Greetings from a destination where guests are pleasantly smitten from the hospitality and positivity around them…. a destination where you feel like you know the people around you… and they know you too…
Being in the heart of the Balkans, decorated with mountains, off-the-beaten tracks, lakes and rivers, inhabited with millennial cities raised by world’s largest civilizations, North Macedonia is a destination where you will cherish unique moments crafted amongst untouched architecture of its villages, the most delicious homemade food and the exciting history of every ruin telling the story from the Ancient to the Byzantine and the Ottomans… An inspirational country that hearty welcomes its guests and enriches their journey with passion and smiles.
Day 1: Capital of Skopje - the Macedonian MIX
After the breakfast, a guided Skopje city tour will follow. The group will start by visiting the Museum of Mother Theresa, the Saint and Nobel Prize awardee born in Skopje. In Calcutta, India and elsewhere, she has enlisted the help of assistants from other religious denominations. Later on, we will continue the city tour by foot towards the Ottoman Stone Bridge, Medieval Fortress Kale, passing thru the newly built baroque Macedonia square including the Alexander the Great statue. The most recent buildings of the Skopje 2014 project, all resembling the great baroque style settled along the main capital Square Macedonia and justifying the title of our day as “Macedonian Mix” will also be a part of our walking Skopje tour with an excellent chance for an unforgettable photos. We will visit the extraordinary Museum of Macedonian struggle offering staged wax statues in real size entering into Old Bazaar for delicious lunch and free afternoon for shopping local souvenirs close exploration of the everyday life of different ethnics thru coffee or tea and mingling with the locals. In late afternoon we depart to Ohrid, our hub for the rest of the trip. Overnight.
Day 2: Matka Canyon
This day is dedicated to the nature and culture of Matka Canyon. In the matinée hours, we depart towards Matka to explore its hidden gems of nature and crystal green waters just next to the capital of the country. We will visit the monastery of St. Andrew at the very entrance of the canyon captured by breathtaking scenery being also an ideal place for coffee break or a light lunch. After this boost of nature and culture fill, we will come back to Skopje for some free time and overnight.
Day 3: Mavrovo National Park, Radika River Canyon, Mijaks
After the breakfas, our journey continues with indulgence in the story of the western parts of North Macedonia. From the urban ambience in Skopje, you will move to the intact nature of Mavrovo National Park feasting your senses with its colors and sounds. Down through Radika River Canyon we will visit one of the most important sanctuaries in the country, the Monastery of St. Jovan Bigorski, built in XI century and in the foothill of the monastery, you will taste traditional local meal in Mijak peoples` restaurant, enjoying one of the best features of this ethnic`s community culture. Following the stream of the beautiful Black Drim River, we will head down to Ohrid for accommodation and overnight.
Day 4: “The Jerusalem of Europe” – UNESCO city OHRID
“Jerusalem of the Balkans” as Ohrid is called, is our destination to discover whole day long. We will sail out from Ohrid Port to the rocky cliff where we will visit the monastery of St. Naum, a refuge of tranquility, a unique 9th century complex that brings the Macedonian experience to a dramatic culmination. The monastery complex and church of St. Naum were built originally by the Saint with the same name; Macedonians believe you can still hear the saint’s heartbeat by pressing an ear to his stone coffin inside the church. Numerous orthographical mistakes on the church walls indicate that they were written by Slavic - speaking local monks. Other inscriptions in the church make up some of the oldest epigraphic evidence of Slavic literacy. A peculiar element of St. Naum is located not on the inside of the church but on the outside: the preponderance of multi-colored peacocks strutting around and luxuriating in the grass. Here, set amidst lush verdure where the Drim River springs tumble into the Ohrid Lake, surrounded by the breathtaking natural scenery, you can enjoy lunch. From St.Naum we will sail back towards city of Ohrid. After our boat trip, we`ll head on the most rewarding city tour and visit just a few of more than 300 churches, fortresses, ancient sites, museums, UNESCO protected monuments of nature. The Lake Ohrid is an attraction itself as it glows out of the depths, for more than 5 million years. You will be chanted by Ohrid Old town narrow alleys full of history and mysterious legends. We will visit the charming monastery at Kaneo enjoying the breathtaking scenery, the birthplace of the Slavic literacy at St. Clements University built in X century, we will see the Golden mask from VII century BC in Robevi House. The rest of the day is free to explore hidden corners of the city, exhibited with local arts, crafts and the most unique piece of jewelry, 700 years old Ohrid pearls, handmade by only two old Ohrid families who keep the secret of its making. Luckily for us they will share its passion and devotion in making this unique and one in a kind pearls out of the Ohrid fish skin. After that we will be revealed one more traditional craft of making paper in the original shop just across the St. Sofia. If weather serves one can take a dive into the Ohrid Lake crystal blue waters. Free time for dinner/night out.
Day 5: OFF ROAD SAFARI - Swim into Glacial lakes
We will get in the morning, put on our walking shoes and head to the OFF ROAD SAFARI ADVENTURE to the top of Pelister. SUV`s will transfer us thru the rocky terrain, a bumpy and adventurous ride of 3 hours to the Glacial Lakes at the top of the National Park Pelister. Some moderate half an hour hiking will lead us thru vastly developed hydrographic network – dozens of springs and streams, 23 mountain rivers to the most famous token, its glacial lakes, Pelister`s Eyes. Big Lake lies at an altitude of 2.218 m and it is one of the highest glacial lakes in North Macedonia, covering area of 4.2 ha with 223 m length, 162 m width and 14.5 m depth. Along the trail we will make few stops at the front line of WW1 where main battles took place ending in 1 million casualties just in few days. Unfortunately, most of the soldiers killed were from French origin. Here, we will enjoy traditional lunch overlooking the two lakes-Pelister eyes, and will learn on first Macedonian Mount Everest expedition. Both lakes and are in UNESCO-protected Prespa Biosphere reserve. Few hours after coming down from the mountain top we `ll make the most of the visit to Bitola by taking the afternoon to walk along the famous Shirok Sokak. It is a street of Consulates and many coffee bars and restaurants. A perfect spot for light dinner. Overnight in Bitola.
Day 6: Departure to Skopje International Airport, wine tasting in Tikves region
In the early morning, depending on the flight schedule, bus transfer to Demir Kapija for wine tasting and dinner. Here, in Tikves region the winery we will visit, Royal Queen Marija, is among most renowned wineries in Republic of North Macedonia, hosting several thousands of domestic and international tourists all-year-round. At the winery, the group will be educated on the basics of Macedonian traditional wine production, the technology applied, types of grapes and the harvest process nurtured in more than 30 centuries. During the dinner, the group will also hear the story of Serbian King Alexander Karadjordjevic`s who had his vineyards here and the Villa for his Queen Marija. Departure to Skopje Airport.