Things to do in Southwestern Region

Our most recommended things to do in Southwestern Region

From Skopje: Vodno Mountain and Matka Canyon Tour

1. From Skopje: Vodno Mountain and Matka Canyon Tour

Depart Skopje and travel in air-conditioned comfort to Vodno Mountain. Ride the cable car up to Millennium Cross on arrival, and enjoy panoramic views back across Skopje from one of the biggest Christian crosses in the world. Take the cable car back down Vodno Mountain to continue to the mountain village of Gorno Nerezi by air-conditioned vehicle. Visit the small 12th-century Church of St. Panteleimon on arrival and marvel at the historical frescoes of Byzantine art inside. Next, make your way to the Matka Canyon to enjoy a tasty lunch in a nice restaurant by the lake. Take an optional boat trip to the Vrelo cave or go for a nature walk along the many marked trails. Fill your lungs with fresh country air before the return trip to Skopje, and get dropped off at the triumphal arch of the Porta Macedonia on arrival.

Day Tour from Sofia to Skopje, North Macedonia

2. Day Tour from Sofia to Skopje, North Macedonia

Discover Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, on this full-day trip from Sofia. During this day tour to Skopje, you will have the chance to explore the city's highlights and hear its rich history and culture from your guide.  Be picked up from your accommodation in Sofia and board an airconditioned vehicle. Relax, and take in the countryside on the transfer to Skopje. Once in Skopje, begin your walking tour of the at Skopje Fortress. Admire sweeping views of the city from the fortress before heading to the Church of the Holy Savior, home to fantastic iconostasis. Continue towards the Sultan Murat Mosque and the Old Bazaar, where you can witness the remnants from Ottoman Period.  Listen as your guide tells you about Skopje's history as one of the main trade centers in the Balkans. Stop a typical Macedonian restaurant where you can purchase a delicious lunch before crossing the Vadar River explore the other side of the city.  Visit the new neo-classical square and continue to the Mother Teresa memorial house. End your walking tour at the newly built triumphal arch Porta Macedonia. Journey back to Sofia and be dropped off at your hotel or accommodation. 

From Skopje: Full-Day Kosovo Tour to Pristina and Prizren

3. From Skopje: Full-Day Kosovo Tour to Pristina and Prizren

This tour starts with a pick-up from your hotel in Skopje, traveling to Prishtina where your local guide will be waiting for you. First, visit Monastery Gracanica, and then arrive in Pristina where you will start a tour of Pristina. Your first stop in will be the Kosova National Library, an example of modern architectural design. Then make your way to the open air archaeological park with artifacts from the Neolithic period and Kosova Museum built by Austrians for the Turkish army in 1898, which has an extensive collection of archaeological and ethnological artifacts including the Neolithic Goddess on a Throne terracotta. Head to Çarshi Mosque, the oldest building in Pristina constructed in the 15th-century by the Turkish Sultan Bajazit. Afterwards, head to the Academy Building, a 19th-century Ottoman konak style private houses. Visit the Fatih Mosque or Imperial Mosque built in 1461 under the Turkish Sultan Mehmed II Fatih and the  Great Hammam – bath complex built in 1470 graced with 15 domes with small holes to let light stream in. Make your way to the Ethnographic Museum. The Emin Gjiku Complex is a extremely well-preserved building from 18th-century and it’s the only original building left in old bazaar area. The tour will finish with a visit of Gazimestan Tower. Contnue to Prizren for your walking tour of the city includes the attractive Ottoman old town, known for its gold and silver filigree craftsmen, the hammam, the Museum of Prizren League, the Helveti Tekke, Sinia Pasha Mosque and the Church of Our Lady of Ljevis. Prizren has the largest number of preserved Ottoman buildings in Kosovo, so simply wandering around the old cobbled streets admiring the town houses, mosques and tekkes is a delight. After a small break, return back to .

Half Day Tour from Skopje to Matka Canyon

4. Half Day Tour from Skopje to Matka Canyon

During this half-day spent in nature, you will feel removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. Matka Canyon is one of the most popular outdoor destinations surrounding Skopje. You will find many species of plants, animals and butterflies will make you want to come again! Sit back and relax by the lake with a spectacular view on the cliffs in front of you can rent a kayak and try your kayaking skills, or go on a boat tour and admire the tranquility of the canyon. Visit Vrelo Cave or simply explore the beautiful nature all around you. You can also enjoy a nice meal on the terrace of the restaurant overlooking the lake. 

