Skopje (Macedonian: Скопје, Albanian: Shkup, Turkish: Üsküb) is the capital and largest city of the Republic of North Macedonia. Skopje is city of many cultures and many centuries. The various groups that have controlled the city through its history have each left visible reminders of their reign: multiple Dardanian and Roman-era archaeological sites dot the city; Byzantine and Serbian Empire churches and monasteries can be found around the outskirts; a great wealth of Ottoman heritage fills the Stara Čaršija; commieblocks and other Soviet-esque structures recall the Yugoslav era; and the current ruling party is erecting countless historicist neoclassical-style buildings in Centar. All of this comes together to form quite an interesting city.
Skopje's location on the Vardar and its nearby tributaries amongst towering mountains makes it a place of scenic beauty as well. Mount Vodno's highest peak at 1,070 m (3,500 ft), capped by the Millennium Cross, stands visible throughout the city and is a major recreational destination. The Treska River cuts through the mountains of southwest Skopje, forming the stunning landscape at Matka Canyon.
The centre of life in North Macedonia's capital. Centar is home to many cultural attractions and to the Parliament and Government of North Macedonia. It underwent many visible and controversial changes in the 2010s.
|Stara Čaršija |
Skopje's old town, a well-preserved reminder of Macedonia's five-century Ottoman era. Home to a fortress, countless mosques, Turkish baths, caravansaries (inns), markets, a clock tower, and some churches.
|Karpoš and Outer Skopje |
Karpoš is an urban neighborhood adjacent to central Skopje and containing significant places of interest like Vodno Mountain and the Skopje Zoo.
The outer portions of Skopje are home to many of the city's biggest attractions, such as Matka Canyon and many archaeological sites.
In the Povardarie region, Skopje is the financial and political center of North Macedonia and by far its biggest city. The city population is around 800,000, however unofficially during working-days it can almost reach more than 1 million, which is more than half of the population of the country. The most diverse in the country, Skopje houses many ethnicities; besides the majority Macedonians, many Albanians, Turks, Roma, Serbs, Bosniaks and others call Skopje home.
The 26th of July 1963 is one of the worst dates in the history of Skopje. An earthquake struck the city at 05:17. 75% of the buildings in the city disappeared in just a few seconds. After that, the big rebuilding project began, trying to make Skopje the model city of the socialist world. The plan was drawn by the Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, who also designed the new railway station. The plan was never fully carried out. Many reconstruction projects have started. Some towers of Kale Fortress and the old cathedral are being reconstructed, and the old theater is also under reconstruction. Skopje is an eclectic mix of Christian and Islamic culture, with both vying to make themselves visible. However, this cultural mix has also spawned a lively and varied society. You can see people playing chess in the morning in the numerous cafés and green spaces in the summer. In the evening, Skopje comes to life as the locals dine in the cafés before heading to the bars and live music clubs, most of which are open until 01:00 or later.
Apart from being the capital of North Macedonia, Skopje has always been a center of power long coveted by various empires, and occupied by a long list of them, evident by the several Byzantine churches and monasteries around the city, also by a few Roman sites, such as Scupi and Skopje's Aqueduct. The city founded by the Paeonians in the 3rd century BCE under the name ‘Skupi’ was prized for its strategic location, in a long valley between two hills, situated on the banks of the Vardar River, a vital trade route. Under the Romans, Skopje was made administrative center of the Dardanian Province. The city’s prestige grew when the Orthodox Church made it an episcopal seat during the early Byzantine Empire. The arrival of migrating Slavic tribes from the Carpathians in the 6th century CE changed the city’s name and the composition of its people were assimilated by the Slavic newcomers. Throughout the remaining Byzantine centuries, Skopje continued to be an important mercantile center, situated as it was at the crossroads of Balkan trade and communications routes. It was celebrated for its urban life and fortress, and renowned for having the most beautiful church in the region. In the 14th century, Skopje became the capital of the Empire of Serbia, which was one of the largest and strongest countries in Europe during that period. However, the group that left the greatest mark on Skopje were the Ottomans. At the very end of the 14th century, Skopje and all of Macedonia fell under the rule of the Ottoman Turks, who ruled Macedonia for over six hundred years and built a large number of mosques and other buildings. In the ensuing centuries, the look of the town changed with the construction of many mosques, Turkish baths, bridges, and other buildings attesting to the new Oriental influence. Today, the Ottoman legacy remains extremely visible in Skopje’s architecture and small Islamic minority. After North Macedonia was liberated from the Turks in the early 20th century, became a part of Kingdom of Serbia, then it became a republic of the Yugoslav Federation, with Skopje as the capital. At that time, the prosperous city boasted many ornate, Neoclassical buildings laid out harmoniously in a more or less Central European style. However, in 1963 a disastrous earthquake leveled much of the regal old city, and Skopje was reborn in the imaginative, futuristic style in vogue at the time. Today, Skopje is a modern city and North Macedonia’s major political, economical, educational, and cultural center.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
- 1 Skopje International Airport (SKP IATA) (SE 20 km). Destinations: Ljubljana, Vienna, Sofia (seasonal), Zagreb, Prague, Zurich, Dubai, Belgrade, Athens, Dortmund, Dusseldorf, Istanbul, Venice - Treviso, and London - Luton, Bratislava, Budapest.
