North Macedonia Driving Guide
North Macedonia is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit
Located in southeastern Europe, North Macedonia, formerly Macedonia, is a Balkan adventure waiting to unfold. Notable for its mountainous peaks, crystal blue waters, and ancient churches, traveling to North Macedonia feels like a historical tour and a nature journey in one. Despite being a relatively obscure country, North Macedonia's tourist spots prove a hidden gem in the Balkans.
With its architecture through famous churches and its mountainous peaks perfect for hiking, North Macedonia will genuinely surprise you. Tectonic lakes such as Ohrid and Prespa are natural wonders that catch the eye. North Macedonia's tourist destinations are as diverse as its culture, drawing influence from its neighboring countries, all of which still present in their art and way of living today.
How Can This Guide Help You?
Tourists will find this guide particularly helpful. It contains essential information about North Macedonia and driving rules and tips that aspiring drivers need to know. You will learn about the importance of an IDP in North Macedonia, along with the best tourist destinations and driving itineraries in North Macedonia. You won't ever have to feel confused before starting your Balkan journey. This guide has it for you.
Called Macedonia up until February 2019, North Macedonia is a Balkan country close to Kosovo, Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria. North Macedonia earned liberation from Yugoslavia in 1991 and has been prospering as a country. North Macedonia's traditions have persevered even in modern times, with old-world architecture and cobblestone bazaars being its main tourist destinations, opening people's eyes to the country's rich history.
North Macedonia is located in the south-central Balkan region in south-eastern Europe. The nations of Kosovo and Serbia are to their North, while Greece is located in the southern part. Albania borders North Macedonia on the west, while the east of it in Bulgaria. North Macedonia's lands comprise mountainous regions, with Mount Korab having the highest elevation at 9,030 feet. North Macedonia's capital is Skopje.
North Macedonia is surrounded by water, as well. Most of the country's drainage system flows through the Aegean Sea by way of the Vardar River. Since North Macedonia's land surface is mobile, tectonic lakes Ohrid and Prespa have formed. North Macedonia's location puts it between continental and Mediterranean climate zones. The weather changes dramatically when the wind blows past the mountain barriers. January has the lowest temperature while the highest comes in July.
Languages Spoken in North Macedonia
Since North Macedonia neighbors Serbia and Bulgaria, the nation's language is similar to Bulgarian and Serbo-Croatian. Much like other Balkan nations, the country's writing system is in Cyrillic. Serbian rule regarded the Macedonian language as a dialect. North Macedonia's speech was only established in 1991, following its liberation from Yugoslavia.
Land Area of North Macedonia
North Macedonia's land area stretches up to 25,173 square kilometers. Its total land area is 25,333 square kilometers. North Macedonia's vegetation is diverse, with various trees growing in their area, such as conifers.
History of North Macedonia
Neolithic life flourished in old Macedonia, as proven by artifacts. Several nations, from the Greeks to the Celts to the Thracians, came and thrived in Macedonia. Philip II of Macedon is perhaps the most notable ruler of the nation, his son being none other than Alexander the Great. Macedonia had an existing government form before Roman rule. The Romans came to Macedonia to pursue metal and produce, their influence on North Macedonia still visible.
In the medieval period, which saw nations fighting for ownership of Macedonia, Christianity spread throughout the Slavic area, which gave way to developing the Cyrillic alphabet, unifying the Slavic nations. The Ottomans also impacted North Macedonia, with the country falling under Ottoman rule until 1913. When Yugoslavia became a federation, Macedonia was one of its states until its freedom in 1991. Macedonia was known as Macedonia until February 2019, thanks to the Prespa agreement.
North Macedonia's 1991 constitution established an assembly called the Sobranie, a chamber with 120 seats. Legislative, judicial, and executive branches all have a separation of power. North Macedonia currently has 80 different municipalities. North Macedonia has a parliamentary type of government.
North Macedonia's population is at 2,087,000. Males are placed at 1,045,222 while females number at 1, 041,578. A diverse society is one of North Macedonia's essential features, meaning it is home to various ethnicities. Macedonians comprise 64.2% of the population, while 25.2% are Albanians. Turkish people make up 3.9% of the people, while Romanians are at 2.7%.
Tourism in North Macedonia
Tourism is a significant industry and a large contributor to the country's economy. The capital Skopje is the leading destination tourists flock to, mostly to see architectural sites and shop at bazaars. Ohrid, a tectonic lake, is another traveler's favorite in North Macedonia, with its pristine waters and remarkable churches. The Old Bazaar is the shopping area tourists flock to where one can purchase wares and souvenirs.
Since North Macedonia's location places it close to water bodies, expect water activities to be popular. One can also go hiking at Vodna's mountains and appreciate wildlife at Pelister National Park and Golem Grad, where pelicans, tortoises, and other animals thrive. Journey to the Popova Kula, a 19th-century winery where one can witness the wine-making process and join group tastings. According to a 2019 report, 1,031.5 tourists visited North Macedonia in the same year.
Driving to a North Macedonian itinerary is the best and easiest way to get there. To make your journey smooth and hassle-free, acquire an International Drivers Permit for North Macedonia. An IDP serves as a translation of your native driver's license that enables you to drive in the country legally. This critical document comes in handy during police stops, checkpoints, and emergencies. Here are some reminders regarding an IDP.
Is a Local Driver's License Valid in North Macedonia?
