Explore the national parks and Ottoman treasures of North Macedonia at your own pace on a 10-day fly drive starting in the historic capital.
Drive through the Vardar River Canyon to the ancient city of Stobi, an archaeological site from the second century offering sweeping views of the central North Macedonian plain. Park up the hire car and enjoy an overnight stay at the Popova Kula Winery and perhaps try one of over twenty different varieties on offer. Drive to Ohrid and spend time exploring its historically rich old town, numerous lakeside churches and nearby Galicica National Park where mountain peaks frame picturesque rural villages.
This is a tailor-made itinerary which can be altered to suit you. Please speak to a Regent Balkans specialist about altering the route or upgrading the car type.
Fly to Macedonia’s compact capital. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for a two night stay.
Free day to explore Skopje. Perhaps visit the Church of Holy Salvation, Old Bazaar, Kale Fortress, The Museum of Macedonia (National Museum), Mustapha Pasha Mosque and Daut Pasha Baths, followed by the medieval churches in Skopje and surroundings. (B)
The rental car will be delivered to the hotel this morning. Set off to visit the Matka Canyon and the 14th century church of St Andrew near Skopje. Here, it is possible to take a boat ride through the canyon and visit Nad Vrelo Cave. Drive through the Canyon of the Vardar River and town of Veles to reach the ancient city of Stobi. This archaeological site offers sweeping views of the central Macedonian plain and contains buildings such as the 2nd-century amphitheatre. Continue to Demir Kapija (110 kilometres) and check into the Popova Kula Winery for one night. (B)
Drive on to Prilep and enjoy a short walk through the bazaar before continuing to Bitola, North Macedonia's second largest town. Bitola is an extraordinary mixture of old and new and a meeting point of different cultures and civilisations. In the afternoon, visit the Roman ruins of Heraclea, famous for its mosaics, ancient theatre and Roman baths. Check in to the hotel in Bitola for an overnight stay. (B)
Drive to Ohrid (70 kilometres) via the village of Kurbinovo, where the 12th century church of St. George can be found (currently under restoration in 2023). Whilst the church itself is a modest building, it is famed for its rare yet magnificent frescoes, painted in 1191. Or perhaps visit Pelister National Park – there are a couple of easy hikes from the Hotel Molika (there is a good information centre here) but of course one of the biggest draws here are the two mountain lakes - Big and Small one, also known as Pelister's Eyes. (B)
Free day to explore Ohrid. Highlights include the churches of St. Sophia and St. Clement, a classic Byzantine church that dominates the Old Town. The church of St. John at Kaneo stands alone on a small promontory jutting out into the lake at the western end of the Old Town and provides spectacular panoramic views of the lake. (B)
Free day to explore Ohrid. (B)
Today explore Galicica National Park. The rippling, rock-crested massif of Galičica separates Lakes Ohrid and Prespa, and is home to Magaro Peak (2254m), a handful of mountain villages and 1100 species of plant, 12 of which can be found only here. The whole area is protected as a 228-sq-km national park, stretching down to Sveti Naum. At the end of the day visit the monastery of St. Naum, situated close to the springs of the Black Drim River and famous for its miraculous healing powers before returning to Ohrid. (B)
Drive back to Skopje (256 kilometres) with stops in Struga and the Mavrovo National Park. Struga is famous for its wall of water, where the Black Drim River flows out of Lake Ohrid on its way to the Adriatic. Continue to the canyon of the River Radika and visit the monastery of St John Bigorski. Drive through the Mavrovo National Park, where the highest peaks in North Macedonia can be found. Arrive Skopje and check in for one night. The car will be collected from the hotel this evening. (B)
Transfer back to Skopje airport to return your hire car and take flight back to the UK. (B)