In 8 days we will explore National Parks, the UNESCO site Ohrid and Macedonian capital Skopje and neighboring Matka Canyon. We will discover this sleepy corner of Europe and its people, customs, cuisine and history.
2 days of 4h walking, 4 Days of 2h walking, Skopje sightseeing
Please read and respect ACE Responsible Tourism Policy.
DAY 1 Arrival and transfer to Skopje
Meeting the group at the Skopje airport and transfer to Skopje. Night in 3 star hotel.
DAY 2 Skopje and Matka Canyon
2h30 long guided walking tour in Skopje starting from the old Turkish district- Skopsko Kale, the old town (Stara Carsija), the Church of the Holy Savior… . Free time for lunch. Transfer (12km, 20 min) to Matka Canyon. Boat trip in the Matka Canyon to the Cave Vrelo. Walking in the canyon back to the hotel located at the entrance of the Matka (1h30, flat terrain). Night in 3* hotel in the Matka Canyon. Diner in local restaurant.
Meals: B, D
DAY 3 Ohrid town and Ohrid Lake
Transfer to Ohrid town (160km, 2h30). We will take a walk to the Roman Amphitheater, Tsar Samoil’s fortress and the St. Jovan Kaneo Church located above the Kaneo- a picturesque fishermen village, now connected to the Ohrid town. (1h30 long walk denivelation +80m/ – 80m). We will take a boat ride back to the hotel. Night in 3* hotel in Ohrid.
Meals: B, D
DAY 4 Galicica National Park hike
Getting off from the hotel we will take a scenic walk on the slopes of the Galicica Mountain National Park with great views over Lake Ohrid. Hidden in the forests, we will discover the Church of St. Atanas, the Cave-church of Virgin Mary and the Monastery St. Petka. (4h long walk denivelation +500m/ – 500m). Return to Ohrid and dinner in town. Night in 3* hotel in Ohrid.
Meals: B, L, D
DAY 5 Galicica National Park, Prespa Lake and Maloviste village
We drive down beside Lake Ohrid and cross the crest of the Galicica mountain, with short walk down to the Prespa Lake were will stop for a picnic lunch (1h30 walk denivelation –100m). In the afternoon we will stop in the village of Maloviste. When entering the village we have impression that we step into the world of our grand, grand parents. The time has stopped there a few hundred years ago. Above the village there is an impressive Church of St. Petka where we could view some amazing woodcarving works and icons. Finally we continue to our peaceful oasis- 3* family run hotel located just outside Bitola on the foot of the National Park Pelister. Night in the 3* hotel.
Meals: B, L, D
DAY 6 Pelister National Park hiking
Short transfer to a suitable starting point where we start our loop hike on the Pelister Mountain. Hike lasts about 4h30 with denivelation +350m /- 800m. Walking down to the hotel for dinner. Night in 3* hotel at the foot of the Pelister Mountain.
Meals: B, L, D
DAY 7 Bitola, Heraclea Linkestis, Prilep and Marko’s town
Short transfer to Bitola where we visit the ancient Greek city of Heraclea Linkestis, founded by Philip II. From Bitola we drive (40min) to Prilep town for lunch in a traditional Macedonian restaurant. After lunch we walk into the old Prilep town and Monastery of St. Archangel Michael where we will take a hike to the Marko’s town (2h long hike with denivelation +150m/ –150m). Transfer to the hotel in Skopje (120km, 1h45). Free dinner and night in 3* hotel in Skopje.
Meals: B, L
Day 8 Transfer to Skopje airport (20min)
ACE keeps rights to change daily itineraries.
What Will You see
Skopje is among Europe’s most entertaining and eclectic small capital cities. While a government construction spree has sparked controversy in recent years, Skopje’s new abundance of statuary, bridges, museums and other structures has visitors’ cameras snapping like never before and has defined the ever-changing city. Yet plenty survives from earlier times – Skopje’s Ottoman- and Byzantine-era wonders include the 15th-century Kameni Most (Stone Bridge), Čaršija (old Turkish bazaar), Sveti Spas Church, with its ornate, hand-carved iconostasis, and Tvrdina Kale Fortress, Skopje’s guardian since the 5th century. And, with its bars, clubs and galleries, the city has modern culture too.
