Štip is the largest city in Eastern North Macedonia with about 52,000 people. It is an important educational, cultural, and economic center.
Štip is a very pleasant city that gets fewer tourists than the west, which makes the people nicer and more willing to help than the people in the western part of the country.
Smoking is prohibited in all nightclubs and bars (kafana's). Cigarettes and alcohol can be sold to individuals aged 18 and over.
As in all other cities in North Macedonia, if you are not a Macedonian citizen, you need to check in with the local police station when you arrive and leave.
- 1 Bus Station (Aвтобуска станица Штип), Partizanska (Партизанска) St (Near to City Stadium). The inter-city services are provided by the public transportation company "Balkan Ekspres" (Macedonian: Балкан Експрес) which has connections to all cities in North Macedonia as well as some neighboring countries.
By car from the north (Skopje), the main regional road circumvents Štip, but any of the several clearly marked exits will take you downtown. From the south: the main Strumica-Štip road enters through the Bregalnica canyon in the south and goes directly to downtown. There are many local roads entering from the east and west.
The train station in Štip is no longer used for commercial rail journeys, but only for freight trains.
By sport airplane: Štip is served by the largest sport airport in Eastern North Macedonia, accommodating single and twin-engine aircraft. The third international airport in North Macedonia, to be located in Štip, is still in the initial building stages (the first phase is planned to be for cargo only).
The best ways to get around are by foot or by taxi, though there is a municipal bus fleet which connects the center with the outlying of Babi, Senjak, Prebeg, Makedonka, Kezhovica, etc.
- 1 St. Mother of God (St. Bogorodica, црква св. Богородица), Vasil Glavinov St (in the southern 'Novo Selo' suburb). - this three aisle basilica, with beautiful icons and frescos, was made in 1836 by Andrej Damjanov. The impressive wood carved iconstatis and furnishings are the works of Nikola Damjanov. The church is home to an icon gallery and art objects. - used to be the largest church in North Macedonia before the Gathering Temple in Skopje was built. Hails from the 19th Century and showcases plenty of beautiful frescoes, carvings and woodwork.
- 2 [dead link] The Bezisten (Museum of Shtip, галерија "Безистен"), Marshall Tito (Кеј Маршал Тито) St, 2, ☎ . old Turkish market,it is located the center of the city. It is built of stone, and was built in the 16th or 17th century. Today, it is being used as an art gallery.
- St. John the Baptist (Црквата св. Јован Крстител) (located on high boulders above the left shore of the River Otinja). Built in the year 1350, the church of St John is decorated with fresco paintings bequeathed by an unknown landowner named Ivanko. Unfortunately, due to damages to the church’s roof, the main frescoes have suffered damage.
- 3 Church St. Archangel Michael (црква св. Архангел Михаил), 4-ta Makedonska brigada St. Founded in 14th century
- 4 St. Nikola church (Црквата св. Никола), Marshall Tito (Кеј Маршал Тито) St.
- Church of Prophet Elijah (Црквата св. Пророк Илија).
- Churches of St.Saviour (St. Holy Savior, Црква св. Спас) (on the left bank of the Otinja River.). It was built in 1369 as the inheritance of the duke, Dimitar. Today, from the old frescoes, remain only certain parts representing old prophets, several saints of the synod church, and the beautiful compositions Transfiguration and The Holy Indivisible Trinity. It was painted at secondary in 1601.
- Husa Medin-Pasha Mosque (Хуса Медин Пашина џамија). - this mosque was built in the 17th century on the remains of a church called St. Ilija (Црква Свети Пророк Илија ). It is located on a hill on the left side of town. Husa Medin Pasha's grave is located right next to the mosque.
- Kadin Ana Mosque (Кадин Ана џамија). the main mosque of the city
- Ashay Dervish Monastery (Ашај Теќе).
- 5 City Museum (Заводот и Музеј) (Center).
- Emir Kuchuk Bridge (Емир Ќучук Султанов мост).
- 6 Bargala (Баргала) (village of Kozjak). On the lower slopes of Plačkovica mountain is the Byzantine town of Bargala. It was constructed between the 4th and 6th centuries. Following archaeological excavations, a basilica, trade quarters, a water tank, a bath, a fortification system, with an impressive main gate, and other infrastructure are visible today at the site.
- 7 Church of St George (Црква „Св. Ѓорѓи“) (village of Kozjak). Dating from the 9th or 10th century, this church is among the oldest existing in North Macedonia preserved in its entirety. It is built of limestone in a cross-shape. It features one large dome and a smaller one. The interior contains frescoes, done in three phases with the latest occurring in the 14th century.
- 8 Church of St Nicholas (Црква „Св. Никола“) (village of Krupište). Built on the grounds of an older basilica, this church was built in 1625 and had its frescoes painted in 1627. The church is a small, single-aisled one built primarily of stone.
- Kale Fortress Isar (located between Bregalnica and Otinja rivers). Exact records of the time of the construction of the fortress have not been found. Some of the high fortress walls have been preserved. During the middle ages, churches were built on all four sides of the fortress. In 1332, a church was built and dedicated to St. Archangel Michael. The second church, built in 1341, was dedicated to St. Nikola. A few years later, the third church has been preserved in its original form to this day. The last church, dedicated to St. Vasilie, was located on the north side of the fortress. It was built in 1337.
