Famous for being the birthplace of Alexander the Great in 356 BC, and with archeological sites dating back 7000 years, The Republic of North Macedonia boasts history at every turn. But history aside, sports enthusiasts come to Macedonia to be challenged by its many venues for hiking, climbing, biking, paragliding and caving. On this multi-active tour you’ll enjoy the natural beauty of North Macedonia while experiencing several different sporting challenges. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of Macedonia’s history and culture, and an appreciation for the country’s inhabitants, who are warm, friendly and generous of spirit.
2020 Land Cost Per Person (double occupancy)
Available Anytime – $2649
This tour operates with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 10 travelers. Other group rates available on request.
- Comfortable, air-conditioned transportation throughout the journey
- 9 nights accommodation at 4-star hotels and all meals
- All the activities mentioned in the itinerary: climbing, cycling, hiking, tandem paragliding and caving
- Professional English-speaking guides and all the necessary equipment for the active tours
- Sightseeing of Skopje with a professional English-speaking guide
Price Does Not Include:
- International Airfare ( we will be happy to help with this)
- Departure and Custom fees
- Travel Insurance (we can provide)
- Trip cancellation (we can provide)
- Individual daily expenses
- Additional beverages
- Medical and luggage insurance are recommended for coverage against all unforeseen circumstances
Things You Need To Bring With You:
- Valid passport
- Airline tickets
- Medium size duffel bag or soft-sided suitcase
- Daypack (1,600 – 2,500 cu. in.) to carry your camera, water bottles, lunch and extra clothing
- Luggage tags and luggage locks
- Passport or money pouch
- Bring a few lightweight, casual, easily washable items for travel and daily wear
- Hiking pants, light weight
- Hiking shorts, synthetic
- Cycling shorts (optional)
- Long-sleeve shirts
- T-shirts (at least 2 synthetic)
- Hiking socks
- Liner socks
- Casual socks
- Sun hat with brim
- Lightweight rain jacket, waterproof and breathable
- Light to mid-weight fleece jacket or sweater
- Lightweight hiking boots or cross-training shoes with a stiff sole for cycling, hiking, and walking, and ankle support
- Travel / casual shoes
- Two one-quart water bottles or hydration pack
- Watch with alarm or travel clock
- Sunglasses and retainer strap
- Spare contact lenses or glasses
- Sun block and lip balm
- Hand sanitizer gel
- Insect repellent
- Lightweight travel towel
- Toiletry kit
- Personal first-aid kit (any medications you require)
- Cycling and/or padded gloves
- Camera, memory cards and spare batteries
- Electronics/battery charger
- Reading and writing materials
- Travel pillow
- Ear plugs
- Several Ziploc plastic bags
- Electrical adapter plug / converter
FYI. . .
- Always pack essential items such as passport, money, eyewear, a change of clothing, hiking boots and medications in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed or lost.
- Bring quick-drying synthetics such as Capilene, MTS and Thermax along with your cotton clothes.
- Make sure hiking boots are broken in. Thin liner socks worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters. The liner sock should be synthetic, not cotton. Bring moleskin for foot treatment.
- Stuff sacks are great for sorting gear. Use different sizes/colors to differentiate contents.
- Laundry facilities are always available. We suggest hand washing quick-drying clothing items in your hotel room. Bringing individual detergent packets and a travel clothesline is useful.
- During church visits in North Macedonia, it is necessary to reasonably cover your arms and legs. Beachwear and tank tops are not appropriate attire; shorts should be of mid-thigh length or longer.