From Skopje: Private Full-Day Tour of Ohrid and Saint Naum

5. From Skopje: Private Full-Day Tour of Ohrid and Saint Naum

Starting from Skopje, the tour begins with a 2-hour drive to Ohrid. Visit the church of Saint Sophia and the Roman amphitheater. Explore the Icon Gallery, to discover some of the most famous and valuable icons in the world. Then see the beautiful frescoes at the 13th century Saint Clement’s Church of the Holy Mother of God Most Glorious. After this, continue to Tsar Samuel’s Fortress, named after the first tsar of the Macedonian Slavs. Then head to the Church of Saint Jovan at Kaneo, in a stunning location on the cliffs directly above the lake. From here, return to the town on foot or by boat. After a little break, visit the Bay of Bones Neolithic settlement to see how life was lived in 1,200 B.C. Continue along the picturesque lakeshore to the Monastery of Saint Naum, situated where the river Black Drin flows into Lake Ohrid. The springs at Saint Naum are part of the National Park Galicica. In the chapel of the church is the tomb of Saint Naum, with frescoes of his life and his miracles. Return to Skopje at the end of the tour.

Skopje: Matka Canyon Sightseeing Tour

6. Skopje: Matka Canyon Sightseeing Tour

Discover the most beautiful landscape in the Skopje region on this scenic sightseeing hike and cruise of the Matka Canyon. Sail between vertical rocks, see ancient temples, medieval churches, and hilltop monasteries. Start at the 14th-century Monastery of Matka, dedicated to the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God, a religious festival celebrated on August 28 every year. Walk along the banks of the River Treska, famous for its kayak competitions, following the path past the Dam and manmade Lake Matka. Next, climb aboard a small boat to cruise along the 5-mile (8-kilometer) canyon, soaking up the surroundings and scent of flowers. Listen and look out for abundant birdlife, and keep your eyes open for wild boar and hare. On your return, stop opposite the Monastery of St. Andrew and climb up forested hills to the Monastery of St. Nikola. From the plateau, your efforts will be rewarded with breathtaking views. A hospitable church-keeper, who built the surrounding mountain huts, will welcome you inside the monastery for yet another perspective of this magical and mysterious land.

Best of Skopje City Tour

7. Best of Skopje City Tour

Your driver will pick you up from your hotel or any location in Skopje, with a comfortable A/C car/minivan and take you to the plateau where the Museum of Contemporary Art located. This offers a wonderful view of the central part of Skopje and here the story about the city begins. Afterwards, the Fortress Kale is visited. What follows is a visit to the Mustapha Pasha Mosque, and then the Church of the Holy Saviour. Another visit is the one to the Museum of Macedonia which consists of three parts: an icon gallery, an ethnological and historical departments. Then you continue you stroll through the Old Bazaar where two more caravansaries can be seen Turkish Baths – Chifte Hammam and Daut Pasha Hammam, dating back to the 15th century. The tour continues towards the modern part of the city on the right bank of the River Vardar. Before you cross the Stone Bridge, which is one of the oldest landmarks of Skopje, you can see the Holocaust Memorial Centre and the Museum of the Macedonian Struggle for Independence, IMRO and the Victims of Communism. On the other bank of the river is the main square Macedonia, with a lot of new statues and monuments. You will walk along the main street Macedonia which connects the square to the Old Railway Station. You can stay for a short visit at the Memorial House of Mother Teresa, with the tour ending in front of the Museum of the City of Skopje situated in the building of the Old Railway Station, which was partially destroyed by the earthquake in 1963. From Mount Vodno, you continue by cable-car system to the Millennium Cross and back to middle Vodno. Once back at middle Vodno you continue by the car/minivan to the village Gorno Nerezi, to see the church St. Pantelejmon. The tour continues with a visit to the canyon Matka, about 17 km from Skopje, continue to walk along the bank of the River Treska, which is famous for the competitions in kayaking that take place on it. You will follow the path that goes by the dam and the man-made lake Matka and reach the Monastery of St. Andrew.   After this, you will go on a boat ride along the canyon Matka (8km long) and enjoy the magnificent surroundings, as well as a visit to the cave Vrelo.

