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North Macedonia Travel Guide: Plan Your Trip with Photos, Facts & Videos

North Macedonia is a hidden gem in the Balkans, with a rich history and culture, stunning natural beauty, and friendly people. Plan your trip with our travel photos, facts, things to know before traveling, and curated YouTube videos. We visit Lake Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and cross the land border from Albania. Lake Ohrid is one of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe, is split between Macedonia and Albania, and is home to a variety of plant and animal life. It is also a popular tourist destination, with many resorts and activities available. The land border between North Macedonia and Albania is located in the western part of the country. It is a short and easy crossing, and it is a great way to explore both countries.

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Introduction to North Macedonia

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North Macedonia Photo Gallery


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Ohrid Amphitheatre, Ohrid, Macedonia
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A boat on a body of water

Did you know...

Here are a few interesting facts about North Macedonia that may surprise you!

✓ Birthplace of Mother Teresa: Skopje, the capital city of North Macedonia, is the birthplace of Mother Teresa, the Nobel Prize-winning humanitarian and founder of the Missionaries of Charity.

✓ Land of Lakes: North Macedonia is home to more than 50 lakes, making it a haven for nature lovers. Lake Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe. The border with Albania actually runs through Lake Ohrid itself.

✓ Ancient History: The region of North Macedonia has a rich ancient history. The city of Ohrid, located on the shores of Lake Ohrid, is considered one of the oldest human settlements in Europe, with a history spanning over 2,400 years.

✓ Multicultural Heritage: North Macedonia is known for its multicultural heritage. It is home to various ethnic groups, including Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, Roma, Serbs, and Bosniaks, among others, contributing to the country's cultural diversity.

✓ Balkan Crossroads: Geographically, North Macedonia is located in the central part of the Balkan Peninsula, making it a crossroads between Europe and the Middle East. This location has influenced the country's history, culture, and cuisine.

✓ Stone Bridges: North Macedonia is often referred to as "The Land of the Stone Bridges" due to its numerous historical stone bridges. The most famous one is the Stone Bridge in Skopje, which has become an iconic symbol of the city.

✓ Wine Production: The country has a long tradition of winemaking, dating back over 2,000 years. North Macedonia is known for its high-quality wines, particularly the Vranec red wine and the Žilavka white wine.

✓ Matka Canyon: Matka Canyon, located near Skopje, is a stunning natural gorge that offers breathtaking scenery and outdoor activities. It is a popular destination for hiking, rock climbing, and boat tours on the Treska River.

✓ Cyrillic Alphabet: North Macedonia is one of the few countries in the world to use the Cyrillic alphabet as its official writing system. The alphabet was created by the Byzantine scholars Cyril and Methodius in the 9th century.

✓ Filigree Jewelry: The city of Bitola is renowned for its traditional filigree jewelry. Filigree is a delicate and intricate metalwork technique using silver or gold threads to create elaborate designs.

✓ Tavče Gravče: Tavče Gravče is the national dish of North Macedonia. It is a traditional bean stew made with white beans, onions, peppers, and spices, often served with bread or pita. It is a beloved and flavorful staple of Macedonian cuisine.

 Name Change: The country was known as the Republic of Macedonia until February 2019 when it officially changed its name to the Republic of North Macedonia. This move resolved a long-standing naming dispute with its neighbor, Greece.

The name dispute between North Macedonia and Greece centered around the use of the name "Macedonia." Greece opposed the use of the name by its neighbor, arguing that it implied territorial claims over the northern Greek region of the same name. Greece feared that the use of the name "Macedonia" could lead to confusion and irredentist aspirations. The dispute lasted for several decades, with Greece blocking North Macedonia's efforts to join international organizations and hindering its European Union and NATO aspirations. In June 2018, an agreement known as the Prespa Agreement was reached between the two countries. Under this agreement, North Macedonia agreed to change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia, while Greece pledged to lift its objections to the country's Euro-Atlantic integration. The name change became official in February 2019, opening the path for North Macedonia's accession to NATO and improving its prospects for EU membership. The resolution of the name dispute marked a significant diplomatic breakthrough, easing tensions and improving relations between the two countries.

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Things to know when visiting North Macedonia

Things to know when visiting North Macedonia

Here are a few stats and tips that we picked up in our time here. Let us know if there is anything we should add!

Total Population: 2.08 million

Capital City: Skopje (526k)

Currency: Macedonian Denar (MKD)

Driving: Right Side

Measurement Standard: Metric (km)

✓ Entry requirements:

Check the entry requirements for your country of citizenship. Some visitors may need a visa to enter North Macedonia, while others may be eligible for visa-free travel. Here are a few things to consider:

Valid passport: Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended stay in North Macedonia.
Proof of onward travel: You must have a valid ticket for your onward journey out of North Macedonia.