Kosovar capital Pristina may offer cheaper deals than flying directly into Skopje on some routes. However, with no public transport connecting it with the city, consider if it's worth the effort when you add the more than €20 taxi ride into downtown Pristina and €5 bus ride to Skopje on the top of the flight fare. International Airport of Pristina is 3 hours away by bus from Skopje.
Bus to/from the airportEdit
Vardar Express From the terminal, there are buses running into Skopje operated by Vardar Express transport company; a timetable can be seen on the company's website, but a rule of thumb is that the buses depart about 10-15 min after a landing, just outside of the exit gates. It takes 25 min to the city and costs 175 denars one-way; tickets, which are checked on board, can be bought from the Vardar Express office next to the exit gate. (Credit cards are accepted. If you want to pay in cash, you will need Macedonian denars. These can be obtained from an ATM, or an exchange office. Exchange as low as possible—€3 is enough for a single ticket—as the rate at the exchange office just next to the Vardar Express office at the airport is worse than the town as usual.) Vardar Express has a number of stops in the city and the suburbs, the most useful of which is at the "Transportation Centre" (Транспортен Центар Transporten Centar, Skopje's bus & train station) and "Holiday Inn", which is close to the main square and the old town. Upon returning to the airport, buy your ticket from the dedicated Vardar Express office inside the bus station, and catch the bus from the stop signed "Airport Bus" on the street underneath the viaduct of the train station (Kuzman Josifovski Pitu Кузман Јосифовски Питу), in front of the Zegin Pharmacy (Аптека Apteka). Buses are scheduled to arrive about an hour prior to a flight, so you'll have plenty of time for exchanging back your left-over denars, check-in, passport control, security check, and boarding in Skopje's quiet airport.
Taxi to/from the airportEdit
Hailing a taxi would cost approximately €15-25 to centre, or arranging private hire beforehand for a lower price. According to a display board outside of the airport (as of 2017), the standard fare to Skopje is €20; standard taxi fares are established to other cities within North Macedonia as well.
Drive to/from the airportEdit
20 km southeast. The airport is accessed by the main highway Belgrade-Skopje-Thessaloniki which connects it directly with the city.
2 Skopje Railway Station (Скопска железничка станица) (near the National Central Bank). The transport center includes the train and the bus station together. To get to the city centre from the bus/train station, if you don't have a map, walk west along the main road which passes under the station (Mt Vodno with its cross is south, i.e. on your left). When you get to the river go left and follow the river until you arrive at the old bridge and central square. About 15 minutes walk.
Pristina, Kosovo (daily, 3 hr, €2.5). It is not possible to buy a train ticket with a credit card, but there is an exchange desk in the bus station in the same building.
The train Belgrade-Skopje-Thessaloniki has been cancelled indefinitely (Oct 2018). Check for instance Seat61 for up-to-date info.
- 3 Bus Station (Avtobuska stanica, Автобуска станица) (The bus station is under the viaduct of the railway station, east of the central Macedonia Square. Outside, the taxis and their somewhat persistent touts will be waiting (a "maybe later", or a total indifference will quickly lead them to give up on you), but the central square is just 15-20 min walking away.), ☏ . It has a small store selling snacks and drinks, another with bureks on the offer, and a reliable exchange office (open 6:30-18:30). Tickets for all destinations and companies are bought from central ticket booths (signed БЛАГАЈНА), except for the Vardar Express buses to the airport (see above), and then shown to the attendant at the gate upon accessing the platforms (Перон Peron) outside; the destination of the bus on each platform is displayed on digital screens in Macedonian Cyrillic and its Roman transliteration. All the staff at the bus station seem to speak at least basic English.
- Local Bus Station (The city bus station is also under the viaduct of the railway station, south-west of the bus station.). City buses, for example Millennium Cross or Matka canyon (#60), can be caught there easily.
Buses to cities and towns in North Macedonia leave many times daily. There are also buses to other major European cities.
If you wish to travel to Skopje from Sofia, Matpu 96 run three buses a day. Their office can be found in the Sofia Central Bus Station, and the buses are at 09:30, 16:00 and 19:00. The cost of a ticket is 33 lev as of July 2013, but they accept euros too. This includes 1 leu baggage fee. The journey will take around 6 hours and will also include a time zone change from Sofia (GMT + 2) to Skopje (GMT + 1 or Central European Time), so the 16:00 bus will arrive at Skopje Bus Station at approximately 21:00. The website, in English.
Skopje has a vast, frequent and efficient bus network. Public buses (red in colour, run by the Skopje Public Transportation Agency (Јавното сообраќајно претпријатие Скопје)) cost 35 denars if you pay the driver, or 30 denars if you buy your ticket in advance from a kiosk. Private buses (all the other colours) cost 25 denars (you pay the driver directly). The new double-deck buses may feature English translations of routes, but it's easier just to stick to the bus numbers. Bus maps can be found on almost all bus stops (still in the process of putting them up). Hotels will help with info. and the odd taxi fare can be saved!