DAY 1: Arrival in Skopje
Meet and assist at the airport for transfer to your hotel in Skopje. After checking into the hotel, you will have the rest of the day to relax and have some leisure time for yourself. Dinner and a welcome from your guide. Skopje is the capitol of the Republic of North Macedonia. Internationally known for being the birthplace of Mother Teresa in 1910, the city is rich with tradition and culture. Its history can be traced as far back as 6500BC when Neolithic tribes inhabited the region. (D)
DAY 2: Climbing / Caving
After breakfast, we leave the hotel and drive to Matka Canyon. Located just 15 km from Skopje, Matka Canyon, with its limestone rocks and steep cliffs 1000 meters high, is one of the most popular places to climb in North Macedonia. The vast canyon, a protected natural reserve, is home to amazing caves, a wide variety of plants and animals and several medieval monasteries. The canyon is also home to more than 70 endemic species of butterfly. The rock is a limestone conglomerate and has a very craggy appearance. In good weather conditions, Matka can be climbed year round. The sport climbing routes are bolt protected. Matka has four popular climbing routes: Sector Otmar Rock, Sector Trio, Sector Matka Hut, and Sector Pier. After our climb, we will have lunch at a restaurant by Lake Matka. After lunch, you have the option take a boat ride on the lake to Vrelo Cave. According to the New7Wonders of Nature project, Vrelo Cave is listed as one of the top 77 natural wonders of the world. We return to Skopje in the early evening hours. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. (B, L, D)
DAY 3: Cycling
After breakfast we check out of the hotel and leave for Popova Shapka, in the northwest region of North Macedonia, just 60 km from Skopje. Popova Shapka lies to the west of Tetovo, on Mount Shara, over 1000 meters above sea level. After arriving in Popova Shapka, we check into our hotel. We will have a little time to freshen up before we leave for our cycling tour to Leshnica. The 18 mile cycling tour takes us through the valley of Leshnica which has magnificent high peaks, ancient fir and pine forests, the pristine Pena and Leshnica Rivers and waterfalls. The 7-hour tour has an ascent and descent of 685m. Approximately halfway through the cycling tour we will take a break to have a picnic lunch and enjoy the breathtaking scenery during our cycling tour. Because this is an out and back ride, it can be shortened to accommodate less hearty cyclers. After our day of cycling we will return to the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Popova Shapka. (B ,L, D)
Day 4: Hiking
After breakfast we leave the hotel for a full day of hiking to Titov Vrv summit. At 2748 meters, it is the highest peak on Mount Shara. Titov Vrv has some very long and demanding routes and offers hikers a real challenge. This 14-mile hike is a straightforward hike interspersed with periods of challenging climbs. From start to finish it will take approximately 8 hours. The highest ascent will bring us 1274m and the descent will be 1243m. Along with the personal reward of conquering such a hiking challenge come the beautiful views over the entire Shar Planina massif. During our hike we will stop for a picnic lunch and enjoy the magnificent views. This is an out and back hike, so it can be shortened to accommodate hikers ability. After our day of hiking we will return to the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Popova Shapka. (B, L, D)
DAY 5: A day to relax, sightsee and catch our breath
After breakfast we check out of the hotel and depart for the resort town of Ohrid, 100 km away. Both Lake Ohrid and the town of Ohrid are under the protection of UNESCO, and are listed as sites of rare environmental, scientific and cultural significance. Lake Ohrid is the oldest, continuously existing lake in Europe, and is estimated to be three to five million years old. The town of Ohrid, and its surrounding region has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Upon arriving in Ohrid, we will check in at the hotel. After that, you are free to relax and explore the town. There are many nice beaches near the hotel, beach bars and restaurants, and many possibilities for different water sport activities. In the afternoon we can visit St. Naum Monastery and Bay of the Bones Museum. The museum is an authentic reconstruction of part of a pile-dwelling settlement that dates back between 1200 and 700 BC. In ancient times, this settlement had 60 houses and was connected to the shore by the use of a movable bridge. Underwater archaeological explorations discovered stone tools, ceramics and bones of animals and deer horns. The settlement was reconstructed in 2008, with wooden houses built on a platform above the water and a museum with the salvaged artifacts. On the hill above the Bay of Bones, a Roman military fortification has been reconstructed. The Roman fortress is now connected with the settlement in order to give visitors an extraordinary opportunity to experience time travel, from prehistoric to ancient times. St. Naum, located on the southernmost spot of Lake Ohrid, is situated in an area known for its unparalleled natural beauty and tranquility. Not far from the monastery is the border crossing into the town of Podgradec, Albania, which is also located on the southern end of Lake Ohrid. The monastery of St. Naum was established in 905AD by Naum of Ohrid. Known for healing the sick, many of his healings were considered to be miracles. He died in 910AD and was buried in the monastery. We will enjoy lunch in a traditional Macedonian restaurant. Later in the day we will return to the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Ohrid. (B, L, D)
DAY 6: Tandem paragliding*
