Macedonia strikes an image of being the ultimate tourist spot both for local and international backpackers and jetsetters. The place offers places to see and sights to discover.
While some could rock the get there and get lost strategy, here’s some things you should totally know, just to pique up your interest.
- Skopje has a bazaar to rival that of Istanbul
Istanbul has the covered and enormous Grand Bazaar which Stara Charshija, Skopje’s bazaar is nothing like. However it has the deep and strong Ottoman vibe in the center of Skopje and is the largest bazaar in the Balkans outside if Istanbul. It might just become your favorite part of the city.
2. You can find the largest gypsy community in Europe
Just 5 kilometers from the center of Skopje, you will find Šuto Orizari, or Shutka, municipality home to an estimated 20,000- 50,000 gypsies. It has its own Roma mayor and practices Romani as an official language. It’s a peaceful and safe place to visit and so interesting and full of culture you won’t even notice time passing.
3. Ohrid is a must visit
Though it is more of a seasonal venture, as typical of a summer resort, it is a great place to watch the sun rise and set. More so in winter because you get the whole place to yourself with the absence of excessive amount of tourists. The climb up to Sveti Jovan Kaneo to watch the sunset is a calm and zen experience. If you have time, visit Sveti Naum – another monastery 30 km away.
4. The food is great and the water is clean
Macedonia is not a member of the European Union and thus don’t have to abide by often ridiculous standards. People might think it would lower the standard of food and water but most people who have visited the place would say otherwise. You can get fresh produce and drink water straight from tap here.
5. Macedonian wine must be tasted
Macedonian wine is a bit rare and not that popular, but not because of its quality or taste. It could be seen as export worthy but it is so great that it gets consumed before it can even cross the border. For those beginners, try the rosés from Tikveš brand. It can be found in most stores and pretty cheap at 99 denars (€1.50) for a liter.
6. Law states you can’t buy alcohol after 7pm.
Alcohol is off limits to buy after 7pm in winter and 9pm in summer however you can befriend and ask locals where you can buy black market booze after curfew. It’s also an easy law to get around, just don’t tell anyone.
7. Guns are prohibited in clubs
Guns are generally not allowed in clubs and night bars and so are rollerblades and dogs. If you’re looking to attract a Macedonian guy, better wear high heels, which is of course subjective. If you’re just looking for a night of fun drinking and dancing wear anything you like, except maybe roller blades.
8. It’s ‘almost’ a free-smoking country
Most restaurants and public places have designated smoking areas but the law about that seems to have been lost on application since the general public smoke just everywhere. You might ride a bus and you’ll see the driver smoking.
9. Macedonia is incredibly budget friendly
Macedonia is cheap, you just might not expect it. It is even cheaper than Kosovo and Albania. For €5 or less, you can get a great meal already and you can eat and dine like royalty for €10-15. It also has some of the most affordable transportations and accommodations.
10. Macedonia is extremely rich in natural attractions.
Macedonia’s is home to mountains, lakes, valleys and caves. It also contains the Vardar River and has three national parks. You will surely enjoy your stay if you like camping in the great outdoors and adventure.
Even as it employs similar visa policy as with Schengen states, Macedonia can still be considered off the beaten path and therefore don’t expect huge crowds common in popular destinations.