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Macedonia

Macedonia most commonly refers to:

  • Republic of Macedonia, country in southeastern Europe
  • Macedonia (Greece), region of Northern Greece
  • Macedonia (region), region covering the above, as well as parts of Bulgaria, Albania, Kosovo and Serbia (see map)
  • Macedonia (ancient kingdom), also known as Macedon, the kingdom of Alexander the Great

Macedonia, Makedonia, Makedonija, or Makedoniya may also refer to:

Hear about travel to Macedonia as the Amateur Traveler talks to Kelsey of CineTraveler.com about her recent trip to this country in the Balkans. Macedonia is just north of Greece and probably best known as the home for Alexander the Great but Kelsey found much more to recommend in this much too overlooked country. In a week they were able to see much of the country.

Kate at the Pyramid, Tirana Albania

The Balkans are my favorite region in the world. I’ve now visited four summers in a row: Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro in 2012; Macedonia and Kosovo in 2013, Croatia and Slovenia in 2014; and finally Albania, Montenegro, and Serbia in 2015.

Oh, Albania. This country is probably the most interesting place I visited in 2015. And Albania is chock full of my favorite things about the Balkans: astounding natural beauty, a less-developed tourism infrastructure with fewer foreigners, rich UNESCO World Heritage Sites, cheap prices, beautiful mountains, cafe culture, and a wacky capital city.

Tirana was my final destination in Albania, and I wasn’t quite as excited for it as I was for Saranda and the Riviera. But that quickly faded away when I realized what a cool place Tirana was! I wouldn’t quite call Tirana the weirdest city in the region — that honor belongs to Skopje — but I’ll gladly award it second place.

Laundry Tirana Albania

I arrived in Tirana from Berat on an aged bus that seemed to be held together with duct tape and prayers. Dropped off on a random street corner, I hopped into a cab with a driver who spoke about as much English as I spoke Albanian. We communicated entirely in Italian, him pointing out the landmarks as we entered the tree-lined streets of Blloku.

My heart began to beat fast. I had never seen a city like this before — elegant and riotous, drab and rainbow.

Tirana Albania

A City in Color

Like many Eastern European cities, Tirana is filled with ugly Communist-era architecture. These buildings are usually eyesores, and while many cities have charming old towns, central Tirana is instead full of cement block structures.

Unlike other Eastern European cities, though, you’ll find several of these buildings awash in color. Mayor Edi Rama, who was elected in 2000, began a campaign to bring color to Tirana. Some of the buildings have stripes across them; others are painted bright contrasting colors.

Rama did a TEDx talk about campaign to fill Tirana with color. You can view it here.

Yellow Building Tirana AlbaniaTirana AlbaniaTirana Albania

For the Love of Blloku

More than anything, it was Tirana’s ritziest neighborhood, Blloku, that made me fall in love with the city.

I walked around, whispering to myself, This is Tirana?! Not what I had pictured at all. It looked so…fancy.

Tirana AlbaniaTirana AlbaniaTirana AlbaniaLake Tirana Albania

For about 40 years, Blloku was restricted to the political elite of Albania. Ordinary people were not allowed in. When communism fell in 1991, Blloku began its transformation into a neighborhood for all.

Blloku is where you’ll find the fanciest bars, restaurants, and cafes in Tirana. And those CAFES! They’re piled on top of each other!

You might recall that Albanian food was very hit or miss for me, so I indulged in international food here, especially Italian food. A three-course meal with wine will set you back around $12!

Pyramid Tirana Albania

Climbing the Pyramid

In the middle of Tirana sits an enormous derelict pyramid. It was originally constructed in 1988 as a museum to honor dictator Enver Hoxha; by 1991, it had become a conference center, then it became a NATO command center during the war in Kosovo.

Today, it’s mostly abandoned, looking like something out of a horror movie.

And it begs to be climbed.

Pyramid Tirana Albania

So I did just that.