Taking a taxi in Skopje should normally not cost more than 300 denars. An example journey is from City Centre to Biser (a shopping centre with many bars and cafes that is popular with young people) which should take about 5-10 mins and cost around 150 denars.
From the train station to the center of the city is 2 km and should cost 50 denars. Never let yourself be talked into going somewhere where you did not plan to go in the first place. Like many cities in Europe, if you seem unsure and foreign, the charge will probably be higher so appear confident about the price and if the taxi driver still insists on a ridiculous price, find another taxi - there are plenty.
Many taxis have and will use their meter, so there should be no discussion about the price.
- Individual listings can be found in Skopje's district articles
The largest concentrations of sights in Skopje are found in Centar and the Stara Čaršija (Old Town). The former is the modern hub of the city and contains newer attractions, while the latter is home to many of the city's historical sights. Outer Skopje is home to larger sights that are more spread out.
The Skopje Fortress stands above central Skopje, on the right bank of the Vardar. Much of the exterior walls, including several towers, remain, while excavations continue on the interior. The Stara Čaršija sits below the fortress to the south. Countless Ottoman-era structures makeup the historic district. Minarets from mosques like the 15th-century Mustafa Pasha Mosque dominate the district's skyline. The oldest of these mosques dates from 1436. Of the remaining Turkish baths, two are in good condition and now serve as museums. The three caravansaries in the Old Bazaar feature lovely courtyards and are open to the public as cafes or museums. While Islamic buildings are prevalent in the Stara Čaršija, it is also home to central Skopje's most important church, St Saviour Church, known for its wood-carved iconostasis.
One of the main symbols of Skopje, the Stone Bridge connects the Old Town to Centar on the left bank of the Vardar. Centar is home to the main government offices of North Macedonia. It is also home to Macedonia Square, the city's central square. The face of the square has changed with new buildings constructed in older architectural styles, as well as the addition of massive monuments like that of Alexander the Great, the centerpiece. Another major piece of the changes to Centar is Porta Macedonia, a large triumphal arch. The city's best museums are found in Centar, such as the Museum of the Macedonian Struggle, the Holocaust Museum, and the Mother Teresa Memorial House, dedicated to the Skopje native.
Some of Skopje's best sights are found outside the city centre. Matka Canyon is one of North Macedonia's gems, both culturally and naturally. It is home to numerous medieval churches and monasteries, often hidden in the scenic mountains. Mount Vodno is capped by the Millennium Cross, overlooking the city and reachable via a cable car. In addition, archaeological sites dot the area, like the 55-arch Skopje Aqueduct. The Skopje Zoo contains a few hundred animals.
- 1 Macedonian National Theatre, Iljo Vojvoda. Built in 1945. With its big white walls, and almost without windows and with an incline, it is known as "the bounce board." It was made by Stefan Kacin, Jurij Princes, Bogdan Splindler, and Marjan Urshic. The theatre has a large stage and seats for 850 spectators, and also a small stage for 200 spectators. The State Ballet is also stationed in this building. This theatre holds theatre, opera, and ballet performances all year round.
- 2 City Park. A large green area in the center of Skopje. A part of it is a museum, with several monuments within. It is a nice place to go for recreation, as there are pathways around the small lakes, tennis courts, the children’s amusement park, cafes, restaurants, etc. The city zoo and stadium are also within the park. In the summer, Skopje's nightlife concentrates on the nightclubs in this park.
- Stroll through the town. You can get a good first impression of the city's sights in one or two hours, covering bazaar, fort and post-earthquake buildings. Equipped with a guidebook and a city map you can easily do it on your own.
- Visit the open gallery “Beautiful city” in the Gradski Trgovski Centar Shopping Centre. This is the first of its kind in Skopje.
- 3 Explore Matka Canyon (50 minutes outside of central Skopje; bus line 60 starting at the central bus station). Features a lake and a hydroelectric dam set in a beautiful gorge. It gets very crowded at the weekends by the locals but otherwise only tourists are there. Kayaking/canoeing on the lake is a popular activity (but expensive), as are fishing, hunting, and swimming. There is also a wild water track under the dam but it's used for just several days per year and no equipment rental is available. Climbers may enjoy a variety of tours of varying difficulty there. There is a trail running along one bank of the lake as far as another dam; it offers very nice views but leads to 'nowhere' and no caves can be accessed from it (in contrary what the map at the entrance suggests). There are several expensive restaurants at the entry (e.g. "Bear's Cave" (in Macedonian: Mechkina dupka), built into a cave) and no free water source.
- Vrelo Cave (on the right bank of the Treska River, at the Matka Canyon). This has many stalactites including a large "Pine Cone" named due to its shape. There are two lakes at the end of the cave. It can be only reached by boat departing at the entrance.
- Monasteries in Matka Canyon Area. St. Andrea church is at the entry. There are trails to more churches located on the surroundings cliffs but the trails are not used and in bad shape. For eastward trails (St Nedela, St Spas, St Trojca), you have to go through a restaurant's backyard (may be locked). For westward trails (St Nikola, St Jovan Zlatoust, St Gjorgia), you must hire a boat to bring you across and back or cross the river on a bridge about 1 km north of the dam.
