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Macedonia is a small country on the Balkan Peninsula with just over 2 million residents, but it has plenty to see packed into its borders. Its location near the edge of the ancient world, combined with the nearby Western influences makes Macedonia very rich in history as well as modern culture. Year round mild weather and an abundance of green are big draws as are its long ski season in the mountains.
What To Do
Skopje is the capital and largest city. A huge earthquake in 1963 flattened much of the city and the rebuilding process has been mixed ever since. There are both Christian and Muslim influences everywhere, which makes for some interesting scenes. The Kale Fortress overlooks the city and is well worth a visit. The old bazaar has been running for centuries and is a fascinating place to do some craft shopping or just get a feel of the culture.
The town of Ohrid, overlooking the Lake Ohrid, is Macedonia’s tourist center. The town itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is most famous for its ancient Byzantine churches, basilicas, and monasteries, many dating back to the 11th through 13 centuries AD. There is also an ancient walled fortress above the city, which is popular with travelers. Of course, the location on the gorgeous lake is an attraction in itself, particularly during summer months.
The most direct way to get to Macedonia is to book a flight into Skopje Aleksandar Makedonski International Airport (code: SKP). Airlines from all over Europe fly into Macedonia, but few long-haul flights are available so you might want to fly into Athens and take a train. The airport isn’t close to the city center and no public transportation is available except taxis.
Where To Stay
There are hostels in Skopje and of course hotels as well. There are several hostels in Ohrid and plenty of hotels to choose from, but as with anywhere, the better and cheaper places tend to book up in advance so plan ahead.