Top 9 Reasons to Visit North Macedonia

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North Macedonia might not necessarily be on your list of European destinations to visit, but it certainly should be. Whether you’re looking to don your hiking ... read more...

  1. Macedonian cuisine is a fusion of Balkan, Turkish, Albanian, and European influences. Macedonian cuisine is primarily composed of meat, fish, and vegetables. The relatively warm climate of North Macedonia allows for excellent growth conditions for a variety of vegetables, herbs, and fruits. The diversity and superiority of the country's dairy products, wines, and indigenous alcoholic drinks, such as rakija, are also well-known.

    It's worth a shot here. Tavce-gravce is fried beans prepared in an earthenware dish. In Macedonian, this meal is also known as beans: gravce means beans and tavce means pottery. Sarma is a fermented cabbage leaf meal made with grains and ground meat. Sarma, one of the country's most popular cuisines, is commonly associated with the winter season, but many people eat it throughout the year. It is usually served with sides and sauces, although it can also be eaten on its own. There is also a vegetarian variation of this meal that omits the ground pork and replaces it with rice and leeks.

  2. North Macedonia has a mostly continental climate, however the south and east are very Mediterranean. Summers are often long and dry, while winters are moderate and rainy, with substantial snowfall in the mountains on occasion. Summer can be extremely hot, with temperatures on the plains reaching as high as 104°F (40°C) at times between May and August. July is the warmest month, with an average temperature of 72°F (22°C). Winters are relatively chilly, with frequent snowfall. January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 33°F (0°C). Rainfall is plentiful, especially during the short spring and autumn seasons, with October being the wettest and August being the driest. It should be noted that climate varies depending on place and geographical elements.

    North Macedonia
    is a year-round destination, although the summer months, from May to August, are the busiest and best time to come. Popular lake locations and cities, such as Ohrid and Mavrovo (renowned for its mountain riding prospects), might get busy during this time. With the exception of the ski season in January and February, when people throng to the slopes in Mavrovo, Pelister, Krushevo, and Popova Sapka, the months of November to April are the least popular for travel to North Macedonia. Spring and fall can also be very lovely, but tourists should be prepared for rain.
  3. North Macedonia has stunning scenery that provides excellent trekking options for people of all fitness and skill levels. All three of North Macedonia's national parks - Pelister, Mavrovo, and Galica - have several signposted hiking paths as well as scenic drives on improving roads.

    There are various multiday walks, including two 200km excursions from Ljuboten to Struga near the Albanian border (permission still necessary) and from Skopje to the picturesque Lake Ohrid. The 10km trip from Mount Vodno just outside Skopje down to Lake Matka is a must-do, as are rock climbing, caving, camping, kayaking, and other stunning hikes to local monasteries and beyond.

    There are numerous shorter but equally lovely hikes to waterfalls, caverns, glacial lakes, secret monasteries, and other scenic sites, as well as along the Via Egnatia. If you want to learn or tandem paraglide, this is one of the cheapest sites in Europe. Mountain biking, horseback riding, and hot-air balloon rides are also excellent ways to see North Macedonia.
  4. Have you ever used the expression "off the beaten path" to describe a fantastic destination that has yet to be overrun by tourists? North Macedonia is the place to be. North Macedonia got 630,000 visitors last year. To put that in context, France received 81 million visitors, whereas Disneyland received 25 million! There may appear to be nothing new under the sun for the traveler in the twenty-first century. Cheap air travel and a more globalized world have removed some of the mystery from travel. However, when traveling North Macedonia, you truly feel as if you are discovering new terrain.

    North Macedonia features UNESCO World Heritage sites, pristine mountains and lakes, and a rich culture to rival anywhere else in Europe, yet when you visit as a biker, you frequently feel like you have the region to yourself! Join Summer Feet on one of their North Macedonia Bike Tours, and they'll use their knowledge to help you get the most out of this amazing country.
  5. Good variety of wines is one of the reasons to visit North Macedonia. Recently selected as Food and Wine magazine’s top wine destination, North Macedonia has been producing wine for more than 4,000 years (so they know a thing or two!). The land is ideal for wine production and many family-owned wineries keep old traditions alive, producing some of the very best wine you’ll find in the Balkans. There’s nothing like the export industry that’s found in major wine countries like Italy and France, so in North Macedonia, you get to sample a lot of splendid wines that you simply won’t find anywhere else.

