Part Balkan, part Mediterranean and rich in Greek, Roman and Ottoman heritage, North Macedonia has a fascinating past and a complex national identity.
Glittering Lake Ohrid and its historic town have etched out a place for North Macedonia on the tourist map, but there is a wealth of natural beauty in this small country.
Dramatic mountains have blissfully quiet walking trails, lakes and riding opportunities. The national parks of Mavrovo, Galičica and Pelister are cultivating some excellent cultural and culinary tourism initiatives; these gorgeous regions are as yet little explored, so if you want to get off the beaten track in Europe – this is the place. Tourist infrastructure is scant, but locals are unfailingly helpful.
Skopje’s centre has suffered from a building spree of grotesque faux-neoclassical monuments, buildings and fountains, funded by the previous government. Luckily, its Ottoman old town and buzzing modern areas are untouched and remain charming and authentic.
The monetary unit in Macedonia is the Macedonian Dinar (MKD). 1 Denar = 100 Deni
You can exchange most currencies although Euros are the most widely accepted. ATMs are available
Eating and Drinking
Macedonian cuisine is colourful and flavoursome and features a lot of Italian, Greek and Turkish influences. You will find plenty of tasty, spicy dishes to tempt you, Keep a look out for Mediterranean fish such as sea-bream and seabass, as well as eel. Traditional dishes often use vegetables and yoghurt or curd cheese to make the meat go further. You may want to try national specialities such as Koran, a species of trout unique to the Ohrid and Prespa lakes. If you’re feeling daring, you could try Paçë koke (sheep’s head soup). You may also come across Kukurec (sheep’s innards in a gut casing).
Macedonia offers many high-quality wines, some of it from indigenous grapes such as Kallmet (red) and Shesh (red and white). National drinks include: rakia, a clear spirit made of grapes. Coffee is also very popular and is mostly served as cappuccino or espresso in bars and restaurants, or prepared the traditional Balkan way, with grounds and sugar brewed together, when served at home.
In restaurants 15% is usually added to restaurant bills and you are obliged to pay this. It is also customary to give the waiter 5%-10% on top of this if you are happy with the service.
Australian Government Travel Advice
The Australian Government provides up to date information on the safety of travelling to various countries, and all travellers should take note of this advice. Liberty Tours recommends that all travellers take out appropriate Travel Insurance to cover the entire duration of their absence from home. Liberty Tours can assist with obtaining Travel Insurance.
Follow this link for current official assessment:
Advice on health risks and vaccination recommendations can also be found using the same link.
In the Republic of Macedonia (called Northern Macedonia in 2019), the climate is cold in winter and hot in summer. The continentality of the climate is due to the fact that the country has no outlet to the sea, and in addition, it is separated from the Adriatic and the Aegean Sea by mountain ranges. The major cities are located at an altitude higher than sea level, often in valleys, which enhance the cold in winter (because cold air stagnation on the ground) as well as the summer heat. The Balkan Peninsula is exposed to cold waves from the north or east, and Macedonia is no exception. The north-west wind that blows in the Vardar river valley is called Vardarec, an equivalent to the Bora, maybe a little less violent.
Here are the temperatures of Kriva Palanka, located in the north-east, at an altitude of 700 meters (2,300 feet).
The best time to visit the Republic of Macedonia is from May to September. In Skopje and the other cities located in the lowlands, the months of July and August (and sometimes the second half of June) can be really hot, so you may prefer May, June and September. September is usually a pleasant month, sunny and with little rain.
What to pack
In winter: bring warm clothes, such as a sweater or fleece, a down jacket, a hat, gloves and a scarf, and a raincoat or umbrella.
In summer: bring light clothes, a T-shirt, but also long pants, a light jacket and a sweatshirt for the evening, and an umbrella.
Macedonia is 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Meant Time
220 volts / 50 Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are in use.
Macedonian (a slavonic language using the Cyrillic script) is the most widely used language. Albanian, Turkish and Serbo-Croat are also used by ethnic groups. English, French and German are widely spoken
67 % of the population are Eastern Orthodox Macedonians and around 23% are Muslim Albanians. There are also Muslim Turks and Serbian Orthodox minorities