Discover the heart and soul of North Macedonia! A nation where Balkan and Mediterranean cultures intertwine, and Greek, Roman, and Ottoman history is evident; a journey to North Macedonia is anything but ordinary. Explore the architectural gems of the capital city, Skopje, savour the flavours of traditional Macedonian cuisine and unwind at a local café while taking in the vibrant energy of this unique city. Marvel at Ohrid, and take in the spectacular beauty of Lake Ohrid, Metka Canyon and so much more. Book a small group tour online today or get in touch with one of our friendly Travel Specialists.
North Macedonia Facts & Tips
Did you know?
Did you know?
- It’s a landlocked country in south-eastern Europe, bordering Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Kosovo and Serbia.
- North Macedonia is home to one of Europe’s oldest lakes, Lake Ohrid, estimated to be approximately 4 million years old!
- Kokino Observatory, (nicknamed Macedonian Stonehenge) discovered in 2001, is said to be one of the world’s oldest observatories, dating back over 3,800 years. (Even NASA recognises this observatory as the fourth oldest ancient observatory in the world, after Abu Simbel, Egypt; Stonehenge, Britain; and Angkor Wat in Cambodia!)
- From 1945 to 1991 North Macedonia was part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It became a fully independent state on 8 September 1991.
- The North Macedonian flag consists of a red background with a golden circle in its centre with golden rays radiating outwards. This starburst design has long been associated with Alexander the Great.
- Unlike its neighbouring countries, North Macedonia managed to stay peaceful during the break-up of Yugoslavia.
Visas & Passports
Australian passport holders travelling to North Macedonia do not need a visa at this time.
We require that your passport is valid for travel for at least six months from the date you are planning to return to Australia. Your passport must be valid to travel internationally and must be machine-readable. You also need to carry a valid return ticket on you.
Whether travelling on an Australian passport or the passport of another country, all travellers require visas for a number of countries, and it is your responsibility to secure what may be required before departing Australia. You can consult with your travel agent, but it is also recommended that you check the foreign embassy website for your respective destination as it can also provide you with useful information.
Australian Embassy in North Macedonia:
Londonska 11 B
Ph. +389 2 306 1114
Fax. +389 2 306 1834
The official currency of North Macedonia is the Macedonian Denar. Notes come in denominations of mkd2,000, 1,000, 500, 200, 100 and 50.
The recommended currency to take to North Macedonia is the Denar or the Euro. Ensure you change a small amount into small denominations.
Advise your bank of your travel plans so that they can make a note of it, otherwise, they may cancel your credit card as a safety measure due to the overseas transactions. Also, make a note of the 24-hour emergency contact number of the bank or building society that issued your credit card in the unlikely event that your card is lost or stolen.
Whenever possible use ATMs when the banks are open (Mon – Fri) so that if a machine ‘eats’ your card you can then deal with it straight away. It is always advisable to carry a supply of cash in addition to your credit card.
If you don’t have Macedonian Denar’s or Euro’s with you on arrival, we advise you to exchange some money into the local currency at the airport even if the exchange rate is not the best, this way you’ll have money to get a drink, snack or give a tip during those first few hours of arrival. Your guide will be able to advise you on the best places to exchange money.
Small change is also useful for paying for toilets while on tour which is customary in many places outside of Australia.
- The price of a cappuccino in Skopje is approximately €2.50.
- The price of an inexpensive lunch is approximately €9.
- The price of dinner in a moderate restaurant is approximately €20.
- The price of a beer in a local pub is approximately €3 - €4.
Traditional North Macedonian cuisine is a delightful fusion of Mediterranean, Balkan, and Turkish influences, reflecting the country's diverse cultural heritage. Some delicious traditional dishes to try whilst in North Macedonia are Tavče Gravče, a hearty bean stew made with white beans, paprika, and spices, usually served with a side of fresh, crusty bread. Another beloved staple is Ajvar, a roasted red pepper and eggplant relish, which adds a burst of flavour to any dish. Meat lovers can savour Ćevapi, which are small grilled sausages served with lepinja bread and onions. North Macedonian cuisine also boasts Moussaka, a layered dish of minced meat, potatoes, and béchamel sauce, (although its neighbour, Greece, also claims this as a national dish!) and Pindjur, a savoury tomato and pepper spread. For the sweet tooths, indulge in treats like Tulumba, deep-fried dough soaked in syrup, or Kadaif, shredded pastry with nuts and honey. With its diverse flavours and mouth-watering dishes, North Macedonian food is a true reflection of the country's rich cultural tapestry.
