Whether it is the world’s highest mountain, Everest, or the modest peaks of the Sutter Buttes Range in California, mountains have always captured travellers’ imaginations with their striking beauty and mystery. Unarguably, there is no better way to experience snow-capped peaks and pistes packed with powder than with a pair of skis strapped to your feet (or a snowboard as the case may be!)
The same is true on the slopes of Macedonia; a country in Eastern Europe that despite its immaculate landscapes and interesting sights, is really only just beginning to infiltrate travellers’ radars. The mountains here won’t win any competitions in terms of altitude but winter sports enthusiasts who do venture here are rewarded with beautiful slopes that are well maintained, relatively free of crowds and come with a reasonable price tag in terms of ski passes.
When it comes to resorts, Popova Shapka, in northwest Macedonia, is one of the bigger resorts that Macedonia has to offer. It’s a mere 35km from Skopje where the country’s main airport is located, making it very accessible. Perched on the Sar Mountain, the ski area is served by 6 ski lifts which are able to transport 8,000 passengers every hour and the variety of ski lifts ensure that all abilities will have some terrain to test them as well as snow park and off-piste skiing available too. More experienced skiers may prefer Zare Lazarevski which boasts a number of black runs and a vertical drop of 1,970ft plus extensive off-piste terrain.
After a fun but tiring time on the slopes, après ski is an essential end to the day and whilst the choice in Macedonia may not be as busy or as eclectic as say, France or Italy, it definitely won’t disappoint. Once you have warmed up in your cosy lodge after a long day, there is a variety of entertainment on offer to see you through until the small hours if you wish, especially as you can pick up a beer for less than 2 Euros!
Take your pick from Macedonia hire cars and you can easily travel around the stunning mountainous areas and journey back and forth between the resort and your accommodation with ease, not to mention uncover some other beautiful areas of the country. If you have time, perhaps plan a visit to the stunning Lake Ohrid and step back in time with a visit to some of the ancient ruins which litter the countryside and define the majority of towns and cities.
So, for a challenging yet cheap destination with plenty to see away from the slopes as well, consider a skiing holiday in Macedonia for your next break.