Pyramid Tirana AlbaniaView from the Pyramid Tirana AlbaniaPyramid Tirana AlbaniaKate at the Pyramid, Tirana Albania

I think climbing the pyramid was my favorite experience in Tirana! More than anything, it represented the city’s beauty and weird factor.

Kids Pyramid Tirana Albania

Local kids climbed and slid, climbed and slid. (My friend Erisa, a Tirana native, later told me that she used to do this as a kid as well, sliding down on cardboard!)

If you’re interested in climbing the pyramid, I have some advice:

1. Be okay with making a fool of yourself. Locals see this as an activity for kids; only occasional tourists join in.

2. Wear decent shoes. I wore flip flops and was sweating so much my feet kept sliding out of them as I neared the top.

3. Wear sunscreen. There is no protection from the sun up there.

4. Prepare to slide down on your butt. Unlike the kids, it took me about 15 minutes. I could have torn up my shorts if I hadn’t been so careful.

Tirana a href=

Sunset Cocktails

In most places I visit, I like to climb a tall building to look over the landscape. One of the tallest building in Tirana, the Sky Tower, is home to the Panoramic Bar and Restaurant on top.

I’ll let the sunset views speak for themselves.

Tirana AlbaniaTirana a href=

I had a glass of prosecco, of course. You all know why! The cost? 350 lek. That’s a mere $2.83.

I so love this country.

Tirana Albania

Shopping Galore

I’m usually not much of a shopper, but I went absolutely crazy in Albania. First of all, everything was so cute and cheap and funky. Secondly, I was about to attend a music festival for the first time ever and had NOTHING TO WEAR.

Balkan women tend to be very thin, so keep that in mind while shopping. Sizes above 10 more or less do not exist, and sometimes you’ll struggle to find anything larger than an 8.

Some of the items I bought included:

Kate at Sea Dance

How festival-y is this outfit? I basically lived in this at Sea Dance in Montenegro.

Kate in Castanea, Sicily

This dress, worn in Sicily, is now referred to as my Albania Dress. It works just as well with leggings, boots, and a blazer as it does with flip-flops.

Kate at Albanian Victoria's Secret

This I definitely did not buy — a business shirt attached to a lacy thong! (I thought this was hilarious. It was one of the most popular photos I shared on Facebook all summer.)

But seriously, the Albanian version of Victoria’s Secret is insane. It’s basically all of the brightest, wildest, trashiest lingerie that they couldn’t sell elsewhere. I had to buy myself a crazy bra — a melange of neon purple satin and black lace, with the power to push your boobs up into the stratosphere.

Best souvenir ever.

Lake Tirana Albania

Endless Quirks

It seemed like everywhere I turned in Tirana, I would find something that made me smile.

Bunker Tirana Albania

There was a bunker on display in central Blloku. (There are thousands of these spaceship-like structures dotting the Albanian countryside.) Behind it is a chunk of the Berlin Wall.

Red Bull Ice Cream Tirana Albania

Red Bull-flavored ice cream. Be still, my heart.

Rottweiler Dog in Tirana Albania

A Rottweiler roughly the size of a horse.

Tirana Opera House Flag

And, of course, the blood-red Albanian flag proudly displayed everywhere.

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The Takeaway

I really want to return to Tirana! Albania is such a cool emerging country, and still feel like I’ve only scratched the surface.

While at the rooftop bar, I chatted with a few Swiss girls who were in Tirana for their second trip. Like me, they had come on a whim and had been unexpectedly blown away. I feel that other frequent travelers would feel the same way.

When I return, one other aspect of Tirana that I want to explore more is the nightlife. I only saw a tiny part of the scene, and I can tell there is a lot more to discover.

Essential Info: I stayed at Propaganda Hostel, which is ideally located in the Blloku neighborhood. I had a private ensuite room for 25 euros ($28) per night. (Some places in Albania charge in euros instead of lek, but you can usually pay in lek.) This was a terrific hostel and I recommend it, especially for its location. That weird Victoria’s Secret is on the block.

