Located in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula, Skopje is the capital of North Macedonia and steeped in history and tradition. It offers around 270 days of sunshine a year, which makes it perfect for taking in the beautiful architecture or hiking up the trails of nearby Mount Vodno.
Skopje went through a massive transformation after it was devastated by a earthquake in 1963. After most of its historic monuments were destroyed, the government repopulated the city with almost 300 statues and an abundance of Brutalist buildings. Arguably the most famous of these additions is the statue of ‘Warrior on a Horse’, which depicts Alexander the Great and takes pride of place in the centre of Macedonia Square. Fortunately, some key remnants of the city’s captivating past did survive, most notably the 6th-century Kale Fortress and 15th-century Stone Bridge which spans the Vardar River. You’ll also come across Byzantine churches and the remains of a Roman aqueduct.
The North Macedonian capital is an ideal spot to sample some tasty national dishes such as burek (pastries filled with ground meat, cheese or spinach), sarma (stuffed cabbage rolls) or tavche gravche (baked beans). The best place to dine is in the tree-lined neighbourhood of Debar Maalo where many good local restaurants can be found.
The Old Bazaar is arguably Skopje’s most charming spot, with a maze of winding lanes dotted with teahouses and handicraft stores. This is the place to pick up the perfect souvenir such as some traditional jewellery or clothing.