko Kale, and probably the most beautiful part of Skopje-Canyon Matka, where also can visit possibly the worlds deepest underwater cave Vrelo(as they havent reached the bottom yet)) and another interesting fact is the natural ancient observatory Kokino-declared by NASA one of the 4 worlds oldest observatories in the world along side with the Stonehenge and the pyramids of Giza.
Food is amazing indeed and its all natural!
I like your article but please do visit Macedonia in summer when its population almost doubles as huge portion of the diaspora comes back during the summer time and the party is on!
Glad to hear you enjoyed and liked Macedonia! :)
DimitarApril 9, 2014 at 9:15 pm
You’r welcome in our city of Gevgelija ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVpyPL2kkoI )
The warmest and hospitable town on the balkans
Kocho TrajchevskiApril 10, 2014 at 11:52 am
Great presentation of my country Larissa love your writing style you have great potential hope to see a book from you one day i’ma writer writing about my travels and also SF while you wrote about Macedonia i wrote about Prague and Budapest they are new to me, i hope you enjoyed Macedonia and that you will come again soon :D
Thanks for the kind words about Bitola :D as for tourists Bitola has them in summer when many Macedonians from abroad come home and bring their friends here :D
PaulineApril 10, 2014 at 4:32 pm
Nice to read! I traveled through the Balkans heading for Macedonia in 2011. Had almost exactly the same experience as you did! Al 15 things are so true! Especially the perfect food and wine impressed me, and the fact that there was always good company and good vieuws to enjoy it with, loved it! Nice to read so many people enjoy this beautiful country (my favorite in the world :))
LibraApril 10, 2014 at 11:55 pm
this was a nice article (warm if I may say), I liked it. thank you! (I am Macedonian of course :))
JohnkoolApril 11, 2014 at 12:34 am
As for over doing it, can’t agree with you. If a country doesn’t build that means the country is not moving forward. Last time I checked most capitals build extravagant statues/monuments and buildings. You obliviously haven’t been around the world enough to see much. For example: Washington D.C., Paris, NYC, Berlin and one old one “ROME” being that’s its old but in some point the country has to make its capital stand out and represents its people. Also not to make it a big issue, construction creates a lot of jobs. “Especially in the USA” half the US would be jobless with out any building” Heres a piece of history for you, the USA built the HOOVER DAM in the middle of the depression. “Talk about a wrong time or maybe the right time.”
1. Builders, which includes Masons, Windows, Wiring, Garbage removal etc the list goes on. Things don’t get built magically with money you need lots of people to do the work.
2. Macedonia and the Macedonians never had a chance to build anything in a 100 years bc of the constant occupations, you think that part of Macedonia which belong to Yugoslavia(Serbia) since 1912 was allowed to build government buildings, Museums, or get funding for its culture when schools forced people to learn Serbian. They rob the place blind especially after the 1960’s earthquake, half the funding that was suppose to go to a Japanese architect never made it. Along with all the tax that went to Belgrade, that’s cities nice wonder where all that money came from. As for Northern Greece(Macedonia) that’s another piece and problem where Macedonians still don’t have freedom on there own land since 1912. They cant even build a school or let alone have an independent church. That’s why you have a naming issue in the first place, not bc of the land but the minority that still exist in Northern Greece(Macedonia).
Everything else you have is good just need to clear up your view and others reading.
DeniApril 11, 2014 at 1:17 am
First of all Great article, i just love it!! I`m from Macedonia and im also a Tour Guide for Skopje, so if u come back again in Skopje just pls e-mail me on email@example.com this is also for the people who want to know more about the city Skopje and Macedonia. I like too add some info staff like that we have a City Tour Bus for the city of Skopje and its just 35denar(50cent/euro) and its working every day. Also u have public bus to mounting Vodno till the cross and also to Matka it also the same price like the City Tour Bus :D its cheap. For Matka u have bus on every hour and the bus number is 60 , and its starting from the new train station. The city tour bus it has own time so i recommend to e-mail me :D and here is the FB-Fan page of the bus. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Skopje-City-Tour/184093838405487
StefanApril 11, 2014 at 2:05 am
I feel sorry you missed this place on about 70km. from Skopje.
Next time you have to visit it .. it’s amazing.
If you need any info about the place feel free to contact me via e-mail, I will help you.
Glad you liked Macedonia.
VictorMay 21, 2014 at 12:29 pm
Please, I have some questions. Is electricity supply in macedonia regular? That is, is it constant?
Where can I read more internet service providers there and their data plans? I plan to study there.
LarissaDecember 17, 2014 at 11:21 pm
Seemed regular to me, but no idea about the data plans. Sorry!
LarissaDecember 17, 2014 at 11:20 pm
Heard about it and next time :) Thanks for the reminder!
OanaApril 29, 2014 at 3:41 pm
Nice post and great comments
i am going on a short break 1-5 may to Ohrid and Skopje, but see there are many other places to visit> i guess i have to come back:)
DraganApril 30, 2014 at 5:53 pm
try this: https://www.facebook.com/Macedonia.Art.Architecture
SadaqatApril 30, 2014 at 7:27 pm
Just landed in Macedonia Yesterday, on a long business tour in Europe and this place happens to be one of them. Came to this site searching for things to do in my spare time, appreciate all the facts complied in one place. And couldn’t agree with you more … the Old Bazaar is the most beautiful place. I do admit after coming from Frankfurt, Switzerland and Slovenia, the 1st impression of Macedonia was …. depressing, (although Solvenia too didnt have much to add, but then again, I didnt explore it much) however 1 trip to the old bazaar changed it all for me. And once of the unique experiences there was the Islamic call for payers, being a muslim didn’t expect to hear a call that was so common back home that it didn’t matter, but unexpectedly hearing it in the unlikeliest of places (Didn’t know of muslim community here until now) was just a soul arousing experience. A very mesmerizing experience I may add.
