How to visit the beautiful Matka Canyon from Skopje

Are you planning a day trip to Matka Canyon from Skopje? I’ve shared all you need to know based on my own trip.

Plan your trip to Matka Canyon

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Matka Canyon is home to 10 caves, several monasteries, and the largest artificial lake in North Macedonia. I spent a day there with Thomas and Theo, and it was the perfect amount of time to discover the area, take a boat ride, and hike through the canyon. 

I got to discover Matka Canyon, so I thought I’d share with you the best tips and how to get the best out of a day trip to Matka Canyon from Skopje.  

Read next: Things to do in Skopje

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Tips for visiting Matka Canyon

If you’re in a hurry, here are a few tips on how to visit Matka Canyon from Skopje. All the details are covered in this post below. 

  • Get there by bus, taxi, car, or organized tour
  • It’s free to enter Matka Canyon
  • You can swim, but it’s cold
  • There are restaurants and bathrooms at the beginning of the canyon
  • You can rent kayaks, boats and hike 
  • When you get past 6km in, the path gets more overgrown and there are no railings in some rather high-risk areas
Matka Canyon, Macedonia
Matka Canyon, Macedonia

How to visit Matka Canyon from Skopje

Visiting Matka Canyon from Skopje is very straightforward. It’s just a half-hour’s drive from Skopje, so it’s not that far away. We had a car, so we drove from our apartment in Skopje city center out to Matka Canyon. It was super easy to find.

These are the ways to visit Matka Canyon from Skopje:

  • By car – Drive southeast towards Matka Canyon (use Google Maps). It takes around 30 minutes and you can rent a car here.
  • By bus – Take public bus 60 from Skopje bus station. It takes 45-50 minutes one-way and costs $1.5 (cheapest)
  • By taxi – $11 – $14 one-way
  • By organised tour – I recommend GetYourGuide or Viator (most convenient)

Matka Canyon, North Macedonia

The main reason I wanted to visit Matka Canyon was the views. I mean, it’s pretty incredible to find nature like this so close to a capital city.

Inside the canyon, you’ll find the beautiful Matka Lake, a handful of ancient monasteries, Vrelo Cave, and lots of hills to hike. You can even go fishing and swimming in the river and lake.

We had rented a car and arrived before noon. Other visitors had already arrived. Most of them were locals; high-school kids taking selfies at every turn. But they stayed around the entrance and St. Andrew’s monastery.

We parked the car and got out. There were some restaurants right at the entrance, but some of them seemed a bit unsanitary, so we decided to keep walking towards St. Andrew’s monastery. It’s a 10-15 minute walk, but an easy one.

Once we reached the monastery, we grabbed a bite to eat before venturing further into the canyon. Food is decent but prices are high for North Macedonia, so you’re better off just having lunch in Skopje before or after your day tour. 

Read next: How to visit Macedonia for the first time

Matka Canyon, MacedoniaMacedonia-109
Matka Canyon, Macedonia

Things to do at Matka Canyon

Visiting Matka Canyon from Skopje is a great idea for several things. Most people come here to relax at St. Andrew’s monastery and enjoy the lake views, but the canyon offers much more than that. Like, this:

  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Boat trip
  • Cave exploring
  • Spend the night


If you like hiking, you’re in for a treat! The canyon boasts several routes, from short 30 minutes to 4-5 hour treks. The most popular hike is to the church of Saint Nikola. You can get there by following the Green or the Yellow trail.

The most direct route is the Yellow Trail. Simply cross the river by boat ($0.5) and then hike straight up. It can be a bit steep, and there’s nothing up there except the monastery, so bring water!

You can also follow the path from St. Andrew’s monastery at the entrance. It continues about 6-10 km into the canyon and once you get past the first km, very few of the local people go any further.

After around 3 km, it starts to get overgrown. The path isn’t difficult, but it’s not that safe in parts. I wouldn’t recommend this to kids, the elderly, or anyone with a wheelchair or walking issues. 

Matka Canyon, Macedonia
Matka Canyon, Macedonia


Another fun thing to do in Matka Canyon is kayaking. It’s a beautiful way to see the canyon, and getting around is easy since there’s hardly any current. Prices are:

Single Kayak:

  • 30 minutes – $2.6
  • 60 minutes – $5.3

Double Kayak:

  • 30 minutes – $4.4
  • 60 minutes – $9
Lake Ohrid, Macedonia
Matka Canyon, Macedonia

Boat tour

30 mins – $3.6

If you’d rather take a boat trip through Matka Canyon, this is a relaxing way to spend some time. You sit quietly in the boat and just enjoy the mirroring scenery and the beautiful flora and fauna of North Macedonia. 

A boat trip takes 30 minutes and costs $3.6 per person. 

Read next: Why you should visit the serene Lake Ohrid

Matka Canyon, Macedonia
Matka Canyon, Macedonia

Cave tours

2 hours – $7.1

The canyon also has dozens of caves – the most popular of which is Vrelo Cave. It’s known for its huge stalactite and has two lakes inside.

The water inside Vrelo cave is 212 m deep, which makes it the deepest cave in the Balkans, the second deepest in Europe, and the 14th deepest in the world – so it’s worth visiting! 

The cave tour takes around 2 hours in total. You get to the cave by boat (20 minutes) and you’ll see the beautiful canyon, kayakers, climbers, and small cottages on your way there.

Once you get there, there’s a walkway through the cave where you can see stalagmites, stalactites, the two lakes, and dripstone pillars. 

A Matka cave tour costs around $7.1, which includes boat transport and a life vest, entrance to the cave, and a guide, who will share lots of stories and legends about Matka Canyon.

Lake Ohrid, Macedonia
St. Andrew’s monastery
Matka Canyon, Macedonia

Spend the night

Once you’re done exploring for the day, you can spend the night at Matka Canyon hotel for a rustic setting – now that would be an adventure.

You’ll get the canyon all to yourself, and you can watch the sunrise and sunset over the lake. Enjoy some peace and quiet before people arrive. 

Find the latest prices here:

Matka Canyon, Macedonia

If you’re in the area and looking for things to do in Skopje, Matka Canyon is a great day trip or overnight trip. It’s so close to the capital and super easy to reach. Go, go, go – I highly recommend!

Matka Canyon, Macedonia
Theo making new friends

Planning a trip to Matka Canyon? Ask me anything in the comments!

Before you go – don’t miss out on these posts:

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Want to visit Matka Canyon from Skopje? Find out how to plan day trip and what to see at Matka Canyon, including boat tour tips and more. #matka #macedonia #fyrom

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  1. Hi! I hope you could reply to me. I really want to go here and my problem is the coronavirus pandemic around the globe. Is it still safe to travel here?

    1. Hi Myline, no not at the moment. Hopefully, the pandemic will be over soon so countries can open up their borders again. I hope it won’t take too long.

  2. Hello. We are planing to visit Matka on Sunday. Any activities for that day particular there. Also we would love to make a reservation for lunch at one of the restaurants.

  3. Hi Miriam. I am just back from Skopje and used your guide about Matka Canyon and the amazing caves. Thank you for taking the time to post such detailed and helpful information. I just wanted to thank you and to let you know it’s people like you, blogging and providing such great tips, that help fellow travellers. Keep it up!

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