There is no doubt that Macedonia is a beautiful country with much to offer for travelers.
However, is Skopje safe for travelers?
This seems to be a question many people are asking, so in this blog post, we will take a look at the safety of Skopje and give you my honest opinion on whether or not it is safe to travel there.
Where Is Skopje?
Skopje is the capital and largest city of Macedonia.
It is located in the north-central part of the country, on the upper course of the Vardar River. The city has a population of a little over 600,000 people, as per the 2022 census.
Is Skopje Safe?
The safety of any destination depends on a number of factors.
The Political Situation in Skopje & Macedonia
Macedonia is a small country located in the Balkans. The Balkans is an area of Europe that is known for its turbulent history.
However, in recent years, the political situation in Macedonia has been relatively stable.
There have been some tensions between the Macedonian government and the ethnic Albanian population, which makes up approximately 25% of the country’s population.
These tensions often revolve around issues such as language rights, political representation, and cultural recognition.
And although there have been a few protests in the past couple of years regarding internal issues like these, this doesn’t have anything to do with travelers and potentially endangering visitors in the city.
That said, should there be a protest at the time of your visit to Skopje, you should definitely stay vigilant as although these are usually small and non-violent, they can still lead to unexpected disruptions and changes in the city’s routine, such as road closures, rerouted public transportation, or crowded areas that may be overwhelming for visitors.
The Crime Rate in Skopje
According to the data from Numbeo, as of 2023, the crime index in Skopje is 36.98 (where 100 is the highest level of crime and 0 is the lowest), which is considered moderate to low.
Petty crimes like pickpocketing, bag snatching, and car break-ins do occur, particularly in areas frequented by tourists.
There have also been instances of jewelry snatching, such as people getting their earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets snatched off their bodies in crowded places or while walking in dark areas, which could result in an injury and is why it’s always advised to avoid flashing expensive items while visiting Skopje.
These crimes tend to increase during the summer tourist season.
On the other hand, serious crimes such as robberies, assaults, and even violent crimes do happen but are very rare and are usually targeted (such as football hooliganism between local teams) rather than random.
Overall, the crime rate in Skopje is low, and the chances of tourists being targeted for petty crimes rarely happen.
That said, it is always prudent for both residents and visitors to take standard precautions.
This includes avoiding poorly lit or deserted areas at night, not displaying valuables in public, and being aware of one’s surroundings.
The Overall Security Situation in Skopje
The overall security situation in Skopje is good.
The city has a visible police presence, contributing to a sense of security, and the streets are safe to walk around, including at night, as most are well-lit.
Although it’s always wise to stay vigilant and mind your surroundings, despite these precautions, Skopje offers a welcoming and safe environment for visitors and locals alike.
How Likely Are You To Be A Victim of a Crime In Skopje?
The likelihood of becoming a victim of crime in Skopje is relatively low.
The crime rate in the city is considered moderate to low, with most incidents related to petty theft, car theft, and occasional racially motivated insults.
While the level of crime has seen an increase over the past three years, it’s important to note that this does not necessarily imply a high risk for visitors or residents, as the increase could be due to a variety of factors.
Gun-related deaths in Skopje are also quite low, with a rate of 1.69 per 100,000 residents each year. This suggests that violent crimes involving firearms are not common.
Additionally, incidents involving gun violence are usually targeted, and there hasn’t been an instance of casualties of this particular crime, but it’s safe to say that situations like these can be unpredictable.
In terms of organized crime, such groups are active, particularly in northern areas near the Kosovo border. However, attacks against foreigners are extremely rare.
Is Skopje Safe For Travelers & Tourists?
Yes, Skopje is safe for travelers. The city is relatively safe and has a low crime rate.
There is some political instability in the country, but this has not had a major impact on the safety of Skopje.
However, it’s always wise to stay updated on the current political situation and avoid any large political gatherings or protests, which can occasionally turn violent.
On the other hand, if you take precautions against petty crime, such as keeping your belongings close to you, zipping up your bag, not flashing expensive items, and being aware of your surroundings, you will likely have a safe and enjoyable trip to Skopje.
Our Experience of Skopje
I have visited Skopje several times and have never had any problems.
I have always felt safe walking around the city, even at night, and this includes strolling around less well-lit side streets I usually use as shortcuts to arrive at my accommodation.
While I don’t recommend everyone do this, especially if you are a tourist and you are unfamiliar with the area, however, as a foreigner myself, I am simply sharing my experience that has always been safe and trouble-free.
The people in Skopje are also welcoming, friendly, and helpful, and I have never had any problems with locals.
In fact, their hospitality is one of the highlights of my visits.
Whether it’s shopkeepers in the Old Bazaar, waitstaff in some of my favorite restaurants in the city, or just people I meet on the street, everyone seems genuinely interested in making sure visitors have a great time in their city.
Their warmth and generosity add to the overall charm of Skopje, making each trip a memorable experience.
I genuinely believe Skopje is a very safe destination for travelers with plenty of things to see and do.
However, it is always important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions against petty crimes such as pickpocketing, but as I explained above, you have nothing to worry about.
I hope you enjoy your time in this beautiful city!
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