by Mariska Regtvoort
Photos: Mariska Regtvoort and Katarina Karcolova

In February 2010 I arrived from the Netherlands to Macedonia as an EVS volunteer. Before my arrival I didn’t know much about the country; in the meanwhile I realized I was not the only one considering the fact that I met people who didn’t know that Macedonia is a country at all. Since I discovered how beautiful and pleasant this country is I decided that it deserves some more attention. I would like to recommend it to everyone: visit Macedonia! To ensure that you will have the best of experiences, here are some of my personal advises:

Don’t: Visit only Ohrid and Skopje

Macedonia is a beautiful country with a lot of culture and nature. Of course, you have to visit the capital Skopje and the famous city of Ohrid, located by the stunning Ohrid Lake. Yet, don’t stop there – there’s much more to see in this country.

A few recommendations:

  • National park Mavrovo: Breath-taking landscapes, lake and forests. One of the best places for nature, hiking and winter sports.
  • Bitola: This is the second largest city in Macedonia and it is a cultural and historical centre as well. It’s known for its unique and colorful historical architecture.
  • Shutka: The Roma municipality within Skopje. It’s the biggest Roma community in Europe.
  • Matka Canyon: Find striking nature on the outskirts of Skopje. You can go here to walk, to climb, to visit monasteries or to take a boat and explore the lake. It’s also an ideal place for a picnic.

Do: Visit a monastery

There are countless monasteries that are worth a visit. My favorite one is Treskavec. This monastery is located on a mountain 8 km from Prilep. The monastery is built during the 12th century on the foundations of an ancient temple. You can reach it by a beautiful two hours walk. There is one monk living in the monastery who can give you a tour. An overnight stay is possible for those who truly want to experience Treskavec – I truly recommend doing that.


Don’t: Go to the city square

In most cities, the city square is a place to visit. It’s a focal point of the city, surrounded by some fine buildings, fancy bars and terraces. There can be a fountain in the middle, a historical church or monument. Not in Skopje. What you’ll find there (at the moment) is nothing more than an empty space with a huge construction site in the middle.

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