Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, is a fascinating blend of past and present. With a mix of different cultures, architectural styles, and traditions, it offers a colorful destination at the crossroads of East and West. Visitors can explore its rich cultural heritage and enjoy a remarkable blend of modern elements. If Skopje is on your travel list, keep reading for the most interesting things to do in Skopje!

When strolling through Skopje, you will undoubtedly be struck by the distinct mixture of various architectural styles. Skopje’s colorful array of architectural styles ranges from Ottoman to Romanesque, Baroque to modern, making it a one-of-a-kind destination for exploration. Medieval fortresses, grand bridges, museums, and churches are just a few of the elements that charm visitors.

Start exploring the city from Makedonija Square

The most interesting things to do in Skopje are explorable in one day as they are easily reachable by foot. Each city tour usually starts at the city’s center – Makedonija Square. It is a must-see spot with stunning monuments and dazzling fountains. Whether you’re in the mood for a tasty snack or a shopping spree, you’ll find plenty of cafes, restaurants, and shopping places to explore!

This imposing square, located in the very center of the city, represents the art of Skopje and the place around which many cultural and social events take place. 

The first thing that visitors notice is the amount of statues and sculptures spread out in the city center! There are hundreds of them! This visionary architecture, colorful facades, and art installations together create an atmosphere that intrigues numerous visitors. Many find these statues ugly and the entire city “kitschy”, while others like this combination of the old and the modern.

The Monument to Alexander the Great is a bronze statue that dominates the square. This monument depicts the famous Greek Alexander the Great on horseback, raising his sword in the air. It is impressive in its size and artistic value and is a tribute to Alexander the Great, who is considered one of the greatest military leaders in history.

Walk over the Stone Bridge

The Stone Bridge, also known as Dušan’s Bridge, is a truly remarkable historical monument located on the Vardar River. This magnificent bridge, which is said to have been built during the reign of the Serbian emperor Dušan, is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. It connects the Old Town and Bazaar with the newer part of the city, offering a stunning view of the Vardar River and the surrounding areas.

Various theories are linked to the construction of this bridge. One of them states that the original version of the bridge was built in the 6th century during the reign of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, while its reconstruction followed immediately before the coronation of the Serbian emperor Dušan.

 The bridge was an integral part of the Via Egnatia, the ancient road that connected the rest of the Roman Empire to Constantinople. It is built of stone and is about 214 meters long. This monumental bridge has witnessed many historical events during the past centuries. Unfortunately, the bridge also suffered damage due to natural disasters and wars. Dušan’s Bridge has been restored and is now a popular tourist attraction that draws visitors.

Do some shopping at the Old Bazaar

Strolling around the Old Bazaar is surely one of the most fun things to do in Skopje! With its narrow streets, shops selling crafted goods, and authentic atmosphere, this bazaar exudes the spirit of the past.

The bazaar is located in the heart of the city, across the Stone Bridge. Its roots go back to the Ottoman period when the bazaar was a lively trade and craft center. Over the centuries, the bazaar has undergone various changes, but it has preserved its charm and authenticity.

A walk through the old Skopje bazaar allows you to discover the city’s rich cultural heritage. Plus, maybe, do some really good shopping!

You can visit shops that offer authentic products, such as handicrafts, traditional clothes, spices, and local souvenirs. These places are ideal for finding authentic pieces and getting to know the culture and traditions of Skopje.

As part of the old bazaar, there are numerous restaurants, cafes, and local pastry shops, where you can enjoy traditional Macedonian cuisine and specialties. You will enjoy the smells and tastes of authentic dishes and the well-known hospitality of locals.

Visit the Skopje Fortress

Skopje Kale, also known as Skopje Fortress is another important historical and cultural monument. This imposing fortress has a rich history dating back centuries and attracts many visitors with its architecture and spectacular views of the city.

The Skopje castle is considered one of the largest and most important fortresses in the Balkans. Its beginnings go back to ancient times, while the Byzantine and Ottoman periods strongly influenced its architecture. The fortress witnessed many historical events, from the Roman to the Ottoman period.

Skopje Castle, once a fortified military complex, is now a popular tourist attraction and a favorite spot for walking and relaxing. Visitors can explore different parts of the fortress and enjoy the stunning views of Skopje and the Vardar River. Some people think the fortress looks better outside, and the interior may seem neglected. No matter the different opinions, visiting this “old beauty” is a must-do thing in Skopje!

Pay tribute to The Mother Teresa Memorial House

Skopje’s Mother Teresa Memorial House symbolizes kindness, humanity, and selfless love.

Mother Teresa, born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, then part of the Ottoman Empire, became world famous as a tireless humanitarian. Her dedication to helping the world’s poorest and most vulnerable has shaped her life and her mission. She founded the missionary order “Missionaries of Love” and spent more than half a century caring for sick, poor, and abandoned children in the world.

The Memorial House of Mother Teresa in Skopje is located in the house where Mother Teresa was born and spent her childhood. Of course before embarking on a journey of humanitarian service. The house was restored and turned into a museum complex and memorial institution that preserves the memory of Mother Teresa and her extraordinary work.