Last but not the least… indeed its so damn cheap that it doesn’t make senses LOL economics are not in places here it seems…but live goes on beautifully here.
LarissaDecember 17, 2014 at 11:19 pm
Thank you for sharing your experience, Sadaqat :) And glad you agree about the Old Bazaar. Have been back at least 5 times now and it’s still my favorite :)
anna bicanMay 15, 2014 at 11:58 pm
Hi. I traveled to Macedonia in 2007 and had very similar experiences as you recounted from your trip now, 6 years later. Except, of course, the excessive building project in Skopje. Obviously, at the time I was there, the idea had not been launched. I LOVED the outdoor cafes along the riverside, I think they were behind the mall. You are correct, about the genuinity of the people, the beauty of the landscape (and unfortunately the litter), the affordability of visiting, the rich history of the land, and even yes, the political controversies. What a place! By far, one of my favorites I’ve ever visited. In equal rank but for different types of beauty is Israel. I miss MK! I was able to visit, live with a local for 3 weeks, and spent no more than $600 living way above my means! It was an incredible trip and incredible experience! I hope someday I will go back.
LarissaDecember 17, 2014 at 11:18 pm
Hey Anna – what an experience! Everytime I am there, I wonder what the place would have been like before all the rebuilding and statue-ing (yes, I made that up). Hope you get a chance to get back there and see the changes for yourself, interested to know how different Skopje feels, if at all.
And Israel is definitely a place I’d like to see – hopefully soon!
dianaJune 8, 2014 at 5:41 am
hi my name is diana and i wanted to see if u can give me more details about mecedonia im planning to go next summer to skopje mecedonia
PinkyJune 26, 2014 at 5:23 pm
I must say I found your site quite accidentally but it was enjoyable and informative, I’m sad u didnt visit Struga while u were in Ohrid only 15min away by car, the Drim runs through it and the last week of August poets from from all over the world recite their poems on the dreams bridge in Struga. I am from New York and I have a home in Struga we try to come yearly, it is heaven a home away from home where people r friendly and peaceful, my daughter started a news site about Struga called Stugatimes its getting off the ground is slow because she insists on having it in all 4 languages but Im sure as a journalist photographer/screen writer she will b patient and reach her goal in due time, Your site was lovely and I ty wish u well Pinky :)
LarissaJune 27, 2014 at 12:04 pm
Sounds like a beautiful time to visit Struga, great to know! I will be back in Macedonia *finally* in September. Thanks for the kind words, glad you enjoyed what you found :)
YoshiJuly 6, 2014 at 3:45 pm
I’m so glad I found your post! I’m heading to Macedonia later on this year and can’t wait to visit all these places!
PS: I was looking for the Subscribe button to your blog but can’t find it.. :/ Followed you on Twitter and Instagram instead! :)
LarissaJuly 9, 2014 at 2:58 pm
Hey Yoshi, that’s great! You’re going to love it. Thanks for the follow and yes, subscription is a bit tricky and it’s about time I set up a mailing list. Try here? http://feeds.feedburner.com/blonde-gypsy/YsGx
David StephanJuly 22, 2014 at 5:15 am
Larissa a well written and accurate piece of work. I’ve visited twice on business and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I am an English man living in Cyprus but travel extensively around the world as well as having lived in various parts of the world. Macedonia proved to be a hidden gem for me, not withstanding the excessive amount of statues! The food, the locals and the prices made it a great destination to visit. I enjoyed it so much I’m planning to take my wife there on short break later this year. Totally agree about the quality of Tikves wines. I think that Macedonia has the potential to become a major tourist destination fir the more discerning traveller.
LarissaJuly 28, 2014 at 10:20 am
Thanks David and I couldn’t agree with you more – “Macedonia has the potential to become a major tourist destination for the more discerning traveller”. It has the potential and IT WILL so better get back and see the best before everyone else finds out :)
Alejandra Montano TerzievJuly 26, 2014 at 1:32 pm
I am very happy to have stumbled upon your blog! What an excellent review of Macedonia.
My husband is from Strumica and I spent a good part of 2010 there. I’ve been to most of the places you mentioned and can’t wait to see more of it. I miss it. (I’m currently in California with our son, will be back there, hopefully, in October).
I laughed about the “clean water”. As someone whose choice of beverage is water, I’ve gotta say, it’s AWESOME. I remember my husband and his family being puzzled that I was always refilling my water bottle (they normally drink juice or soda) and I would tell them how lucky they were to have such clean, great tasting water from the tap! Lol
I’ll keep in touch! If you need a guide in Strumica, let me know! :D
LarissaJuly 28, 2014 at 10:17 am
Thanks for the comment! How great that you got to spend some time there, I’ve heard wonderful things about Strumica and hope I get a chance to visit the next time I go back (which is soon!). Appreciate the offer of a guide as well! Give my regards to California, my home state, and hope you make it back to Macedonia soon. I’m sure it misses you too :)
M.M.August 28, 2014 at 3:38 pm
Thank you for the post. It was great :)
I`m from Macedonia my self.
But i live in Sweden.
I just got back from Macedonia, after spending 6 weeks of my summer vacation. It was heaven.
It was just a little bit sad, that you didnt visit south of Macedonia, like the best place ever “PRESPA”
There is mountains with lakes and lakes with islands, sooo coool.
Maybe next time :)
But im glad that you had a good time in Macedonia.
LarissaSeptember 3, 2014 at 3:43 pm
Yes, would really love to get to Prespa but definitely feel I need a car for that. I will make it there, for sure :) Glad you liked the post!
