Matka Canyon by Boat (And a Hike)
Matka Canyon is a short thirty minute drive from Skopje. This Macedonian natural treasure is a great place to hike and take a relaxing boat ride. While early morning and late afternoon are less crowded times, make sure to find a sunny day to visit for the best experience.
Unlucky for me, it was very cloudy and a bit rainy at Matka Canyon the day I explored the area. But on the positive side, there was hardly anyone there in the morning probably due to the weather.
There are a few monasteries lined along Matka Canyon. St. Michael’s Monastery is near the boat docks where you can also rent kayaks to paddle around the crystal clear turquoise waters.
There were 10 people in my group and we took one of the bigger boats because it covered us from the rain. You can also hike along the canyon but a boat is necessary to see the big cave and take the strenuous hike up to St. Nicholas Monastery.
The boat ride took us to Vrelo Cave, or what I called the Bat Cave. It was a huge cavern filled with bats flying all around. I put the hood up on my rain jacket as to not have a bat get stuck in my humid/rain hair and to avoid getting bat droppings. Always thinking ahead about pooping animals, that’s me!
The strenuous hike up to St. Nicholas Monastery also required the boat to take us to the other side of the canyon between these peaks:
I did not find this hike enjoyable at all. It was gravel and slippery at a exceptionally steep incline. The only good part is that it was pretty quick.
Once at the top there was St. Nicholas Monastery and some good views of the peaks surrounding Matka Canyon.
It is possible to have a picnic up here and there are some decent bathrooms (for being at the top of a peak). But really I’d skip this hike in total. Also I fell on my butt twice after sliding on the gravel on the hike back down. Fun times.
I had to include a picture of the trash can mover at Matka Canyon. This guy drove the trash around taking up the entire walkway which took you to the boats. We had to kiss the rocks or climb the wall in order for him to go by a few different times. Totally safe
Of all the daytrips we took from Skopje, Matka Canyon was probably my least favorite. I’d definitely recommend visiting Prizren, Kosovo and Lake Ohrid over Matka Canyon any day. But it is very close to Skopje so include it if you have the time.
All about my day in Prizren, Kosovo coming up next! It was a great daytrip from Skopje, Macedonia.