The culture in Skopje

Macedonia, throughout the years, has been advertised for its culture – cultural heritage that pays homage to diversity, unity and blend of civilizations. And while culture junkies can enjoy throughout the whole territory of Macedonia there are few bastions of history that bear a lot of cultural heritage. The thing is, while many consider Ohrid to be the prominent Macedonian pearl when it comes to what it has to offer to culture enthusiasts, Skopje can offer just as much.


Number of churches, galleries, museums, buildings that predate grandfathers of ours… Skopje is, just as much as any other capitol, a cultural hub; especially if you take in considerations that a number of civilizations and number of cultures have proliferated here throughout the centuries. Top that by esteemed cultural events, some of which being world renowned music festivals and you can consider booking a longer stay.

What to visit in Skopje if you are interested in culture?

The list goes longer than this article can fit into it. And no surprise there- having in mind that you can visit places that bear witness to ancient culture, some to the period of ottoman invasion and ruling, and others newly build in order to enhance Macedonian heritage, Skopje is a real treasure throve.


Being predominately orthodox, the population here is devoted to religion. The number of churches only attests to this fact. Some of them being built decades back, and others many centuries ago, they are, in a way, a historical and spiritual gallery.

Outside the city, you can also pay visit to those church monasteries near the Matka canyon.

The Kale fortress

Located right above the city center, dating centuries back, it was built primarily as a prison. Remaining almost intact and in its entirety, it is a must see for anyone who is interested in history, especially the ottoman period.


These, though not a must, still reveal some interesting part of history. Some of them built recently in attempt to strengthen Macedonian heritage, allow you to learn Macedonian history with equal pace citizens of Skopje subscribe to.


Most of them, maybe nine out of every ten, were built these last couple of years. Bringing back faces from ancient history and some from the more recent history of the country, their construction was a controversy bringing issue. Now, few years after their placement, they decorate the city and serve to impress foreigners and remind locals of their past.


This is something Skopje is very proud of. Culture at every step, as some would like to say; the Macedonian music scene is a partial reminder of the past. The ethno elements and traditional music are part of the cultural blend that churns in the city. Young generations welcome the mark of the past, and are in fact encouraging it.

So you can see ethno jazz being played throughout the city, while local bands perform gigs in some of the most prestigious clubs. Traditional elements find their way in pop music as well.

Festivals are also huge events in Skopje, especially the May opera evenings, and moreover the Skopje jazz festival. With renowned jazz names from all over the world, this festival brings Skopje cultural weight for decades back.

Some less popular events like Days of Macedonian music are also to be mentioned.

You can also follow the performances of popular Macedonian ethno ensembles, especially Tanec, who devote themselves to bringing back to live traditional Macedonian music, dance and clothing.

Macedonian music can also be enjoyed in many of the popular kafanas around Skopje- dining places, like restaurants, that serve delicious Macedonian food and wine, and Skopje has then many.

The old bazar

The old part of the town, still intact by modern urbanism, is where the old bazar is being located. Dating from ottoman times, it still portrays the spirit of ottoman culture to some extent. Mosques, amams, galleries, between many shops that still promote handicrafts and craftsmanship… The old bazar is definitely a must see if you are staying in Skopje.

Skopje, being the cultural hub it is, has a lot to show. Mixing the old and new, traditional and modern, it is an urban city that still holds close to its heritage and roots. You will have you camera snapping pictures at every corner, and lots of stories to tell when you are back home. A weekend though, is not going to suffice. In order to see what Skopje has to offer in terms of culture, you will need to stay longer, much longer.

The nightlife in Skopje Macedonia

There are people who never understand why the rush about nightlife and night fun while abroad. I’m not one of those. While some find more attractiveness in going out for a drink during the day or drinking coffee near the city square before visiting the museums, I want them night parties. And don’t get me wrong here- while Skopje has lot to offer in almost every cultural department, so to speak, it is very loud and crowded when nightlife comes to discussion.

A man walks near trees illuminated with Christmas lights

Skopje, like all the other Balkan capitols, is a city of people with Mediterranean temperament. People who want to sing, dance, drink and have fun. Now mix that with the urban and modern face of Skopje, and what you get is a very refined night stage. Pubs, bars, cafes, and restaurants, all contributing to make Skopje a true heaven for party and going out during the evenings.

Clubs and discos are also very vibrant and loud, making Skopje a city that doesn’t intent to sleep during night hours.

