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Traveling to Macedonia

Languages: Macedonian (official) 66.5%, Albanian (official) 25.1%, Turkish 3.5%, Roma 1.9%, Serbian 1.2%, other 1.8%
Religions: Macedonian Orthodox 64.7%, Muslim 33.3%, other Christian 0.37%, other and unspecified 1.63%
Nationality: Macedonian(s)
Ethnic groups: Macedonian 64.2%, Albanian 25.2%, Turkish 3.9%, Roma (Gypsy) 2.7%, Serb 1.8%, other 2.2%
Area: Total: 25,713 sq km, land: 25,433 sq km, water: 280 sq km
Climate: Warm, dry summers and autumns; relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall
Terrain: mountainous territory covered with deep basins and valleys; three large lakes, each divided by a frontier line; country bisected by the Vardar River
Major cities



For entrance in Macedonia, a passport or some other valid identification document is necessary so that a border pass permit can be issued (valid three months). If the visa is necessary, in most cases it can also be issued at the border. However, if you're not sure if you need a visa, it is a good idea to check at the Macedonian Embassy or Consulate in your country prior to your trip. Citizens from most European countries, New Zealand and the USA and a handful of others don’t need a visa for stays of generally up to 90 days. All others, including Canadians and Australians, need to apply for a visa in advance at one of Macedonia’s embassies abroad.
You can check the Visa regim of Macedonia following this link.


By plane
Republic of Macedonia has two international airports, the main airport in the capital Skopje "Alexander the Great Airport" and another in Ohrid "St.Paul the Apostle Airport". There are around 150 flights in a week from different European cities to Skopje. Another option to travel into Republic of Macedonia is to fly to Thessaloniki or to Sofiaand get a taxi or bus from there. However, crossing the border usually takes extra time. A taxi from Sofia to Skopje, arranged through the taxi desk at the airport costs €160 (a lthough you may be able to negotiate with an individual driver for a fare closer to €100). If you fly to Thessaloniki, you can go by public bus (24/7) for 0,50 EUR to the train station and catch a train from there (approximately 14 EUR one way).

By train
Regular train service connects the Republic of Macedonia to Greece in the South and Serbia in the North.
A cheap way of traveling to or from Macedonia might be the Balkan Flexipass.

By car
Be sure your Green Card (International Insurance Card) has an uncanceled "MK" box. Try to get a good map of the Republic of Macedonia and/or try to be able to read Cyrillic letters. Although most street signs are printed in Cyrillic and Latin letters it can be helpful to have a little knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet, especially in small towns.

By bus
There are bus connections from Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia and Turkey to Skopje. In addition some buses, those operated by Drity tours at least, run from Tirana to Pristina via Skopje.
In Skopje, there are two bus terminals. Most buses come to the new terminal, but some connections (for example to Pristina) are serviced by the old one, which is located at the city center. If you need to change the terminals, you need to walk to the stone bridge over Vardar and cross the bridge (about 2.5 km) or take a taxi.
At both terminals, you will be constantly nagged by taxi drivers, who will try to convince you to use their services. Unless you have too much money to throw away, you shouldn't take their advice. The taxi is likely to be heavily overpriced, especially for foreigners, while the buses are cheap, clean and safe.

By boat
There are plenty of boats for charter around Lake Ohrid and will show you the whole lake for a cheap price.


Stay safe
Republic of Macedonia is a safe country. Driving is not ill-advised, but it's recommended for foreigners to try and use taxis and public transport wherever possible. As in all countries, keep an eye out for pickpockets and all valuables safe. Hotels and most private accommodation will offer a safe to store valuables and cash in.
Most people are very friendly and hospitable.

Stay healthy
Water is safe to drink and there are public drinking water fountains in most public places. It is advisable to wash all fruit and vegetables.
As with any other country, use caution when eating red meats at restaurants. Although Macedonian cuisine typically revolves around grills there are some restaurants that do not use proper or clean methods of cooking, which if practiced in many Western countries would be seen as a violation of certain health regulations. Bad restaurants can be spotted easily; they will probably not look very appealing and will not have many customers. However, the vast majority of restaurants in Macedonia serve good quality food.