Skopje

Macedonian mountains

Macedonian mountains

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Macedonia is bursting with hills and mountains and is a land where dreary flat countryside and plateaus absorb a mere 20 percent of the total area within its borders. With an average elevation of around 850m and snowfall at higher altitudes smothering the terrain from between approximately November and April, the list of things to see and do in the clean mountain air is almost endless and is guaranteed to keep everyone from hardcore snowboarders to serious birdwatchers fascinated and entertained for weeks on end. The country’s highest mountain, Korab, straddles the Albanian border in the northwest and stands a magnificent 2,764m on the very western edge of the Šar Mountains, which along with the Pelagonia mountain range in the south and southwest of the country form Macedonia’s two main mountainous regions. With no pun intended, the following four mini guides represent the very tip of the iceberg of what the Macedonian mountains have to offer visitors. For those not arriving in the country with their own gear, ski equipment rental is available pretty much everywhere with most of the hotels listed here able to help out with this and much more besides. Both of the companies listed in this guide that offer guided tours can provide expert advice and any kind of package for thrill-seekers wanting to explore the beauty of Macedonia’s most beautiful natural assets.

Berovo

Close to the border with Bulgaria approximately 180km east of Skopje and officially the sunniest town in Macedonia, the charming and fascinating historical town of Berovo is perched around 1,000m up a mountain and some 900m above sea level. Famed for its lake, craft traditions and the local eponymous cheese, Berovo offers visitors a mild climate for the altitude and an extraordinary wealth of ancient sites to visit whilst in the region in general. Ideal for a short weekend break away from the chaos and dirt of the city, arguably the best gem here is the Monastery of the Holy Archangel Michael, a gorgeous ensemble of buildings constructed over the last couple of hundred centuries that’s open to visits all year round. Although there’s no winter sports here, the surrounding mountains provide plenty of opportunities for visitors to hike, ride mountain bikes and explore the unspoilt nature.

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