Food & Drink

Macedonians are in love with their food traditions and have embraced the Slow Food movement, helping to keep local recipes alive and taking advantage of the country's produce.

Pelister National Park In the foothill villages of Brajčino and Dihovo, local guesthouses can arrange traditional meals, cheese tastings, homemade beer and wine nights, and visits to honey producers.

Janče This Mavrovo village is popular for the delights at Hotel Tutto's restaurant and its local food ethos; the owner is one of the founders of North Macedonia's Slow Food movement.

Galičnik This historic Mavrovo village is famous for its tangy cheeses. Cheese tastings are popular, even on horseback!

Bitola's Čaršija The fruit and veg market in Bitola's old Ottoman bazaar is an astounding testament to the local produce grown in the hills of Pelister National Park.

Tikveš Wine Region Pay a visit to winery hotel and restaurant Popova Kula for an excellent cellar tour, wine tastings and food pairings set amid the vines.

Skopje's craft beer North Macedonia has its very own microbrewery, Old Town Brewery, offering beer tastings and German-style pilsners in the shadow of Skopje's Tvrdina Kale Fortress.

Sacred Sights

Ancient Orthodox Christian heritage lives on in crumbling, frescoed churches and monasteries across North Macedonia, while Ottoman-era mosques can be found in Skopje and the northern regions.

Church of Sveti Jovan at Kaneo The setting of North Macedonia's most famous church, on a bluff above Lake Ohrid, is just as impressive as the small Byzantine church itself.

Sveti Jovan Bigorski Monastery This sprawling, working monastery complex is picturesquely clasped in the bosom of Mavrovo National Park; friendly monks offer tea and even beds for the night.

Sveta Bogorodica Monastery Skirting the edge of Canyon Matka, this monastery is in a sublime mountainous spot for contemplative wanderings, and its ancient chapel has history built into its very foundations.

Treskavec Monastery Just outside Prilep this wind-beaten monastery is the prize at the end of a long winding road – the eerie silence and ruinous state of its frescoed church give the site an Indiana Jones air.

Tetovo's Painted Mosque The kaleidoscopic mosque in the little-visited town of Tetovo is utterly unique, decorated head to toe in ornate paintings, and well worth a detour.

Great Outdoors

North Macedonia is a beautiful country, harbouring two of Europe's oldest lakes, more than 50 mountains above 2000m and endless walking opportunities.

Lake Ohrid The waters are cool but utterly inviting on a summer's day: the best places to get in are at Kaneo in Ohrid town, Sveti Naum Monastery, and Orevche beach on the southeast shore – or take a boat out.

Golem Grad Lake Prespa's greatest attraction is this little-known island overrun with pelicans, cormorants and wild tortoises; Roman, Byzantine and medieval ruins make it even more interesting.

Pelister National Park North Macedonia's most accessible trails are in the pine-clad forests near Bitola. For an easy amble try the fascinating First World War Trail; for a serious challenge, hike up to Mt Pelister and its lofty glacial lakes.

Canyon Matka Only 15km from the capital, this beautiful spot is filled with church ruins and Skopje locals; follow the 5km cliff-hugging boardwalk, rent a kayak or take a boat trip into the mouth of the canyon.

Mavrovo National Park Follow the gorgeous Radika River towards Mavrovo's towering karst fields and hike between the villages of Janče and Galičnik – they are joined only by an over-the-ridge walking trail.

Vevčani This mountainside village near Lake Ohrid is the starting point for several forested walking trails, and home to bubbling natural springs and a series of paths and boardwalks.

Historical Highlights

From Bronze-Age observatories to Roman and Hellenic classics and Yugoslav modernist designs, there are fantastic historical sites and monuments across the land.

Kokino Observatory Climb up the hill and take in the incredible atmosphere at this archaeo-astronomical site, where the ancients performed complex rites and lunar calculations.

Ilinden Uprising Monument An incredible example of experimental modernist architecture and historical symbolism. Do not miss.

Heraclea Lyncestis Wander around this fantastic archaeological site, with its wealth of Roman remains and beautiful floor mosaics.

Burial Mound of the Unbeaten A little-known yet precious monument by one of Yugoslavia's most esteemed architects, this memorial to WWII fighters combines the antic and the celestial.

Museum on Water – Bay of Bones A museum marking the unusual prehistoric people who lived on top of water!