Believe me, “the city of statues” is no original title, (inb4; like myself) but simply search “Skopje’s statues”, and the first option is a TripAdvisor review saying it had too many. Technically, I spent four days in North Macedonia, but I’ll only count two (much like other lists I have, removing things I don’t think count…) and I didn’t overly see much, although I did enjoy the few days I had.
If you would like to know “How to count statues in Skopje” click ‘read more’
In this article, you’ll find: (click to be taken there)
The Basics: How to get there.
My Top Choices: What you should see.
My Recommendations: Where to eat & drink, What to listen to & read.
Where to Stay: Where I stayed or where friends stayed.
What I did: My diary entry.
Other Recommendations: Things we missed.
All my posts have a key:
⏰ Opening Hours. 📍Location 🕒Distance
💰Cost 🎫Ticket 📝 To note. 🎒What to bring.
♿ Accessibility 🌱Vegan / Veg Options.
- As of 2019, Macedonia will adopt the name, North Macedonia.
Read the BBC Article “Macedonia parliament agrees to change country’s name“
- You should receive a “Certificate for Application for Registration and Reregistration” from your hotel/hostel, make sure you keep this on you while travelling around the country and when leaving. Although it may be rarely enforced – if you are unlucky to have a check the fine can be huge.
- North Macedonia has no local airlines.
- You can drink the tap water in Skopje.
Getting to Skopje.
✈️ FLY to Skopje.
– The main airport is Skopje International Airport
– There are no local airlines within Macedonia.
Depending on where you’re flying from – It’ll vary hugely in price
Airlines that fly to Skopje are Turkish Airlines, LOT Flights, Swiss Flights, Austrian Airlines, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa and Wizz Air.
There is a shuttle to/from the airport by the Manora Group. You can check the timetable here. You can purchase a ticket on the bus for 180Ден | $4.75 AUD | $3.26 USD | £2.70 GBP
Bus from Thessaloniki.
💰 €20.00 | $31.52 AUD| $22.45 USD | £17.20 GBP
🕒 3,5 – 4 hours.
Simeonidis Tours offer direct buses from Skopje To Thessaloniki.
They leave Skopje 17:00 (local time)
Get there half an hour before. I am not joking, they can leave before that time, and they want everyone on the bus already. Get your hostel to call before to book seats.
– You can get non-direct for a bit cheaper, but you’ll have to consider times / which days of the week they run etc.
Memorial House of Mother Teresa.
⏰ 09:00 – 20:00 | Sat + Sun: 09:00 – 14:00
📍Macedonia St bb, Skopje 1000
💰Free, donations accepted.
📝 The walking tour takes you here.
Mother Teresa was originally born during the Ottoman Empire in 1910 in an administrational division of the Ottoman Empire. Today, it’s known as Skopje; the capital of North Macedonia.
Although not the original house, it’s an ode to the saint herself, with artefacts, letters, original items and an adjoining church.
Archaeological Museum of Macedonia
⏰10:00 – 18:00 | Closed Mondays
💰$150 Ден | $3.93 AUD| $2.73 USD | £2.18 GBP
The museum itself has a permanent exhibition and one that rotates, if you wish to see both you can pay the additional amount (I didn’t.) I wasn’t overly impressed with this museum, but if you’re interested in coins and excavation, you might have a bit more luck. English descriptions are few and far between.
The Old Bazaar
⏰24 / 7
The Old Bazaar dates back to the 12th century, within the Ottoman rule, the place went through vast changes which can be seen by the numerous buildings, mosques and monuments.
Skopje Fortress Kale
⏰ 08:00 – 19:00
📍Samoilova, Skopje 1000
📝 The walking tour takes you here.
Offering some of the nicest views of the city, the 6th century fortress was restored after the 1960s. I would recommend going on a tour as there are no signs, details regarding the fortress itself.
