Locals are afraid that their mayor someday visits Venice and wants to have the same canals with gondoliers all around Skopje. Why? The common joke is that he wants to build in his city everything that can be found out there across the world.
Started in 2010, with the new government came also a 4-year reconstruction project. More than 800 million Euro were invested in the city. Locals do not really like the changes because so much money was spent on soulless statues that do not fit into the city. Imagine what else could you do with that amount of funds. How many people could you feed and build a shelter for? Also, if you expect to take some amazing landscape photos of Skopje, do not hold your breath. No need to emphasize that the works are still going on and the end is still not on the horizon.
Nowadays in Skopje, you can find the “London Eye”, the Wall Street Bull, three pirate ships, Parisian Arch of Triumph, Greek pavilions, red double deckers from London, and many more. You get the point.
Is Skopje Affordable?
Overall, Macedonia is a very budget friendly country. The ticket for the shuttle bus from the airport to the centre and back costs 5€, a 3-course dinner in a restaurant by the river costs up to 10€ and a typical Macedonian lunch in the old bazar costs approximately 5€. You can sleep in a hostel for 5€ per night or in a 5* luxurious hotel for around 45€ with breakfast included.
The Cheapest Area and Where to Eat
Visit the Old Bazar and sent your friends a photo stating you are in Turkey, maybe even Egypt or Morocco because that part of Skopje looks just like that! Try their local cuisine as burek, čvapčiči with ajvar, kebab, tavče gravče, šopska salad, baked bread with cheese and much more. But be careful, even though the last there dishes do not consist of meat, that does not mean they are vegetarian. All food is prepared on the same grill so my bread had a smell and a taste of meat even if I did not order it.
Is Skopje Safe?
According to the local guide Miha, there is an only high-level crime in Macedonia meaning political corruption, etc. There are no pickpockets, people who take photos of you and then you need to pay them, and similar. But, men are used to staring at young, attractive women, especially in the summer when they are more likely to wear dresses and shorts. That is in their mentality and is unavoidable.
People of Skopje
Locals like to chat with tourists, ask them where are they from and where are they heading. Do not be surprised if they do not know where to put your country on a map. When I said I am going to Riga, the first reaction was: “Oh, so you live in Holland?” Another man asked me in which country is that and when I replied it is in Latvia he asked me about the continent it is on. Otherwise, most of them speak English good enough but you become their friend immediately if you know some Macedonian or at least Serbian words.
Some Basic Information
They do not officially use Euro but most of the time they accept it as well. While in Macedonia, it is highly recommended to visit lake Matka and the deepest cave in Europe. I saw they have some organised trips to Matka from the old bazaar for 25€ but you may also consider renting a car or using public transport. One full day in Skopje is totally enough to see everything the old city centre has to offer.
Have you ever been to the city? What did you like the most? Let me know in the comment section below.
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