ANASeptember 10, 2014 at 12:05 am
Thanks for all this great info, I will go to the Macedonuia for few weeks, cant wait.. thanks for great info :)
greetings from croatia :)
LarissaSeptember 18, 2014 at 6:08 pm
Great! I hope you have a wonderful time. Kisses to Croatia from me :)
KirilSeptember 10, 2014 at 5:50 pm
Thanks for the great reportage of my country.Next time visit Vevchani and Matka.Vevchani is village near Ohrid lake where are Vevcani springs. Also there is the oldest carnival in the world which is on 13-14 January .
LarissaSeptember 18, 2014 at 6:03 pm
Yes, I know of both and hope I will get the chance soon!
KateOctober 17, 2014 at 8:15 pm
Hello, and thank you for writing that awsome stuff about my country. I am from Struga, !5 km from Ohrid BTW. This article means a lot :)
KateOctober 17, 2014 at 8:15 pm
LarissaNovember 11, 2014 at 7:01 pm
My pleasure :) I’ve passed through Struga quite a few times, hope I get to check it out proper one of these days!
LarryOctober 24, 2014 at 9:36 pm
Love your stories & pictures! Do you (or any readers) know if it’s reasonable for a foreigner to buy a car there and how much it might be? We’re planning an extended trip and would like to have some form of transportation while we’re there without relying on public trans options. From what I’ve found, (see here https://www.a1autotransport.com/ship-car-to-macedonia.php) the cost and paperwork involved in shipping a car isn’t really worth it. Curious what others think. Anyway, keep up the awesome work and fun adventures. ;)
LarissaOctober 30, 2014 at 12:01 pm
Thanks, Larry! You just got a response below, you might want to check it out as there looks to be some useful links. Best of luck with your adventures!
+POctober 29, 2014 at 4:09 pm
Larry check these links
Local auto market – http://www.closr.it/canvas/1534/#/spot
obviously its cheaper to buy second hand car in balkans than using rented one, at least in the end u will make generous move leaving it to some polite hosts there, maybe some Gypsy-blonde :D
Hey GB u dont mind that i’ve used one of ur photos!?
LarissaOctober 30, 2014 at 11:59 am
Thanks for helping him out, great information. And depends – which photo did you use and in which capacity?
+POctober 31, 2014 at 12:44 am
the sunset-Alex, never mind, this blog post is cited under the image
LarryOctober 31, 2014 at 12:33 am
+PNovember 1, 2014 at 1:05 pm
ur welcome Larry, but have in mind that u dont need registration and insurance on ur name when buying cesond-hand car, as cheapest just transfer it as possession on ur name thus avoiding all extra expenses like registration and green-card – http://www.travellerspoint.com/forum.cfm?thread=71092
in my opinion for macedonian mountains Lada-niva rulz, and for city crusin i’l say Reno-clio, altho for all-round trips any Van is most handy option!
Go Larry, Drive Safely, Park Wisely :)
StephOctober 30, 2014 at 6:12 am
Larissa, I’m stalking you and your blog is now the cause of my total procrastination. As Casey will tell you next week, my husband and I are planning a big Balkans trip for February/March and this is really helpful.
LarissaDecember 17, 2014 at 11:14 pm
Steph! I’m sorry I’m just getting to this now, been a crazy 7 months of travel. Casey did mention you’re planning a trip – please feel free to get in touch with any questions you have. Unfortunately I’m quite behind in the blogging department, but doesn’t mean I don’t have tips and recommendations if you need them :)
Ljubin SetnjeDecember 4, 2014 at 5:15 am
Larisa, You hit the nail right on everything about Macedonia. Love your blog. You are awesome writer. After 28 years, in summer of 2015 I will be visiting my birth homeland Macedonia. Finally Tga za Jug will become reality.
LarissaDecember 16, 2014 at 10:19 pm
Ljubin, thanks for the nice words! I’ve spent quite a bit more time in Macedonia at this point, since I first wrote that post, so I should probably think about writing a sequel. Very happy for your 2015 plans, hope you have a wonderful trip and drink some extra Tga za Jug for me! :)
Ljubin SetnjeDecember 4, 2014 at 5:33 am
Larissa, I am so sorry I missed to add another s to you name. Accept my sincere apology. Cheers…
Jess h.December 22, 2014 at 12:09 am
I’m going to Skopje in the summer. What do they wear in Macedonia. Can I wear shorts or should I stick to long pants. I’m a student from the U.S by the way so I don’t know if my regular clothes oils be offensive.
LenaJanuary 6, 2015 at 3:22 pm
Your regular clothes are fine! Shorts, shirts, singlets, thongs (flip flops) are all great and not offensive. Have an amazing trip!!! You will LOVE it!!!
LarissaJanuary 13, 2015 at 4:17 am
Yes, what Lena said :)
EmmaJanuary 6, 2015 at 12:49 am
I just wanted to thank you for calling our country Macedonia. :)
JohanFebruary 5, 2015 at 6:25 pm
I go to Ohrid every summer. For three months. Make visits from there. NOTHING, and I repeat, NOTHING in the world beats Ohrid. The country. Its people. The food. The wine. I am so glad I have discovered the place. As I tell everyone: From the unknown to the unforgettable, that is Ohrid. That is Macedonia. Will be there from July 1 until September 30 and cannot wait!
LarissaFebruary 7, 2015 at 7:07 pm
Wow, lucky you with 3 months in Ohrid. Must be quite busy then, yeah? Macedonia is an amazing place and I can’t wait to get back and explore more.
Abby NelsonFebruary 12, 2015 at 10:43 pm
I am a Peace Corps Volunteer from America living in Kriva Palanka, Macedonia right now. I have been living here for 5 months so far and will be here for two more years teaching English. You really hit things spot on, especially for only being there for ten days. You mentioned the wine, but you didn’t mention the homemade rakija ;)
All the best,
LarissaFebruary 12, 2015 at 11:26 pm
How cool – hope you are enjoying it! Appreciate the nice words and while I’ve since spent so much more time there since I first wrote this, I’d say all still rings true and I’d say it’s also probably about time I come out with a Part 2 (featuring more talk about rakija, of course) :) Good luck with the teaching and have fun exploring – so much to see in that country, it’s crazy!