- 4 Kadina Reka Hunting Site, Zelenikovo (25 km from Skopje, On the mountain massif of Mountain Karadjica, part of Mountain Jakupica, Dautica and Aliagica). 21.10-hectare area. The relief of the mountain massifs in the hunting area is characterized with heterogeneousness and significant differences in altitude of 2240 m, which enables zonal distribution of the game.
- 5 Climb Vodno Mountain (Водно) (the largest mountain to the south of Skopje; bus Millenium Cross (without line no.)). 1066 meters above sea level it towers over Skopje. It is a popular hiking place with marked paths leading through the woods and there are a couple of rest areas. Climbing this mountain will give the best views of the city and the valley which Skopje is in. You will also be able to see close up and possibly also climb the Millenium Cross, the largest Christian cross in the world, built to celebrate 2000 years of Christianity. It is 66 m high and it is the highest structure in North Macedonia. You will also be able to see a monument dedicated to the Macedonian partisan fighters who defeated Axis forces that were stationed on Vodno, which allowed the liberation of Skopje to begin. -*Vodno Mountain
- 6 Explore Skopska Crna Gora (Скопска Црна Гора). Meaning "Black Mountain of Skopje". - even though Vodno is the most popular hiking option in Skopje, a fun and educational day trip from Skopje is visiting the villages, churches and monasteries on Skopska Crna Gora Mountain. Easiest way to do it is with a car, but also one can take a bus to one of the villages like Banjani or Kuceviste, and hike to the surrounding points of interest. St.Nikita monastery in Banjani village was built in by Serbian king Milutin in 1307-08 on a site of an earlier church. It is a single domed church of a written cross architectonical solution. The frescoes are work of the famous Ohrid painters Mihailo and Eftihie. Unfortunately they lack the energy and the technique of Bogorodica Perivlepta church in Ohrid. It is quite probable that by now they had a big group of students around them and they just controlled the work. If one looks carefully one can see where them two picked up the brush and corrected the work. Most significant fresco is the Pursuit of the Merchants from the temple where one can see the human elements characteristic for their work.
- Marko’s Monastery (outside Sushica village on Kitka mountain. There is a bus going to the village but just few times per day. From the village there is half hour walk to the monastery. Behind it there is a river and a small picnic area.). An active monastery. It was founded by king Volkashin in 1345 and finished by his son King Marko in 1366, who is also the donor of the frescoes painted between 1366 and 1371. It is unknown why the monastery is built in the vicinity of Skopje instead of Prilep the capital of their medieval kingdom. It is presumed that the grave of king Marko (who died in Romania fighting the Turks) is here but it was destroyed by the Turks. The architecture of the church is a cross in square with a central dome and a blind dome in the narthex. The elegant exonarthex (open porch) was added in 1830 by Hamzi Pasha, who was a generous donor of the monastery throughout the 19th century. It is quite surprising a Turkish aristocrat to be a donor of an Christian monument. The frescoes are work of more artists with different skills and are well preserved. Visible is the tendency for adding dramatization and narrative painting of the scenes. Most interesting is the unique scene The cry of Rahela (Mathew 2:18). On the southern façade the portraits of king Volkashin and king Marko are painted. - While in the area also visit St.Bogorodica church (also referred as St.Nikola church) in Sushica village, built in the 13th century.
- St.Bogorodica Church, Kucevishte village. The naos was built just before 1348. The narthex was built somewhere between 1355 and 1358 by local aristocrat Radoslav and his wife Vladislava. Above the nathex there is a grave chapel for Radoslav and Vladislava. The painter of the frescoes of the naos is quite good, educated, well acquainted with the work of Mihailo and Eftihie, quite probable their student. Still his work doesn’t reach their energy, colors and elegance, but he is quite good in composition and placing figures in it. Like his teachers he did sign his name on the northern column by the iconscreen, his name is Grigorie. The frescoes of the narthex have been damaged by fire and the grave chapel was painted by a less skilled painter. Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel Monastery in Kucevishte village was built towards the end of the 14th or maybe the beginning of the 15th century. The church is threeconhos with a dome, and elaborate ceramic decorations on the façades. There are two inscriptions dating the frescoes from 1631 and 1701. The figures are presented small in size, poor in colors but with bold drawing with an attempt to present landscape. Most famous is the large presentation Tree of Jesse.
- St. Nikola church, Ljuboten village. It was built in 1337 by Mrs. Danica, a local aristocrat whose sons had important positions (something like mayors or governors) of strategic positions on the entrance of the city. She built the church in honor of her passed husband. It is a single domed church of a written cross architectonical solution. Parts of the frescoes are in bad condition. Influenced by the works of Mihailo and Eftihie. The Serbian royal family is presented (king Dushan, queen Elena and prince Urosh), it is interesting that the painting treatment of them, especially the colors are different than those for the saints.
- Tumba archaeological site. Ceramic models of houses formed in the shape of the female body are among its valuable finds from the Early Stone Age.
- Cerje archaeological site. Its unique finds include the figurine known as Adam from Govrlevo, one of the earliest prehistoric male figurines, from the Early Stone Age.
