Welcoming you in Skopje, and after the accommodation, we start а walking tour from the centuries-old Kale – Skopje fortress. We will continue to the Old Turkish Bazaar, mingling with the locals, meeting different cultures and religions, and old forgotten crafts. After that, we can visit the Museum of Macedonian struggle or the Archaeological Museum of Macedonia. We will cross the Stone Bridge, the landmark of the city, and admire the biggest monument and fountain of Alexander the Great in the world. The next stop will be the memorial house of Mother Teresa. She was born in Skopje in 1910. In the afternoon, just a few kilometers away from the capital, we will visit the Kamnik Winery. The winery and its vineyards stretch out across 13 hectares of hills that have excellent microclimatic conditions all year round. We will taste some wine varieties both local and international, like Golden Temjanika, Vranec, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, or Rose wine, accompanied by delicious Macedonian food. Overnight in Skopje.
This morning we are heading to the Valley of the Stone Dolls, an area consisting of over 120 naturally formed stone pillars, related to many legends about their creation. After we explore this natural phenomenon, we drive to Kratovo, a small medieval town founded in the middle of a once-volcano crater. Have a guided walking tour around the town, crossing many medieval bridges and towers. See a unique small museum with artifacts from 20th century B.C. until nowadays. Then have a chance to taste slowly-cooked food by the locals and taste the local homemade wine and rakija (Macedonian brandy). Today’s meal consists of round bread, baked on wood, typical for Kratovo region, hard-boiled eggs, sheep cheese, Shopska salad (a classic Balkan dish with tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions, covered by a blanket of grated cheese), freshly fried peppers, and baked beans. But the host is mostly proud of a unique dish, so-called homemade crushed salt, made of salt, peppers, rosemary, basil, peppermint, wild mint, and thyme and you must taste it. In the end, the host will say goodbye to us with Macedonian coffee and wild fig jam. Our next stop is the city of Kriva Palanka where we will be accommodated and have dinner in the monastery St. Joakim Osogovski. This is an excellent chance to see how people live in these rural areas and to visit a Macedonian Orthodox Church, possibly witnessing some of the rituals.
Kriva Palanka – Demir Kapija (180 km) (B, D)
After breakfast, we will drive and visit the Monastery of St. Gavril Lesnovski, with a chance to communicate with the monks. Our road leads to the city of Stip where we will have a small break. Our tour heads to the Archaeological Site of Stobi (an antique and early Byzantine City) where we will have guided sightseeing of the biggest Archaeological Site in Macedonia. Our next stop is the Popova Kula Winery where we have a tour around the winery with an explanation about the wine-producing process and the varieties of wine. Then, we have dinner that includes a few varieties of wine, cheese, and meat. You must taste Stanushina red and rose, an indigenous ancient Macedonian wine variety. The oldest archeological findings here, prove that people in this area have grown vineyards and have made wine since the 13 century B.C. Overnight in the beautiful Popova Kula Winery hotel.
Demir Kapija – Strumica (95 km) (B, L, D)
After breakfast in Popova Kula Winery, we continue to the city of Strumica where we will visit the nearby waterfalls of Smolare and Kolesino. On the way to the waterfalls, we stop at the medieval Monasteries of Vodoca and Veljusa. In the afternoon we are in the village of Gabrovo, a traditional Macedonian village in the eastern part of the country. The host farmers will be waiting for us there, willing to take us around the Strumica plain, one of the most important plains in the country well known for peppers production. We will pick up some fruits and vegetables from the fields and start cooking together with the hosts – fresh salads, fresh-baked bread and meat, homemade wine and natural fruit juices will be on our menu for the home-hosted lunch. Free time to explore the area on your own. Then we drive back to Strumica. Tonight we have dinner in one of Strumica’s national restaurants. Overnight in a hotel.
Strumica - Berovo (79 km) (B, L, D)
In the morning we start driving further to South-East Macedonia, to the town of Berovo. In this mountainous town, our hosts will be waiting for us in the place called Bachilo (sheepfold), and we have an option to walk to Bacilo about 800 m in steep terrain or to use a tractor from the main road to the sheepfold. It is a private property in the middle of the mountain, where hosts grow their own fruits and vegetables around the hut and also have their own cattle. The hosts will take us around the property and serve us some of their home-made food specialties - spinach pie baked in a traditional furnace, buttermilk, cottage cheese, other cheese types, juices from blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, black currant and many other forest fruits, mountain potato, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers. This small mountainous town and its healthy environment are well known for bee farms and honey production, so next, we can taste some of the honey. After lunch, we take a relaxing walk around Berovo Lake. Accommodation, dinner, and overnight in a hotel in Berovo.
Berovo - Vinica - Skopje (155 km) (B, L)
We leave Berovo and start driving back to the capital. Enjoying the scenery, on the way, we will be observing the Kocani rice fields, the only place in the country where rice is being cultivated. The typical architecture of this area is something that will also remain in your memories. We make a stop in another small town, Vinica to visit the Museum of Vinica, where we can see terracotta icons made in this small town from the IV to the VII century, making them one of the oldest preserved terracotta icons in the world. Driving on, we reach the winery Chateau Sopot to taste wines from the Povardarie region and to enjoy the perfect cuisine in its restaurant. The hosts will present different varieties of their wine. The winery Chateau Sopot is located in the surroundings of the Veles Lake, between the valleys and the fertile uplands of the wine region of Veles. It disposes of 100 hectares of wine plantation, and the selection of sorts includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Temjanika. In the afternoon we drive back to Skopje. Free evening and overnight.