Skopje is an awesome city to hang out in for a couple of days, see some interesting sights, and generally enjoy yourself without feeling swarmed by thousands of other tourists. These are some of the best things you don’t want to miss.
Take a free walking tour
The best way to get quickly caught up on all the city’s best sights is to take a walking tour of it. Tours are 3 hours long and show you some of the highlights like the Skopje Fortress, Mustafa Pasha Mosque, the Stone Bridge, and some major sights tucked away in the Old Bazaar. The tour is free, though tipping your knowledgeable guide is encouraged. A walking tour gives you a good idea of what areas you might want to revisit on your own later. It’s also a great way to see the whole city if you’re really limited on time.
Check out all the gaudy sculptures in Macedonia Square
Though Macedonia Square and a lot of the memorials in the surrounding area are part of the walking tour, this is an awesome place to come and eat or just hang out. It’s very open, and despite bordering on overkill all the sculptures in the square are pretty epic just the same. And since the locals hate it so much, you might even catch a protest here. They’re totally safe, mostly symbolic, and have fun music. The area also has a lot of great restaurants, which contrary to what their location might have you suspect, are delicious and affordable. I recommend Bistro London for breakfast and La Terrazza for some incredible Italian food.
Walk around the Old Bazaar
The Old Bazaar is a wonderful and large area full of tiny cafes and restaurants, antique shops, and other stores. It’s popular with tourists and locals, who come here for coffee and pastries or to enjoy a drink in the evening. This is where you’ll find Macedonia’s first microbrewery, Old Town Brewery. The area is clean and safe, despite rumors to the contrary. Though you might have someone ask you if you want your shoes shined. But it’s a cool place to sit an have a Turkish coffee before browsing Yugoslavia-era relics in the shops.
Visit Mother Teresa’s Memorial House
Mother Teresa was born in Skopje in 1910. Even as a non-religious person, she’s someone we can all respect and appreciate for being such a positive force in the world. And the site where she was baptized, where the former “Sacred Heart of Jesus” church once stood, is now a memorial house. The building has a unique structure, and it’s free to enter. Inside, you’ll find a small gallery of photos, artifacts, and letters she wrote throughout her life. There’s also a small glass chapel above the gallery.
Have a drink on a boat on the Vardar River
This is the most touristy thing ever, but it was so nice, that I would be remiss in not recommending it. On the west bank of the Vardar River, there are two large boats. This is the Senigallia Hotel and Restaurant. The top two decks of the boat are out in the open and you can sit and have a drink or a snack. On a breezy, cool day, this is the most relaxing thing. Because Skopje is beautiful and you can see it all around you as well as the mountains off in the distance. For being such a prime location, it wasn’t even too expensive.
Though you can also eat here, I recommend the Old City House Restaurant just on the other side of the river. It’s in the oldest traditional house in Macedonia, and the food was one of my favorites from the entire trip.
Walk around Debaar Malo
This hip area of the city is full of good food and chill spots to have a drink. Everything is very close by, so you can just kind of wander around and enjoy the vibe. If you’re walking there from city center, the route there will also take you past the Church of St. Clement of Ohrid, which is worth stopping in.
One of the most striking things about the area is that even though it doesn’t exist to cater to tourists, the servers there are all so welcoming and kind. We never felt out of place, even when we were trying to figure out what the hell a секс на плажа is.
Take a day trip around Skopje
One of the coolest things about Skopje is how close it is to fantastic natural beauty. Mount Vodno is just a few minutes away by car and gives you a sweeping view of the city. And just outside of that, you can go to Matka Canyon, for hiking, boating, or a little cave exploring. All of these can by done on your own using public transportation from Skopje center or on a guided tour. So if you’ve seen enough of city center, venture out!
Get the GPS-guided version of this and other Skopje guides on GPSmyCity here.