About this book
Bradt’s North Macedonia remains the only standalone English-language guidebook to this increasingly popular destination available outside the country. Originally written by Thammy Evans, a political analyst who lived there for five years, this new edition has been thoroughly updated and restructured to make it even easier to use by Philip Briggs, arguably the world’s most experienced guidebook writer.
Coverage of national parks has been increased and hiking information has been fully integrated to make it more accessible to casual users. Introductions to many points of interest have been expanded to give more of an overview of what the attractions are and there are several new and redrawn maps.
Of all the new countries formed following the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991, North Macedonia was the only one to attain independence without bloodshed. This is a small land that offers huge variety to travellers, from the oldest lake in Europe to soaring forest-swathed mountain ranges and from the millennia-old Neolithic rock observatory at Kokino and Roman mosaics at Heraclea, to dozens of historic and actively-used mediaeval monasteries and mosques.
North Macedonia’s urban centrepiece and main port of entry is the capital Skopje, now home to a wealth of Ottoman buildings, a lively culinary scene, and several world-class museums, while the main tourist hub is the pretty lakeshore town of Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its wealth of medieval churches and other architectural gems. A trio of national parks provide refuge to brown bears, grey wolves, the rare Balkan lynx and a wide variety of birds. And wherever you go, welcoming family-run tavernas and lively pavement cafés serve authentic traditional cooking and locally produced wine that ranks as probably the most affordable anywhere in the European Balkans.
Wherever you go and whatever your interest, this is a country that offers countless rewards to independent-minded travellers and those who want to get away from the crowds. And with Bradt’s North Macedonia, you’ll find everything you need for a successful trip.
About the author
Born in London, of Welsh and Malay Chinese parents, Thammy Evans has travelled and lived abroad for over 20 years, especially in China and southeast Europe. Professionally, her career lies in the field of political analysis. Her first overseas trip was to Malaysia at the age of eight, and she has been dabbling in numerous foreign languages ever since. Among her many other travels, her most memorable are the Trans-Mongolian Railway from Tianjin to Moscow in 1991, mountaineering in Bolivia in the summer of 1999, and doing the field research for her second Bradt travel guide Great Wall of China in 2005. Despite many forays to far-off lands, she feels most at home in the southern climes of wider Europe and has lived and worked in Macedonia for five years. She and her family now have a small stone house by the sea in Istria.
This edition has been updated by Philip Briggs, one of the world’s most experienced and prolific guidebook writers. He has been associated with Bradt since 1991, since when has written or updated guides to around 20 other destinations, many of them pioneering the way to places that were then practically uncharted by the travel publishing industry. While researching this new edition of Macedonia, highlights of what was his first visit to the Balkans included the lovely old lakeside city of Ohrid and nearby monastery Sv Naum, the historic crater-enclosed town of Kratovo, and the sun-drenched vineyards of the Tikves Valley. Philip still spends at least four months on the road every year, usually accompanied by his wife, the travel photographer Ariadne Van Zandbergen, and spends the rest of the time battering away at a keyboard in the sleepy South African coastal village of Wilderness.
PART ONE GENERAL INFORMATION
Chapter 1 Background Information
Geography, Climate, Natural history and conservation, History, Government and politics, Economy, People, Language, Religion, Education, Culture
Chapter 2 Practical Information
When to visit, Highlights and suggested itineraries, Tour operators, Red tape, Getting there and away, Maps and tourist information, Health, Security and safety, What to take, Money and budgeting, Getting around, Accommodation, Eating and drinking, Public holidays and festivals, Shopping, Arts and entertainment, Outdoor pursuits, Media and communications, Business, Buying property, Cultural etiquette, Interacting with local people, Travelling positively
PART TWO THE GUIDE
Chapter 3 Skopje
History, Getting there and away, Getting around, Tourist information, Where to stay, Where to eat and drink, Entertainment and nightlife, Shopping, Other practicalities, Activities, What to see and do, Around Skopje
Chapter 4 Polog and Mavrovo
Tetovo, Popova Sapka ski resort and mountain range, Gostivar, Mavrovo National Park, Debar, Around Debar, Kicevo
Chapter 5 Lake Ohrid and Galicica National Park
Ohrid town, The lakeshore south of Ohrid, Galicica National Park, Struga, Other short trips
from Ohrid and Struga
Chapter 6 Pelagonia, Prespa and Pelister
Bitola, Pelister National Park, Lake Prespa, Prilep, Around Prilep, Krusevo
Chapter 7 The Lower Vardar and Tikves Winelands
Veles, Stobi Ruins, Negotino, Kavadarci, Demir Kapija, Valandovo, Gevgelija, Kozuf ski resort, Lake Dojran
Chapter 8 Stip, Strumica and the Southeast
Stip, Kocani, Delcevo, Berovo, Strumica, Around Strumica
Chapter 9 Kumanovo and the Northeast Highlands
Kumanovo, East from Kumanovo, Kriva Palanka, Kratovo, Around Kratovo
Appendix 1 Language
Appendix 2 Glossary
Appendix 3 Further Information