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most beautiful places in North Macedonia

North Macedonia is one of the most interesting countries within the Balkan peninsula. Its rich history makes the country different from other states. I was interested in it and went to explore it for a week. After traveling around the entire country and visiting all the places, I’ve made a list of the best and prettiest places so you can visit them, too.

So, in this article, I’ll share the most beautiful places in North Macedonia and give you a true overview of the country. Ready to explore it? Let’s get started!

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List Of The 13 Most Beautiful Places In North Macedonia & Map

1. Skopje
2. Winery Chateau Sopot
3. Matka Canyon
4. Lake Ohrid
5. St. Naum Monastery

6. Bay Of Bones
7. Ohrid
8. Struga

9. Lake Prespa
10. Mavrovo National Park
11. Galicica National Park
12. Bitola
13. Mount Vodno

1. Skopje

The capital of North Macedonia offers a variety of things. It’s the cheapest capital in Europe, so you have no more excuses to visit these beautiful places.

Skopje got a nickname as the city of thousands of statues, and the first thing you can do is try the most important ones:

  • The Equestrian Warrior
  • The Beggar
  • The Two Girls
  • Tree Man
  • Girl with Guitar
  • The Pirate Ships of Skopje
most beautiful places in north macedonia travel guide Skopje main square
Skopje Main Square

What you can’t miss is to walk through the Old Bazaar with many shops and traditional places, where you can eat delicious food. It perfectly reflects Macedonian culture with Ottoman influence from the past.

Skopje is also the birthplace of Mother Teresa. Go inside the Memorial House and learn about her life, the things she did, and the ways she contributed to the world.

The spectacular main square – Porta Macedonia – with the most important statue of Alexander the Great offers many restaurants and cafes to eat, drink, and enjoy spectacular views

most beautiful places in North Macedonia Skopje bazaar
Skopje Bazaar

2. Winery Chateau Sopot

North Macedonia is not only famous for its natural beauty and rich history. It also has a vast wine production. You can visit many local wineries, taste delicious wine, speak to the local families, and enjoy the food.

It’s always one of my favorite things to do in a country – wine tasting in a beautiful location. And the Winery, called ‘Chateau Sopot’, is one of the best spots to experience it in North Macedonia.

The local family is super friendly, the views are breathtaking, and you’ll taste various wine samples, including some food.

It’s located just 46 km/28 miles from Skopje, about a 40-minute drive. You can also join a tour from Skopje to the chateau by clicking the link below.

Join this wine tasting tour to Chateau Sopot from Skopje.

3. Matka Canyon

Matka Canyon is one of the most beautiful phenomena in the country and one of the best day trips from Skopje.

The Canyon was created after locals built a dam on the River Treska in 1983. It’s located in the Skopje Valley, famous for seismic activity, as it sits between the Eurasian and African tectonic plates.

You can do many activities, including kayakingrock climbing, a boat tour with a visit to the deepest underwater cave in the worldVrelo Cave, walking, and hiking around.

Book this guided tour to Matka Canyon, including Mt. Vodno.

most beautiful places in North Macedonia travel guide Matka Canyon
Matka Canyon

4. Lake Ohrid

I think Lake Ohrid is the highlight of the entire country. It attracts visitors not only for its vacation vibes but also thanks to its rich history.

It’s the oldest Lake in Europe and the birthplace of the Cyrillic alphabet.

My favorite thing was to drive around the Lake (including crossing the border to Albania) and explore Ohrid.

Besides, you can take a boat tour and enjoy panoramic views, visit the Bay of BonesSt. Naum Monastery, and Struga, or relax on the beach.

North Macedonia itinerary 7, 8, 9, 10 days Ohrid
Ohrid & Monastery Of Saint John The Theologian

5. St. Naum Monastery

The Cyrillic alphabet was invented by two brothers, Cyril and Methodius, right here on the shores of Lake Ohrid in St. Naum Monastery. It’s the place from where they spread the alphabet to Central Europe and started their teaching.

Today, you can visit the monastery and learn more about Cyril and Methodius. It’s one of the most beautiful buildings I have seen in North Macedonia. I loved the peaceful atmosphere and the views of the lake from there.

You can also relax on the beach, swim, buy souvenirs, or do a boat tour of the Ohrid Lake Springs.

best things to do at Lake Ohrid North Macedonia St. Naum Monastery
St. Naum Monastery – Lake Ohrid

6. Bay Of Bones

If you’re in Lake Ohrid, you must visit the Bay of Bones. It’s one of the most interesting museums in the country, especially for all the archaeologists.