The Matka canyon is located in the lower course of river Treska, 15km southwest of Skopje. With it’s geological, geomorphologic and hydrological characteristics, and the flora and fauna, it is an exceptional object of nature. The main phenomenon of this natural treasure is the canyon, a distinguished geomorphologic entity with well preserved natural and geographic characteristics in which rare and endemic species find their escape. This outstanding work of nature, with sides 1000m high and step notches of over 250m, was created by vertical erosions of the Treska river during the long geological history.
Being the largest and most beautiful out of Macedonia’s three tectonic lakes, Lake Ohrid is about 30 kilometers (18 miles) long and round 288 meters (945 feet) deep. Its astonishingly clean and clear waters, together with the serene stillness of its mountain settings have captivated visitors since prehistoric times. While the lake is filled up by water from three rivers, most of Ohrid’s water comes from another lake – Prespa which is located on the other side of Mountain Galicica. Due to the high elevation, Prespa spills its water down to Ohrid through mountain springs, the most important ones being Ostrovo and Biljana, located near the monastery of St. Naum and Ohrid town, respectively. With its unique flora and fauna characteristic of the tertiary period (2-4 million years ago), Ohrid is one of Europe’s great biological reserves. Most of the lake’s plant and animal species are endemic and unique to Ohrid. The most famous among these are two types of the Ohrid trout, named letnica and belvica. Other unique Ohrid creatures include two types of eel, and the bleak whose scales are used for making the well-known Ohrid pearl. This treasured jewel is produced according to a secret method which was passed on from generation to generation.
Ohrid – The Unesco protected city, the pearl of the Balkans
The city of the immortal Ohrid is the sublime lakeside point that for many represents the culmination of the Macedonian experience, a kingdom of light and water, a repository of ancient ruins from Macedonia’s earlier kingdoms. Ohrid’s major attractions are all located within a remarkably concentrated and eminently walkable area, among and above the narrow streets of the Old Town lined with restaurants and cafés perfectly suited for relaxing in the cool summer evenings. Ohrid’s many café bars and nightclubs also make for a vibrant nightlife. As for the lake itself, it is so large and so deep that one might mistake it for a small sea. Full range of water sports, fishing andboating is available, and numerous churches alongside Ohrid’s lake shores make for fascinating side trips and walks. The wooded ridge above the lake’s eastern shore is largely taken up by the National Park of Galichica, an unspoiled wilderness ideally suitable for nature enthusiasts. The uniqueness of Lake Ohrid and the city’s historical architecture has been attested by UNESCO, honoring it with an official designation as one of the few places on the cultural institution’s list “World Inheritance”.
The National Park Galicica, situated in the furthest south-eastern part of the Republic of Macedonia, is characteristic for its positioning between the two lakes – Ohrid and Prespa Lake, for the involved orthography and the interesting geomorphologic shapes (deep valleys, variousl types of karst forms, and glacial relief forms). The National Park Galicica is especially distinguished with the abundance of floristic wealth.
Located in the north-western corner of Greece at 850 metres above sea level and surrounded by mountains, the Prespa Lakes region is a natural park of great significance due to its biodiversity and endemic species. Prespa is a transboundary park shared between Greece, Albania and FYR of Macedonia. The main features of the region are the two lakes, that also gives the name to the area: Macro Prespa and Micro Prespa, which lap the shores of the three countries and connect them in this way symbolically. Prespa is well known for its natural beauty and its high biodiversity with unique characteristics. It hosts more than 1,500 species of plants, 40 species of mammals, 260 of birds, 32 reptiles and amphibians, and 17 species of fish including a number of species found only here. The mountains are one of the last European homes of brown bears, wolves, chamois and wild boar whilst the lake host breeding colonies of Dalmatian and White Pelicans as well as pygmy cormorants.
The Malosiste village boasts an extraordinary cultural and spiritual heritage, as it has remained untouched and is thereby able to testify about the life and centuries long customs that have endured in this part of Macedonia.
Pelister is the oldest and second largest national park in Republic of Macedonia. It is one of the leading tourist areas in the country. Pelister is one of the most southern mountains in the Balkans that has an alpine character. It is also known for its two mountain lakes, which are called Pelister’s Eyes. The Big lake is 2,218 meters above the sea level while the Small lake is 2,180 meters high.