Places where you can have fun

Starting the evening, you can pick between a large ranges of different atmospheres. Restaurants serve great food, amazing Macedonian wine, and play traditional music. Bars are more urban, where you can have your drink while listening to some hip Macedonian bands, or some ethno jazz. The old bazar, especially in summer, has a lot to offer in this regard.

As a cherry on the cake, you have kafanas, places that only Balkan people intend to understand, where you will have lots of fun, especially if it’s your first time in one of them. Kafanas are restaurants-like locals, which serve great food and beverage, and where Macedonian music is being played by life bands, more often than not using acoustic, ethno instruments. People in Macedonia start almost every party, especially special occasions in these places.

Continuing the night

The party, then, moves elsewhere, usually in clubs and discos, and these you have many. In summer especially, when all the outdoor discos are up and running, it seems as though the entire city is having fun.

DJs from abroad, some renowned Macedonian names as well, and live bands all take turns to create a very vibrant and life atmosphere. The party, thus, usually continues somewhere around dawn.

The old bazaar, mostly in the summer, offers many locations where great parties are taking place. The city park with a more of a laid back atmosphere is the place where some decide to party, and you can see a hipster-like atmosphere, where the whole of the park is crowded and alive.

Great place that I will also recommend is the one called Vidikovec, located upwards in the forest park Vodno, from where you can have a look at the city; an amazing sight and one that you cannot see elsewhere. This place though is sightseeing only, and you can have your beer, the party is still waiting down there in the city.

The crowd

Macedonians are cool people, urban and modern folks, and they know how to have fun. The discos are crowded mostly by younger generations, usually around their mid-twenties or less, and the atmosphere is crazy. If you are here during the spring or summer, expect to have many places where you can go out, and expect the party to last longer than you can handle.

Weekends are usually packed full and crowded with people, especially the younger generations, while work days of the week are less about fuzz, and more about great atmosphere and older generations. Nonetheless, the nightlife in Skopje is always on, and it is way different than what you’d expect in smaller citites.

Tourists Guide to Skopje

The capital city of Macedonia and one of the biggest cities in the Balkans, Skopje is one of the most popular travel destinations in this part of Europe. Whether you like beautiful architecture, history and archeology, amazing views, interesting cultural and music events, tasty cuisine and beautiful restaurants, exciting nightlife or museums and theaters, this incredible city will surely suit your needs and desires. In addition, it is not unusual to find some interesting sport events every once in a while because Skopje is home to many successful clubs from different sports – football, handball, basketball etc.


There are many different accommodation options in Skopje from cheap hostels to luxurious 5-star hotels. Skopje is generally cheap, so you don’t have to worry about your budget.

How to get to Skopje

Skopje can be easily reached by road. The international E-75 highway or the Pan-European international corridor 10 will lead you to Skopje if you are coming from the north or from the south. If you are planning to use a plane you have only one option in case you want to arrive directly in Skopje – the International Alexander the Great Airport. Of course, there is an international bus and train station too.

Once you arrive in Skopje and you want to explore the city, you have few transportation options. If you want to save some money you can use a bus. Skopje has a well-developed bus network which has a fleet thaw as recently upgraded. The buses are new and most of them are double-deckers. Another popular option is using a taxi. They are more expensive option.

Sightseeing in Skopje

As previously mentioned Skopje is rich in museums, parks, landmarks, attractions etc. That’s why it will probably take more than one or two weeks to check them all. Since foreign tourists usually don’t have that much time they plan to visit some of the most popular places. Some of them use open-top buses which operate during the summer period. These tourist buses go to some of the most popular destinations in the city. For example, they will show you the center of the city, the City Park, the Skopje Fortress, the Millennium Cross etc. Mountain Vodno and Skopje Fortress provide some amazing views, so those who love photography should definitely check these places.

Some of the best museums in Skopje include – Museum of the City of Skopje, Museum of Macedonia, National Gallery of Macedonia, Memorial House of Mother Theresa, Museum of Macedonian Struggle and the Archeological Museum.

Family attractions

The Museum of Natural Science is an excellent place for children. This is the place where you can find many permanent and few temporary exhibits which include different animals from the present and from the past. Skopje Zoo is another popular destination both for people from Skopje and for foreign tourists. The Zoo was recently renovated and many people say that it is one of the best in Southeast Europe.

These are only some of the things you can find in Skopje. Tourists will certainly discover some other things on their own while they are in Skopje.


