After staying the night at Lake Mavrovo, we got on the road as early as possible, arriving in Janče by 8am. There was a reason for our haste; the weather reports were calling for rain by noon, and we had planned on completing a four-hour hike to Galičnik and back.
Frequently visible in the skies above Lake Ohrid are paragliders who have jumped from the mountains of the Galičica National Park. It’s an activity we’ve always wanted to try… why not in Macedonia? So we gave the guys at Vertigo Paragliding Club a ring. A couple days later, were bouncing up the mountain in a jeep, nerves beginning to tickle our stomachs. This was a good idea, right?
A scenic drive through the Galičica National Park connects Macedonia’s two largest lakes, Ohrid and Prespa. For those willing to hike, it’s possible to see both lakes from one mountaintop view.
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.
Macedonia’s most well-known traditional gathering is the Galičnik Wedding Festival, held annually in a Mijak mountain village above Lake Mavrovo. This festival has a history stretching back centuries, and thousands of revelers still flock here every year for the music, rituals, games, drinking and fun. It sounds incredible… but we wouldn’t know for sure, because we never made it.
Stretched out along the Vardar River, Skopje is a long and narrow city whose expansion to the south is hindered by the presence of Mount Vodno. We took a cable car to the mountain’s summit for a close-up look of the Millennium Cross, and for a birds-eye view over the region.