Matka Canyon near Skopje is the perfect day trip! The canyon is located west of central Skopje and home to caves and several medieval monasteries. Matka lake is the oldest artificial lake in the country and it’s the perfect place for hiking! It can be a little tricky to get to and I figured sharing how we managed to get there may be useful for those of you planning to visit.
Right next to the central bus station in Skopje is a huge bus terminal underneath a bridge, from which local buses depart. It took a little asking around and standing at the wrong bus stop until we managed to find bus #60. There is a small kiosk right at the bus stop at which you can purchase your ticket to Matka Canyon. We were unable to find an official bus schedule and only know that the bus seems to depart every hour or so. On the day you want to go I’d simply ask at the kiosk and they will be able to advise you further. The bus ticket, with the pass, ended up being 150 MKD.
The last stop of bus #60 is Matka canyon and can therefore not be missed. It takes roughly, depending on how often the bus stops, 30-45 minutes to reach Matka Canyon from the bus terminal. That being said, the bus stops at various points in the city. Depending on where you are staying it may be more convenient to take the bus from a different bus station. However, if you need to buy a ticket then I highly recommend going straight to the main bus terminal as tickets can be bought there.
The bus drops you off right at Matka Canyon and after 10 minutes of walking, you are on the trail. If you want to explore the Canyon by foot you can simply walk along the trail. There are a couple of signs at the beginning of the trail which displays the routes and attractions along them. You can also explore the Matka Canyon and its caves by boat. While I am sure that there are a lot more boats going during the summer, we did see a handful of boats with passengers while we were visiting. You can also rent a kayak, although I am not sure if this is an option during the winter as I didn’t see anyone renting one.
The trail is incredibly narrow and oftentimes without handrails. If you are going to Matka Canyon I’d highly recommend you to bring suitable footwear – sneakers or boots that is. Flip-flops wouldn’t be a good idea.
We explored the canyon for a couple of hours and decided to take the bus home. We mistakenly forgot to ask when buses would go from the Matka Canyon back to the city center and just winged it.
We initially waited at the bus stop and decided to simply walk to the next bus stop, to pass the time. As we were looking for the next bus stop, we saw our bus going to Matka Canyon and as I mentioned earlier, Matka Canyon is the last stop of this bus and we, therefore, rushed to reach the next bus stop. A couple of minutes later the bus we saw earlier arrived and we headed back to the center. We took the bus back int he late afternoon and the ride was much quicker due to the driver making fewer stops.
If you are a lover of nature and hiking then a visit to Matka Canyon is a must. Visiting Matka Canyon was one of my personal highlights and I absolutely loved it! It was incredibly peaceful, really quiet and so much fun to explore. Have you been or are you planning on going? 🙂
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