Macedonia - Off the Beaten Track

A hiking holiday in Macedonia - one of Europe`s last frontiers




From $1,140 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Trek to Titov Vrv 2747m - the highest point of the Shar Planina
  • Time to explore UNESCO-listed Ohrid and charming capital of Skopje
  • Hike to the summit of Magaro 2255m in Galicica National Park
  • Spectacular views to Mt Olympos in Greece from Golem Krchin

Macedonia is one of the last frontiers of Europe and its mountainous landscape offers real adventures for anyone looking for something completely different!  Macedonia - Off The Beaten Track offers some superb hiking in the mountains scattered across the west of Macedonia.  Here, we encounter vibrant forest, spectacular cliffs and thundering waterfalls and, if we are lucky, spot some of the country's wildlife, such as fox, lynx and eagle.  The country is incredibly special on account of its cultural heritage and in some of the country’s stunning and remote locations we come across beautiful Orthodox monasteries and ornate churches dating back for over a thousand years, with well-preserved mosaics, frescoes and stunning woodcarvings.  Our adventure begins in the compact and eclectic capital city of Skopje, from where we journey into the majestic Shar Planina Mountain Range, with the objective of climbing the highest peak, Titov Vrv (2747m).  From here we move to the Mavrovo National Park and trek to the top of Medenica (2166m).  There are far-reaching views from each of these summits, extending into Albania and beyond.  Next we tackle Golem Krchin (2345m) also in the picturesque Mavrovo region and from this peak on a clear day the views extend to Mount Olympos in Greece!  Driving south to the beautiful and atmospheric lakeside city of Ohrid, the ‘Jerusalem of the Balkans', we have a sightseeing day and a chance to see some of its 365 churches.  A final day's walk in Galicica and a trek to the top of Magaro (2255m) rounds off this fantastic Balkan adventure!

Is this holiday for you?

This holiday in Macedonia includes 5 days of hiking and starts out with an introductory hike from the summit of Mt Vodno through the Matka Canyon.  The other 4 day-hikes are longer and the ascents of Titov Vrv and Golem Krchin on Day 3 and Day 5, respectively, will be long days of up to 8 hours (including stops).  The walking is on a mix of forest trails and open moorland, with easy and slightly rockier trails at the highest elevations.  There is a free day in Ohrid on Day 6 which includes a morning of city touring, largely on foot.  This is a real walking holiday for regular weekend hikers.


Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Skopje. A single timed transfer from Skopje Airport is provided.
  • Cable car to summit of Mt Vodno (1066m). Superb ridge walk to Matka Canyon. Transfer to Popova Shapka.
  • Walk along the Vakafska trail towards the summit of Mt Titov Vrv (2747m). Transfer to Mavroro.
  • Superb walk to the summit of Mt Medenica (2166m), highest point of Bistra Massif. Transfer to Mavrovo.
  • Spectacular walk to the summit of Golem Krchin (2345m). Transfer to the pretty town of Ohrid.
  • Day at leisure to explore the lakeside town of Orchid.
  • Walk in Galicia National Park to the summit of Mt Magaro (2255m). Transfer to Skopje.
  • Departure day. Morning tour of Skopje. A single timed transfer to Skopje Airport is provided.
Sun 29 May - Sun 05 Jun Code MAC /01/16/ Adult$1,140 Status Guaranteed Book now
Sun 19 Jun - Sun 26 Jun Code MAC /02/16/ Adult$1,140 Status Available Book now
Sun 21 Aug - Sun 28 Aug Code MAC /03/16/ Adult$1,140 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sun 11 Sep - Sun 18 Sep Code MAC /04/16/ Adult$1,140 Status Available Book now
Sun 28 May - Sun 04 Jun Code MAC /01/17/ Adult$1,140 Status Available Book now
We sell this holiday on a Land Only basis and recommend that you book your flights to Skopje Airport. A group transfer is provided to the first night's accommodation in Skopje. Please refer to Joining Arrangements and Transfers in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

If flying from the UK there are a number of airlines offering flights to Skopje. These include the low-cost airline Wizz Air who have flights from London Luton. Click on the 'Flight information' link below for further information on booking low cost airlines.

