If you have three days in Skopje, combine the best of the city with a trip that goes farther afield. After getting the basics of Macedonian history and culture, hit the road for the gorgeous Ohrid region, where medieval churches line a picturesque lake. Add some food, wine, and modern art for the perfect 3-day trip. Here’s how to plan.
Day 1: City Sightseeing and Traditional Culture
Since Skopje’s historic center is packed with sights, you can cover key spots in a day of exploring; guided tours offer a window into the deeply layered history here. Along the typical route, you’ll see the winding streets of the Old Bazaar, which is packed with souvenir shops, mosques, and Ottoman-era baths. Then, cross over the landmark Stone Bridge into Macedonia Square. Other highlights include the hilltop Kale Fortress, the Memorial House of Mother Teresa, and the Warrior on a Horse statue. In the evening, keep the energy high with a trip to one of Skopje’s traditional restaurants, dining on hearty Macedonian fare. Some taverns, known as kafanas, also feature singers and dancers, which can turn a simple meal into a fun night on the town.
Day 2: Ohrid Region Day Trip
The waters of Lake Ohrid make a scenic backdrop for this area’s historic churches and fishing villages, making Ohrid among the best day trips from Skopje. To cover as much ground as possible, consider a guided tour to minimize time spent in transit. While options vary, popular stops include Tsar Samuel’s Fortress, Saint Sophia church, the National Ohrid Museum, and the Byzantine artwork on display in the Icon Gallery.
With narrow, cobblestone streets and traditional architecture, the lakeside town of Ohrid is another highlight: Stroll the Old Quarter to find charming cafés, souvenir shops, and hundreds of churches. From there, make your way to one of Ohrid’s beaches, which are ideal for enjoying a sunset drink before returning to Skopje.
Day 3: Food, Drink, and Art
With your final day in Skopje, delve into the city’s creative cuisine and artwork, starting with a tiny cup of Turkish-style coffee at an old fashioned café. Next, choose a Skopje art museum—options range from classic to contemporary. You’ll find cutting-edge works at the Contemporary Art Museum of Macedonia near the Old Bazaar, while the National Gallery of Macedonia has paintings, icons, and abstract art housed in Chifte Hamam, a 15th-century bathhouse. After the museum, check out some local galleries. Their frequently changing exhibits keep a fresh perspective on local art, and favorites include the Acanthus Gallery and the Gral Gallery. In the afternoon and evening, focus on food and drink, whether you’re visiting local bakeries for savory pastries, taking a cooking class, joining a gourmet walking tour, attending a wine tasting, or securing tickets for a dinner show.