GRAND TOUR OF MACEDONIA
DAY 1 – SKOPJE
Arrival at the Skopje airport. Transfer to your hotel. Short introductory tour of the area round your hotel – getting useful hints from your tour guide. Dinner at a local restaurant with music. Overnight stay in Skopje.
DAY 2 – SKOPJE
Morning sightseeing tour; Visit to the old railway station – the first railway station in the Balkans; The statue of Mother Teresa; The plaque marking the site of her former house; The Stone Bridge – a monumental construction in the centre of the city; The church of St Spas (Holy Salvation), which was built at the end of the 17th century and which is famous for housing the remains of the great Macedonian revolutionary Goce Delcev (1872-1903); The Fortress Kale – an outstanding tourist attraction of Skopje; The Monastery of St Pantelejmon in the village of Gorno Nerezi, which was built in the 12th century and represents an important monument from the Byzantine period. Lunch in the restaurant next to the church of St Pantelejmon. After lunch a visit to the Church of St. Andreja – Matka, built in the 14th century. The frescoes painted on the walls of this church differ from any others by their stylistic and artistic qualities and their iconographic peculiarities. Dinner in a local restaurant with folk music. Overnight stay in Skopje.
DAY 3 – MAVROVO – OHRID
After a relaxed breakfast – a drive west to Mavrovo. A walking tour of Mavrovo National Park, which represents one of the most attractive tourist centres in Macedonia. It abounds with a lot of different types of flora and fauna, among which deers, does, bears, some species of lynx etc. In Mavrovo National Park and near it, there is the most famous village of Galichnik, then Gari, Selce, Tresonche and the Monastery of St Jovan Bigorski. The village of Galichnik lies in the heart of the Mount Bistra. It is a typical Macedonian village which is famous for many things but mostly for the national festival Galichka Svadba ( = Galichka Wedding) which takes place in the middle of July every year and also for the delicious white and yellow cheese. Some free time for a snack – before leaving for Ohrid. Dinner and overnight stay in Ohrid.
DAY 4 – OHRID
Morning sightseeing tour – The tour starts in front of the statue of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, and it continues to the Lower gate, the National Museum of Ohrid, the Church of St Sophia, the Roman amphitheatre, the Upper gate, St Clement’s Church of the Holy Mother of God Most Glorious (Sveta Bogorodica Perivleptos), The Icon Gallery, Tsar Samoil’s fortress, Plaoshnik, and it ends in a walk throught Ohrid’s marketplace. Overnight stay in Ohrid.
DAY 5 – OHRID – BITOLA
After breakfast – a visit to the beautiful and popular Monastery of St Naum with new inns built in the last decade that make up the Hotel of Sveti Naum. The original church of the Holy Archangels was built in the early 10th century by St Naum and later it housed the tomb and relics of St Naum himself but today its remains are buried beneath the present 16th-century church. The source of the River Crn Drim which feeds the lake is nearby. After a short walking tour we will have lunch at one of the many restaurants with a lovely view of the lake. Your late afternoon drive to Bitola will take 1 hr, including a short stop on Galichica – where you will have a view of the two lakes – Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa. Dinner and overnight stay in Bitola/Pelister.
DAY 6 – BITOLA – PRILEP
After breakfast a city tour of Bitola including a visit to the ancient Macedonian town of Heraclea Lyncestis which is located near the city of Bitola (at the foot of the Baba Mountains), and which was founded in the middle of the 4th century BC. Afterwards a visit to the military high school “Kemal Ataturk” named after the creator of modern Turkey. Dinner at a local restaurant. After that, a drive to Prilep. A city tour of Prilep. Dinner and overnight stay in Prilep.
DAY 7 – PRILEP – KRUSHEVO – STRUMICA
After a relaxed breakfast – a drive and sightseeing tour of the town of Krushevo, which keeps the evidence of the Macedonian revolutionary and cultural past. This living museum of architecture (it has the highest number of old-style houses!) dreams of the day when a lot more people than now will be arriving to enjoy the clean air and the winter sun on the ski slopes or go hang gliding. On the 2nd August 1903 the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation (VMRO) rose up in Krushevo and in the greater part of Macedonia to fight for independence from the Ottoman Empire. The independence of the Republic of Krushevo was proclaimed the following day, and although it had lasted for only ten days before it was subdued by the Ottomans again, its existence became a symbol of the centuries of Macedonian striving for freedom and independence. Krushevo is one particular world in which the past mingles with the present. After that, a drive to Strumica. Dinner and overnight stay in Strumica.
DAY 8 – STRUMICA – BEROVO
In the morning – a sightseeing tour of Strumica; A visit to the cultural and historic places of interest in the town of Strumica and its surroundings. A visit to the the monastery complex Vodocha which is located in the village of Vodocha. The legend about the etymology of the name of this place is linked to the day when in 1014 AD Tsar Samoil’s army was defeated by the army of the Byzantine Emperor Vasilij II and 15,000 Macedonian soldiers had their eyes gouged out afterwards. Because of this, the village got the name Vodocha (ochi = eyes). What follows next is a visit to the Monastery of the Holy Mother of God – Eleusa which is a convent now and is situated in the next village of Veljusa. Lunch or dinner in a local restaurant which offers traditional Macedonian dishes. After that, a drive to Berovo. Dinner and overnight stay in Berovo.
DAY 9 – BEROVO – SKOPJE
In the morning a mmountain adventure on the Mount Maleshevo with its outstanding beauty and the cool, refreshing mountain air. Also a visit to the locals. Early afternoon return to your hotel in Skopje.
DAY 10 – SKOPJE
Depending on the flight schedule, there is an option of visiting the Old Skopje Bazaar and the new market place. Transfer to the airport.