Introduction

Buttressing Pelister National Park, elevated Bitola (660m) has a sophistication inherited from its Ottoman days when it was known as the 'City of Consuls'. Macedonians wax lyrical about its elegant buildings, nationally important ruins and cafe culture – yet as far as tourists are concerned it's still a little off the beaten track.

Crumbling and colourful 18th- and 19th-century townhouses, coupled with an authentic, workaday Čaršija (Old Ottoman Bazaar), make Bitola worth a day trip or an overnight stay if you've made it as far as Pelister's westerly mountains for some hiking.

Join the locals in sipping a coffee and people-watching along pedestrianised Širok Sokak, the main promenade and heart of the city, and explore the wonderful Čaršija. Don't miss visiting the ancient ruins of Heraclea Lyncestis, one of the country's best archaeological sights.