We are a travel couple and we are traveling the world! We are currently in the Balkans. In this travel blog we detail our trip to Skopje, Macedonia in 2021. We wanted to see more of Skopje than just the statues so we decided to explore the outskirts of the city in search of hidden gems.
Skopje Macedonia is amazing. After all, it is the place where Mother Teresa was born. They also have a fort, a craft beer brewery, and an Old Bazaar. In case you are new here, we are Will and Katy. We are a travel couple and we are traveling the world! We are currently in the Balkans.
Skopje Macedonia is full of beautiful sights and nature. In our trip we wanted to head east, south and west to check the outskirts of the city in search of hidden gems. This is one of best cities we have been to in regards to weather. It was nice to be able to walk around without our sweaters and to take in the sunshine.
Most people just focus on the statues as there are over a hundred of them in the city center. But we wanted to see other parts of the area as well. In our first day of exploring the Skopje suburbs we journeyed out to the east of the city to see one of the spots that we do not see often in reviews; the Orthodox Cross.
Most people have heard of the Millennium Cross, but the Orthodox Cross is right on a main street and you do not have to climb a mountain in order to reach it. You just have to walk about 30 minutes east.
It really is an unexpected sight. There are high rises, gas stations and other building near by. It also seems to be on the corner of a major intersection. We did not go to it, but across the street there is a huge billboard promoting a Nike store that is down the road.
We went to Park „Aerodrom“ as Google Maps calls it, otherwise known as Park Avion Novo Lisice, to see the park with an airplane in the middle! This is also east of the city; yet north of where the Orthodox Cross is located.
Here there are a few restaurants. They served meals and desserts at both of the restaurants we saw. Both had a lot of outdoor seating. There is also a playground that looks a lot like an amusement park with a carousel and a train for children to ride around inside.
For the first time in our lives we actually saw a cat stuck in a tree. It must have climbed the tree after being scared by one of the dogs in the area. We waited about 10 minutes for someone to try to get the cat down. Each time he would try to get the cat it would hold onto a branch for dear life not wanting to come down. Eventually the cat was rescued and safely put into the carrier of its owners.
In the center of the park is a full-sized Macedonian-themed airplane on a pedestal. It is quite the sight to see. The dual sidewalk under its wings give the impression of a runway that they plane could use to take off from at any moment.
Ok, so the Millennium Cross is something that you will hear or read about when researching Skopje. But is is not a monument that is easy to get to; especially if you do not have a car. We have been traveling country-to-country by van or bus and have not been renting cars. So the only way for us to get to the Millennium Cross was to hike to the top of Mount Vodno.
This is the mission we set out on the day after we visited the Orthodox Cross. This was our first mountain hike in Macedonia. We got up to Middle Vodno (the midway point of the hike) without much difficulty. At this level there were some areas to get snacks and drinks. We even saw some cows grazing for grass. This is also the spot where normally there would be a cable car to take you the rest of the way to the Millennium Cross. This has been shut down for awhile, so without a car you just have to continue to hike.
The problem is that this hike lulls you into a fall sense of confidence. The second leg is much stepper and much more difficult than the first. There are a few different trails to take you to the top, but they all said they would only take about an hour. The one we chose said it was an intermediate difficulty but not so sure that is accurate. We did run into a stray dog who wanted to guide us toward our destination.
The good news is: WE DID IT! After two hours and 12 minutes of hiking, 608 calories burned, 3.07 miles, and 2,255 feet of elevation gain we made it to the top of Mount Vodno. It was incredible to reach this monument, on top of a mountain. We made it to the landmark that you can see from anywhere in city.
As we were making our way down, the sun began to set. The darker it became, the brighter the lights around the Millennium Cross got. This monument is noticeable on its own during the day and at night it is illuminated so it can still be seen clearly.
You can see more of the sights and hidden gems of Skopje, Macedonia in our travel vlog "Does Skopje Macedonia have more than statues? (Travel Vlog 2021)" on YouTube. Out now!
Thanks for reading our blog on Skopje, Macedonia!
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