After breakfast we leave for Galichica National Park. Galichica National Park is located between Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa. The lowest elevation in the park is Lake Ohrid (695m above sea level) and the highest point is the summit of Mount Magaro (2255m). Galichica National Park is home to the rare Balkan Lynx and has an estimated population of approximately 30-35 animals. Galichica National Park will be the starting point for our tandem paragliding adventure. We will take off from a mountain near Lake Ohrid, 1750m high. Words can barely express the exhilarating feeling of paragliding. The excitement as you lift off, the feel and sound of the air, the bird’s eye view of spectacular scenery below. As you soar through the air you’ll be able to see Lake Ohrid on one side of the mountain and Lake Prespa on the other. It’s a breathtaking sight. After our paragliding adventure we return to the hotel for lunch. In the afternoon you are free to explore the town of Ohrid, or you may want to explore the villages of Konjsko and Elsani. Both are at a walking distance from the hotel. This will also give you an excellent opportunity to walk in the National Park with its magnificent views of the lake. The people of Elsani welcome visitors and will be happy to introduce you to their style of living. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Ohrid. (B, L, D)
*(If the weather conditions are not good for tandem paragliding the caving tour will be on day 6 and day 7 will be the tandem paragliding)
DAY 7: Caving
After breakfast we leave for Makedonski Brod where we’ll start our caving tour. The ground structure of North Macedonia makes it ideal for caves and the country has over 500 known caves, of which only 300 have been explored. Some of these caves have underground rivers, lakes, multiple caverns, and stalagmites and stalactites as well as pre-historic fossils. We will begin our adventure in Peshna Cave, one of the most fascinating caves in North Macedonia. At its entrance one can see the devastated watermill and the remains of a Byzantine fortress. Krapa River, a partially subterranean river, sprouts from the cave. Legend has it this fortress was once the home of Peshna, sister of King Marko (1335-1395). On the opposite side of the cave there is another fortress, Devini Kuli, which was the home of Deva, the second sister of King Marko. It’s believed the two caves are connected by an underground passage. After caving in both Peshna and Devini Kuli caves, we’ll continue on to Puralo Cave located near the village of Slatina. This cave has a 10m vertical distance and 600m horizontal distance. We’ll relax at the site and enjoy a barbecue lunch. After our barbecue, we’ll have an opportunity to stroll around the village of Slatina, the name means “salty water.” The village has authentic Macedonian architecture, salt water springs and the Markovska River waterfalls. Later in the day we’ll return to the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Ohrid. (B, L, D)
DAY 8: Sightseeing in Ohrid
After the breakfast we’ll check out of the hotel and spend the day exploring the highlights of Ohrid. The town’s history can be traced back to Neolithic times and many historical finds are still being excavated today. Among the places we will visit are: the Church of St. Sofia, one of the most impressive medieval buildings in Ohrid; the Plaoshnik archaeological site, an utterly unique phenomenon of Byzantine architecture; Tzar Samuel’s fortress, though the current fortress dates back to the late 900’s, ancient records show that a fortress has stood on this site since at least the 3rd century BC; the Ancient Theater, built by the Romans in the 3rd century B.C. If you look closely at the carving on a stone seat, you can decipher the name of the season ticket holder who owned that seat two thousand years ago. We’ll stop for lunch in one of the oldest parts of Ohrid. Afterwards we’ll explore one of the liveliest parts of town, the Old Ohrid Bazaar. Along with a vast selection of foods and handmade items are old Macedonian musical instruments and Macedonian embroidery. We’ll also visit a unique paper workshop, one of only seven in the world, where paper is still handmade in the original Chinese way that dates back to the 2nd century BC. After our day exploring Ohrid, we depart for Skopje. We’ll check into the hotel and have dinner. (B, L, D)
DAY 9: Tour of Skopje
After breakfast we leave the hotel for a busy day of sightseeing in Skopje. Though the area has been inhabited since Neolithic times, it first became a major settlement around 500BC when it formed part of the Illyrian nation. When Rome moved its empire east, the settlement became known as Skupi. Upon the division of the Roman Empire in 395 AD the region came under Byzantine rule and became an important trading post and garrison for the region. By the 10th century AD the Macedonian-Bulgarian Empire ruled the area, and then in 1392 the area came under 520 years of Ottoman rule and became known as Uskub. Today, as capitol of The Republic of North Macedonia, the city is a bustling mix of old and new. Among the many places we’ll visit are: Kale Fortress, the current fortress has been on this site since the 6th century AD, but since 4000 BC there has been some sort of occupation on this site; the City Museum of Skopje, which has an exhibit of the city’s history and changes through the centuries; The Stone Bridge, built in the 15th century to aid the trading route, now joins the old Turkish town to the center of the city south of the river and was once a place for public execution under Ottoman rule. We’ll also visit the Bezisten, a covered marketplace and old bazaar originally built in the 15th century, and the memorial for Mother Teresa, who was born in Skopje in 1910. We’ll stop for lunch in the old bazaar. At the end of the day we’ll return to the hotel. We’ll have our farewell dinner in the evening. (B, L, D)
DAY 10: Departure day.
We depart for the airport after breakfast. End of the program. (B)
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