- 9 Lake Mantovo (езерото Мантово) (about 25 km south (last 5 km are unpaved roads)). This is an artificial lake with deep blue waters. Popular place for fishing and recreation in the summer.
- 10 River Bregalnica. - the second largest river in North Macedonia, joining Vardar river after Štip. Roads follow the entire flow of Bregalnica around Štip and this is a very scenic drive.
- 1 Kežovica Spa (Кежовица Бања) (W 1 km). - The temperature of the thermal mineral waters in the spa-resort reaches 62C, and the radioactivity reaches 42,82 moch units. The water is characteristic for its very favorable chemical composition: it contains sodium chloride, sodium sulfate, and sodium oxide. The spa-water is believed to be curative of rheumatism, ankle and nervous system, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, etc.The unit for physio- therapy, included in the spa-resort, uses the most modern devices and treatment methods and possesses 110 beds. The main spa-resort possesses 40 beds while in the vicinity, there is also the hotel "Astibo" with 130 beds.
- 2 City Park Suitlak (Градскиот парк Суитлак), Todor Kolarov St (in the upper part of the city, on the left side of Otinja). is a beautifully maintained hilly park with well maintained trails and benches.
- MakFest, the largest festival of pop music in North Macedonia
- Štip Summer of Culture (Macedonian: Штипско Културно Лето), which is a month long festival held from 1 July to 1 August
- 1 Shopping Mall Senjak (Trgovski), Sremski Front St. Several shops located under the main shopping mall in downtown, offer Macedonia-themed souvenirs. Štip is famous for producing high-quality textiles and clothing, especially for high-class Italian firms. You can get some of these items at bargain prices directly from the local manufacturers.
- 2 Large flea market (Градски пазар) (off of Sutjeska St 55). held every Friday. the main farmers market . Regional growers and artisans bring theirs goods and attract a regional group of shopper, including women in traditional costumes.
Štip is known throughout North Macedonia for the local dish called Pastrmajlija. It is a pizza-like crust, in a long canoe shape topped with chicken or pork meat, eaten with hot pepper or pepper flakes on top. It is available at nearly every restaurant in Štip, and at the annual Pastremajlija festival in late September.
There are many great restaurants that serve traditional Macedonian food, as well as many Pizza-restaurants (Italian style, as opposed to American Pizza-parlors). Every restaurant is famous for some specific dish, so try to order that one in particular.
There are dozens upon dozens of bistros/bars aka kafani all over the city, on every corner. They serve all types of alcohol at a cheap price and food with it as well. Drinking coffee is a social event which often lasts for hours, with very little coffee or alcohol actually consumed. It is not considered rude to sit a table and order very little for several hours, as it would be in many western cities.
As with the rest of North Macedonia, being intoxicated in public is frowned upon.
There are several large disco-techs, including Mystic, Angels, and Ice, which play pop and dance music. Jazz Art Club is the local rock club featuring live bands all year round.
All hotels could probably be classified as 3 stars, though there is no official rating system. Oaza and Garni are right in the center, while Izgrev is about 10 minute drive from the center (or 30 mins walk). Garni is a boutique hotel with few rooms, but held to high standards.
Štip is probably one of the safest cities in North Macedonia, and definitely much safer than all the major cities in the western and central part. Violent crime and murders are almost non-existent, and property crimes are very rare. Foreigners are welcomed and looked upon as a curiosity as Štip is not advertised or developed as a tourist destination, despite having a lot to offer.
There are several night clubs in Štip, and they are all much safer than any western counterpart (no metal detectors anywhere). Keeping a low profile is recommended as not to tempt the local macho mentality. Aggressive courting of girls is not recommended as this can be seen as encroachment and cause physical conflict.
The Roma (Gypsy) population of Štip is mostly living far bellow the overall poverty level, and although their shanty towns (spread around several areas of the city, mostly in the north) are very picturesque and exotic for the tourist to behold, avoid giving them gifts or money, as that will make you a target for more panhandling and possibly a (non-violent) property crime. Do not be fooled by the looks of the Roma children beggars, for most of them that is their full-time job, and no one is dying of hunger or cold in Štip.
The police is sometimes helpful if approached politely, but beware that the socialist heritage where the police was very brutal and was mostly used to keep an eye on the population, instead of maintaining law and order, is still very much alive. Ask a younger person for directions, as most youngster speak passable English, and only deal with the police when you have to, taking good care not to offend them in any way.
As pretty much anywhere else, do not accept offers from strangers; do not enter in business deals with unknown people, even if the offer is most tempting; do not go to secluded or dark places at night or abandoned places during the day, and exercise good judgement that you would in other poor countries like Mexico or Central America.
Do not be alarmed if glasses are shattered by being slammed on the ground as this is a cultural thing, especially when one male individual is intoxicated and there is live music. This practice is quite common for males of all ages, and is the same in all the surrounding countries like Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Albania.
Don't carry too much cash on you and do not flash/show it (there is no need, there are plenty of 24/7 ATMs around the city). Try to dress like the locals. Too much differentiation might attract unwanted attention, which, while usually harmless, can be very annoying at the end. Lock your valuable in the hotel safe or hide them well. Keep your electronics and cameras in bags for most of the time while taking picture/videos around.
At the end, exercise a common sense that you would exercise in rural Alabama or West Virginia, for example, and you will be fine and have a great time!
- 2 Post Office (Пошта), Engelsova St.