Have a look at the Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum in Skopje is a national gem, that provides a chance to journey back in time and explore the region’s rich cultural heritage and history. This museum offers a fascinating glimpse into Macedonia’s past, with archaeological objects of various civilizations that have shaped this area over the centuries.

Established in 1924, the Archaeological Museum in Skopje is one of the oldest museums in Macedonia. Over the years, the museum has grown and expanded its collection, gathering an impressive array of artifacts from different periods. The museum’s collection includes items such as ceramics, sculptures, weapons, jewelry, and other objects.

The museum also features unique exhibits, such as pieces of ancient mosaics and Roman sculptures discovered during archaeological excavations across Macedonia. Each exhibition provides a deeper understanding of the daily lives of the people who lived in the region over the centuries. Museum and history lovers will be guaranteed to enjoy this place!

Check out the City Museum

The Museum of the City of Skopje is another gem on the list of places to see and things to do in Skopje.

The museum is housed in a beautiful building as a part of the city’s historical heritage. It offers visitors a chance to dive deeper into the city’s development over the centuries. You’ll find a diverse collection of objects, documents, photographs, and art exhibits that witness the city’s rich history and development.

Visitors can explore objects from different periods, including ancient, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and pre-20th century history. And if that’s not enough, the museum also frequently organizes temporary exhibitions that explore specific aspects of the city, art, and culture. These exhibitions provide a fresh perspective on Skopje’s diverse past and are worth checking out.

Climb on the top of the mountain Vodno

This amazing natural phenomenon, located just a few kilometers from Skopje, is an unmissable destination for nature lovers, mountaineers, and adventurers.

Mountain Vodno is part of the Šar mountain range and one of the highest peaks near Skopje. With its rich green forests, clear streams, and magical landscapes, it’s a must-visit place in Skopje! It offers visitors spectacular scenery, numerous hiking trails, and a spiritual oasis.

All hiking lovers will love that many hiking trails lead to the top. The most famous trail is at the Milijanova Krst, a 66-meter high cross that dominates the top of Vodno. The climb to this cross is a bit of a challenge but the wonderful panoramic views of Skopje and its surroundings make the effort worth it!For cycling enthusiasts, Vodno also offers excellent mountain biking trails to explore forest roads and mountain terrain.

Extra tip: If you are not into walking, you can opt for a cable car or rent a bicycle. Check out the options here!

Explore Canyon Matka

The Matka Canyon is located on the Treska River and covers an area that extends to about 5,000 hectares. This impressive canyon features high cliffs, caves, deep forests, and the turquoise waters of the Tresca River. It creates a unique natural beauty that takes your breath away.

The area of ​​the Matka Canyon is home to a variety of flora and fauna. The dense forests that cover the cliffs provide shelter for many species of birds, insects, and mammals. This is also a famous place for bird watching, so it often attracts bird watchers and nature lovers.

Matka Canyon offers a wide range of activities for visitors:

Canyoning: A boat ride down the Tresca River allows visitors to enjoy the impressive scenery and turquoise waters.

Sightseeing tour that includes a tour of the city plus a visit to the Canyon.

Try out the local cuisine

Is traveling to some places complete without trying out the local food? In my opinion, not really.

Macedonian food, like most cuisines in the Balkans, is largely influenced by Ottoman traditions. The region’s diversity of vegetables, fruits, herbs, meats, and other fresh ingredients make for delicious and flavorful food. Some of the typical dishes from Macedonia and the surrounding region include:

“Zelnik” is a traditional North Macedonian pie that can be filled with ingredients, such as cheese, spinach, eggs, meat, leeks, or cabbage. It tastes amazing!

“Tavče na gravče” is a made of of beans stewed with onions, oil, dried pepper flakes, and seasonings like salt, parsley, and black pepper. Although it is primarily a vegetarian dish, some recipes include pork, bacon, sausages, or kebab.

“Sarma” is a staple of Macedonian cuisine. It consists of a filling that is surrounded by leaves or leafy vegetables. The classic version typically combines minced meat, rice or bulgur, different herbs, and seasoning.

To those with a “sweet tooth”, I highly recommend tasting “lokum”, “baklava”, or “trilece”.

Tip: Many cafes and restaurants serving this yummy food are located in the Old Bazaar so it surely should not be missed.

How to reach the city center from the Airport and vice versa?

 Skopje ‘’Alexander the Great’’ Airport is located around 17 km from the city center.

  1. By bus. There is a regular shuttle bus V2V to/from Skopje International Airport for passengers that stops at key bus stops throughout the City of Skopje and arrives at the airport. The price for one ride is 199 MKD (around 3 EUR).
  2. By taxi. Airport Taxi is the only company authorized to transport passengers from Skopje International Airport. The vehicles are parked at the exit of the airport building 24 hours a day. A ride to the airport is around 20 EUR and it takes about 20 min.
  3. By car. Another way to travel to Skopje and the surrounding area is with a private, door-to-door transfer from Skopje Airport to your address.

Check out my other posts:

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