Macedonia (Македонија) is hard to beat. Part Balkan and part Mediterranean, and offering impressive ancient sites and buzzing modern nightlife, the country packs in much more action, activities and natural beauty than would seem possible for a place its size.
Easygoing Skopje remains one of Europe's more unusual capitals, where constant urban renewal has made the city a continuous work in progress. With its hip cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs frequented by a large student population, Skopje is also emerging on the region's entertainment scene.
In summer try hiking, mountain biking and climbing in remote mountains, some concealing sublime medieval monasteries. Visit Ohrid, noted for its summer festival, sublime Byzantine churches and a large (34km-long) lake. Winter offers skiing at resorts such as Mavrovo, and food-and-grog festivities in the villages. Indeed, taking the time to meet the locals and partake in the country's living culture can be as memorable and rewarding as seeing the sights.
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Sublime Ohrid is Macedonia's prime destination, with its atmospheric old quarter with beautiful churches along a graceful hill, topped by a medieval castle overlooking serene, 34km-long Lake Ohrid. Nearby, mountainous Galičica National Park offers pristine nature, while secluded beaches dot the lake's eastern shore.