Alternatively if you would prefer to book a 'Flight Inclusive Package' using scheduled airlines from the UK please contact our flights department for a quote. Whilst flight prices are likely to be more expensive you will benefit from full financial protection.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • peaks
  • trip direction
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Skopje. A single timed transfer from Skopje Airport is provided.

    Rendezvous at the group hotel in Skopje. KE Land Only package services begin with the single group transfer from Skopje Airport in the very late evening.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals d

  • Cable car to summit of Mt Vodno (1066m). Superb ridge walk to Matka Canyon. Transfer to Popova Shapka.

    After breakfast we'll have a full briefing on the week ahead before we take a short transfer to Mt Vodno, close to Skopje. We'll take the cable car to the summit at 1066m from where there are spectacular views of
    Skopje and beyond. From the summit we'll hike to Matka Canyon, following one of Mt Vodno's ridges. There are some important cultural landmarks en route, including the 17th century Monastery of St Nikola Shishevski which sits in a spectacular location beside the waters of the canyon. At the end of our hike we'll take a boat across Matka Lake to St Andreja Monastery. We'll take lunch in the village of Shishevo before continuing on to the Shar Planina area. We'll make a stop on the way to visit the painted Mosque of Tetovo which is remarkable for its elaborately decorated facade. This evening we will stay in hotel accommodation in the mountain resort of Popova Shapka.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

    • Time 4 hrs walking

  • Walk along the Vakafska trail towards the summit of Mt Titov Vrv (2747m). Transfer to Mavroro.

    Leaving our mountain hotel on foot we have an early start for a long but rewarding trek along the Vakafska trail. Over the next 20km our well-paced walk follows high scenic pastures, moorlands and panoramic
    rest points as we enjoy the ascent towards to the peak of Mt Titov Vrv (2747m). With it’s steep sided slopes and narrow ridge summit, we can expect to be rewarded with glorious views across the Shar Mountains into
    neighbouring north-eastern Albania and into Kosovo on this demanding day of trekking. Our afternoon descent leads us back to the town of Popova Shapka where we meet our vehicle and drive onto our hotel accommodation in Mavroro. We'll take dinner in a local restaurant, nicely rounding off this rewarding day of hiking.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 1140m

    • Distance 22km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1140m

    • Time 10 hrs walking

  • Superb walk to the summit of Mt Medenica (2166m), highest point of Bistra Massif. Transfer to Mavrovo.

    This morning we take a short vehicle transfer to the trailhead where we begin our walk. We ascend steeply across flowery grasslands to reach our objective for the a nearby farm where we enjoy a nice picnic lunch hosted by local farmers before returning to Galicnik. From here it's downhill all the way to Jance where there is the chance to stop off for traditional mountain tea and
    cakes (not included) at an ecohotel. From here we board our vehicle and transfer back to our hotel in Mavrovo. day, Mt Medenica (2166m), the highest point of the Bistra Massif. The trail eventually reaches more open and rocky terrain, and we will stop to enjoy glorious views of Mt Korab - the highest peak in Albania which sits on the border with Macedonia (2764m). From the
    summit on a clear day one can see Lake Mavroro. We descend through meadows of flowers and livestock and then onto a rocky trail as we make our way down to the village of Galicnik. From here we take our vehicle to a nearby farm where we enjoy a nice picnic lunch hosted by local farmers
    before returning to Galicnik. From here it's downhill all the way to Jance where there is the chance to stop off for traditional mountain tea at an ecohotel. From here we board our vehicle and transfer back to our hotel in Mavrovo.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 690m

    • Distance 17km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1500m

    • Time 5 hrs walking

  • Spectacular walk to the summit of Golem Krchin (2345m). Transfer to the pretty town of Ohrid.

    After a short drive we arrive at the village of Bitushe and begin our hike for the day. Following a path from the village we ascend through lush woodland to reach more alpine terrain via a traverse trail. We reach a small church where take a rest before making our final push to the summit of Mt Golem Krchin (2345m), which straddles the Albania and Macedonia border. Views from this rugged mountain top stretch across to the peaks of Karadzica, Pelister and even Mt Olympus in Greece. We
    make our descent via a different route to the village of Rostushe - the trail winds down through meadows and alpine pasture to the beech forest before meeting our vehicle. From here we transfer to the town of Ohrid, stopping on the way to make a visit to the historic
    monastery of St. Jovan Bigorski. Dedicated to St. John the Baptist, the monastery was originally constructed in the 11th century and is famed for one the most beautiful and valuable wood-carved icons.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 1390m

    • Distance 15km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1390m

    • Time 7 hrs walking

  • Day at leisure to explore the lakeside town of Orchid.

