If you would like to try something different, why not go somewhere that almost none of your friends have been
Ten Things Everyone Should See & Do in Macedonia
If you would like to try something different, why not go somewhere that almost none of your friends have been and explore a new world. Macedonia is a welcoming place - a small yet stunningly beautiful Balkan country that has captivated the hearts of many. Great for a family holiday!
Instead of heading to the everyday tourist destinations, we recommend exploring the rural and urban Macedonian way of life - a culture truly different from any other you’ve known and seen!
Visit Mother Teresa’s Memorial House
Almost everyone on earth has heard something about Mother Teresa. But, not many know that this great lady was actually born in Skopje - Macedonia’s capital!
Take a tour around the Memorial House with one of the official guides and get ready to be amused with all the facts you are going to hear about. Did you know she was a Nobel Peace Prize winner? Well she was – and you can learn many other things about her amazing life, the cultures she brought together and the hundreds of missions she led in order to help those in need.
Feel the Spirit of the Orient in the Old Bazaar
The Old Bazaar is one of the most charming and captivating places in Macedonia’s capital, which has resisted all the modernization and has kept its unique and traditional spirit. Walking along the cobbled narrow streets will take you back in time and give you the chance to learn something totally new, influenced from the times of the Ottoman Empire.
Catch the free-of-chargeOttoman Heritage Tour each Sunday for a truly interesting walk along the narrow cobbled streets of the Bazaar. Learn what a Hammam is, what the Ans served for and what they are used for today and get acquainted with a number of crafts that are almost in extinction, like filigree makers, tinkerers, traditional shan shoe makers and more!
Play and Learn with the Roma Children
The Roma people have always lived at the margins of the society and are considered to be the ‘poorest’ people in the country. Because of this, face high rates of unemployment and illiteracy. They always welcome visitors and are really happy if you have some time to teach them some words in your own language or perhaps even a song. They admire teachers and pay them a lot of respect! And in return they won’t let you go until they make sure you have also learned their favorite Romani song. They will also teach you how to dance to it! What a great place to visit with the family – teaching your kids to ‘give back’ is such an important life lesson.
Visit Children at the SOS Village
On the outskirts of the city, there is a place where a number of orphaned children live. It’s called the SOS Village and its mission is to help these children in need of a warm home where there is someone who takes care of them. Here they can learn about love and life and how to deal with the day-to-day challenges of life. There are a few women who take care of them 24/7, however, they would love to spend time with some other children as well and their share stories and experiences. They would be happy to welcome you and show you around, while you tell them all about your life ‘back home’. By the end of your visit, you will not only have made a lot of memories and impressions for both these kids and your own, but have likely made a few life-long friends.
Have You Heard About Ajvar?
Something almost every Macedonian loves indulging in - whether for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just as a snack – is the popular Ajvar! Yes, you can buy commercially produced versions at most stores, but why do that when you have the chance to try homemade and even take part in making it. To make ajvar, you first need to roast red bell peppers - which are cooked on an old-fashioned, outdoor, open-air stove. Make sure the peppers don’t get burnt and that the skin can peel off easily to be grinded! You’ll get to hear many great stories while cooking this traditional Macedonian delight as well. This makes for a really fun activity the whole family will enjoy.
Go To the Small Town of Vevchani and Be Part of a Unique Carnival!
For those of you looking for something extra interesting to do – I’m sure you’ll love this carnival! Located in the small town of Vevchani, this carnival is considered to be ‘one of a kind’. The preparations for the carnival start weeks in advance when people decide what kind of mask they are going to wear and start to create their masterpiece. This can be a great chance for you and your family to take part in something that most tourists miss and only known by the locals.
Take Part in a Traditional Galichnik Wedding
You have probably attended a few weddings in your day, but have you ever been to one that lasts two days? Well, here is your chance! The Galichnik wedding is considered one of the most important events in the country and takes place throughout July. You’ll be surprised at all the details of this ceremony. Here you will have the chance to hear some traditional Macedonian songs as well as learn how to dance the famous Macedonian oro – a popular Macedonian folk dance usually danced in a circle while holding hands – lots of great entertainment for the family!
Explore the Wonders of Vrelo Cave
For the more adventurous ones, you should consider visiting the Matka Canyon - an awesome place to see. Beautiful churches and monasteries, remnants of an ancient fortress, mountain climbing and even bungee jumping over the lake are a few of the things you can see and do here. And exploring the caves is an absolute must! There are somewhere around ten caves in total but be sure to check out Vrelo Cave, which is considered to be one of the world’s deepest underwater caves and was actually nominated as one of the world’s seven natural wonders! You can explore the area on your own, but signing up for a guided tour is safer and much more educational.
A Visit to Snake Island
Visit the Prespa region where you can enjoy the beauty and tranquility of Prespa Lake and take a trip to the famous Snake Island, which is also the only island in Macedonia! Yes, you read it right, Snake Island! The island is not populated, but is accessible to everyone. There are a number of boats and tours going to various parts of the island. Taking a tour will offer you lots of stories about the island’s history. For those of you who like ‘creepy crawly’ things, the island is home to numerous snakes and other rare species of insects and plants. There is lots of time to set off and explore the island on your own too. And when you get tired of walking around, you can simply enjoy the breathtaking views around you.
Visit Ohrid and Learn a Few New Crafts!
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ohrid has lots to offer to those who’d like to learn something new. I highly recommend signing up for workshops where you can learn to make handmade paper and all about original Ohrid pearls.
The people working at the paper house will teach you the entire papermaking process from beginning to end - and when finished, you can even buy the paper as a souvenir to take home. It’s not a complicated process and is lots of fun for the kids too!
You can also visit one of the pearl shops where you can learn all about the process of pearl manufacturing. From cleaning the shell and shaping the pearl to adding the fish scales as an emulsion to the final product, which is proudly worn by many worldwide.
You’ll be glad you brought your family to Macedonia! The way of life here is simply amazing – and this coupled with some awesome outdoor adventures – makes for an unforgettable family holiday!