Best time to visit Macedonia

Matka Canyon in Macedonia

Floating down the Matka gorge promises plenty of visual delights

Best time: all year round (best March–September)

Matka Canyon
Matka Canyon

Matka Canyon is one of the premier recreational destinations in North Macedonia, which is located west of Skopje. A perfect natural escape can be reached within a 30-minute drive from the capital. Alpine hiking, kayaking, fishing, hunting, and swimming are among the most popular year-round activities in Matka Canyon. However, the best time for outdoor adventures, where visitors can be treated to fantastic scenery, is during summertime.

A boat trip on Lake Matka is a great way to enjoy Matka Canyon's outdoors. The boat rentals are located near the Matka dam and the visitor’s information center. Kayaking is another popular way to explore the canyon. A 4-mile (6-km) journey follows a narrow path on the river, running in the middle of the stunning landscape of the valley, with the rugged rock formation towering 800 feet above your head. In the summer, water boasts different shades of blue, and the surrounding walls of the canyon are covered with lush vegetation.

There is also a cave with an underwater lake, said to be one of the deepest in Europe, and a tiny old church to be explored along the way.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Matka Canyon?

From March to September, the weather is warm and sunny, which makes it the best time to visit Matka Canyon. During this period, visitors can participate themselves in several outdoor activities, such as fishing, swimming, kayaking, hunting, and hiking. When traveling, visitors should be careful about the heatwaves that happen during the summer season, particularly July and August, and dress appropriately, always carrying sunscreen and water. Show more

Where can I rent a boat to explore Lake Matka?

Various boat rentals are available near the visitor's information center and the Matka dam. Boat rental agencies offer a variety of sizes and types of boats capable of handling up to 8 people. The price depends on the boat's nature and the rental period, but it is relatively reasonable. The rental company will provide travelers with a brief on boat safety instructions while renting and operating the boat and things to explore while on the lake before boarding. Show more

What are the popular outdoor activities to do in Matka Canyon?

Matka Canyon boasts various enjoyable outdoor activities that visitors can enjoy throughout the year. In addition to kayaking, hiking, boating, swimming, and fishing, visitors may explore several caves, churches, and monasteries scattered throughout the region. The canyon is an ideal location for nature enthusiasts, wildlife enthusiasts, and adventure lovers, with awe-inspiring views and picturesque locations that make any journey unforgettable. Show more

How long is the kayaking journey in Matka Canyon?

The kayaking journey in Matka Canyon is roughly about 6 kilometers, which typically takes 2-3 hours to complete. As kayakers paddle along the crystal-clear river, surrounded by towering cliffs and lush green vegetation, they can experience a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Along the way, kayakers can spot brown trout, otters, and numerous bird species. It is a fantastic adventure activity for people seeking an adrenaline rush and an opportunity to connect with nature. Show more

Are there any attractions to see inside Matka Canyon besides kayaking and hiking?

In addition to kayaking and hiking, Matka Canyon has numerous other attractions to offer. One of the sights worth seeing is the Vrelo Cave, which is home to one of the deepest underwater caves in the world, with a maximum depth of around 200 meters. Visitors can also tour St. Andrew's Monastery and explore the Matka Dam, which provides drinking water for the Skopje region. Camping, picnicking, and nature photography are also among the popular outdoor activities found in the canyon. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin