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Essential tourist hotspots for an incredible visit to Skopje, Macedonia

Updated: February 6, 2013
By: Ian Yacobucci
View over looking the mountains surrounding Skopje from the top of Vodor Mountain

View over looking the mountains surrounding Skopje from the top of Vodor Mountain

Sometimes you get a good vibe when you first arrive in a city and Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, was no exception. I didn’t have many expectations upon my arrival, which might be why I was so impressed by the liveliness of the city. In fact, my first impressions of Skopje got me really excited to explore the cities tourist highlights.

When I first arrived I spent an hour waking through Skopje’s central square from the bus station to my hostel. As I wandered the cobbled stone streets the friendly people who filled the vibrant downtown’s shops and restaurant gave the city an energetic and inviting feel.

Warrior statue downtown Skopje - commonly mistaken to be Alexander the great is a wonderful place to enjoy some good food or drink in the piazza - Skopje, Macedonia

Warrior statue downtown Skopje – commonly mistaken to be Alexander the great is a wonderful place to enjoy some good food or drink in the piazza – Skopje, Macedonia

After settling in at my hostel I did a little research and found that there are quite a few things to see in Skopje, the most visible landmark being that of the Millennium cross and the first thing I would visit the next day.

Sitting on top of Vondo Mountain and stretching to a height of 66 meters the Millennium cross is the biggest cross in the world. I took the gondola to the top of Vondo Mountain where you get an amazing view of the city and the surrounding hillside. Of course, once you’re on top of the mountain its hard to resist climbing further when you see the cross stretching towards the heavens above you, and for $4 USD why not climb to the top of the biggest cross in the world?

Millenium cross - the biggest cross in the world standing at a height of 66m in Skopje, Macedonia

Millenium cross – the biggest cross in the world standing at a height of 66m in Skopje, Macedonia

After making it to the top and snapping a few pics I hopped on the bus and headed back into the Skopje city centre for lunch. After grabbing an extremely affordable prosciutto sandwich (Skopje being an inexpensive European city as far as food and drink goes) I checked out the winding streets of the bazaar before stopping for a Turkish tea and heading up to Kale fortress.

Kale fortress was cool but you can’t go inside due to reconstruction and preservation efforts. I snuck in through an open door anyways but before I could get a good look around a security guard sent me away. It looked better from the outside anyway.

Kale Fortress with the Macedonian flag and Millenium Cross in the background - Skopje, Macedonia

Kale Fortress with the Macedonian flag and Millenium Cross in the background – Skopje, Macedonia

My favourite thing to see in Skopje was the Memorial House of Mother Theresa. This is because I learned a lot about one of the 20th centuries most distinguished humanitarians while I was in school. To be honest, I had no idea that Mother Teresa’s home town was Skopje, and even more interesting is that she was raised in what is now the downtown area where the museum dedicated to her now sits.

The Memorial House of Mother Theresa highlights her accomplishments as a humanitarian which included a Nobel Peace Prize.  Inside the museum her original bed set and living quarters are accompanied by historical documents and letters, some of which are hand written by Mother Teresa herself. It was humbling to learn about her life dedicated to helping others and reminded me that we are here to help each other .

Memorial House of Mother Terese downtown Skopje, Macedonia

Memorial House of Mother Terese downtown Skopje, Macedonia

Filling a day in Skopje was easy and most of my time was spent walking around taking pictures. The city has a great vibe and I was surprised to find Mother Theresa’s house, a great downtown, and the world’s biggest cross. I should also mention that the people were really friendly and many of them seemed to speak English making it easy to get around.

So if you’re looking to spend a couple days in a great Eastern European city, Skopje is the perfect place.

Happy Travels,

Yak

 

Ian Yacobucci

Traveling the Trans-Siberian, mountaineering the Himalayas, or teaching in Tokyo I'm always trying something new. As a someone who's worked, studied, and traveled to 40+ countries around the world I'm here to share my experiences so you can do the same!

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10 thoughts on “Essential tourist hotspots for an incredible visit to Skopje, Macedonia

  1. Sofia

    Nice to read your impressions of Skopje – we were there last year and didn’t have the best time – I think that had something to do with the place we stayed at :( would love to go back and give it another chance :)

    Reply
    1. Ian Yacobucci Post author

      Hi Sofia,

      I feel like that happens to everyone depending on the place and circumstance. I hope you’ll get the chance to visit again some day and a day or two would be enough time to reacquaint yourself and enjoy the time there :)

      Happy Travels,

      Yak

      Reply
  2. David M

    Didn’t like Skopje (& I dislike very few places); not a good introduction to a country. Ohrid on the other hand. Now there’s a place to blog about!

    Reply
    1. Ian Yacobucci Post author

      Hey Dave,

      That’s two people who didin’t jive with the capital city in Macedonia. If I liked Skopje I’d probably love Ohrid, especially after checking out some google pics. That city looks spectacular! I guess I’ll have to go back now ;)

      Reply