For shopping, I recommend perusing the streets of Blloku and the TEG mall just outside the city. (Take a cab from anywhere or a bus from the Skanderbeg Square, the central square in Tirana.)

Tirana is one of few world capitals without a central bus station. Plan on getting dropped off on a random street corner and grabbing a cab! If departing by bus, ask your accommodation where and when to get a bus to your next destination.

If you’re coming to or from Montenegro, I highly recommend the Montenegro Hostel shuttle which runs back and forth between Tirana and Kotor, Budva, and Podgorica. It cost me 40 euros ($45) for a one-way ride to Budva and took five hours. It was a comfortable, air-conditioned journey and I highly recommend it, as the alternative is taking several public buses of dubious quality. They also stop for a photo op at beautiful Sveti Stefan.

What’s your favorite weird city?The Funk Factor of Tirana, Albania

Photo: M01229

First, highlights from International Women’s Day

The four women who organized the historic Jan. 21st Women’s March on Washington were arrested in New York at a Day Without A Woman rally. Along with several other protesters, they were seized not far from Trump Hotel near Columbus Circle after sitting peacefully in the street and causing a disruption in traffic. The 13 women were released Wednesday night, claiming that they had spent their detainment singing gospel songs like “We Shall Overcome” through the halls of the NYPD’s 7th precinct. [TIME]

Some of us have been arrested #DayWithoutAWoman pic.twitter.com/WSYVdrQjxA

— Women's March (@womensmarch) March 8, 2017

Massive demonstrations happened around the world yesterday. The activists numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Besides the United States, rallies happened in Nigeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, Macedonia and Pakistan. TIME put together a round-up video, which you can view here.

A congressman from Missouri is concerned that women are paying a tax on tanning. Rep. Jason Smith claimed that under Obamacare women are required to pay taxes on their tanning salon visits. He wondered aloud: why, on International Women’s Day especially, was he the only one bringing this up? A congresswoman from Washington, Rep. Suzan Delbene, suggested that it may be because healthcare is a more pressing issue for American women today. [Huffington Post]

Respecting our environment

There’s a ‘super bloom’ happening in California right now. Specifically in Southern California’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park where desert lilies, poppies, dune primrose, sunflowers, desert dandelions and other wildflowers are all blooming in unison. California received a lot of rain this winter which should make the super bloom’s climax even more vibrant. [CNN]

A post shared by J and S, and Hudson Dog! (@we_lexplore) on Mar 9, 2017 at 8:01am PST

China is emerging as a leader in addressing climate change. China canceled 104 coal-fired plants back in 2014 and in 2016, experienced a 4.7 percent drop in coal consumption as a result. The country is energetically onboard with the Paris Agreement and has begun a $474 billion renewable energy program — a majority of the program’s budget will go into renewable fuel by 2020. [Futurism] Read more like this: The protests that changed us

SO, because life insists on staying interesting, I recently fell head over heels in love with a botanist who spends much of his time out in the bush in his homeland of Western Australia. I happen to live way up in the Andes of Argentine Patagonia with no internet or phone signal at home. Most would tell us to give it up, that the logistics of the situation are stacked too strongly against us.

Of the many things I adore about him, his boundless optimism has to be up at the top of the list. This not working out somehow was never an option to him. I’m at my core a pretty intense optimist, so I’m consciously trying to get on board and see the situation not as absolutely sucking, but even to go so far as to see the good side.

It’s a stretch some days, but coming up with the following ways that long-distance relationships aren’t so bad after all is keeping me sane and us together so far.

I always have guaranteed future travel plans.

One of the things that I have found is absolutely necessary for me to not freak the hell out that this relationship is going nowhere, is to have a concrete plan for the next time we will actually see each other in person. He’s a traveler, I’m a girl who travels, so it’s a great excuse to have to plan a quick jaunt to Europe when he has a week or two between work assignments. And I definitely have to end up in Australia soon to meet his friends and family and to get to know for myself his favorite beaches, forests, and other hangout spots.