- Gradishte. A fortified settlement from the Early Byzantine period. It is believed to be Taoresion, the native town of Emperor Justinian.
- Marko's Castle. An Early Byzantine fortress, heavily fortified with 40 towers. It was the site of the medieval town of Crnce.
- Remains of Skupi. The ancient city of Skupi is almost not worth the effort to reach. There is almost nothing left except for part of a street, a bath, and a basilica. After the city was ruined by the earthquake of 518, all the building material was used in the building of Justinijana Prima (one can see almost all of the seats of the Roman theatre incorporated in Kale Fortress). It is interesting that even though the earthquake was very strong and completely ruined Skupi there were almost no casualties. The inhabitants fled the city just two days before fearing from Avar attacks and settled in the small fortresses they had built on Vodno and in Matka.
- Skopje Summer Festival. The epithets such as the most abundant, the most various, the longest and, according to many authorized marks, one of the most qualitative cultural manifestation of international character which is held in North Macedonia, characterize Skopje Summer. This manifestation has even received an acknowledgement of its reputation outside the Macedonian borders which is verified by the membership of the International Festivals & Events Association - IFEA.
- Offest. This festival takes place at several locations in Skopje, such as the Universal Hall, Skopje Square, the Youth Cultural Center, and many attractive night clubs in the city. June.
- Skopje Jazz Festival. For one week every October, Skopje hosts eminent jazz musicians from all over the world. The Skopje Jazz Festival is considered to be one of the best of its kind in Europe. October.
- May Opera Evenings. The May Opera Evenings have been one of the most visited events in Skopje. Over the years, the stage of the Macedonian Ballet and Opera Theatre has hosted a number of ballet performances, operas, and many concerts. This event represents a true professional challenge for the artists and a wonderful musical experience for the audience.
- Autumn Music. November. Organized to enrich the music life with its genres and themes in accordance to its conception and to provide another place for the performances of the native and foreign artist. There is the classical music as a base of this manifestation's programme, yet it always leaves space for the other types of music genres such as jazz, popular song, ethno music etc.
- Vino Skop - Skopje Wine Festival. October. Wine tasting, vineyard visits, live musical entertainment from international artists in the heart of the city.
- BuskerFest. May/June for 10 days. Street performers festival. Tours Macedonian cities, as well as Budva, Montenegro and Sibenik, Croatia.
- Pivolend. August/September. Gourmet weekend with beer.
- Vasilica (New Year). 14th January. Celebrated in the home.
- Herdelezi / Djurdjevden. 8th of May. Spring festival celebrated at home and in public. Usually crowned by a great open air concert. After Herdelezi the wedding season begins. Almost every day you can meet a wedding procession or a procession accompanying the gifts for the bride.
- Ss. Cyril and Methodius University - The Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje was founded in 1949 consisting three faculties and today it represents a family of twenty-three faculties, ten institutes and other institutions. The present structure of the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University can be illustrated with the following figures: over 36,000 students from North Macedonia as well as over 700 foreign students are enrolled at all faculties; over 2,300 teaching and scientific staff and associates are engaged in the teaching, educational and scientific process at the faculties and over 300 at the institutes.
- University American College Skopje - an institution for higher education that combines American and European methods.
Shopping centers and marketsEdit
- 1 Old Bazaar (Старата турска чаршија). Even though some parts of the old bazaar have been destroyed to make streets and parking lots, it still is the largest one in the Balkans. It has developed and changed during the centuries but it still has its original use as a shopping place. The old bazaar was never used for living, it always was a shopping area and contact zone of the Christian and the Muslim populations as they lived in separate parts of the town. It is a structure of many streets lined with small shops. The crafts were divided between the Christians and the Muslims. All the shops used to be same size no matter if they belonged to a Christian or a Muslim. Each street hosted different craft, and all stores from that craft were on one street (for example gold street, shoes street, pots street, dress street). The stores were closed with wooden shutters which were lowered when the stores were opened and the goods were displayed on them. The old bazaar was surrounded with markets. Hygienic care was taken and different markets were placed on opposite sides of the bazaar (for example the food market was on the opposite side of the bazaar from the animal market; milk, milk products and honey market opposite from the wood market etc). Beside the stores there were other objects in the old bazaar too, like hamams (Turkish baths), hans (hotels), mosques, and some churches. The outside walls were usually surrounded with stores so no space would be wasted.
- 2 Bit Pazar (Бит-пазар). The biggest of the food markets in Skopje. It begins where the bazaar ends and has existed on the same spot for hundreds of years. A walk around can be fun, but you can also get cheap fresh fruits, vegetables, salads, cheese, teas, spices and flowers. Another good food market to visit is the Green Market (Zeleno Pazarce), near the Parliament Building and Bunjakovec Market near the Cathedral.
- GTC. The biggest shopping center in the city. It was made in the 1970s by Zivko Popovski. It includes cafes, restaurants, bars, banks, shops,and even has a bowling court.
- 3 Ramstore Mall. If you are looking for an American-looking mall, this is where you'll want to go. It has shops, restaurants, cafes and cinema.
