Macedonian Alps are the southiest mountains in the Dinaric chain. Some have typical alpine morphology and vegetation, some have the characteristics of a dinaric karst. The hiking trails over these mountains lead through beautiful landscapes, dense pine woods and crystal-water lakes. On the way passing picturesque mountain villages, having an authentic experience of the Balkan rural life: Old stone houses, back yards where vegetables and fruits are grown “the old way” and friendly peasants who will be honored if one visits their home.
This tour offers hiking through the mountains, exploring the endemic flora and fauna combined with a view to the Macedonian cultural and traditional heritage. Chance to taste real home made meals, have a shot of strong rakija and good wine.
Skopje(Tirana) – Struga – Vevchani – Оhrid
Transfer from Skopje Airport (or Tirana). Meeting with our guide and continue. Arrival at Struga before noon.
Struga: From the mythical Enhilion to the World’s town of poetry. A visit to the natural-science museum , see the endemic Ohrid flora and fauna. Getting familiar with the wildlife of the region. Learning about the specific life of the endemic Ohrid trout, eel and other lake fish. A stroll through the Struga bazaar. We’ll see the Black Drim coming out from the Ohrid Lake from the famous Bridge of Poetry. Optional lunch at local restaurant. Continue to nearby village of Gorna Belica.
Hiking on Jablanica Mountain: On the border line with Albania, being the first Dinaric mountain in Macedonia. Rich with woods, wild streams and mountain lakes. Hiking from the village Gorna Belica to the village of Vevchani.
Vevchani: The village is home of a medieval carnival and significant history and tradition. On foot sightseeing of the village and visit of Vevcani Springs, a natural rarity. Dinner at a village familly run tavern with home made food, rakija and wine. Drive to Ohrid.
Ohrid: Check in the hotel. Night guided walking tour, sightseeing of the old town core: Old Baklan architecture stylled houses, Byzantine churches and art, Local crafts, Hand made souvenirs… Having a drink and taste a bit of the urban night life…Overnight at the hotel in Ohrid.
Оhrid – Prespa – Brajchino
Breakfast. Check out of the hotel, and drive along the lake coast, enjoying the beautiful landscapes and picturesque villages. Enter the National park Galichica.
Hiking on National park Galichica: Mount Galichica is a perfect representative of a Dinaric carst, offering breath-taking views of both lakes. Characteristic flora and fauna of typical Dinaric karst. Hiking across the mountain from Ohrid Lake to Prespa Lake. Learning about the local flora and fauna, endemic species and enjoying at the breathtaking panoramic views of both lakes. Short coffee-refreshment break on the shore of lake Prespa. Optional lunch or picnic. Continue to the island Golem Grad by boat.
Golem Grad Island: The only island in Macedonia, once a seat of the legendary Macedonian Tsar Samuel. Isolated and untouched nature. An unique “pocket jungle” that is a home of rare animals and birds, mutated Mediterranean vegetation. Small boat ride to the island. Trekking tour around the island. Explore the medieval archaeological reamainings hidden in the Mediterranean jungle. See rare tortoises, lizards and birds that live at the island. Continue the boat ride across the lake (optional), or/and drive arround the lake. Different local and rare birds living in their natural habitat. Pelicans, cormorans and other lake birds are specially protected at the Bird reservee Ezerani. Bird watching and taking photos. Learn about the life of the pelicans and cormorans. Arrival at the village of Brajchino in the late afternoon.
Brajcino: Check in village pensions. Guided walking tour sightseeing the village. Learning about the village origins and history, local agriculture, using of forestry products. See the raditional rural well preserved stone made houses. Exchanging experiences with the friendly locals about about the village life and local occupations: apple production, farming, collecting forestry products, home made jam, juices and liqueurs. Dinner at a village family house with home made food, wine, rakija.
Overnight in village pensions at Brajchino.
Brajchino – Pelister – Bitola
Early Breakfast (or lunch-packet). Check out of the pensions and leave the village entering the National park Pelister.
Hiking on National park Pelister: Mount Pelister is the southest Alpine mountain on Balkans. Dense pine woods, rampant streams. Remains from the glacier period as the so called “stone rivers” and two glacier lakes. Home of the rare prehistoric type of pine, Molika pine. Alpine vegetation, some mutated and endemic species of plants, birds, butterflies and mammals. Hiking on the trail to Golemo Ezero. Optional hike to Malo Ezero. Optional lunch (picnic or prepared at the mountain hut). Continue descending to the villages of Nize pole and Dihovo.
