Matka Things to Do Tips by Pijlmans Top 5 Page for this destination

Matka Things to Do: 19 reviews and 70 photos

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Marking of the trail - Matka

Marking of the trail

Hike from Mount Vodno (Skopje) to Lake Matka

The reason that we did not do this hike before is that we were told that especially the end of the hike, when you reach Lake Matka, is badly marked. Therefore the general advice is not to try this hike without a local guide. In retrospect, I think that when you have a good look at the map, in combination with the sparse marking of the trail, it should be possible to do it without a guide, but you may go wrong here or there...

This year however (2011), I bought an outdoor GPS and downloaded a track describing this hike from internet. Almost foolproof and no local guide needed!

We went by car to the parking at Middle Vodno (Sredno Vodo), which is halfway the top of the mountain. Then, we took the new cable car lift to the top of Mount Vodno and the Millenium Cross.

Alternatively, you can walk all the way to the top, from the foot of the mountain or from Middle Vodno, but that adds a pretty steep ascent to this hike! Some of the last parts are rather steep downhill, so high shoes and walking sticks are recommended.

From the top of Mount Vodno the hike is only downhill, so it is not too hard on your condition. The scenery and the trail are both pretty diverse, the views of the Matka Canyon are amazing.

When you arrive at the bridge over the Treska river, you have to go left to visit the lake. There are several churches around the lake, as well as a bar/restaurant for well-deserved refreshments!

There is a mini-bus going back to Skopje, but you can also arrange for a cab of course. The buses stop near the bridge.

The hike from the Millenium Cross to the bridge at Matka is about 11-12 km long and took us 4 hours including breaks. From the bridge to Lake Matka behind the dam is an additional 1.5 km.

You can look at the GPS track and download it via the link below.

Website: http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=gnjlsbhjjfxunibl

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Sep 17, 2011
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Vrelo Cave - Matka

Vrelo Cave

Vrelo Cave at Lake Matka

You can visit a cave at Lake Matka. To get to the cave, you have to take a boat for about 4 km upstream from the dam. It takes 30 minutes to get to the cave by boat.

You will find these boats at St Andrea, located just after the dam that is responsible for the artificial lake.

The cave is very spacious, with a small lake inside. Unfortunately, there is almost no opportunity to wander around. You enter the cave by stairs to a small plateau. There you can have a look around, but you are not allowed to leave the plateau. After a few minutes you've more or less seen everything you can see.

The guide could not tell any facts about the cave, not even in Macedonian, as he was just there to navigate the boat.

Summarized: The 30 minute trip by boat over the lake is very entertaining, nice views. The cave is OK, but nothing special if you have seen caves before.

Price (2011); 300 MKD, about 5 euros.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Aug 28, 2011
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Trail in the cliffs seen from the boat - Matka

Trail in the cliffs seen from the boat

Hike along Lake Matka

You can walk along Lake Matka. At some places, you will be walking high on the cliffs on a very small trail, so this walk is certainly not suitable for people with vertigo. See the pictures!

Theoretically, it should be possible to walk all the way along the lake, but we were told that the trail is getting bad after about 6 km (when starting from St Andrea). Allegedly, after about 9 km a new dam is being build in the Treska river, and people told us that we would likely be send back anyways from there.

So we took a boat from St Andrea, 6 km up the river. These boats normally take you to a cave that is about 6 km up the river, but the generator of the cave was out of order, so we could not visit the cave.

A bit futher upstream from the cave we got onto the shore and walked back to St Andrea.

The boat was 250 Denars (about 4 euro) per person, including a transfer across the lake and back after our hike, to the trail that leads up to St Nikola.

If you want to start the hike at St Andrea (instead of taking the boat first), just walk past the huge carabiner that is attached to the rocks.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Nov 23, 2008
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St Nikola - Matka

St Nikola

Monastery of St Nikola Shishevski at Lake Matka

The Monastery of St Nikola Shishovski (or St Nicholas Shishevski) is located high on the cliffs above Lake Matka. It is not exactly known when the church was built, likely somewhere near the 14th century when it was first mentioned. Allegedly it was abandoned in the 18th century.

The high location is spectacular and gives you a wonderful view of Lake Matka and the Monastery of St Andrea (St Andrew) below. Most pictures in guides and postcards of the lake and St Andrew are taken from this place.

The church is on the opposite site of the Matka Canyon from the Church of St Andrew, the Monastery of St Bogorodica, the Church of St Spas and the Church of St Nedela.

See the map of Lake Matka in my general tips.

When we arrived there, the church was locked. It seems that people are making effort to make something nice of this wonderful spot, since wooden picnic huts are build and there are toilets at this remote site.

It can only be reached by a steep hike, starting from the beginning of Lake Matka. Near the restaurant (and close to the bus stop), take the blue bridge over the river and go left. The trail is marked with red and yellow stripes and spots. It takes about 1-1.30h to reach St Nikola from here, and it is a steep walk.

