6 Essential and 7 Practical Travel Tips for Visiting Skopje, FYROM

Text & photos Copyright © Estrella Azul

AS MENTIONED IN MY previous travel story, Discovering Skopje’s Ottoman Influences, I have never visited a city quite like Skopje.

I learned so much about the capital of FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), most of it while walking Skopje’s streets, I’ve decided to compile a list of tips to help you when you visit.

Alice in Wonderland scene in Gradski Park

1. Let’s start with the most important thing: registration.

Foreigners spending even one night at an address anywhere in Macedonia are required to register their place of residence within 24 hours of arrival.

You’ll also need to “check out” before leaving, going through the same procedure.

This procedure should be followed even if you have dual citizenship, one of them being Macedonian.

The fine can be pretty steep for not being able to present this paper with your arrival/leaving date at the state border if asked for it and also results in being banned from the country for a year. You can read more in this Tripadvisor thread:

Registration with police for foreigners

Make sure to ask your host about this before you arrive as not everyone takes care of this for you. Registration is usually completed as part of check-in at hotels, but not all of them do it.

I’m happy the host from our accommodation was on top of his legal knowledge; he took care of this for us and we got to simply enjoy ourselves.

Piano benches in Frederic Chopin Park

2. If you’re a European Union resident, you can cross the border with just your ID card.

If you have a passport as well, do bring it with you. It comes in handy for certain things, as mentioned in #3 below.

Immortal Actors in front of
the Macedonian National Theater

3. The national currency is Macedonian denar.

If you want to exchange currency, be aware that a passport might be needed in certain establishments. However, we did find places to exchange with only our ID cards.

Skopje is attractive for kids, too

4. Younger people generally speak English, at least on a conversational level.

In touristy places and venues everyone speaks English. However, using only a few phrases and hand gestures, you’ll get along well even with the citizens who don’t speak English.

Cevahir Towers

5. Skopje is very affordable.

One of the selling points for my deciding to visit was hearing that it’s cheap. It truly is. From museum admission, clothes in the bazaars, spices, drinks, souvenirs, sweets and pastry shops, to traditional restaurants and even fancier meals, everything was really cheap.

Clever front door handle of a watches shop

6. Try to find accommodation near the city center.

Skopje had the cheapest room prices I’ve seen so far while planning a trip, and you’ll be able to walk basically everywhere. From the property we stayed at (on Tsrvena Voda street), we reached the city center in about 15 minutes, the old bazaar in 20 minutes, the mall in 20 minutes, and there was a bus stop less than 5 minutes away.

Cycle parking stands next to a local bank

7. Rent a bike if you can.

Renting a bike is a good idea if you want to advance faster than simply walking. There are numerous cycle parking stands near the major landmarks and all over the city.

8. Skopje’s neighborhoods provide good eating at convenient hours.

There are 24/7 bakeries, pastries shops and groceries stores or mini markets around in most neighborhoods.

Double-decker buses run regular routes in Skopje

9. Any bus trip costs 35 denars ($0,7 at the time of writing this).

This means within the city, and even if the bus goes outside of the city (for example to visit Matka Canyon, 16 kilometers from Skopje’s city center).

The tallest desk lamp I have ever seen, on the corner of Dimitrie Chupovski and 8 Udarna Brigada streets

10. Avoid getting towed.

If you do use your car while visiting, make sure to park legally and pay for your parking. On several days we saw a “pack” of four tow trucks roaming the city center picking up illegally parked cars. It literally took them less than a minute to pick up a car and they were gone with it. Even when a driver came out to move his car after they’d lifted it, they simply handed the driver the fine and drove off.

Pirate ship cafes, restaurants and hotels on the Vardar River

11. When visiting a mosque, be respectful of the religion.

Don’t go in during mass unless invited, take off/leave your shoes on the porch before entering, and keep your head covered regardless of gender. If you don’t have one handy, use one of the many scarves kept on hooks near the entrance.

If tired, opt for a carriage ride

12. Christmas is celebrated on January 7.

The Macedonian Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar, which is 14 days behind. Now that you know this you won’t have to feel strange if someone in Skopje greets you with “Merry Christmas” in January.

If you visit during December, however, you won’t have to worry about not feeling the Christmas spirit. From around the middle of the month the city is decorated with holiday lights, shop windows are decked out and Christmas markets start being set up.

Christmastime decorations downtown Skopje

13. You may need a car for some of it.

Most of the city is very beautiful, and most touristy places are well maintained, but some sites might not be worth it unless you have a car (for example Scupi, the Skopje Aqueduct and Macedonian Village, in my opinion). I will tell you about these in an upcoming article.

Hope the above tips come in handy while planning your trip to Skopje. I promise you will not regret choosing to visit!


Estrella in the Greek Amphitheatre ruins, Taormina, Sicily

Estrella Azul is a young emerging writer, passionate about reading, floral art and photography, with an artistic personality and a soulful outlook on life. She is a Hungarian girl living and writing from Cluj-Napoca, Romania, the capital of historical region Transylvania. Estrella is our European correspondent, she currently serves as the photo editor here at Milliver’s Travels, and she dreams of embarking on a round-the-world trip. To read more of her creative writing, her thoughts and daily happenings, visit Life’s a stage – WebBlog©. Read more of her stories on Milliver’s Travels by visiting Estrella’s story index.

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