8. From Sofia: Skopje, Northern Macedonia Day Tour
The history of Skopje began with the settlements of the Thracians and establishing the fortress of Scupi. Since then, the town has changed its sovereign numerous times, being part of the Roman, Byzanatine, Bulgarian and the Serbian countries for short time. The Ottomans conquered the city in 1392 and changed the name to Uskub, which became home for numerous Ottomans, Bulgarians and Albanians.
In 1912, the city was liberated from the Ottomans during the First Balkan war, and eventually became a part of the Serbian country. During the two world wars, it was eventually given to Bulgaria, before becoming capital of the Macedonian Federation in the Yugoslavian socialistic republic. The city then started growing rapidly industrially and economically. Unfortunately a huge earthquake in 1963 destroyed a huge part of the town, leaving more than 100,000 people without homes. Skopje managed to recover quickly from it, just in time to become a capital of the independent country of Macedonia.
Your Day in Skopje (North Macedonia)
The departure is early, somewhere around 8.00 AM depending on your hotel pick-up time, because the driving time is 4 hours each way, and the border cross may take a while. On the way to Macedonia, you will use the picturesque road via the Osogovo mountains, one of the most beautiful mountain ranges both in Bulgaria and Macedonia. Somewhere around 11.30 AM (10:30 AM local time), you will arrive in Skopje. The walking tour will start with the Museum of History of Skopje, dedicated to the city, housed in the old railway station. From there, you will continue towards the Memorial House of Mother Teresa and learn about the life of the amazing Macedonian women with Albanian origin.
At this moment, your hunger for knowledge will be replaced with some good food, as youl head towards the main square, to see the huge statue of Alexander the Great and find a lovely restaurant on the south bank of Vardar river. After lunch, you will continue your walking tour on the other side of Vardar, crossing it via the Stone bridge - the oldest and the most famous bridge in Skopje, today marked as the symbol of the city. You will then head towards the Old Fortress, for some remarkable pictures of the city from the top. Then you will end with a visit to the old quarter and its famous church - St Saviour. After a little free time to buy some souvenirs, you'll head towards the car, without forgetting to pass by the huge buildings of Skopje 2014's project.
Around 3:30- 4:00 PM, you will depart from Skopje and arrive back in Sofia at around 7:30-8:00 PM.