Skopje is the capital of the Republic of North Macedonia, and it’s located in the Balkan Peninsula area of Europe.
Over the years, Skopje has experienced both Roman and Ottoman rule, and you can still see influences from these periods around the city.
An old 15th century stone bridge connects the Ottoman period bazaar located along the Vardar River to the city square where you will find a statue of Alexander the Great.
Furthermore, the Skopje Fortress that overlooks the Vardar River has been defending the city for centuries.
After a recent visit to this newly named country, I wanted to share my experience of Skopje with you.
This blog post is a guide to what to see and do on a visit to the capital city of Skopje, North Macedonia.
Rent a car for the day and explore North Macedonia
Once you’ve explored the city of Skopje, why not explore more of North Macedonia? Public transportation around North Macedonia is not that great so why not rent a car in Skopje Airport for the day can be an affordable option and offer more flexibility.
With its rolling hills and mountains, hiking trails and picturesque lakes, North Macedonia has a wonderful selection of natural beauty and nature to choose from.
Places you should visit on a road trip:
Mavrovo National Park
These locations will show you the pure natural beauty that North Macedonia has to offer. Enjoy the road trip.
But first, a short explanation surrounding the country’s new name.
Republic of North Macedonia
The country has recently changed its name from Republic of Macedonia to Republic of North Macedonia.
It is one of the former states of Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in September 1991.
Skopje is the capital city of North Macedonia and offers loads of things to do for visitors over a weekend.
Best airport depatures. Getting to Skopje, North Macedonia
Flying to Skopje is easy with flights from around Europe arriving at Skopje International Airport. Wizz Air offers direct flights to Skopje from London Luton Airport and Turkish Airlines offers connection flights to Skopje from Istanbul.
You can also fly from Skopje to Doha with Qatar Airways and to Dubai with Fly Dubai. The Skopje International Airport offers many international flights out of Europe as well, thus giving a great selection of options for travellers.
Some tips regarding car rental in North Macedonia is it’s best to rent your car from Skopje International Airport as this location offers the most options. Parking is easy to find and can be arranged in advance with your hotel. Another point to highlight is to keep some small change handy as all the motorways in North Macedonia are toll roads.
Is North Macedonia safe for travellers?
North Macedonia is totally safe, and I never ran into any problems whilst travelling around the country.
I found the locals to be rather friendly towards me and a few locals even wanted to talk with me to find out what I was doing in the country and help me with my travel plans.
A handful of locals offered to chat over a coffee and wanted me to try some of the local food and enjoy their culture. Rather delightful experience.
Skopje city as well as other destinations in North Macedonia can be exiting to visit for travellers wanting to try something different.
Where to stay in Skopje city: Skopje Marriott Hotel
Whilst staying in the capital, I opted to stay at the Skopje Marriott Hotel.
Located perfectly in the city centre, you’re right at the heart of the action.
I found that Skopje Marriott Hotel had extremely affordable rates compared to other European cities, and I decided to make the most out of my stay and splash out on the best hotel in North Macedonia.
It was a delightful stay with incredible service, city view, spa facilities and a wonderful breakfast selection.
Happy with my stay and would recommend to others wanting to experience an affordable Marriott Hotel location.
Statues, statues, statues and even more statues around Skopje
The first thing you will start to notice whilst walking around Skopje city has to be the endless amount of statues that you will stumble upon during your visit.
Many will refer to Skopje as the city of statues.
Located on almost every corner, you will find a different statue waiting for you.
It’s rather bizarre. The idea of setting up statues was to help attract more visitors to the city but I think that maybe the city went a little overboard with the amount.
The statues are a very pointless and amusing attraction for tourists to discover around the city, and you will start to wonder what the story behind this is.
How many statues, you may ask? Well, I didn’t personally have time to count them all, but this can be a fun activity to add to your itinerary.
I counted 52 on my visit. Let me know how many you count on your visit and enjoy seeing all the statues around Skopje.
Explore the Old Bazaar
My favourite part in Skopje was exploring the Old Bazaar and the Stone Bridge.
Cross over the old 15th-century Stone Bridge that crosses the Vardar River and you will instantly be taken back to the Ottoman period.
Find local vendors selling an assortment of goods ranging from food, herbs, tea and spices to handcrafted gifts to take back home.
I found this an affordable spot to grab a bite to eat, and it was also fun to walk around in a flea market that takes place over the weekend.
A wonderful part of Skopje to see on your visit to the city.
Grab a coffee at Macedonia Square
The the best location to grab a coffee, lunch or ice cream has to be Macedonia Square located in the city centre. You will also find a large statue of Alexander the Great there that dominates the Macedonia Square. The statue makes it easy to find your way around Skopje city centre, and it’s one of the city’s main landmarks.
This is the place to be, especially when the sun is shining, which it often does in the summer. Find a place, pull up a chair and enjoy this modern looking square.
The Skopje Fortress – Kale
Throughout history, the Skopje Fortress – also referred to as Kale – has been protecting the city. The entry for visitors is free of charge, so it’s a nice place to check out on your visit to Skopje.
This also happens to be a good viewing point to get a nice look over the city from above.
If you want to learn more about the history of Skopje, you can go on a half day walking tour with a local.
Thank you for reading my blog post about visiting Skopje and North Macedonia
Thank you for passing by and checking out my blog post about Skopje city and North Macedonia.
I hope you found all the information useful for planning your own trip, and I wish you a wonderful, pleasant and safe trip.
If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email and I will be more than happy to help.