BMarch 6, 2015 at 9:37 pm
Funny you mention Sweden in this post. I just returned from there and was looking for some place to go when I happened upon this post. Perhaps Macedonia is fated to be next. Great post (and the wine looks damn good too ;))!
LarissaMarch 10, 2015 at 1:22 am
Thank you and I don’t know how the wine looks, but I can tell you first hand and with authority that it tastes damn great. More and more flights going Macedonia from the rest of Europe, perhaps it is fated to be next for you!
SarahMarch 18, 2015 at 7:01 pm
Before traveling to Macedonia I checked your blog, it is a great article. I really enjoyed visiting Skopje for 5 days and Ohrid for 2 days. Skopje is such a beautiful city with lots of things you can do. I visited the Museum of Macedonian struggle for independence right in the centre, it was an awesome experience and I kindly recommend it. I got a good vibe from Macedonian people, they are kind and helpful. I must say I was impressed by the food. Lots of good restaurants and not expensive at all. Great architecture, I would like to visit again. Greetings to my friends in Macedonia : Andrea, Stefan, Maya and Micky.
LarissaApril 3, 2015 at 1:28 am
Sounds like you had a wonderful time and that’s great. Unfortunately I haven’t made it to that museum yet even though every time I land there I get a text message telling me to. Next time for sure! Thanks for sharing your experience :)
DianaMarch 24, 2015 at 6:53 pm
Hi, My friend and I will be travelling around Macedonia for 10-12 days in April 2015, so this post and the resulting thread has been very helpful. But I was wondering if anyone can recommend the best way to get from Ohrid to Thessaloniki. Is there a direct bus or train? or can we hire a taxi?
LarissaApril 3, 2015 at 2:37 am
You can definitely hire a taxi but not sure what kind of cost you’d be looking at. Most likely all buses would go via Skopje and I believe the train just reopened from Belgrade to Thessaloniki with a stop in Skopje on the way. Definitely no trains from Ohrid.
MariusApril 7, 2015 at 12:39 pm
Right now I am making a list of cheapest countries in Europe and in the end I will choose where to go next. Lets see if Macedonia will be the one :)
Thank you for sharing your experiences.
LarissaApril 7, 2015 at 5:45 pm
It’s got to be hovering right at the top, right beside Albania. Whichever one it ends up being, you are in for an adventure, no doubt about that :)
LArissaApril 19, 2015 at 9:08 am
where is best Bazar or market for hospital equipment’s.
LarissaApril 26, 2015 at 4:59 pm
Sorry, I have no idea
AshleyApril 26, 2015 at 5:07 am
Excited to be spending 10 days in Macedonia in June :) Skopje and Ohrid are musts, of course… where else would you recommend staying for a couple nights?!
LarissaApril 26, 2015 at 4:54 pm
I love Krushevo. Bitola is also pretty energetic. Have a great time! :)
TariqbangMay 6, 2015 at 8:59 am
Very nice and informative article Larissa. On my way back from an amazing place, Cappadocia, in Turkey in the end of March 2015, I met an attractive Macedonian girl at Istanbul airport, who invited me to her country. I am more into natural places involving lakes, canyon, waterfalls, caves etc etc and offcoarse some good fun time…. any experience of such like places, especially Matka Lake..??
LarissaMay 15, 2015 at 11:24 pm
Definitely. Lake Ohrid and its surroundings is a great place for natural sights. Also, Mavrovo. Unfortunately I haven’t been to Matka yet, but I’ve heard wonderful things.
BMay 11, 2015 at 3:57 pm
Wow, a great read and perfect place for a visit I tell ya.
LarissaMay 28, 2015 at 12:33 am
Kristy-LeeJune 4, 2015 at 2:53 am
I am heading to Macedonia for a month, based in Stobi, but hoping to travel further afield on the weekends. Your post has put me at ease and made me even more excited as I love travelling to places with good people. This is my second trip to the balkans, a few years ago I went to Bulgaria and the people there were super friendly, and so many interesting things to do. Thank you for your post! Brilliant!
LarissaAugust 14, 2015 at 10:31 am
That’s great to hear! Macedonia is a really warm place with a lot to see, I have no doubt you will have a nice time (if you’re not already doing so). You’ll have to let me know how Stobi is – of course I’m only familiar with its wine ;)
Juan Miguel DelgadoJune 12, 2015 at 3:04 am
I travelled to Skopje by plane from Venice in late 2011. I related completely to this list of items, particularly that about Macedonians good sense of humor and easy-going/tough at the same time. I must add to your list the great Skopje Modernist and Brutalist Architecture from after the deadly earthquake of 1963. I’ve found fine examples of towers, malls, buildings, churches, the post office, Kirill and Methodius University, etc. I found a great review by Yomadic about that.
Also, I spend three days in Ohrid (one of them my birthday) and it was indeed dead in winter. Luckily I loved wondering by myself or with a Japanese friend I made on the way to Plaosnik. We were like the only people around as long as I recall. Sadly, I abandoned my plan to go to Sveti Naum as I was short on cash. Maybe next time.
Greetings from Peru, and chapeau for the blog!
LarissaAugust 11, 2015 at 5:40 pm
Sounds like you had a pretty great experience in 2011, that’s wonderful! And I did actually note the earthquake architecture legacy but in an article I did for Lonely Planet, not on the blog. Definitely hit Sveti Naum next time if you can – and Albania for that matter. So close! Greetings back from Kosovo :)
lutvijaAugust 3, 2015 at 4:57 am
Your blog is great the part about the romani is beautiful it makes me happy reading it being recognized thank you
LarissaAugust 11, 2015 at 4:04 pm
My pleasure and thank you. Shutka is an important place not only in Macedonia and the Balkans, but the entire world.