    Located on the Eastern shore of Lake Ohrid and set against a magnificent mountain backdrop, today we take a well-earned break from walking and explore this fairy-tale town. One of the oldest human settlements in Europe, Ohrid has become an important cultural and
    spiritual centre. Boasting 365 churches (one for each day of the year) we enjoy visiting a number of cultural and natural sites this morning which includes picture postcard views across the town and lake from the
    Roman Amphitheatre, a visit to Tsar Samuel’s fortress and enjoy lunch in the old town. With the afternoon free, Lake Ohrid has a number of public beaches where you can relax and take a swim. Alternatively you may prefer to visit the oldest Slav monastery of St Pantelejmon, view some of the 800 Byzantine icons or simply wander the cobbled streets and soak up the historic atmosphere. Dinner will be taken at a local restaurant on
    the shores of Lake Ohrid.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Walk in Galicia National Park to the summit of Mt Magaro (2255m). Transfer to Skopje.

    Sitting between Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa, we take a morning hike to the summit of Mount Magaro (2255m), the highest point in Galicia National Park. Heading up through a forest trail we steadily gain height to reach wonderful views of the lake and the town of Ohrid below. Known for its variety of flora, our guide will help identify some of the 1000 species found within the national park. Continuing our ascent along a straight forward trail we reach the summit of Magaro and have wonderful panoramic views of Albania and Lake Prespa to the East and Lake Ohrid to the West. Descending to the trailhead we join our transfer vehicle for the short drive to the town of Trpejca where we'll take lunch at a
    restaurant on the shores of Lake Ohrid before making our return journey to Skopje (4 hours). On arrival in the early evening we will check into our hotel and enjoy dinner in the city.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 680m

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 733m

    • Time 3 hrs walking

  • Departure day. Morning tour of Skopje. A single timed transfer to Skopje Airport is provided.

    In the morning we’ll take a sightseeing tour of Skopje, taking in the statues and monuments of old and new Skopje including the memorial dedicated to Mother Theresa, Alexander the Great's Fountain and the old
    Turkish quarter. We’ll enjoy a final traditional Macedonian lunch together, perhaps tasting delicious local dishes such as Tavce Gravce (bean stew) and locally produced wines and spirits. In the early to mid-afternoon there will be a single-timed transfer to the airport. KE Land Only package services end after the transfer.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • English-speaking local guide
  • Group airport transfers
  • All accommodation as described in the trip dossier
  • All meals
  • All land transport required by the itinerary
  • National park entrance fees
  • All excursions mentioned in the itinerary.

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas if applicable
  • Airport taxes
  • Airport transfers other than group transfers
  • Extra activities and excursions
  • Tips for local staff
  • Miscellaneous personal expenditure

This holiday has 7 nights staying in comfortable tourist-orientated hotel and lodge accommodation. 2 nights in Skopje, 1 night in Popova Shapka, 2 nights in Mavrova and 2 nights in Ohrid. All accommodation is based on twin sharing, or occasionally triple sharing. If you are travelling by yourself, you will be paired with another solo traveller of the same sex.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

All meals are included, from breakfast on Day 2 to lunch on Day 8. Lunches will be either a lunch box provided by the hotel, or we may stop at a cafe or restaurant on our route.

With a mix of Balkan, Turkish and European influences, Macedonian food can be brilliant. In the hotels breakfast are continental style, with cereals, bread and jam, tea, coffee and sometimes eggs.  You may also have the chance to try a more traditional Macedonian breakfast of eggs, tomato and feta.  At the guesthouses, breakfasts are simpler.  Lunches are either a packed lunch or taken in a small local restaurant during the day.  The simple packed lunches will consist of bread and a variety of meats, cheeses, tomatoes and cucumber, fruit and a bottle of water.  However, these will be supplemented during the day with an additional local snack such as pastries and yoghurt or a local cheese and bread etc.  Evening meals include traditional soups, fantastic locally-grown vegetables, local dairy produce and meat dishes.  Water is provided, but very often this is from local wells or mountain streams and is not chlorinated. If you are concerned about drinking untreated water, we suggest you bring a supply of water treatment tablets.

