Our website uses cookies.

Sign up on TourScanner

Create an account to save tours, things to do and travel guides to your wishlist.
I agree to sign up to the newsletter and receive occasional emails from TourScanner
By creating an account you agree to our terms and conditions and privacy policy.
I agree to sign up to the newsletter and receive occasional emails from TourScanner

Skopje: Day Trips and Tours from Sofia

Skopje is the capital of Macedonia and is a city that is brimming with life, both past and present. There's evidence that the land was inhabited over four millennia ago, and these days it's a thriving hub of colorful markets and cultural landmarks.

Skopje day trips from Sofia are possible with a little forward planning, despite a distance of over 200 kilometers between the two.

There is a rich heritage in the city that shouldn't be missed. History buffs in particular will love the fusion of cultures, from Byzantine to Ottoman and Ancient Roman.

How to get to Skopje from Sofia?

Skopje is located in the northeast of North Macedonia and is the capital city of the country. The city is just 39 kilometers away from the nearest border of Kosovo. It is much further from Bulgaria, with a distance of 245 kilometers between Sofia and Skopje.

From Sofia to Skopje by car

The journey to Skopje by car is easy, although a little long. It takes around 3.5 hours to reach the city and travels down the A3 highway followed by the 62 and the E871 for most of the drive. The city is well signposted from the road.

From Sofia to Skopje by bus

There are direct buses that make the jaunt to Skopje multiple times a day. The journey takes just over 5.5 hours and tickets cost between €10 and €16. Matpu and Kaleia operate the service and the bus leaves from the Serdika station.

Guided tour to Skopje from Sofia

Guided day tours of Skopje last approximately 12 hours and leave around 8 AM, returning in the evening. You'll usually be picked up from your hotel and reach the city around lunchtime. After the tour, you'll be dropped back at your accommodation.

What is the typical itinerary of a day tour to Skopje from Sofia?

After a pickup from your hotel, you'll start the long drive to Skopje. During the journey, you'll learn about the history of your destination and watch the Bulgarian countryside whizz past you.

When you reach the city, you'll most likely embark upon a guided walking tour where you can explore the cultural gems and historic monuments.

All day tours to Skopje visit the Kale Fortress and the Old Bazaar among other standout sites that feature prominently in the city's history.

Often, there will be an hour of free time to grab a piping bowl of the national dish — Tavche Gravche. Afterward, it's time to step back on the bus for the journey to Sofia.

What kinds of tours are available to go to Skopje?

There are different trips available to visit the city of Skopje. You can choose a private tour if having the undivided attention of a professional guide is important to you. Alternatively, there are tours that visit other cities or natural sites along the way.

Day trip to Skopje from Sofia

This day trip takes you on a walking tour of the Macedonian city, with stops at the Kale Fortress, Old Bazaar and various religious sites. You'll be provided with a typical Macedonian lunch before continuing on to see modern-day Skopje, including the new city square.

Private tour to Skopje from Sofia

A private tour is a more personal experience. You'll have a guide all to yourself in the busy city of Skopje, who will show you the most fascinating sites, such as the renowned Ottoman trade Street.

The tour lasts three hours and shows you both sides of Skopje — the old and the new. You'll have free time to enjoy a traditional meal before heading back to Bulgaria.

Day trip to Skopje plus Matka Canyon from Sofia

This day trip to Skopje lasts just under 12 hours and the first stop of the day is at the Old Bazaar in Skopje. You'll take a tour of the city with a local guide, stopping at the Kale Fortress and Sultan Marat Mosques among other landmarks. You'll also learn about Macedonia's past as a part of Yugoslavia.

Grab a sandwich to go before hurrying back to the bus to visit nature's crowning jewel of Macedonia — Matka Canyon. You'll have free time to explore the natural phenomenon before beginning the journey back to Sofia.

2-day trip to Skopje plus Nis from Sofia

On this 2-day tour from Sofia, you'll have the opportunity to visit both Serbia and Macedonia with a stop at Nis as well as Skopje. On the first day, you'll visit the city of Nis and pay your respects to its colorful past with a stop at Skull Tower. It was here that hundreds of Serbians were killed during the uprising.

You'll also stop at the Medijana villa and Red Cross concentration camp. You'll stay overnight in Skopje before exploring the city the following day. Day two takes you on a guided tour of the Kale Fortress as well as on a chair lift experience of the Mountain of Vodno.

How much does a tour to Skopje from Sofia cost?

Day trips cost around €90 and include hotel pickup and drop off, two different tour guides and all entrance fees. Lunch is at your own expense.

You can expect to pay around €135 for a private day tour of Skopje, and that includes a tour guide and hotel pickup and drop off.

Day trips to Skopje and Matka Canyon start at €119 and include a professional guide for your tour of Skopje. Also included on your Skopje excursion is a driver-guide to tell you interesting facts en route and round-trip transportation from your hotel.

Two day tours to Skopje and Nis include overnight accommodation and breakfast in Skopje, round trip transfers and a professional guide. You can expect to pay €399.

What will you see and do in Skopje?

Kale Fortress

The fortress is built upon the highest point of the city and was originally constructed in the sixth century. It has been repaired since which is why you'll see a Byzantine influence when visiting.

The fortress holds a rich heritage as the land it stands on shows evidence of life in Neolithic and prehistoric times, before 4,000 B.C. The limestone building is the oldest fortress in Macedonia and was built by Emperor Justinian after an earthquake that wiped out the whole city in 518.

The historical landmark is free to enter and opens between 9 AM and 7 PM every day. It is easy to reach on your day trip to Skopje.

Old Bazaar

The Old Bazaar is one of the oldest marketplaces in the Balkans and has been in use since the 12th century. You'll find the market stretched along the eastern banks of the Vardar River.

The bazaar is a shining beacon of the city and has withstood an earthquake and a fire in the 16th and 17th centuries. There were over 2,000 stalls at the market before it was burnt to the ground in 1689.

When visiting the bustling site, you'll notice the mix of Byzantine and Ottoman architecture. You can find artisanal crafts, drink traditionally served tea and select colorful sweets on your stroll through the bazaar.

When is the best time to visit Skopje?

Between May and September, the city basks in the glow of warm sunshine. The hottest month is August when temperatures reach 30 degrees Celsius, and the busiest month is July. June is an excellent time to visit, with mild temperatures around 21 degrees Celsius and fewer crowds than during the height of summer.

Travel tips

  • During your day trip to Skopje, you'll be crossing the border into North Macedonia so remember your passport.
  • Carry some cash in the local currency (Macedonian Denars) to purchase delights from one of the many stalls at the Old Bazaar.
  • Due to the distance between the two destinations, tours last up to 12 hours. A lot of the day will take place on the bus, so be prepared with a book, drinks and lots of snacks.
  • Skopje excursions require a lot of walking so ensure you're wearing comfortable footwear.