RiyasAugust 7, 2015 at 7:19 am
Hey, good writeup, planning to visit Skopje in September 2015. It is a short trip. Hope the timing is right.
LarissaAugust 11, 2015 at 4:01 pm
Thank you and I think September is a great month to visit. Enjoy!
MoodyAugust 9, 2015 at 1:31 pm
I am planning a trip to Macedonia for 2 days mostly 24th August.
Is there anyone who would be happy to show me around?
LarissaAugust 11, 2015 at 4:05 pm
I’ll be in Albania, but good luck – maybe someone local will see this before then and get in touch.
canaryAugust 17, 2015 at 8:20 am
loved reading your posts, i have regularly been to Kosovo over the last ten years and spent quite a bit of time in Macedonia as well but haven’t been there for about 5 years now, hopefully I shall go back soon though.
You are right Kosovo and Macedonia are both amazing places to visit, some of the scenery is breathtaking especially in the mountain regions. I’ve been to Peje, Prizren, Gjilane, Mitrovice, Mavrovo, Pristina, Skopje, Lake Ohrid, all over really even up in to Bosnia lots of times as well as Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Bulgaria once (Borovets). Skiing in Mavrovo was great you should try it if you get a chance. Winter can be a bit of a test though! I did go skiing in Kosovo about 5 or 6 years ago but it was very basic although I’d imagine they’ve improved the facilites by now there was a lot of talk about it back then.
The people in the Balkans really are the best thing though, so so friendly. I’ve even driven there from the UK quite a few times and the scenery is truly wonderful. Can’t wait to go back now I’ve read your blog!
Tariqbang: If you get a chance then go see the Mirusha Waterfalls in Kosovo they are beautiful, don’t go midsummer though as they are best seen in Spring when in full flow. http://www.viewkosova.com/municipalities/klina/places-to-visit/mirusha-waterfalls.html#_=_
LarissaAugust 18, 2015 at 7:12 pm
Hi Canary – thanks for the comment! I hope you get a chance to visit Macedonia again soon, you probably won’t even recognize Skopje!
Luckily I’ve been to most of those places you’ve mentioned – especially in the past couple of months since i just moved to Kosovo – and my mind has been blown with even more natural beauty than I expected. Haven’t hit Mavrovo or Borovets yet though. Would love to try skiing there or any other Balkan mountain for that matter and fingers crossed I will be spending some of the winter months here so I will have the chance finally. I haven’t really explored the Balkans in the snow and I am sure it looks gorgeous (though very curious how some infrastructure will work).
The people are by far the region’s greatest asset – very thankful to live in such a warm part of the world :) Cheers from Prishtina!
canaryAugust 18, 2015 at 9:34 pm
Hi again Larissa,
Wow didn’t realise that you live in Prishtina, nice one! It’s a very safe place to live and there’s some lovely areas nearby. It can be a bit of a stress in the winter though but things are slowly improving all the time and hopefully you won’t experience -26c like I did my first year there 😬.
I’m hoping to go back to Skopje soon as getting to Kosovo from the UK is a bit of a pain now since BA stopped the direct flights from London. It seems that the cheapest option is to fly direct to Skopje and get a colleague to pick me up from there and drive to Prishtina. No bad thing it’s a lovely drive.
Things really have come on a long way in Prishtina, the new airport really is amazing 😮 I’ve heard quite a lot about “Skopje 2014” so look forward to experiencing it.
I love the region it’s been a massive part of my life for over ten years now and more, kind of gets into your blood. It’s nice that your blog gets across the positive side of it there’s been far too much bad press. I just hope the “newborn” generation can see their way beyond past conflicts and realise that their enthusiasm and creativity can help to build a bright future. I’m sure they can. x
John MattisonAugust 27, 2015 at 12:52 am
Your photos are terrible. I really dislike your condescending attitude.
LarissaAugust 27, 2015 at 6:48 pm
Luippa KärsämäSeptember 4, 2015 at 10:40 am
Hello Larissa, one question: What is the coffee like in Macedonia? In Europe(Im european) coffee is generally bad outside nordic countries.
Do not worry about your answer – I will go to visit Macedonia, regardless of the answer :)
Top 3 coffee countries in the world
LarissaSeptember 18, 2015 at 2:22 pm
Ummm…trying to think…nothing too memorable, obviously :) The coffee you will find in the Balkans is much different than in the 3 places you mentioned. Lots of Turkish-like ones and espresso based ones. Two hours north in Kosovo you can find “the best macchiatos in the world”.
AlperSeptember 24, 2015 at 10:43 pm
Hey there! We will visit Macedonia on 4-8/11/2015 . Anyone can help us for visiting places? And We’re looking for a house that to open gates :)
BennoOctober 10, 2015 at 9:52 pm
Well put together, thank you!
Except for the alcohol, which I have no means of having an opinion about, I agree with everything on your post.
I have been to Macedonia many times, and I especially find Lake Ohrid to be magical.
The overall friendly-ness and real-ness of people, land, and structure gets me everytime.
Downtown Ohrid though, shows vague signs of trying to be modern, as advertisement for stores and store fronts get more colourful, shiny and blingy.
If I had any say in it, keep it real, people. No need to jump on that superfluous trend…
LarissaMarch 20, 2016 at 1:09 pm
Hey this is a bit late but couldn’t agree more. KEEP IT REAL! People will love you more for it.
Hilda PowersOctober 14, 2015 at 3:39 pm
Macedonia is a great country. I have spent there 2 weeks. I made a lot of friends and ate fantastic things. People pay too much attention to political situation. The people are important and Macedonian people are amazing. Greetings!
LarissaOctober 16, 2015 at 8:20 pm
Great way to put it, I totally agree!
