The first country of Western Balkans I want to talk about is the Republic of Macedonia. The name for institutions is Former Yogoslav Republic of Macedonia because there is a fight with Greece for the name. In Greece Macedonia is the northern region, around Thessaloniki, but despite the name, the Balkan republic is really a surprising country. If you are searching luxury you will find the local version, but the landscapes deserve a visit and you will be happy in the end.
If you start the visit from the capital Skopje, you will see a strange city, especially in the centre there are new buildings realized in a neoclassic style and a lot of big statues. Many important artists and architects defined the city the new kitch, but of course there are some reasons, not only related to the fight with Greece and to the need to show or create the history. Even if the politicians didn’t spend properly the money, it has to be considered that in 1963 there was an earthquake and a huge part of Skope was destroyed.
To see three caravels on the river it has no sense, but to have a dinner inside with a good view of the fortress and the main buildings it is quite interesting. The best part of the city, according to my preferences is the old town. As in all Balkans there are the old parts built during Ottoman empire. If you like history and art, you can not miss a tour there. It is full of restaurants and bar where to taste Macedonian, Turkish and Ottoman delights.
Many new luxury and boutique hotels were build in last years and you can find also high quality services, even if sometimes they are not the best standards. Going outside the capital city you can find a lot of lakes, Ohrid and Prespa are the main ones, but many of them are simply amazing. Then you should walk in the vineyards. Great landscapes up and down to hills. In central Macedonia there are some of the most famous wine producers of Western Balkans, around the town of Kavadarci.
The wines are really great, they don’t have nothing to envy to some of the Italian and French wines. And of course the food is genuine, so eat and drink in the country is a unique experience. As to rent a car and go to see the parks. Nature, canyons, villages and small cities reserve something special. Krushevo, Bitola, Ohrid and Prilep are some of the palces where to stop, see the attractions and have a coffee.
Be in touch with the people is the best experience ever, even if it can be difficult for the language. In the countryside inhabitants like to communicate with visitors and to offer them something to eat and to drink. In the Orthodox churces you can not take pictures, but you will find ancient decorations, the icons made in the past and very well conserved.
I don’t want to share everything in this article, because I will go in details step by step in the next days. I will write about luxury places and services, describing also the beauties of the country.