Departing from the park which protects Vevčani’s natural springs, a path of eight kilometers meanders through the hills to Gorna Belica. It’s a strenuous, non-stop ascent, but reaching this remote mountain village is worth the effort.
We dedicated one of the days we spent on Lake Prespa to the nearby Pelister National Park. Extending roughly from Prespa to Bitola and down to the border with Greece, this park was established in 1948 to protect 170 square kilometers of southern Macedonia’s pristine mountain land.
Before arriving in Macedonia, I might have guessed that the country would offer gorgeous nature, good food, and forgotten mountain villages. But I wasn’t expecting to find multiple megalithic observatories. We had already visited Cocev Kamen near Kratovo, and now turned our attention to the “Stonehenge of Macedonia,” Kokino.
In the grand scheme of things, megalithic observatories aren’t really all that common. It’s not like you are going to find one in every other town you come across, over there behind the Walmart. But Macedonia has been blessed with not one, but two (and not a Walmart in sight). The most well-known is at Kokino, but we first paid a visit to Cocev Kamen.
There are a lot of amazing spots in Macedonia which few tourists know anything about. And there are some spots which few Macedonians know about. Near Kratovo is an ancient village carved out of rock. Completely unmarked and almost totally overlooked, Golemo Gradište was one of the most exciting discoveries we made during our 91 days in the country.
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.