JillianOctober 22, 2015 at 4:44 pm
Amazing. My friend and I are going next year for a few weeks. We cannot wait. She is from there and has a house. This blog just got me super excited all over again to go.
Any suggestions on layovers from New York to Macedonia, to do a long weekend?? That would be awesome. We were thinking Turkey and looking for some ideas…
LarissaOctober 25, 2015 at 7:15 pm
That’s awesome, hope you guys have fun. Istanbul is the main hub between the US and Balkans for Turkish Airlines so could definitely do something like that…Otherwise NY to London is always easy and now there are direct flights from London to Skopje and Ohrid on Wizz Air.
MagdalenaOctober 26, 2015 at 1:54 pm
Everything is true…. just one change… You can’t smoke in closed public places (bars, clubs, institutions, schools, buses…..)
Otherwise it’s great to read and know that someone is appreciating the country we live in. We are so much used to it that we don’t notice its amazingness!
LarissaOctober 26, 2015 at 10:23 pm
Someone should have informed the bus driver in my photo (this was taken well after the ban) ;) Glad you enjoyed it, lots of amazing things to see there for sure.
DenisNovember 7, 2015 at 7:04 pm
I first time in Macedonia and after two weeks I have next advices:
– try Racia. It is wonderful alcohol.
– Never order full serving of dish. It is enough 1/2.
– national dishes are really good: Macedonka, Shirden Prilep, double pork, salad Shopska.
LarissaNovember 10, 2015 at 1:25 pm
Very good advice, thanks for sharing!
MihailDecember 1, 2015 at 10:37 am
Salad ”Shopska” is Bulgarian national salad. The name comes from the sofia region and the people ”shopi”
Steven ArvivMarch 14, 2016 at 7:33 pm
Seriously dude? It’s a salad not an attack on your cultural identity.
TajoApril 20, 2016 at 11:33 pm
What about Cesars salad?
AlekJanuary 2, 2016 at 7:06 pm
Great post larissa rly im from Skopje im glad you liked Macedonia because i dont like it all , jk :P i just wanted to correct something you dont have to wear high heels the one who told you that probobly thinks that he is cool or something lol.
LarissaMarch 20, 2016 at 12:37 pm
Haha well I think he maybe just preferred the fancier girls which many do. That point was more or less a joke but I think in general in the Balkans there is a huge tendency for ladies to dress fancier than they need to – image is a big thing.
Andrew at Nomad CapitalistJanuary 10, 2016 at 3:52 pm
Skopje city center does indeed feel like walking around a more random Caesar’s Palace. Such expenses aside, it’s a very forward-thinking country, though.
LarissaMarch 20, 2016 at 12:33 pm
Macedonia is ahead of the game in many ways when it comes to tourism in the Balkans. Skopje has become quite a spectacle compared to how it was before but have to admit, it grows on me more and more every time I visit.
JaimieFebruary 27, 2016 at 6:17 am
I think am madly in love with a guy from there.
I would love to see him and see how it works. He is such a dream boat. So hope we get together.
He is 45 and looks my age! I believe you the water and food must be pristine! he is flawless!
LarissaMarch 20, 2016 at 11:26 am
Good luck with that :)
Steven ArvivMarch 14, 2016 at 7:23 pm
Great piece on Macedonia… one of the best I have read so far. Email me if you ever plan on going back and I will recommend some other sites for you to visit while you are there. Places like the neolithic observatory at Kokino, the beaches of Prespa (Pretor & Slivnica), Galičica, and Struga. etc.
The only thing I will disagree with you on is the tap water… I have never seen anyone drink it. Everyone drinks bottled water. I’m not sure why but that seems to be consistent throughout most of the country.
LarissaMarch 20, 2016 at 11:12 am
If that’s the only thing you disagree on, I feel glad haha! I was told it was fine by everyone when I was first there in 2012 but maybe things have changed. Appreciate the compliment, I definitely need to consider a follow up to this piece as I have explored quite a bit more of the country already and hope it will continue now that I am living in the region.
TajoApril 20, 2016 at 11:30 pm
Tap water is better than bottled. The best coca cola in the world,officially, is made here,that’s becouse of the quality of the water. So,yes it is not only safe to drunk tap water here but maybe recomended also.
LarissaApril 24, 2016 at 10:06 am
I wasn’t aware of the Coca Cola thing but makes sense if it’s made using magical water.
Steven ArvivMarch 14, 2016 at 7:44 pm
Bitola is still the second largest city.
LarissaMarch 20, 2016 at 11:08 am
Dennis J KnudsenMarch 25, 2016 at 11:07 pm
Nailed it…..I went in 2014 to meet a woman I met through a mutual friend on facebook….I went back in 2015 to marry her, lol….I don’t have the time right now to explain the marriage ceremony but being from Canada it was definitely different. And in those two trips….and some side trips while there to Struga,Gari, Lazarapoli….and Greece….on the fingers….Metamorfisso, Neo Marmossa….I am seriously considering moving there. I am currently sponsoring my wife to Canada but I definitely would love to go back there and just relax for the rest of my days…..and feed all the stray dog pals I made, lol
LarissaApril 20, 2016 at 8:57 pm
Definitely a place to spend some relaxing days and you never know – I’ve met a couple people from North American who are investing in properties/hotels there with the idea in mind that eventually it’s where they would retire.
P.S. Matka is indeed astounding!
Dennis J KnudsenMarch 25, 2016 at 11:10 pm
P.S. Matka Canyon is astounding!!!
NikolaApril 24, 2016 at 9:15 pm
You should visit Macedonia now,Kratovo especially.. I live near Kratovo I can be your guide i know english and i know the locals in Kratovo..
LarissaMay 17, 2016 at 12:19 pm
Looks like a beautiful place, thanks for bringing it to my attention
PraveenMay 8, 2016 at 10:24 am
Is it possible to drive a car in Macedonia which was rented in Vienna?
