Macedonia Holidays Guide
Like neighbouring Albania, Macedonia is one of the last places in Europe that remains largely undiscovered by tourism. Its people are mixture of Orthodox Christians and Muslims, which makes the cities a fascinating jumble of different architectural styles. The lakes are one of the most popular attractions in Macedonia, and the national parks give you the chance to enjoy fishing and hillwalking in splendid isolation. There are also numerous religious sights, including monasteries, cathedrals and churches. Macedonia's rich heritage, including periods of Byzantine, Ottoman and Communist rule, has left some fascinating historical and cultural sights.
Macedonia Holidays Planner
The main tourist attraction is Lake Ohrid, a large freshwater body located in the Macedonian mountains. It's very popular with tourists from across the Balkans and beyond, who come here to swim, sunbathe and party – Gradiste Beach is great for the latter, and is Macedonia's top spot for nightlife in the summer. First settled by the ancient Greeks, Ohrid also has numerous churches – you could spend days visiting them all, but the most noted are St Sophia's and St.Pantelejmon – Plaoshnik. There's also a castle with a fantastic view over the lake. The other main tourist hub is Skopje, the capital – it has a distinctly Eastern feel, with Cyrillic lettering and a bustling and colourful Turkish-style bazaar. It also has several Byzantine structures that have survived over a millenium, including a bridge, fortress and aqueduct.
There are three national parks around Lake Ohrid, where you can try hiking, biking and paraglading, and also visit some remote and holy religious sites. Krusevo is the best place in the country to visit if you want to go skiing – it also has numerous historical sights, including an impressive fortress, which are very important to the Macedonian people. Bitola is the most European-feeling city of Macedonia – it has a scenic bazaar and the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Heraclea. Accommodation wise, you can find many hotels around Lake Ohrid, and there are campsites available in the National Parks during the summer, as well as city hotels and a small number of backpacking hostels. There's an airport in Skopje, but the nearest sizeable airport is in Thessaloniki, which is an easy train journey away.