If your native driver's license isn't from the U.K. or the E.U., an International Driver's Permit is required for driving in North Macedonia locations. An International Driver's Permit for North Macedonia serves as a translation of your native driver's license, but not a replacement. Your native license will still be valid but cannot be used unless you are from the U.K. or the E.U.
Do I Need an IDP When Driving in North Macedonia?
Tourists can enjoy driving to North Macedonia locations with an International Driver's Permit. Applications are quick and easy and can be done online at your convenience. You don't even need to take driving lessons to obtain an International Driver's Permit. As long as you are at least eighteen years old with a valid driver's license, you are eligible for application. Along with your other documents, an IDP is one of the things police require tourists to have.
Whether you are driving in a North Macedonia city or district, have an IDP with you. More lenient roads doesn't mean you have to be lenient with requirements. When traveling, it's better to be safe than sorry, so have an IDP ready with you at all times regardless of your destination in North Macedonia.
Does an IDP Replace Your Native Driver's License?
An International Driver's Permit does not replace your native driver's license. It is merely a translation that allows you to drive in North Macedonia legally. Even if you have your IDP, carry your native driver's license with you since the IDP doesn't replace it. If you drive with an IDP alone, a fine for driving without a license can be placed, so bring both documents with you on your journey.
Renting A Car in North Macedonia
North Macedonia is home to numerous architectural destinations and nature spots to enjoy the culture and the scenery. The best way to explore the wonder of North Macedonia is by renting your own car and driving. It is essential to understand the basic rules of renting a car in North Macedonia, the costs you would need to prepare, types of vehicles you can rent for your Balkan adventure, as well as insurance, and other renting and driving requirements in North Macedonia.
Car Rental Companies in North Macedonia
Now that you're ready to start your North Macedonian journey, you're probably wondering what the best car rental companies in the country are. In North Macedonia, you can find car rental companies concentrated in the capital Skopje, since it is more populated and the place tourists flock to. Famous car rental companies such as Enterprise, Relax Rent-A-Car Skopje, and Macedonia L.D. Car Rental can all be found in Skopje.
Since Skopje is home to Skopje International Airport, it makes sense why these car rental companies are located in the capital. It makes driving in North Macedonia from airports to destinations easier for tourists. Tourists can simply rent their vehicle or pick it up at the company and head straight to their destination. Other popular car rental companies in North Macedonia are:
- Global Rent A Car
- Rent A Car Ohrid DC
For one to rent a vehicle in North Macedonia, one must have requirements. Said tourist must be at least 21 years old with a valid native driver's license held for at least two years, and car insurance. Most car insurance companies require tourists to have an International Driver's Permit for North Macedonia. If you're planning a road trip to other countries, negotiate with your companies as most don't allow drivers to drive the car out of the country.
Tourists will never run out of options when it comes to renting vehicles. North Macedonia car rental companies have precisely the car you're looking for, depending on your adventure. If architectural sites and museums in the city are your destinations, rent a compact vehicle. Compact vehicles are the ideal size for urban travels, easy to maneuver, and fuel-efficient. Rent an SUV if your nature is your itinerary. SUVs are perfect for any terrain with a big compartment.
Car Rental Costs
It is essential to set a budget for renting cars and knowing the costs included. Typically, car rental companies come with child seats, GPS, and emergency kits. Car insurance, while available at some rental companies, must be purchased before renting the car. Tourists are responsible for shouldering purchases such as gasoline and toll fees. Young drivers also incur a driver's surcharge.
Kayak.com lists prices of cars depending on their make and model, also charge daily. Here are their prices:
- Standard SUV-$22/day
- Intermediate SUV-$26/day
- Passenger Van-$23/day
To rent a car in North Macedonia, one must be at least 21 years of age. Young drivers are subject to a young driver's surcharge. In some cases, restrictions also apply to drivers 75 years old and above. Tourists seeking to rent a car must meet the requirements for driving in North Macedonia, such as a valid driver's license and an International Driver's Permit. Tourists should carry passports as a form of identification at all times.
Car Insurance Cost
Since car insurance is a legal requirement before driving in North Macedonia, it is optimal that tourists look at prices and set aside a budget for car insurance. One can look at websites and avail of the right kind of insurance online.
Costs of car insurance in North Macedonia depend on the coverage availed. According to RentalCover, Collision Damage Waiver, which is typically included in bookings, costs around 4,125 Euros for cars. Super Collision Damage Waiver in more serious crash cases costs approximately 24.75 Euros. You can purchase Roadside Assistance for breakdowns and towing incidences for 8.25 Euros. One can also opt for Full Protection coverage which covers any sort of accident or road situation.
Car Insurance Policy
Car insurance in North Macedonia for rented cars varies depending on the car rental company. According to AutoEurope, Collision and Theft Damage come with rental costs. Collision Damage covers the driver in the event of accidents, while Theft Damage covers losses. They recommend settling car insurance with a credit card.
Tourist drivers must follow certain restrictions on their rented car before driving from North Macedonia to Europe. While typically, one can drive from North Macedonia to Europe's western parts, additional fees would occur. AutoEurope recommends informing your car insurance agent if you plan on driving to other countries. Luxury and passenger vans also have limits and regulations for driving them outside of North Macedonia.
