Galičnik north macedonia road

Driving in North Macedonia: Everything you need to know!

Thinking of a road-trip but having questions about driving in North Macedonia?

When you travel to a new place, you feel excited, curious, and maybe even a little scared. North Macedonia is one of these interesting places that has a mix of culture, history, and beautiful scenery. But what about driving in North Macedonia?

North Macedonia is in the middle of the Balkan Peninsula. It has a special charm that comes from its long history, the natural beauty of its scenery, the charm of its old cities, and the variety of its delicious foods.

But one thing that makes exploring this country stand out is the freedom and pure joy of going through its beautiful landscapes, which are like a treasure chest full of surprises and wonders around every corner.

Before you start your big road trip through North Macedonia, let’s make sure you know everything you need to know to have a smooth and fun trip.

Is it safe to drive in North Macedonia?

Safety is the most important thing if you’re planning to drive in a different country. In general, North Macedonia is a safe place for drivers, so don’t worry.

Even in the most remote areas, most of its roads, from highways to local streets, are well-kept and have good signs.

Still, it’s important to keep in mind that you should be careful in certain situations. For example, some roads may not have enough lights at night, and mountain roads may be hard to travel in the winter because of heavy snowfall and ice.

Road in Radika in driving in North Macedonia
Road in Radika

To make sure you drive safely, it’s best to be cautious and keep up with the weather forecast and road conditions.

Car Rental in Skopje

It could very well be that you don’t have your own car of that you’re flying directly to Macedonia’s largest airport in Skopje. But don’t worry, I can wholeheartedly recommend renting a car from Discover Cars for the best service and experience!

You can click on the link below to find the car you desire in Skopje and start enjoying your road-trip:

Car Rental at Skopje Airport!

Driving in Macedonia requirements

So, what do you need to think of? Like most countries, North Macedonia has set certain rules for both local and foreign drivers. If you want to drive on the beautiful roads of this Balkan country, you should know the following:

  • Valid Driver’s Licence: Everyone who drives needs a valid driver’s licence. International travellers can use their driving licence from their home country, but it must be written in Latin script or come with an International Driving Permit (IDP) if it is written in a language other than Latin.
  • International Driving Permit (IDP): Even though it’s not required, it’s a good idea to carry an IDP along with your regular licence. The IDP acts as a translator, which is especially helpful if your original licence was written in a language other than Latin.

    Please remember that you have to apply for an IDP before you leave your home country.
  • Registration and Insurance: If you bring your own car, you must have the original registration papers and proof that you are covered by insurance. For hired cars, these will be provided by the rental company.
  • Rental Requirements: Rental agencies often have extra requirements. Usually, you as the renter, must be at least 21 years old (sometimes even 25), have a current driver’s license, and have a credit card for the security deposit.
  • Equipment for the car: Macedonian law says that every car needs to have certain safety things. Think of a first-aid bag, a reflective vest, a warning triangle, and headlamp beam deflectors are some of these things. When you rent a car in your area, it will usually come with these things.
  • Tolls: In North Macedonia, there are tolls on a number of roads and motorways. For these payments, make sure you have cash (Macedonian Denar) on hand. Some rental cars might have gadgets that automatically take the toll.
  • Vignette: A vignette is a type of road tax that your car needs if you want to use highways and motorways. Most of the time, the sticker is included when you rent a car in North Macedonia. If not, or if you are driving your own car, you will have to buy one.

If you know about and follow these rules, you will not only be following Macedonian law, but you will also be able to drive more smoothly and with less stress.

What is the legal age to drive in Macedonia?

In North Macedonia, you have to be 18 years old to drive a car. So, you can drive in Macedonia if you are at least 18 years old and have a legal driver’s license.

But it’s important to keep in mind that rental car companies may have different rules about age, as stated above.

Usually, renters have to be at least 21 or 25 years old, and in some cases, they may want a certain number of years of driving experience.

Do you need an international drivers license in North Macedonia?

Even though it’s not required, it’s a good idea to have an International Driving Permit (IDP) when you drive in North Macedonia, especially if your national driving licence is not in English or is written in a language other than Latin.

An IDP is a version of your driver’s licence that is recognised all over the world. It can come in very handy during traffic stops or if something bad happens.

What side of the road do you drive on in Macedonia?

