Hiking in Skopje area, what to do in your free time in the city

Hike on Vodno Mountain.

When visiting Skopje’s urban corners, your eye will surely catch a glimpse of the small and green mountain in the outskirts of the city. Vodno is Skopje’s green oasis. A place so close and an escape from the busy city life. Vodno is arguably the most popular hiking destination in Macedonia. Of course that is also because of the fact that Skopje is the largest city, but the mountain is truly worth visiting for a day’s hike.

A half-day hike on Vodno’s many trails, can either start from the base of the mountain, usually at the school Kocho Racin, and then follow the road up  but also have in mind that you would need to exit at the first curve toward the mountain and enter the hiking trails. Most of them lead to the peak, via the Middle Vodno station. Middle Vodno is the last part where cars and busses are allowed to go, and it’s also the place where the cable cart starts, positioned at 700 meters of altitude.

From Middle Vodno numerous hiking trails lead toward the peak. You can choose any of them, with Dimitar Cvetkova, Olimpiska and Penzionerska being the most popular. The first two are steeper, but give you a fine and continuous ascent, while Penzionerska (the Retirement trail) is gentles and positioned more to the southern part of the mountain.

A massive 66 meters high cross – the Millennium Cross marks the peak called Krstovar. The long ridgeline of Vodno gives the best view of the city of Skopje, as well as Jakupica and Karadjica mountains to the south and Shar Mountain to the north. The choices for the length of the hike are also multiple. We can make a fast descent to the village of Nerezi, where St. Pantaleimon – a XII century Byzantine style church awaits.

Alternatively, you can continue toward Matka canyon, a natural heritage reserve gorge, with amazing limestone rock walls aiming high. At Matka you can relax by Matka Lake, which is one of the oldest artificial lakes in Macedonia, take a kayak and row toward Vrelo cave that apart from its easy access part turns out to be one of the deepest underwater caves in Europe. The descent toward the lake can be via St. Nikola Shishevski monastery, a truly magnificent place offering you the best view toward Matka Lake. It is also a very popular rock climbing area in Macedonia, with multiple trad and sport climbing routes.

Multiple small restaurants are located at and around Matka, you can also choose the one that would suit our taste the best, and enjoy the traditional Macedonian cuisine.

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