Do you want to get the best experience from spending one day in Skopje?
The capital of North Macedonia is Skopje, which is an interesting mix of old and new. If you only have a day, you might wonder if you can really get to know this Balkan gem. So, how to spend one day in Skopje?
There is a great variety of old and new styles in Skopje. You can see old buildings from the Ottoman era, new buildings with fancy designs, and modern buildings from the socialist era.
As you walk through the city, you’ll smell good food from local shops, hear sounds from churches and mosques, and see a lively mix of old and new culture.
In this post, I’ll show you all the best parts of this (in my eyes) fascinating city – that I loved to visit – and give you a detailed plan for a day trip that you’ll never forget.
Let’s dive in together!
Your 1-Day Skopje Itinerary
This 1-day itinerary is a great mix of sightseeing, places to eat and how to get the maximum out of your stay in this beautiful city!
- Morning – Start at the Macedonia Square.
Start your day at Macedonia Square, which is in the busy center of Skopje. Walk around, look at the beautiful statues and buildings, and take pictures of the famous Alexander the Great statue.
- Breakfast at Slatkarnica Sara
After you’ve looked around the square, head to Slatkarnica Sara, a well-known bakery with a wide range of tasty sweets.
Here, you can start your day with a filling breakfast of Burek, a flaky pastry filled with cheese, meat, or spinach, and a strong cup of Turkish coffee (or some nice tea).
- Mid-Morning – Visit the Old Bazaar and Stone Bridge
After breakfast, head to the Old Bazaar, which is an old market. With its maze-like streets and many shops, it shows how Skopje used to be.
You can shop for some traditional gifts or just look at the old buildings. Then, walk across the famous Stone Bridge, which leads to the Old Bazaar from the square.
- Lunch at Destan
You can’t miss Destan, a restaurant in the Old Bazaar where you can eat lunch. There are many Macedonian meals on the menu. Try their traditional Macedonian food, Tave Grave, which is made from fresh beans and cooked in a clay pot.
- Afternoon – Visit the Skopje Fortress and the Museum of Macedonia
After lunch, you can hike up to the old Kale Fortress to see a wide view of the city. Then, go to the Museum of Macedonia, which has a lot of things that tell the story of the country’s past and culture.
- Evening: Enjoy the Art Bridge and visit the Mother Teresa Memorial House
As the day ends and night comes, go to the lovely Art Bridge. Afterwards, you can visit the Mother Teresa Memorial House, which is a tribute to Skopje’s most well-known local.
- Dinner at Amigos
You can end your day at Amigos, a restaurant near the river Vardar. They have a lot of different dishes to choose from, but the classic Macedonian grill dishes are a must. You can also choose from a great range of local drinks.
This plan gives you a good mix of historical exploration, cultural experience, and delicious food to make sure your one day in Skopje is well-spent!
Where to stay in Skopje?
Skopje has a wide range of places to stay that fit the needs and budgets of all kinds of travelers. The City Center is a great place to stay if you like to be in the middle of things.
It has a variety of hotels, hostels, and apartments so you can walk to most of the best places for tourists. Also, the city’s busy scene lets you see what it’s like after the sun goes down.
If you want peace and quiet, you might want to stay in Debar Maalo, a quiet neighborhood with lush parks and cute houses.
Here, you can relax after a day of exploring by going to one of the many restaurants that serve both local and foreign food and getting some great food.
There a two great options for you to stay in Debar Maalo. The first one is called Bohemian Paradice and the second great option is called Moodeight Apartments. You can reserve your spot below
What is Skopje famous for?
North Macedonia’s capital city is known for a lot of things that make it a unique and interesting place to visit.
- Diverse Architecture: Skopje is known for its wide range of architectural styles, which reflect the city’s long and varied past.
In the Old Bazaar, you can find mosques and markets from the Ottoman era, Brutalist buildings from the socialist era, and grand neoclassical buildings from the recent ‘Skopje 2014’ project, which aimed to boost national pride and tourists.
- Monuments and statues: The city has a lot of monuments and statues, including the huge statue of Alexander the Great in Macedonia Square, which is called Warrior on a Horse by the people who live there.
The city’s many figures have been praised for their beauty and criticized for how much they cost and what they say about history.
