WALKING MACEDONIA

Maininfo-Walking

Category: Nature, Walking
Area: Macedonia
Tour duration: 8 days (7 nights)
Evaluation of the Trek:
Easy - nothing more than normal walking while sight-seeing


carsija days

Transfer from airport Alexander the Great to Skopje hotel for accommodation. Take a walking tour of the capital Skopje from the Ottoman mosques and artcraft shops in the Old Town, over the Old Stone Bridge and by the grand fountain Alexander the Great to Mother Teresa memorial house. If there is time, we’ll take the cable car to the top of Vodno mountain rising from the city center, to experience the best view over the capital. Dinner in traditional restaurant located in old Ottoman Inn in Skopje. Overnight in Skopje.

vino days

Morning drive to Kokino, an Early Bronze Age Observatory located on the volcanic rocks of Tatitcev Kamen, some 70km from Skopje. According to NASA, it is the fourth oldest observatory site in the world, after Abu Simbel in Egypt, Stonehenge in UK, and Angkor Wat in Cambodia. We’ll explore Kokino on foot, and continue driving past rice fields and vineyards to the Valley of Stone Dolls. Hear the legend about these mysterious rock formations as you walk through the valley. Lunch will be in Kratovo, the town of underground tunnels dug in the volcanic soil under its medieval towers and bridges. In the afternoon we’ll continue to the wine region of Macedonia. We’ll visit the wine museum of Demir Kapija and take a walk by the vineyards of Popova Kula winery, with visit to their wine cellars. Dinner will be with winetasting of their authentic Stanushina and Vranec wines, and also of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grown under the Macedonian sun! Overnight in the winery chateau.

planinari days

We’ll leave the wine area in the morning and drive into the tobacco fields by Prilep, and to the medieval walls and towers of King Marko rising above the city. From here we start hiking up to a 13th century remote monastery Treskavec, hidden between the boulders of the Golden Mountain. Built on a vertical granite cliff and more than 1,400 meters above sea level, the monastery offers stunning glimpses of Pelagonija plane, and the mountains Baba, Babuna and Kajmakcalan. We’ll meet here father Kalist and hear the story of the great Byzantine heritage hidden in the frescoes of Treskavec. Afternoon drive to Bitola, the former city of consulates and embassies, today still one of the most beautiful cities in Macedonia which managed to maintain its 18th and 19th century neoclassical architecture and monuments. Join the evening promenade on the main cobblestoned street of Bitola and have the dinner in one of its traditional restaurants. Overnight in Bitola.

daska meze days

Start the day with a visit of Heraclea Lyncestis, the ancient city founded by Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great. Continue for a moderate hike through the pine woods of National Park Pelister, the oldest national park in Macedonia famous for its bearded Eagle and endemic pine “molika”, and the countless streams, rivers and two glacial Lakes known as “the Eyes of Pelister. Our picnic lunch will be in the forest. In the afternoon join a local family in a village at the foothills of Pelister and learn how to cook tasty local dishes, and how to use the spices collected from nature, and from your hosts’ garden. Dinner will be at their table in the gardens. Overnight in same hotel in Bitola.

kaneo nova days

Morning drive by Prespa Lake and bird reserve to Ohrid Lake and St Naum monastery set on a cliff rising above the lake. It is the burial place of St Naum, and the birthplace of Cyrillic script which is nowadays used in most of the East European countries and Russia. We’ll spend the morning exploring the monastery complex and we’ll take a boat ride in the crystal clear waters of the lagoon at the springs of river Crni Drim. Lunch will be in a fishermen village by the lake shore. Afternoon guided tour of Ohrid old town. Ohrid and Ohrid Lake are under UNESCO World Heritage protection: the city for its great cultural and historical heritage, and the lake being the oldest lake in Europe with fantastic biodiversity. We’ll visit the most significant Orthodox churches of Ohrid, the Roman Amphitheatre, the medieval fortress of Tsar Samoil and the gallery of icons with some 30 masterpieces dating back to 11th century. We’ll also visit the unique workshop for hand-made paper, and an Ohrid pearl shop where we’ll hear the story of the Ohrid pearl manufacturing and have a chance to buy original souvenirs. Overnight in hotel in Ohrid.

wooden bridge days

Morning drive by river Crni Drim and lake Globocica will bring us to Mavrovo National Park, where we start hiking up to Galicnik village, located on 1.500m. Galicnik is a small village set between the high pastures of Mavrovo which is inhabited only in summer when snow melts. It is famous for their traditional Galicnik wedding event in July, for the typical architecture and for their sharp sheep cheese. We’ll have the opportunity to taste this cheese over lunch in a family owned restaurant here. Afternoon drive to Mavrovo Lake. Overnight in Mavrovo. (B,L,D)    Optional: afternoon horse-back riding in the meadows around Galichnk.

kajce days

Transfer to Matka Canyon: a beautiful fracture in Suva Mountain on 15km from Skopje. Nature reserve with over 130 different species of butterflies, and few couples of Egyptian vulture and Bald Eagle. Back in the XII and XIII century the canyon was inhabited by Orthodox monks; some of their temples churches, including the nun’s embroidery workshop we will visit on our walk in the canyon. We’l also take a boat to one of the deepest caves in Europe set deep in the canyon, and hike to a monastery with fantastic view for a picnic lunch with local musicians.  Afternoon walk down to river Treska and drive to Skopje. Farewell dinner will be in traditional restaurant in the Bohemian district of Skopje. Overnight in Skopje.

sunset days

Transfer to Skopje airport for your flight home.