⏰ 8:00 – 1:15am
📍 Kej 13th November 34, Skopje
With an english menu, cheap prices and lovely staff it’s hard not to fall in love with this place (especially because it’s so close to the hostel I was staying in.)
🍷 Pivnica Star Grad
⏰ 08:00 – 12:00
📍 Samoilova, Skopje 1000, North Macedonia
This North Macedonian brewery believes in the German law of purity “Reinheitsgebot” which means it’s produced with the main four ingredients.
🍷 New Age Teahouse
📍 Skopje 1000, North Macedonia
The staff at our hostel advised this used to be a pretty local place when they were younger – but now go to others. It’s a Turkish-like bar with a little moat that runs through it, different levels of seating with draped curtains and comfy couches. The drinks come out slow, but are cheap.
“The Persian Boy traces the last years of Alexander’s life through the eyes of his lover, Bagoas. Abducted and gelded as a boy, Bagoas was sold as a courtesan to King Darius of Persia, but found freedom with Alexander after the Macedon army conquered his homeland.
Their relationship sustains Alexander as he weathers assassination plots, the demands of two foreign wives, a sometimes-mutinous army, and his own ferocious temper. “
ARTICLES TO READ:
- Macedonia will change its name. Here’s why it matters
- 1963: Thousands killed in Yugoslav earthquake
- True Cost of ‘Skopje 2014’ Revealed
WHERE TO STAY
⏰Check In: 14:00 – 00:00 | Check Out: 11:00 – 12:00
📍Rade Jovcevski Korcagin 11
📝 – Cash payments only. They accept Euros.
Shanti hostel has fresh towels, nice showers and a welcoming environment. If you stay longer than 3 days, they also offer free washing which was incredible. They have an incredible knowledge
|🍽Breakfast||Bread, Spreads, Cereal, Milk, Juice, Tea & Coffee.|
|🛁Bathrooms||Clean, good pressure and if you’re within private / 4 bed dorms you’ll have access to a semi-private one.|
|🛏Rooms||rooms are clean, comfy and have curtains which is a really nice addition.|
|🎲Facilities||good wifi, great common areas inside and out for you to meet people.|
|🍺Bar||you can drink alcohol in the hostel.|
WHAT I DID
Arriving into Skopje from Thessaloniki, I lost my second bank card. (How do I travel, how do I manage, what is wrong with me?) I spent the first day in Skopje doing the Free Walking Tour in which we all received a free shot Rakia (listen, i’m sorry but Rakia is not good, it is terrible and you cannot convince me otherwise.) An interesting thing I found in the walking tour was our guild, Zoran advised that there was over 500 statues in Skopje, and that majority of them have been turned off due to the cost of water and electricity.
Afterwards a few of us walked around trying to find some North Macedonian food. Later that night my friends had checked in, so we were recommended to go to Kej for dinner. Kej is situated along the river and offers local, typical dishes.
We made plans the following day to check out Matka Canyon, and it’s pretty clear that neither my friends nor I were gonna get up for the early buses, so we opted for the 10am bus. It did not work. We opted for the 2pm bus. It did not work. (Yes, we missed mainly three buses in one day.) We gave up (what can you do) and walked through the Old Bazaar, including the markets to see what we could find (a lot of knock of products.)
We grabbed some beers at Kej, saw two people getting-it-on under a bridge and decided that okay, we’re gonna call it and head off to Prishtina.
After Kosovo, when I returned I had a bit more luck. I managed to make it to Matka Canyon (post on that later), see the Museum of Archaeology, have a coffee at Senigallia, the pirate ship cafe and spent a lot of time walking around the city through parks, seeing statues and trying to avoid Rakia.
- Millennium Cross : worlds fifth biggest cross which was built as a memorial to christianity in 2002. Read a blog post on how to get there/what to see here.
- Suli Han, Kapan Han. Read an article on The indispensable Ottoman Han here.
- Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of Macedonia: see a blog post here.
Have you been?
What did you see / eat / do?
Let me know below.
As always, stay cool.