MACEDONIA - April/May 2018

May 28th, 2018, 11:09 PM
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MACEDONIA - April/May 2018

Me and the cook visited Macedonia for almost 3 weeks starting on 23 April. Must admit I knew nothing about the country, so made an early investment and bought the excellent Bradt Guide.

We flew from Skopje via Istanbul [Ataturk] with Turkish Airlines. Never used them before, they are an excellent airline and Iíd have no hesitation using them again. Ataturk Airport is massive and very busy, so Iím glad that we had a 3 hour layover and didnít have to rush around.

Skopje Airport is very modern and fairly small. Passing through Immigration was a breeze, and getting into town was an easy coach transfer [Ä4 or 180 MKD] dropping pax off at the Holiday Inn, which is v.central. Our accommodation was just off Macedonia Square, couldn't have been better.

We stayed in Skopje for 4 nights, and quickly fell for the place. Macedonia Square by the Stone Bridge is beautiful, full of fountains and statues, and fringed by busy street cafesÖ..Iíve never seen so many statues in my life. Everything was clean, eating and drinking very inexpensive, the people friendly with English widely spoken. The town is flat, with great views of the surrounding mountains.

The Old Town is the main tourist area, but also well frequented by locals. We had one day out by public bus to a place called Tetovo close to the Albanian Border. Very few tourists, very close to the mountains, and easy to navigate on foot.

Mother Teresa was born in Skopje, where she spent her early life before getting The Call. Her birth home is now a shopping centre, but there is a very interesting Memorial House [come museum], and there are plenty of reminders of her scattered around town.

From Skopje we took a bus south to Lake Ohrid, where we stayed for a weekÖ..itís beautiful. The journey there took 3.5 hours, the scenery was pretty rather than fantastic, some of roads could do with resurfacing, the traffic was light.

We had a lovely apartment right on the Lake with v.impressive uninterrupted views. The owners picked us up and dropped us off at Ohrid bus station, and they couldnít have been more hospitableÖ..£200 for a week, a bargain. Ohrid is the main tourist resort in Macedonia and was quite busy, itís relatively compact, and mainly pedestriansed., or cobbled. Finding things to do in and around Ohrid wasnít a problem, and everything was great value. We had days out in Struga, St Naum [saw an albino peacock], and VevcaniÖ..everywhere we went was well worth the [not very great], effort.

In and around Ohrid are some lovely pathed/paved woodland walks, which are easy to navigate without the need of a guide. Tsar Samoilís Fortress is a lofty focal point, and quite a step walk, but with all the views around to take in who cares about a bit of a hill.

After Ohrid we moved on by bus to Bitola, the 2nd largest town in Macedonia. Itís a pretty place with an Ottoman Bazaar and Old Town. The main drag in town called Marsal Tito is pedestrianised and v.vibrant. Itís surrounded by mountains. We were treated to several sudden downpours in our 3 nights there.

Finally we headed back to Skopje for our final 2 nights.

As Macedonia isn't in the EU it is still v.v.good vfm.

Next trip is to Romania [Transylvania] for 3 weeks, starting next Tuesday.


May 28th, 2018, 06:17 AM
LancasterLad is offline  
May 29th, 2018, 01:26 PM
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Sounds interesting. Am off to Google those towns...
Adelaidean is online now  
May 29th, 2018, 04:26 PM
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Sounds like a unique destination that I would never have thought of visiting. Now I will put it on my list! My daughter and son-in-law went to Romania for their honeymoon! Certainly not a typical honeymoon destination, but they loved it! Looking forward to reading your trip report when you return.

So, it sounds like you don't need to rent a car in Macedonia? Easy to get around by public transportation?
KarenWoo is offline  
May 29th, 2018, 04:32 PM
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Thanks for the report, LL. I'm another fan of Macedonia, especially of Ohrid. For my visit see https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...sed-by-skopje/ (links at the top of the page).

I think the statues have multiplied considerably since I was there.
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 16th, 2018, 10:47 AM
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Safe to Drink

Am heading towards a week in Albanian followed by a week in Macedonia. Any problems with water or dairy products. Or salads. I've read mixed reviews concerning drinking tap water. Though I'm always careful around new foods (though a tad adventurous - camel milk)-I got very ill in Turkey and don't want to repeat the experience.

I usually take a small pharmacy on my trips and pepto bismal has been shown to be preventative as well as settle a bad stomach.

Any and all advice regarding food in drink will be appreciated.
interestingplaces is offline  
Sep 16th, 2018, 12:00 PM
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I have never bothered with pepto bismal but I have a fairly tough stomach. I usually carry Imodium for emergencies. I don't remember having concerns about water and my 2009 Lonely Planet says that tap water is generally safe in cities and resorts. However, if you have a tendency to get sick I would stick to bottled water. I don't drink milk and I don't remember seeing a lot of cheese.
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 17th, 2018, 06:49 AM
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I agree with Thursdaysd about the water, In the almost 3 weeks we were in Macedonia we drank tap water without any problem, often refilling the odd plastic bottle we had from the tap, and sticking it in the fridge in our apartment to cool down.

Never had any problems at all with any food. Inevitably good vfm, plentiful and tasty.
LancasterLad is offline  
Feb 9th, 2019, 03:51 AM
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Hi All!

I am glad to see so many positive comments about my country in one place. Macedonia continues to welcome more and more tourists every year. Maybe this is due to the new facelift Skopje received after the 2014 project, designed by the former government. You were right about all those statues LancasterLad. People can not recognize their city anymore, but it also gives a different and more powerful look to the city. I agree with Ohrid too, it is our gem and we often go there during summer.
As for the food and water, I've never had any problems with the food in any of the restaurants in Macedonia, but I do buy water and mostly Gorska, coz my stomach is more sensitive. Many people drink the tap water, which depending where you are in Macedonia, is safe to drink.
If there is anything else you need to know about Macedonia, feel free to ask!
Thanks for being fans
katepcoss is offline  
Feb 9th, 2019, 04:23 AM
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Nice posting katepcoss.
LancasterLad is offline  
Feb 10th, 2019, 02:04 AM
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Thank you LancasterLad
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