Bay of Bones houses a collection of many fragmented vessels and animal remains that archaeologists collected from the lake. You’ll find artifacts from the Iron and Bronze Age.

The entire museum is in little huts floating on the lake, which gives it an extra special atmosphere. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit it when you explore the lake.

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7. Ohrid

Ohrid is the main town in Lake Ohrid. Make it a base and explore the lake’s sights from here.

First, stroll through the tiny streets of Ohrid and have a good lunch. Then, walk up to Samuel’s fortress for the best views.

The town is known for its 365 monasteries, and locals say each monastery was for one day in a year. The most famous and spectacular one is the Monastery of Saint John.

Besides, it’s popular for the original Ohrid Pearls. If you want to buy some, be aware that only some shops have original pearls despite claiming it. One of the best shops to buy them is Filevi – Ohridski Biseri Filevi Dr. Pavel Filev.

FUN FACT: I bought a necklace (with fake ones, because I wouldn’t like to be robbed as a traveler). I made it my travel necklace, so I always wear it while traveling (scroll up to my photo under the ‘Travel Itinerary Planning’ and you’ll see it).

best things to do at Lake Ohrid North Macedonia Samuels Fortress Ohrid
Samuel’s Fortress: Ohrid

8. Struga

Struga is another great town you can visit on the shores of Lake Ohrid. It’s close to the Ohrid town, so you can make it a half-day trip.

Struga is mainly famous for its stunning Ohrid Bridge, from which you’ll get amazing views of the area. Besides, you can visit the Church of Sveta Bogorodica, which has beautiful frescos.

It’s also popular thanks to the International Poetry Festival, called Struga Poetry Evenings, and is organized annually.

For all the adventurous souls – you can do many water sports such as kayaking, jet skiing, and paddleboarding.

👉 READ ALSO: How To Get Around North Macedonia: Buses & Taxis

9. Lake Prespa

Interestingly, Lake Prespa is one of the least lakes in Europe in 3 different countries: North Macedonia, Albania, and Greece.

The tourist here isn’t well-developed yet, so you won’t find as many facilities and hotels as there are in Ohrid and on the shores of Lake Ohrid.

However, if you want to experience something more raw, enjoy untouched nature, and go wild swimming, Lake Prespa is the spot for you. You can also go camping and spend a romantic night in a quiet environment here, as it’s not so crowded and popular among travelers.

10. Mavrovo National Park

Mavrovo National Park is another great place for outdoor and culture lovers in North Macedonia. You can visit traditional villages and learn how people live here, which is an exciting opportunity.

I recommend visiting the Galichnik village. It’s one of the oldest Mijak villages with traditional architecture. You must taste local products, mainly their cheese: yellow cheese kashkaval or salt brine white cheese “belo sirenje”.

Mavrovo National Park is also a famous skiing region. It’s a great winter destination for locals and people from surrounding countries such as Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Greece.

11. Galicica National Park

If you’re staying in Ohrid and love hiking, I highly recommend visiting the nearby Galicica National Park. It has some of the best hiking trails in the country. You can climb the highest mountain, Mt. Magaro, and get the absolute best views of Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa.

If you want an easy hike from Ohrid, you can walk the trail via Ramme and Velestovo back to Ohrid. It offers some of the best views, and you can visit the locals and experience life there.

In case you want to challenge yourself and do a full-day hike, you can start in the Stenje village on Lake Prespa and walk to the Lipova – Vrv Magaro pass, just below Mt. Magaro. Then walk down to Trpejca village on Lake Ohrid. The trails are amazing, and the views are breathtaking.

12. Bitola

Bitola is the cultural City of North Macedonia, where the European and Ottoman cultures meet together. It’s a great place to experience the hospitality of locals. They are always very welcoming and ready to help.

The City is known as the City of Consuls, as it used to be an important political and economic center during the Ottoman era. What is interesting are its Ottoman houses and the Clock Tower. During its construction, locals collected over 60,000 eggs from the nearby villages and mixed them into the mortar to strengthen it.

When you’re in Bitola, I also highly recommend visiting the ancient Greek City called Heraclea, just 10 minutes away. It was founded in the middle of the 4th century BC by Phillip II of Macedon and used to be a Greek colony living in the south of North Macedonia.

north macedonia road trip itinerary 8 days Bitola
Bitola

13. Mount Vodno

Mount Vodno is one of the best spots you can visit on a day trip from Skopje. The name perfectly reflects its location. The Macedonian word ‘Vodno‘ means water, and they named the mountain Vodno as it has many springs that come from the River Vardar.