Expectations have to be communicated clearly.

Sometimes in past relationships, I’ve found myself going along with things almost unconsciously and then, BAM, one day it’s like I wake up and think “How the hell did I end up here?”

The day he got on a plane, I entered into this current situation by conscious choice. And tough conversations had to be had, difficult questions asked, which for me is a lovely, honest, and direct way to form a relationship. Do we really want to be creating this kind of relationship? Or are we in it because it just seems too hard to let each other go? Do we have the same relationship goals? Do we have roughly the same expectations in terms of time, patience, and frequency/intensity of communication we’re willing to give? Does the other expect monogamy? What does the other need to be okay with a non-monogamous situation — do they want to know or not know if something happens with someone else? Realistically, time and money wise, when and how often could in-person meets take place?

I’m someone who values direct communication very much, and I’m finding that it serves me well in a long-distance relationship.

It’s somehow more acceptable that I’m “monogomish”.

I’ve never been sold on the idea of rigid monogamy. Now I’m in a situation where months and months may pass between when my love and I see each other in person. I’m not going to ask that he stay miserable and lonely and not be with other people. And he would not ask that from me. We’re secure in the fact that we have each other’s hearts and that no one else can take that away. We’re secure in the fact that when we are together in person, the other gets everything, 100% presence and attention. A one night stand for a little physical affection every now and again that we personally can’t give the other is not going to be a deal-breaker here.

It would be practically impossible for things to go too fast for my liking.

I freak out in relationships when the guy goes from “let’s hang out” to “I expect exclusivity and, while I won’t usually vocalize it so directly, I expect you to hang out with me every day and I’ll insecurely pout when you don’t”. That shit’s over basically before it even begins with me.

Instead, now there’s letter writing. There’s genuine caring about how my day went without feeling like he had to be a part of every second of it. There’s total acceptance that I will be hanging out with friends a lot — even an appreciation of those friend for looking out for me when he can not. There’s no “So, um, it’s been a while, when are we moving in together?”, it’s more like “Hey, I can swing a week or two off work in June, let’s road trip Macedonia”. I can hang with that.

If I use my imagination I can feel like I’ve time traveled.

Beautiful handwritten letters that have to cross the oceans to get to me? And they include flower petals and pretty feathers he knows I would love? The die-hard romantic in me eats that right up. The very present and available guy just down the road never wrote me any handwritten love letter.

I can’t lose my interests and friends just for some guy who showed up in my life.

They say that you can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself first, and I think it’s true. I’m not about to spend the next few months until I see him in some horrible gray cloud, moping about. I’m going to fill my time with fun. I will take Italian classes and practice my fire-staff skills and bake and read and get together to drink wine with girlfriends and talk excitedly about how full my life is.

Meanwhile, I can send messages to my man in my newly-learned Italian. He can send me video help, giving me tips with the fire-staff twirling. We can read the same books and chat about them, and I can bake his favorite items and enjoy them while thinking of him. My partner will not resent me for living happily in the real world like a real human — if he did, he wouldn’t be the one for me. More like this: 9 questions you should ask yourself before starting a long-distance relationship

From the Bluegrass to the Balkans: Living, Loving, and Leaving Macedonia

Benjamin Shultz

Benjamin Shultz considered himself to be a worldly, educated, and well-traveled student of culture, ready to take on any adventure. After completing a Ph.D. in geography and teaching at an American university for a few semesters, love took him to Macedonia, his wife’s home country, where he encountered a whole new world for which all of his previous travel and studies had left him unprepared. Almost immediately after his arrival in 2013 he began documenting his experiences as he negotiated completely different social customs, navigated notorious Eastern European bureaucracies, and learned a new language. While there he discovered a proud nation and beautiful culture that places a strong emphasis on friendship, family, and enjoying life, but at the same time suffers from political corruption, poverty, and a lack of opportunity that pushes thousands of young people to emigrate permanently. At times comical, at times serious, this book gives a glimpse of what life is like in one of Europe’s smallest and poorest countries as it struggles to transition from its socialist past, even 25 years after gaining independence from Yugoslavia.

