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Trails of North Macedonia

Trails of North Macedonia

Tour details

Price
from $1,000
Rating
Average rating:   0,  0 reviews
Country
North Macedonia
Activity type
Self Guided Walking
Duration
8 days & 7 nights
Difficulty
Moderate
Accomodation
Various
Availability
May - October

Itinerary

Day 1: Skopje
Day 2: Mt Karadzica
Day 3: Solunska Glava
Day 4: Omorane
Day 5: Bitola
Day 6: Golemo Ezero 
Day 7: Ohrid
Day 8: Departure

Overview for Trails of North Macedonia

The lands of North Macedonia are characterised by pristine lakes, vast scenic mountain ranges and numerous sites reminding of the rich and turbulent history of the region. Nested at the heart of the Balkan peninsula, the country boasts a great variety of landscapes offering a perfect playground for all kinds of adventure lovers seeking authentic experiences.

We offer you a walking itinerary which will reveal you the natural highlights of North Macedonia as well as its cultural riches. Three of the overnights are in huts which will allow you to enjoy the tranquillity of the natural surroundings and for the rest of the days, you will be able to experience the hospitality of the local guesthouses and small hotels.

Highlights

Itinerary for Trails of North Macedonia

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Day 1: Arrival in Skopje

Meet our representative at the Skopje international airport. Transfer to your hotel in Skopje and free day in the city.

  • Accommodation: City 5 or similar hotel, private en-suite rooms 

Day 2: Mount Karadzica

A short transfer by the villages at the foothill of Mt Karadzica will take you to Preslap saddle (970m) where you start hiking mostly through beech forests and meadows on jeep-roads and hiking trails. As you walk up, a beautiful panorama opens-up to the northern slopes of the massif particularly toward Mount Karadzica and Mount Kitka, and also to the far north. Mount Vodno and the capital city of Skopje are also visible. Once in the mountain hut, don’t miss the open terrace on the edge of the hill – this hut is well known for the best mountain views in the country. In case you would like to add a bit more walking for the day, there are two possible paths from the hut which would add up to 3 hrs to your route for the day.

  • Accommodation: Karadzica mountain hut, private rooms possible but not guaranteed, shared facilities 
  • Walking for the day: 7 km, ↑727m ↓282m, 3 hrs 
  • Included meals: breakfast 

Day 3: Solunska Glava Peak

Today is the most exciting trail on this tour: after the first 2 hours walk on a jeep-road you will enter the hiking path in a beech forest which later extends into low cypress shrubbery, up to the saddle at 2.050m, where a beautiful panorama of a glacial flatland opens up. Begovo pole is one of the most notable landmarks in this part of the massif – a circular-shaped pasture beneath Solunska Glava summit filled with thousands of sheep and little ground squirrels that live only here. From here starts the climb on a curvy single-track to the rocky peak Solunska Glava. There is a military base at the summit, where soldiers are usually friendly and respectful towards hikers and may offer you a bottle of water over the fence. Descend down on the other side of the mountain carefully, as the trail follows an exposed rocky section until you reach the woods. It will take you around 3 hours walk from Solunska Glava to the mountain hut on the other side.

  • Accommodation: Cheples mountain hut, private rooms, shared facilities
  • Walking for the day: 22 km, ↑1358m ↓1260m, 8 hrs
  • Included meals: breakfast, picnic lunch and dinner
  • No luggage transfer on this day, you have to carry a backpack with supplies for one night – your main luggage will join you on the next day

Day 4: Babuna River Springs and Waterfall

Half-way down as you walk from Cheples to Nezhilovo village, there is a special spot where magnificent Solunska Glava peak appears again. As you continue deep into the forest, following a narrow well-marked trail you will pass by a small waterfall few hundred meters before the springs of Babuna river. After refreshing yourself and filling your water bottles you will continue on a jeep-road getting to Nezhilovo fish-pond and a restaurant with a big swimming pool where you can relax after the hike. Tonight you will stay in a typical countryside home where you can experience the true village life. Your hosts will pick you up from the fish-pond and take you to their home.

  • Accommodation: Rancho i Vancho na Kata guesthouse, private en-suite rooms
  • Walking for the day: 14km, ↑698m ↓1480m, 6 hrs
  • Included meals: breakfast, picnic lunch and dinner

Day 5: Treskavec

Early morning transfer will take you to the town of Prilep, from where you will get on a path to the monastery “Treskavec” nested among the vertical rocks and granite slabs above Prilep. Located at 1300 m and overseeing the landscape of plains of Pelagonija this holy site has been shrouded with mysticism since ancient times. The monastery dates back to 1230 AD and since its foundation it has been the most significant sacred Christian site in this region. The return route is on the same trail. Once in Prilep, take the train or bus to Bitola, the second-largest city in Macedonia. Explore the romantic old town of Bitola along the central pedestrian street ‘Shirok Sokak’ in the evening. Overnight in Bitola.

