The perfect Skopje excursion – Matka Canyon

I decided to write about Matka in this blog because I want others in the region to know of this wonderful tourist destination. And, because when people think of tourism in Macedonia they generally come to the capital, Skopje, however, I want to show that my country has other touristic attractions and potential that are of interest for tourists at large. It is interesting to see how people judge a country straight away because of a developing economy situation, consequently not many  know that even countries with such economy can offer touristic services like no other can. My goal in this blog is to show you how a place like Matka Canyon, located in a developing country, can still offer one of the best experiences of your lifetime. 

Matka holds a very special place in my heart for a couple of reasons, but most importantly it offers me the escape from reality of everyday life in Skopje. I believe that Matka offers a different vibe, and besides being a getaway for Macedonians who live in Skopje, it also is a very attractive touristdestination for people fromaround the world.

Matka is a 30 minutes’ drive or bus ride from Skopje and an over 10 minutes’ walk which gives visitors a good amount of time to admire the view of the lake, as well as a beautiful and relaxing scenery. One of center attractions of Matka is a beautiful church that dates from the Ottoman times. The church is fascinating to see and it is special because during that period of time, building churches was forbidden, hence, its location is in a more secluded place.

Additionally, restaurants in Matka are positioned in spaces that they offer a breathtaking view along with a diverse traditional menu so people can get a sense of the culinary culturethat my country offers.It goes without saying that many people from the city visit this place because of fresh air, that a lot of times we cannot cherish living in the capital and industrial city. Skopje has always been very polluted but after the massive construction of buildings people have started protesting over everything that can contribute to the pollution. And until our country takes more action to fix this problem, we can all find refuge in Matka’s fresh and relaxing environment.

Matka Canyon likewise offers different adventure activities such as, hiking and kayaking.  If you are a hiker, there is a hiking trail close to 10km long where you can enjoy the beautiful nature and meet other hikers as well. Of course, I cannot say the same for myself, as the maximum I have walked in Matka is 2 km, just to enjoy the fresh air. Further, if you like kayaking, you can rent a kayak with friends or family members and kayak through the beautiful sand scenic canyon. I believe that, you should not miss this chance, it is just simply gorgeous! Sometimes, you might lose track of time because of how relaxing the experience is but it is all is worth it. After you have kayaked, one has the opportunity to visit the souvenir shop so you can buy something to remember this place. The shops also sell antiques, books and other objects.

Matka is something special, because it offers that relaxing and fresh air feeling that no a lot of places can. I have visited Matka Canyon my whole life and I've always been fully satisfied with my experience. Matka really does have a lot to offer, from the picturesque views to the traditional food. Thus, Matka Canyon really is the whole packageand I would urge everyone to take the opportunity and visit.  I assure that you will go away having a different taste of Macedonia, mostly because of the fact that with people reading about the issues Macedonia has such as corruption, poverty and the polluted air nobody can get a good impression of the country after reading all of that. But luckily, Macedonia has many hidden gems just like Matka Canyon that are really worth visiting but always get in the shadow of the country's problems which aren't related to the tourism attractions.

If Macedonia was to be a developed economy then I can assure you that places like Matka or Ohrid would have been one of the most visited places in the world, and wholeheartedly I believe in what I'm writing in this blog. When these places get the exposure they need, then they will get the tourists they deserve, but until then I will always write blogs to persuade the reader to think about these places, and hopefully attract more visitors to come to Macedonia.

JovicaJankovikj (Јовица Јанковиќ)

Author: Jovica Jankovikj

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Jovica is a young activist from Macedonia, who is passionate about youth policy, and environmental protection. Jovica, is the co-founder of the NGO Bezgrubrija, and is a member and activist for two NGOs, Youth Educational Forum(YEF) and YouthCan.

His passion about being involved in the community has been expressed though his participation in numerous activities organized within Macedonia and the Balkan Region. Some of the event he has participated include: The debate tournament EcoContest, EcoPatrol–NGO Zero Waste, Regional Youth Forum in NoviSad, and the 11th Euro–AtlanticCamp(REACT)etc.

Jovica, is a winner of the high school contest hosted by USAID for excellence in outlining a personal vision for Macedonia's future rewarded by US Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia JessL. Baily.

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