It was also one of the most significant battles in Macedonian history. It was the Battle of Vodena, during which the Byzantine Emperor Basil II defeated the Bulgarian army and his leader, Samuel.

Today, you can go hiking or take a cable car to the top of the mountain. You’ll also clearly see it from Skopje, as the summit has a beautiful cross. It’s lit in the evening, which creates a special atmosphere.

Book this guided tour to Mount Vodno, including Matka Canyon.

North Macedonia In A Nutshell

If you can’t decide which places in North Macedonia you want to or should visit, here is a little help guide for you.

Choose a place in North Macedonia according to your interests:

Mountain Lovers: Galicica & Mavrovo National Park, Solunska Glava, Matka Canyon
Water Lovers: Lake Ohrid, Lake Prespa, Matka Canyon
History & Culture Lovers: Skopje, Bitola, Lake Ohrid, Struga, Ohrid, Bay Of Bones, Galichnik
Relax Lovers: Lake Ohrid
Wine & Food Lovers: Skopje, Winery Chateau Sopot

BONUS: North Macedonia Itinerary 7 – 10 Days

If you want to explore more of North Macedonia, take my North Macedonian itinerary. Choose to spend 7, 8, 9, or 10 days in the country and travel with it.

It includes various things from the capital of Skopje, wine-tasting spots, hiking, and the best cities, and you’ll also make it to Ohrid and Lake Ohrid.

Click on the image below and travel with this itinerary:

Interesting Facts About North Macedonia

Before we jump into the list of the most beautiful places, let me give you a quick overview of North Macedonia.

Ottoman Empire & Yugoslavia

The country used to be part of the Byzantine Empire and later the Ottoman Empire. You’ll feel the influence of the Ottoman Empire mixed with some European architecture when visiting cities.

North Macedonia was also part of Yugoslavia, like other neighboring Balkan countries, including Croatia. What is interesting is that North Macedonia is the only country that got its independence without shedding any blood. The process was smooth and peaceful, unlike in other countries.

Tourism In North Macedonia

It wasn’t possible to visit the country until 1991, when it finally gained independence. Locals celebrate it every year on the 8th of September. 

Back in 2001, an armed conflict harmed tourism again. Fortunately, ever since, the country has been rising in popularity among travelers.

North Macedonia will surprise you mainly with its stunning nature, lakes, little villages, and national parks. It’s also the birthplace of Cyrillic Alphabet, but more on that under the Lake Ohrid section.

most beautiful places in north macedonia to visit Ohrid Fortress
Me exploring Samuel’s Fortress In Ohrid

The Name ”North Macedonia”

Locals have been having disputes with Greece, who named their northwestern region ‘Macedonia.’ Therefore, Macedonians couldn’t name their country the same way and got the name ‘North Macedonia’ only back in 2019.

Unfortunately, Macedonians claim that the Greeks stole some of their land and even the proper name of their country. They also say that other countries, like Bulgaria, steal their history (e.g., such as Cyril and Methodius and the origins of their teachings).

Nevertheless, North Macedonians keep their history and culture and have retained some of its national pride and stunning places. So, let’s explore them together.

Practical Tips For Visiting North Macedonia

To help you plan your visit to North Macedonia even more and understand the country, I’ve got some more tips for you. See when the best time to visit is, the best cities in the country, and where to stay during your trip.

Best Time To Visit North Macedonia

The best time to visit North Macedonia is June, September, and October. These months are less crowded and have the best weather with great temperatures.

In June and September, you can enjoy the early and late summer vibes and go swimming and hiking. In September and October especially, you’ll enjoy the country’s best wineries that are harvesting and tasting some of the most delicious wines.

Temperatures in these months range between 25°C/77°F and 33°C/91°F, which is perfect for all the activities.

Best Cities In North Macedonia To Visit

If you only want to take a city tour through the country, here are the best cities in North Macedonia I recommend you visit.

Some of them are more towns than cities because they’re very small. But let’s refer to them as ‘cities’.

📍 Skopje
📍 Bitola
📍 Struga
📍 Ohrid
📍 Tetovo

Best Places To Stay In North Macedonia

These are the best places to stay in North Macedonia to be close to the highlights. I’ve also included hotel recommendations for each location.

So first, check what you want to do in the country, then choose a city to stay in, and then book your stay in one of these hotels:

These are the best places to stay in North Macedonia:

📍 Skopje
📍 Bitola
📍 Ohrid

Where To Stay In Skopje

Skopje, the country’s capital, has a vibrant nightlife, great restaurants, and an old bazaar to experience local culture and learn about history.

