Planning what to do in Skopje and what to see in Skopje, is a great option if you’re flying into Skopje city to kick off your North Macedonia itinerary.
Skopje is North Macedonia’s capital city and while it’s situated in the Balkans, the city also has a strong Turkish influence which you’ll see in the city’s Old Bazaar.
I visited Skopje as part of a Balkans road trip through North Macedonia, Greece and Albania and highly recommend allows 2 days in Skopje to see it all.
While Skopje wasn’t my favourite place in North Macedonia, it certainly left an impression and there are plenty of places to visit in Skopje that are well worth spending a day or a weekend in Skopje to see what the city has to offer.
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Where to stay in Skopje
North Macedonia is very affordable and you can find a hotel for a great price in the city.
The city is busy and full of immersive sights and sounds which is why I recommend treating yourself to a luxury stay to find a piece of calm after your time exploring and because it’s so affordable.
Check out the well-located Bushi Resort & Spa which has one of the best spas in Skopje, great food and a great location.
Alternatively, the Hotel Arka boasts a stunning rooftop bar and terrace, a gorgeous pool and modern rooms.
For somewhere modern and ridiculously cheap, check out Hotel Gold or the Sultan Modern Hotel, both have prices around £30 a night with breakfast and a gorgeous modern interior.
Is Skopje worth visiting?
While it wasn’t my favourite place in North Macedonia (that was Lake Ohrid), the city is definitely worth visiting and spending a day or two in - especially if you’re already planning to fly into the city’s airport.
I loved the Old Town and the Bazaar in the city and I also loved the surrounding day trips such as Matka Canyon and Vodno Mountain, so even if you choose not to spend too much time in the city itself, there’s still plenty to do in the surrounding areas too.
Things to do in Skopje, North Macedonia
If you’re planning what to visit in Skopje and what to do in Skopje during your stay, here are my recommendations for a short trip.
Start your day with coffee and baklava at the Old Bazaar
The Old Bazaar was my favourite place in the city, full of character, charming cobbled streets and local vendors selling produce, food, drinks, souvenirs and more.
The Bazaar is highly influenced by Ottoman culture and you’ll find Turkish coffee and baklava aplenty - a great way to fuel up and start your day.
Grab a coffee and a pastry and sit outside on the street to watch the world go by!
Take a FREE Walking Tour
I try to do a free walking tour in every city I visit in Europe because they are always so informative and run by locals who have lots of insider info that you don’t find in guide books.
If you don’t know how they work, free walking tours are tip based - you pay as much or as little as you want at the end of the tour depending on how much you enjoyed it.
This is the walking tour I did in Skopje.
The tour lasts 3 hours and runs each day from 10am. There’s so much valuable information about the city, its history and its future development as well as some of the most famous North Macedonia sights and North Macedonia attractions.
See famous sights on the tour like:
The Arts Bridge
The 100s of Statues in the City
Park Woman Warrior
Alexander the Great Statue
Memorial House of Mother Teresa
Church St Spas
The Kale Fortress or Skopje Fortress
The Mustafa Pasha Mosque
I already had the Arts Bridge, the Kale Fortress and the Mosque on my list to visit, so being taken there by a local guide was a great option to hear more about the history of each place and their significance to the people of North Macedonia.
Cheese and Wine Tasting Afternoon
If you’re looking for something unique to do in Skopje, look no further than a winery tour and tasting paired with local products.
North Macedonia surprised me with their wine offering and there are a couple of great options for a 2 hour winery tour close to the city - just 5km from the city centre:
Both offer tours and tastings with wines paired with local cheese, meat, olive oil and bread.
Visit a local brewery for dinner and drinks
If you’ve read my guides before, you’ll know I’m a big craft beer fan and will always try to find local breweries to visit on my trip.
The Old Town brewery (it’s literally called Old Town) is a craft beer bar with open air seating and they even had live music playing when we visited.
You might not find this spot in guidebooks as it was obviously very popular with locals when we visited but the vibe was so fun and the staff were wonderful - definitely recommend this as one of the best bars in Skopje to visit - especially if you’re a beer lover!
Spend a half day visiting Matka Canyon and Vodno Mountain
Kick off your second day with a half day tour to Matka Canyon.
When we arrived in Skopje, it wasn’t long before we knew we had to visit Matka Canyon - everyone we met recommended we visit, from our hotel staff to bar staff to our walking tour guide!
Located about 30 minutes outside of Skopje, Matka Canyon is a stunning nature reserve that can be toured on a half day trip from the city and it is one of the most popular day trips from Skopje.
I highly recommend using Get Your Guide for these tours.
This Matka Canyon tour also includes the mountain cable car trip up Vodno Mountain which has stunning views!
For just the Matka Canyon tour, check out this option which includes the boat trip in the canyon.
Visit a cultural attraction
After your action packed morning, you’ll probably want to take the remainder of your day a bit slower!
Skopje attractions include plenty of museums and galleries which are a great option for things to do in Skopje when the weather is hot or rainy! Plus you can learn more about North Macedonia's history and culture.
Many attractions are free in Skopje, but even the Macedonia Archeological Museum and the Museum of the Macedonian Struggle only cost 2 Euros to visit.
Watch the sunset from Skopje Fortress
Even if you’ve already visited the Kale Fortress / Skopje Fortress on the walking tour, it’s also a beautiful spot to enjoy the sunset from in the city.
The 6th-century fortress is free to visit, so you can just walk in and head up to the walls for panoramic views of Skopje city at sunset.
Summary: 2 days in Skopje things to do
While Skopje might not have been my favourite place in North Macedonia, it certainly has a lot to offer and I loved the amount of history and culture there is to explore there.
An added bonus is that Skopje is one of the least touristy European capital cities, so it’s refreshing to explore a city that’s a little more ‘off the beaten track’ in Europe.
Pin this for later to plan your future trip!