Great place to visit Macedonian and Greek history, without the crowds of tourists. After all, this is the home of Alexander the Great.
The Bridge of Civilizations
Great lead to the Archeological Museum
Various fortresses have been built on this site site the 6th century. The latest was destroyed by an earthquake in 1963, and restoration happened in 2006 and 2007. However, it seems clear that neglect is taking over again. Hopefully, more tourists in the future will provide the impetus for more restoration.
city of just over 500,000 and the Capital of North Macedonia
Getting to Skopje
I took the bus from Pristina, and it was an easy 2 hour ride. Like most busses in the Balkans, they will say they have services like WIFI and restrooms, but they really don’t. Be prepared. The Pristina bus station also is supposed to have WIFI. It didn’t. At least the station had a restroom, and it was only 50 cents.
Crossing the border from Kosovo to North Macedonia was simple. They handed out a clipboard on the way, you fill in your name and passport number. On the Kosovo side, an official boards the bus, collects passports and the clipboard, and leaves. 10 minutes later, he returns with all the passports.
Then, we drive forward to the North Macedonia side, and we disembark and queue up at the immigration booth. Get your stamp, walk forward 30 meters across the border and wait for the bus to come through and pick you back up. This was also about 10 minutes for all of us.
Luggage Storage is located in the central bus station. You can go to window #2 inside the station, and they will take your bag and payment. It was only 50 Denar as of September 2022. They didn’t ask me how long I needed.
Getting around Skopje
You can buy local bus tickets at the central bus station. It took me some searching, and a taxi driver even told me that tickets were not available there (anything to get a fare). But, in the area with all of the departure spaces, there is a decommissioned yellow bus. Local metro tickets are sold inside of it. You will need to buy a card, and have it loaded. I paid 400 Denar for my card with 10 trips loaded. When boarding a bus, just swipe your card on the reader. Easy!
Taking taxis will be an adventure. Be prepared to negotiate. I used the bus for everything local, but to get to the airport when I left, the bus only leaves for the airport every 2 or 3 hours, so a taxi was needed. I haggled the price from 1500 down to 1200 Denar. But, soon into the trip, the price reverted back to 1500. Luckily, I held my own and the price held. Don’t expect taxi meters here. Or even a car that would pass inspection in most countries. I was sure my taxi didn’t have any suspension, and barely any steering. But, that didn’t stop my driver from driving 140 KPH to the airport (while texting). That was a bit of a nervous ride. At least the seatbelts worked!
Top places to visit in Skopje
Old Stone Bridge
This is free and open to the public. It looks like, years ago, they had facilities here, but they are long since overgrown. So, you will simply walk along the walls and get a view of the city. It is still impressive and worth a visit.
Museum of the Macedonian Struggle – 300 Denar
Probably the best museum in Macedonia. It covers the late 19th and early 20th century struggles for independence from the Ottoman Empire. As of the fall of 2022, they are also working on an exhibit covering WW1. Tours are available, and recommended. There are highlights in English, but you will get so much more out of it if you take a tour.
Contemporary Art Museum – 60 Denar
Here, you will find 1 room, with about 20 pieces. The price reflects the museum.
National Art Gallery – 100 Denar
Archeological Museum – 150 Denar
Fairly small but nice, and highlights Paleolithic periods, and the Ottoman period.