Macedonia travel information, including maps of Macedonia, food, drink and where to stay in Macedonia plus the best time to travel in Macedonia
1. Marvel at the huge but controversial new statues of Skopje.Were they worth the vast expense or could the money have been better spent? Every Macedonian will have a view.
2. Chill-out in lovely lakeside Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take a boat trip, bathe in the clear waters of the lake, before watching the sun go down as you dine on freshly-caught trout.
3. Hike or horse ride in magnificent Mavrovo National Park, home to bears, wolves and lynx. Visit a sheep farm to see traditional cheeses being made. If visiting in July, try to catch the famous Orthodox wedding ceremony in Galicnik
4. Make a pilgrimage to the mountaintop Treskavec Monastery. Former accountant turned monk Brother Kalist lives here alone, and makes a captivating host as he reveals the history of the site.
5. Get an insight into Macedonia's ever-improving wines at Popova Kula. This winery has saved and preserved some of Macedonia's traditional grapes, as well as producing some award-winning wines from more familiar grapes. As well as a restaurant, it has a very good hotel, so no need to drink and drive!
6.Explore the ruins of ancient Stobi, a Roman city that is only partly excavated. The ampitheatre, dating back to the 2nd century, has entrances where the gladiators would have entered, while the names of the 'season-ticket holders' are inscribed on the marble seats. Post holes on the podium are believed to be where a net barrier was placed to protect the crowd.
Macedonia has a Mediterranean climate but, as a mountainous country, temperatures will vary according to altitude. Expect hot summers, but snow in the mountain in winter. Temperatures are milder at Lake Ohrid and other lakes. Spring and autumn are best for sightseeing and walking.Skiing is available from December through to early April.
Frequent buses ply the major routes. Taxis are easy to find in Skopje and other centres. There are daily train services to Greece and Kosovo from Skopje. The roads are generally good, and not very busy, so car hire can be a good option.
Standards are rising and there is an increasing amount of boutique-type and character accommodation. They are generally very good value, although price is not always a reliable indicator of quality.
The food is very fresh, very seasonal, and a mix of Mediterranean and Turkish. Meals typically start with meze: cheeses, peppers, salads and vegetable blends, including the ubiquitous ajvar - a spread made with red peppers. This is then followed by grilled or roasted meat or freshwater fish. As the food is seasonal, lamb is typically only available in spring; expect pork, chicken or veal the rest of the time. Trout is popular but not available over winter; carp is served year-round.
Vegetarianism isn't really understood, but along with most meze dishes, tavce gravce is a popular bean dish suitable for vegetarians, while turlitava is a baked vegetable casserole.
Macedonian has dozens of wineries and - while quality suffered in the communist years - the wines are now very much on the up. the pilsner-style Skopsko is the most popular beer. Macedonia takes its coffee very seriously, and macchiatos, espressos and cappucinos are consistently good, while strong Turkish coffee is still popular too. Fruit teas and 'mountain' tea are widely available.
Health & Safety in Macedonia
Macedonia is a very safe country for visitors with a relatively low crime rate. Take the usual commonsense precautions with your valuables. Stay away from dogs, especially the big shepherd dogs which are bred as guard dogs.