Kristina Laskova was born and raised in Macedonia, however she loves to travel and explore new places and cultures. She has a graduate degree in Philology, and she's been working as a creative freelance writer for several years now.
Kristina believes that traveling is the best way to see the world in its true colors, without any obstacles and distractions. She's also a passionate photographer, who aims to capture the wonderful places that she visits in the most vivid way possible.
She's here to take you on a journey through the cultural and natural heritage of her beloved homeland, Macedonia.
Latest posts by Kristina Laskova (see all)
- How Macedonians Celebrate Christmas & the New Year - December 27, 2017
- 10 Cool Places to Visit in Macedonia - December 15, 2017
- 15 Fascinating Facts About Macedonia - September 27, 2017
Macedonia is a super tiny country in Europe, of which many people haven’t even heard about. However, that doesn’t mean that it has a lack in the number of sights that will blow your mind away! So if you are planning a trip to Macedonia, but you’re not sure what to see or where to go – here’s a selection of the 10 coolest places that are definitely worth coming here for!
1. Canyon Matka
If you love being around nature, then the breathtaking Canyon Matka is definitely the place that you’d want to check out on your visit to Macedonia. It is located only 17km southwest of Skopje, the capital city. The canyon is traversed by the stunningly blue-green lake Matka, protected by the walls of its big gorge. Countless people come here to hike, bike, or to rent a boat and visit the caves around the lake.
The Canyon Matka features 10 caves. One of them, Vrelo Cave is famous for being the deepest underwater cave in Europe! In addition, there are three gorgeous churches: Matka Monastery, Monastery of St. Andrew, and Monastery of St. Nickolas Shishovski that you can visit around the area. If you’d like to stay here overnight, there’s a Canyon Matka hotel and restaurant, where you can grab a bite as well.
2. Warrior on a Horse
The Warrior on a Horse statue is located in the main square in the capital city, Skopje. This handsome statue is dedicated to the greatest Macedonian king of all the times – Alexander the Great, and his legendary horse, Bucephalus. This giant bronze monument is also a fountain. It measures 28 meter in height and weights about 30 tons.
Furthermore, there’s a number of other statues of various Macedonian heroes, including the statue of Philip II the Macedon – the father of Alexander the Great, located on the main square. You can also find several fascinating museums nearby, that you might want to check out, such as: the Memorial House of Mother Theresa, the Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of Macedonia, the Archeological Museum of Macedonia, as well as the Museum of the Macedonian Struggle.
3. Monastery of St. Naum
The Monastery of St. Naum is located only 29km south from the town of Ohrid, which is one of the biggest touristic sights in Macedonia. Some of the unique sights found inside this beautiful monastery, are the 16th and 17th century frescos, as well as the tomb of St. Naum. According to some accounts, if you put your ear close to the tomb, you can sometimes hear a beating sound, which is believed to be… St. Naum’s heartbeat.
Due to its amazing location, the monastery offers stunning panoramic views of the Lake Ohrid. In addition, there are a number of cozy cafes and restaurants nearby, where you can enjoy a delicious meal after your visit.
4. The Bay of Bones
On the way to the Monastery of St. Naum, on the southern coast of the Gradishte Peninsulam, there’s an amazing museum on water, called the Bay of Bones. The museum is a reconstruction of an ancient pile-dwelling settlement, originally built between 1200 and 700 BC, by the Romans. Today it is an exceptional archaeological complex, which is a one of a kind gem in this region.
5. Pelister National Park
Pelister National Park is located only 30 km away from a small town, named Bitola. It’s widely known for its diverse flora and fauna, as well as for its breathtaking hiking trails and panoramic views. For those who want to forget about the world for a few hours and get in touch with the nature – here’s a perfect spot. Pelister National Park is also the oldest national park in Macedonia, it was created in 1948. It covers 171 square km of Macedonia’s third-highest mountain range – the mountain called Baba. The park also has two glacial lakes which are known as Pelister’s Eyes, located on its peak.
Furthermore, the park is home to 88 distinct tree species, including the endemic five-leafed Molika pine, as well as amazing wildlife, such as: the Pelagonia trout, wild boars, wolves, deer, eagles, chamois, and many others. You can also stay overnight here, since there’s a number of hotels located nearby.
6. Heraclea Lynkestis
For history buffs who’d like to get away from the 21st century and travel back to the ancient times – Heraclea Lynkestis is a must sight! This once glorious town was founded by the Macedonian king, Philip II of Macedon (the father of Alexander the Great) in the 4th century BC. Later on, it was conquered by the ancient Greeks, who turned this city into an important Hellenistic stronghold. They gave it its final name Heraclea, in the honor of the mythological Greek hero Hercules, who was a son of Zeus.
Afterwards, the town was taken over by the Romans in the 2nd century BC. Once again it had a great role since one of the main Roman roads ran right through the town of Heraclea. Before it was completely abandoned, this impressive ancient city was ruled by the Byzantine empire. However, even after its demise it remained one of the most important and frequently visited sites. To this day countless people come to this ancient town to explore its stately ruins, including its stunning Roman theater and the magnificent Byzantine mosaics.
7. Isar Fortress
Isar Fortress is located right in the heart of the city of Shtip. It’s also positioned 150 meters above two rivers – the Bregalnica and the Otinja. It is believed that the fortress was erected in the early middle ages, to protect the natives from the Turks. Thanks to a secret tunnel which stretches from the river to the fortress, the town was freed from invaders, on more than one occasion.
On the slopes of the fortress you’ll be able to find three marvelous churches – the Church of St. Archangel Michael located on the East side, the Church of St. John Baptist located on the South side, and finally on the North side there are the holy ruins of the St. Vlasij’s Church. As a bonus, this fortress offers amazing panoramic views of the town of Shtip.
8. Popova Kula Winery
If you want to taste some great wine, take a local culinary class, or maybe just enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding nature, then this place should definitely be included in your Macedonian bucket list! You will find it in the Povardarie Wine Region, our own little section of ‘Macedonian Tuscany’.
This province is well-known for its high-quality wines, like the Tamjanika, Vranec, Prokupec, Zilavka and numerous others. Besides the great wine and food, the winery also offers overnight accommodations, cooking classes, Macedonian traditional dance shows, plus a fun opportunity to see how grapes are picked and cleaned before being pressed for fermentation and turned into… you guessed it – wine!
9. Mavrovo National Park
Since Pelister National Park is considered the oldest, the Mavrovo National Park is considered the biggest national park in Macedonia. It stretches for over 192,000 acres from the Lake Mavrovo, straight to the Albanian border. During the Summer, it becomes a great swimming attraction, for locals and tourists alike. While during the short Winter days it transforms into the hottest skiing destination, since it’s home to the highest peaks in the country.
One of the most fascinating places in Mavrovo is the holy Church of St. Nicholas. It was purposely flooded in 1953 when the artificial Mavrovo Lake was created. Since then it remains partially exposed, offering quite a stunning, if not unusual sight.
10. Kokino Observatory
Kokino Observatory is located about 30km from the town of Kumanovo, and 6km from the Serbian border. It is an archeological site which dates back to the Bronze age, and it’s also one of the oldest megalithic observatories in the world, according to NASA.
Here, you can gaze at the sky and the prehistoric landscape in the same way people did thousands of years ago. Oh and if you want to see some original Bronze Age artifacts, then make sure to visit the Kumanovo National Museum where you’ll find the Kokino exhibition.