- 4 Super Vero, Boulevard Kuzman Josifovski - Pitu. Another American-looking mall that is part of the Vero network. Very spacious with a huge supermarket, a few restaurants and cafes, the huge Jumbo shop (Target-like), and all kinds of small shops for clothing, accessories, T-Mobile/T-Home, ONE and VIP salons etc. It has good parking.
- Biser. A shopping center with very nice cafes, bar, and shops. It can be found in the Aerodrom municipality of Skopje. Many young people from the city come to spend their extra time here. Shops include mobile phones, electronics, clothes and banks. There is also a supermarket across the street.
- Bunjakovec. It is in one of the busiest thoroughfares in Skopje. In includes many shops and boutiques.
- 5 City Gallery shopping center, Macedonia Square. Lots of high quality fashion stores and very interesting structure, like a labyrinth
- 6 Skopje City Mall, ул. Љубљанска бр.4 (Ljubljanska 4), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 08:00-01:00. A modern mall in Skopje is the biggest of its kind in the region. It houses around 150 shops, 9 cinemas, a 4,500-m² hypermarket, restaurants and bars with terraces, bowling center and the biggest kids corner in North Macedonia. It does not charge for parking.
North Macedonia’s capital offers something to satisfy all modern tastes and appetites. Make sure to try the famous Macedonian foods such as burek, Shopska Salata, and others.
Skopje’s eateries are plentiful and offer a diverse range of local and international flavors. International cuisine is well represented in Skopje with Chinese, Italian, Indian, Greek, Mexican, Middle Eastern and French restaurants all found within the city center. In addition, pizza and fast food places abound, as do small bakery cafes selling pastries such as the ubiquitous burek (a flaky filo pie stuffed with meat, cheese or spinach).
- Alo Alo Pizza, GTC Shopping Center, Kej 13 Noemvri, ☏ . Hand tossed pizza. Fresh out of oven.
- Enriko Pizza, Leptokarija Shopping Center, ☏ . The menu includes the most delicious, Italian specialties, pizzas, pasta, pizza sandwich etc.
- Makedonska Kuka, Sity Park nearby Stadium, ☏ .
- Picerija KID, Kisela Voda, Sava Kovacevic 47v lokal 11, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 08:00-00:00. Hand tossed pizza. Fresh out of oven.
- Kaj Гоце, Old Town (one of the first places you come to when wandering from the centre to the old town). Traditional Balkan food. Main course + vegetables + beer + mastika = under 300 denars.
- Martini, Boul. Partizanski Odredi, TC Leptokarija sec.5, lok.2 (from the centre walk up Boul. Partizanski (3 km!) or even better, take the bus), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 10:00-01:00. Specialises in waffles, also does pancakes, salads, etc. Waffle + drink = 295 denars.
- Ezerce, ☏ .
- Gino Italian Restaurant, ☏ .
- Restaurant 14 (Taftalidze, near the green market), ☏ . A few minutes drive away from the center of the city. Beside the traditional Macedonian food, macrobiotic and vegetarian dishes are available for the guests.
- Kibo, T.C.C. Paloma Bjanka, ☏ . Different, mixed salads at your choice, self service.
- Mirko 919, Gavriv Konstantinovic 76 (5 km from the center of Skopje), ☏ . Range of specialties such barbecue, seafood, game fish. Try the 'Dojran crap' (meaning 'carp'), as well as roast meat, frog legs etc.
- Harmonija, T.C. Skopjanka no.37, ☏ . Restaurant for macrobiotic, vegetarian, and dietetic food. Food is prepared without gluten as well as specific seminars for alleviation of particular health problems.
- Zanzibar Pizza, Str.Atinska no. 21, ☏ . The only place where you can find pizzas made by the recipes of old Italian chefs spiced with lite jazz motives.
- Pivnica An, within the Kapan An in the old town. The name is literally translated as "Beerhouse", but this is not a pub! It is one of the few places where you can get a few vegetarian options. Try their delicious "Turli Tava", a rich vegetable casserole.
- Akord, Str. Ankarska 21, ☏ . Bright, modern, colorful atmosphere
- Balkanika, Oktomvriska revolucija 24 (across h. Aleksandar Palace), ☏ , . Ethnic food from Turks, Serbs, Albanians, Bulgarians, Vlaches, Greeks, Gypsies, Bosnians.
- Den I Nok (Day and Night), Str. Skupi bb, ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. Club restaurant. Piano sounds performed by popular music groups.
- Duomo, Teodosie Gologanov no. 67, ☏ . W-Sa. enjoy in live music. Mediterranean, Italian, national, international and seafood.
- Dva Elena, Str. Zagrebska 31, ☏ . under the slopes of Vodno mountain
- Equestrian, Kuzman J. Pitu no.19, loc.56, ☏ . Club restaurant.
- Kamnik, Kamnik b.b., ☏ . In the hotel of the same name. 150 wines from all over the world.
- Kej, Kej 13 Noemvri no.34, ☏ . Intimate and pleasant place by the Vardar river.
- Marakana, City park, ☏ . Italian specialties, unique sea fruits and fish. The restaurant also has 2 ballrooms with 150 seats, and it also offers the opportunity for cocktail parties with up to 500 guests.