LarissaMay 17, 2016 at 12:21 pm
Yes, I think I responded to you on this via email already. Just have to double check if Macedonia is included in your insurance coverage and if not you may be able to purchase some at the border.
joeun kimMay 15, 2016 at 9:52 am
i am going to tomorrow to skopje and super excited!
thanks for useful information!
LarissaMay 17, 2016 at 12:21 pm
Great, hope you have an awesome time! And glad if I was able to help
Diane SwoffordJuly 2, 2016 at 4:36 am
I’m looking for a place to travel alone. Would Macedonia be advisable?
LarissaJuly 7, 2016 at 2:46 pm
Sure, I’ve traveled through there a lot by myself and never had any problems.
KathyJuly 13, 2016 at 5:40 pm
I’m going to Greece for a month in October. I have been reading that there are ferries that leave from Santorini, where I am staying, and wondered if I should go to Macedonia. Your article made me decide to add it to the list. I imagine all construction is over with by 2016. I’m excited about going!
LarissaOctober 4, 2016 at 5:30 pm
A little delayed but I do hope you make it to Macedonia from Greece – Ohrid isn’t so far over the border from Albania which I guess is the easiest place to get there via Santorini. Happy travels! :)
TraceyJuly 21, 2016 at 1:36 pm
Hey Guys :) I am from Australia and I have a Macedonian boyfriend who lives in Macedonia and I wanted to surprise him by learning his language a little (mostly coz i only speak english and most of his family only speak macedonian)…. Can someone please help me out or have any suggestions to websites that are really good to learn from? I know some pretty basic stuff but i want to learn more :)
AdrianaAugust 11, 2016 at 1:12 pm
There isn’t a variety of websites from which you can learn some basic Macedonian, but I did find this website: http://www.101languages.net/macedonian/basics.html
If you need any more help with the language, let me know :) I’m a Macedonian myself so I’d be glad to help.
LarissaOctober 4, 2016 at 5:47 pm
Sorry no one has responded on this yet but personally I have no idea :( If you are curious about Albanian though, can help you with that!
SamJuly 29, 2016 at 10:08 am
Such a great blog to know about really Macedonia. I am visiting in September to meet a girl I met online, she is a great lady and very well spoken, however I have never met a Macedonian girl before. I know her for about 2 months now, we speak almost everyday.
I am a banker by profession and she know that.
Is it advisable to trust someone without having met in real, how are Macedonian girls like? I hope there isn’t something doggy there.
LarissaOctober 4, 2016 at 5:52 pm
Hi Sam, sorry no one has been able to respond to this yet. All the Macedonia girls I know are great but of course you can find dodgy people in every county. Guess the only way to find out is to meet her. Wish you luck and love :)
NeetaAugust 24, 2016 at 3:57 pm
Would you recommend visiting Macedonia, sometime in the last week of December?
P.S. I love nature! Shades of Green, Yellow and Blue!!!
Thanks in Advance,
AshfaqAugust 31, 2016 at 5:08 am
I would like to know that how salary can earn (for the different kind of jobs i.e. Sales rep., IT technician ), and how is the living cost (you mentioned about €5 – €15 , what about rent). Thank you
AshfaqAugust 31, 2016 at 5:09 am
I mentioned €5 – €15 only for the meal.
LarissaOctober 4, 2016 at 6:21 pm
Sorry but I don’t know about rent in Macedonia…maybe someone else out there can chime in?
AshfaqAugust 31, 2016 at 5:12 am
Do people of Macedonia speak English ? , can foreigner manage without knowing local languages?
FlorimSeptember 8, 2016 at 12:54 pm
Many people speak english so u can menage
AshfaqSeptember 10, 2016 at 4:53 pm
LarissaOctober 4, 2016 at 6:25 pm
Most of the younger generation speaks enough so you can definitely get by, just depends what your intentions are there – much different living than just traveling.
Dominic JermanoDecember 29, 2016 at 3:40 pm
oliveraFebruary 8, 2017 at 3:25 am
wow I am Macedonian and so proud to be Macedonian. I read everything you wrote and from bottom of my heart THANKYOU for saying positive things about the country. We deserve some recognition for it is such a beautiful country. I love going back to visit my hometown.!! People are always so friendly, food is clean and dirt cheap and country is still pure.. thankgod… not too many tourists Yet.
thanks again for your beautiful words about my birth place. god bless you xxxxx
oliveraFebruary 8, 2017 at 3:34 am
Macedonia is one of those countries you just have to be there physically to really get the true Macedonia. I love nature, organic food, real people, real things. I dislike touristy places.. same same. Macedonian people are so kind, caring and will always offer you a turkish coffe. Macedonians love their turkish coffees.!! If anyone has not been to Macedonia go and visit. It is soooooo cheap . YOU can do homestays as well. Hotels are cheap as well. They are not part of EU thankgod. . Also go and visit villages. That is where you will find most interesting. The struggles of life but in saying that… they live a simple life and somewhat happy,. they may not have much money but who cares. They have network of families working together on the farms and living together. It is a healthy way of life. .. If you have not been to this part of the world. Go and just enjoy the simplicity of it all.. I must admit I am glad not many people know about it.. I dont want it to become too touristy.
AnthropolodgyJune 16, 2017 at 1:14 pm
I just returned from a trip to Macedonia and was equally fascinated! Especially by one place called Bazernik. I was amazed by the hospitality of the people and since I am a little bit involved in homestays and one of the locals mentioned he wanted to open a guesthouse there, I offered to help him get customers! Check it out at http://anthropolodgy.com/index.php/2017/06/14/bazernik-homestay-macedonia/
LarissaDecember 30, 2018 at 11:32 pm
Looks like a beautiful place, haven’t been to this part of Macedonia yet so will definitely put it on my list…
TerriJuly 11, 2017 at 12:59 am
Thank you for your review!
