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Macedonia

Getting around

Car & motorcycle

Hire

Skopje is full of rental-car agencies, from the large ones (Hertz, Avis, Sixt) to dozens of local companies. The choices in Ohrid and Bitola are more limited. Tourist brochures give comprehensive lists. A smallish sedan like a Ford Focus costs about €40 a day, including insurance. You need to present your passport, driving licence and a credit card. You normally need to have held a full driving licence for one year.

Insurance

Rental agencies provide insurance for around €15 to €25 a day, depending on the type of car, with a nonwaivable excess of €1000 to €2500. Green Card insurance is accepted, and third-party insurance is compulsory.

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Bus & tram

Bus

The bus network is well developed in Macedonia, with frequent services from Skopje to all major centres in safe and fairly comfortable coaches. It’s a good idea to buy a ticket from the station a day or two in advance when travelling to Ohrid in the busy summer season.

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Train

Macedonia has a limited network of domestic destinations reachable by train. Possibly the only one of any real interest is the four-hour, three-times-daily service to Bitola via Prilep from Skopje. The most you’ll pay for a domestic ticket is 370MKD for a return to Bitola. Timetables are available on the website of Macedonian Railways (www.mz.com.mk/patnichki/timetable.htm).

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Local transport

Taxi

Taxis are a snappy way of getting to out-of-the-way monasteries and other sights if buses aren’t convenient. Macedonian taxis are very cheap by European standards – Skopje has some of the cheapest capital-city taxis. A half-hour trip, from Skopje to Lake Matka for example, should cost around 350MKD.

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Air

It is possible to fly between Skopje and Ohrid on MAT but buses are definitely the best and cheapest option.

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Bicycle

Cycling around Macedonia is becoming more popular. The country offers generally good road conditions and relatively light traffic – though beginners should be warned it is a mountainous country.

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