For 91 Days in Macedonia

Michael Powell

For 91 Days in Macedonia is collection of stories, photography and advice from three months spent in one of Europe's least-discovered countries. Mike and Jürgen are travelers who spend 91 days in various locations around the world, capturing the history, lifestyle and culture of their temporary homes. With the enthusiasm of newcomers, they spent three months exploring the Republic of Macedonia, leaving no stone unturned, from the capital of Skopje to beautiful Lake Ohrid... and everything in between.Packed with information about the food, towns, nature, history and culture of Macedonia, this e-book follows Mike and Jürgen as they embark on hikes, visit small-town wineries, and meet some of the most hospitable people they've ever encountered. The story is fleshed out by historical anecdotes, observations on Macedonia's diverse ethnic tapestry, and practical advice for visiting the country. The book contains over 250 professional full-color photos, along with indexes organized alphabetically and by category. For 91 Days in Macedonia isn't a traditional guidebook, but an impartial and colorful account of three months spent in this unforgettable country. Whether you're planning a trip of your own, or simply curious, Mike and Jürgen's experiences will help to enrich your own.

Macedonia (Bradt Travel Guide)

Thammy Evans

Catch a rare sighting of the Balkan lynx in Mavrovo National ParkExplore Kokino’s megalithic observatoryRide the cable-car up Skopje’s Vodno MountainCelebrate Kavadarci’s Grape Harvest FestivalCave, climb and kayak – indulge your inner adventurerAll the best accommodation options, from mountain huts to boutique hotelsA once-fractured country, as its complex history proves too well, Macedonia now offers a rich mixture of sightseeing options. Nature lovers and history buffs will be delighted by pristine landscapes and an impressive archaeological heritage. Visit the crumbling Treskavec Monastery, bathe in the hot springs at Katlanovska Banja and wander through the backstreets of Kratovo, a village set entirely within an ancient volcanic crater.The most comprehensive guidebook to Macedonia is now in its fifth edition. Written by Thammy Evans, a political analyst who lived in Macedonia for five years, Bradt’s Macedonia makes the ideal travelling companion, whether you’re trekking throughpristine Pelister National Park, viewing stunning mosques and monasteries or just relaxing with a cocktail on the shores of Lake Ohrid.

Lost and Found in Macedonia: A Journey to Unexpected Places

Ms. Marilyn Wheeler

It would have been easy to give up—to pronounce her decision a monumental mistake—and grab the first plane home. No one would have judged her had she raced back to the land of comfort, English-speaking friends, and a family that loved her. But Marilyn was determined. At the age of sixty, Marilyn Wheeler left behind family, friends, and the outward signs of the good life—to embark on the adventure she had long imagined: being a Peace Corps Volunteer. “This experience was not for sissies, and what a surprise to discover I was one!” With humor, warmth, and raw honesty, Marilyn takes you along on life changing experiences—from language and culture, to working with the Gypsies—all culminating at a totally unexpected place….

Macedonia (Greece) with Thessaloniki, Pella, Edessa, Veroia, Vergina, Kastoria, Amphipolis, Philippi, Kavala, Chalkidki and Mount Athos (chapter from Blue Guide Greece the Mainland)

Blue Guides

Discerning, user-friendly guide to the sights and monuments of Macedonia in northern Greece, including the lively city of Thessaloniki, the sites associated with Alexander the Great, and the scene of the Battle of Philippi, where Mark Antony defeated Brutus. Includes full background information on Greek history and art, and practical tips on eating and accommodation.

Michelin Slovenia Croatia Bosnia-Herzegovina Yugoslavia Former Yug. of Macedonia Map 736 (Maps/Country (Michelin))

Michelin

Renowned for over 100 years for their clear, accurate and easy-to-read mapping, Michelin country maps give travelers an overall picture of their route, with practical road and travel information; and city maps containing extensive street indexes orient them quickly so they can find their way to their destination.

