|DAY 1: Departure from USA
- Depart the USA for Skopje City in Macedonia. Your international flight includes meals, drinks, and in-flight entertainment.
|DAY 2: North Macedonian Capital
- Welcome to North Macedonia, a small country with the name of the Great commander. In the airport of Skopje you are welcomed by our guide. After transfer to the hotel and checkin, you have some time to rest after the flight. Then we will start our city tour.
- Skopje is a city of great cultural heritage, which skillfully assembled buildings from different eras. Every step is a proof that it is a city of contrasts between the ancient and the modern, and between Christianity and Islam. We begin our acquaintance with the heart of the city, the square of Macedonia, designed in the 20th century and abound with pompous monuments of proud riders, mighty rulers on thrones and the heart warming fountain Mother of Macedonia. Bustling with cafes, the square is a popular meeting place.
- We will visit the house of Mother Theresa. Built on the place of her baptistery, it houses the memorabilia that belonged to this woman a Nobel Prize laureate who devoted her life to fight with poverty.
- Then we cross the Vardar River over the Ottoman stone bridge and get transferred to the deep past. Old bazaar, surrounded by mosques, caravansaries and hammams, looks truly timeless. Nearby we approach perhaps the main highlight of Skopje the fortress of Kale. We visit this imposing citadel, keeping in mind that the settlement around it dates back to Pre Christian times.
|DAY 3: Macedonian Wonders of Nature
- Our destination for today is the picturesque gorge of Matka. The area where a blue ribbon of the Treska River meanders along the mighty cliffs is a popular resort. Not only is it a heaven for tourists and hikers, but also a revered pilgrimage destination.
- This region is abounding with monasteries of centuries old history. We will pay a visit to Matka monastery and the church of St Andrew. Our Matka gorge tour would not be complete without a refreshing boat ride. A boat mildly floats and lulls you into a pleasant daydream.
- After coming back to Skopje, you have free time to explore the city on your own. Of course, our guide will give some advice on leisure. You can take the cable car to the Millenium Cross, an enormous steel frame cross on Mount Vodno. From the top opens a panoramic view of Skopje and the spectacular Balkan mountains.
- St Panteleimon church near Skopje is also much worth seeing. This cross dome shrine with marvelous decorations and frescoes of the 12th century is a precious example of Byzantine architecture.
- Meal: Breakfast
|DAY 4: In the Mysterious world of Stone
- After breakfast, we drive north east to visit Kokino observatory. But we will not find any astronomers or telescopes at this place. Kokino is a megalithic observatory, its history spanning 3800 years, which consists of seven stone thrones. From them our ancestors, during the Bronze Age, surveyed the sky, trying to understand the secrets behind the change between day and night, seasons of the year, and to solve other natural mysteries. Along with the British Stonehenge and Cambodian Angkor Wat, Kokino is included in the list of archaeological observatories. This area is also known as the place of power where one can come to rejuvenate. For some time, we let this place enchant us with a mystical atmosphere where times seems to be frozen.
- Then we drive to Kuklica to visit a wedding. But you will not hear music, songs and laughter there, as the just married and guests are petrified. Joyful wedding is a name for quirky human like stone formations near the town of Kratovo. Locals call these formations dolls kukla is a Macedonian word for a doll, which explains the name of the place. During our walk you will hear a beautiful, but a sad legend about love, adultery, jealousy and revenge this is how folklore believers try to explain the origin of these bizarre creations.
- In the afternoon we are going to uncover another sacral landmark the Byzantine Lesnovo monastery. Lying on the slopes of Osogovo Mount, next to the volcanic crater, the monastery charms with its perfectly preserved frescoes, like ones of its founder Jovan Oliver.
- Meal: Breakfast
|DAY 5: Full Day Ohrid lake
- Since 1978, Ohrid lake with its coast and the eponymous town have been a UNESCO heritage site. The reason for this is the uniqueness of the lake, especially its fauna. Along with Baikal and Tanganyika, it is one of the oldest lakes in the world (around 5 million years old). Additionally, fairy tale scenery, crystal clear waters and ancient architecture make this coast perfect for holidays. To say even more, Ohrid town is the best preserved and most complete ensemble of ancient urban architecture of this part of Europe.
- On the way to this natural wonder we make a stop to praise a true masterpiece of the Ottoman architecture the Painted Mosque, from the floor to ceiling awash with inimitably colourful arabesques.
- When in Ohrid town, we delve in its historical grandeur. This current resort used to be an important educational Christian centre. St Clement Cathedral was built after a local scholar who was the follower of St Naum centuries ago. With the sky blue lake and mountains in the background, it looks truly picturesque and monumental. We also cannot miss the newly reconstructed Samuil fortress. Wonderful views on the citadel walls and winding streets, descending to the old town, will leave pleasant impressions. The remains of an ancient amphitheater emphasize the historical significance of the town.
- But the main viewpoint over the lake is St John church, perched atop the cliff above the water. Built in Byzantine style, it also has features of Armenian sacral architecture. Thanks to unique architecture and scenic views, this church became the most popular postcard from Ohrid. After the tour you will have a little time to indulge in Ohrid. Optionally, you can do a refreshing boat tour on the lake to see all the beauty from another angle.
- Meal: Breakfast
|DAY 6: Full Day Kosovo
- Tour to the Republic of Kosovo, a disputed territory on the border of North Macedonia, promises a truly unparalleled experience. During our day tour, we are going to visit Kosovo most significant landmarks, the strict capital Pristina and the laid back Prizren among them.
- On our way to Pristina we make a stop to praise the monastery complex Gracanica, a masterpiece of sacral architecture of Byzantine times whose main treasure is a five angled church. Unique structure and well preserved frescoes made the church of great cultural importance, which guaranteed it a place among UNESCO heritage sites.
- Kosovo self proclaimed its independence from Serbia in 2008, and our guide will confide in you the reasons behind the complicated relations among Balkan countries which led to this event.
- In Pristina, we again experience the blend of Christianity and Islam watching Catholic cathedrals and mosques stand next to each other. During the modernization of Pristina in the Yugoslavian times, the city was enriched with many contemporary architectural pieces, like the building of the State Library startling with its revolutionary forms. The most important site for Kosovans must be the NEWBORN memorial, symbolising the new age for the independent country Kosovo. We take a walk through Skanderbeg square the main square of Pristina, named after a medieval.
- Albanian knight who was defending these lands from Ottomans. The exposition of the Ethnographic museum tells us about the rich history of Kosovo land.
- We continue our acquaintance with Kosovo in its cultural capital Prizren. Except for an astonishing blend of Christian and Ottoman legacy, nestled among lush green mountains, Prizren is also famous for its craftsmen. We by a souvenir market where you can buy something unique to keep as a souvenir.
- Meal: Breakfast
|DAY 7: Departure
- Today our itinerary comes to the end. You spent your time eventfully, discovered the culture of the country and will keep these emotions for your lifetime.
- Transfer to airport for your departure flight.
- Meal: Breakfast