Mavrovo national park

Autumn in North Macedonia

Old church Mavrovo

I have two goals during this long journey: to discover the Balkans and to visit as many new countries as possible. That works fine because from Albania I cross the border at Lake Ohrid to another new country in the Balkans, North Macedonia! It is the most beautiful border crossing of my trip so far. On the right the Galicica National Park and on the left a view of Lake Ohrid. With only 5 cars in front of me, the border control still takes an hour and I can enjoy it to the max.

Bay of Bones

First I drive to the prehistoric village on stilts, Bay of Bones. People used to live here in stilt villages, more than 3000 years ago. From the hut they had a beautiful view of the lake!

Lake Ohrid

Then on to the town of Ohrid there I have a place on the campsite near the lake, beautiful! I walk along the long boulevard to Ohrid and get some groceries. It’s Saturday and pleasantly busy, people are walking, enjoying the autumn sun and sitting en masse on terraces, it looks like the Netherlands.

Leo always starts the day with his ‘morning meditation’ in front of the camper, which is THE perfect place here. My neighbors on the campsite are also from the Netherlands and they cook a delicious meal for me, Charlotte and Leon. What a nice couple! We enjoy this beautiful sunset and then also have a drink in the club with a Macedonian singer, great evening!

In Galicica National Park we hike to the top and have a view of the city and Lake Ohrid.

Mavrovo National Park

The Mavrovo National Park is located in the north-west of North Macedonia. The untouched nature means that even some bears live in the park. The car route goes through an autumn colored hilly landscape with Lake Mavrovo as the final destination today, where we will spend the night in the ski resort of Mavrovo.

From Trnica I want to go hiking, after advice from the locals I decide to walk to the small mountain village of Belicica. If I want to do a longer day trip, I must request a day permit from the police in advance.

It is a wonderful walk, in the mountain village there are less than 20 houses, I guess. The residents look surprised and we give each other a friendly wave. The trees have beautiful autumn colors and Leo colors well in autumn. He also poses on the bench for a while, funny dog!

We continue towards Debar and that is a beautiful route through the Radika Canyon. Do you want to see a piece of the canyon? Watch this video!

In the Macedonian Orthodox Bigorski Monastery I enjoy the serene tranquility and the beautiful frescoes.

I drive towards Skopje on the Mother Teresa Highway and the Friendship Highway. That feels peaceful.

The weather is very bad and I accidentally drive past the exit of the Matka gorge. Visiting the gorge in this weather might not be a good idea, so I drive on to Skopje. There are a lot of huge statues in the city, wow! Just outside the city I found a place to spend the night and today the weather is just too bad to do anything.

Stone Dolls of Kuklica 

The Stone Dolls in Kuklica are beautiful! The road through the interior is quiet and on the way I have fantastic views over the mountains. This is not even a national park and it is so beautiful!

First I’m going to have a cup of macadonian coffee with spinach pie. So delicious I enjoy this. Then I go to see the stone statues, it is a wedding and the previously rejected bride has put a curse on the new bridal couple and the guests. A special place!

Demir Kapija

Demir Kapija

It is raining heavily in Demir Kapija, all laundry is still wet, what a drizzly weather. No problem, of course, because this is also part of the camper life.

I walk Leo and a lovely woman in the village gives me lots of grapes, red and white. I give some to my camper neighbors, the first I see since Ohrid.

Popova Kula Winery

In the same village is the Popova Kula Winery. It is one of the oldest wineries in former Yugoslavia. There I buy delicious red wine and then we go to Strumitsa to see old monasteries.

Vodocha & Veljusa Monasteries

Between small fields and farming villages, where chickens and goats scurry between the houses, are two beautiful ancient monasteries. I first visit the St. Leontius Monastery in Vodocha 5 kilometers from the city of Strumitsa. The oldest part is about 1000 years old and there are beautiful frescoes.

I visit the second monastery in Veljusa a few kilometers further and built on a hill. That monastery is currently being renovated, but I can still take a look inside and enjoy the frescoes and mystical atmosphere.

Bratin Dol

It is not always easy to find a place to stay in North Macedonia, but I finally found exactly what I needed on this rainy day! A house where I can use living room, kitchen and shower/toilet great!


Later Max and Floor arrive from the Netherlands. The owner makes the fire, they cook, we drink a Popova Kula wine and chat about everything, super nice people, what a pleasant evening! In the camper it is really cold now compared to the warm house brrr.

Pelister National Park

The sun is shining yes! From Nizhepole I go hiking in Pelister National Park. By accident I drive way too far and have to go off road through the water to be able to park. I meet several groups of hikers walking to the mountain hut at the big lake and decide to do the same, 3 hours up and 2 hours down, sounds good.

At the top it is getting colder and at the mountain hut there is even a little snow from yesterday’s rain WoW. Lunch is ready for the other guests and I am invited to join them for lunch. Raki, salad and pork from the spit are on the menu.

Dogs have to stay outside in North Macedonia and I feel sorry for Leo. After a short lunch we quickly go down and I even get a phone number if something unexpected happens, very cool! Everything goes well and I arrive safely in Bratin Dol. What a great day!

And what a great trip because this was already my last day in North Macedonia.

The next morning I am waved goodbye by the lady of the house and receive apples from their own garden. With a big smile I leave this country, I enjoyed my trip.

I am now traveling on to Greece, do you want to read the rest of my journey? Please wait this blog is currently being created!

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