Skopje Macedonia 2021 Travel Vlog to Matka Canyon and Vrelo Cave
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 visited Matka Canyon and took a boat out to tour the Vrelo Cave. The experience is full of beautiful water and nature.
Bus to Matka Canyon
We thought that we could get our tickets to Matka Canyon at the International Bus Station in Skopje. This is the bus station that we arrived at when we entered Macedonia from Serbia.
We did research and found out that we had to take city bus #60. We read that it runs everyday to the canyon. We attempted the morning of our trip to get tickets from the international bus station but they said we could not buy our tickets from there. They pointed in a direction but it was really confusing. Not understanding where we needed to go we left the station and saw that there was a smaller local station across the street. This had no lobby that we could see; but it did have a roof overtop. We crossed the road in search of where to get tickets.
We stumbled across a high sign attached to a poll that had the number "60" on it. There was not a bus there at the time but we at least knew we were on the right track. We walked to one end of the station and saw a grey enclosed kiosk. Inside of this structure was two people; a man and a woman. The woman was closer and she did not seem to want to help. The man was seated behind her and he told us to look for a "yellow bus."
So we walked away from kiosk and looked across the road, yet still under the roof of the station. There was a yellow bus! We walked up to the parked bus and saw that no one was inside; so that couldn't be it. We continued walking and got to another grey kiosk. The lady inside of this one was much more helpful. She also said we needed to find a "yellow bus" but she actually pointed in a direction. We followed her navigation and actually saw a "yellow bus!" But it was not a operating bus. It was parked against concrete beams holding up the roof of the station. We could tell it used to be a bus but it was no longer operational. It had been converted into a "ticket office" of sorts. Leading into the back side entrance were steps. We walked in and saw that towards the front of the bus there was a diver and a window. We walked up to the window and were able to purchase our tickets to Matka Canyon. We go a total of 4 tickets; tickets for the way there and back for each of us ($200 denar total).
Around 10:30 am a bus pulled up into parking spot "60" and it said "Matka Canyon" on the LED screen above the driver's seat. It was about a 50 minute drive to our destination. When we got dropped off it was a short walk along the river where there were obstacles set up for perhaps competitive canoeing or kayaking. There was as sign to try to curve littering in the canyon where they showed common items and how long they take to natural dissolve. Many items take hundreds of years.
As we were walking we passed a huge dam that created the lake of the canyon. Only a few streams come out of this dam and the rest is held back for the sake of the man made lake. We walked past one area with boats but no-one was around. We reached a second area with boats and they told us that they were about to take off soon if we wanted to get tickets. We could go with one other couple or pay a higher price to potentially have the tour to ourselves. We decided to go with the other couple. Tickets for us where 400 denar a piece. This included a 20 minute ride through the lake to the cave. Here the water was beautiful and at times you could see all the way to the bottom. There was also breathtaking mountains.
Others were taking advantage of the day by taking kayaks and hiking along the side of the mountain. Our tour guide told us how much he loved nature. His company would offer free boat trips in exchange for labor to help clean up any trash left in the canyon. He goes out of his way to collect any garbage that he sees. He even purchased some ducks and brought them to the lake. There are little houses that he has built for them and he makes sure they stay fed and happy.
When we got to the cave we got out of the boat and there were some stairs to climb to get to the entrance. Once we go there he turned on the generator and gave us all a chance to take in the beauty while we stood outside of the cave. To get into the cave we walked down a flight of stairs. It would have been pitch-black but the generator was turned on to power many colorful lights that lit up the inside of the cave.
There were both stalactites (rock formations that grow down from the cave ceiling) and stalagmites (rock formations that grow up from the cave floor). One of the stalactites looked like a giant pine cone. In the roof of the cave we could see a bat flying around. Below the platform that we were standing on was another lake, that was about 25 meters deep. This area was roped off for safety. Outside of the cave is an underground cave that shoots bubbles up to the surface. This could be one of the deepest underground caves in the world; divers have yet to find out, but at least the deepest in the Balkans.
We had a wonderful tour guide who told us about Macedonia and the rest of the Balkans. We wound up having an hour and a half for our tour instead of an hour which was great. We loved this experience!
You can see more of Matka Canyon and Vrelo Cave and learn more about our trip there from Skopje, Macedonia in our travel vlog "Skopje Macedonia 2021 Travel Vlog to Matka Canyon and Vrelo Cave" on YouTube. Out now!
Thanks for reading our blog on Matka Canyon in Macedonia!
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