When to go....What to wear/pack?
Macedonia has year round tourist destinations so it is totally up to you and what you enjoy most doing.
Spring (April, May) and Autumn (September, October) are the best for sightseeing and exploring the cities, since the temperatures are just right and make the long walks and adventure sports comfortable and enjoyable. The prices are also lower than the usual high season prices (which are still lower than the majority of European destinations).
Skopje City Park (photo by: I.Nikolovski)
Summertime is everyone's favourite period and Macedonia has plenty to offer. Although the temperatures are constantly above 30°C, frequently above 35°C and sometimes even above 40°C(especially in the southeast region), there is plenty of choice for cooling off. The mountains and national parks provide plenty of freshness and a possibility for sports, adventures and relaxation. And if you prefer the water, then the majestic Ohrid and Ohrid lake is the main destination for you, with plenty to see and do in the town and its crystal clear and crisp waters. Another choice for a more secluded and alternative vacations are Lakes Prespa and Dojran.
Ohrid Lake (photo by: I.Nikolovski)
If you are visiting during the winter months the mountains again are the best hosts. With two major ski centres and several smaller winter resorts, all with prices quite lower than what you're used to in Europe, the offer is quite satisfactory. If you prefer to have an all in one deal, with both skiing, relaxing and hiking than Mavrovo is the destination for you, otherwise for the thrill seekers there are Ski Kozhuf and Popova Shapka resorts that offer great tracks for advanced as well as beginner skiers and snowboarders. If relaxing is your thing, Berovo, Pelister and Krushevo are more than welcoming with great hiking trails, amazing sights and perfect relaxation possibilities.
Ski Kozhuf (photo by: Risto Nakov)
If you're visiting during the spring or autumn you should pack literally all your clothes as the weather can be very unpredictable, from 30 °C to a chilly 10 °C. Especially make sure you bring your jackets, some long sleeved pants and shirts and an umbrella since it is quite possible to have some rain.
Summertime is quite hot and dry so make sure you bring lots of light coloured clothes to fend off the sun rays as well as your swim suit for the aqua parks and pools, and lakes. Your eyeglasses is a must which, besides making you look cool at the beach bars on the coast of Lake Ohrid, they protect your eyes from the high UV exposure.
Winters can be quite harsh in Macedonia, so make sure you pack enough thick and woolen clothes to protect you from the crisp air. If you're a skier or a snowboarder then there's no need to tell you what to pack, but in case you forget something, don't worry as prices here are lower than other ski resorts, both for buying and renting.
(photo by: Matito - flickr)
Some general packing tips:
- Toiletries and cosmetics are cheaper to buy here than most of Europe so don't stuff your bags with them, leave some space for something useful and just buy them when you arrive.
- Mosquito repellent is a must when visiting during the summer period.
- Sun cream and protection is also very important during the summer as UV exposure can get quite high.
- Visiting monasteries, churches or mosques require some dressing rules, long pants with not too revealing tops, t-shirts, and shirts are advised for women and men alike.
- An adaptor if your appliances use other than European styled socket.
- Comfortable shoes for hiking and walking around the cities.
- We would advise to bring your own prescription medicine as obtaining the doctors note to buy them here can take you valuable time off your sightseeing. Other over the counter medicine is abound and there is plenty of choice and the pharmacists also speak English, but hopefully you won't need them.
- Photocopies of important documents are a must for every traveler. Make sure you have ones especially from your passport and visa (if applicable) in case you lose them or worse (although rare), pocket lifting is increasing as tourists increase. Leave the photocopies with someone you trust, locked in the safe at the hotel or use an internet service like Google Documents to keep scans of them online and print in case of need.