Road Rules in North Macedonia
Once you have your heart set on driving in Macedonian cities, the next best thing to familiarize yourself with is the country's driving rules. Knowing rules is essential for steering clear of accidents and mishaps and avoiding getting into trouble with the law. A North Macedonian vacation can be hassle-free and remarkable if you know the rules and regulations.
Perhaps you would like to drive in North Macedonian provinces, or maybe drive from North Macedonia to Kosovo and would like to be aware of the directions to get there. This guide has got you covered from itineraries to traffic signs to basic driving guidelines all drivers worldwide must abide by. Indicated as well are speed limits, right of way, and overtaking policies. Make driving in North Macedonia now safe and remarkable!
Before you can head out on Balkan roads, keep yourself informed of the necessary regulations when driving in North Macedonia. Some of these regulations are surprisingly common yet often broken. Follow these rules whether driving in provinces in North Macedonia or cities.
Carry Important Documents
Tourists are highly urged to carry their passports, valid driver's licenses, and an International Driver's Permit when driving in North Macedonian zip codes. Car insurance is a must-have and is a crucial document border security and police officers check tourists for.
Wearing seatbelts is a standard road safety rule everywhere you go. Seatbelts are essential when driving in North Macedonia. Children below the age of twelve aren't allowed to sit in front. Authorities will fine violators 20 euros.
Avoid Using Phone While Driving
Stay safe and focused on the road. The use of a cell phone while driving to prevent distractions that could lead to accidents. Those drivers caught using their phones while driving will be apprehended and fined 45 euros.
Don't Drink and Drive!
The legal limit in North Macedonia is 0.05% For professional drivers, the drink-drive limit is much lower at zero. Drunk driving has a very high fine ranging from 250-400 euros and could result in confiscation of your license or imprisonment.
Follow the Speed Limit
Speed limits are crucial in North Macedonia. Depending on where you are, the speed limit varies, as well as the penalty. Fines for breaking the speed limit range from 45-300 Euros.
General Standards of Driving in North Macedonia
Most of North Macedonia's rules on the road are similar anywhere else in the world. Fines would still apply to those who break the law. Other standards unique to North Macedonia include mandatory winter tires for safe winter driving and headlights usage regardless of day or night. Towing has a proper process in North Macedonia, with a rigid rope leaning against the vehicle.
Automatic cars are reportedly the more popular choice in North Macedonia, given that these are a lot easier to maneuver and master.
Traffic law enforcement implements speed limits to regulate the speed and movement of cars in North Macedonia. Depending on the area you're in, the speed limit changes.
- Urban areas have a speed limit of 60 kph
- Other roads have an 80 kph speed limit
- 130 kph on highways.
When driving in North Macedonia, especially on freeways, take into account the rules regarding merging and roundabouts and overtaking. These directions can help you avoid accidents and heated interactions with other drivers. Road networks exist in North Macedonia and have different categories, namely
- Freeways and highways
- Sectional Roads
- Asphalted Roads
- Dirt Roads
Approach roundabouts in a counterclockwise direction. Those in roundabouts have priority. Driving in North Macedonia is on the right side.
Perhaps you wish to drive from North Macedonia to Kosovo. While it is possible to drive from North Macedonia to Kosovo, one must know the driving directions to other areas near North Macedonia. Before driving to other countries, check with your insurance agent for additional fees. Carry your important documents and have a GPS or map when driving in North Macedonia.
Driving from Skopje to Kosovo
- Take Adriatic Highway / Kachanichki Pat and E65 to R6 in Hani I Elezit
- Follow R6 to Rruga e Pejes/M9 in Fushe Kosove. Exit from Autostrade Dr. Ibrahim Rugova
- Continue on M9 to your destination in Koretica e Ulet.
Traffic Road Signs
Traffic road signs in North Macedonia are in agreement with the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and signals. Most traffic signs in North Macedonia are used around the world, such as stop signs and traffic lights. For example, a traffic sign indicating Alexander the Great Airport would have it written in Cyrillic with an illustration of a plane, indicating an airport. North Macedonia adheres to the three color-stop light scheme.
Right of Way
When driving in North Macedonia, give priority to the right. All incoming vehicles from the right side have preference. Cars in the roundabout have priority over those coming in. Unless a yellow diamond sign is put up, priority must be given to the right side. Pedestrians in pedestrian crossing lanes have preference.
Legal Driving Age
The legal driving age in North Macedonia is 16 with parental supervision and 18 independently. Drivers 18 years of age and above can possess a driving licence and are eligible to drive. The minimum renting age is from 21-25, depending on vehicles. Usually, cars like luxury vehicles have a minimum renting age of 25. If you are a young tourist seeking to drive in another country, avail of an IDP as the minimum age is 18.
Laws on Overtaking
Overtaking in North Macedonia happens on the left side. When overtaking, exercise caution by checking both lanes first. Check your mirrors first and turn on your signal. Remember never to accelerate when you are overtaking. Overtake only when necessary, clear and no prohibitory signs regarding overtaking are present.
The driving side in North Macedonia is the right side, meaning overtaking happens on the left. Like most countries worldwide, the steering wheel in North Macedonia is on the left side, which can make driving a bit more complicated for tourists more accustomed to driving on the right-hand side. Since driving is on the right side, counterclockwise is the proper approach to roundabouts.