Health insurance: It is recommended that you have health insurance that covers you for the duration of your stay in North Macedonia.
Visa: Citizens of most countries do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. If you are planning to stay in North Macedonia for longer than 90 days, you will need to obtain a visa from the nearest embassy or consulate of North Macedonia, and must complete to the following:
Visa application form: You can download the visa application form from the website of the Embassy of North Macedonia in your country.
Photo: You must provide a recent passport-sized photo.
Proof of identity: You must provide a copy of your driver's license or other government-issued ID.
Proof of accommodation: You must provide a letter of invitation from a host in North Macedonia or a hotel reservation.
Proof of financial support: You must provide a bank statement or other proof that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay in North Macedonia.


The processing time for a visa application is usually 1-2 weeks. Entry requirements for North Macedonia may change at any time. It is always best to check with the Embassy of North Macedonia in your country for the most up-to-date information.

✓ Language:

​The official language is Macedonian, but English is widely spoken in tourist areas, hotels, and restaurants.


✓ Currency:

The currency is the Macedonian Denar (MKD). It's recommended to carry local currency for small purchases, but major credit cards are accepted in most establishments. Convert your currency here.


✓ Weather:

North Macedonia has a varied climate, ranging from Mediterranean in the south to continental in the north. The best time to visit North Macedonia is during the spring (May-June) or fall (September-October). During these times, the weather is mild and sunny, and there are fewer tourists. The summer (July-August) can be hot and crowded, while the winter (December-February) can be cold and snowy. 

✓ Cultural Etiquette:

Respect the local customs and traditions. Greet people with a handshake, remove your shoes when entering someone's home, and avoid discussing sensitive topics such as politics or religion.


✓ Transportation:

North Macedonia has a well-developed transportation system. Public buses and taxis are common in cities, while renting a car is a convenient option for exploring the country.

✓ Health & Safety:

North Macedonia is generally a safe destination for travelers. However, exercise normal precautions, such as keeping an eye on your belongings and avoiding isolated areas at night. Make sure you have travel insurance that covers medical expenses. It's advisable to check if you need any vaccinations before traveling and carry necessary medications with you.

✓ Local Cuisine:

North Macedonian cuisine is a delightful fusion of Balkan, Mediterranean, and Ottoman influences. Grilled meats like kebabs and čevapi are popular, accompanied by the flavorful ajvar red pepper relish. Tavče Gravče, a hearty bean stew, is the national dish, while the refreshing Shopska Salad combines tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and feta cheese. Burek, a savory pastry, and pastrmajlija, a boat-shaped bread with meat toppings, are beloved snacks. North Macedonia is also known for its strong fruit brandy called rakija and delicious desserts like Tavče Gravče and Baklava. The country's creamy yogurt and local specialties offer a delightful culinary experience.


✓ Dress Code:

North Macedonia has a relatively conservative dress code, particularly in rural areas and religious sites. Dress modestly when visiting churches or mosques, covering your shoulders and knees.


✓ Must-See Places:

Explore the capital city of Skopje, visit the historic town of Ohrid, enjoy the stunning nature of Mavrovo National Park, and discover the vibrant cultural scene in Bitola.

✓ Festivals and Events:

Check the local calendar for festivals and events happening during your visit. The Ohrid Summer Festival, Skopje Jazz Festival, and Treskavec Monastery Pilgrimage are just a few examples of the vibrant cultural scene in North Macedonia.

✓ Driving:

Driving in North Macedonia offers the opportunity to explore the country's scenic landscapes and charming towns. The road network is generally well-maintained, allowing for convenient travel between cities and regions. It's important to familiarize yourself with local traffic laws and regulations, including speed limits and parking rules.


Defensive driving is recommended, as local driving habits may differ from what you're accustomed to. Keep in mind that road signage is predominantly in the Cyrillic alphabet, so having a GPS or a map can be helpful. Enjoy the freedom and flexibility of driving in North Macedonia while staying alert and adhering to road safety guidelines.

✓ Tipping:

Tipping customs in North Macedonia are generally more modest compared to some other countries, but leaving a gratuity is still appreciated for good service. In restaurants, it is customary to round up the bill or leave a 10% tip if you're satisfied with the service. Some establishments may include a service charge in the bill, so it's worth checking before adding an additional tip.


For other services like taxis, rounding up the fare or leaving a small tip is customary. While not mandatory, it is a gesture of appreciation that locals and service industry workers will welcome. Ultimately, tipping in North Macedonia is discretionary, and the amount should reflect your satisfaction with the service provided.

✓ Connectivity:

Connectivity in North Macedonia is generally reliable and accessible. The country has a well-developed telecommunications infrastructure with widespread coverage for mobile networks and internet access. Most urban areas have access to 4G and increasingly 5G networks, providing fast and stable internet connections. Major cities and tourist destinations offer free Wi-Fi in hotels, cafes, and public spaces. Here are a few suggestions:


  • Makedonski Telekom (also known as T-Mobile) is the largest mobile operator in North Macedonia. It has a good network coverage and offers a variety of plans to choose from.

  • A1 is the second largest mobile operator in North Macedonia. It also has a good network coverage and offers a variety of plans to choose from.

  • Lycamobile is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that uses the network of Makedonski Telekom. It offers affordable plans to travelers an