"Skopje" Top 5 Page for this destination Skopje by Pijlmans

Skopje Travel Guide: 840 reviews and 2,155 photos

When I think of Skopje, several things pop up: The river Vardar, the Stone Bridge, the Kale Fortress and St Patrick, the Irish pub. The last one not quite very Macedonian but enjoyable nevertheless!

As with any major city, one should just "taste" the city by strolling around the old Turkish town Carsija and the centre of Skopje south of the river Vardar, connected by the Stone Bridge.

Big parts of Skopje have been destroyed several times the last 500 years: In 1555 and 1963 by major earthquakes and in 1689 when Skopje was set on fire by the Austrian general Piccolomini on his retreat during an outbreak of the plague. Some say he set fire to Skopje to eradicate the plague, others say it was revenge for the Ottoman invasion of Vienna in 1683.

The City Museum of Skopje is situated in the old train station, which was partly destroyed during the earthquake on July 26 1963. During the earthquake the station clock stopped and the clock´s hands are still at 05.17.

One of the highlights of the Museum of Macedonia is the statue of the Great Mother, found in a house of a neolithic settlement near Skopje in 1981.

The Museum of Contemporary Art lies to the west of Kale Fortress on top of a hill.

Skopje Zoo got a lot better over the years. We almost left crying after our first visit in 2003, but the accommodation for most animals significantly improved recently.

Being in a valley, Skopje tends to get *very* hot and smoggy in the summer and is not the most pleasant place to stay during those months!

Outside Skopje

A huge steel cross, lit up at night, oversees Skopje from Mount Vodno. It is a good target for a short hike!

Half-way up Mount Vodno lies the Monastery of Pantelejmon, worth a short visit, especially if you don´t take a cab but walk up the mountain.

Lake Matka is a man-made lake by damming the river Treska, about 30 minutes by car or bus from Skopje. It lies in a steep ravine of the Treska Valley. You can do some very nice hikes here and visit many churches.

The ruins of Skupi dating from the 4th century are not very interesting, since there is not too much to see. I found the Old Stone Aqueduct outside of Skopje much more exciting.

Many more sights are described in the tip section below.

  • Last visit to Skopje: Aug 2012
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (109)

Comments (20)

  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo
    May 3, 2015 at 1:59 AM

    Excellent page. Very informative. Cheers, Irene

    • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo
      May 3, 2015 at 4:08 AM

      This summer our tentative plan is to visit Serbia and Macedonia and possibly Kosovo.

    • Pijlmans's Profile Photo
      May 3, 2015 at 7:48 AM

      If you need help with your itinerary, just post in the VT forum :-)

  • wise23girl's Profile Photo
    Feb 14, 2012 at 4:03 AM

    we were in Skopje after the Meet in 2011...but not long enough I can see from your pages...Streets with no names brought a memory...I had our hotel directions in English but our taxi driver did not read English...but we found help!

  • Jun 24, 2011 at 7:34 AM

    I cant thank you enough for you amazing work here buddy! Soooo helpful. I think I can plan my whole trip jut based on you alone! Big thanks.

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Jun 12, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    Great pics!

  • May 13, 2011 at 9:14 AM

    Re: Skopje Zoo - it was dismal a few years back, but it's undergone a massive renovation in the past year and is now one of the nicest places in Skopje with new animals, horseback riding, ponds, playgrounds, an open-air cafe, etc. Highly recommended!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Feb 26, 2011 at 5:07 AM

    Daut Pasha must have really been in love with that unknown girl, even building two domes to symbolize the perfection of her breasts, with nipples made of transparent alabaster & illuminated by dozens of candles or even swarms of fireflies in silk nets!

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Oct 31, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    There are certainly a lot of museums in this town, and the buildings show the heritage of the culture. YOu did a great job of showing the sites, and the comments are well done.

  • johngayton's Profile Photo
    Oct 11, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    Good page Dennis. However your bus timetable link doesn't seem to work anymore.

  • Arkeolog's Profile Photo
    Jun 17, 2010 at 1:18 AM

    Great page on Skopje.

  • tmoerkens's Profile Photo
    Dec 19, 2009 at 11:44 AM

    The problem in the ZOO is not money but Managment. My own project was rejected a decade ago. Only money they want, not help. The EAZA is playing the dirty game with them. So Europe knows how to play this game as well.

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