Driving Etiquette in North Macedonia
Sometimes no matter how cautious you are when driving in North Macedonia, you can still find yourself in an unfortunate situation. You can find yourself lost despite having a map when driving in North Macedonia or perhaps have your car break down in the middle of the road. Regardless of the situation, one must handle it with clarity and composure.
This guide should help you in knowing what to do should you find yourself in a sticky situation. Some basic phrases should you get lost when driving in North Macedonia or to get around the country; safety tips when your car breaks down or gets in a severe accident; and what to do and bring at stops and checkpoints. Your traveling experience in North Macedonia doesn't have to be a terrifying one - the learning experience makes the travel more memorable!
If your car breaks down while driving in North Macedonia cities, the first thing to do would be to pull your vehicle over to an emergency lane. Place the emergency triangle at least 30 m away from your car to signal that you are in an emergency. Dial 196 for roadside assistance or ask for help from the locals. Some useful phrases include:
- Mozete da mi pomognete-Can you help?
- Kade ima policiskata stanica?-Where is the police station?
Inform your insurance agent regarding your car breakdown. Your car breakdown insurance should cover some of the costs.
Police stops occur in North Macedonia to inspect tourists of their documents or because of a violation. Always carry your important documents such as passport, native driver's licence, and International Driver's Permit. Make sure you have a mandatory emergency kit and car insurance, as well.
If a police officer stops you, calmly obey orders and cooperate. Do not resist if you have committed a violation, as the refusal to cooperate and pay will result in another case. Most on the spot fines are prohibited, but if your offense warrants it, pay at the nearest police station and not directly at the police officer.
Primary phrases are useful when you find yourself lost while driving in North Macedonian cities or districts. Although you could have GPS and know the exact address and zip code, driving in North Macedonia can get confusing, and you can find yourself anywhere other than your itinerary! Boost your confidence with the locals by familiarizing yourself with these basic North Macedonian phrases.
- Yas sum od-I'm from
- Izvinete-Excuse Me
- Ve Molam-Please
- Itno e-It's an emergency.
- Kadye ye ayerodromot?- Where is the airport?
For example, when asking locals for directions, if you will be driving to North Macedonian airports, remember to approach and ask politely, thanking them afterward. If you keep your interaction respectful and straightforward, locals will return the favor.
Border checkpoints in North Macedonia inspect tourists for documents. Currently, North Macedonia borders are Strategic for North Macedonia residents with proper documentation, and travelers can take all types of commodities in. Regional is for citizens and foreigners entering North Macedonia with appropriate documentation and can only be crossed by certain vehicles; and Local for international travel and goods with little to no supervision by authorities.
Be prepared and never let yourself be caught empty-handed. Bring your necessary documentation such as visas, passports, car insurance, driver's license, and IDP. Emergency kits are mandatory, and most car rentals come with them, too.
Before you can confidently start driving in North Macedonia now, consider these other circumstances you might find yourself in. Driving in another country can be a real adventure, but when not fully equipped with even an important bit of knowledge and tools suitable for their road conditions, it can quickly turn into a disaster.
How is Winter Driving in North Macedonia?
Winter driving sounds attractive, especially the way we have envisioned it in images and videos. Driving in North Macedonia during wintertime could pose a significant challenge for drivers, but this condition can be quite a learning experience. Snow reportedly falls around November to December so equip yourself with winter gear for your road trip.
Get your snow chains and winter tires ready between November 15 - March 15, as they are mandatory during these dates. Drive carefully and slowly during wintertime. Make sure your windshield wipers and brakes are operating smoothly, and remember to turn your headlights on. North Macedonia has a 24-hour headlights-on policy, so this should be a given.
How Is Night Driving in North Macedonia?
Although most North Macedonian roads are well-maintained, reduced visibility at night can still affect your driving. Night driving is highly discouraged as most streets are poorly lit, especially in the countryside. As much as possible, reserve local driving for the day time when there is better visibility.
Are There Petrol Stations in North Macedonia?
Petrol stations are available and easy to find around the North Macedonia area. Fueling up shouldn't be a problem. A helpful tip for tourists is to carry local currency since ATMs are not always available.
Is North Macedonia Safe?
North Macedonia is a tourist-friendly destination, although there are some petty crimes, as with any other country. Tourists should beware of pickpockets, though attacks on foreigners are a zero-to-none occurrence in North Macedonia. For your safety, secure your money and important documents and have them with you all the time.
Driving Conditions in North Macedonia
Though you might have seen what North Macedonia looks like in pictures and videos; driving in Macedonia can be quite a different image. While traveling on your own in a foreign country is quite the experience, it's better to be prepared and educate yourself on North Macedonia's driving conditions. Knowing these will reduce your chances of getting involved in accidents and let you know what to expect in North Macedonia.
Included here are accident rates in North Macedonia and how frequently they occur, so you have a glimpse of how the maintained the roads are and how the drivers drive. You will also know about the standard vehicles you might see in North Macedonia and understand why, along with the driving culture to better maneuver your way in North Macedonian roads, as well as other tips helpful for first-time drivers in this Balkan Nation.
According to a 2018 WHO report, 118 deaths in North Macedonia are attributed to road accidents. The death rate is 4.88% in 100,000. Based on the same statistics, road accidents are the twenty-first leading cause of death in North Macedonia, the first few being stroke and other lifestyle-related diseases. Accidents can still occur on the road despite a low tolerance for intoxicated driving and hefty speeding fines.