I really want to travel through Macedonia up to Serbia from Albania. I am a Australian single mum travelling with 4 kids (the you test is 3) but having been living in The Netherlands for the past year.
You answered all my questions about safety, food and cost the biggest thing when travelling for anyone!
I’m looking forward to seeing it 1st hand..
RageshOctober 7, 2017 at 3:33 pm
Realy thankful to you for your Trip Guidance, just now only I seen this blog, planning to a Macedonian trip on upcoming Christmas vacation. hope it would be a nice climate at that time. once again saying Thanks for your Blog, keep it good
NancyJanuary 22, 2018 at 4:00 pm
If you don’t approve any politically charged comments left here your title of the article had to be traveling to FYROM. That is the name of that country.
LarissaJanuary 26, 2018 at 6:18 am
Thanks for your two cents, Nancy@yahoo.GR
LarissaJune 19, 2018 at 7:06 am
Not for much longer…
IviFebruary 7, 2018 at 12:30 am
Hello. It’s nice all these, but that with Alexander the great is not true. They have a lot of history and that is why I love Macedonia.
My last visit was in 2015, they don’t smoke on any club and restaurants.
It’s nice to meet this people and learn something more about them. Thanks for this information ;)
LarissaJune 19, 2018 at 7:22 am
You’re right – they have done a great job eliminating smoking in restaurants in bars!
male apparelApril 28, 2018 at 12:07 am
Very quickly this site will be famous amid all blogging visitors, due
to it’s nice posts
liliDecember 10, 2018 at 1:29 am
Under the picture 5 ( the Roma community) what someone said to you isn’t true. Romani isn’t the official language in Macedonia, it’s Macedonian. Also Roma language isn’t standardized in schools. Other than that great post, i love that you mentioned our wine cause it’s really is good and i would love for our Macedonian wine to gain more popularity. Also our food is amazing :) especially the barbque ^_^
LarissaDecember 30, 2018 at 11:35 pm
Yes, I want to explore the Romani topic further the next time I’m in the country – amongst a bunch of other things. I can’t imagine it would be standardized in schools across the country, but maybe just in some communities which is a lot more than many other places in the region. Missing that Macedonia wine and BBQ, that is for sure!
Mayra VillamarDecember 10, 2018 at 6:37 am
I will be travelling to Macedonia in a few days. As much as I travel and as many times as I have been to some areas of the former and glorious Yugoslavia, I have skipped Macedonia and I am so excited to go see it this time. I am especially excited after reading your blog. Thank you very much, lots of great info in a very clear and easy to read way. Loved your blog. Best of luck in all you do,
LarissaDecember 30, 2018 at 11:36 pm
Very glad to read this and wish you a wonderful adventure there! :)
DelfinaDecember 18, 2018 at 4:35 pm
In wich city are you going?
I can help you if we are near..
N YanakyDecember 30, 2018 at 4:20 pm
Thank-you for your blog Larissa. I only have 5 or 6 days in August after a Greek Island tour to visit Macedonia and am trying to decide where to go. My grandparent’s families were from Macedonia, so I definitely want to visit their two villages so I can visualize where my family roots are from. The villages are called: Oschima and Zhelevo, but have been renamed with Greek names. I don’t speak Macedonian, so I am a little worried about getting around. I was thinking of trying to visit Lake Ohrid and Skopje as well. So hard to decide and hard to know how long it would take to travel between these places. I am hoping somewhere I will hear traditional Macedonian music/dance and be able to have traditional Macedonian food to remind me of my childhood and grandparents. Will I ever be able to taste zilnik again that my Baba used to make? I am Canadian. My Macedonian family immigrated to Toronto, Ontario. Thanks for making a visit to Macedonia seem possible.
LarissaDecember 30, 2018 at 11:45 pm
Thanks for your comment! Those villages appear to be right on the other side of the border in Greece and unfortunately I don’t have experience traveling from Ohrid or Skopje to those parts. Bitola is probably the best point of entry for you if you are going to be around Oschima/Zhelevo though, again, I have no information on the transportation situation between the two countries. Getting between Bitola/Ohrid/Skopje is pretty simple (and there is definitely plenty of traditional Macedonia food and music to be found) though not sure 5 or 6 days is enough to do it all. However it ends up, I’m sure it’s going to be an amazing experience for you!
to,November 29, 2019 at 9:12 pm
The USA is turning into a savage, crime-ridden $hit-hole. there are Haitians walking down my street carrying machetes. no kidding…. so i talked to my friend who owns property in Macedonia and planted the seed that we should move there.
LarissaNovember 30, 2019 at 12:05 am
I fully support that movement.
Ingrid BaluchiAugust 22, 2021 at 11:53 am
Probably too late for a comment, but here goes.
Two things you did not mention in your article about living in North Macedonia:
Restaurants offer only lightweight alternatives for those who are vegans or vegetarians. (Salads are not a filling alternative to what one can order as a non-vegetarian). This in spite of having wonderful seasonal vegetables, excellent cheeses (for veggies), a great source of wild berries, seeds and fungi. No imagination? I can make a very good alternative to the Tavte Gravshe most eating houses serve up.
Secondly, the state of street/stray animals is as appalling here in N. Macedonia as anywhere else in the Balkan regions. No attempt to neuter dogs or cats, the municipalities simply wash their hands of the nuisance by poisoning the animals en mass at intervals.
You are absolutely correct about rubbish lying around. Beautiful Ohrid Lake is gradually becoming polluted over the years, especially during peak tourist season.
There is some basic concept of municipality recycling (glass/plastic/cardboard), but most of it ends up in landfill.
Sorry to be a “miserabilist”, but it is sad to see such a beautiful country suffering from lack of forethought and positive action towards improvement.