Slovenia/Croatia/Serbia/Bosnia-Herzegovina/Montenegro/Macedonia

Freytag-Berndt und Artaria

Explore the former Yugoslavia with this Freytag&Berndt double-sided road map. The best way to plan your trip, prepare your itinerary, and to travel independently in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, and FYROM. This double-sided map contains a place name index and shows inset maps (Belgrad, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Sarajevo) in a booklet. Touristic information: places of interest, airports, monuments, archaeological sites, camp-grounds. The legend is in English, Serbo-Croatian, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Slovak, Hungarian, and Czech.

Macedonia: History, Monuments, Museums

Ioannis Touratsoglou

An archaeological travel guide.

Exercise normal security precautions

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Crime

Petty crime (pickpocketing, purse snatching) occurs, especially in Skopje’s main downtown pedestrian zone, the Ramstore Mall, the Trgovski Centar shopping mall and Alexander the Great, Airport. Foreigners have been the target of muggings. Remain vigilant at all times.

Occasional acts of inter-ethnic violence can occur.

You should exercise a high degree of caution when travelling to the western border zone due to heightened criminal activity in the area.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations and political protests occur in Skopje and other towns, and striking workers may set up roadblocks. Avoid all demonstrations, protests and large gatherings, as they have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.

Road travel

Exercise caution when travelling by road, especially after dark. Secondary roads are poorly maintained and lack adequate lighting. In mountainous areas, most roads lack guard rails and are little more than dirt tracks above deep gorges. Ice and snow make driving hazardous in winter. Farm equipment and stray animals pose additional risks.

Travellers may face delays at border crossings. Apart from designated crossing points, border areas are considered military restricted zones where travel is forbidden without official permission.

Public transportation

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Fraud/scams

Credit-card fraud is common. Pay careful attention when your card is being handled by others during payment processing.

See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.

General safety information

Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.

Emergency services

Dial 192 for the police, 193 for firefighters, 194 for an ambulance and 196 for roadside assistance.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Rabies

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Southern Europe, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in Southern Europe, certain insects carry and spread diseases like Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, leishmaniasis, Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.


Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Most medical facilities are poorly equipped, and specialized treatment may not be available. Immediate cash payment is usually required for medical services.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Illegal activities

Do not photograph border crossings and military or security installations.

Homosexuality

Homosexuality is not widely accepted in Macedonia.

Driving laws

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is recommended.

Drivers and passengers must wear seatbelts at all times. All vehicles must use side lights/dipped headlights during the day. The use of a cellular telephone while driving is prohibited.

Police routinely stop vehicles for inspection.

Customs

To avoid difficulties upon departure, travellers carrying foreign currency, expensive jewellery or electronic equipment should make a customs declaration upon arrival in Macedonia.

Money

The currency of Macedonia is the Macedonian denar (MKD).

The economy is cash-based. The euro (EUR) is the currency of choice, although U.S. dollars are also accepted. Automated banking machines (ABMs) are available in Skopje and are becoming increasingly widespread throughout the country.

Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels and shops, except in some small grocery stores. Traveller’s cheques are sometimes accepted in hotels, but are readily convertible at banks. Foreign currency can be exchanged at all major banks and at numerous exchange facilities.

When crossing one of the external border control points of the European Union (EU), you must make a declaration to customs upon entry or exit if you have at least €10,000 or the equivalent in other currencies. The sum can be in cash, cheques, money orders, traveller’s cheques or any other convertible assets. This does not apply if you are travelling within the EU or in transit to a non-EU country. For more information on the EU legislation and links to EU countries’ sites, visit the web page of the European Commission on cash controls.

Climate

Macedonia is located in an active seismic zone, although serious earthquakes are rare. Take note of the contact information of the Consulate of Canada in Skopje in the event of an emergency.