Nize Pole: Typical Vlach village. Rural architecture, friendly locals. On the way stop at the village. Rakija break: Tasting the local home made goat cheese wit a sip of strong rakija and chat with the locals. Continue driving to Bitola.
Bitola: Check in the hotel. Dinner at typical restaurant with locval specialties. Overnight at the hotel in Bitola.
Skopje – Airport (Tabanovce)
Breakfast. Check out of the hotel. Guided walking tour down the scenic Shirok Sokak street, sightseeing: Tthe old town core with 19th century Neoclassical styled houses, monumental Ottoman buildings, St. Dimitri Cathedral. Continue sightseeing, visiting the archaeological site of Heraclea Lyncestis, founded by Philip of Macedon in IV cen. BC, displaying mostly Roman/early Christian remains, with theatre, monumental fountain, and early churches with beautiful floor mosaics. Departure to the Airport (Skopje, Thessaloniki) or towards Serbia ( or Kosovo).
Time permitting, optional Wine tour: On the way stop at Tikvesh region. Visit of a local vinery with guided sightseeing, tasting a selection of several local wine brands and light lunch with various types of ham, smoked meat, white and yellow cheese. Possible shopping at the vinery shop at discount prices.
End of program.
Linking people with culture and nature is in the focus of this tour. Hiking, exploring the local flora nad fauna, visiting traditional villages, learn about the rural and urban cilture and exchange information with the locals.
Museum of Nature Struga: A complete collection of specimen of the flora and fauna from Ohrid region. Chance to get familiar with the wildlife of the region and learn about the specific life of the endemic Ohrid trout, eel and other lake fish.
UNESCO CITY-Ohrid: Situated on the shores of Lake Ohrid, the town of Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe. Built mainly between the 7th and 19th centuries, it has the oldest Slav monastery (St. Pantelejmon) and more than 800 Byzantine-style icons dating from the 11th to the end of the 14th century. In the Cathedral St. Sophia some frescos from the 11th century have strong Renaissance elements that couldn’t be seen in Europe before 14th century.
Ohrid Lake, one of the oldest and deepest in the world, hides many mysteries. Also a Unesco’s Natural treasure, its crystal waters are home of the endemic Ohrid trout.
Hiking at National Park Galichica: A perfect representative of a Dinaric carst, rising up to 2.250 m.asl between lakes Ohrid and Prespa. Hiking across the mountain will show the local flora and fauna, endemic species and offeri breath-taking views of both lakes.
Boat ride to Golem Grad island: The island is part of the National park Galichica. It is the only island in Macedonia, once a seat of the legendary Macedonian Tsar Samuel, now home of rare mamals, lizards and birds. Isolated and untouched nature for centuries turned the mediterranean vegetation to an unique “pocket jungle”. The boat ride across lake Prespa offers a chance for a great photo-session and observing the pelicans, cormorans and other lake birds.
Culture heritage of Bitola: Once a significant center on the Via Ignacia road, Bitola later became the diplomatic and cultural center of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. Having a coffee on Sirok Sokak Street is more than a century long tradition, which together with the rich night life, reflects the “good old bohemic times”.
Heraclea Lyncestis: The remaninings from the Roman and Early Byzantine time show the importance of this city founded by King Philip of Macedon. Well preserved Roman Theater and numerous areas paved with colorful mosaics are its main attributes.
Hiking at National park Pelister: This is the southest Alpine mountain on Balkans. Dense pine woods, rampant streams, and remains from the glacier period as the so called “stone rivers” are it’s main caracteristics. The two glacier lakes Golemo Ezero and malo Ezero are of the most beautiful spots of this mountain. It is also a home of the rare prehistoric type of pine called Molika. The hike across the mounain will show addopted Alpine vegetation, some mutated and endemic species of plants, birds, butterflies and mammals.
Rural experience: Macedonian villages like Vevchani, Brajchino, Dihovo, etc… offer an authentic view in the traditional Balkan rural life. Many old houses are masterpieces of stone work, carefully carved and designed to last for centuries. In the back yards and fields vegetables and fruits are grown “the old way”. Unpolluted air, water and soil make this food real healthy. Friendly peasants like to exchange information about their occupations, crafts and living and will be honored if one visits their home. Chance to taste real home made meals, original old “grand mother” receipts, have a shot of strong rakija and good wine.
Valid part of the arrangement are the General traveling conditions