If Mediterranean climate, delicious food, and breathtaking scenery are your main vacation criteria, then you will definitely do yourself a favor by zooming in on the Balkan Peninsula. Underrated, and therefore mainly forgotten, the Balkan can offer a colorful palate of experiences. Discovering the nature paradise and opening the cultural vault are matched only by Balkan hospitality, music, food and wine, in what can only be described as a sensory overload of another kind.
Check out: Best Hostels In Bulgaria for Backpackers
This article aims to remedy the situation, by going over the colorful Macedonian landscape filled with breathtaking scenery, tradition, delicious food and welcoming people. To save you the extra legwork, I will review 10 accommodation facilities, from different parts of the country. Catering to backpackers and families alike, I will diversify the list and include hotels and hostels, each offering something of interest.
Recommendation: 2 weeks in Balkans / perfect itinerary to explore when traveling by car!
So let’s explore this beautiful part of the world, shall we?
Places to stay in Skopje
Skopje is the capital of Macedonia, and your gateway to the rest of the country. The city is surprisingly close to some of the most attractive nature sites like canyon Matka and Vodno, and filled with impressive looking churches, traditional restaurants, and some of the most controversial newly added architecture in Europe.
The prices, however, regardless whether we are talking about accommodation or hospitality in general, are ridiculously affordable.
Hostels, which you will find in dozens, are a mere manifestation of the entrepreneurial spirit of the city, intertwined with the hospitable nature of the Macedonian people. Small and dispersed, their number grew exponentially in recent years. The standard, however, grew even better.
If you are the type of person who would like to associate hostels with the youthful, creative and artsy look, then Urban Hostel might be of interest.
Located in Debar Maalo (the cult urban area of the city), it offers a very clean, contemporary and comfortable place to stay. The prices, when compared against the average, are still relatively affordable, and the amenities can easily justify the small difference.
Various room types are available, each citing a different price. The common area is very comfortable, featuring a colorful set of paintings and furniture, along with a fish tank, fireplace and a piano.
You also get a free internet access, 24 hour reception service, as well as laundry facilities, parking and a safe deposit box.
Get Inn Hostel
Perhaps one of the best offers you’ll ever come across, Get Inn is the embodiment of the tourist cheer, and appeals to travelers who enjoy the colorful, artsy and youthful interior.
The spirit of the place is exactly the same, adding Free Days to the list – each offering a different set of goodies (free haircut, free dinner, free wine, etc.)
Different types of rooms are available, though you are more likely to find shared ones with bunk beds. If you need a double size bed and a more private room, be sure to book upfront.
The common area is welcoming, and you will definitely enjoy the terrace as well. The location is super convenient, which makes this hostel a perfect fit for anybody willing to explore the city on foot.
One of the oldest and more established brands in Skopje, this hostel offers a center-of-the-city location, shared and private rooms, and splendid service.
It is not as dashing as the two listings above, but attention to detail will surprise you nonetheless.
Hot water 24/7, air-conditioning and heating in every bedroom, free coffee and tea in the common room, discount in the neighboring restaurant, internet access, cable TV… If you need a reliable place that has everything to offer, at a surprisingly affordable price, this is definitely the one.
HI hostel Skopje
Less attractive than the previous three, the HI hostel offers something different instead – a 600 square meter garden, and convenient location, right at the base of mount Vodno.
Still close to the center of the city (roughly around 15 minutes walking), it is located in the green zone. This means less noise, clean air (definitely a problem in Skopje, during the winter), and the chance to enjoy a nicely decorated garden.
The rooms are different in type and size, and the price is very affordable.
Visiting the town of Ohrid
If you are the type of person who enjoys good wine while savoring the sunset on the lake horizon, visiting Ohrid is a must. Home to one of the most scenic lakes in entire Europe, it offers centuries of culture and tradition as well.
With more than 300 churches, some of them repurposed in art museums, galleries, recital podiums and artisan workshops, Ohrid is one of the early Balkan centers of the orthodox religion.
The monasteries and churches are located at the side of the lake, offering stunning and breathtaking panoramic views.
The accommodation, though slightly more expensive than what you’ll pay in Skopje (during the summer season), is still relatively affordable.
Completely isolated within its own walls, this villa offers a private-resort type of accommodation. With palm trees, large and lovely outdoor swimming pool, as well as great attention to detail for both exterior and interior alike, this villa is one of the best accommodation facilities in Ohrid.
Expect free internet, parking, and enjoy the convenient location.
Park Lakeside Hotel
Slightly smaller than what you’d expect from a hotel, the Park Lakeside place offers one of the best views from any other accommodation facility.
The service, however, is not satisfactory; but expect less and you will enjoy the hotel. The location and view, as well as the interior, are enough to justify the price.
Large and comfortable rooms, luxury looking and affordably priced, villa Germanoff is one of the best accommodation facilities in Macedonia.
You will get stunning views of the lake, free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, parking and much convenient location.
The staff is very helpful, and they will go out of their way to make sure you enjoy a lovely vacation.
If you leave Ohrid for a while, and go west to the town of Bitola, from where the national park Pelister is easily reached, you should definitely stay in Hotel Theatre.
Rustic looking and very traditional, this hotel offers a lovely interior, splendid room service, daily cleaning, and a very good restaurant. They serve breakfast at super affordable prices, but you can pay a little extra to have it included in your package as well.
Free internet, parking and air-conditioning are available, and a lovely staff is there to help, being well versed in communication with foreigners from far and wide.
On the other end of the country, the town of Berovo is where you go to escape the urban jungle. It is located high in the mountains, offering a lovely village ambient, lush forests, and one of the most stunning Macedonian lakes. The accommodation facility I’m about to share, is an attraction within itself.
Aurora Resort and Spa
Located high in the mountains, and close to the Berovo Lake, Aurora offers an entirely different experience. Featuring unforgettable mountain architecture, luxury interior and a picturesque infinite pool, this is perhaps the best Macedonia has to offer.
The prices are much more expensive when compared to the average Macedonian hostel, but it’s easily justifiable.
The food is exemplary, as well as the service.
They arrange other activities around the lake as well, such as horseback riding, and mountain biking, so if you are searching for an all-in-one package, Aurora has it all. I’ve stayed there with my wife (fiancée at the time – though not technically, since this is the place where I proposed to her), and it brings back the most beautiful of memories. Highly recommended!
Same as Berovo, Mavrovo offers tranquility, as well as nature and a gastronomic paradise. Small villages are scattered throughout the mountain, breathtaking scenery is everywhere around you, and tasty food and wine are to be had aplenty.
The prices are similar to those of Aurora, but again, this is a premium-type all-in-one vacation, where you can bring your spouse or significant other, or the entire family for a long and unforgettable retreat.
With more than 300 sunny days throughout the year, brushing against mountains, lakes and lush scenery aplenty, Macedonia is located at the heart of this small peninsula. It is the perfect catalog to the entire Balkan experience, if ever there was any. Left out of the political turmoil of the ex-Yugoslavian conflict, Macedonia easily became one of the most attractive Balkan destinations. Surprisingly affordable, yet picturesque, it is likely one of the most undervalued European destinations.
Wrapping up this letter, I do hope that Macedonia got the extended treatment it most definitely deserves. If you decide to visit this lovely place, I’m willing to bet it will be one memorable vacation. The list of accommodation facilities, I most sincerely hope, will come as handy as the recommendation to visit Macedonia itself.