Heraclea was founded by Philip II (the father of Alexander the Great), as a strategic centre of the north-western Macedonian province of Lyncestis. Heraclea was named in honor of Heracles (Hercules), the claimed progenitor of the ruling Macedonian dynasty which Philip belonged to. The epithet “Lyncestis” means “the Land of the Lynx” in Greek. Nowadays the ruins of the ancient city lie at the western side of modern town of Bitola. During last half century significant monuments of Antiquity (Forum, Theater, Early Christian basilicas and residential buildings) many of them decorated with polychrome mosaics were uncovered and restored.
Prilep is a city in the northern part of Pelagonija, Macedonia, located under the Marko’s Towers. In the course of the History, the geographic location of this city has made it a point where the Hellenic, Roman, Byzantium and Slavonic culture have crossed. Nowadays, Prilep is a city where a famous Macedonian beer is produced and one of then most quality marbles in the world is excavated and processed. Prilep is a place where one can meet the Balkan history, feel the Byzantium culture and experience the Slavic hospitality.
Accomodation & Meals
We will be settled in a family run 3* hotels. Rooms are with private facilities. We pay special attention to choice of food and all places where we stay have restaurants with great choices of local specialties. If you have some dietary restrictions we will be happy to adapt our menu to you.
What is included
Tour cost is 690 Euros and includes:
- seven nights in 3* hotels (rooms with private facilities)
- seven breakfasts, five dinners, four lunches
- guiding service of English, French, German or Japanese speaking ACE tour leader
- full van support
- use of ACE walking poles
- snacks and refreshing drinks during the hiking tour
- entry fees for Tsar Samoil’s fortress, archeological site Heraclea, National Parks Galicica and Pelister
- boat trips in the Matka Canyon and on the Ohrid Lake
- guided tour of Skopje
The price is based on double room occupancy.
The prices does not include optional.
Single room supplement 130 Euros.
July/ August supplement 70 Euros
The tour is available from April to November
All distances in Macedonia are given in kilometers. 1 mi=1,61 km, 1km =0.62mi, 1ft=0.3m/ 1inch=2.54cm
Republic of Macedonia is characteristic of three different climates:Changed Mediteranean, Mountaneous, Mildly Continental.
The changed mediteranean climate is represented in the Gevgelija-Valandovo ravine, the Dojran and the Strumica-Radovis ravines. It can also go as north as Skopje following the flow of the Vardar river.
This climate is characterized with long and dry summers and mild and rainy winters. The spring and the fall are not very noticable. The fall is longer and warmer and the spring is shorter and colder. The average temperature in the hottest month – July, is about 25 degrees Celsius. Demir Kapija is the hottest town in the country with a summer temperature that can get up to 40 degrees Celsius. The average temperature in the coldest month – January, is relatively high with about 3 degrees Celsius.The average yearly rainfall in the areas with changed mediteranean climate is fairly low. The average yearly rainfall by the Vardar river is less than 500 mm., and it is one of the driest regions in the country. In the other areas of the changed mediteranean climate the average rainfall is 600-750 mm. Snowfall is very rare for these areas.
The mountaneous climate, as its name suggests, is found in the high mountaneous regions of the country. It is characterized with long and snowy winters and short and cold summers. The spring is colder than the fall.The temperature in the mountaneous climate decreases with the increase of the elevation. That is why the lowest temperatures are found in the highest parts of the mountains. The Sar Planina, for example, has negative average temperatures in four months of the year, and it is also similar with the other high mountains.The coldest months are January and February, and the warmest July and August. However, even in the warm months there can be big weather changes and even snowfalls.As for the precipitation, the regions from the mountaneous climate have the highest yearly precipitation in the country with as much rain and snowfall as 1,000 mm. The precipitation decreases as you go east and in the Eastern part of the country it is 600-700 mm. The average period that the snow stays on the mountains is from November to April, but in the higher mountains the snow can stay until the end of May.
The mildly continental climate is the most characteristic for Republic of Macedonia, since it covers the biggest area of the country. It is characterized with relatively cold and humid winters and warm and dry summers. The spring is colder than the fall.There are differences in the average temperatures in the regions of the mildly continental climate. This is because of the differences in the regions’ geographic latitude, elevation, etc. The average July temperature is highest in the Ovcepole, Kocani, and Skopje ravines. The average January temperature is lowest in the Malesevo ravine. The yearly precipitation also differs, ranging from 490 mm., in the Ovcepole ravine, to 760 mm., in the Prespa ravine. Apart from rain and snow, there is also hail-fall in these regions.