Alternatively, you can cross the lake with a boat at St Andrea and walk very steeply uphill to St Nikola. This climb is about 180 m and takes you about 20-30 min. Make sure you have good shoes. When you take this trail down from St Nikola, you can either scream to the other site of the lake (St Andrea) to be picked up by boat, or use the gong that is attached to a tree.

You can find more information about this hike, complete with pictures, in my Matka Traveloques, see the link below.

Website: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tt/a0b83/#TL

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Aug 24, 2008
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Monument for mountaineers - Matka

Monument for mountaineers

Monument for mountaineers and hiking trail

Close to the Church of St Andrea, there is a huge carabiner hanging from the rocks to commemorate climber(s) that died in an accident.

Behind the monument, a trail starts that goes along river Treska for over 9 km, all the way to where a new dam in the river is built at this moment. At least the first 6 km of this trail are good enough to hike, I did not go further than that. Not suitable for persons with severe vertigo (see the picture)!

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Aug 24, 2008
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Dam at Lake Matka - Matka

Dam at Lake Matka

Dam at Lake Matka

This dam in the Treska Valley is responsible for the artificial Lake Matka.

Behind the dam there is the Church of St Andrea, a restaurant and the Matka Mountaineering club.

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 18, 2008
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Marked hiking trails - Matka

Marked hiking trails

Hiking trails at Lake Matka

At the Church of St Andrea, also the Matka Mountaineering Club can be found. You can also stay here overnight, see http://www.mkdmount.org/ for more information.

From this location it is possible to start several hikes, as well as to do some serious climbing.

There are marked hikes. An attempt to translation from the signs at the picture:

- (unreadable) 1327 - 240 min
- Osoj peak 1368 - 210 min
- Jama Srt - 120 min
- Mountain house Jasen - 150 min
- Bayrak peak 1010 - 150 min
- Marko's Gates (blue trail) - 20 min
- Matkin Dol (Torture valley with some small caves, yellow trail) - 40 min
- North Sedlo (red trail) - 20 min
- Gragor (red trail) - 60 min
- Monastery St Nedela (red trail) - 80 min
- St Spas (red trail) - 95 min
- Monastery St Troica (red trail) - 95 min

I walked the red trail the other way around, i.e. from St Spas to St Andrea. The last part, from St Nedela to St Andrea, was very steep and it is maybe easier to walk this part uphill than downhill. So you might want to start this trial form here, at St Andrea.

Also see the map of Lake Matka in my general tips.

Website: http://www.mkdmount.org

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 18, 2008
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St Andrea seen from St Nikola - Matka

St Andrea seen from St Nikola

Church of St Andrea at Lake Matka

The Church of St Andrea (St Andrew) is located close to the dam that is responsible for the artificial lake.

The church, dedicated to St Andrea, was built in the 14th century (1388/89) by Andrea, second son of King Volkashin and brother of the later King Marko.

Pay some extra attention to the frescoes: The faces and postures of the depicted saints are very realistic, and perspective is added, distinguishing them from from frescoes in other churches built at that time.

Close to the church of St Andrea is a bar/restaurant and the mountaineering club Matka. Try to imagine how high above the river the church must have been before the dam was built and the lake was formed. Allegedly it used to be 20 m above the river!

The best and most spectacular view at St Andrea undoubtedly is from the Monastery of St Nikola, high on the cliffs on the other side of the lake. You can take a boat to the other site of the lake and walk steeply uphill to St Nikola. From St Nikola, a trial leads back to the blue bridge at the beginning of the Matka Canyon, see the link below to my Travelogues as well.

Another trail that starts at the site of St Andrea is the steep uphill trail marked in red to the ruins of the Church of St Nedela, Marko’s City, St Spas and subsequently to the Monastery of St Bogorodica, which is close to the river Treska again.

See the map of Lake Matka in my general tips.

Website: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tt/a0b83/#TL

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 18, 2008
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Ruins of St Nedela - Matka

Ruins of St Nedela

Ruins of the Church of St Nedela at Lake Matka

On one of the highest cliffs above Lake Matka, are the ruins of St Nedela (St Sunday).

Although the church is without roof, you can still burn candles here, and even write something in the log that is hidden in a metal case.

Some of the frescoes are still (barely) visible.

There are more ruins at this site, from Marko’s City, such as those of an old fortress.

Hidden below the church, there is a small wooden hut with a stunning view over the valley, where you can have a picnic.

See the map of Lake Matka in my general tips.

You can get here from two starting points: Monastery of St Bogorodica (via the Church of St Spas) or from the Monastery of St Andrea. Follow the link below to my Travelogues for more information.

Website: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tt/a0b83/#TL

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 18, 2008
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Marko's City - Matka

Marko's City

Markov Grad, Marko's City at Lake Matka

Close to the Church of St Spas and the Church of St Nedela, there are the ruins of Markov Grad (Marko's City).

The ruins on the pictures must have been of a fortress, judging from the thick walls,

Besides these ruins of the fortress, the only other remnants we could find were those at the Church of St Nedela.

See the map of Lake Matka in my general tips.

This place is located high above Lake Matka and can only be reached by foot. See my Travelogues at the link below for more information.

Website: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tt/a0b83/#TL

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 18, 2008
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