We showed up early in Monospitovo, planning to spend the day at the only swamp in Macedonia. Although unclear about its exact location, we were confident about finding it. Monospitovo is, after all, a one-street village. Not much space for a swamp to hide. But it turns out that we were dealing with a very sneaky swamp.
Over the course of one long day at Matka Canyon, we tackled two hikes. The first, a climb to the church of Sveti Nikola, we can heartily recommend to anyone. But the hike to Sveti Nedela, on the opposite side of the canyon, is an ordeal we’d suggest only to those we most hate. Really, just those few people whom we wouldn’t mind seeing dead.
On our second day in Ohrid, we embarked on an excursion to Sv Stefan, an ancient cave church set within the cliffs south of town. We had prepared for a strenuous hike, so when we arrived at the church after barely ten minutes of walking, it was kind of a disappointment. Luckily, the trail continued, and would lead us to the abandoned village of Šipokno.
High on a ridge overlooking the town of Prilep are a set of medieval fortifications known as Marko’s Towers (Markovi Kuli). After exploring these expansive ruins, we would set off on a hike through the hills to the monastery of Treskavec.
Found minutes outside the city, Matka Canyon is a favorite summer getaway for the heat-exhausted residents of Skopje. Though you can take a bus, there’s also a moderately easy hike of ten kilometers leading to the canyon from the top of Mount Vodno. One warm Friday morning, we laced up our boots and set off.