    Many grape varieties are indigenous to this region and as you taste the wine that they produce, you know that you are sampling something intimately connected to the place, something that has been central to the people of Macedonia for a very long time. For those who love red wine best, look out for the Vranec and Stanušina wines. While white drinkers should seek out Žilavka, Smederevka, and Temjanika.
  6. North Macedonia has no shortage of things to do. Here you'll find the ideal combination of historic sites, breathtaking natural landscapes, world-class cuisine, and a warm local culture. Cycling into Albania — there’s no better feeling for the adventure cyclist crossing borders on their bike! Visiting 3 National Parks — yes, no less than three national parks can be visited on our tours. The lakes, mountains, and forests of the national parks are something beautiful to behold.

    Discovering Lake Ohrid — a Natural World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO, Lake Ohrid is one of Europe’s deepest and oldest lakes. The blue waters of the lake and surrounding natural scenery are fabulous, as are the picturesque medieval towns found nearby. Exploring fabulous Byzantine churches — the churches and monasteries of North Macedonia range from tiny, mountaintop structures to epic Byzantine cathedrals. Many of these buildings date back to the 10th century. Visit Bradt Guides for their Best Monasteries in North Macedonia.
    • Wallet-Friendly is one of the reasons to visit North Macedonia. Everyone, regardless of their financial situation, deserves a vacation. If you can't afford to travel to Madrid or Paris, North Macedonia provides much-needed environmental reform at a reduced cost. The country, in particular, rates among the cheapest in Europe, with food, drink, and lodging typically costing a fraction of what they do in more popular parts of Europe.

      A wonderful lunch in North Macedonia can be had for roughly 5 euros, while renting a room can be as low as 20 euros. If you're like us and enjoy long excursions to distant locations, your money will go a lot further in North Macedonia. Expect to pay roughly 25-30 EUR per night for a nice hotel room. Skopje is the most expensive city in North Macedonia, yet it is still reasonably inexpensive by your standards. Nonetheless, the quality of your stay will undoubtedly be comparable to that of more popular destinations. North Macedonia is a must-see for anyone who enjoys exploring truly unique countries.
    • Despite being no larger than Vermont, North Macedonia is a genuine treasure mine of ancient archaeological monuments. The country is home to some of Europe's best preserved Greek and Roman antiquities, as well as Neolithic village ruins, ancient strongholds, and one of the world's oldest observatories - Kokino, dubbed the "Stonehenge of North Macedonia" and currently on UNESCO's tentative World Heritage list.

      Among the country's historic highlights is Stobi, which many consider to be the most important archaeological site in North Macedonia. Stobi, originally a vital economic hub of the ancient Paionian kingdom, was founded at the intersection of the trade routes Via Egnatia, Via Axia, and Via Diagonale. A Roman amphitheater, numerous large churches with exquisite mosaics and masonry, and a synagogue dating from the third to fourth centuries BC are among the ruins.

      The historic Hellenic city of Heraclea Lyncestis, founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC, is another major site in North Macedonia. Heraclea, conquered by the Romans in the second century BC, was an important halt on the Via Egnatia and a lively commercial hub until its destruction in the sixth century. Several Roman monuments, including baths and an amphitheater, still stand here. Don't miss the stunning Byzantine basilicas, which are lavishly decorated with mosaics of local vegetation and animals.
    • North Macedonia is an adventurer's paradise, with two of Europe's oldest lakes, three national parks, and more than 50 mountains above 6,500 feet. The country's verdant terrain is both remarkably pure and blissfully tranquil, and its various geography gives fantastic chances for hiking, biking, horseback riding, hot-air ballooning, and other activities.

      Pelister is the smallest but oldest national park in North Macedonia. Pelister, located in the country's southwestern part on the border with Greece, provides spectacular alpine forests, waterfalls, and some of North Macedonia's most accessible hiking and bike paths. The most popular hike leads up to Mt. Pelister, an 8,500-foot peak capped with two beautiful glacier lakes.

      Mavrovo is North Macedonia's largest national park and home to the country's tallest peaks, notably Mt. Korab, which stands at over 9,000 feet. The park contains one of the most difficult sections of the Via Dinarica, a 1,200-mile cross-country trail that runs over much of the Balkan Peninsula. Mavrovo, in addition to its breathtaking environment and animals, is home to a variety of dramatic traditional villages belonging to North Macedonia's ethnic minorities.

      Galicnik National Park spans an 88-square-mile area between Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa and is home to some of North Macedonia's most diversified native flora and animals. Galicnik is regarded as one of the best and most affordable paragliding destinations, with breathtaking mountain views in almost every direction.

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