Skopje is the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, in the center of the Balkan Peninsula. Over time it has experienced Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman rule. The 15th-century Stone Bridge connects the Ottoman Old Bazaar (
The Saints Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje
The main airport in Macedonia is in the capital Skopje "Alexander the Great Airport" (SKP) and another in Ohrid "St.Paul the Apostle Airport" (OHD). There are around 150 flights in a week from different European cities to Skopje. Macedonian Government currently awarded one Turkish Airport Operator Company (TAV) to construct a brand new Terminal building in Skopje Airport and is estimated to be finished less than two years. From the low-cost airlines only WizzAir flies directly between Skopje and London (Luton Airport). Another option to travel into Republic of Macedonia is to fly to Thessaloniki (SKG) or to Sofia (SOF) and get a taxi or bus from there. There are 5 buses from Sofia Central Bus Station to Skopje, leaving at 9:00, 12:00, 16:00, 17:00 and 00:00. The two bus companies which operate these services are MATPU and Kaleia, both of which are located outside the main bus terminal. Single ticket is approximately 16 Euros (32 Lev). There are also services from Skopje to Sofia at similar prices and times for a return flight home. Additionally, if you contact the Sofia Tourist Information Service, they can normally put you in contact with private tranfer companies who will pick you up at the airport and take you to Skopje. Prices range from as little at €60 to €160. Negotiating with taxis can be trickier but may be able to get a cheaper price. If you fly to Thessaloniki, you can go by public bus (24/7) for 0,50 EUR to the train station and catch a train from there (14 EUR one way).
Eurobus is an international coach operator based in Skopje that has almost daily tours from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Slovenia. Prices from 60€ and possible to get student discount. The website of the bus company is available in German. Almost daily in modern coaches from Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia. Stops in the major cities Skopje, Tetovo, Ohrid. €75/€140rt from Vienna. There are bus connections from Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia and Turkey to Skopje. In addition some buses, those operated by Drity tours at least, run from Tirana to Pristina via Skopje (don't expect them to wake you up or stop anywhere near Skopje bus station though) In Skopje, there are two bus terminals. Most buses come to the new terminal, but some connections (for example to Pristina) are serviced by the old one, which is located at the city center. If you need to change the terminals, you need to walk to the stone bridge over Vardar and cross the bridge (about 2.5 km) or take a taxi. At both terminals, you will be constantly nagged by taxi drivers, who will try to convince you to use their services. Unless you have too much money to throw away, you shouldn't take their advice. The taxi is likely to be heavily overpriced, especially for foreigners, while the buses are cheap, clean and safe.
For the last several years the city centre has seen a major transformation and now one can spend an entire day and still not manage to see everything. From the Triumphal Gate (pictured) to the giant statue of Alexander the Great, the numerousmuseums surrounding the area and the old stone bridge, the cultural offering is simply immense. The area is buzzing with nightlife as well, with many of the city's most attractive bars, coffee shops and restaurants beeing located on the Makedonija street. Shopoholics will have their hands full as well as there are plenty of shops to choose from with two of the biggest shopping malls within a 5 minute walk.
Vodno is the perfect getaway at just 10 minutes drive from the city centre. It's the nearest adventrue destination and has to offer a bit for everyone. Whether you are an experienced climber or just fancy a relaxing walk the mountain has trails to fit every fitness level. Adrenaline seekers are welcome as there are a number of downhill biking trails and paragliding's also quite popular. For the rest that would like to soak up the amazing view and just enjoy the fresh air there are several caffeterias and a gondola that will take you to the top where you will see the iconic landmark of the Millenium Cross.
The old bazaar has been a centre for trade and merchants as early as the 12th century and nowadays it represents an iconic heritage site for the city. It is a vivid representation of the country's past and its inheritance from the Ottoman empire. Still having authentic shops for jewelry and handcrafted products it can be a paradise for collectors of original arts and products . Its coffee and tea shops perfectly fit in the timeless surroundings and offer an original experience for every traveler. Besides the roaming the main street one can visit the numerous sites around the old bazaar such as the covered market bezisten, the old clock tower, cifte hamam and several mosques from ottoman time. The old bazaar is also within a walking distance from the City Centre and Kale Fortress.
The old fortress of the city, or as it is known Kale Fortress was built by the Byzantines in the 6th century, and still remains the dominant structure in the city. It was partially destroyed in the 1963 earthquake but was quickly restored and conserved. It is one of the most destinguishable sites of the city along with the stone bridge and the newer statues on the Macedonia Square. The fortress is within a walking distance of the city centre, but it's not always open to visitors so ask around prior visiting. The view of the city from the fortress is astonishing, so if given the chance do not hesitate to visit.
Mother Teresa Memorial House
Located in the City Centre this landmark was built to cherish and glorify the life work, generosity, perseverance and dedication of one of the greatest,Mother Teresa. Being born in Skopje in 1910 Mother Teresa spent her early years in the City Centre and the memorial house is situated where once stood the Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic church where Mother Teresa was baptized. The memorial house is a modern representation of the house where Mother Teresa grew up, filled with relics of her time of which the most astonishing are her birth certificate issued in 1928, her sari, hand written prayer book, the rosary and cross as well as several awards Mother Teresa won throughout her life.
Mustafa Pasha Mosque
Mustafa Pasha Mosque is located just above the Old Bazaar and is one of many relics remaining from Ottoman times. Built in 1492 by the sultan's vizier in the region it represents one of the most beautiful ottoman remains in the country. It has a great view over the Old Bazaar and has its own garden. It was recently restored but its beauty and simplicity in the construction remain the same from the 15th century
Matka Canyon is only a 30 minute drive from the city and represents one of the favourite week-end destinations for Skopje citizens. Although it's a manmade lake in a canyon formed by the riverTreska, the surroundings are astonishing and full of natural beauty. As the river carved the canyon many caves were created and most famous one is Vrelo Cave which can be reached by a boat ride across the river. There are perfect trails for hiking, putting Matka on the to-do list of the more active visitors and there is also a restaurant overlooking lake for the more laid back ones. The area is also a home of several monasteries each one with its own astonishing history.
The Skopje Aqueduct lies just 3 km from the city centre near the village Vizbegovo and it was used as the primary method for water supply from the 18thcentury. Its origins are not yet clear but it's believed to be constructed during the reign of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, and nowadays only 386 meters with 55 arches remain.
Church of the Holy Saviour
The Church of the Holly Saviour is built during the late 17th or late 18th century on the remains of a previous church that was burned during a fire. At this period Macedonia was still under Ottoman rule, and the church had to be constructed with a large part of it underground as the Ottomans did not allow Christian churches to have a dominant exterior look. However when entering inside, the masterpiece and brilliance of the interior carvings and iconostasis compliments the luxurious interior which also features a preserved fresco from the previous church believed to be from the 16th century. The church is also an eternal home to one of the great Macedonians, Goce Delchev lies buried in the yard of the church with a monument dedicated to him.
Skopje City Park
Skopje City Park is located on a site of a former mosque whose pillars can still be seen and is the largest park in the city. The park is extremely popular during the warmer months when lots of people visit it to relax, walk, or jog as the river Vardar and the sporting path built along its flow is just nearby. The area is also popular for good restaurants and is the home of the National Football Arena "Phillip II", whereas the City Zoo is within a 5 minute walk.