Skopje Airport – also known as Alexander the Great Airport – serves the city of Skopje, which is the capital of the Republic of Macedonia and also its largest city. It is the largest airport in the country, and is located about 17km southeast of the city of Skopje. Managed by Turkish company Tepe Akfen Ventures (TAV), the airport currently has only one terminal and offers international flights to a wide variety of destinations mostly within Europe, but also to a few destinations outside Europe, like Istanbul and Dubai.
To get to the city of Skopje from Alexander the Great Airport, numerous transport options are available. Passengers can choose to take a bus run by the Vardar Ekspres transport company which will take them into the city for 150 denars, or grab a taxi from outside the airport. Airport taxis are marked in white, and have been authorised by TAV Macedonia to transport passengers to the city. Alternatively, passengers can rent a car from the car rental companies available within the airport and drive themselves into the city.
To get around within Skopje city, all you need are your feet. The city is relatively small and most attractions within walking distance from the city centre, but if you detest walking simply grab a taxi as they are easily found and very affordable. If you’re going to travel outside of the city, the best option would be to rent a car – car rental companies are readily available within the city, and typically start from as little as 35 Euros a day for a car.
What to see and do
Once you reach Skopje, get yourself ready for one of the most beautiful natural sights the country has to offer – the Matka Canyon. Located only about 15km southwest of Skopje, the canyon has sides up to 1,000m high and step notches of over 250m. Created by vertical erosions of the Treska River (which still flows through the canyon today), the Matka canyon is surrounded by low mountains – the Osoj hill, Suva gora Mountain and Vodno – making for a truly beautiful sight. On top of the Treska River, the Matka canyon also boasts an underground spring – named Koritište – which delivers water at speeds of about 2m per second. The entire scenic area, besides being stunningly beautiful, is also important as a source of water and revenue from tourism for the city. If you’re feeling up to an adventure, grab some gear from sports shops nearby and try your hand at climbing around the steep cliff faces; if not, rent a kayak and go for a leisurely scenic ride down the Treska River.
If you’d like to know more about Skopje’s past, visit the Saint Andrea monastery near the Matka canyon, one of the most sacred sites in the country. Dedicated to the Holy Mother of God – the Virgin Mary – the monastery was built even before the 14th century, and holds beautiful frescoes painted in the 1500s by the metropolitan Jovan and deacon Grigorije. The paintings depict full-length figures of the Holy Warriors, complete with life-like faces. The building was restored in the 19th century, and today is shaped in the form of a narrow inscribed cross and sports a cupola with four windows, and altar apse and small, high windows.
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