Are you looking for the best way to explore the scenic Matka Canyon in Skopje with a half-day tour? Matka Canyon is an incredible natural paradise with some of the best landscapes in Macedonia. It is easily one of the most fantastic day-trips from Skopje, known for its gorgeous natural beauty, breathtaking hiking trails, historical spots, and of course, its steep-walled gorge.
This guide will provide you with all the guidance and relevant information you need for planning your half-day outing to Matka Canyon. Read on to discover what makes the trip worth undertaking, what to see and do, some useful tips and tricks, and, most importantly, how to book a half-day tour to Matka Canyon.
What is Matka Canyon?
Matka Canyon is the largest canyon in Macedonia and one of the oldest in Europe. Located 17 kilometers west of Skopje, the 4.6-km-long canyon was created by the Treska river which flows through it. With an altitude of around 500m at its peak and numerous species of flora and fauna, it makes for a perfect day out.
The canyon encompasses stunning natural attractions like Vrelo Cave and one of the deepest lakes in Europe – Lake Matka. There are also many hiking trails, monasteries, and historical monuments around the area.
What is the Best Half Day Tour From Skopje to Matka Canyon in 2021?
The best half day tour from Skopje to Matka Canyon in 2021 is offered by GetYourGuide. The 6-hour tour starts from Sandanski Park at 10:00 am and you can expect to see some of the most spectacular views such as Vrelo Cave, the deepest gorge of Lake Matka, and a variety of historical sites and monuments along the way.
The tour will take you to some of the best spots in Matka Canyon such as Kozicino Kale – one of the most impressive fortress overlooking Lake Matka – and the St. Andrew’s Monastery – built during the 11th century. The tour also includes lunch at a traditional homestead after a 20-minute drive from the lake. At 4:00 pm, you will be dropped off at Sandanski Park in Skopje.
Along with the guided tour, each package purchased from GetYourGuide includes entry tickets, transfers from Skopje to Matka Canyon, and a professional guide who will provide insights on the history and culture of Macedonia. A personal driver and car are also provided to ensure your safety during yourMatka Canyon experience.
Tips & Tricks
Here are some helpful tips and tricks that will help you make the most out of your half day tour to Matka Canyon:
- Make sure you wear appropriate clothing – hiking boots and windbreakers are recommended.
- Most attractions in Matka Canyon are within walking distance but it’s recommended to rent an ATV or a kayak for exploring further away locations.
- It’s important to carry plenty of water for hydration as temperatures in Matka can reach high peaks.
- Pack snacks and a picnic lunch to save time.
- Be mindful of your actions as you explore – try not to disturb wildlife and leave rocks and other items as they were before you visited.
Over all, a half day tour from Skopje to Matka Canyon is an absolute must-do for anyone visiting Macedonia. With breathtaking scenery, numerous attractions, and historical sites to explore, you’ll be sure to have an amazing time. Booking your trip through GetYourGuide is one of the best ways to make sure that you get all the amenities and assistance you need for your journey, so why not check out their half day tour from Skopje to Matka Canyon today and make memorable family memories.
An Insider’s Guide to Skopje: Beyond the Tourist Spots
As the capital city of North Macedonia, Skopje boasts a fascinating blend of old-world charm and modern flair. While the city offers plenty of popular attractions, let’s delve into some of the hidden gems that you can explore during your visit.
Local Attractions: Hidden Gems of Skopje
If you want to experience some lesser-known sights in the city, explore the winding streets of the Old Bazaar and discover the Ottoman-era architecture and handicrafts shops. For a peaceful escape, take a stroll through City Park and visit the Memorial House of Mother Teresa.
Another offbeat attraction worth visiting is the Museum of Macedonian Struggle, where you can learn about the country’s liberation history. Climb up to the Skopje Fortress for panoramic views of the city and the Vardar River.
Dining Spots: A Foodie’s Delight in Skopje
Macedonian cuisine is a blend of Greek, Turkish, and Balkan flavors, resulting in a taste unique to the country. Head to the Old Bazaar to try the local burek, a savory pastry stuffed with cheese, spinach, and meat.
For a hearty lunch or dinner, visit the Ohridska Tavche Gravche restaurant and try Tavche Gravche, a traditional bean stew. Make a stop at Pivnica An for their homemade beer, and enjoy the laidback ambiance while savoring local dishes.
Cultural Experiences: Art, Music, and Festivals
Skopje is a treasure trove of cultural experiences. Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art and appreciate the local and international exhibitions. Attend a performance at the Macedonian Opera and Ballet to enjoy the art of music and dance.
If you’re lucky enough to visit in May, join the Skopje Jazz Festival, an annual event held in the city that features jazz musicians from Macedonia and around the world. And during the Holy Month of Ramadan, visit the local mosques and experience the country’s religious customs and traditions.
Local History: The Legends and Tales of Skopje
The city of Skopje has a fascinating history, from the rule of the Ottomans to the tragic earthquake of 1963. Visit the Memorial House of Mother Teresa to learn about her life, and how her teachings inspired many worldwide.
Another place worth visiting is the Kurshumli Han, an inn built-in 1550, which now serves as a museum of Ottoman culture. And if you’re interested in ancient history, visit the Skopje Antiquity Theater, believed to be from the 3rd century BC, and marvel at its architecture and stories.
Off-the-beaten-path Suggestions: Unique Experiences in Skopje
For an out-of-the-box experience in Skopje, try taking a cable car to the Millennium Cross on Vodno Mountain and enjoy the breathtaking views of the city. Another unique experience is visiting the nearby Matka Canyon, where you can hike, kayak, and explore caves.
Alternatively, take a day trip to the nearby village of Kratovo, known for its maze of narrow streets lined with old red-roofed houses and for its delicious locally produced honey. Skopje’s surrounding areas offer unforgettable experiences for every kind of traveler.
Skopje’s unique blend of history, culture, and cuisine offers visitors a truly unforgettable experience. Whether you’re exploring the Old Bazaar or hiking at Matka Canyon, the city holds endless possibilities. Get off the tourist trail and discover Skopje’s hidden gems, and you’ll be rewarded with a deeper appreciation of this beautiful city.