Important: When dining at buffets (i.e. breakfast) please refrain from taking food away with you to ‘save’ for later! If you feel that you’ll need snacks between meals, pack some dried fruit, nuts, muesli bars etc.
If you have specific food allergies and/or preferences, we highly recommend you take every precaution before your tour, including carrying a small card with your food allergy listed in each language of every country you are travelling to show to table staff when ordering. Whilst we take all dietary requirements seriously, due to the serious nature of potential allergic reactions, it is your responsibility to be as prepared as possible.
Similar to its Mediterranean neighbour, Greece, North Macedonia’s climate is characterised by lovely hot, dry summers and cold winters with lots of snow. The central and southern parts of North Macedonia tend to be drier, while the northern, more mountainous region, receives more rainfall. Despite its small size, it has eight different climatic regions due to its position on an elevated plateau, with rugged mountains, deep basins and valleys. May through to October are the best months to visit North Macedonia, as it’s the warmest and driest part of the year.
Want to get out and explore on your own?
Getting around in North Macedonia is relatively convenient and offers various transportation options. The capital city, Skopje, has a well-connected network of buses and taxis, making it easy to navigate within the city. The railway system is also an option, connecting key destinations like Skopje, Bitola, and Ohrid, though it may not be as frequent or fast as buses. Additionally, North Macedonia's compact size makes it very easy to explore towns and cities on foot, which is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the local culture and discover hidden gems at a leisurely pace.
When catching taxis, have small change on you and choose one with a metre, if it doesn’t have one then negotiate the price before getting in. Also, ask your guide or hotel staff for the names of reputable taxi companies.
So, you’d love to bring home a special souvenir from North Macedonia…
North Macedonia is extremely proud of its rich culture and diverse heritage and has many fine local specialties that will make it easy to bring something home from your trip. One of the most popular items to buy is Macedonian handcrafted filigree jewellery, known for its intricate and delicate design. Also, traditional North Macedonian textiles, such as woollen rugs and hand-embroidered garments are lovely and easy souvenirs to take home. Local pottery and ceramics feature vibrant colours and traditional motifs, if that’s your thing, or you may even find a traditional musical instrument, such as a tambura or zurla to add to your collection. For food lovers, North Macedonian wine, honey or ajvar (a savoury pepper-based condiment) are also lovely souvenirs, but please keep in mind that food and wooden items are always subject to Australian border and customs regulations.
North Macedonians have a strong family culture and respect for their elders is a prominent feature, as is being more formal and polite. They tend to have a relaxed view about time and it’s not unusual to be late to an appointment, or for meetings to run over time. Lunch is usually the main meal of the day and can last for a couple of hours. Generally speaking, local etiquette revolves around a blend of warm hospitality and respect for tradition. When meeting someone, a customary handshake is a common greeting, with eye contact considered a sign of sincerity. Maintaining personal space and respecting the privacy of others is important. When dining, it's customary to wait for the host to start the meal and to offer polite gestures of appreciation for the food. Refusing food or drink offered by a host can be seen as impolite, so it's best to accept and partake in the hospitality. Above all, showing respect for the local customs and traditions, such as participating in local festivities and religious ceremonies, is a great way to engage with the warm-hearted people of North Macedonia and fully appreciate their culture.
Celebrations & Public Holidays
North Macedonians love a good celebration and one of the country’s biggest celebrations is the Ohrid Summer Festival, held in the city of Ohrid during July and August and plays host to dozens of musical events and drama performances. Other celebrations to see included the Galicnik Wedding Festival, the Skopje Jazz Festival and the Manaki Brothers Film Festival.
