Backpacking in Macedonia; 5 Things to See in Skopje

Quite simply one of the most beautiful countries you’ll ever visit, most naturally and architecturally. I am struggling to convey how positive I feel about this place. I don’t know too many people who have visited Macedonia (in fact I don’t know too many people who could even place it on a map) but really we’ve all been missing out.

Skopje, the Capital of Macedonia, used to be a drab communist city but they’ve fought back with a vengeance. Its surrounded by beautiful mountains, still snow capped despite the 35 degree heat I was wilting in! The city centre is full of monuments to Alexander the Great, you’ll see Ottoman-era buildings, all interspersed with some banging bars and restaurants.


When you’re here, make sure you check out the 6 best things to see in Skopje:


Millennium Cross:

At 66m high, it’s the biggest cross in the world, now who’d have though that’d be found in Macedonia?! It’s at the top of  Mount Vodno, 4km from the city centre. If you’re a lunatic you can hike uphill to the Cross (2 hours)or pay the $2.50 for the return cable car instead. The views of the city are awesome.

millennium cross Skopje 

Skopje Skyline

Carsija, The Old Bazaar:

Home to the Turkish and Albanian Muslim population, and the best place in town to chow down on some baklava and tea and get lost in the cobblestoned narrow streets. It’s like you’ve walked into the Middle East, which is pretty cool, because I miss my time there so much! Mustafa Pasha Mosque is one of the highlights while wandering around.

Carsija skopje The Old BazaarTvrdina Kale Fortress:

Built 1400 years ago, the fortress is just north of the old bazaar. It’s pretty run down within the walls, but the views from outside the fortress are infinitely more impressive, as it bears down on the centre square.

Tvrdina Kale Fortress 

Mother Theresa house:

The old lady herself was born in Skopje, Macedonia and lived here throughout her childhood before she headed off to Ireland and then ultimately in Calcutta, India where she truly began to shine.

You can visit where her house one stood, but now lies a a memorial house to her, covered in doves of peace. This kinda thing can be quite crass, but the Macedonians have got in spot on – it’s a great tribute to a great lady.

 Mother Theresa's House Skopje

Plostad Makedonija Central Square:

The centre of the city, complete with statues of national heroes, an awesome fountain with a huge Alexander the Great statue riding his equally huge hourse and countless bars and restaurants to get some reasonably priced beers and snacks as you watch the (beautiful) Macedonian youth stroll by.

Plostad Makedonija Skopje Central Square

Skopje rocks, end of story. And Macedonia deserves a lot more publicity for its sights and history, luckily enough I’m here to sing its praises, so visit soon guys before the tourist horders roll in. Happy travels!

14 thoughts on “Backpacking in Macedonia; 5 Things to See in Skopje

  1. Jess

    Great post! Macedonia is one of my favorite places to visit. Looks like you hit all the main tourist stops. In addition to these sites, I would add that anyone visiting Macedonia must take advantage of all the tasty (and cheap) food! The burek, tavche gravche, ajvar, and boza are all delicious and pretty unique to the balkans!

  2. xenia chamitis

    I agree there might be beauty in that country but since you wrote about it you should know Macedonia is in Greece. FYROM was a part from Yugoslavia, and after it split it changed the name, after Greece’s county, the capital of which is Thessaloniki. Alexander the Great was Greek. There are neither slavomaceonians, nor slavomacedonic language. So before you write down, i suggest you read, and for this particular country, i think you should consider writing, based in it’s slavic and Yugoslavian origins. That, written from a History undergraduate!

  3. Zuzanka Vrabova

    Hello Johnny,

    my name is Zuzana and I am from Slovakia. I am travelling to Balcan countries with my spanish boyfriend this summer. We have some time pressure so we are deciding about visiting Skopje or Sarajevo, what would you recommend to us? Did u feel a danger over there or you saw it very safe? Besides, could you be so kind and recommend us some place to stay over there for one night?

    Thank you so much, I like your blog, very inspiring!


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  5. Iva Kacarska

    Im glad you enjoyed it so much and tell the world about it :)) Did you had the time to visit some mountain villages and monasteries :) and try the food out there :P now that an ultimate experience with hiking or biking :)

  6. Travis Ehrenstrom

    Thanks for the wonderful post, I think you’ve convinced me as to my next vacation destination! From what you describe Macedonia to be, it sounds like it may be similar in climate and sight-seeing as Rio De Janero. Am I right?

    I understand that these are two vastly distinct cultures with their own unique and wonderful traits, but it almost seems like Macedonia could be a similar type of vacation experience.

    Thanks for the great photos as well, it sounds like you had a blast!

    1. Johnny Post author

      i wouldn’t say it has quite the allure of Rio, but as far as surpassing expectation – it was awesome mate, really cool. And then Ohrid lake is only a bus journey away – great country!

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  8. Mike

    You had me at Baklava! I wasn’t aware that Mother Theresa was born in Skopje, much less in Macedonia. You learn something new every day. Thanks for sharing! Safe travels!!!

  9. Wftristan

    Hi Johnny

    Macedonia looks good – I could really do with some 35 degree heat at the moment as its rained everyday for what seems like 100 years here in the UK.



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