More recent reports say that North Macedonia has had some difficulty keeping the road fatalities low compared to other European countries. An estimated 65 in 1 million people died on North Macedonian roads, placing it higher than the 32 average E.U. rate. While five other nations rank higher in road death tolls, North Macedonia isn't that far behind. As with any other country, it is essential to practice safe driving, follow the rules and etiquette on the road, and stay prepared in accidents.
A more recent entry indicates that North Macedonia's most popular vehicle is a compact SUV. Compact SUVs have a spacious storage area, and while smaller than a typical SUV, this make is built to drive on any terrain. Compact SUVs are popular for road trips along North Macedonia's nature destinations. Sedans are popular amongst North Macedonians, given the safety and durability during long rides.
Since the capital is populated, plenty of cars are expected here. Family cars are relatively high on the list, considering that family cars are fuel-efficient and perfect for city driving for more than two passengers. These cars are just some of the frequently occurring vehicles in North Macedonia that you might encounter in the city or rental companies. You can choose any make you like depending on your adventure.
Roads in North Macedonia that have toll roads lead up to the capital, typically A1 and A2 roads. Toll roads are paid in cash or by credit card and can cost around 30-60 Macedonian denar (MKD). Prices could vary depending on the weight and height of the vehicle. Average toll prices include:
- Skopje-Gradsko- 180 den for two axels and 1.3m/ 270 for 3+ axels and above 1.3m
- Skopje-Kumanovo-100 den for two axels and 1.3m/140 den for 3+axels and above 1.3 m
- Skopje-Gostivar-70 den for two axels and 1.3m/100 den for 3+axels above 1.3m
There are certain exceptions to toll roads. Persons with disabilities state administrative vehicles, Red Cross volunteers, and funeral services, along with other essential cars, are not subject to toll fees.
Roads in North Macedonia are generally well-maintained, with the occasional potholes due to construction. Highways and freeways are in good condition, and the tricky roads are expected in rural areas, so exercise caution when driving in the countryside. If you have the budget for it, you can rent an SUV that's built for rough terrain. Despite warning signs, built-up areas that have many residents have pedestrians that cross anytime.
Since nature road trips are a hit among travelers, expect sudden wildlife crossing. Make sure your brakes are working to make sure you can come at a complete stop at the sight of wildlife or cattle. Nighttime adventures can sound fun but night driving in North Macedonia, especially in rural areas, brings about inadequate lighting. As much as possible, reserve road trips for the daytime and stay in well-lit areas. Have emergency numbers ready as roadside assistance is rare.
Driving Culture in North Macedonia
Driving in North Macedonia can open your eyes to not only new road situations but a brand-new culture, too. The impressions of tourists about North Macedonians are warm, welcoming, and friendly. However, as with anywhere else, if you find yourself on the wrong side of these people by cutting them or disrupting traffic flow, you can face the wrath of many angry drivers! When in a foreign country, follow the traffic rules and obey law enforcement to avoid trouble.
Specific rules catering to the culture include giving pedestrians the priority when crossing, especially in built-up areas. When in crowded areas or driving in North Macedonian cities, honking of horn is prohibited.
Familiarizing yourself with North Macedonia's driving conditions is a way to catch a glimpse of what North Macedonia's roads and drivers are like. If you're looking to indulge yourself with more information, here are some other tips for driving in North Macedonia.
What Side is the Steering Wheel?
Cars in North Macedonia have the wheels on the vehicle's left side, the same as pretty much every vehicle in Europe. Tourists coming from countries such as the U.K. who are more accustomed to driving on the right side might have a bit of a challenge in driving left-hand side.
Do They Use KpH or Mph?
Kilometers per Hour is the more commonly used unit of measurement worldwide, and North Macedonia is one of them. Knowing the measurement unit is vital for staying within the speed limit and avoiding getting fined by the authorities. Most signs in North Macedonia that indicate speed limit are in Kph. The central unit on speedometers is the more significant number.
Things to Do in North Macedonia
North Macedonia is a beautiful European country to visit, but it is more than just its tourist destinations. North Macedonia provides a whole host of opportunities for tourists seeking residence in this country. Provided you follow the steps, procedures, and requirements, anybody can earn a comfortable living in North Macedonia.
Let this guide help you familiarize yourself with driving as a tourist in North Macedonia-what things you must submit and any tests you need to take, as well as the validity of native licenses. If you've taught enough driving skills, you could earn a living from them by taking up jobs related to driving, or if you've decided North Macedonia is the place for you, get acquainted with the procedures one must undertake to gain citizenship.
Drive as a Tourist
Tourists can drive in North Macedonia provided they have documents. An International Driver's Permit for North Macedonia is a must-have as it is a translation of the native driver's license. Your native license is rendered as invalid without your IDP, so always carry them both with you. North Macedonian law enforcement requires tourists to have passports and car insurance with them.
E.U. and non-EU tourists with English driver's license can drive using their local driver's license. Regardless, an IDP is still an essential driving requirement for tourists since car rental companies urge their clients to have an IDP before availing for services.
Work as a Driver
One can earn employment as a driver in North Macedonia once residency is approved. North Macedonia has a host of driving jobs any skilled driver can apply for, from taxi to truck driving jobs. Before you can start earning money on the road as a driver, accomplish first a test at a driving school and earn your professional license.