Day 1 & 7
The hotel in Skopje is settled in a quiet residential area at the foothills of Mt Vodno, on only 1km from the city center. All of its rooms are furnished with manually controlled air condition, central heating, LCD cable TV, mini bar, direct phone line, and free Wi Fi.

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Day 2
The Popova Kula Hotel offers unique experience to its guests with its distinct 4 suites and 7 rooms, each carefully named after, and decorated in the colors of the wine type they represent. Each is equipped with telephone and internet connection, air conditioning and balcony giving view to the breathtaking surroundings – true enjoyment for nature lovers.

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Day 3 & 4
The hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. Each room features a flat-screen TV with cable channels and a minibar. The en-suite bathroom is fitted with a shower and free toiletries. An on-site café-bar is available.

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Day 5
The hotel is a four-star modern, luxurious and comfortable city hotel with outdoor swimming pool, centrally located in Downtown Ohrid Macedonia. It offers: 24 hour front desk service with English-speaking staff, safety deposit boxes, central air-conditioning and heating, business club with computers, internet, printer, scanner and fax available 24 hours, room service, laundry services, 24 hour aperitif bar at your service. Ideal for your relaxation, its outdoor summer pool and covered terrace are for hotel guests only.

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Day 6
The hotel is located at the altitude of 1300 meters on the slopes of Bistra Mountain in Mavrovo National Park. It offers rooms equipped with satellite TV, free Wi Fi, telephone, mini bar, a private bathroom and balcony with a wonderful view on the ski runs.

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Price: Call for Pricing

Included in price:
Accommodation: 5 x 3*, 1 x 4*, 1 x boutique hotel
Meals: as per program / see pricing
Full escort by professional tourist/ trekking guide
Transport by air-conditioned vehicle
Winetasting with dinner in winery hotel (for HB and FB meal plan)
Boat excursion at St Naum and in Canyon Matka
Reforestation certificate for one tree planted in your name in Macedonia
Full organization and logistic by Macedonia Travel

Not included in price:
Drinks during meals
All entrance fees for monuments visited (24 euro)
Cable car excursion to Milllenium cross (5 euro)
Horse riding in National Park Mavrovo (40 euro)
All personal expenses not included under "Included in price"


What to pack

Footwear:
comfortable walking shoes
Casual clothes
Water/windproof jacket with hood
Hat
Toiletries
Sunglasses
Camera
Passport
Trip voucher
Money:
cash, or, you can also use your credit card in most cities in Macedonia. Feel free to ask your guide for help
Travel insurance
Personal medications

TOUR EXTENSION: SOUTH ALBANIA

albania ext days

DAY 5: Leave Bitola in the morning and drive to Lake Prespa, where we’ll cross the border to South Albania, and to the fishing villages of “Little Prespa” region. These villages are home to most of the Macedonian minority in Albana who leave mainly from fishing and building: they are among the best masters in building stone houses. The nature around the lake is totally unpolluted and clean, thus the big flocks of pelicans and cormorants in the bay, and on the small island that we’ll visit by simple wooden boats. Lunch will be their traditional meal made of fish and caviar in mushroom sauce. Drive to Voskopoje in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight in Voskopoje.

DAY 6: Voskopoja was once one of the biggest cities in the Balkans and an important cultural, religious and university center. After the devastating attacks by Ali Pasha in 18th century, when it was burned and pillaged by his bands, it remained to this day as a quiet, peaceful village with farmhouses set between a handful of old Byzantine churches with beautiful frescoes and icons, and original cobblestoned streets remaining as testament to the glory days of the long-lost cultural and commercial center on the route between Constantinople and Venice.  Today we’ll take a walking tour of Voskopoja and its Byzantine heritage, and continue our hike along a small stream through pine forests to the remote village Shipska located on 1.200m, where we’ll have our picnic lunch with a beautiful view over the surrounding mountains. Afternoon transfer to Korca, a small town placed on a high plateau in Southeast Albania. We’ll taste some of Korca excellent dishes in a restaurant set on the top of Morava Mountain with beautiful view over the city. Overnight in hotel in Korca.

DAY 7: Leave Korca in the morning to continue to DAY 5 of WALKING MACEDONIA tour
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