- Mother Teresa: she was born in the city of Skopje. She was a Roman Catholic nun who won the Nobel Peace Prize.
In the city center, the Mother Teresa Memorial House has a display of relics and photos to remember her life and the good things she did for people.
- The Old Bazaar: The Old Bazaar is one of the oldest and biggest markets in the Balkans. It is a lively place with shops, tea rooms, art workshops, and mosques.
It’s a great place to learn about the Ottoman history of the city, buy souvenirs, and try Macedonian food. It reminded me a lot of Sarajevo.
- The Kale Fortress: You have a beautiful view over the city and shows some of the city’s Byzantine history. Even though much of the castle is in ruins, the walls give you a great view of Skopje.
- Music & Culture: Skopje is also known for its many music and culture festivals, such as the Skopje Summer Festival, the Jazz Festival, and the Skopje Film Festival, which take place throughout the year.
Artists, singers, and filmmakers from all over the world come to these events, which add to the cultural life of the city.
- Vardar River: The Vardar River cuts the city in half, separating the old, historic part from the new administration and business center. The riverside is one of the most important places in Skopje.
It has a number of bridges, including the famous Stone Bridge.
Skopje is a place where the old and the new, the East and the West, and tradition and modernity all meet. Even though Skopje has had a rough history, or maybe because of it, it is a very interesting place to visit.
Is 1 day enough for Skopje?
Even though you might not be able to see everything this lively city has to offer in one day, you can still get a good idea of what makes it special.
With careful planning, you can see the city’s major sights, try the local food, and feel the city’s busy energy.
But if you have more time, spending more days in Skopje will give you a chance to see the less-visited parts of the city in more depth.
You can also make a day-trip to Lake Matka by bus and explore the natural beauty that the surroundings of Skopje have to offer. It will take you about half an hour but it’s definitely worth it!
Is it worth visiting Skopje?
Yes, without a doubt! Skopje is an interesting and exciting city.
It is an interesting place to visit off the beaten path because of its interesting past, mix of architectural styles, lively culture, and delicious food.
Skopje is full of things to do, whether you’re interested in history, art, or food. There’s something for everyone!
Is Skopje safe to visit?
Yes, Skopje is usually safe for tourists, just like the rest of North Macedonia. The city has a low crime rate, and serious crimes against tourists, in particular, are rare.
Most people who live in Skopje are friendly and open, which makes the city feel safe and comfortable for tourists.
But, just like in any other place in the world, it’s important to take some general safety precautions:
- Personal Items: Keep an eye out for your personal items, especially in busy places like the city market or on public transportation, where pickpocketing can happen.
- Documents for Travel: Always keep a copy of your important documents, like your passport, visa, and ID, in a safe place in case you lose the originals.
- Local Laws and Customs: Follow the laws and customs of the place you are in. Macedonians are usually nice and welcoming, but it’s important to know and accept their cultural norms.
- Travel Insurance: It’s a good idea to get travel insurance that covers theft, loss, and medical problems for the length of your trip.
- Emergency lines: Know what the emergency lines are in your area. In North Macedonia, the number to call in case of an emergency is 112.
- Safety at night: If you’re out late, stay in well-lit places with other people and think about taking a car/uber/taxi instead of walking if you feel uncertain.
Skopje has a well-developed tourist infrastructure, and most hotels and tourist spots have staff who know English. By taking these common travel steps, you can make sure your trip to Skopje is safe and fun.
Can I use euros in Skopje?
Not really. The Macedonian denar is the official currency used in North Macedonia.
Some bigger stores and hotels may take euros, but most small shops, local markets and public transport use the local currency, the denar.
There are ATMs all over the city, and credit cards are accepted almost everywhere. However, it is helpful to have some local cash on hand.
The Wrap-Up: One Day in Skopje
Skopje is in the middle of the Balkans and has a rich mix of history, culture, and city life. In just one day, you can walk around its lively squares, learn about its long past, try its delicious food, and talk to the friendly locals.
The city’s magnetic appeal makes you want to explore and makes sure you have a trip to remember.
So, put on your walking shoes, grab your camera, and get ready for an exciting day in Skopje!
In case you come by car, check out my blog about driving in North Macedonia.
Your restless voyager,