Other national public holidays to be aware of include:
- New Year’s Day
- Orthodox Christmas Day
- International Women’s Day
- Orthodox Easter Monday
- Labour Day
- Ilinden (Republic Day)
- Independence Day
- Revolution Day
- Day of the Macedonian Revolution
- St Clement of Ohrid
North Macedonia Highlights
Europe Off the Beaten Track
A journey through North Macedonia is not your classic European holiday; it’s an adventure off-the-beaten-track and one that unveils hidden gems at every turn. Tucked away in the heart of the Balkans, North Macedonia offers a unique mix of postcard-worthy landscapes, a vibrant culture and an ancient history as diverse as the country itself. From the capital city of Skopje where modernity meets tradition, to the serene lakeside vistas of Ohrid and the untouched beauty of its national parks, like Matka Canyon; North Macedonia invites discovery beyond the ordinary. So, if you’re looking for an experience a little out of the norm, this up-and-coming destination will enchant you from the get-go.
Ohrid and its Surrounds
Snuggled against the shores of Lake Ohrid, the town of Ohrid is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered. The emerald waters of Lake Ohrid, one of the oldest and deepest in Europe, offer an incredible backdrop for exploration. Here we’ll uncover a plethora of sites, most notably King Samuel’s Fortress, showcasing an ancient era bygone. Beyond Ohrid, we’ll explore the town’s surroundings. We’ll discover Mavoro National Park, driving through the scenic landscapes and basking in its beauty. Visiting St Jovan Bigorski Monastery is also on the agenda, arguably one of the most famed sites in North Macedonia, where colourful artistry and ornate frescoes offer a glimpse into the country’s spiritual and religious beliefs.
Discover Timeless Skopje
Nestled among the serene waters of the Vardar River, North Macedonia’s capital Skopje is our starting point on this amazing small group tour. This unique city is a seamless blend of old and new, where Ottoman-era bazaars and ancient fortresses stand in harmony with modern structures. We’ll spend four wonderful nights in Skopje, discovering this incredible city in depth. We begin our exploration with a walking tour around the city, marvelling at the architecture and vibrant culture on offer. We will also walk across the iconic Stone Bridge and immerse ourselves in the Old Bazaar. In a day trip from the bustling capital, we’ll head more rural to Matka Canyon, where we will witness incredible cliffs hugging the emerald waters of the Treska River.
North Macedonia FAQs
How many days are enough for North Macedonia?
10 days in North Macedonia provides you with enough time to take in the beauty of the landscapes including Lake Ohrid, Europe’s oldest and deepest lake. We recommend spending three days at the marvellous capital Skopje, allowing time to travel between locations and see the sites along the way.
What is the best month to visit North Macedonia?
May through to October are the best months to visit North Macedonia as this is the warmest and driest time of year. Summers are hot and dry with the warmest month in July, whilst winter months see snow, with January being the coldest month of the year.
Is North Macedonia good for tourists?
North Macedonia is an increasingly popular European destination, a true hidden gem in the Balkans. Landlocked and surrounded by mountains, it boasts the oldest lake in Europe and the town where the first European university was formed. You will also find a 4,000-year-old space observatory, Kokino Observatory. North Macedonia remained peaceful during the breakup of Yugoslavia.
Can't find the answers you're looking for? Check out our FAQs.
Explore the impressive Lake Sevan, discover traditional houses along Sharambeyan street & be intrigued by the Areni Cave Complex.
Tour the historic city of Salzburg, discover the iconic Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna & enjoy a magical Christmas Markets.
Tour the old city of Baku, discover intriguing history at the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre & discover the stunning Juma Mosque.
Explore the iconic Stari Most Bridge, enjoy the view of the Sarajevo Olympic Stadium & tour the beautiful city of Sarajevo.
Wander through the streets of Dubrovnik, once home to notable poets, playwrights & painters & tour Croatia's stunning capital, Zagreb.
Stroll through the cobblestone streets of Český Krumlov, explore the Prague castle district Hradčany and indulge yourself in local Czechian cuisine.
From its picturesque capital, Copenhagen, to its windswept coastline and everything in between, Denmark will lure you in with its warmth and welcoming hospitality.