Macedonia

 

At a glance

Europe is significantly more varied and interesting than you may initally think. Somewhere among the mountains of the Balkan Peninsula, a small country is located that boasts natural beauties and a rich, long history that deserve attention.

In Macedonia, life has a slow and pleasant rhythm to it. The streets of its small towns are framed by old-fashioned shops and cozy cafes; and its residents still stop on the way to talk, without rushing, to everyone they meet.

It is Europe the way much of the continent must have been centuries ago: untouched nature, villages practicing centuries-old traditions, people open and welcoming to guests from afar. All that in a setting of soaring mountains (16 of them topping a mile high), vast forests and more than 50 crystal lakes. And in a country barely a third the size of Massachusetts.

Due to its location, a crossroads of sorts, Macedonia presents a mix of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Greek history in a setting that feels both Balkan and Mediterranean. As we describe it on our tour page, “it is a land of hospitality, mixed cultures, splendid wines and delicious cuisine. With nearly 300 sunny days each year and ideal temperatures, Macedonia is the perfect place to be.

Why cyclists love it

  • A wide network of paths, narrow village streets and local low traffic roads ideal for cycling by all levels of ability and age groups
  • More than thousands of off-road and dirt tracks perfect for mountain biking
  • A beautiful land of mountains, forests, and lakes
  • A rich culture and a slow pace of life
  • A "crossroads" location, where visitors will feel both the Balkan and Mediterranean influences 
  • An off-the-beaten-path location 

Tour spotlight

Discover Macedonia: Biking and Hiking (Guided)
Featured as a 2015 BikeTours.com "Presidential Tour," this trip was discovered and created in part by BikeTours.com president Jim Johnson. This tour takes visitors to the best locations and on the most exciting routes for active tourism. From remote places in Mavrovo, to Galichica National Park, Prilep, and ending in the capital of Macedonia, Skopje, it's a perfect active holiday accompanied by tasty food and great wines. 
Tour details > 

Macedonia stories

On our blog:

  • Discover Macedonia with BikeToursDirect president and founder
    Beautiful countryside. An intrinsically rich culture. Warm and kind people. Macedonia has all this and more, as BikeToursDirect president Jim Johnson discovered while on tour there last fall. The tour ends in the capital of Skopje, which Lonely Planet aptly describes: “Easygoing Skopje remains one of Europe’s more unusual capitals, where constant urban renewal has made the city a bizarre jigsaw puzzle whose Turkish old town, ancient fortress, communist-era centre and contemporary building spree combine to create a multifaceted city that never fails to surprise.”

On Google+: Travel writer Olivia Harlow was one of a group of clients who joined BikeTours.com president Jim Johnson for the August 2015 Discover Macedonia tour. See some of her photos from the tour.

On YouTube: 

Fast facts

Language: Macedonian
Currency: Macedonian denar
Population: 2,106,000
Size: 9,781 square miles (25,333 sq km) – about the size of Vermont
Border countries: Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Kosovo
National tourist office: http://macedonia-timeless.com/

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