Casual seasonal clothing is recommended for most occasions. You may wish to bring a sweater and some jacket even in summer, comfortable hiking shoes, rain jacket, plus trainers or sandals for relaxing.
You should also bring some water bottles, sun protection cream (high protection factor 30 and above), insect repellent, sunglasses, sun hat, and a lip salve with sun protection. Also bring a swimsuit for swimming opportunities on the trip (Ohrid Lake).
Currency and Exchange
Macedonian Denar (MKD) is monetary unit. For 1 Euro you can get 61 MKD (current exchange rate). In all cities and towns you can find change offices. Most of them have a good exchange rate and do not charge commission. Most of change offices are open from 8am to 8pm. ATM machines are available in all big cities but also in towns such as Ohrid, Bitola, Prilep and they require a PIN number. Some of the restaurants and shops accept credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners). The most widely excepted credit cards are VISA, closely followed by MasterCard.
Traveller’s cheques are a little harder to change.
Banks are generally open from 08:00 to 19:00 on weekdays and from 08:00 to 15:00 on Saturdays.
In smaller towns it is useful to have enough cash. Foreign nationals may take a maximum of 10.000 EUR or 120.000 MKD in or out of the country.
Most of the shops are open from 9am to 9 pm and remain open through lunch.
Restaurants: The main meal is taken at lunch from 1pm to 3pm. Restaurants serve dinner in the evening from 8pm till 11pm.
In Macedonia electric current is 220 volts, 50 HZ. To use American or British electrical appliances a plug adapter is necessary. Electric plug used in Macedonia is type C (the same one is in use in Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Belgium, Egypt, Italy, Hungary, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Norway, Bulgaria, Romania, Switzerland, Turkey, Vietnam, etc.)
Telephone plug used in Macedonia is US RJ-11 phone plug
The country calling code of the Republic of Macedonia is +389. Area codes should always be dialed, even within the country, because of the many fixed and mobile operators.
Some important telephone numbers in Macedonia: 192 Police, 193 Fire, 194 Ambulance, 195 Center for Announces and Dangers, 196 AMSM – Help on the roads
For calls from the Republic of Macedonia, the prefix for international calls is 00
ACE Emergency phone (24h available) +381 (0)64 24 76 311.
The official and most widely spoken language is Macedonian written using its Cyrillic alphabet, which belongs to the Eastern branch of the South Slavic language group. In municipalities where ethnic groups are represented with over 20% of the total population, the language of that ethnic group is co-official. According to the last census, 1,344,815 Macedonian citizens declared that they spoke Macedonian, 507,989 declared Albanian, 71,757 Turkish, 38,528 Romani, 6,884 Aromanian, 24,773 Serbian, 8,560 Bosnian, and 19,241 spoke other languages.
Travel insurance is highly recommended for all clients whilst on a tour organized by ACE. Clients together with their personal property including baggage are at all times solely at their own risk. Clients are wholly responsible for arranging their own insurance. Clients are responsible for ensuring that they are in possession of private Travel Insurance with protection for the full duration of the tour in respect of at least medical expenses, injury, death, repatriation, cancellation and curtailment, with adequate cover. Clients making their own arrangements should ensure that there is no exclusion clauses limiting protection for the type of activities included in their tour. Clients should satisfy themselves that any travel insurance is what they require and should arrange supplementary insurance if need be.
Before you come on the tour please read and respect ACE Responsible Tourism Policy
Meals other than those included in the itinerary are paid for separately by traveler. Examples of some costs are provided below:
- Coffee/ Tea- 0.7 Euro
- Soft drink- 0.8-1 Euro
- Bottle of beer- 1-2 Euro
- Bottle of wine- 5-15 Euro
- Two course meal- 8-10 Euro
- Three course meal- 10-15 Euro
Local fares in small towns
Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognized part of life in this part of the world. Gratuities for the staff of the ACE Adventure is discretionally but always appreciated by the staff and we will be happy to provide guidelines.
- 11/08 – 18/08
- 13/10 – 20/ 10
- 760 eur
- 690 eur