Macedonia is an ancient country in search of a modern identity. After a civil war in 1991, today Macedonia can claim to be the most peaceful republic to emerge from the former Yugoslavia, and visitors here get to experience one of the safest and most beguiling countries in all of Europe. Macedonia is a paradise for hikers, bikers, skiers and climbers, as over 80 percent of the land is mountainous and forested. Its abundant lakes and unpolluted rivers also attract fishermen, while Roman ruins and religious art invite culture buffs looking to see a different, fresher face to ancient Europe. The capital is Skopje, a really enjoyable microcosm of Macedonia's many charms. There are plenty of historical relics, medieval fortresses and a bustling Ottoman-style bazaar. After dark, Skopje's celebrated nightlife comes into its own with great live music and clubs. Mavrovo, 40 miles (60km) east of Skopje, is an excellent though hugely underrated ski resort in a wonderfully scenic mountain location. Bitoli, the country's second largest city, is known for its café culture and Ottoman heritage. Macedonia's prime attraction is Lake Ohrid, on the south-east border with Albania. This is Europe's deepest lake and one of the oldest in the world. Between mid-July and late August the Ohrid Summer Festival takes place, and this is the best time to experience Macedonian music, food and people in all their glory. Getting around in Macedonia is decent, with fairly well maintained roads plied by public buses, and reasonably good value car hire available. The trains are clean, cheap and slow - which is a good thing as the scenery en route destinations can be magnificent. For now Macedonia is an off-beat travel destination, but with its unbeatable mix wilderness, culture, and famously friendly people, this destination is primed to become the next big thing on the European visitor's map.
The unit of currency is the Macedonian Denar (MKD), divided into
100 deni. Travellers cheques in dollars and euros are easy to
change. Credit and debit cards are not widely accepted.
Note: These currency exchange rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.
Medical and health care facilities are good in Skopje and large cities. Medical insurance, with provision for emergency repatriation, is strongly advised. Avoid drinking tap water unless it has been boiled or filtered. Pharmacies are well supplied.
It is recommended that foreign passengers to Macedonia hold return/onward tickets, the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, and sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in the country. Once in Macedonia, foreign visitors must report to the nearest police station within three days of arriving, unless staying in a hotel. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
Note: Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.
Tourist Office of Skopje, Dame Gruev blok III, 1000 Skopje. Phone +389 2 3118 498 or www.exploringmacedonia.com.
Foreign Embassies in Macedonia
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