12 Travel Mistakes To Avoid When Visiting Skopje (For The First Time)

It’s no secret that Skopje is a beautiful city with plenty of things to do and see.

However, if you’re not careful, you might end up making some mistakes that can ruin your trip.

In this article, I’ll be discussing some of the most common (and not-so-common) travel mistakes people make when traveling to Skopje as well as some things to know and do to make this trip one you will treasure forever.

travel mistakes to avoid in skopje

Not Bringing Comfortable Shoes

Skopje is a very walkable city, which means you’ll be doing a lot of walking.

And trust me, you do not want to be doing all that walking in uncomfortable shoes.

Skopje is also filled with cobblestone streets, which can make for an even more uncomfortable experience if you’re not wearing the right footwear.

So before you pack your bags and head off to Skopje, make sure to pack a pair (or two) of comfortable shoes.

Not Checking the Weather in Advance

skopje in winter
Skopje in winter is a sight to behold.

Skopje’s weather can be quite volatile.

It can be quite hot during the summer (around 40C) and cold during the winter (-20C).

You can also get weeks of hot sunshine in winter and thunderstorms and cold wind in the midst of Summer.

If you’re planning on visiting Skopje, make sure you keep an eye on the weather forecasts as you do not want to find yourself feeling uncomfortable during your trip.

Not Doing Your Research About The City

One of the most common mistakes people make when traveling to Skopje is not doing their research beforehand.

Skopje is a city with a rich history and culture, and there’s plenty to see and do.

However, if you don’t research beforehand, you might miss out on some of the best attractions the city has to offer.

So before you travel to Skopje, make sure to do your research and plan your trip accordingly.

Not Staying in a Good Location

Another mistake people make when traveling to Skopje is not staying in a good location.

Skopje is a very spread-out city, and if you’re not careful, you might find yourself quite far from the action, i.e the City Centre.

So when booking your accommodation, make sure to choose a location that’s central and close to the main attractions.

Avoid Hotels, Use Airbnbs

Sunset in Skopje from our Airbnb
Sunset in Skopje from our Airbnb apartment, which is a 10 minute walk to the main Square.

This is down to personal choice more than it is a “rule,” but when visiting Skopje, we recommend avoiding hotels.

Hotels can be quite expensive, and they’re usually not located in the best areas.

Instead, we recommend using Airbnb.

You’ll be able to find some great accommodation options for a fraction of the price, and you’ll usually be located in a better area.

Skopje is Cheap, But Not That Cheap (Budget Accordingly)

Skopje is a relatively cheap city, but it’s not as cheap as you might think.

Food and drink are relatively affordable, but accommodation and activities can be quite pricey.

So when budgeting for your trip to Skopje, make sure to account for those extra costs.

I estimate $75 to $100 a day is a good enough budget to experience all the fun Skopje has to offer.

Don’t Exchange Money at the Airport

One of the worst places to exchange money is at the Skopje International airport.

The rates are almost always terrible, and you’ll end up losing out on a lot of money.

You’re much better off exchanging money at a currency exchange office in the city.

Whenever I’m in Skopje and need to change euros for MKD, I always visit the Skopje Trade Centre (GTC), which has a currency exchange office at the very end of it (with more favorable rates).

Always be Aware of Your Surroundings

One of the most common mistakes people make when traveling to Skopje is not being aware of their surroundings.

Skopje is a busy city, and it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.

If you’re not careful, you might find yourself in a dangerous situation.

So before you travel to Skopje, make sure to familiarize yourself with your surroundings and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Fret not, though; Skopje is a very safe city.

Just use your common sense, and you’ll be fine.

Not Respecting the Local Customs & Traditions

One of the most common mistakes people make when traveling to Skopje is not being aware of the local customs and culture.

Skopje is a culturally diverse city, and there are certain things that you should and shouldn’t do.

If you’re not familiar with the local customs, you might find yourself in an awkward situation.

So before you travel to Skopje, make sure to learn about the local customs and culture, especially the history of the country & its city and also the many ethnic groups who call North Macedonia their home (which have oftentimes caused conflict in the country).

Not Trying The Local Food

traditional macedonian food in skopje
Traditionally cooked pork ribs from one of my favorite restaurants in Skopje.

One of the best things about Skopje is the food.

There are so many great restaurants and cafes to choose from (more on this later), and you’ll find something to suit every taste.

Skopje has some great traditional dishes that you’ll only find here.

So when in Skopje, make sure to sample some of the local cuisines. You won’t be disappointed.

Choosing A Tourist Trap for a Restaurant

There are plenty of great restaurants in the city, but there are also some terrible ones, and you’ll find these in the city center or in the Old Bazaar.

These restaurants charge exorbitant prices and offer not that great food.

If you’re looking for a great restaurant, walk out of the city center for a few minutes in any direction and see where the locals eat.

More than likely, you east much better for far less there.

Side note: There is a great restaurant right around the corner from the Square, which is called Soul Kitchen (they also have a restaurant at the new Easy Gate City Mall).

While this restaurant may very well be considered a “tourist trap” according to my own advice, I highly recommend you eat there as prices are reasonable, the food is fresh and consistently good, the staff is friendly, and you will see many local eating there too during their work breaks.

soul kitchen restaurant in Skopje

And Just so You Know: People Are Allowed To Smoke in Restaurants

This is something that surprised me when I first visited Skopje.

In most (not all) restaurants, people are allowed to smoke inside.

So if you’re not a fan of cigarette smoke, make sure to ask before you sit down.

And that’s it!

These are some of the common (& not so common) travel mistakes I see people make when traveling to Skopje for the first time.

If you can avoid these, I’m more than sure you’ll have a great time in this wonderful city. Safe travels!

This guide was first published on August 4, 2022 and was last updated on March 14, 2024. For more information, please contact us at contact@skopjeguide.com.