Before you Go: North Macedonia

Hello Pals,
Before you go to any country you should learn some basics but also double check those important things such as Visa and Vaccines.

   VISA 
Depending on where you’re from, you may need a visa. Check here.
Majority of countries do not need a tourist visa and will automatically receive 90 days in any 180-day period.
  VACCINES
Click here to make sure you’ve got the necessary jabs!
   LANGUAGE
The official language is Macedonian; spoken by more than 1.3 million people and Albanian. Try and learn common phrases such as hello, goodbye, please and thank you here.
  CURRENCY
Macedonian Denar. Code: MKD. Symbol: ден
Check your exchange here.

Here’s a list of things you should know before you travel to North Macedonia.

In this article you’ll find:
Important: 
Alcohol | Cultural | Dress Code  | Driving | English 
Insurance | Toilets | Transport | Water | Weather 
Money: + Tipping + ATMS
Fun Facts: five fun facts!

IMPORTANT

Cultural

  • In retail stores, no alcohol is to be sold after 7pm (9pm in summer.) Although an article came out advising that they’re in the works of trying to pass a change on the law within Parliament. You can probably, more than likely find a local who will know how to get around it.
  • You are able to smoke on streets and open areas. Most restaurants and cafes have separate sitting areas.
  • The previous name, FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) was not appreciated by many Macedonian people, as unfortunately is, North Macedonia. Avoid using it as unless locals bring up the topic – try to avoid political conversations unless you’re welcome to listening and not providing an opinion.
    **this article will rectify the countries name as North Macedonia as per maps, updated articles etc. You can read a wikipedia page on the dispute here.**
  • Like the name, there is sensitivity regarding identity, historical and original inhabitants of the land.

Dress Code?

  • In places of worship; mosques, churches and monasteries you should dress more conservatively; covered shoulders and knees.
  • Outside large cities, you will most likely see conservative clothing worn regularly

Driving?

  • You’ll be driving on the right-hand side and people will pass you on the left.
  • By law, all vehicles must use side lights / dipped headlights during the day and at night, on all roads.
  • You can pay toll roads with Euros.
  • You need to be a minimum age of 18.
  • Have an International License if renting a car.
    Australia, it depends on which state you’re from. Click your state provider for more info:  VIC: RACV NSW: NRMA QLD: RACQ  SA: RAA NT: AANT WA: RAC TAS: RACT

English?

  • Major cities and tourist destinations, you’ll have no issues speaking English.

Insurance?

  • You should always have travel insurance when going overseas. At least just to cover you for medical.
  • For short trips I tend to use Tick Insurance (affiliate and for AUS)– it’s 4/5 stars with FeeFo and although I’ve never had to claim – it’s super within budget.
  • Register your trip details with Smart Traveller (Australia.)

Toilets?

  • North Macedonia uses western-style toilets. If you do see drop toilets, which do exist they will be in places of holy worship.

Transport?

  • Walk: Tourist areas are often clumped pretty close to each other so if you don’t mind a 15-20 minute walk, this is your cheapest option.
  • Car: depending on the season, you may wish to rent a car to get to a few off the beaten path destinations. There are often police checkpoints so make sure you’ve got the right travel docs.
  • Buses: All major cities have bus lines – your hostels and hotels will be able to help you with times and costs.
  • Taxis: Relatively cheap, make sure they’re turning on their metre.
  • Train: Domestic trains are reliable, but slow.

Water?

  • You are able to drink the tap water in North Macedonia.
  • Around rural areas, you will find fountains which you can fill your drink bottle up at.

Weather

Based on the Tourism Score, the best time to go is from May to September where the weather is between 24°C (75°F) and 32°C (90°f).

SUMMERAUTUMNWINTERSPRING
Jun – AugSept – NovDec – FebMar – May

MONEY

*Remember to contact your bank and let 
them know you’re going overseas!*

  • North Macedonia has been using the Denar since 1992, replacing the Yugoslav Dinar.
  • You should always have some cash and other cards securely saved somewhere in case of any issues.
  • Australia: I personally use my ING Visa while overseas and withdraw from that as it gives me rebates on all international ATM fees* (including the ones charged.)

Tipping?

  • If you get exceptionally good service, you can round up, or give 10-15%.
  • It’s a personal choice, and it will not go unappreciated by the serves. It’s not required.
  • If for example, you go to a place with no english menu and the waiter translates, tip them for providing a service.

Working ATMS.

  • HalkBank is largely recommended for having the best currency exchange.
  • The maximum amount you can withdraw from an ATM would be 30,000 mkd.
  • Majority of large tourist areas will accept a card, but keep smart and remember that cash is key!
  • If you are coming from Scotland, Northern Ireland – you will need English bank notes.

OTHER

FREE WIFIPOWER

– Cafes & Restaurants
– Hostels, Hotels & Airbnb.
– City Centres, Train Stations, Bus Stations.

Two-wire plug that has two round pins.
Voltage: 230 Volts. Plug C and F. – used in Europe. 
FOOD DRINK
 
– Stuffed Peppers: peppers filled with meat and rice.
– Tavce Gavce: boiled beans and then mixed with tomato, onion, peppers and spices
– Moussaka: potatoes and minced beef meat, topped with a layer of milk mixed with raw eggs
– Sarma – Minced meat, onion, paprika and chopped veggies wrapped in cabbage leaves.
Pindjur: spread like relish of roasted eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and olive oil. 

– Coffee: most commonly, Turkish coffee.
– Boza: thick and sweet drink from corn and flour.
Kratosija: red wine from the Tikveš region.
– Skopsko: (alc.) domestic beer.
 Rakija: (alc.) strong, strong spirit made from grapes. 

FUN FACTS

  • Macedonia has more mountains and mountain peaks than anywhere else in the world.
  • Macedonia’s Lake Ohrid is one of the deepest lakes in Europe. It is estimated at over four million years old
  • Ohrid is the countries only Unesco World Heritage site.
  • Mother Teresa was born in Skopje.
  • The small Macedonian village of Vevchani has declared itself the Independent Republic of Vevchani. It even has its own passports and currency.
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Written by CerealSarah

A 28-year-old whose only direction in life seems to be going around the world. Find me on Instagram @ CerealSarah Find me on Facebook @ CerealSarah

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