North Macedonian driving jobs span far and wide. Popular jobs in the capital include company and delivery drivers, truck drivers, and taxi drivers. Salary Explorer states that truck drivers in North Macedonia earn anywhere from 7,000 MKD-22,900 MKD. Taxi drivers in North Macedonia earn anywhere from 7,960-22,800 MKD. A work permit, professional driving license, and residency permit are the main requirements for tourists seeking driving jobs in North Macedonia.
Work as a Travel Guide
Perhaps you've much enjoyed the natural wonders and architectural masterpieces in North Macedonia, and you'd like to earn money by doing what you're passionate about most - traveling! It is possible to work as a travel guide in North Macedonia, walking tourists through the country's most notable places and introducing them to the rich history of North Macedonia.
Being a tour guide needs you to be knowledgeable in history and destinations, have a work and residency permit, and language fluency. The average salary of a travel guide ranges from 15,000-50,000 MKD.
Apply for Residency
Residing in North Macedonia is highly encouraged for foreigners due to low business taxes, an excellent economy, and vast employment opportunities. Before you start working in North Macedonia, you must first obtain a residence permit and apply for a long-stay visa for Macedonia. Aspiring employees must comply with the following requirements for employment in North Macedonia:
- Detailed business plan
- Financial subsistence proof
- Clean record
- Health insurance
Individuals with resident permits become eligible for permanent residency after at least five years, provided that their stay is continuous for six-ten months. Eight years qualifies a person for citizenship in North Macedonia, which gives them the same rights as North Macedonians, such as voting.
There is never a shortage of opportunities and activities one can do in North Macedonia. Here you can see if you need a visa to enter North Macedonia, what other job opportunities await you, and how to learn to drive in this country to help you get familiar with their roads.
Do You Need a Visa for North Macedonia?
Citizens residing in countries part of the Schengen Agreement can enter and stay for 90 days visa-free in North Macedonia, up to six months. Holders of the EU Card can remain for 15 days in North Macedonia each time they come. Those with a valid Schengen Visa C are entitled to the same privileges. Requirements for obtaining a North Macedonia are:
- Travel documents and identity card, such as a passport
- Travel insurance
- Sufficient financial funds
- Travel purpose
U.S. Tourists do not need a visa to enter North Macedonia, though their stay must not extend 90 days. Those seeking to visit North Macedonia can stay without a visa for less than 90 days.
How to Get A Driver's license in North Macedonia?
To get a North Macedonian driving license, you must first attend driving school, where it is mandatory to pass both the theory and practical tests. The said examination has two stages. First, you must gather the documents required for a driver's license, pay the fee and wait for processing.
If you're having trouble choosing amongst the many driving schools in North Macedonia, check the one nearest to you. Auto Shkolla ART is located in Gostivar, North Macedonia, so this is your most practical choice if you live in this area. Most of the highly rated and popular driving schools are located in Skopje, where most cars are.
What are Other Jobs in North Macedonia?
Before you can work in any North Macedonia industry, ensure that a work permit and residence permit are in your possession. Foreign employees are to comply with the following requirements:
- Temporary residence application form
- Valid passport
- Passport-sized photograph
- Health insurance
- Work application
Other fulfilling and in-demand careers in North Macedonia include healthcare, legal occupations, pilots, and education fields. One can search for jobs within the area and according to experts on sites such as Glassdoor, Indeed, and Linkedin.
Top Road Trip Destinations in North Macedonia
North Macedonia is a country of sheer wonder. Every corner of this Balkan nation drips with rich history, from its stellar architecture to its natural parks to the crystal clear waters of its tectonic lakes. Tourists will never run short of treats for the eye in North Macedonia. From the capital Skopje that blends the modern with the medieval, to the Ohrid waters, which is frequently touted as a wonderland.
This guide aims to inform you about what you can do in each tourist hotspot in North Macedonia. Be it hiking, swimming, boat riding, or even dining and shopping, this guide has it for you. Learn as well what makes these destinations so popular with travelers. Driving directions from the airport are included, so you would know how to get there.
Skopje is the beautiful capital of North Macedonia and is located in the northern part of the country, nestled in the Balkans center. Skopje is the center for culture, economics, and politics in North Macedonia, the main reason monuments, museums, and architectural wonders abound here. Skopje also has natural phenomena such as Mount Vodno, where tourists can catch a breather from all the city's hustle and bustle.
May to September are the optimal months to visit Skopje, the fair and cool weather making for a pleasant time. City driving makes for a fun experience, and having an IDP ready with you makes it even smoother. Tourists love Skopje for various reasons, but here are just some of the top reasons or destinations why.
Get on A1/E75
- Take A4 to Bulevar Aleksandar Makedonski in Qyteti i Shkupit. Exit from A4.
- Continue on Bulevar Aleksandar Makedonski to your destination in Skopie.
Things to Do :
The capital is a destination that mustn’t be missed and for good reason, too! Skopje is home to a plethora of cultural spots and shopping areas that allow tourists to experience an old-world style of living. These museums along with sculptures and architectural wonders are proof of North Macedonian culture and artistry.
- Marvel at Local Sculptures
Skopje is often hailed as a "kitschy" or "quirky" city due to its art, but these prove that North Macedonians have outstanding artistic ability. Famous statues include 'Warrior on A Horse,' 'Philip II of Macedon,' and 'The Charging Bull.' All these never fail to attract the attention of onlookers. The fact that these statues aren't government-counted proves the creativity of North Macedonians.
