Planning a trip to Skopje, north Macedonia, backpacking summer of 2022

Hello traveling girls and guys! This week I plan on doing a little bit more research on the country of North Macedonia since that’s my first stop away from Albania later this summer.

Let us look at the cost. Not unlike its neighbors, North Macedonia is really cheap as compared to the USA. I see on that there is a youth hostel that has shared rooms in Skopje for only $5 US. That’s really appetizing for me as a budget traveler, and while shared rooms might not be the most comfortable place to sleep for a 40s something non-partying male the savings is good enough for me for the short term.

I walked over to the international bus station in Tirana, behind Ring Center shopping mall where ill be catching the bus when the time comes. Prices are in the range of $21 from Tirana to Skopje, really not close to the $4 local buses to places like Vlore and Durres, but still not too bad.

So, let’s take a look at a few other things, just to make sure it’s a good location. A few things I look at are geography, crime, transportation, weather, then after that the fun stuff I can do while there.

Crime in North Macedonia … Is it a safe place to visit?  Let’s check North Macedonia like we did for Bulgaria. The homicide rate for North Macedonia on Wikipedia is listed at 1.2 and on Nation Master, 1.94, whereas the US is at 5. Next, we take a look at total crimes per 1000 on Nation Master, North Macedonia is at 9.55 whereas the USA is at 41.29. North Mac is lower than Bulgaria and the USA, so that’s perfectly fine, next….

Now on with the tour de North Mac, Geography, population, GDP, weather, anyone? – In terms of area Macedonia is 9900 square miles so we can assume something like 90 miles wide by 100 miles tall, basically shaped like a blob, with no coastline. Two major features are that it is landlocked and that its very mountainous. Now I’ve got to check the weather to make sure its not too cold for my summer wardrobe… the average high in Skopje in July is 90 and the average low is 71 degrees; however, some mountain peaks might be significantly colder. I’ll bring a light jacket as well as a hat (I mostly need these for Sweden) for when I hike these peaks.

The population is 2 million, so smaller than Albania, and a bit larger than its tiny neighbor, Montenegro at 620,000 people. Now the GDP of North Mac is $5,880 versus $5,215 for Albania and $7,666 for Serbia. We can make the assumption, it’s a bit of a low-income country as compared to the good ole USA. In my experience GDP per capita is roughly related to cost of living, but I like to do a bit more research just to make sure on expenses, on with this in a bit.

The fun stuff, tourist attractions in North MacedoniaI like to mix it up, so ill probably be choosing some outdoor locations first, like mountains, some historical sites like old ruins or castles, perhaps some shopping and some city life here … now here’s the list of top attractions…

  1. Lake Ohrid – looks interesting and scenic and not within the city of Skopje. There’s a cool looking monastery nearby.
  2. The old Bazaar, Skopje – this looks like my top city attraction in Skopje since I like to window shop and wander streets
  3. Vodno Cable Car – this cable car is actually similar to the one near Tirana, its close to Skopje so this would be a cool place to wander to.
  4. Kale Fortress – a fortress/castle that overseas the entire city of Skopje, another easy one to see and take some photos.
  5. Monastery of Travesic – this looks more like some of the monasteries I saw over in Montenegro. Scenic views are nice, then we head on over to Bulgaria next.