Things to do in Macedonia

North Macedonia is still very much uncharted territory for contemporary travellers, but it is well worth the trip. Most travellers will start their visit in Skopje, the historic capital of the country. Since 2014, North Macedonia's ruling party has undertaken a massive urban rejuvenation project in the Skopje. As a result, travellers will encounter soaring Italian-style colonnades and massive neoclassical buildings that tower over the streets. There are also public areas dominated by massive sculptures such as the Millennium Cross. This project was controversial and earned Skopje an unwanted association with kitsch. However, that doesn't mean that Skopje isn't a treasure trove of genuine historical and architectural wonder.

Visitors should head over to Skopje's Turkish Bazaar Here, they'll find a 15th century stone bridge and the Kale Fortress that dates back to the 5th century. From here travellers can take in much of Skopje's sights and sounds, such as corner cafes where locals play chess and drink coffee, or wander through some of Skopje's outstanding contemporary art exhibits.

However, outside of the city is where North Macedonia's real value is to be found. The town of Ohrid, next to Lake Ohrid, should be first on the list. Lake Ohrid is mesmerising, with glassy, blue waters that stand as a portal to one of Europe's deepest lakes. The lake and its town are a great summer destination for swimming and relaxing, or sauntering through the town's cobbled streets and sampling some truly delicious local cuisine. The summer crowds can be numerous, although mass tourism has not yet taken over. Travellers should ensure that they book accommodation well in advance.

The mountains and forests demand attention as well. Pelister Park has been a national park in Macedonia for since 1948, and is home to myriad wildlife such as wolves, bear, trout and deer. The park covers 66 square miles (171 sq km) and boasts enormous mountains, many of which are well over 1,200 miles (2000m) tall. From Pelister Park, travellers should be sure to visit Golem Grad (Big Island), a historic place of peace for victorious rulers to engage in contemplation. Visitors should just be careful to avoid the snakes, which are the true rulers of the island.

North Macedonia is indeed great for those with a taste for adventure.