- Shop at the Old Bazaar and the Bit Pazar Skopje
A cobblestone, old-world shopping center with every kind of ware you could imagine could only be the Old Bazaar. The Old Bazaar houses shops of every trade, from textiles to jewelry to pottery; you can find it here. You can even enjoy a vintage tea ceremony for the full experience. The Bit Pazar Skopje is another shopping place for produce and food, enabling you to sample the local goods and delicacies of North Macedonia.
- Visit The Mother Theresa Memorial House in Skopje
If there's anyone Skopje is known for besides Alexander the Great, it's Mother Theresa of Calcutta. Visit the house where Mother Theresa lived in until her days as a nun. Her baptismal place, the Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church, is close by. One can say a little prayer, have a tour of her home, learn about her childhood, and maybe buy a small souvenir at the gift shop.
- Cross some Skopje Bridges
Skopje is known for its architecture, and that includes bridges. The Stone Bridge in Skopje is part of the coat of arms on the country's flag. Other bridges exist in Skopje, however, such as the Art Bridge and Civilization Bridge.
- Explore Matka Canyon
Matka Canyon is the nature adventure outdoor people have been yearning for! Matka Canyon has the Treska River flowing at its bottom, where visitors can opt for a boat ride to appreciate the gorgeous view better. Visit some of Matka Canyon's nearby monasteries and churches.
Touted as the "Jewel of Macedonia," this UNESCO World Heritage Site came to be due to the pristine Lake Ohrid, but it is more than just this destination. Ohrid City itself is ideal for exploring old towns, trying delicacies, and experiencing North Macedonia's culture. This gem of a city is a tourist favorite during summertime and for a good reason. Lake Ohrid provides the cool, calm relaxation paired with a beautiful view that is sure to make your Balkan adventure unforgettable.
Summertime is the perfect season to visit Ohrid, mainly for its summer festivals and to make the most of the water activities. This natural wonder is perfect for a road trip, so bring your IDP along with you for a smooth and cool driving experience.
Get on A1/E75
- Follow A2 and E65 to Abas Emin in Ohër
- Continue on Abbas Emin to your destination
Things to Do:
Ohrid would not be placed on the map as one of the must-visit destinations in North Macedonia for nothing. Its fortresses and churches alone are popular tourist attractions that take travelers back in time. Popular bodies of water such as Lake Ohrid and its nearby beaches are also sights you wouldn’t want to miss.
- Visit Tsar Samuel's Fortress
Tsar Samuel's Fortress is in Ohrid's Old Town and formerly the First Bulgarian Empire's capital. The fortress might be empty on the inside but standing here gives you an excellent view of the horizon.
- Appreciate the Nearby Churches
Another thing Ohrid is famous for, aside from the lake, is architecture in the form of churches. The churches and chapels near the area are the Church of St. Sophia with its frescoes and green garden landscapes, and Church of St. John at Kaneo, which offers a picturesque cliffside view boasting Ottoman design. Visit the Church of Saint Clement and Panteleimon that drips of Ottoman influence and converted to a mosque. Ohrid has no shortage of artistry.
- Stroll at Potpesh Beach
Potpesh Beach is another water wonder in Ohrid apart from Lake Ohrid and is ideal for summer getaways. Potpesh Beach is perfect for any water activity, be it boat riding or swimming, and is the place to visit if you're looking to expand your taste buds. Restaurants, bars, and cafés line the area so you can enjoy a good meal by the beach or while watching the gorgeous sunset.
- Walk Around the Old Town
If you want to feel like you've gone back in time, then the Old Town is perfect for you! This cobblestone city by the waters surrounded by beautiful flowers is ideal for a little stroll to appreciate North Macedonia's beauty. The restaurants, cafes, and shops in the area give this small classic Balkan area a great modern feel.
- Cruise at Lake Ohrid
Lake Ohrid is perhaps what Ohrid is best known for. This UNESCO World Heritage Site allows tourists to go on boat tours that journey them around this famous lake, to appreciate the sights and sceneries.
Kumanovo is known as the largest municipality and one of the popular cities in North Macedonia. Owing to its name to Kumani tribes, this city sees continuous growth and development in recent times and has come to be one of the must-visit places in North Macedonia. Trade is the leading force in Kumanovo, evident in their textile, tobacco, and food industries.
Since Kumanovo has drawn attention for being a tourist spot, many have come to visit to appreciate and marvel at the cultural attractions that have made Kumanovo such a driving force in art and industry. If you plan on driving to this area in North Macedonia, have your IDP ready to make your journey hassle-free!
Get on A1/E75
- Follow A1/E75 to R1104 in Kumanovë. Take the exit toward Kumanovo from A1/E75
- Follow III-the Macedonian Strike Brigade to R1204
Things to Do:
Come to Kumanovo to experience and appreciate the architecture of North Macedonia that speak volumes of the country’s history. Churches, mosques, and monasteries stand as testaments of religion’s influence on the country’s culture and have shaped Kumanovo as a city.
- Visit Pelince
Pelince is considered a complex area and a mecca for culture in Kumanovo. This is where cultural performances occur, and around the neighborhood are restaurants, cafés, and playgrounds. Located in Pelince is the Museum of ASNOM, where its facade is the mosaic of Macedonia.