- Meana Karpic, Str. Debarca br. 21, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Home cuisine, grilled barbecue, grilled fish, cooked vegetables, stews, specialties, music, and wine !
- [dead link] Nana, Square Macedonia - Risticeva Palata, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Assortment of delicious meals, made from the world finest ingredients, such as caviar, salmon, goose and duck pates, goose liver, proscuitto, tartufo, cheese, fresh vegetables and salads. Offers 40 types of wines in glasses or bottles, including all of the Tikvesh special selection and limited production wines, as well as imported French, Chilean, Spanish, Slovenian white and red wines, foamy wines and champagnes.
- Okarina, Str. Helsinki no. 58a, nas. Taftalidze (old Cvrga), ☏ . Macedonian and international specialties. live music.
- Pantelejmon, v. Gorno Nerezi, ☏ . Magnificent ambient and view on the city of Skopje from the terrace. Macedonian national cuisine. Try the Pantelejmon pie and sheep yogurt, Pantelejmon pan, Lamb meat in a bowl.
- Ragusa, Str.12 Udarna Brigada 2a, ☏ . Ambient, accompanied with pleasant music.
- Roulette Restaurant & Club, Simeon Kavrakirov no. 9a, ☏ . Great choice of different meals and quality wines.
- Tomce Sofka, Jordan Hadji Konstatinov Gjinot 14, ☏ . Taste national and international specialties and the evenings here are filled with the sound of old city music, which contributes to the intimate ambiance.
- Tri Biseri, Bul. Jane Sandanski br.7, ☏ .
- Uranija, City Park, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Recognized as one of the best restaurants in North Macedonia for more than a decade. Nice selection of local wine and food. Free Wi-Fi
It's not hard to find good cafes but a good place to start is by the riverside near the old bridge, and at night this becomes a lively party area as well.
- Cafe Li, Ankarska 23, Taftalidze, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- Ciao Caffe, GTC Shopping Mall 3/6, ☏ .
- [dead link] Ego, Str. Orce Nikolov no. 20, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Intermezzo Caffe, Str. Mit. Teodosij Gologanov 65, ☏ .
- Coffeeshop Company (Second floor of Soravia Center).
- Plenty of bars in the Old Bazar (From Macedonia Square, go across the Stone bridge, and then just keep the straightest line as you can). This area has a plenty of bars, and the night life there has become very interesting. Some of the bars there are La Kaña, Damar, and Rakija Bar.
- Irski Pab Sv Patrick (Irish Pub St. Patrick), GTC Skopje.
- Izzi Caffe, Katna Garaza Zebra - Vasil Gjorgov BB (next to Hotel Queens in the 'Zebra' mall in the neighborhood Kapistec). Cool place to have a drink, in the morning (coffee) or at night. The owner speaks English and will hang out with you to make sure you're taken care of.
- Penguin Pub, Mito H. Jasmin 50, ☏ . Daily live music. Try food prepared on volcano stones!
- Piazza Liberta, Str. Dimitrija Cupovski 24, ☏ . Eat the peanuts and throw the shells on the floor.
- Plaza de Toros, Kej 13 Noemvr (on the quay of Vardar), ☏ . Delicious snacks: taco chips with melted cheese, fried chicken wings fresh salads, pizza, warm sandwiches, or some homemade sweets. Offers a large variety of beer on drought.
- Soul Pub, Str. Maksim Gorki 20, ☏ . Good music and beer.
- B2, Macedonia Square.
- Black & White.
- Club 69, Macedonia Square. One of the best clubs in Skopje. Works only four days a week: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
- Club Collosseum. It's a place where often worldwide famous DJs play music. The club is under the railway station.
- Hard Rock, Macedonian Cultural Center.
- 1 Havana.
- 2 Marakana, City park.
- Midnight, GTC Shopping Center.
- 1 Shanti Hostel, Rade Jovcevski Korcagin 11, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Small and cozy place 3 minutes walking distance from the international bus and train station, and 5 minutes from the center of Skopje. Near Shanti Hostel there are large super markets, bars, clubs, theatre, a swimming pool, shopping malls, change office and ATM. €8-10.
- Art Hostel Riverside, Ante Hadzimitkov 5. A popular hostel with backpackers, 20 minutes walk from the station, 15 minutes to City Square. Helpful and friendly staff, this hostel has the feel of student accommodation. Dorms and privates, with shared bathrooms. Free internet access, outdoor social area. 10% discount with a flyer (which you can get from the hostel itself, or hostels in other cities). Dorms from €7.
- Hostel Hostel, Ognjan Prica 18, (Anton Popov 18), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. It doesn't have the most original name, but this friendly little hostel is a great place to stay if you're on a budget. Nice and warm, free internet and friendly staff. Recommended for any backpacking in Skopje. Dorms from €8.
- Youth Hostel. Also called "Ferialen Dom" or "Mladinski Hotel". Five minutes from the bus/train station at Prolet 25. It has dorms and privates, but the privates are organised more like a hotel, i.e. boxy rooms off a corridor. At €50 for a small twin ensuite room, with breakfast, this is not the best value for money
- Get Inn Hostel, st. Stiv Naumov 102g, ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. 24/7. Very nice small hotel with dormitories and a few rooms, kitchen, clean bathrooms and toilets, free Wi-Fi, and a balcony. €10 for dorms.