Tirana: Lake and Town Ohrid Day Trip

8. Tirana: Lake and Town Ohrid Day Trip

Following a pickup from your accommodation in Durrës or Tirana, embark on a guided tour of the charming city of Ohrid. Begin the tour at the magnificent Church of Saint Sophia. Then visit the National Workshop for a handmade paper-making demonstration. Next, pass by Samuil’s Fortress and walk along its historic 4th-century walls. See the Ancient Theatre of Ohrid built in Hellenistic style and walk up to the cliff-top church of Saint John at Kaneo for panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Enjoy your free time with a lunch in the city. After your lunch, continue the tour to the Medieval Monastery of Saint Naum. See the resident peacocks that roam the grounds and enter the monastery to marvel at its intricate frescoes. On the way to Ohrid, visit the one of a kind Bay of Bones Museum, a prehistoric settlement located on Lake Ohrid. It is an authentic reconstruction from the pile-dwelling settlement, dating back between 1200 and 700 BC. Transfer to Tirana in the late afternoon with a short stop in the town of Pogradec.

From Sofia: Skopje, Northern Macedonia Day Tour

9. 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.

Full-Day Tour of Ohrid from Skopje

10. Full-Day Tour of Ohrid from Skopje

This tour takes you to the city Ohrid from Skopje. The drive from Skopje to Ohrid takes about 2 hours. Upon arrival in Ohrid  you"ll start the a tour with a visit to the church of St. Sophia,  which dates back to the 11th century. The you'll go up to the Roman amphitheater, which dates back to the 3rd century B.C. Afterwards you will continue walking to the Icon Gallery, home to a range of some of the most famous and valuable icons in the world, right after the ones on Athos and in Russia. In the vicinity of the gallery is the Church of St. Clement’s, or the Church of the Holy Mother of God Most Glorious, which dates back to the 13th century and possesses some of the most beautiful and valuable frescoes from the 13th century not only in this country but in the whole of the Balkans. After that you will carry on walking to Tsar Samoil’s Fortress, named after the first tsar of the Macedonian Slavs, who, having conquered Byzantium, brought most of Macedonia under his rule. Then you will walk to Plaoshnik, where you will visit the newly built St. Clement’s Monastery Church. Dedicated to St. Clement - the patron of Ohrid - and St. Panteleimon, it stands beside the original site of St. Clement’s University, the first university of the Macedonian Slavs, founded in the 9th century A.D. Inside the church you can also see the tomb with St. Clement’s relics. Beside the church you can see the foundations of the 5th-century basilica with beautifully preserved mosaic floors and some swastikas also discovered on the floors. From here you will head towards the Church of St. Jovan at Kaneo, which was built at the end of the 13th century, and is one of the most frequently visited churches in Ohrid because of its beautiful location on the cliffs directly above the lake. After this you will go back to the town on foot. Another option is to return to the town by boat and at the same time to make a tour of the lak,e providing you with a great view of the town. After a short break you will return to Skopje.

Frequently asked questions about Southwestern Region

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Other Sightseeing Options in Southwestern Region

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What people are saying about Southwestern Region

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 525 reviews

ソフィアからの日帰りツアーに参加しました。8人乗りのマイクロバスでした。乗車時間は長いですが、道中の自然の景色やガイドさんの解説で飽きずに楽しめました。スコピエでは現地ガイドさんが案内してくれます。アレキサンダー大王の巨大な噴水が圧巻でした。日曜日の参加だったため、バザールの多くの店は閉まっていましたが、空いていて巡りやすかったです。ガイドさんによると平日は大変混雑するとのことです。

It was wonderful trip and I will say well organised from start till End , our car driver was really nice and your guide was very nice , absolutely worth for one day getaway.

Excellent tour with a very knowledgeable guide. So many beautiful sights and well worth doing

This tour packed in a lot of sites but with enough time to enjoy them all.

The guide was very knowledgeable and planned the trip well.