Like most of Europe, North Macedonia drives on the right side of the road. This means that you drive on the right side of the road. Because of this, the driver’s seat and buttons are on the left side of a car.

For people who are used to driving on the left, it may take some time and practise to get used to driving on the right. However, if you drive carefully and pay attention, you can get used to it quickly.

What is the fine for speeding in North Macedonia?

North Macedonia is very strict about following traffic laws, and speeding is treated very badly. The country has a system of graduated fines, which means that the amount of the fine goes up depending on how bad the speed limit violation was.

If you drive faster than the limit:

  • The fine can be anywhere from 20 to 50 Euros if your speed is over 20 km/h.
  • The fine can go up to between 50 and 100 Euros between 21 and 40 km/h.
  • Fines range from 100 to 150 Euros for speeds between 41 and 60 km/h.
  • If you go over the speed limit by more than 60 km/h, it is a crime and you could be prosecuted.
  • Also, drivers who are caught speeding more than once could have their licences temporarily taken away. If someone goes over the speed limit by more than 60 km/h, they could also go to jail.

Fines are certainly a reason not to go over the speed limit, but safety is the most important reason to do so. Keeping your speed below the limit protects you, your guests, and other people on the road.

What is the speed limit in Macedonia?

Different places and types of roads in North Macedonia have different speed limits. In most cities and towns, the speed limit is 50 km/h.

Outside of cities, the speed limit goes up to 80 km/h on open roads and to 120 km/h on motorways. But these are just general rules.

Speed limits could be different in some places. Always pay attention to the signs that say how fast you can go.

Can you drink alcohol in North Macedonia?

Even though North Macedonia has great wines and spirits, it takes drinking and driving very seriously and has strict laws against it.

The legal limit for the amount of alcohol in your blood (BAC) is 0.05%.

If you get caught and you’re found to have a BAC that is higher than this limit, you could face major consequences, such as fines, the loss of your license, or even jail time.

Visiting North Macedonia: FAQs

If you’re planning a road-trip through North Macedonia, the information will help you prepare for your adventure!

Is North Macedonia good for a holiday?

North Macedonia is a great place to go on vacation because it has a great mix of history, nature, and food. The beautiful lake and old buildings in the city of Ohrid, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, make it a must-see.

In Skopje, the country’s capital, there is an interesting mix of old and new. Old buildings from the Ottoman era stand next to new buildings.


North Macedonia is a great place for people who love nature. There are several national parks in the country where you can walk, ride a bike or just enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Another great thing about North Macedonia is its food, which is a delicious mix of Mediterranean and Balkan flavours.

How many days are enough for North Macedonia?

How long it takes to see a country depends a lot on the person and what they want to do there, but a week is a good starting point for North Macedonia.

This gives you plenty of time to see the most important sights, like Skopje, Ohrid, and the amazing natural beauty of places like Matka Canyon, as well as to learn about the local culture, food, and wine.

Lake Matka
Lake Matka

But if you only have a short amount of time, a well-planned 3–4 day trip can still let you see the best of North Macedonia.

Is it cheap in North Macedonia?

North Macedonia isn’t so expensive compared to many other European countries.

There are both high-end hotels and hostels for people on a budget, and the food is delicious and not too expensive.

Public transportation is fast and cheap, but if you want to drive, you can rent a car and get gas for a low price as well.

What is the best currency to use in Macedonia?

The currency of North Macedonia is the Macedonian Denar (MKD). It’s best to have local cash on hand for small costs, like bus rides or meals at local restaurants.

But credit cards are generally accepted for bigger purchases, such as hotel bills or meals at high-end restaurants.

The Wrap-Up: Driving in North Macedonia

Driving in North Macedonia gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore the country at your own pace, find its secret gems, and really get to know its culture.

But it’s important to keep in mind that driving in a foreign country is a big responsibility that should be done carefully and with respect for the local rules and customs.

In the end, your trip through North Macedonia’s beautiful landscapes, busy towns, quiet lakes, and historic sites is sure to be something you’ll never forget.

And now that you have this guide, you are ready to start your trip to Macedonia. Have a safe trip, and enjoy it!

Are you on a road-trip and also have questions about driving in neighboring countries? Check out my posts about driving in Albania or Croatia!

Your restless voyager,


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