Macedonia in 8 Days
· Airport transfer to Skopje
· We start the tour on Vodno, a natural getaway not far away from Skopje and sightseeing of its unique surrounding.
· Cable car tour of Mountain Vodno, heading towards the Millennium Cros, one of the pinpoints of the city. It offers tourists and visitors alike the best land view of Skopje and its surroundings. It's an unique place where you can breath-in fresh air and soak up some sun.
· Next we will visit the Ethno village, surrounded by green lush forest and a river, a place that offers a unique opportunity for relaxation.
· The tour then continues towards the monastery of St.Pantelejmon, a small 12th-century Byzantine church.
· Lunch will be served at the Monastery complex.
· After the lunch, we get back to Skopje after which we check in at the hotel where we have spare time for refreshments and any individual activities.
· Dinner will be served at one of the local restaurants.
· Breakfast will be served at the hotel in Skopje
· The tour will then continue at the museum of the city of Skopje, where you will get some basic info regarding the history of Skopje. The walk starts along Macedonia Street towards the square. Along the way is the Memorial House of Mother Teresa built in honor of a great humanitarian and a winner of Noble Prize for Peace. Mother Teresa was born in Skopje, in 1910.
· The tour continues towards Macedonia Square which has undergone tremendous restoration in the last few years with a lot of new monuments and buildings around, representing Macedonian cultural heritage and history.
· From Macedonia Square we continue towards the Old Bazaar passing over The Stone Bridge which is one of the most recognizable symbols of Skopje.
· Once we get into the Bazaar, the first thing you notice is the feeling that you have gone back in times, returning to the days when the bazaar was swarming with people from all around the Balkan trading their wares and services.
· In the Old Bazaar you will visit the famous Daut Pasha Hamam (bath house) which was built in the 15th century and that holds the National Art Museum. After that you will visit Kapan An (Han) which was also built in the 15 century by Isa Beg.
· Lunch will be served at one of the restaurants in the Old Bazaar.
· After the lunch you will visit the Saint Savior church in the Old Town which holds the monument of the most famous Macedonian revolutionary Goce Delcev. In this area you will visit the Skopsko Kale which is the most famous middle-century fortress in the Skopje region.
· The rest of the day is planned for the Matka Canyon with its outstanding work of nature, preserved natural and geographic characteristics in which rare and endemic species found their escape. In Matka vicinity there are also lots of churches one of which is the church of the Saint. In Matka as an option you will have a boat ride and visit the millenniums old caves.
· After visiting Matka we will continue our trip to Ohrid - the Macedonian Jerusalem and check in at the hotel.
· The day starts with the breakfast in the hotel in Ohrid. Ohrid is a city on the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid. It has about 42,000 inhabitants making it the seventh largest city in the country and the most visited tourist destination in Macedonia. Ohrid was known for the fact that once had 365 churches one for each day of the year and has been referred as the "Macedonian Jerusalem". The city is rich in culture, religion, picturesque houses and monuments which hold on to the traditional Macedonian architecture from centuries ago.
· The city is rich in picturesque houses and monuments while tourism is predominant because of the special natural and cultural surrounding of the area. First we will visit the Upper Gate which is fortification surround the Old Town crowned with the King Samoul Fortress (the most famous medieval Macedonian King). The area offers the most beautiful sight on the Lake of Ohrid.
· After that, you will visit the Ancient Theater. The theatre is the only visible monument from ancient times. It is also the only Hellenistic theatre in Macedonia; the other three are from Roman times.
· You will visit the Archeological site of Plaosnik / Saint Clement of Ohrid. It is a place that has been very important religious center since early Christian times, if not before. It is the site of the first university in Europe, opened in the 10th c. and it is the place where the Cyrillic alphabet was created. The church you see is a reconstruction of the church St. Clement built when he came here and opened the university. The 5 nave early Christian basilica in the middle of which the church stands is from the 5th century.
· You will also pay visit to the famous church of Saint Sophia which was built in the 11 century and it is the Cathedral of the Ohrid archbishops. Inside the church is the biggest composition of 11th century frescoes preserved in the world. The main altar has scenes from the Old Testament and an emotional procession of angels bowing to Virgin Mary.
