Updated: Sep 4
If you spend several days in Skopje, one of the places you must visit is the beautiful Matka Canyon near Skopje. The clean lake surrounded by huge rocks and stunning nature is the choice of many tourists and locals for recreation, especially on weekends when the place is as busy as it gets.
Covering roughly 5.000 hectares, this canyon is one of the most popular outdoor destinations in Macedonia.
How to get there?
There are several ways to get to the canyon, which is about 20 kilometers from the center of Skopje.
One of them is the bus public transport. With line number 60, which departs from the Transport Center, you can reach the final destination,
Check the detail on the JSP website itself regarding the departure and arrival times.
In the photo above you can see the usual timetable from the Transport Center to Matka and vice versa during the whole week. But always check for any changes on the JSP website. Access the JSP website on this LINK. Then select "Suburban lines" (Приградски линии) and select line 60.
The journey from the Transport Center to Matka would take about 40-50 minutes.
Alternatively, you can reach close to the canyon with bus line number 12, which is much less frequent compared to line 60.
You can reach the canyon by car in about 30 minutes and park near it. Also, many cyclists go to Matka, but this requires special caution due to the narrow roads, as well as the terrain, which has ups and downs.
The parking lot and the entrance to Matka are free.
For more options check our Rent page
At the very beginning, there is the Matka hydropower station, which is part of the Skopsko Pole hydro system. Keep in mind that the hydropower station is a protected location, and it is not allowed to take a photo of that facility.
The movement across the entire canyon is accompanied by a path that moves along the sides of the rocks. The view of the rocks and the lake, which you will be distracted from time to time by the boats sailing through the lake and the kayaks, is breathtaking.
Exploring the canyon, along the trail, you will come across people selling accessories, services that offer boat trips or kayak rentals, and quite a few visitors, especially if you are there on the weekend.
Some of the services offered are boat trips along the lake, for 200 denars per person, kayaking for 150 denars for half an hour or 300 denars for 1 hour, as well as bicycle rides on water, starting from 200 denars for 30 minutes.
Moving along the path, you will also notice the Canyon Matka Hotel and Restaurant, where you can grab a drink, have some coffee, enjoy a meal, or stay overnight.
Along the entire route there are benches where you can rest or have a picnic.
The Monastery of Saint Andrew is located near the Canyon Matka catering facility. The monastery was founded in the XIV century, it is very well preserved and has the status of cultural heritage protected by the state with special importance.
What is also very important is that the main gate closes at 8 PM, and opens at 6 AM. This number +389782828735 is pointed out from the Hotel Canyon Matka for contact, if you want to enter or leave the property between these hours.
Deeper in the canyon, further from Matka Lake is Vrelo Cave. The cave is a system of two caves - an underwater one and an above water one, with a depth of 230 meters discovered so far, which currently makes it the deepest underwater cave in the Balkans and the second deepest in Europe.
The Vrelo Caves, together with Lake Ohrid, were candidates for selection for the new 7 natural wonders of the world.
By boat, you can also visit the Vrelo Cave every day from 8 am to 6 pm. The tour lasts about an hour and costs 400 Denars (6.5 Euros) per person.
For hiking enthusiasts, there are several trails connected to the canyon. Some of them lead from the Millennium Cross of Vodno to the Matka hydropower plant. Then a longer path that also leads to Matka. One of the trails is the Rasa trail, on the right side of the canyon. In addition, one of the paths leads along Lake Matka.
Matka Exhibition Center
At the beginning of the canyon, before the uphill to the Matka Lake and the dam, the Matka Exhibition Center of EVN Macedonia is located.
In the exhibition center setting can be seen original old objects, archival materials, films, photographs, interviews, real power system components as well as unique educational exhibits made especially for the center and intended for learning through interaction.
Keep in mind that if you want to visit the center, you need to make an appointment at matka.com.mk or +38972935105.