North Macedonia travel advice

Culture & history tips

Rosanna Neophytou from our supplier, Tucan Travel:
“North Macedonia is a fantastic country to visit because of how diverse it is. There is a real mix of architectural beauty that features different cultural elements with Mediterranean, Turkish, Slavic and Albanian influences. The capital of Skopje has a mix of historic sites such as the 6th century Kale Fortress as well as many restaurants, bars and art galleries to explore. Anyone visiting North Macedonia should definitely visit Matka Canyon and Lake Ohrid too.”

Getting off the beaten track

Mark Huggins from our supplier, Undiscovered Destinations:
“North Macedonia is quite small and landlocked but has lots to interest travelers wanting to experience a different side of Europe. Don’t miss Lake Ohrid, Sveti Naum Monastery, Mavrovo National Park, the old Ottoman bazaar in Skopje. And Gadime Cave discovered in the 1960s – full of crystallised stalactites and stalagmites. You can also combine North Macedonia with little visited Albania and Kosovo for an extensive, off the beaten track adventure.”

Drinking water

Goran Janevski has been working in partnership with our North Macedonia small group tour experts, Explore, for more than 20 years: “Drinking water is available all over North Macedonia; the spring water in the mountains is unbelievably fresh and pure. We always encourage our travelers to bring their own reusable drinking bottles. We have very few alternatives to plastic and so there aren’t always opportunities to offer guests anything other than plastic water bottles if they don’t bring their own.”

Health & safety in Macedonia

HEALTH

Visit your GP or travel clinic at least eight weeks before departure to ensure you’re up to date with all necessary vaccinations. Take out comprehensive travel insurance including emergency evacuation/repatriation, and make sure it covers any activities you may be taking part in while on vacation. Medicines in Macedonia are in short supply and you may have to pay some costs (approx €50-100) yourself. This should be covered in your travel insurance. Emergency treatment is free to British Nationals. High levels of industrial pollution in Macedonia’s cities, such as Tetovo and Skopje, particularly in the winter, can be harmful for anyone suffering from bronchial issues and respiratory related problems. Tap water in Macedonia is safe to drink. However, in rural areas, plastic bottles might be offered as part of guided trip. You can reduce this by bringing your own refillable water bottle. 112 is the general emergency number to be used in Macedonia. This number can also be used across the EU, and beyond.

SAFETY

Macedonia is perfectly safe for travelers, although make sure you’re with a guide if you’re heading close to the border with Kosovo. There have been issues with organised gangs in this area but nothing related to visiting foreigners.
Petty crime, such as pick pocketing, still occurs as with anywhere in the world – so do take the usual precautions, especially in the more touristy areas of Skopje and around Lake Ohrid.
Road travel is the greatest danger in Macedonia. Some roads are in poor condition, and driving standards vary considerably to what you might be used to back home. We don’t recommend driving in Macedonia – traveling with an experienced driver makes for a far more relaxing (and safe!) vacation.

Our top North Macedonia Vacation

Ancient Macedonia tour

Ancient Macedonia tour

Explore eastern Bulgaria, northern Greece and Macedonia.

From US $2020 15 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2021: 2 May, 9 May, 6 Jun, 25 Jul, 5 Sep, 12 Sep, 19 Sep, 26 Sep
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about North Macedonia or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Tips from our travelers in North Macedonia

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do – and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful North Macedonia travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation – and the space inside your suitcase.
I was impressed by the quality of the local wines, which were very good. Food was fine and there were lots of salads. Take a cork screw and a bottle stopper.
- William Francis
“The variation between the coast and the mountains was amazing and we enjoyed the trip immensely. The standout highlights, and there were many, were Skopje, Budva, Kotor, Biogradska Gora National Park, Ohrid, Prizren, Blue Eye National Park, and Gjirokastra. Understand the driving was long some days, but to see what we saw we knew we would have long days in the vehicle. Do have a go and attempt to communicate with shop keepers, in particular in bazaars and "old Towns', the locals seemed to enjoy the patter and it is terrific to witness their smiles as they welcome your attempts.” - Michael Cain on a tour of Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia

"Our leader Saimir Maja was excellent and made the most of every location. He was very aware of pollution and took us to local restaurants and markets and encouraged us to use tap or well water where available. The most memorable moment for me was the boat trip and swim in lake Ohrid." - Hava Feary visited North Macedonia on a western Balkans tour
The standout highlights, and there were many, were Skopje, Budva, Kotor, Biogradska Gora National Park, Ohrid, Prizren, Blue Eye National Park, and Gjirokastra
- Michael Cain
“I was impressed by the quality of the local wines, which were very good. Food was fine and there were lots of salads. Take a cork screw and a bottle stopper. Ask lots of questions, it shows an interest and is appreciated by the locals. People were very friendly and pleased to see us, sometimes it was difficult to believe that they had been abandoned by Europe for 600 years. At least now I know a little about this forgotten part of Europe and its peoples.” - William Francis on a tour of Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia

"I believe our trip did benefit local people as our tour guide intentionally chose small vendors for our meals and day trips. Most of the time, this meant an exceptional experience, including some fantastic restaurants that we never would have found ourselves." - Reid Kincaid visited North Macedonia on a Balkans explorer tour

"Seeing all these places I had been reading about! I can't pick one memory. Make sure you have Euros with you. Many places will accept Euros, if you run out of local currency." - Sara Detmer visited North Macedonia on a Balkans explorer tour
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: Marjan Lazarevski] [Culture & history: aiva.] [Health & safety: Omar Tursic] [Review 1: Peter Milosevic] [Review 2: Vislupus]
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