Hiking and kayaking in Macedonia

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This is my last blog from the amazing journey in Macedonia this summer. The book about our hikes, our stays in cozy villages, and our swims in crystal clear lakes is now hopefully available on all markets, Travel Light in Macedonia - Hiking, cozy villages & crystal clear lakes. The next blog will be about Borneo to where we take off tomorrow.

After hiking to Magaro peak in Galicica National Park we headed to Pestani by Lake Ohrid to swim and relax, but we did not stay more than a day before we took off again. Next stop was to stay in a small monastery in Mavrovo National Park, but they did not have room for us. It is great to travel light when you find beautiful waterfalls on your way, but the six dogs that decided to join us on the hike made it a bit tricky on the narrow path. On the other hand, we had good laughs when they tried to run away with our shoes the second we put them down. What do dogs do with shoes? If we had found a room in the beautiful village Rostusja, we would have stayed and checked out a few of the other waterfalls.

We managed to get a lift to Mavrovo for our last challenging hike. To prepare we had a massage in the spa since we had surprised ourselves by booking a hotel with a lot of facilities. Staying in a ski resort during summer is cheap! The hike in Mavrovo was different in many ways. Parts were extremely steep, but it was open and sunny. The view in all directions from the 1980 meter top was stunning — a place to return to.


Kayaking in Matka Canyon had been on our bucket list, and it was perfect since we did it on a Monday morning, all alone in the dam. The Vrelo Cave was also better than expected, but it still does not put Matka on top of the list of places to return to even though we had a quite good hike there too. On the other hand, it was fantastic compared to Pristina in Kosovo where we headed next. We will not return there without male company, and we were grateful to return to Skopje for a short stay before returning home to Sweden.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Hiking at its' best!


Our next destination in Macedonia was St Naum to where we took a boat from Ohrid to see the beautiful Lake Ohrid and the mountains. A bonus was to see Tito’s house, and Bay of Bones. The latter is one of the most visited sights. They have reconstructed old roman housing and military facilities from 700 to 1200 BC. 

In St Naum, you will find a monastery which is the primary goal for most people and also the famous springs, Crn Drim. There are 45 springs, and the water is 98 % clear. It is hard to explain how clear the water is, but I try by saying that you barely see a surface. We took a walk around the springs and visited the small churches. Walk the extra mile when you visit St Naum! We were almost alone while the monastery was crowded. The local priest opened St Anastasia, the church on the hill, for us who were the only visitors. It had beautiful icons and interesting history. We also took a boat around the springs and a swim in the lake before entering the bus to Trpejca in the first bad weather we had encountered during our journey.

We had a blind date with an unknown landlord at the bus stop in the small village. Since we had heard so much about the fantastic hike to Magaro, we took the risk, but everything turned out well. Mishko was a great guy, and Jack of all trades. So, of course, he offered us a lift to Lipova starting point the next morning.


Mishko had never been to Galicica National Park! The locals seldom go hiking which is good to know when you go hiking in amazing Macedonia. Plan and get yourself a good hiking app with offline maps, and don’t rely on the locals to know. We use Wikiloc, and Mishko wanted to leave us at the wrong place until I showed him the picture of the sign at Lipova starting point. The hike was fantastic! It took 5 hours to walk from 1600 meters to the top Magaro at 2255 meters, and back down. The view at the top is magical. You can see Lake Ohrid, Prespa Lake, Macedonia, Greece, and Albania. The hike is partly steep, but manageable, at least if you pick up walking sticks in the forest at the start of the hike. Except for an Austrian, we were alone on the mountain until we almost back on the parking again. 


A swim in the crystal clear waters of Lake Ohrid and a tasty vegetarian meal, grilled mushrooms with fries, was precisely what we needed after the hike.

Hooked on hiking - blog 2 from Macedonia

After the scary taxi ride in Bitola and our amazing hike in Pelister National Park, we decided to head for a small friendly village on the other side of Mt Pelister. We found Villa LivaE in Brajchino on Airbnb. What a place! One of the nicest families we have ever met, and they served great food by the foot of the beautiful mountains. Couldn’t be better? Well if we had found the right tracks! But we still enjoyed our hikes, almost stepped on a turtle, and even had time to relax. Unfortunately, we had to change our plans – there was no border crossing to Greece by Lake Prespa. No worries, except for some lost money for the room in Psarades. 


We decided to stay in Macedonia, and are glad we did. Lake Prespa is fantastic. Go there, relax, and swim far out in the crystal clear calm waters. In Slivnica we had the most helpful host, Dejan, and wish him the best of luck with his apples. I felt embarrassed not to know the names of my own apples. Note to self – check my apples. Dejan and some helpful guests in Brajchino gave us valuable information about our next destinations in Macedonia. 

Ohrid is the most visited place in Macedonia, so we took the bus there. It is not easy to found your way through the old town, but the trouble was soon forgotten when we had our packed lunch by Lake Ohrid. After a well-needed bath, we headed for the huge fortress with the stunning view. Even I, who is terrified of heights (hard to believe when you read about our hikes…), loved it. I can understand why people love Ohrid with all its bars, restaurants, shops, entertainment, etc, but we prefer sleepy villages after a day or two in busy cities. Maybe because we live in the center of Stockholm and have a busy city outside our door most days. We left Ohrid by boat to see as much as possible of the great lake. Both the city and the lake is on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.


Macedonia instead of Albania and Montenegro!

The last journey did not at all become as intended, but so much better! We had planned to go to Albania and Montenegro, both fascinating countries, but found no suitable tickets. We did a quick search and decided to go to Macedonia instead. A great decision! We fell in love with hiking, crystal clear lakes, friendly people, and small beautiful villages where we were the only tourists.  

I am about to publish my third book, “Travel Light in Macedonia.” You will learn more about how to travel with light packing to be flexible and moveable. But on the same time be able to do all the things you love; hike, swim, go to nice restaurants, sleep in nice cool silk sheets, and have entertainment if things don’t work out the way you planned. 


Our trip to Macedonia had a great start, even though we had almost had no sleep before take-off. We covered many sights in friendly Skopje and enjoyed the views from the Millennium Cross at the Vodno mountain. A beautiful journey by train took us to Prilep where we regretted we hadn’t planned to stay for the music festival. And when we stayed in an awful hotel, and almost ended up in deep trouble in Bitola, we regretted it even more. 

But when we did our first real hike in Pelister National Park, with the most fantastic views, there were no more worries. We were hooked on hiking! You might not like stray dogs, but our hiking company was a friendly girl that we were sure would spot any unwanted bears long before we did. After a fantastic hike, up to 2400 meters, we came back down to have a memorable vegetarian meal and a cold beer!