· You will visit the famous church dedicated the the Holy Mother of God Perivleptos. The church was built and painted in 1295. It is dedicated to Virgin Mary, Perivlepta (from Περίβλεπτος) is an attribute given to her meaning "the Omnisicent and Clairvoyant".
· In the courtyard of St. Bogorodica Perivlepta church is the Ohrid icon collection with some of the best examples of the iconographic art in Macedonia. It is considered to be the second most important and valuable collection of icons in the world after the Moscow collection
· After that you will visit the Ohrid Old Bazaar with its picturesque craftsmen and shops. It is a simple bazaar consisting of just one street. It starts with the food market (it used to be the animal market in the past). After the market the bazaar begins with a small square. On the square there is a 1000 year old tree and a nice fountain. Above the square the clock tower of Ohrid stands. As you walk down the bazaar on your left there are couples of stone stores, which is the only section of original stores in the bazaar. In the past, the bazaar was covered with grape vines, protecting shoppers from the sun and the rain. Very few crafts are preserved. The bazaar ends with the main square that used to be the food market in the past.
· As an option you can visit a pearl shop where you can buy the worlds famous Ohrid pearls.
· Lunch will be served at one of the restaurants in Ohrid.
· Departure for Vevchani
· Vevchani and sightseeing of: The unique Vevchani Springs, the house of the famous physist Mihailo Pupin and The Church of Sv.Spas.
· Check in the traditional ethno style accomodation
· Traditional dinner, tasting old recipe dishes
· Overnight in Vevcani
· After the breakfast in the hotel we will departure for the St. Naum of Ohrid Monastery. It is breathtaking setting on a plateau over Ohrid Lake and Galičica Mountain towering from behind. It was founded in the 910 by St. Naum, but the present-day church was built in the 16th century. Of the original church just the side chapel with the grave of St. Naum still stands. The frescoes were painted in 1806 (the side chapel frescoes depict the life and miracles of St. Naum); in the first chamber of the church look for the fresco of St. Cyril and Methody and their students including St. Clement and St. Naum. The icon screen was made in 1711 and it is the oldest completely preserved wooden high icon screen in Macedonia.
· You will also enjoy the boat ride on the springs of the river Crn Drim, a breathtaking natural setting with crystal clear waters.
· The tour then continues towards the village Brajcino, a place rich in murky water sources, high and green forests, along with "endemic" houses that will bring you back in the old days.
· We will have lunch at a restaurant in Brajcino.
· On our way back to Ohrid we will visit the archeological site Bay of Bones. It is museum on water dating back to 1200 years BC.
· After touring the Bay of bones, we departure for the city of Bitola. Bitola is the second largest city in Macedonia located in the south-western part of the country. The city still bears the marks of the diplomacy and is well known as “the city of the consuls”. Bitola is located on an important strategic and trade point near the Greek border at the base of Pelister Mountain which presents one of the three National Parks in Macedonia.
· In Bitola we will walk through the most famous street Sirok Sokak – the Wide Street and we will visit small churches in the town. You will see the tall Clock Tower and have an opportunity to see the centuries old Bezisten – the covered market.
· You will also experience the ambient of old time diplomatic city by visiting the old consulates. Visit of the Magaza is planed which is the most famous historic Stock Exchange now being an arts museum.
· We then visit the archaeological site Heraclea Lyncestis. The city of Heraclea was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC and presents one of the best preserved antique cities.
· Dinner will be served at one of the restaurants in Sirok Sokak.
· Check in at the hotel and free time for individual activities.
· After the breakfast in the hotel in Bitola we will departure to the city of Krushevo, a small mountain town situated on an altitude of 1350 meters which still preserves its 19th century architecture. It is also home of the monuments Makedonium and Meckin Kamen, both landmarks of the famous Ilinden uprising, one of the most important days in the Macedonian History. We will visit the Krushevo bazaar, where you will experience historic architecture dating back from the Ottoman period.