- Imperial Hotel, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. This comfortable hotel that offers excellent accommodation 1.5 km from the shopping malls and the Skopje Square. Free 24 hours Wi-Fi/wlan internet and free laundry service.
- Hotel Kapistec, Mile Pop Jordanov 3 St., ☏ , (Mob), fax: , ✉ email@example.com. €34/38.
- Hotel Restaurant NewStar, Ul 2 Br. 160 Vizbegovo, ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Hotel Square, Nicola Vapcaov 2 6.floor, ☏ . The top floor of a office building. Very nice rooms, friendly staff, and an open air balcony with an excellent view to Square Macedonia and the stone bridge. Rooms with air-con and TV. €45.
- Holiday Inn Skopje, Vasil Agilarski 2, ☏ . Next to the river, at the end of stretch that has all the bars and restaurants which are great in the summer.
- [dead link] Урбан Хотел Скопје (Urban Hotel Skopje) (UH Skopje), ул. Партизанска 48 (near the Universal Hall). Business hotel.
- Aleksander Palace, Bul. Oktomvriska Revolucija br.15 (5 minute drive from the center), ☏ . This 5-star hotel is probably the finest and most expensive in all of Skopje.
- Hotel Ambassador (in the center of Skopje in a quiet neighborhood close to the St. Kliment of Ohrid cathedral.), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- 2 Hotel Arka (Hotel Arka), Bitpazarska 90/2 (in the Old Bazaar), ☏ . 5-star hotel. Arka is modern, luxurious and comfortable hotel. Its interior is furnished according to newest trends in the modern interior architecture. It is situated in the historic nucleus of the Old Skopje Town. From €88.
- Hotel Continental, Aleksandar Makedonski (adjacent to the Skopje Fair, 5 minutes from downtown Skopje), ☏ . The largest luxury hotel in the city, in a 10,000-m² landscaped garden.
- Hotel Stone Bridge, Kej Dimitar Vlahov no.1, ☏ . 5-star hotel. The rooms and suites, many with superb views of the Vardar River, Stone Bridge, Square Macedonia with modern city, Fortress Kale, Old City with churches and mosques, are spacious and luxurious, giving an extremely comfortable and elegant feel.
- Hotel Victoria, Slave Delovski no.18 (500 meters from the center of the city), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. Three-star hotel in very pleasant surroundings isolated of the city noise. Restaurant, closed parking space which is secured 24hr, reception desk, hall for buffet breakfast.
Skopje, just like the rest of Macedonia, is a relatively safe place. But, the usual rules about common sense apply here as they would anywhere. The places where crime occurs most often are in the places where tourists have little reason to be at. Night time in the old market may have roving bands of youth and areas just east of it. Exercise a higher level of caution in these areas or avoid this area at night.
Like many other parts of Eastern and Central Europe, there are people who will beg around the major tourist sites, they especially target tourist-looking people, and sometimes may engage in pickpocketing.
- Дневник (Dnevnik) [dead link] - is a daily newspaper in North Macedonia. It is published every day except Sunday. The first issue of Dnevnik was published on March 20, 1996. Its current circulation is 50,000.
- Нова Македонија (Nova Makedonija) - is the oldest daily newspaper in North Macedonia. It was established with decision of the presidium of ASNOM and remained a state owned newspaper, promoting the government line. The first edition was in 1944, in Gorno Vranovci, and contitutes the first document written in the literary standard Macedonian language.
- Утрински Весник (Utrinski Vesnik) [dead link] - the first issue of Utrinski vesnik was published on June 23, 1999. Its current editor is Erol Rizaov. It is published every day except Sunday.
- Вест (Vest) [dead link]
- Време (Vreme)
- Шпиц (Spic)
- Вечер (Vecer)
- Skopje Diem Provides daily news from North Macedonia in English, as well as many useful info for expats in the country. The Team used to be NATO Press Centre in Skopje, and provides daily info on Macedonian matters for almost all embassies, international organisations and foreign media.
- Tetovo — just an hour away, Tetovo is the site of the unique and beautiful Painted Mosque, and offers an opportunity to brush up your rusty Albanian skills
- Ohrid — with its highly scenic hillside location overlooking the lake, no trip to North Macedonia is complete without a visit to Ohrid, the city of a thousand churches, or the "Balkan Jerusalem"
- Kokino — if you want more hill and less lake. A beautiful scenic drive past Kumanovo takes you to a stunning and recently discovered paleolithic solar observatory atop a small mountain.
- Kosovo — if you decided that what you need is yet another stamp on your passport, the "newest state of Europe" would be happy to arrange one for you, with its border just half an hour away from Skopje. While the national capital, Pristina, offers little beyond a convenient hub to travel around the country, the historic city of Prizren in southern Kosovo, nearer to the Macedonian border, is well worth a visit. (Both cities can also be managed as a quick day-trip from Skopje.)
- Thessaloniki — around 4½ hr by bus is the second-largest Greek city with a long history and a popular destination for Macedonians looking for beaches.