- Marvel at Mosques and Churches
Mosques and churches in the area, such as Eski Mosque and Matejece Monastery, are nearby religious sites with beautiful architecture that are great for tourists with an appreciation for architecture. The Holy Trinity Church has been standing since the 19th century but is still picture-worthy.
- Stroll at the Zebrnjak Monument
The Zebrnjak Monument in Kumanovo is an ages-old observatory and one of the oldest, according to NASA. Travelers can get to the top of the monument and overlook the area that once was the area of the Battle of Kumanovo. Guided tours with a more detailed explanation of Zebrnjak Monument are available.
- Visit Church St. George
Church St. George is another destination in Kumanovo that has architectural wonders to boast. This church was erected in 1071, and it is known for its beautiful frescoes and medieval exterior. Church St. George is one of the most known churches in North Macedonia and a testament to Christian power and influence.
- See the Karpino Monastery
This monastery is one of the greatest, most remarkable Orthodox monasteries in North Macedonia. Karpino Monastery serves as more than just a holy place as it is decorated with paintings and icons that showcase the reverence of the people.
Strumica is known as the largest city in the eastern part of North Macedonia. This gorgeous town borders Bulgaria and is also one of the oldest Balkan towns. This glorious town has borne witness to many battles, to the buildings of monasteries and churches, and was home to famous writers, as well.
Modern-day Strumica is faring excellently and being one of the most developed municipalities in North Macedonia. Its rapid development made it one of the most liveable places in North Macedonia. Strumica is also home to plenty of tourist destinations you can't afford to miss. If you're driving to this North Macedonian city, don't forget to bring your International Driver's Permit with you!
Get on A1/E75
- Follow A1/E75 to 116 in Komuna e Vallandovës. Exit from A1/E75
- Continue on 116. Take May 1 and R1401 to Bulevar Marshal Tito in Strumica
Things to Do:
Traveling to Banjsko can be a relaxing experience and a great way to not only unwind but to appreciate North Macedonian natural wonders. Hot springs and waterfalls prove that Banjsko is a natural marvel to behold
- Relax at the Banjsko Spa
Spend a relaxing day at the Bansko Spa that is close to Bulgaria. The Bansko Spa near Mount Belasica offers thermal baths to soothe you after a long day of traveling, overlooking the human-made lake. Bansko Spa's hot springs are reportedly the warmest in the country.
- Marvel at the Kolesino Waterfall
Also located near Mount Belasica is the stunning Kolesino Waterfall. Kolesino Waterfall is a natural wonder that hikers love to see. The hiking trail leading up to the falls is one that is not to be missed. Avail for either a guided tour or walk on your own if you're feeling adventurous.
- Dip at the Roman Baths
Another relaxing destination at Strumica is the Roman Baths. With its exterior powerfully reminiscent of bathing areas in ancient times, you'll genuinely feel royal, and like you've gone back in time. These Roman baths are not only warm and relaxing but have thermo-healing properties reportedly.
- Admire the Strumica Museum
If art is more of your cup of tea, then head on over to the Strumica Museum, where various artworks by North Macedonia's top artists are present. Strumica Museum also houses archaeological artifacts from ancient times.
- Journey to the Strumica Fortress
Strumica Fortress or the Czar's Towers is an ancient fortress that garners tourists' attention from far and wide. The Strumica Fortress has been standing since 3500 BC and has undergone reconstruction in recent times.
Located in southwestern North Macedonia is Bitola, a creative city and the home of film culture. Bitola has an innovative history with several films shot in this area. The Manaki Brothers brought the Bioscope 3000. Today, Bitola continues to hold several film festivals, each garnering support from the city. Film isn't all that Bitola is known for, and it indeed isn't the only destination. Bitola's modern culture is just as vibrant as any film or picture. From its natural parks to its towers and zoos, Bitola has everything tourists could ever want. Modern city driving in North Macedonia calls for complete documents, making sure you have your IDPs ready and on hand.
- From Skopje International Airport, get on A1/E75
- Follow A1 / E75 to A3 / R1305 in the Municipality of Bitola. Take the exit towards Greece / Bitola from A3
- Continue on A3. Take Philip II of Macedon to Tsar Samuel in Manastiri
Things to Do:
There is never a shortage of things you can do in Bitola as a tourist. Apart from admiring its rich film history, travelers can appreciate the city’s rich architecture and gain a fondness for wildlife in their zoos.
- National Park Pellister
If you're up for hiking adventure and skiing fun with a gorgeous natural backdrop, then head on straight to National Park Pellister. These beautiful green mountains are perfect for relaxation, observing flora and fauna, and taking pictures.
- Gaze upon the Clock Tower
Bitola's Clock Tower or Saat Kula is a landmark of North Macedonia and evidence of Ottoman influence in the country. This tower is a picturesque sight against a green and serene background.
- Visit the Bitola Zoo
A family fun adventure awaits at the Bitola Zoo, where you can see many kinds of animals cared for and preserved. This zoo that is dedicated to educating the public and preserving wildlife has been around since the 1950s.
- Visit Shirok Sokak
This pedestrian area in Bitola is considered to be its heart. Sirok Sokak is a modern area filled with restaurants and shops for those looking for a gastronomic adventure. Neo-classical buildings around the area give tourists a glimpse of North Macedonia’s old architecture blending perfectly well with modern times.
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