Clients should join this trip at Skopje Airport. A single timed group transfer to first night's hotel in Skopje is provided on Day 1 of the trip itinerary. This transfer will depart from Skopje Airport in the very late evening. At the end of the trip itinerary (Day 8) there will be a single, mid-afternoon group transfer back to Skopje Airport. Clients arriving/departing on flights that do not coincide with the times for these transfers should make their own transfer arrangement. Contact details and an emergency number will be provided.

Hotel contact details together with an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

The group will be accompanied throughout by a professional English-speaking local tour leader.

Approximately £150 should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses including your bar bills and reasonable tips to the support crew.  If you intend to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly (credit cards can be useful in this respect).  Macedonia's unit of currency is the denar.  By far the easiest way to obtain your travel cash is from ATM’s using a credit card or a debit card - remember you will need your PIN number to do this.  ATM’s are available at the airport in Skopje and Ohrid.  Credit cards can be used to purchase goods and services in some shops, hotels and restaurants in Macedonia.

Tips do not form part of the wages of local staff but they are very much appreciated.  It is important to remember that tipping is voluntary and should be dependent on good service.  It is best if the tip is given at the end of the trip by the group as a whole.  We recommend that each group member contributes around £25 and that tips are then distributed between the guide and support staff as the group feels is appropriate.

Baggage will be transported between overnight stops by vehicle, other than on day 5 when it will be transported by mules.  There is no weight restriction other than that imposed by your international carrier but we do ask you to limit your luggage whilst on trek to one piece which weighs no more than 15kgs plus your day pack.  You may leave unwanted items and clothes that you don't need whilst trekking, at the hotel in Skopje for your return.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This holiday does not involve any significant ascent to altitude and we would not expect any altitude issues with this trip.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Hiking boots
  • Socks
  • Trekking trousers / pants
  • Waterproof over-trousers / rain-pants
  • Underwear
  • Base layer shirts (2 short sleeve, 2 long sleeve)
  • Light fleece shirt or mid-layer
  • T-shirts or casual shirts
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
  • Sunhat
  • Fleece hat or balaclava
  • Eyewear - Sunglasses
  • Thermal or fleece gloves
  • Daypack c.30 litres – 1800 cu in
  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
  • Water bottles 1 Litre / 2 pint (x2)
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Travel towel
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Selection of dry bags (to keep trek bag contents dry)
  • Small padlock (to lock your KE kit bag)
  • Basic First Aid Kit, consisting of the following: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium) painkillers, plasters (band aids) and blister treatment, Insect repellent (DEET), and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

The following items are optional:

  • Trainers / sneakers / sandals for after trekking
  • Spare laces
  • Shorts
  • Travel clothes
  • Long johns (thermal leggings)
  • Insect repellant (DEET)
  • Trekking poles
  • Camera, media, batteries
  • Pocket-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
  • Head torch

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa Europe

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa.

You should contact your GP or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella, along with hepatitis A and typhoid. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

The unit of currency in Macedonia is the Macedonian Denar.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on an active holiday getting some additional exercise.  Whilst regular hiking in hill or back country is the best preparation, running, squash and swimming are also good for developing better cardiovascular fitness and stamina.  Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of long walks in hilly country.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

Daytime temperatures in the lower valleys will vary between 20ºC/68ºF and 30ºC/86ºF at the times of year we operate this trip.  The weather in summer is generally excellent - with hot days, clear skies and little rain.  Note that temperatures do drop in the evenings by several degrees.  High up, we may encounter cooler conditions and stormy weather cannot be ruled out at any time of year in this mountainous region.

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Macedonia Map

Macedonia at 1:200,000 on a large map in Freytag & Berndt's "Top 10 Tips" series with the index booklet also providing multilingual descriptions of the country's 10 most interesting locations, plus a street plan of central Skopje. Names of towns and villages are in both Latin and Cyrillic alphabets.

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