North Macedonia, known as ‘The Land of Lakes’, is truly one of the best kept secrets in the Balkans. This tailor-made tour will take you to beautiful stone monasteries and churches, resplendent with colourful frescoes and icons.
Travel by private car with a driver-guide and explore old Roman ruins, wander along the shores of tranquil mountain lakes and discover remote national parks, where little appears to have changed in the rural mountain villages for hundreds of years. With a history spanning the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Yugoslav empires, a fascinating mix of architectural heritage and distinctive cultures awaits.
Our “Cultural Landscapes” itineraries are tailor-made holidays offering greater in-depth explorations with highly qualified experienced private driver/guide throughout.
Fly to North Macedonia’s compact capital and transfer to the hotel for two nights.
Enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Skopje including the Church of Holy Salvation, the Old Bazaar, Kale Fortress, the Museum of Macedonia (National Museum), Mustapha Pasha Mosque and Daut Pasha Baths. Travel into the surrounding areas and discover an abundance of wonderful medieval churches such as the 12th century Monastery of St. Panteleimon in the village of Nerezi, with its famous 14th century frescoes. (B)
Drive through the canyon of the Vardar River to reach the ancient city of Stobi. This archaeological site offers sweeping views of the central North Macedonian plain and contains a 2nd century amphitheatre and early Christian ruins with extensive, ornate mosaic floors. Continue on to the Popova Kula Winery for an included lunch and to sample the wine which North Macedonian is famous for producing. Continue to Bitola, North Macedonia’s second largest town, and check into the hotel for two nights. (B,L)
Begin with a morning tour of Bitola, which was known as the ‘City of the Consuls’ during Ottoman rule. Bitola is an extraordinary mixture of old and new, and a melting pot of cultures and civilisations. In the afternoon, visit the well-preserved Roman site of Heraclea, famous for its mosaics, ancient theatre and Roman baths from the ancient Macedonian Empire. (B)
Travel to Ohrid via the village of Kurbinovo where the 12th century church of St. George can be found. Whilst the church itself is a modest building, it is famed for its rare yet magnificent frescoes, painted in 1191. Arrive in the picturesque lakeside town of Ohrid and check in to the hotel for three nights. (B)
Discover the historic treasures of Ohrid, one of the oldest settlements in Europe, on a morning walking tour. Highlights include the churches of St. Sophia and St. Clement. Head to the Church of St. John at Kaneo, located on a small promontory jutting out into the lake, for spectacular panoramic views across the lake. Attributed to John the Theologian, the church is thought to date from the end of the 13th century, and the well-preserved frescoes of St. Clement, St. Erasmus and Constantine Kavasilas are especially notable. (B)
Enjoy an excursion to Galicica National Park, a mountainous region of outstanding natural beauty which covers an area of 227 km² between the lakes of Ohrid and Prespa. Visit the monastery of St. Naum, one of the most beautiful monasteries in North Macedonia and an important place of pilgrimage, situated close to the springs of the Black Drim River and famous for its miraculous healing powers. (B)
Visit Struga, famous for its wall of water where the Black Drim River flows out of Lake Ohrid on its way to the Adriatic. The town has many ancient churches as well as wooden framed houses characteristic of 18th and 19th century North Macedonian architecture. Continue to the canyon of the Radika River and visit the monastery of St. John Bigorski before driving through Mavrovo National Park, where the highest peaks in North Macedonia can be found. Arrive back in Skopje and check in for a two night stay. (B)
Enjoy a free day at leisure in Skopje. Perhaps enjoy a meal at Kapan Han, one of three remaining Ottoman caravanserais still standing in the Old Bazaar, or peruse the exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art. (B)