Here are the best hotels in Skopje:

Moodeight Apartmentsbudget-friendly apartments
Hotel Macedonia Squaremid-range hotel
Double Tree By Hilton Skopjeluxury hotel

Where To Stay In Bitola

Bitola is the cultural capital of North Macedonia. It has a beautiful Covered Bazaar and the Clock Tower, and you can visit an ancient Greek city nearby.

I recommend booking the following hotels in Bitola:

Hotel Bulevarbudget-friendly hotel
Bela Kuka Hotelmid-range hotel
Ciflik Winerymid-range hotel

Where To Stay In Ohrid

Ohrid is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the country. It has 365 monasteries, stunning views of Lake Ohrid, and a great atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to relax and spend time on the beach.

These are the best accommodations in Ohrid:

Ohrid Boutique Apartments
Villa Fortezza
Villa Varosh

Little North Macedonian Food Guide

North Macedonia is one of the top places with the best hospitality of people, which you’ll experience immediately. People are very welcoming, and they want you to try everything.

The food is very cheap, even in a restaurant. Waiters want to recommend the best local food and offer you rakija many times (local fruit brandy). They want you to feel welcomed and are doing a great job.

Local cuisine uses many local products, such as vegetables, beans, and meat. Gastronomy is also heavily influenced by the Ottomans and what is today known as Turkish cuisine.

most beautiful places in north Macedonia travel guide food skopje
North Macedonian Food – Meat Plate

North Macedonian Dishes You Have To Try

The cuisine is inspired by Mediterranean, Turkish, and Italian cuisine. Here are some of them that you can’t miss:

  • Tavče Gravče – national dish, bean stew
  •  Sarma – cabbage rolls with rice and meat
  •  X – pot-baked beans
  •  Pastrmajlija – bread pie made from dough and filled with meat – a kind of Macedonian pizza
  •  Turli Tava – Mix veggies and meat in a pan
  •  Kebab
  •  Cevapi

Drinks

  • Macedonian Rakija – fruit brandy associated with popular events and great for digestion
  •  Wine – has an old tradition in Macedonia – red ones are Vranec or Kratoshija, white ones are Zilavka or Temjanika
  •  Beer – is very strong in flavor – the most famous one is Skopsko Pivo or Zlaten Dab
  •  Boza – fermented corn and wheat with a very low percentage of alcohol, sweet flavor

FAQs

I’ve also answered some of the most frequently asked questions for you to understand the country even more in-depth. Check the answers below.

What Is The Prettiest Place In North Macedonia?

The prettiest place in North Macedonia is Lake Ohrid. It’s the oldest lake in Europe, with much history and breathtaking views. You can drive around and visit many sights, including the Bay of Bones, St. Naum Monastery, or the beaches around Pograden on the Albanian side of the lake.

Is Macedonia A Beautiful Country?

Yes, North Macedonia is a beautiful country. It has a lot of diversity, and every traveler will find the perfect place based on their interests. You can taste delicious food and local wine, join a wine-tasting tour, enjoy hiking and stunning lakes, and relax on the beach. It has it all.

Is North Macedonia Good For Tourists?

Yes, North Macedonia is great for tourists. Locals are super friendly and hospitable. They want you to try and experience everything and are very proud of their country. You will be safe and welcomed in North Macedonia.

What Is The Most Beautiful Village In Macedonia?

The most beautiful village in Macedonia is Ohrid. It’s one of the oldest places in the country, famous for the Ohrid Pearls that you can buy in the local stores. It’s also the best place to explore the stunning Lake Ohrid.

WRAP-UP: Most Beautiful Places In North Macedonia

These are the best places to visit in North Macedonia, with a little travel guide for your visit. I absolutely loved this country when I visited, and I’m sure you’ll love it, too. Take your time to also explore the less known places such as Galicica National Park and Galichnik village. These are the real gems of North Macedonia.

If you have any questions or need a customized travel itinerary, contact me at info(at)voicesoftravel.com. I’ll gladly help you. Or check out my favorite travel resources and plan by yourself.

Happy Travels!

voices of travel about me photo

About the author: Nicoletta is a travel enthusiast and passionate language learner. While traveling, she loves to connect with locals using her language skills to learn about new cultures. Look for her skiing, hiking in the mountains, or exploring new destinations as she designs travel itineraries for her clients.

NORTH MACEDONIA: Interested in more articles for North Macedonia?
Check out my North Macedonia Travel Page:

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