· We will then continue on a tour to the Makedonium and Meckin Kamen.
· After the touring of Krushevo, We departure for the Tikves Winery – one of the most authentic and biggest Macedonian wineries. We will make a quick tour on the winery and you will get to know the process of how they produce one of the best wines on the Balkans.
· Lunch will be served with wine tasting of unique quality
· After the Tikvesh tour, we will continue our way toward Povardarie region in the sunny hills and valleys of Central Macedonia. We will visit the winery of Popova Kula, one of the most authentic Macedonian winery. You will have chance to visit the vineyard where you will see the century old secrets of harvesting the wine grapes.
· Dinner and overnight at the winery
· Breakfast at the winery and check out
· Departure for Strumica
· We start the day with the trip to Smolare waterfalls. It can be found above the village of Smolare at an elevation of 630 meters located deep into the mountain of Belasica where the springs of the Lomnica River are hidden among the hundred years old beech trees.
· We leave the waterfalls behind us and continue our trip to Strumica. Strumica is the main agricultural city in Macedonia and it has a developed economy and trade which is provided by the location of the city itself. After the sightseeing in the downtown free time will be provided for lunch in one of the local restaurants.
· The next location is the Veljusa monastery which is just about 7 kilometers out of Strumica in a village named Veljusa where typical village life takes place. All you need to do to change the rural surroundings around you is to cross the gate of the monastery and enter a place of tranquility, humbleness and religion. After we visit the Vodocha monastery.
· We finish the day with check-in at the mineral spa hotel in Strumica. Free time in the spa-welness centre for massage, sauna, spa, jacuzzi, fitness room, Vitamin bar.
· Dinner will be served at the Hotel.
· We will have breakfast at the hotel in Strumica
· Departure for Shtip, known as the city under the Isar, which was a medieval fortress whose remains are still visible to this day and is one of the tourist attractions in the city. Besides having to see the ruins of the centuries old fortress, the Isar allows for great views of the city and its surroundings.
· Tour of Shtip
· Lunch at a local restaurant in Shtip- serving the local specialty, the famous pastrmajlija,delicious unforgettable experience
· After the lunch, we departure for Kratovo (one of the regions' living museums), known as the city of towers.
· Tour of Kratovo and sightseeing of the Kratovo Museum, the Clock tower and surrounding medieval towers. We will walk along the old bazaar, strolling down the local medieval bridges (bridge radin) and experience back-in-time adventure.
· Check in the hotel in Kratovo.
· Dinner at a restaurant in the old bazaar, and free time for activities
· Overnight in Kratovo
· Breakfast at the hotel and check out.
· The first stop is the stone village of Kuklica. According to the locals, the stone figures that are known as " Stone Dolls" are millions of years old. There are many legends and myths related to their existence, as well as a scientific explanation, but it's up to you to decide on what you're going to believe.
· Next destination on the tour is the Joakim Osogovski monastery complex in the vicinity of the city of Kriva Palanka in the North-East of the country.
· The Monastery of St. Joakim Osogovski dates from the 11th century. It is in these quiet areas around the monastery where the anchorite monk St. Joakim Osogovski used to live. Today the monastery is open to pilgrims, visitors, tourists, travellers and well-wishers coming to worship beneath the miraculous relics of St. Joakim kept in the monastery.
· The oldest building in the monastery complex is the small church of Nativity of the Virgin Mary built between the 14th and 16th century on the foundations of an older church from the 11th or 12th century. The architecture is in typical Byzantine style and is one of the first medieval churches on the territory of Macedonia.
· Lunch will be served at the Monastery complex.
· After the monastery tour, we will head towards the 4th oldest megalithic observatory in the world, Kokino, recognized by NASA and listed side by side with ancient observatories such as Stonehenge (Great Britain), Abu Simbel (Egypt) and Angkor Wat (Cambodia). You will have the chance to observe the sun and feel the ancient tranquility of that astonishing place.
· Next, we departure for Skopje, where you will have free time for rest and refreshment
· Farewell dinner at one of the restaurants in Skopje
End of Tour