16 things to do in North Macedonia you shouldn’t miss

So, you’re looking for the best things to do in North Macedonia?

Macedonia is where you’ll find mountains, monasteries, and beautiful lakes. I did a road trip through North Macedonia with my husband and oldest son, and we ended up staying in Skopje for longer than planned because we liked it so much.

In this post, I’ll give you the rundown of where to go, what to see, and how to make the most of your time in North Macedonia.

Let’s dive in!

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Things to do in North Macedonia

1. Visit Duf Waterfall in Mavrovo

In Mavrovo National Park, you can find Duf Waterfall tucked away in dense beech forests.

The waterfall is 28 meters high and offers a peaceful spot for nature lovers.

If you hike to the waterfall, you’ll see a variety of plants and animals native to the area.

things to do in North Macedonia - Duf Waterfall

2. Enjoy the Thermal Spas of Banjishte

The village of Banjishte, near Debar, is known for its thermal spas with healing properties. In fact, the thermal springs in Banjishte have been used for their healing properties since Roman times.

The spas are surrounded by mountains, so it’s a great place to relax and just be in nature.

3. Walk through Galicica National Park

Galicica National Park was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2014 and it’s great for hiking. It has trails with views of both Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa.

In the park, you’ll see lots of plants, including over 1,600 species that are native to the Balkan Peninsula.

North Macedonia - Galicica National Park

4. Take in the dramatic scenery at Treska River

If you’re into kayaking or adventure sports, you’ll love the Treska River.

It runs through rugged landscapes and its path through Matka Canyon is a popular spot for excitement.

And you know what? Matka Canyon has some of the oldest artificial lakes in North Macedonia, dating back to 1938.

North Macedonia - Treska River

5. Explore Pelister National Park

You should definitely visit Pelister National Park, one of the oldest national parks in the Balkans.

It’s full of ancient pine forests and has glacial lakes called “Pelister’s Eyes.” There are plenty of trails for hiking and mountain biking.

North Macedonia - Pelister National Park

6. Visit Lake Ohrid

Ah, Lake Ohrid. In my humble opinion, it’s the best and most beautiful place in North Macedonia, and you shouldn’t leave without visiting.

Ohrid is known, not only for its serene lake but also for the St. John Kaneo Church, which stands on a cliff rising up from the lake.

a building on a hill overlooking a body of water

7. Visit Lake Prespa

Lake Prespa is another serene lake shared by North Macedonia, Albania, and Greece. Lake Prespa is actually one of the highest tectonic lakes in the Balkans, sitting at about 853 meters above sea level.

If you like bird-watching or just want a quiet picnic, this place is for you.

North Macedonia - Lake Prespa

8. Admire Smolare Waterfall

If you’re in southeastern North Macedonia, you have to check out Smolare Waterfall.

It’s the tallest waterfall in the country, with water cascading down from 39.5 meters. Located in the Belasica mountain range, you can get there by following a nature trail that has a wooden bridge and staircase.

Smolare Waterfall is part of the Belasica mountain range, which stretches across three countries: North Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Greece.

North Macedonia - Smolare Waterfall

9. Take a boat tour through Matka Canyon

You shouldn’t miss a boat tour through Matka Canyon, one of the most amazing spots in North Macedonia. It’s an easy day trip from Skopje!

On the tour, you’ll get up close to rich biodiversity, medieval monasteries perched on cliffs, and the amazing Cave Vrelo with its underwater halls and tunnels. It’s one of the deepest underwater caves in the world.

North Macedonia - Macedonia

10. Wander through the historic Old Bazaar, Skopje

When you’re in Skopje, make sure to explore the Old Bazaar. It’s like stepping into a living museum, where the markets have been bustling for centuries.

As you wander around, you’ll see beautiful mosques and caravanserais that remind you of Skopje’s history as an important trading post under the Ottoman Empire.

Don’t forget to try some traditional Macedonian food in the charming teahouses. The Old Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest marketplaces in the Balkans, with origins dating back to the 12th century.

Skopje, Macedonia

11. Cross the iconic stone bridge in Skopje

Be sure to cross the Stone Bridge when you’re in Skopje. It connects Macedonia Square with the Old Bazaar and is a symbol of the city.

Built in the 15th century, this bridge has survived earthquakes and has seen the city evolve over the years. By crossing it, you’re linking Skopje’s modern areas with its historical roots.

The Stone Bridge was commissioned by Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople (Istanbul).

Skopje, Macedonia

12. Wander through the cobbled streets of Kratovo

The picturesque town of Kratovo is located on the sides of an extinct volcano.

Walking through its cobbled streets and medieval towers feels like stepping back in time to its days as a mining town in the Balkans.

You’ll love the bridges that span deep river gorges and hearing the stories behind the ancient towers that once protected this town.

Kratovo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited towns in North Macedonia, with a history dating back to Roman times.

North Macedonia - Kratovo

13. Admire the Ottoman architecture in Bitola

When you visit Bitola, don’t miss its Old Bazaar (dating back to the 15th century). It’s less crowded but packed with history, featuring well-preserved Ottoman-style buildings.

Walk through the market streets, check out the old mosques, and visit the museum to get a feel for life during the Ottoman rule.

North Macedonia - Bitola

14. Visit the archaeological site of Stobi

Make sure to visit Stobi, near the central region of North Macedonia.

This ancient city from the Classical period has fascinating ruins, including intricate mosaics and remnants of lavish palaces.

These ruins tell the story of Stobi’s past as an important urban center. Stobi was first mentioned in historical records in the 2nd century BC.

North Macedonia - Stobi

15. See the Sveti Jovan Bigorski Monastery

Head to Sveti Jovan Bigorski Monastery, located in a stunning natural setting. The monastery was founded in 1020 AD.

It’s famous for its intricate woodcarvings and frescoes, showcasing Macedonian religious art and architecture.

North Macedonia - Sveti Jovan Bigorski

16. Stand beneath the Millennium Cross on Mount Vodno

Visit the Millennium Cross on Vodno Mountain, which overlooks Skopje and is one of North Macedonia’s most recognizable landmarks.

You can reach it by cable car or hike up the mountain to enjoy the stunning city views.

The cross commemorates 2,000 years of Christianity in the country and stands 66 meters tall, making it one of the tallest crosses in the world.

Skopje, Macedonia180

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