Things to do in Skopje, Macedonia

If you are looking for a place that is not yet fully discovered by tourists then Skopje is the right place for you. In the past year the number of tourists that have visited Skopje has doubled, but this city is still a mystery for most foreigners. The capital of Macedonia has started to attract visitors from every corner of the world and one of the main reasons for this is because there are few new attractions that were built in the past few years which made the old ones shine too. This is a list of some of the favorite things to do and places to visit in Skopje.

Skopje Macedonia - View From Airplane 1

Stone Bridge

This is one of the most famous bridges in the Balkans. Although it is still unclear whether the Byzantine and Roman Emperor Justinian I built it in the 6th century or the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror built it in the 15th century the fact is that this bridge is really old and has witnessed some remarkable historic events. For example, this bridge is very close (less than a mile) to the place where Mother Theresa was born. This is also the place when one of the most notable freedom fighters against the Ottoman rule called Karposh was executed. The Bridge Was reconstructed about 10 years ago.

The Skopje Fortress

The Skopje Fortress is less than a mile from the Stone Bridge. This is another structure that is centuries old. The archeological research that took place less than a decade ago confirmed that there were people who lived in this area some 6.000 years ago. The Skopje Fortress is now reconstructed, but it is still opened for visitors.

The Church of St. Mary (Sredno Vodno)

This church is located on the slopes of Vodno mountain. Although it was built in the 13th century, the church was destroyed in 1955 and rebuilt in 2010. The area around the church is very beautiful and people use it for recreation and picnics. There is a hotel with a restaurant next to the church.

Skopje aqueduct

Although this ancient aqueduct is not located within the metropolitan area it is very close to it. Skopje aqueduct is located in the village of Vizbegovo some 10 km from the center of Skopje. This aqueduct was built in the middle of the 6th century during the reign of Justinian I. The aqueduct was mentioned in the work of many medieval travelers and it was intensively used during the Ottoman period.

Philip II Square

This square was renovated in 2013 and it is located just before the entrance of the Old Bazaar. It was named after Philip II of Macedonia one of the greatest kings of Ancient Macedonia. This square is a complex of four different fountains and the fountain dedicated to Philip II dominates the area (it is 28 meters high). Visitors can also notice the sculpture of Olympia – the mother of Alexander the Great. This square is in the center between several important structures in Skopje – the Old Theater, the Archeological Museum, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Museum of the Macedonian Struggle and the Church of St. Dimitrij.


Skopje Travel Guide

The city of Skopje is situated on the river Vardar and it is the largest city and the capital of Macedonia. This is a really beautiful city perfect for tourists that want to explore some cities that were not part of travel packages so much in the past. The city consists of many neighborhoods, but tourists usually explore the central part of the city and some place around the city.

Skopje Macedonia 4

The history of Skopje dates back to 4.000 B.C and the first written documents about this area were created by the Romans. This place was inhabited by Romans who created the Scupi colony which was used by the legions and later become a Roman city. There are still some proofs about their presence here. Skopje is an ideal destination for those who want to explore the Balkans because there are many things do and see here and tourists can easily reach all the other destinations in the Balkans like Solun (Thessaloniki), Belgrade, Sofia or Ohrid for example.

Attractions in Skopje

If you are in Skopje you simply can’t miss the amazing architecture of the Macedonia square and the area around it. This area has examples of architecture and artifacts from almost every period of the existence of this city. In the past 5 years the central area was renovated and several interesting new buildings were built. Skopje has many museums not only in this part of the city that are worth visiting. It also has several ancient buildings like the Skopje Aqueduct and the Skopje fortress for example. The city’s religious heritage can be seen in many medieval churches like St. John the Baptist, St. Panteleimon, St. Spas and some mosques. Three years ago, the city was enriched with few city beaches where you can drink coffee and sunbathe during the summer period. On the other hand, if you want to get an excellent aerial view of the city you can visit the Skopje Fortress or mountain Vodno.

Transportation in Skopje

The city is served by a bus network and this is the main transportation mean in the city. The Public Traffic Company owned by the city controls most of the buses and they have recently invested in new regular and double-decker buses. There are certain routes used by tourists. The tickets are really cheap and anyone can afford more than one ride with these buses. Skopje also has a railway which is currently renovated and upgraded. Skopje “A;expander the Great” airport is one of the two international airports in the country.

Things to do in Skopje

Skopje provides guided tours for tourists that want to explore the central part of the city. There are few sporting arenas where you can enjoy football, basketball and handball – the three most popular sports in Macedonia. In Skopje, you will be amazed by the number of beautiful restaurants and cafes which are usually crowded with people especially during the night. The nightlife is one of the best in the Balkans and there are several nightclubs where you can stay until early in the morning.