  • Accommodation: Hotel Teatar or similar, private en-suite rooms
  • Walking for the day: 13 km, ↑571m ↓571m, 5 hrs
  • Included meals: breakfast

Day 6: Pelister National Park

Rising above the city of Bitola, Baba Mountain dominates the Pelagonija valley like a rooftop. It is home of the oldest National park – “Pelister”, the first officially protected natural reserve in North Macedonia since 1948. This area is full with wildlife, particularly mountain swallows, mountain goats, deer, wolves and brown bears for which the park is famous for. The flora is represented by a unique ancient five-needle “molika” pine trees, which are species of tertiary age, found only in few mountains in the Balkans. The hike to Golemo Ezero (the big glacial lake at 2.220m asl) will take you around 4 hours on a trail passing by streams, low shrubs and open-spaces allowing you to enjoy the awesome views at the other prominent peaks and ridges of Mount Baba. For those of you who would like to challenge themselves, there is a harder option going through peak Pelister. Enjoy the tranquillity and the isolation of this wonderful place in the evening, and take a dip in the lake.

  • Accommodation: mountain hut ‘Golemo Ezero’, dorm rooms, shared facilities
  • Walking for the day: 6 km, ↑1108 m, 4 hrs
  • Included meals: breakfast and dinner
  • No luggage transfer on this day, you have to carry a backpack with supplies for 1 night

Day 7: Golemo Ezero to Prespa Lake and Ohrid

The last hike on this tour takes you down from Golemo Ezero to the villages by the Prespa lake. This route follows WW1 military roads and passes by several stone rivers – moraines. Gradually, the path follows Brajcinska creek serpentines into a forested area of beech and oak trees. It passes by an old sawmill and a small church St.Nikola. The village of Brajcino (1000m) is situated in the National park “Pelister” and it is 15 minutes away from Prespa Lake. Transfer from Brajchino to Ohrid in the afternoon.

  • Accommodation: Hotel Nova Riviera or similar, private en-suite rooms
  • Walking for the day: 13km, ↓1418, 5 hrs
  • Included meals: breakfast and lunch

Day 8: Departure or Extension

Both the town of Ohrid and Ohrid Lake are on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Explore the cobblestoned alleys of the old town of Ohrid: see the medieval city walls of Tsar Samuil, the ancient theatre, and some of the most remarkable Byzantine time churches of the city (there are 365 in Ohrid and by the lake). Depending on your return flight we will arrange your complimentary return transfer to Skopje airport. If there is still time, you will optionally visit Canyon Matka on the way to the airport – it is home to bald eagles, endemic plant-life and over 130 different types of butterflies, as well as few 13th-century monasteries hidden in the rocks.

Hotels for Trails of North Macedonia

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Accommodation is in a mix welcoming 3-star hotels, mountain huts and family-run guesthouses. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Sample accommodation*: City 5, Karadzica mountain hut, Cheples mountain hut, Rancho i Vancho na Kata, Hotel Teatar, mountain hut ‘Golemo Ezero’, Hotel Nova Riviera

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included on all days, lunch boxes are provided on days 3, 4 and 7, and dinner is included on days 3, 4, 5 and 7. For the rest of the days, it will be possible to get food from the local restaurants and grocery shops.

Travel for Trails of North Macedonia

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Our recommended arrival airport for this holiday is Skopje.

Please note that flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking.

Transfers to/from Airports

A complimentary arrival airport transfer is included if you land in Skopje. Departure transfer to Skopje centre/airport is included from Ohrid on day 8.

Baggage Transfers

Baggage transfers are included on days 2, 4, 5 and 7, when your bags will be transferred by your current hotel (or by private transfer) to your next accommodation. Luggage transfers are not possible on days 3 and 6, so you will have to carry a backpack with supplies for one night – your main luggage will join you on the following day.

Travel Insurance

A comprehensive and reputable travel insurance policy is essential to your enjoyment and peace of mind while on an active holiday. It is highly recommended when booking with us that all group members have a valid travel insurance which includes cover for all activities included in your trip. We have teamed up with World Nomads Logo to offer you adequate cover at a great value from a reputable insurer, and it takes only a few minutes to buy online.

Buy travel insurance online

Country Info

Up-to-date travel advice on North Macedonia is available here. Detailed up-to-date travel information for your tour will be provided in your holiday information pack.

Trip Info for Trails of North Macedonia

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Difficulty Grade: Moderate

This holiday is appropriate for experienced walkers in good physical shape who also have good navigation skills. The walking is mostly on mountain paths and jeep-roads and average distance per day is 10-15km / 6 hrs (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available from May till the end of October. Departures are possible only on Sundays and Mondays.

Weather

During the active season, the weather is normally pleasant and sunny. More rain is expected at the beginning and the end of the season, and it gets warmer during July and August.

Included for Trails of North Macedonia

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  • All transfers as described in the itinerary + train ticket from Prilep to Bitola
  • All baggage transfers as described in the itinerary
  • Accommodation as listed in the itinerary
  • Meals: 7 x breakfasts + 3 x picnic lunches + 4 x dinners
  • Route navigation materials: maps, route book (one set per booking) and GPS tracks
  • 24/7 support line (cell phone and local contact person)

Supplements

  •  Where solo travellers or individual members of a group require a single room, a supplement is applicable as costs are not shared

Excluded

  • Plane tickets
  • Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Airport transfers if not arriving together with the main group
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme

Extensions and Optional Extras

  • Additional nights along the route

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